Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Jane Eyre Film Reaction

            I find myself at a conflicting crossroads. I have now read Jane Eyre, the novel, and seen its film counterpart. Both presented their own unique strengths and weaknesses in presentation of a particular story. Now I am torn as to whether I appreciated the novel or its film interpretation more. Certainly, I wholly recognize the hard work and craftsmanship which went into Bronte’s novel, as much as I recognize the time and effort which fueled the creation of the movie. However, I cannot determine which one I enjoyed more, whichever I found more pleasure in experiencing. The dilemma of novel or film is a timeless one, though I did not believe I would feel it for the literary work of Jane Eyre.
            As I stated in my prior reaction paper for Jane Eyre, I found the book to be incredibly lengthy and rather dry at parts. The superfluous thought and documenting of insignificant events taxed me heavily during nights of reading. Yet when I watched the movie, in which I was expecting to find a pleasant streamlining of much of the Jane Eyre plot, I felt rather odd. Suddenly, I began thinking that some scenes were executed too curtly: perhaps certain dialogue was left out, or an arc was not fully developed, or an emotional scene was cut out or altered drastically. “Preposterous!” I thought to myself. “You loathed the lengthy passages of the novel!” I sneered internally.
            A widely acknowledge truth is that film adaptations will never be wholly true to their literary counterparts. I did not expect this in the slightest with Jane Eyre, nor did I desire it. As stated, I looked forward to witnessing a more streamlined plot and development. I did not anticipate that I would find anything to be lacking in the film, and yet that is entirely how I felt. Of course, I will need to provide examples.
            One piece of plot which was partially overlooked was Rochester’s playing host for his friends at Thornfield. While I was mostly pleased with the portrayal of the upper class and their treatment of Jane, I felt as though the apparent relationship between Rochester and Miss Ingram could have been more sincere. In the book, several events virtually seal the marriage of the pair, and thus it is all the more shocking when Rochester proposed to Jane. Although, it is possible that as I knew the outcome of events nothing could have surprised me.
            The interactions between Jane and her discovered cousins at Moor House could have used a bit more development. Within the novel, a fairly strong sense of the relationship amidst the group as it develops is provided. With St. John, his piety and steadfast will are made quite evident and add much to the overall theme of Jane Eyre. Jane’s final real confrontation with St. John feels all the more heated and conflicting because of the dynamic which was created between the two in their studies, work, and living together. The film, due to its more concise nature, could show as much expansion or character interaction as was possible in the book.
            Really, the only true, notable grievance I have with the film is its portrayal of the final scene between Jane and Rochester. In the novel, their ending union is arguably the most romantic passage in the book, one filled with emotion. Their entire meeting within the movie seemed rushed and a bit clumsy. I still found it to be a fairly beautiful scene, but it did not meet the par which I had established mentally. If I had to place my finger on a single factor, that factor would be build-up. Jane’s sudden happening upon Rochester contrasted with the novel’s portrayal and was slightly jarring to my mental depiction.
            I quite enjoyed the film. The cinematography was well-done, and many of the shots and locations used brought a great moodiness to my heart. A wonderful aesthetic and atmosphere was captured through the adaptation, and it matched my perception through the novel rather well. Ultimately, I am unsure as to whether I enjoyed the novel or film more. Both have their own specific boons and drawback. Suffice it to say they are both reasonably well-made pieces of artistic expression. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Jane Eyre Reaction

