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"The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurrt Vonnegut." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Nov 2018
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- Death has been the consequent for the main characters in each of the first four novels read for the course. The protagonist in each of the first four novels; Werther, Rafael, Ivan Ilyich, and K., respectively; met their demise on the final page of their respective novels. All four directly or indirectly were the cause of their painful demise. Werther chose suicide over conforming to the ways of adulthood, and moving further away from nature. Rafael chose to live a life of possessions, and in turn, his inner-self dwindled.... [tags: Goethe Sorrow Young Werther]
1648 words (4.7 pages)
- Goethe’s first and most famous narrative work, The Sorrows of Young Werther, beautifully captures the spirit of the birth of romanticism in Germany. Beauty being essential to the romantics, Kant defined it as “purposefulness without purpose”. Goethe had this same idea when writing, in that aesthetic judgment is different than subjective or cognitive judgment. These aesthetic judgments are concerned with experiencing an object as designed for the emotion they can invoke, not for any particular intention.... [tags: Goethe]
2076 words (5.9 pages)
- Character Analysis of Wolfgang von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther The purpose of this papers it to give general information about the author, Wolfgang von Goethe, and introduce as well as analyze the main character of one of his most influential works: The Sorrows of Young Werther. The protagonist of this series of confessional letters, Werther, is in fact a tragic figure who committed suicide as a result of his loneliness and critical approach to society, as well as his obsession for a woman, Lotte, whom he could not eventually conquest.... [tags: Wolfgang von Goethe Papers]
1943 words (5.6 pages)
- Discuss the relationship between individual and society in Goethe’s The Sufferings of Young Werther. What features of Werther’s individuality make him incapable of taking up a “normal” position within society. It is accurate to suggest that an interdependent relationship exists between the individual and society. It is also accurate to state that in order for both the individual and society to flourish, the two entities must complement one another in values, beliefs and needs. It may be perceived that through carefully constructed characterisation throughout his eighteenth century novel ‘The Sufferings of Young Werther’, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe holistically depicts the way in which the re... [tags: social interactions, lotte]
1269 words (3.6 pages)
- ... Mephisto entreats Faust to make a wager with him as well; that he will serve Faust on earth and Faust will serve him in hell. Faust adds a caveat that if Mephisto can make him feel “satisfied with myself” (Goethe 663), then Mephisto wins. Mephisto employs his powers and turns Faust from a self-doubting miserable scholar to a “callous seducer and abandoner of an innocent woman” (Brand 4). Goethe shows that Faust is not without recrimination, lest Mephisto get blamed for the entirety of Faust’s actions.... [tags: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Romanticism]
974 words (2.8 pages)
Myth of the 'Noble Savage' Illustrated in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther
- Political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is often attributed to the discussion of the “noble savage,” and the existence of natural man. Throughout numerous works of literature, the theme of the “noble savage” is prevalent and enduring, providing indirect authors’ commentary through the actions and development of various characters. Two such novels are Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther. In both novels, Shelly and Goethe demonstrate strong Romantic ideals, while developing various characters using Rousseau’s myth.... [tags: The Sorrows of Young Werther, frankenstein]
1379 words (3.9 pages)
- ... Harry Steinhauer believes that a modern reading of the novel depict Werther as a man who cannot, “...find a place for himself in society.” However, if we are to believe that Werther is aware of the difference in values between society and the individual, we too can see that he consciously elects to alienate himself from society by following his own desires as opposed to those structured to complement society. It can be said that while Lotte accepts the values of society and Werther opposes them, both of these actions come as a direct result of the interdependent relationship between the individual and society.... [tags: notorius German writer and statesman]
1359 words (3.9 pages)
- The Three Themes of Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut did a great job in writing an irresistible reading novel in which one is not permitted to laugh, and yet still be a sad book without tears. Slaughterhouse-five was copyrighted in 1969 and is a book about the 1945 firebombing in Dresden which had killed 135,000 people. The main character is Billy Pilgrim, a very young infantry scout who is captured in the Battle of the Bulge and quartered to a slaughterhouse where he and other soldiers are held.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
938 words (2.7 pages)
- The Romantic Hero in Goethe's Faust Works Cited Not Included Long hailed as the watershed of Romantic literature, Goethe’s Faust uses the misadventures of its hero to parallel the challenges that pervaded European society in the dynamic years of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Faust is the prototypical Romantic hero because the transformation of his attitudes mirrors the larger transformation that was occurring in the society in which Goethe conceived the play.... [tags: Papers Essays Goethe Faust ]
1559 words (4.5 pages)
- Powerful Emotion (3) Anyone who reads The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe instantly feels the emotional intensity portrayed by Werther, the protagonist. His speculations about life are indeed unique, especially in modern times when life often goes by quickly without notice. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why his immense emotion strikes a chord with readers as coming from someone crazy or dangerous. Werther’s mental state seems incredibly alive at some times while seemingly lifeless at others.... [tags: essays research papers]
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While reading Slaughterhouse Five it seemed to me that Billy Pilgrim had a very unique outlook on life. No matter what the situation, he seemed to just go with the moment and not worry about anything else. I believe Vonnegut states Billy’s sense of his emotions perfectly: And so it goes. In this first part of the essay I will discuss Billy’s emotions and how they work to influence the mental states in which he is portrayed. The first instance I would like to discuss involves Billy while he and the “Three Musketeers” are trying to make it back to the Allied Forces side. As the group is crossing the bridge they are fired upon and everyone jumps into a ditch. As Vonnegut continues, “Billy stood there politely, giving the marksman another chance” (Vonnegut 33). Obviously he is void of emotion at this point in the book. He doesn’t seem to care if he gets shot and dies. Any person in their right mind would have taken cover in the ditch. The fact that Billy just stands there, while showing no emotion, just shows that he is in a very odd state of mind. It almost seems as though Billy doesn’t believe that a war is even happening. This is fairly easy to believe though since he hasn’t had a gun since enlisting, has no protective clothing, and is as thin as a tree limb. It also makes for a tense moment in the book. The way that Billy seems to react in this situation plays itself out many times in the book.
