Quest for Love in Astronomer's Wife, The Life You Save, and When I consider how my light is spent

Quest for Love in Astronomer's Wife, The Life You Save, and When I consider how my light is spent

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Every human being is entitled to his or her own personal way of life, making that person his or her own individual. The idea of an unbalanced role in life between the sexes is ongoing, and is beautifully described in Kay Boyle's short story, "The Astronomer's Wife." It is here where the author states, in order "to survive women cling to the floating debris on the tide" (59). No longer would the astronomer's wife need to hold on to something to survive, for she has found her identity because of the plumber's clarity and truthfulness, something she has been denied by the astronomer. A similar life lesson, with a much different approach can be examined in Flannery O'Connor’s short story, "The Life You Save May be Your Own," as the story’s main characters all discover themselves in the end. In addition, John Milton's sonnet "When I consider how my light is spent" also presents vivid ideas concerning personal identity and recognition of self. Though many would act in ways differently from that of the characters in these great works, all individuals share the experiences and truths that these literary pieces present through subtle comparisons as well as contrasting elements. It is clear through these readings, which have recurring themes, that in order to love and cherish others, we must first be able to identify with ourselves and dig deep to discover who we truly are.

Beginning with Boyle’s “Astronomer’s Wife,” Mrs. Ames serves as a perfect
example of a character that emotionally, as well as physically has dug deep and discovered areas she has never known existed, partly because of a lack of communication between her and her husband. Any astronomer looks above hoping to discover something wonderful, yet may never encounter that s...


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...racter that has been blind to the realities of life. Through phenomenal epiphanies, these characters grow stronger and are able to finally see a much clearer picture and perception of their own lives. By changing our ways, and becoming more open to new experiences and risks, we can all learn something new about ourselves, which is the greatest discovery of them all.

Works Cited

Boyle, Kay. “Astronomer’s Wife.” Literature. 5th ed. Ed. Robert DiYanni. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002. 57-60.
Miton, John. “When I consider how my light is spent.” Literature. 5th ed. Ed Robert DiYanni. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002. 974.
O’Connor, Flannery. “The Life You Save May Be Your Own.” Literature. 5th ed. Ed. Robert DiYanni. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002. 205-215.
Schilb, John and John Clifford, eds. Making Literature Matter.  2nd ed.  New York: 
Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003.

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