            Jane Eyre is not a piece of literature I would read on my own. After pouring through its pages, digesting its material and contemplating its overall themes, I can say with certainty that I did not dislike the book. Yet Charlotte Bronte’s eminent work is certainly not a text I would have ever engaged in without prompting for class. The emotions I feel towards this book are difficult to coherently express. Essentially, Jane Eyre, like Wuthering Heights or any of Jane Austen’s works, are a stark departure from any writing which I happily consume. However, I do not regret the time I spent with the book, and I have left it with gripes as well as rewards.
            Bronte’s work is a long, continuing, seemingly infinite hunk of literature. There were many nights where I sat on my bed and attempted to speed-read (at which I struggled) in an attempt to meet the reading deadline. I narrowly finished the novel, but not before its walls upon walls of text effectively marred my attitude towards it. If I had to proclaim my one single issue with Jane Eyre, it is length, with numerous instances of a plodding pace and unnecessary passages. In many ways, Bronte establishes a fairly strong atmosphere and competent verisimilitude with the amount of description and accounts which she provides. At the end of the day, though, how much do I really care about Adele’s preparedness for a party or the current state of affairs in Whitown? The answer: very little. But that is, of course, my opinion.
            I suppose one of the main factors which draw the length of the novel to such an extent is Jane’s first-person perspective and her incessant interior monologues. Do not misunderstand me: I am fine with Jane reflecting and thinking about her experiences during the plot. However, Bronte writes Jane’s thoughts as in-depth inquiries into the most miniscule and unimportant of subjects. An example follows: “whereas, I distinctly behold his figure, and I inevitably recall the moment when I last saw it; just after I had rendered him, what he deemed, an essential service, and he, holding my hand, looking down on my face, surveyed me with eyes that revealed a heart full and eager to overflow; in whose emotions I had a part.” (Bronte 128) That is some quite lovely prose, sure. Yet I, as a teenage male who rarely entertains such thoughts or considerations as those expressed by Jane throughout the book, have quite a conflict with it. Certainly, I may be sexist or cynical or both in this opinion. But when asking myself why progression within Jane Eyre was so sluggish, I continually came back to a conclusion of intensely feminine monologues and subject matter.
            In some passages, Bronte writes a fair amount of inner thought before finishing with a mundane and commonplace action. Jane “lingered at the gates; I lingered on the lawn; I paced backwards and forwards on the pavement; the shutters of the glass door were closed; I could not see into the interior; and both my eyes and spirit seemed drawn from the gloomy house…” (Bronte 86). Such thought continues for a time. Finally, at the end of the dreary paragraph, Jane “opened a side-door, and went in.”
            I suppose I keep getting tripped up at how Bronte’s writing seems to compound its effects over time. Though I am having difficulty expressing just how unnecessary portions of Jane Eyre’s passages are, I affirm my statement with certainty. Bits and pieces of text over the prolonged course of Bronte’s work, occasional observations of Mr. Rochester’s “raven black” hair, and Jane’s espousing of personal philosophy and dogma all combine into an unwieldy reading experience.
            I was definitely engaged at times by the text. I came away from Jane Eyre pleased. I had received a hearty dosage of Bronte writing, with moody environments and emotional characters. I had experienced an interesting social circumstance, though one which I have difficulty relating to (the life of a nineteenth-century governess). The romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester, of all things within the text, kept me reading and mentally occupied. The dynamic of their relationship, their interactions and conversations, provided the greatest amount of enjoyment for me. With the ending pages of the book, I left Jane Eyre on a positive note, happy to have seen such an extensive, if not arduous, piece of literature to the end.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Paradise Lost Reaction

You are killing me with the 400 word count, Ms. Howard. I feel so clipped. I ended at 449 words. I hope this transgression may be forgiven.            

Years of repeated religious doctrine have forged a very strict image of Satan, one which is difficult to dislodge from the mind. Throughout my childhood, the fallen angel was labeled as a beast, the very guide by which not to act. Satan has been forever molded as the source of humanity’s downfall, the serpent that tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit. Wickedness and evil are his playthings. Yet Milton, according to modern literary circles, accidentally created Lucifer as a tragic and sympathetic character within Paradise Lost, a being whose values and personality are aligned to the societal standards of the twenty-first century.
            In many ways, Milton’s Satan may be interpreted as a modern-day anti-hero. His plight is one of individualism, free-will, and a desire to seize something greater than one’s self. Satan raises an army of loyal angels, who oppose the reign of God, in rebellion against the established Kingdom of Heaven. The very situation is one that sends off an alarm for individuals with Christian upbringings. To believe that Satan, of all beings, could garner any amount of sympathy or lamentation is ridiculous and sacrilegious. Within a moral society, God is good and Lucifer is bad. However, for true literary students and enthusiasts, suspending the rigid binary opposition of Heaven and Hell and Good and Evil presents a rather intriguing and challenging study of Milton and his Satan.
            Several of Satan’s speeches within Paradise Lost carry a hefty weight. Milton wrote him in such a way that his actions and their consequences ensnare and captivate the reader rather than immediately repulse. Satan laments his exile from Heaven’s “happy fields/Where joy forever dwells”, yet he does not surrender himself to his situation. Instead, the fallen angel proclaims aloud that “The mind is its own place, and in itself/Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” Satan tries overthrowing a ruler who he truly believed to be falsely placed (and when have humans never strained under the yoke of an administrator, boss, or leader?), yet he himself is displaced and punished for his attempts. Downcast yet not downtrodden, Satan affirms his legions that in Hell “We shall be free”.
            Such a character as Milton’s Satan has become fairly familiar in modern literature. The anti-hero, or the tragic figure who is misunderstood for doing what he believes in, are regularly dealt with. In addition, Milton’s Satan coincides strongly with a modern emphasis on individuals, freedom, and defense of ideals. Certainly, at the end of the day Satan is still the Satan of evil acts and corruption. But in Milton’s writing one can find halting verses and haunting passages that question an individual’s sense of right, wrong, and just action.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Tempest: Caliban Intro