The second quote that I think helps understand Billy’s emotions occurs after the Germans decide to capture him a second time and take pictures of it. “Billy’s smile as he came out of the shrubbery was at least as peculiar as Mona Lisa’s, for he was simultaneously on foot in Germany in 1944 and riding his Cadillac in 1967.” (Vonnegut 58), which is quit a peculiar thing to have happen in a war. It seems so absurd that Billy is being captured by Germans for the second time and yet, he’s still just smiling about it. This isn’t a lack of emotion on Billy’s part. If anything he is probably just having a laugh at how idiotic the situation is. Even though Billy Pilgrim quite an extreme character it’s hard not to laugh along with him.
Much later on in the novel there is a passage about their honeymoon. Billy and Valencia have just made love and she starts crying. When he asks why she is crying she replies that it is because she is so happy because she never thought anyone would marry her. “Um,” is his only response, which also gave me quite a laugh. This response is just another insight into Billy’s emotional state, which seems to be a kind of happy go lucky attitude. Later on in the same paragraph there is more evidence to support his emotions towards Valencia. “He had already seen a lot of their marriage, thanks to time-travel, knew that it was going to be at least bearable all the way,” (Vonnegut 120) which only solidifies further that he doesn’t really have strong emotions towards anything, not even his wife.
The section of the book that made me think the most was the part where the Tralfamadorians are about to come and take him away to Tralfamadore as he swigs on a bottle of “dead” champagne. After being lifted up to the spaceship, Billy has a short exchange of words with the Tralfamadorians. “Why me?” (Vonnegut 76) he asks. “That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is,” (Vonnegut 76). This is a very philosophical exchange between Billy and the Tralfamadorians; however, I think that this exchange embodies the way that Billy handles his emotions and his outlook on life. The way he goes about his life follows this very closely. He doesn’t seem to care about a why at any point in his life. This is the way that Billy deals with the reality that he is in. As a coping mechanism he just doesn’t seem to ask any questions or want any answers for that matter. He lives each moment like a bug trapped in amber and there is no why. It seems to suit him quite well and makes for a very intriguing novel.
The other character, Werther, from the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther has a problem with his emotions affecting his mental state way too much. He certainly has an sensitive demeanor and to me he seems a little bit crazy from the start. There are several instances that prove this, but I will focus more towards the end of the novel where it is much more obvious.
It seems to me that Werther and Lotte’s relationship seems to begin harmless and progressively become more strange ending in tragedy. In one particular letter to Wilhem he states: “Oh, how my blood rushes through my veins when my fingers unintentionally brush hers or when our feet touch under the table. I shrink back as though from a fire, but a secret force drives me forward again, although everything swims before my eyes.” (Goethe 46). This passage gives a lot of insight into their relationship. He describes how the blood rushes to his fingers or toes whenever they touch and that he immediately pulls back, even though he wishes he could embrace her entirely. Also, the mention of a “secret force” seems to be what turns into his obsession later. Lastly, the way he says that everything is swimming in front of his eyes just proves how intoxicating she is in his eyes.
As time passes in the book it seems that relations between the two are starting to get very serious, but only on Werther’s end. He begins to feel that she is the only thing good in his world and that without her he is incomplete. A quote from the novel proves this: “I have so much in me, and the feeling for her absorbs it all; I have so much, and without her it all comes to nothing,” (Goethe 113). To me this is particularly striking because he has become so obsessed with Lotte. Earlier in the story she even told him that he should be a man and give up on a prize that belonged to someone else. This short letter entry is also becoming much more common. Not only are his letters shorter and less frequent, but they no longer talk of happy walks or his total enjoyment of nature. To me, this is also a sign that he is out of control of his emotions and it ultimately leads to his demise.
In his final suicide note, Werther makes clear his reasons for killing himself. He writes: “Here, Lotte! I do not shudder to grasp the cold and dreadful cup from which I am abou to drink the ecstasy of death. Your hand gave it to me, and I do not flinch. All, all the desires and hopes of my life are fulfilled!,” (Goethe 165). This quote is strikingly malicious towards Lotte I believe. She never seemed to lead him on in a way that should lead to his total obsession with her. It is also as if he is blaming her for his death by saying that she is handing him the cup of death that he doesn’t flinch to drink. Apparently Werther is in a very bad point in his life and has made up his mind to kill himself. His emotions are just too crazy about Lotte that he says he would gladly kill himself because all his hopes and desires are complete. Perhaps he believed that he found true love, whether she liked it or not, and he was prepared to end his life in order to let Lotte and Albert. In his own mind I’m sure he thought of himself as a martyr.
There are so many instances from each book dealing with emotion that an entire other novel could be written about the subject. In my findings it seems that Billy Pilgrim has emotions but he just doesn’t know how to deal with them, and therefore his character reacts the same way. He never really seems to know what to do. As for Werther, it is clear in my mind that his emotions got the best of him. There was no need for him to “sacrifice” himself in the name of Lotte. Surely there was another girl out there that would have suited him just fine. All in all, the emotions from the characters in both books made them very interesting and intriguing novels.
Goethe, Jjohann Wolfgang von. The Sorrows of Young Werther. New York: Random House, Inc., 1971.
Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse Five. New York: Dell Publishing, 1991.