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Hills Like White Elephants, Sonny's Blues and the Rocking Horse Winner Essay

Related Topics: Love Iliad Life Homer

Pages:5 (1399 words)


Topic:Hills Like White Elephants

Document Type:Essay


Commonplace Log

Part 1

“You know in the old days it was not so easy to get a girl when you wanted to be married.” This quote begins the story of “High Horse’s Courting,” and it sets the tone that Black Elk wants to set. He is making a comment on the present and the past with the quote and wants to show that times were different when he was a young man and that the courting process was a lot more challenging back in the old days. It thus appears that he is talking to a younger audience and is both trying to entertain them a bit and trying to teach them a lesson—namely that if young men want to win a nice young girl they should be prepared to show that they are men. So that story that he is about to tell is one such a story, and I chose this quote because I can completely see an old man sitting down and gathering the youngsters around and starting off a story this way.

“What he wanted was a son who was a real man and good for something” (34). This quote explains the intentions of the father of the girl that High Horse is interested in. The old man does not care about a bunch of horses—he simply set that task for High Horse to see if the young man could accomplish it. The old man was testing the young man, since the young man showed interest in the old man’s daughter. It was the kind of test that one might see in ancient mythologies or in the Old Testament when Jacob is given a bunch of tasks to perform in order to marry Rachel. It is essentially the same idea here. I chose this quote because it reminded me of the Jacob-Rachel story.

“So High Horse got his girl after all, and I think he deserved her” (34). Unlike with Jacob, who is initially deceived by Rachel’s father, High Horse gets the girl he wanted and the author speaks directly to the reader at this point to let the reader know that he agrees with this outcome. High Horse demonstrated his manliness and showed that he would be a good, strong man for the old man’s daughter. I chose this quote because I like how the author intrudes on the story to give his own opinion and to show his approval. It is funny but also reassuring because you feel the same way as the reader.

Part 2

A story that used to be told in the oral tradition was the Iliad by Homer. Though most people read this story today, it was actually part of the ancient Greeks’ culture to memorize it and then…

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…I loved this story because it is about two brothers and the one who is stand-offish finally comes out of his anger and learns to understand his brother who is different but who also has his own wisdom and grace. The quote I like from this story is: “He was giving it back, as everything must be given back, so that, passing through death, it can live forever.” Baldwin says this about Sonny and his music, which is how he expresses his love. I think it is what Baldwin was expressing in his writing, giving his love back to his readers, back to the world.

The Rocking-Horse Winner: This is another good story that shows what it means to really love someone. The boy is so selfless and willing to sacrifice himself to make his mother happy, and the heart-breaking thing of it is that she does not even realize what he is doing. She is self-centered like the woman in the Chopin story, only wanting more and never thinking about others. A good quote from this story is: “She said she had no luck, because father is unlucky, so I thought if I was lucky, it might stop whispering.” “What might stop whispering?” “Our house. I hate our house for whispering.” The boy hears the mother’s sadness everywhere he goes because that is what she projects outward. It is a terrible thing, but…

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