I must eat my dinner.
This island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou takest from me. When thou camest
Thou strokedst me and madest much of me,
Wouldst give me
Water with berries in’t, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I loved
And show’d thee all the qualities o’ the isle,
The Fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and
Cursed be I that did so! All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
For I am all the subjects that you have,
Which first was mine own king: and here you
sty me
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me
The rest o’ the island

Paraphrase: Let me eat. My mother Sycorax owned this island, and I thus inherited it. You have stolen it from me. When you arrived, you behaved like a friend, treated me well, and taught me to understand the sky. I loved you, and showed you every inch of this island, all its secrets. It was a mistake! I am your only servant now, you who was my first king. If only the spells of Sycorax, of toads, beetles, and bats could plague you! Now you keep me stored in confinement, and keep my rightful island from me.

Analysis: This passage gives an introduction to the character of Caliban within The Tempest. It is a first glance at Caliban’s history, personality, and motives. As is described within the passage, Prospero assumed control of the island when he landed upon it. However, Caliban had already been present on the island as an offspring of the witch Sycorax. Caliban, under his conditions, believed himself to be rightful heir and ruler of the land. Thus when Prospero began to exercise his own authority, Caliban grew enraged and offended at having lost his property and gained a sort of subjugation.
            Caliban believes that he was deceived by Prospero, who had lured Caliban into a false sense of security with kindness, friendship, and a fatherly education. When Prospero treated the island as his own, Caliban viewed all their previous interactions together as false and foolish, and became indignant to Prospero’s presence. At this point it can be inferred that Prospero had to treat Caliban more sternly, almost to a point of servitude, so as to maintain peace and stability and avoid violent conflict. Part of this may be derived from Prospero’s desire to protect his daughter, Miranda.
            The treatment as a servant is another blow to Caliban’s pride. Beyond being stolen from, he is now a subject. It is difficult to discern who is truly right and just in the matter. A sort of pity may be felt towards Caliban, whose plight of loss and subjugation is not without merit. Of course, the situation may be skewed in his eyes. Prospero might have treated the island as under no single rule, but with a shared inhabitance, until Caliban blew the situation into conflict that could have been avoided. The introduction definitely serves to display the strenuous relationship between the two characters, and could foreshadow future events or clashing between them.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Structuralism Reaction

