Orientalism in 1910’s Fashion

The Edwardian dress in the late 1890’s-1914 refers to the style of clothing in that time period and the beginning of World War I. This time period was also called the Gilded Era and women’s fashion had a new opulence and elegance. The most notable change in fashion during this time period was the shift in corsets from a Victorian hourglass to an s-shaped corset.

One specific designer at the time period, Paul Poiret, was said to be the creator of modern fashion shapes and designs. His clothing designs were specifically inspired by classicism, Orientalism, and Art Nouveau. His styles were said to be comfortable freeing women from the constriction of corsets and relied on draping to create the feminine effect.

He specifically showed Orientalism in his designs through turbans and and jeweled slippers, providing a more “exotic” dress for Edwardian women. The war however quickly ended this fashion period due to lack of resources and money.

Gowns inspired by the orient complete with oriental parasol and coolie lampshade inspired hat.” source: https://fashion-era.com/orientalism_in_dress.htm
Fur was another example of Orientalism and appeared on outerwear such as the coats in the images paired with long columnar dresses.

Family Ties

In Act 5, as Lear and Cordelia die their indominable family tie is shown. What made Cordelia stand out from her sisters, was her pure heart and good intention. Her character comes back into fruition at the end of the tragedy. Cordelia is unlike her sisters in the fact that she did not profess disingenuous love to her father.

In the end of the tragedy, Lear realizes the mistakes he has made with his daughter, his sorrow is exacerbated by his impending death. “When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down and ask of thee forgiveness.” (V.III.) In the end, Lear finally is holding himself accountable for his action of banishing his daughter. Often times when one is nearing death, they have this realization and try to right there wrongs before it is too late.

Cordelia’s pure heart cannot bear to see her father in his condition. Despite all the pain he inflicted upon her, she still cares for him. So much show that she says, “For the, oppressed king, I am cast down. Myself could else outfrown false Fortune’s frown.” (V.III.) When Cordelia reunites with Lear in the last scene, she wishes it was her who is sick not him. Only a daughter’s love can forgive a father for his atrocious actions.

Love is fickle, complex, and unexplainable. The love between Cordelia and Lear shows a true love that stood over time. Cordelia is an admirable character for her ability to forgive. Readers also see Lear’s growth as he realizes the consequences of his action. Act 5 offered a bittersweet ending in a true tragedy style of writing, as readers learned from the characters downfalls in the story and not all is lost in love.

Nothing New: Taylor Swift’s Coming-of-Age Poetic Reflection

Taylor Swift is known for her love songs that have been sung by millions across the world. She is a small turn girl turned into global superstar. Despite her fame, what I most love about Taylor Swift is her lyrical mastery and duality to capture specific human emotions that are relatable for all but hard to compare in simple words. Specifically striking about her artistry is her new album: Red (Taylor’s Version). The re-recording of her fourth album ever released showed her ability to redefine her artistry from her perspective in life now that has grown up more

Nothing New is especially powerful to me through her lyrical choices which express romantic anxieties while uncovering some of the industries treatment of female artists. This song shows a more vulnerable side of Taylor Swift and the reality of her growing up in the public eye, and the pressure on female artists to stay relevant as they age. One line that expresses this sentiment is, “will you still want me when I’m nothing new?” Further, this song uncovers the growing pains of adulthood, and not knowing all the answers.

The first verse goes:

They tell you while you're young
"Girls, go out and have your fun"
Then they hunt and slay the ones who actually do it
Criticize the way you fly
When you're soaring through the sky
Shoot you down and then they sigh
And say, "She looks like she's been through it"
Lord, what will become of me
Once I've lost my novelty?

The first verse goes to explain the struggle of growing up in the public eye, especially as a somewhat modest artists who was known for being a “good girl.” She was told to go out and have fun while she was young, but also criticize young celebrities for partying. They also take down young celebrities when they are successful and try to diminish their accomplishments.

I've had (I've had) too much to drink tonight
But I wonder if they'll miss me once they drive me out
I wake up (wake up) in the middle of the night
And I can feel time moving
How can a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?

These lyrics in the Chorus explain the anxieties of aging artists and the changes one faces as the emerge from a teenager at 18 to a 22 year-old out adult in the world after a break-up. To be alone is a scary reality when you think you have everything planned out at a young age and have been forced to grow up quickly because of the industry you work in.

Critics have commented upon Nothing New and touched upon the music industries obsession with young women and their love an ingenuine. This creates a hard-reality for aging artists and fetizishes young females instead of valuing them on their music and talent.

Those Who are Left Behind

As Nadia and Saeed embark on their next chapter of life together; leaving their home city it is not easy for them. In chapter 5 of the novel the finality of their decision is expressed, “when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.” Saeed has to leave his father alone shortly after the recent passing of his fathers wife/love of his life/Saeed mom. Still Saeed migrates, in hopes for a better life for him and Nadia. Saeed knows he will not see his father for a very long time or possibly ever again. While migration means new opportunities for Nadia and his relationship to grow, that does not come without the expense of those who are left behind.

This leaving of behind is expressed later on in the story. At times it is extremely hard for Saeed to be away from his father and religion. Hence him finding solace in the religious home in London he discovers and with whom he could pray with. He even asks Nadia if they would move into that home, but she says no. Similarly, Nadia finds a group of women within their migrant home in London who include and respect Nadia in their meetings.

Til Death Do Us Part

Meursault is sentenced to the death penalty at the end of the story. Even so, he wishes that many come to his execution. In the closing line of the story he relinquishes, “I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate (pg.123).” I find it in character for him as throughout the story Meursault does not care what others think. Even on his deathbed, he stays true to his persona, wishing people to hate on him.

For years, the death penalty and its legality have been questioned. With death comes no chance at rehabilitation or change. Current jail systems likewise have their flaws and need to be re-evaluated to follow a more holistic, personalized approach for prisoners. The guillotine is no longer used in France, they banned capital punishment in 1981, yet the death penalty is still used in various nations worldwide. While most would agree the death penalty is justified in extreme cases such as terrorism or school-shooting, what crimes qualify for the death penalty? Do you think Meursault deserved the death penalty? I personally do not.

Grievance: Who Are We To Judge?

Initially, when we began reading “The Stranger,” many of us commented on Meursault’s robot-like, emotionless demeanor. However, as the story continues it is clear that he is grieving in his own unique way. Through the notation and description of weather it is evident that he is expressing some emotions and thoughts. 

Specifically, on his mothers funeral day, Meursault uses the weather as a reason to be irritated. However, it is not a coincidence that the weather and sun are scorching and unbearable on an emotionally taxing day for any human being, bearing a loved one. “All of it-the sun, the smell of leather and horse dung from the hearse, the smell of the varnish and incense, and my fatigue after a night without sleep-was making it hard for me to see or think straight (Camus, 17).” Was it truly the sun and smells making it all too bearable for him, or was it the reality of having to deal with his mothers death?

Many times it is easy to criticize someone and their actions as a reaction, but in the context of the death of a loved one, every person deals with it in their own way. While it may be typical to express sorrow, others bottle it up, potentially releasing it in unconventional ways. In the case of Meaursalt, his emotions come out in quite a disturbing way. There was no real rhyme or reason for him killing the man, making it plausible that it was an emotional breakdown stemming from his mothers death. Furthermore, it is important to note he was alone in her death, with no other family members there to comfort him. 

(Blog Post #1)