Thursday, September 19, 2019

Oedipus the King and Mason’s Shiloh Essay -- comparison compare contra

Oedipus the King and Mason’s Shiloh  Ã‚     Ã‚   "Shiloh," written by Bobbie Ann Mason, and Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, contain extremely different story lines but jointly have one unique quality, the role of the woman. In each of these stories, the females struggle to overcome one major obstacle plaguing them by using their inner-strength. Norma Jean from "Shiloh" fights to leave a seemingly endless marriage, and Jocasta from Oedipus the King struggles against an ill-fate. Norma Jean and Jocasta believe that they are strong enough to conquer these challenges, but, in the end, they both realize they are not strong enough and commit suicide because of this defeat. Norma Jean and Jocasta strive to beat the one main obstacle placed before each of them; Norma Jean fights against marriage, and Jocasta struggles against fate. In "Shiloh," Norma Jean is married to a man with which she cannot live anymore. By strengthening herself mentally and physically, Norma Jean believes that she can leave her husband, Leroy. In preparation for the day when Norma Jean will leave Leroy, she takes a body-building and English composition class. After working out one day Norma Jean explains to Leroy, "I'd give anything if I could just get these muscles to where they're real hard" (491). Strengthening the mind and body is the only way Norma Jean knows to build her self-esteem and prepare herself for this day that will soon be upon her. On the other hand, Jocasta has always been a mentally strong woman. Jocasta's battle is against something much more severe than a bad marriage; she battles fate. When Jocasta first had her baby, Oedipus, an oracle declared to Jocasta th at "doom would strike him[Laius] down at the hands of a son, / our son, to... ...r too overwhelming for her. Once again the woman was not strong enough to overcome life's many challenges. How does one know if he or she has enough strength? In both of these stories, the women try to battle life using inner-strength. Even though Norma Jean and Jocasta are under extremely different circumstances, both make the same ultimate decision, death. Whether or not death was the right choice, this choice was made by both characters. Their strength was not enough to surpass the problems of life. Works Cited Mason, Bobbie Ann. "Shiloh." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Sixth edition. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Harper Collins, 1995. Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Discovering Literature: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Eds. Hans P. Guth and Gabriele L. Rico. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993.      

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