Homes are certainly not a place that will stay the same but in fact grows as do the people who live inside it. The world throws unexpected twist in everyones life and uncertainties arise as well as complications, people turn to home to have their back a place where they think clearly to sort these issues. In this summary & response a totally of six pieces of literature are being contrasted and compared, first being a comical William Shakespeare play “The Taming of the Shrew”. Two poems are also present; this includes Gary Snyder’s “For the Children” and “One Adobe at a Time” by Nora Naranjo-Morse. Leaving the last three to be short stories, “The Dead” by James Joyce, “The Lady in the Van” by Alan Bennett, and last but not least “Touching the Earth” by Bell Hooks. All pieces of literature used are personal favourites and to me have a connected meaning that I am about to share.
The first of the six I’d like to start with is of course the biggest being the “Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare. The play being one of my favorites by Shakespeare is a great comedy that is indeed about a man forcing a marriage upon a woman also known as a “shrew”. The comedy of the story is quite obvious being not exactly the most polite way to engage in marriage. What intrigues me about the story specifically is the idea that after the marriage the issues inside the house, of course being what could easily be considered a forced or arranged marriage numerous problems occurred. Problems such as fighting and arguments started from disagreements, problems that would appear no differently if they had been between married couples who chose to be together. The play being set in the 1500’s it isn’t quite like what today is but the arguments and fights had among the two are relatable to many who have been in a situation where an argument has occurred with your significant other. Despite all the comical phrases this play very much shows the reality of love in a home. Katherine and Petruchio are the main characters and display that marriage is work and love is earned through that work, like a house that married couples would live in it requires work and maintenance to keep the structure strong, no different than love. Some houses require a lot of work while others may require little to none, as for Katherine and Petruchio’s marriage it required a great deal of work. This play displays a great deal of how nothing in life is easy no matter how funny it may come off as, it shows that family is home and marriage is the extension of your family. Outside all the humour I found that Shakespeare shows that when a family member, including a spouse inside your home is upset or feeling uncertain that it takes work from the surroundings of your home as well as the people who share the home with them.
The fact that homes require work often is forgotten about, even hanging the smallest picture up on a wall is considered to be putting work into your home. Nora Naranjo-Morse’s poem “One Adobe at a Time” is great display in words of how home is built and not purchased by saying “Plastering, molding and repacking an endless supply of bricks, until our mudshell stood upright massive and invincible”. She also talks of the earth as another person allowing us to dig in to her skin and place our homes which must be so heavy to hold, saying that even though each and everyone one of us has a home we all go to all of our houses are planted firmly on one earth which we all come home as she states in her poem “her brown solid skin. Earth mother, giving all that she is, one adobe at a time.” The poet talks of how its thanks to the earth we get the chance to build on these homes and have a place to put them. We even take from the earth in order to have materials or proper place to set the materials. I really enjoy how she speaks of the walls almost like sponges they absorb all the memories into the walls and how those memories add to the house almost like they decorate the walls metaphorically. Decorations on the wall that may not been seen by eye but when looked at may trigger significant memories of the home. Home is a place of work and loved ones, with every room containing a different meaning and value.
Home once established may become a place of great celebration, maybe a place where family gets together for the holidays which is the case for the few characters in James Joyce’s short story “The Dead”. A story that is about an annual holiday party, held by the two Morkan sisters and their young niece. The sisters are anxious for their party especially to see family and friends, particularly their favorite nephew Gabriel Conroy, and his wife Gretta. Once again a home filled with loved ones walls absorbing the music being played as well as the laughter, the floor taking in the weight of the many people and absorbing the stomping footsteps of the dancers. As any party would have, there was music, laughter, and disagreements within conversations, Gabriel found himself having a hard time throughout the party coming into contact with a few bumps. This was a party of the upper class most likely, a party not everyone may be able to relate to, but the idea of friends and family getting together for a joyous occasion is something we can all relate to. Events like these create special memories within a home and oneself, whether it is the décor or even the food. Sometimes the process of making these memories old ones can be stirred up either bad or good ones. For Gretta in the story the last song played at the party was a song that reminded her of an old relationship which ended in death. Although Homes are generally filled with love and great memories they can also contain bad ones, which may upset us at times. Not all homes are fortunate to be decorated with good memories, and require more work to replace the walls with the better memories.
Ups and downs are bound to happen as suggested in Gary Snyder’s poem “For the Children”. Once again it isn’t ever easy to put together a home and it won’t always be perfect. In fact there are going to be disputes and more disputes on top of that, as Snyder puts it “The steep climb of everything, going up, up, as well as we all go down.” The poet relates home almost as an uphill battle which requires teamwork and of course more work. What is being told is that even though it may be a tough climb to get a place to finally be home, it will be bearable only if you rely on your loved ones for support and teamwork. He states “To climb these coming crests one word to you, to you and your children: stay togetherâ€¦” Home is not a place of independence but interdependence, like Rome a home will not be built in one day and may take many people to fully make it a home. It’s a matter of work and love.
Although western society may picture homes with four walls and a roof, planted firmly into the ground it is not always the case. For Miss S. in Alan Bennetts “The lady in the Van”, her home does not fit western society’s typical picture of a home. For Miss S. her van is her four walls and pointed roof. Even though home is often considered to be in a house it is not always the truth, home can be anywhere as long you have a place under control to call your own. A place you enjoy putting work into where it feels right to hang up a picture here and there. In the short story “The Lady in the Van” Alan Bennett finds himself befriending a women named Miss Shepard or less formally known as Miss S., Miss S. is a lady who lives in a van and gets by in life just fine. She does not enjoy the riches of life and is perfectly happy in her home; you might say that Miss S. isn’t exactly all there mentally. Unfortunately society these days looks at people who take life from another angle as different or outcast, so it’s a possibility that Miss S. was perfectly normal just was different and happy to be different. Home isn’t always a place with a white picket fence, in most cases it’s not. Miss S. shows that no matter neither the condition of your home nor the shape of it. Even if it is just a van it still requires the same amount of work and provides the same security and warmth as any home could provide, that’s what a home is all about.
The last piece of literature I chose was “Touching the Earth” by Bell Hooks, a short story about the farmers or people of agriculture being more connected to the land then people of the city or even the suburban areas. I chose this one because I believe this to be true, as farmers understand the very truth that without our soil and crops we would starve. Food often taken for granted among western societies, the connection and realization of how important our lands especially our farm lands are not fully appreciated and understood by most. Hooks exaggerates by stating that farmers are people of god, whether this is true or not I cannot say but home is only as rich as the resources available to it. Unfortunately you can put as much work and love into a home but without the proper human needs being met anyone would be forced to leave it. Hooks tried to say that “When we love the land, we are able to love ourselves more fully. The ancestors taught me it was so”, of course this is statement based on opinion rather than fact although understanding and truly appreciating the land will help you not only understand where you primary food sources are coming from nut better your appreciation for the place you call home making you hard work and love much richer.
A Play, two poems, and three short stories all great pieces of literature but what connects them all exactly. Not speaking of what home is particularly but they all in one way or another speak of what home takes. It isn’t just having the money to purchase a beautiful home but for some it’s the building of their home and others it’s the displaying of decorations, to even holding annual parties filled with friends and family. Whatever it may be home isn’t bought nor given it’s earned through proper care, attention, and of course love. There are going to be ups and downs, disagreements and fights, but its p to you and your loved ones to climb the steep cliff to making what you will call home.