            In an attempt to flex my critical muscles (or rather, to build them), I am going to attempt a literary approach. More specifically, I am going to attempt a structuralism approach to Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. Structuralism is a very analytical and, arguably, an emotionless critical approach, one which was built on scientific assumptions of objectivity and ultimate truth. The method’s hallmark goal is to identify and examine how a text conveys meaning, not why or with what. Structuralists take apart a literary system, breaking down its signs and codes, in order to see how relationships exist within a work’s meaning. One of the best ways to accomplish a structuralism approach to Brave New World is through binary oppositions.
            Roland Barthes, one of the prominent structuralists of the 20th century, developed the concept of binary opposition through linguistics. While the specifics are not necessary to divulge, Barthes developed the concept after studying differences in phonemes, where similarly uttered sounds differed in being voiced or unvoiced (Bressler 101). What Barthes drew from this, however, and what is most relevant to literary criticism, is that meaning develops through difference. Meaning in text can be derived by interpreting the codes, the binary oppositions that compose the system. This process can be accomplished, then, through using the structure of language itself (Bressler 102).
            When applying this to Brave New World, one can see definite meaning through binary opposition. These binary oppositions may be envisioned as fractions, with a numerator being a more valued entity than the lesser denominator (Bressler 105). The placement of certain discovered oppositions as either numerators or denominators is ultimately determined by the values of the reader. With Huxley’s novel, there are definitely several binary oppositions which may be gleaned from the text: unfaithfulness/loyalty, distraction/contemplation, science/nature, community/self, and government/religion. The valued and unvalued halves of these binary oppositions are up to the reader. Yet their existence as codes within the text, and the ways in which they transfer meaning, are of great importance to structuralist thought.
            Unfaithfulness and loyalty may be seen in the future society’s emphasis of freedom in sex, and the few individuals who find this emphasis appalling. Lenina very much characterizes the drive for multiple sexual partners, while either Bernard Marx or the Savage may represent the opposition. Distraction and contemplation are presented through soma. Soma, for the majority of Huxley’s Brave New World, is a break and vacation from life’s strains. Yet, when juxtaposed with the thoughtfulness of Bernard, the Savage, or Helmholtz, soma takes on a decidedly hedonistic and careless means of handling existence. The usage of soma becomes a matter of personal, consensual surrender of the faculties and character. This binary opposition may be strengthened when examining the conflict Helmholtz and the Savage incite at the hospital during a soma rationing.
            Science and nature is a binary opposition which may be seen primarily through the Brave New World’s reliance on lab-grown humans, and the social taboo of motherhood. Everyone throughout Huxley’s society is a perfectly engineered specimen, genetically outfitted for their role in life. Motherhood and pregnancy are subjects of great embarrassment to the populace, a fact which becomes highlighted when the Savage enters the Brave New World with his mother, Linda. Community and self are a binary opposition presented through the very social and moral codes of Huxley’s future society. The common individual espouses how “everyone belongs to everyone else”, while individuals like Bernard Marx and the Savage go against the grain. This binary opposition is very much connected to those of unfaithfulness/loyalty and distraction/contemplation. There is a personal desire for solace, reflection, and privacy which is considered harmful and problematic in the Brave New World, a fact conveyed through the numerous mottos and hypnopaedic verses of the society.
            Government and religion may be seen as another binary opposition. The usage of Ford as a sacred icon within the Brave New World very much discards the churches and faiths of old. Ford is used as a societal icon, a role model for the public, the father of the Brave New World’s progressive society. Religion, in its most pure and conventional sense, is dead within Huxley’s society. It has been replaced by meaningless bodily pleasure and twisted historical achievements, all for the purpose of furthering the name, power, and prestige of the world government.
            Such binary oppositions exist within Huxley’s work. After discovering and tracking these oppositions throughout the text, definite meaning has been be gathered (at least, meaning as far as structuralism is willing to define it). The portrayal of both sides within the oppositions appear, with relative lucidity, to demonstrate the morally, ethically, and socially corruptive nature of the Brave New World. Conversely, the individuals who stand in defiance of Huxley’s society demonstrate more wholesome, admirable, and inspiring values. Thus, through structuralist approach, meaning has been conveyed, with codes and signs of resistance to spoiled and corrosive societies, as well as defense of the individual and thought.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Aldous Huxley Reaction

