Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Spectrum from Bliss to Finish

Jenna Dertouzos
Understanding Literature
Dr. Ellis
September 26, 2016
A Spectrum from Bliss to Finish

After attending a lesson of Bible Study in the Donnelly Science Center on Friday afternoon, I became more interested and in touch with the point of Jesuit education at Loyola University, and how it relates to everyday life of all Catholic believers. When I first sat down, with pastors and fellow students who worshipped the Lord, I felt a little out of place--considering my practice of faith was never incredibly strong--, but after discussing the book of Ruth which was verses 1:19 through to 2:18 in the Old Testament in the Holy Bible, I came to a great realization: the books of the Holy Bible are stories that contain messages of values that people in all societies come into contact with at one point or another, in their lives. The book of Ruth has a main theme of conflict, as the story is about a woman named Naomi. The Lord is sure to address that “all family of the Earth are blessed”, but along with being blessed, bitter conflicts can arise between family members. In Naomi’s lifetime, losing her husband and children has turned her from living a very pleasant lifestyle, to being lost and bitter. She emphasizes how lost she is when she blames her feelings on the Lord and says, “But empty the Lord has brought me back”(1 Thess 5:18). As we read and the pastor continued, he really wanted to bring positivity back into the conversation by asking what Naomi could still be thankful for. For a few moments, the room was silent, until students started to list things that could have been overlooked, like the fact that she has food where she is going, or the fact that people know who she is still, and even having a relationship with her daughter-in-law, even if it is not a blood relative. It was important for the pastor to keep bringing the conversation back to the fact that there were positives in Naomi’s life, even if she could not see them at first, and claimed herself “bitter”. These positives were the blessing from the Lord, to keep her going, without giving up not matter what she has to overcome.
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” written by William Wordsworth can be seen as the complete opposite of how Naomi was feeling, in the book of Ruth, written in the Old Testament. The poem describes the euphoric feeling of being alone and really being in touch with one’s feelings, while being alone. Poet, Wordsworth simply says, “...the bliss of solitude, and then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with daffodils,”(22-24) as a way of exemplifying the complete contentment that he feels when he’s in the company of himself. I think that when reading this poem I thought a lot about the Bible Study session because Naomi could have had some of this joyful feeling in her mind, to look up to, instead of always being so negative in her life. God would’ve probably loved for her to have a “bliss of solitude”, instead of feeling lonely. I had mentioned during the session how loneliness can be both good and bad, and Naomi was clouded by pessimistic thoughts that could not get her out of an unenthusiastic headspace. The other readings, “The Birthmark” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” both had themes of conflict. The main character in “The Yellow Wallpaper” has a conflict with her husband that she cannot overcome, because she is destructively depressed, and in “The Birthmark”, main character Georgiana has such a conflict with her husband over her looks, that by the end of the short story, he ends up killing her. These conflicts ultimately ruin the lives of the characters in the story, leaving absolutely no space for genuine happiness. These two short stories are on the complete opposite spectrum of the poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, with the book of Ruth, in the Holy Bible, taking traces from both both positivity and negativity.

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