Women in the Watergate by Mallon

First of all, there are a lot of men and women in the novel, it’s about 112 characters according to the list at the beginning of the book. And every character is very important for understanding what was going on those days, this novel is much like a puzzle, a puzzle of human soul, of psychology in politics. But still I can hardly remember a half of them.

But there are some characters who play a very active role in the novel. It is female characters.

And the first one I’m going to talk about is Pat Nixon, wife of the President Richard Nixon.

In the novel she has an affair, but still refuses to leave her husband and support him in this difficult situation. She was a woman totally devoted to her daughters and her husband.

But one of the most remarkable characters for me is Rose Mary Woods, she was so passionate in fulfilling her duty to protect her boss, Richard Nixon, she hates everyone who has something against Nixon, and do everything she can to help Nixon, I think is one of those strong, centered executive secretaries, a disappearing breed totally dedicated to their bosses, deeply knowledgeable about their businesses, and knowing who should and should not have access, Her comments are always on point. “You need to destroy John Dean,” she tells the president at Camp David. “And you need to get rid of those tapes.”

Sometimes I thought she would give her life for him if it would help him to get out of this scandal.

Alex Gaysenok

 

Was there a way out for Bigger?

In this novel we see a young black guy Bigger struggling a lot in life. He feels that something is wrong, but don’t think that there is a way out for him. Whole his life is dictated by whites. And he constantly feels shame and fear of that white natural force, he doesn’t think of whites as human beings. And they treat him the same way.

And he decided to hide his feelings of shame and fear that he can’t control his own life by the wall of hatred.

And we see that he is trying to live by hiding his feelings even from himself. His personality is a kind of split up. He is trying not to think about the future, just lives from day to day.

At the end of the novel we found out from Bigger’s conversation with Max that he wanted to be an aviator, but he knew that black men were not allowed to go to aviation schools. He wanted to join the army, but it proved to be segregated and based upon racist laws. He saw the white boys from his school go on to college or the military when he could not.

Was there another way to live for Bigger? Not really. He could choose to be good servant for the whites. Only something like that.

Whose fault was that he comitted a crime and killed Mary?

I don’t think that the only fault for this is just on Bigger.

He was a product of the society, of mass media, of people who treat him the way he was not a human being.

His mother constantly making him feel anger by nagging him to go and find a job. I’m sure he knows he needs money, no use to tell him about it over and over.

Mr. Dalton’s way of making money on blacks renting his apartments in overcrowded district of Chicago.

Even Mary herself gets some faults because she broke all the social rules and norms Bigger knew. He knew he wasn’t on the same level with the whites and was scared and shamed by her way of treating him. She was trying to make a difference for him, but actually doesn’t pay attention to his feelings and doesn’t fully understand what she was doing.

The name of the novel is very precisely told us about Bigger and other blacks of those times. They are Native sons of America, of that segregated society, we needed to do something, we needed to change the attitude to the blacks, to treat them equally.

I think this novel tells a lot about the way blacks lived to the whites who thought like Mary, she has never been inside a black household, but thinks their lives must not be so different—after all, “[t]hey’re human. . . . They live in our country . . . [i]n the same city with us. . . .”

Alex Gaysenok

 

Was Gatsby “great”?

Was Gatsby “great”? Yes, he was! Anyway he was an extraordinary personality even if it was a wrong way to became rich being engaged in the criminal activities. It takes a lot of efforts either you’re making big money in a honest way or by criminal business.

Gatsby was an enigma for everyone, no one knew any trustful information about him, just gossips. And I suppose you agree that you need to be something special to get so much interest from the people. Especially from the rich ones.

And one more important reason for me to call Gatsby “great”: he had a dream. And he was so dedicated to make it true, he raised himself from an ordinary Western guy to one of the most famous and rich persons of New York city.

And what was the motive for this? Love! His love and desire to make his woman happy and in order to be on the same level with her he decided to become rich. He was fascinated by luxury and the lifestyle of the rich and Gatsby was truly dedicated to make his dream come true.

I, frankly speaking, admire him for this kind of dedication and character.

But, unfortuntely for Gatsby, his dream, Daisy, was not the same girl he felt in love a long time ago. She was the same nice, beautiful and lovely girl just in his dreams.

In real life Daisy didn’t dare to leave her husband for Gatsby.

That was such a rare kind of love from Gatsby side that hard to find in real life. Despite that she stayed with her husband, Gatsby still loved her and out of his pure and true love he sacrifies himself in this case with the car accident at the end of the novel.

Despite of the fact he made his fortune by bootlegging and supposed to be a dishonest criminal this last scene showed us that Jay Gatsby was way more honest and had a true personality than Tom who lied to the Myrtle’s husband in order to take revenge and remove Gatsby from his life.

And when Jay found out that his dream no longer exists, he was so frustrated, but still waiting for her, trying to reanimate his dream, trying to save it at least in his thoughts – and here is a symbolic scene with Gatsby using his pool (though he has never used it before) and no matter that the weather was cool, it was a symbol of him trying to extend their “summer” with Daisy in his mind.

For me Jay Gatsby was the only real person in the novel, he was honest with himself, his fortune didn’t spoil him, he had just chosen a wrong dream and at the end wasn’t able to get over his failure.

