Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Robin Hood Bad Boy of California?!

Almost immediately after I starting reading Yellow Bird's "Joaquin Murrieta" I started thinking about Robin Hood. True, Robin Hood didn't kill all the people that Joaquin Murrieta is killing, but the two are extremely similar. Not only are they both in the minority of their times, they are representing an entire group of people behind them. For Robin Hood, this is the poor and for Joaquin Murrieta this is the bandits behind him.
I think that "Joaquin Murrieta" is a very refreshing book to read. I feel like all the books I read feature the main character as the good guy who defeats the bad guy and ends up with the happy ending. Life, however, is not always like that. Joaquin Murrieta, though containing Robin Hood-like qualities, is not a good guy. He's a bad boy character who is on a killing spree in order to find another sense of justice. I can't think of another book that I've read that represents the bad guy in good light. It's just so different to almost be on the side of the antagonist. I guess he's just an interesting oxymoran. . a villainous protagonist.
Joaquin Murrieta has a sad story. He lived in harmony with Americans until one day he was kicked off his land, his wife was raped, his brother was killed, and he was tortured. He was driven to kill any American he comes in contact with because he lost faith in the justice system that so many of us believe in. In a way, I understand why Joaquin Murrieta is killing so many. . . he has been to the darkest place that a person could go to and saw that "justice" was not what justice should be. He has to go through killing in order to find what justice really is. Though the killing part is kind of harsh and extreme (and I don't agree with it at all), he has been on a journey and been through things that hopefully no one else in class has been through. We don't know how he would act in that situation either.
I just got to thinking about "The Blithedale Romance" and Zenobia. I find it interesting how Zenobia kills herself because a man decided he did not love her while Joaquin Murrieta's wife was raped and brother was killed and yet killing himself never crossed his mind, at least not in the book. You would almost think that the opposite would happen: that Joaquin Murrieta would kill himself and Zenobia would go a little psycho and maybe kill Hollingsworth or even Priscilla out of revenge. Different authors and different genres I guess.
I'm interested to see what happens next in "Joaquin Murrieta". . . and I'm interested to see what happens to our villainous protagonist as the story goes on.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Zenobia and Sarah

The character of Zenobia reminds me a bit of myself: we're both strong and independent women who want other people's approval and want to fit in but always seem to stick out a little. We separate who we really are from the person who we pretend to be (Zenobia does this more than I do, don't worry). We also both like to be in control of our lives and don't really like it when other people interfere: friends, men, or others. We both are single and sometimes have problems with that but ultimately, we both hope that we will turn out okay without that certain someone by our side.
I believe that Zenobia really is a prototype for a 21st century woman, despite what others may say. The characteristics listed above are not at what men seemed to want in a woman back in the 19th century. Although many women today are extremely spirited and successful, we are not always strong all the time; many of us do have a weak spot and a dark place. It is the way in which we handle our weaknesses or dark patches that define us and separate our individual selves from others.
The ending of "The Blithedale Romance" really did baffle me and was extremely frustrating. Zenobia's suicide was really disturbing for me...obviously I am not going to off myself like she did just because a Hollingsworth decided he doesn't love me, but our extreme similarities and Zenobia's tragic end really did bother me. The way Coverdale also handled it bugged me as well: instead of writing her that ballad, her dying wish, he goes on about his own life and how he could have prevented her death (though he does not directly say that) by expressing his interest in Priscilla. Zenobia never seems to get redemption from her interesting but hard and tragic life, not even in death and I think that is what frightens me so much; I want to eventually get redemption and be 100% complete in life. But, deep down, I know that I will, I just do, and that is what separates me from her.
After I got over the initial shock that the character who was most like myself killed herself, the ending also was a little therapeutic because I know that I am stronger than Zenobia. I will never do what she did. I know that life is hard and death is easy and no matter how hard my life can get, I will never give up on it…it’s my journey and it is mine. Zenobia seems to be smart and wise but because she gave up on something that is so beautiful and so awesome, she is naive and young. She is tragic and she didn’t realize that you don’t need that “thing” (Hollingsworth, money, etc) to be happy or get what you want out of life. Though on some days I don’t even believe that statement, I do believe it on other days which separates me from her. So I guess that I really am not like Zenobia at all. I mean, on the surface we seem to have similar characteristics but our core values differ and that is why we are different. I believe in my abilities and myself and she did not. That is why I will succeed and get what I want out of my life. Because Zenobia did not believe that she could live without love and because she did not believe in herself, she failed while I choose to live.