True At First Light


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true at first light Word Count: 1849

Rebecca Wells paints a picture of the various roles that women often must encounter in their lives: mother, daughter, friend. As said by Charlotte Observer "She [Wells] speaks eloquently to what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a wife-and somehow, at last, a person." Wells uses a captivating style to create a simple plot, memorable symbolism and a reoccurring theme of friendship. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood teaches about the importance of giving and receiving love and finding joy in everyday life.

The simplistic plot of the novel and the overall theme of love allows the author to span the lives of the main characters. The reader sees the span of the life of two of the main characters, Sidda and her mother Vivi, as they struggle to love each other based on their own childhood experiences. The reader also sees our two  main characters in parallel encountering love and affairs of the heart; yet the most powerful love throughout  the book is the love of four friends who stick together through the good and the bad. Vivi loves the Ya-Yas; as adolescents they are looking for love and someone to look up to. Vivi didnt know how to love Sidda because Vivis mother didnt know how to love her; therefore, Sidda doesnt know how to love Connor because she has never experienced love and is now afraid to be in love. The simplicity of the novel is that everyone is always looking to be loved. The simplicity is that in real life people are always searching to be loved, or finding love. Near the beginning of the novel when the ya-yas are in their adolescence as young girls, going through the normal obstacles of childhood- fighting with their parents, getting into mischief, smoking and breaking curfew- they realize that by sticking together they can get through anything. They formalize this bond with a ceremony early on, "I am a member of the royal and true tribe of the Ya-YasI do solemnly swear to be loyal sister Ya-Yas, and to love and look out for them, and never forsake them through thick and thin, until I take my last human breath" (Wells 71). Wells shows the reader that the inability to show love can be passed down through generations: Sidda expresses to Connor why she is afraid to marry him,  "She [Vivi] didnt know how to love me, so I dont know how to love you" (Wells 284). Sidda is saying that her mother couldnt love her, therefore she is afraid that Connor wouldnt love her even though it is a different relationship from Sidda and Vivis relationship. In the end, the love between Connor and Sidda wins over the other tragedies in Siddas life. An important development in the plot that proves that love can conquer all appears when Vivis mother sends her away against her own will to a decollate boarding school away from her friends and family. While away, Vivi stops eating and becomes very depressed, but her friends continue to write to her and look for a way to bring her home. In the end their love wins out and they are able to convince one of their parents(Genevieve) to rescue her and bring her home. QUOTE Love, even in the smallest form, can sustain through tragedy and triumph-the bonds of the ya-yas : Vivi, Necie, Caro and Teensy.  The story line allows the character to triumph over tragedy and rejoice in love,-simple stories-no matter how impossible they feel it is at the time.


Through the course of the novel, Wells uses the strong symbol of the alligator to represent hurtful, dangerous and painful things in the world. Vivi talks to Sidda as a young child warning her about the importance of doing as she was told in order to avoid the dangerous things in life. "Even I cant save you from all the alligators in the worldso dont push your luck"(Wells 32). As Sidda gets older and becomes stronger, her mother tries to tell her that now, as you are getting older, you will take risks. You will get into trouble as part of the growing experience, and I will be there ... more

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The Intrusive Author in Milan Kunderas "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"

The Intrusive Author in Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being


In an interview he gave after the reprinting of one of his later novels, Milan Kundera said, most eloquently, that "the stupidity of the world comes from having an answer for everything the wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything" (qtd. in O'Brien 4). This statement is one most indicative of the unique authorial style found in all of Kundera's works, particularly his most famous novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Unlike previous traditional, non-autobiographical novels, Kundera chooses to indirectly reveal himself as the narrator, who, while omniscient in the control of his characters, poses questions of deep philosophical interest that even he cannot answer. This method has become problematic, however, as many critics have wrongly proclaimed this technique to represent the author's hatred for the totalitarian regime under which his novel was written; in doing so, not only have they wrongly labeled Kundera "a passionate defender of Western culture" (Angyal 4), but they also have ignored the larger, philosophical issues that Kundera attempts to accomplish in the novel. While many of the themes in the novel undoubtedly reveal the totalitarian regime for what it is, it will be argued that the role of the intrusive author serves to create a sense of play and freedom of movement that digs deeper than history or politics to get to the heart of more important philosophical issues.
An analysis of Kundera's structural functions and choices within The Unbearable Lightness of Being will provide a closer view of the openness, or "play" he strives for. One of the primary functions of Kundera as an intrusive narrator in the novel is to establish his characters as creations of his own mind. Whereas in traditional novels, the fictitious characters are assumed to be real in some imaginary world, Kundera almost immediately admits that "it would be senseless for the author to try convince the reader that his characters once actually livedthey were born of a stimulating phrase or two from a basic situation" (39). His characters were created in light of the author's contemplations. However, this does not automatically make the characters flat "types", as some have argued. To the contrary, the author's admittance of the characters as fictional creations whom he has pondered very deeply lend them more depth and credibility than a character designed simply to serve a purpose. In other words, in this particular novel, the story does not create the characters, but the characters create the story. This enables Kundera a greater sense of structural openness and play, or freedom of movement, in the novel.
According to Hana Pichova, "a narrator's directing function includes the use ofthe repeating prolepsis or advance notice, a narratological technique that fragments the narrative through temporal disorder" (217). Kundera utilizes such a technique first and foremost in the relationship between Tomas and Tereza, for example: "It may well be those few fortuities which set her love in motion and provided her with a source of energy she had not yet exhausted at the end of her days." Before coming to the end of the book, Kundera has already described Tereza's undying love for Tomas as he sees it. According to Pichova, this technique serves to establish the author as omniscient director of the novel, enabling him to create a textual world over which he has power and control. However, as Pichova notes, "Kundera's narrator is obviously not interested in the power of regulation on the thematic level. He subverts his potential power by revealing himself to the reader." When considered in the context of totalitarian regimes, the act of revelation is one most destructive to its very goals. Through his frequent use of "I" and advanced notice of things to come, Pichova argues, Kundera has "disowned the faceless gaze'" of totalitarianism.
However, as Kundera himself has said, a literary work that can not survive outside of a historical context has completely missed its target. According to John O'Brien in his article "Milan Kundera: Meaning, Play and the Role of the Author," the intrusive author figure in The Unbearable Lightness of Being is established less in ... more

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