            Aldous Huxley was a man of great insight. His studies into human nature, society, and the threats of government control create a foreboding vision of a possible future. Huxley’s novel Brave New World allows readers to be transported into the unsettling future which he had hypothesized. With the publication of Brave New World Revisited, Huxley was able to break down the society he had created, compare it with modern society, and explain the rationality behind his fears, warnings, and predictions. To absorb each and every page of Huxley’s writings as truth would warrant a very disturbed reaction. However, there are reasonable objections which may be made to Huxley’s postulations, primarily with reasons he himself espouses in Chapter XI of Brave New World Revisited.
            The eleventh chapter of Huxley’s non-fiction work deals with “Education for Freedom”. Huxley believes, among other paths, that avoidance to his dangerous future can be accomplished through education. Recognition of declining social conditions, knowledge of rational and irrational propaganda, and a guarded mind against government can help ensure liberty. “If this kind of tyranny is to be avoided,” states Huxley, “we must begin without delay to educate ourselves and our children for freedom and self-government”. This is a statement which bears much truth in any circumstance, as knowledge is key when facing an enemy.
            Huxley sees education in several specific subjects as key. He believes “an education first of all in facts and in values” is of the utmost importance, as such would aid in combatting appeals to passion and lies spread for a dictator’s gain. However, “an education in the proper uses of language” is of equal importance, as it allows individuals to recognize meaning and symbols, tools which can be skewed by dictators and propagandists to further a cause. Yet Huxley raises attention to the threat of undistinguished truth and falsity, and meaning and meaningless. Or rather, he raises attention to the lack of attempts to dispose of this threat.
            Through using the example of the Institute for Propaganda Analysis (founded in 1937 and closed in 1941) Huxley makes a very poignant point about society. The Institute sought to analyze non-rational propaganda, yet was unfortunately juxtaposed with the Second World War As such, propaganda fast became critical in Nazi Germany, but in the Allied home fronts as well. Beyond the mental war effort, numerous groups, including military officers, clergymen, and businesses found issues with the Institute as disrupting and undermining their status quo. Society, even before the war, was centered, at least partially, on “the acceptance, without too many embarrassing questions, of the propaganda put forth by those in authority and the propaganda hallowed by the local traditions.” Huxley thus determines that a “happy mean” must be found for society to function while also enabling avoidance of mind-manipulation.
            The individual may draw many conclusions from Huxley’s statements in this chapter. I found it helped to validate my own thoughts which had sat ruminating within me throughout the readings of his works. The concept of a societal mean seemed to always come nagging back to me. Sure, I could get swept up in the Huxley’s terrible predictions. But I found that, for all his predictions, society still sits relatively close to where it was in his time. Dictators and totalitarian regimes may rise, but they can just as easily fall. Advertisements may run constantly which employ non-rational propaganda, but the general populace is knowledgeable enough to recognize them for what they are. Science could be working day and night to establish a system for domination of the individual, but the science I know is one with a general goal of well-being and understanding, technology a neutral tool.
            I suppose the main issue I have with many of Huxley’s arguments is the lack of a human element, and an oversight of history’s cyclical patterns. Now, I do not deem Huxley’s studies untruthful. His population estimates were fairly exact, and his analysis of threats posed by resources and society’s organization carry weight. But a totalitarian dictatorship, a world power of vast control, seems to be as likely as a meteor impact. Now, the latter is a not impossible event. Thus, I am recognizing the potential rise of a dictatorship. However, conditions which would give rise to such a power, and the circumstances necessary to carry the power in existence, can be frail when including the human element.
            “Every individual is biologically unique and unlike all other individuals.” Huxley makes this statement towards the beginning of the chapter. In the section, he is discussing how unfortunate and disappointing are the attempts made to reduce human difference and independence. I see, however, something much more. Later, Huxley writes that “In real life, life as it is lived from day to day, the individual can never be explained away.” Well written, Huxley. Indeed, the individual, I believe, can never be explained away. To generalize society as a fairly uniform body of culture, education, and values is to strip from it its great complexity. Individuals are the most dangerous threat to totalitarian regimes, and I refuse to accept the argument of something like the “Bokanovsky Process”. Nazi Germany and Hitler’s Reich committed grand atrocities, it is true, but they were not without their dissenters, rebels, and heroes. The individual is a constant of human existence. “Thus, if Bismarck and Lenin had died in infancy,” Huxley begins a paragraph, “our world would be very different from what, thanks in part to Bismarck and Lenin, it now is”. The individual possesses great potential to bring about change in their own society. In addition, an important reminder is that technology is useless without a wielder, and while dictators may try to use technologies to their full potential, there may always be the one hesitant bureaucrat who experiences a conflict of duty.
            All of the above writing may or may not be a complete mess of editorial reaction. The subjects described and explored by Huxley are of a very conflicting and deep nature. To compose a more focused and organized essay would require more time, more research, and more inner-thought. Yet, I believe my main points have been made clear, whether or not I myself fully believe what I have written. Of all things, however, I am at least certain in one regard: acceptance of a dark fate is a danger that cannot be afforded. Allowing ourselves to fully believe in the coming of a totalitarian dictatorship encourages passiveness. Any possible preventive measures are neglected, and hope is extinguished, when the postulations of people like Huxley are taken as near-prophecy. Still, it is through men and women like Huxley that a serious reality-check is provided, and we may, as a society, recognize potential threats and hazards in our progress.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