Alex Gaysenok

Utopia about 2000

Before I started reading “Looking Backward” I was trying to guess what it is going to be about. And my first thought was about Jules Verne’s novels with all these new technology he predicted.

But Bellamy is talking about society more than about technology. I’d call this society socialism, that thing we were trying to built in USSR but failed.

I wasn’t really surprised that this novel was extremely popular at that time. I can imagine how shocking it was the picture of that kind of society in XIX century!

Bellamy used a brilliant feature to make people think about it – he made them identifying themselves with the main protagonist, Julian West. He seemed to be a typical progressive rich citizen of Boston of XIX century and Bellamy explained to him all the pros and cons of new type of society through the image of Dr. Leete and his clear explanations.

He answered major acute questions that were in minds of thinking rich people of XIX century and I think that people after reading the novel started to think about this type of society and wondered if it is a real possibility of the future.

That model of the world described in this novel I think still might be considered as an ideal one.

Alex Gaysenok

Romance and Reality of war

In this novel we see a formation of character of a main protagonist, growing up from a boy into a man, destruction of stereotypes and learning real-life lessons about courage, valor and what that really means to be at war.

At the beginning of the novel, Henry is just a average young man who has his romantic beliefs about war and desperately wants to become a war hero. He sees a war hero as “a man who is adored by girls and respected by men” and he had such experienced before he got to real battlefield. And he liked it and wanted to gain this fame.

But as unexperienced soldier before his first battle he wonders if he has enough of a courage to fight and not to flee from a battlefield. And, of course, he is excited, even more than scared of death.

After his first attack in the battle he had experienced that feeling of being a part of war machine, to fight with his fellows and be a part of war mechanism in the battle. But when that battle seemed to be finished, soldiers of his regiment praise each other and happy that it’s gone, the next attack had begun and Henry as being a young man with very little war experience got scared and flee from the battlefield to the forest. And through the novel his mind has been changed to a mature vet at the end.

This is just a part of human’s mind transformation at war. At war young people (I can say every unexperienced soldier) went through several stages of developing his mind from a naive romantic view of war to an experienced veteran who really know that most part of those romantic pictures in a young mind is just a myth and any war is dirt, blood and death. And that a one soldier’s life actually doesn’t mean almost anything for this big world, for society you’re trying to become a hero for- the nature will stay the same whether you alive or dead, people will live their normal lives. This understanding that you’re just a soldier and no cares about you and it’s your job to kill the enemy and survive – that what changes all the young soldiers mentioned in the novel. At the end they are just trying to do their job and survive without a thought of being heroic.

I think this novel could be a great review of a psychology of a man at war and I would recommend it to read for every young person before he or she decides to join the army and go to war.

Alex Gaysenok

Men’s attitude to the slavery

While reading this novel I was really impressed and amazed how bad and disguisting it is – an attitude to a man as to a thing. Because “bad “slaveowner’s attitude to things were even better than to the slaves. A slave is a toy for them, a toy that can’t feel pain, sorrow, any kind of emotions and this “toy” was made just to work and please them by any means.

But what was the attitude of so-called “good” slaveowner such as Mr. Shelby or St. Clare? By their position they were against slavery, but keep practicing it. As St. Clare says that he does so because there is nothing one man can do to change an entire system.

And anyway for them slaves were things, not persons. It is okey to get a child from his mother and to sell his best slave Tom to pay his bills for Mr. Shelby! Despite all his trust, sympathy to the uncle Tom, Mr. Shelby sold this poor black man who truly loves him that even refused to run away as Eliza and George did when they found out about that issue.

And uncle Tom’s so deep trust and love to all his owners was not because he was silly or didn’t understand what was going on.

Tom was described as a true Christian by what that  means those times. He loves everyone and forgives everyone who does harm him as Jesus did. And here he was opposed to so-called “true Christians” because in those times there was a belief that only whites have a right to faith.

Uncle Tom’s true faith changed points of view on slavery as in the novel as in a real life.

This novel provoked a lot of discussions in the society and there even was such a thing as an “anti-Tom” novels that claimed that everything described was a lie and falsification (of course, from the point of view of the slaveowners!).

So I think President Lincoln said a very true words when he met the author of the novel: “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

Alex Gaysenok

A conflict between Nature and Settlers

There are many conflicts in this novel. But I want to talk about the conflict between settlers and Natty Bumpoo in case of attitude to the nature.

This careless attitude to the nature is clearly depicted at least by one protagonist, his name is Richard Jones and his image includes all those bad traits of the settlers such as ignorance, carelessness, neglection of resources, their main concern was just  their own survival and prosperity with little regard to people and to land.

Also town people are wasting natural resources, they are killing to many pigeons, just for fun. It’s not acceptable by the Natty Bumppo.

For me Natty Bumppo in this novel represents the power of Nature. He acts wisely, without a thought of being rewarded or praised. He just helped settlers and then went back to the forest. He is trying to fit into society, but he is a stranger for them. He is too honest, he cares about nature more than about anything.  And at the end he is leaving this town because he has nothing over there anymore, his friend died and this young couple got married. I think he left the town because he hopes to find peace on the edge of frontier. He comes along with nature better than with people.

Alex Gaysenok