The Destructive Power of Love

In AS Byatt’s, Sea Story the main character Harold finds himself in love with a woman named Laura that he met by the ocean. When Laura and Harold met for the first time Harold’s overwhelming feelings for Laura gave Laura a bad first impression. At the end of their first interaction (which is also their last), Laura informs Harold “I’ve just been offered my dream job. I’m going to be part of a team studying the life-cycle of eels. This letter is my acceptance. I’m off to the Caribbean next week.”(Byatt). Harold, who was so hurt to see his new crush leave asks for her address so he can write her.  Creeped out by this notion and gives him a fake address and leaves. After sending many love notes to Laura and receiving no response, Harold decides to write her a love poem and he puts it in a bottle and drop in the ocean similar to a time where he found a love letter in ocean pollution. Should Harold be reprimanded for sending the poem to Laura through this mode of transportation?

Harold should be reprimanded for sending Laura the poem in this manor because it is harmful to the environment and unrealistic.  The narrator highlights the damage that Harold’s bottle does to the ocean. In the text it states, “The mollymawk tore at it, and carried away a smeared strip to feed to its chicks, who would die with bellies distended by this stuff. The cap detached itself, and was swallowed by a green turtle which mistook it for a glass eel”(Byatt). It is clear that Harold’s bottle which seemed harmless at first, was very harmful. In addition to being harmful, the idea of the bottle reaching Laura is quite unrealistic. The narrator states, “Then he closed the bottle tightly, and rowed out in his boat to where he knew, from his grandfather’s work, that the currents could possibly take the message as far as the Sargasso Sea”(Byatt). The sargasso’s sea’s proximity between Laura and Harold is simply not enough of a reason to expect its currents to take one bottle to Laura’s precise location from Harold. In conclusion, Harold should be reprimanded because of his irrational plans and harmful littering of the ocean.

Movie Misconception: The Good or The Evil?


My last blog post, published on January 30th, 2019, touched on the notion of protagonist blindness. I interpret it as being wired to root for the protagonist, and while doing so, seem to be blinded by all the negatives they do. This is a common theme among movies, even in The Shape of Water. We seem to be blinded by all the destruction Eliza causes through the heist of freeing a creature. The heist puts Giles at gunpoint, causes injury to a guard, destroys a car and causes overall havoc to the government-run facility. Eliza’s “opponent”, Strickland, is a lead character in the government operation and is displayed as evil, or the bad guy. He is seen abusing the creature with a stick, disrespecting Eliza and Zelda verbally, shooting the creature and Eliza as well as horrendously abusing the Russian doctor. However, through all this commotion, is Strickland actually the good guy? We are, in a way, overseeing the good of Strickland because he is chasing after the so-called “innocent”, Eliza.

I interpret Strickland as being a good guy. My first reason is that he catches the traitor scientist. The U.S was attempting to keep the creature away from the Russians. The scientist is seen throughout the movie leaking information to what seemed like Russian spies, however, Strickland does not allow that to happen because he kills the scientist and two spies. My second reason he is a good guy is that he is polite. While many interpret the scene where he “does his business” in front of the two janitors as disrespectful and disgusting, I see the scene as him showing character. He says, “Ladies, it was very pleasant chatting with you both (00:17:58).” He thanks the two ladies for chatting with him, which I see as nice. My third reason why Strickland is a good guy is that he is doing his job with great passion. He is a government official who is doing his duty of getting back what was stolen. He is chasing the bad guys.

As a viewer, how could one be rooting for those who do the illegal deed? While one can argue Strickland does many illegal actions, he does it however for the protection of the U.S (Killing the spies) and to attempt to regain the once owned government project. Strickland is actually the good guy. We are, in a way, overseeing the good of Strickland because he is chasing after the so-called “innocent”, Eliza. As a viewer think to your self, could Strickland be seen as the fallen hero?


What Does the Pool Mean?

During our guest speaker last Friday I was actually contemplating how I would respond to Greg Taubman’s main question. Therefore, my question for this blog post is what does the pool in the set of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses mean?


Evidently, as Greg pointed out, there is not just one answer to a question like this. It does ultimately come down to what the viewer sees, what it makes them feel, what it reminds them of, and why. Greg’s biggest evidence of this process in terms of theater and literature was his own experience directing the play Metamorphoses. He said that he was told from the start that they were not going to be able to include the pool like the original play did. Therefore, he needed to assess what exactly the pool meant to him when he was reading and viewing this play and how he could incorporate this meaning in a different way in his own production of this play.


I spent a lot of time during Greg’s presentation actually trying to think of a legitimate and sensible explanation as to the inclusion of the pool. So here it is:


During the first scene of Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses the opening scene depicts a woman kneeling by a pool and talking to a scientist about the origins of our earth: “WOMAN. […] The sea upon which they shone quickened with fish, and the woods and meadows with game, and the air with twittering birds. Each order of creature settling in to itself. ZEUS. A paradise, it would seem, except one thing was lacking: words” (Zimmerman Scene 1, Act 1). This quote make reference to a time before human existed and infiltrated the described paradise. Continuing off this, it is important to understand that Greek mythology originated in ancient Greece and served the purpose of explaining everything. For example, Greek mythology explains religion, religious rituals, and even thinks like the weather. Ultimately, it gives meaning and purpose to the world that we live in. After considering this opening scene and taking into consideration my own knowledge of Greek mythology I came to my conclusion. The pool is the physical embodiment and reference to the very beginning of Earth before mankind existed. Therefore, combined with the fact that Zimmerman is recreating these Greek myths I feel like her purpose is to explore how mankind came to be and show the relationship between what existed before man and how we exist now.