O'Connor Style Imitation

“Remember when we met?” questioned Jack. There was silence. “I remember when we met,” he continued, “and how we both fell in love.”
            At this statement, Jack sat up, his frail frame swaying like a tall palm tree in the breeze. His pale skin and gaunt cheeks created a ghostly appearance that was only accented by his coal-black hair. The wind outside the shack moaned, eager to slip inside and dishevel everything like a rude houseguest. Jack brought his frame closer to the fireplace and rubbed his arms. A pinkish hue began to color his cheeks as he tossed various newspaper articles onto the burning mass. Again, he swayed like a tall palm tree, and fell back on a stained, mildew-laden mat.
            “We met at the dance. Gee, that was a month, to the day! How time flies!” Jack let out a soft chuckle that turned into more of a rasping cough. His lung contemplated leaving the body, but decided on staying for a little while longer. Silence filled the shack.
            “I was leaning against the wall, staring at the lights. They were not that bright, but for some reason they annoyed me. They kept on spilling out white blankness. What’s up with that? And- and then a song came on. It was a real good song, too, the kind you listen to when you’re alone and think ‘Gee, this is a nice song.’ But, it was a slow song, and I didn’t have anyone to dance with, so I just kept on leaning and stared at the lights, crying a little. When I looked down, I saw you.”
            Jack smiled, showing his toothy wolf-smile, the kind of teeth you see on a nature show, covered with blood and satisfaction. Jack’s smile was not bloody, nor was it satisfied. Snowy drifts continued to pound the weak pane on the shack, and Jack sniffed a little.
            “I sort of just stared,” Jack reflected, “and gaped a bit. You were beautiful. That way your hair was tied up in a knot, with your bangs still covering your eyes, stole my soul. You took a little step towards me, and your blouse danced about even though there wasn’t any breeze. When you held out your hand, I- well, well I- I was speechless. But I took it, and we danced. The song played, and your body moved with mine, and your feet glided across the floor, and I thought to myself, ‘Gee, this is happening.’ Then the song was over. And you left, and then I left.”
            Jack shot up off his mat, resembling an awakened corpse springing from the grave. A tear sat on his cheek, a perfect droplet of sadness. “We talked a bit in the halls, you know? A simple ‘Hello’ and ‘Hi, there’ to start. Then we ate lunch together a few times. That was fun, right?” Jack tried to laugh, but this time he just coughed and another tear fell out of his eye. “That’s when people started whispering. And you stopped talking to me for a bit. I didn’t know what I did. I thought we were friends. I tried writing letters, leaving notes. You didn’t-” Jack stifled a sob, and continued. “You didn’t reply. Then that girl, your best friend, told me ‘Get lost’, like she knew what was good for us.”
            The shack was shaking all about now, its rusty nails holding the planks the same way gum stops a leak. Icy winds howled, battering the glass. Jack threw some clothing, a hair-tie and a blouse, onto the fire, and felt the expanding heat on his frozen hands.
            “I listed to our song every day. Our song. I thought to myself, ‘Hell, we were together before. We can be together now!’ So I followed you home from school that Friday afternoon, with a rose. You didn’t notice me when you walked in, or when you ate dinner, or when you stripped and started to shower. I waited till late, and then I broke in. I knew you’d have to accept me when you saw the rose. How could you not? How could you NOT?!” Jack let out a painful wail, tears streaming from his cheeks like twin rivers in flood season. Outside, nature herself let out her sorrow and grief, chilling everything to its core.
            Another stifled sob was uttered, and Jack tried to compose himself. “It was- it was real hard to explain everything to your father. He had the baseball bat and I had the rose and I thought it might have been funny if it wasn’t so serious. Well, it got more serious, and you walked downstairs, and saw me with the bloody knife.” Jack cried once more, but it sounded as if he were screaming, the sharp sound piercing through the noise of the wind like a blade. “You- you screamed! And I screamed! As soon as I saw the phone in your hand, I knew what you were trying to do. I- I didn’t know how else to act! Everything sped up, and life just slipped by, like I fainted. I remember the light on the ceiling, how it just poured out whiteness. And I looked down, real fast, like waking from a nightmare. Then- then…”
Words failed, and Jack broke down. Utterances of deep, destructive passion sounded beyond the shack, into the forest. Nature had ceased her inclemency, forfeiting to the storm within Jack’s heart.  Tears pooled about the ragged mat. The fire faded and died.
Jack gazed across the shack through his blood-shot eyes, struggling in vain to breath, to speak, to recall.
            The corpse of a young girl gazed back.