The Persephone Myth in O’Brien’s Wild Decembers Essay

The Persephone Myth in O’Brien’s Wild Decembers Essay

Length: 1354 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In O’Brien’s novel, Wild Decembers, a young and innocent Breege fell in love with an engaged farmer named Bugler who moved from Australia so he could establish a farm on family-owned land in Ireland. While trying to keep their relationship a secret, Bugler takes Breege to a secluded island where they engaged in a sexual act that resulted in Breege’s pregnancy. Breege and Bugler’s night on the island, her pregnancy and Bugler’s untimely death parallels the myth of Persephone and her decent into the Underworld as Hades’ queen.
In Greek Mythology, the young Persephone, daughter of Demeter, was chosen by Zeus to be a companion to Hades in the Underworld. Hades kidnapped Persephone when she was picking flowers, specifically the narcissus, and brought her to the Underworld. Demeter, the goddess of grain searched all over the world to find her beloved daughter. While she was searching for Persephone, she neglected the crops and the winter harvest was ruined. In the Underworld, Persephone was crowned the Queen of the Underworld but she still longed to see her mother. Hades agreed that he would let her return to Earth if she did not eat anything while in the Underworld. Knowing that he wanted to keep her for his Queen, Hades deliberately gave her a pomegranate from which Persephone later admitted to have eaten a few seeds. Hades agreed to let her live on Earth, but she had to visit him four months out of the year because she ate the pomegranate seeds. Demeter was reunited with Persephone and the crops again flourished (Bryant 55).
Much like Persephone, the character of Breege is a young woman who seems to never have had a boyfriend. Since Breege does not have a partner, one can infer that she is still a virgin and has not entered into...

... middle of paper ...

...wn farm land sits stagnant, without anyone to properly care for it.
When Bugler and Breege visit the cemetery island on a secret date, their story parallels the myth of Persephone. O’Brien knew the myth well since she wove details of the Underworld like Cerberus into her story. Breege perfectly portrays Persephone when a childlike Breege spent the night on the island and emerged as a woman after a sexual meeting with Bugler. Breege took the “pomegranate seeds” from Bugler as his sperm when he impregnated her. Bugler, or Hades, ensured Breege would come back to visit him through her thoughts, now that she is pregnant with his child.

Works Cited

Bryant, Megan. Oh My Gods!: A look-it-up guide to the gods of mythology. New York, New York: Scholastic, 2010. 54-59. Print.
O'Brien, Edna. Wild Decembers. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Myth of Hades and Persephone Hook Essay

- Exactly, how were the seasons created. Throughout the new discoveries of astronomy, scientists have led to the conclusion that different seasons were due to the Earth’s orbit and rotation around the Sun, but according to Greek Mythology, the establishment of the seasons had nothing to do with the relationship between the planets, in fact, it really actually just started from a bitter quarrel between two immortals that both wanted to posses a lovely goddess... I. Persephone-also known as Proserpina in Rome(1, 2, 6, 7, 8 ) A....   [tags: astronomers, seasons, persephone]

Strong Essays
558 words (1.6 pages)

The Garden Party, by Kathering Mansfield and The Myth of Persephone Essay

- In the words of author Thomas Foster, “There’s only one story.” Most, if not all authors will draw inspiration from other works of literature to illustrate their story. Even if one is not an expert on Greek Mythology, one must take notice and appreciate the striking resemblance between The Garden Party and The Myth of Persephone. Laura is Katherine Mansfield’s depiction of Persephone as the former loses her innocence by witnessing death. On the surface, both tales begin in a natural, ideal setting that implies a tragedy will come along to spoil it....   [tags: Literary Comparison, Protagonist ]

Strong Essays
947 words (2.7 pages)

The Similarities and Differences Between Greek and Roman Literature of the Myth of the Abduction of Persephone/Proserpine

- In Ovid Metamorphoses, the Roman literature described the ruthless act of Pluto of rape, to seize and carry away Proserpine without the consent of Ceres and in parallel in the Homeric Hymns of Demeter; Persephone was seized and carried away by Hades without the consent of Demeter. The invariant theme that was identified in both the Greek and Roman literature was the loss of innocence of Persephone/Proserpine. Despite the various differences the story was presented, it reinforced the innocence that was stolen from the god of the underworld, Hades or also known as Pluto....   [tags: Roman Literature, Ovid Metamorphoses]

Strong Essays
979 words (2.8 pages)

The Beautiful Persephone Essay

- The Beautiful Persephone Mythology is the study of myths, why they were created, and how the stories explain things, normally nature related happenings (Matyszak 6). Myths explain the old cultures view on the world and other conflicts. They usually include a conflict with a few gods or goddesses or creatures and the ending result is what "creates" the happening in the world (Matyszak 6). Persephone is important because she is what, indirectly, caused the seasons to change. The myth of Persephone starts off with Persephone picking flowers when she comes along to a flower her father, Zeus, said he wanted her to bring back....   [tags: Greek mythology]

Strong Essays
1208 words (3.5 pages)

The Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone Essay

- A ritual is usually a ceremony that includes a series of actions that are performed according to a certain order. Most of the time rituals originate from myths. In Athens, several people participated in a group of events known as The Eleusinian Mysteries, hoping for a fulfilling and great afterlife. The Eleusinian Mysteries, a cult centered on a myth of Persephone's journey to and from the underworld, were celebrated from the eighth century B.C to the Hellenistic period. To the ancient Greeks, myths had a purpose and that was to basically explain the world around them....   [tags: ancient mysteries, ritual, ceremony]

Strong Essays
1104 words (3.2 pages)

The Myth of the Latin Woman Essay

- Identity is a group of characteristics, data or information that belongs exactly to one person or a group of people and that make it possible to establish differences between them. The consciousness that people have about themselves is part of their identity as well as what makes them unique. According to psychologists, identity is a consistent definition of one’s self as a unique individual, in terms of role, attitudes, beliefs and aspirations. Identity tries to define who people are, what they are, where they go or what they want to be or to do....   [tags: The Myth of the Latin Woman, Culture]

Strong Essays
1464 words (4.2 pages)

Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est, Tim OBrien's The Things They Carried, and Siegfried Sassoon's Suicide in the Trenches

- Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est, Tim OBrien's The Things They Carried, and Siegfried Sassoon's Suicide in the Trenches Many war pieces express a distinct sense of truth, hatred, and anger that can be found in the style, tone, and imagery they possess. Incredible images are created in ones mind as war writings are read and heard. Works written by such writers as Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and Tim OBrien really reach out to the audience by way of the authors choice of words and images that they use in their writing....   [tags: Owen Dulce OBrien Carried Sassoon Essays]

Strong Essays
1362 words (3.9 pages)

The Power of Myth Essay

- The Power of Myth In the texts that we have recently read, we have seen the importance of myth in giving meaning and understanding to life. In the Beginnings of the Western Mind we read about the importance of myth in the consciousness of the oral societies of pre-classical Greece; in Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs we read about the myth of the "West" in the U.S. and its influence on the thought of many Americans; In Things Fall Apart we see the power if myth and the consequences of the break down of those myths and stories upon which a culture is structured on....   [tags: American Myth Myths Essays]

Free Essays
1296 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Fertility Myths with Demeter and Persephone and Amaterasu

- Compare or contrast two major female fertility deities as to character, activities and role in the myth. In the myths of the ancient world, a great deal of importance is placed on the rhythmical cycle of birth, maturity, death and rebirth. Ancient agrarian people observed the world around them, and from this observation they realized that their lives as well as every other living thing on this planet was a part of an intricate continuing cycle. Everything withered and died, but not before reproducing and continuing the cycle of life....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
793 words (2.3 pages)

Origins of The Beauty Myth Essay examples

- Naomi Wolf's "The Beauty Myth," discusses the impact of our male-dominated society upon women. Wolf argues that women's most significant problems associated with societal pressures are a "fairly recent invention," dating back to the 1970s (6). She explains that women have "breached the power structure" by acquiring rights equal to men in areas such as, education, professional careers, and voting. As a result, Wolf suggests that the "beauty myth" is the "last one remaining of the old feminine ideologies that still has the power to control those women" (3)....   [tags: Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth]

Free Essays
1573 words (4.5 pages)