Aurora's "Winter Bird" Resembles Sethe's Journey

In Beloved, Sethe spends a good portion of the novel remembering her hazardous trek to 124 after she had escaped from Sweet Home. She recounts how she had to walk through cold and trying conditions while she was pregnant with Denver. The stunning imagery that Toni Morrison uses to describe this journey parallels the lyrics and overall tone of the song “Winter Bird” by Aurora.

When listening to this song, a few lines caught my attention in particular. The first I noticed was, “like the naked trees.” Aurora then goes on to ask if they will ever wake up again or if they have dreams. I found this line to parallel Beloved‘s motif of trees during Sethe’s journey. The trees themselves serve as a symbol for the overall mechanism of slavery, while the tree Aurora describes symbolizes her own dreams and curiosities.

Another line that struck me as similar to Morrison’s novel was the phrase “lay me by the frozen river, where the boats have passed me by.” This line stood out to me because it reminded me of when Sethe was giving birth to Denver in a boat. She has to have her baby in such horrid conditions because most of the white people do not care enough to help her, similar to how Aurora feels that the boats do not see her as important enough to stop for.

When Aurora sings the main line of the chorus “all I need is to remember, how it was to feel alive,” I couldn’t help but think of Sethe’s journey from Sweet home to 124. Specifically, this reminded me of the scene that Sethe recalls when Amy was massaging Sethe’s feet. Amy states that “anything dead coming back to life hurts.” Similar to Aurora, Sethe’s feet probably don’t remember the feeling of being alive.

Finally, the last line that stood out to me was “only wake each morning to remember that your’e gone.” I found this line to be especially powerful because it resembles Sethe’s emotional journey after she leaves Halle. She constantly wakes up every morning hoping that he will come back to her, but after a while, she knows that he is gone forever. She also looses her children later in her story and knows they will not come back to her.

Along with the lyrics themselves, the sad and heavy tone that Aurora sings this song with contributes to its similarities with the book Beloved. The book is not a happy one, so the tone of the book also has a heaviness to it. All in all, the tone and the words of this song paint a similar picture to that of Sethe’s memory.

“Winter Bird” by AURORA

Exit West and Carnival Row

Throughout reading this book, I found myself constantly comparing it to a TV show that I watched recently called Carnival Row. Carnival Row is an eight episode Amazon Prime show set in an expansive fantasy world based off of the Victorian Era of England.

In this world, the Fae, or Faeries, come to the Burge as refugees when their home kingdoms become war torn by the ongoing international conflict. The Burge is the land of the humans, but not all of the humans are willing to accept the Fae into their society. Many murders and crimes are plaguing the Burge and the newly migrated Fae are the first to get the finger pointed at them.

While the cast of this show is quite large, the plot of Carnival Row mainly revolves around two central characters and their journeys throughout the episodes. The characters are Vignette, a fierce-willed warrior Fae who has come to the Burge for refuge, and Philo, an open hearted and curious investigator of the Burge.

The journey of Vignette and Philo in Carnival Row reminded me of the journey of Saeed and Nadia because they are both trying to navigate their relationship in a society where some separation and prejudice occurs regarding migrants. In addition to this, Vignette’s story parallels that of Saeed and Nadia because she, too, came from a place that she watched succumb to war right in front of her eyes.

Is Finding Happiness in Punishment an Inevitability?

In “the Myth of Sisyphus”, Camus forms the argument that Sisyphus has found happiness within his eternity of pushing a rock up a hill. After finally letting go of his memories of life, he accepts his current situation and finds joy in completing the hard task of pushing the rock up the hill (even though it falls down again).

In the Stranger, Merseaux states that after he lets go of the pleasures of the past and adapts to prison, it is actually quite enjoyable. It takes a bit of time to adjust, but eventually he does.

The question I that I pose is: is finding this happiness an inevitability for everyone? If so, is finding that joy in punishment then just a matter of time?

I would argue that it is not an inevitability for everyone. Some people will never let go of the memories and pleasures that they used to enjoy. They will always reap in their belief that they should be somewhere else.

“The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” Shares a Message with Billy Eilish’s “All the Good Girls Go to Hell”

While reading the short story, “The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” I could not help thinking that I had seen the image of this story before. Then, I remembered just where I had seen this before, in the music video to Billie Eilish’s new song, “All the Good Girls Go to Hell”.

In this video, Eilish uses the graphics and concepts to make a statement about the environmental crisis we are in right now. She does this by playing an angel that falls from the sky and is immoderately harmed by the dangerous environmental conditions caused by humans. As she struggles to drag her wings on the ground after they are covered in black oil and set on fire, the intention of the video is abundantly clear.

While one of them is about the environment and the other has more spiritual roots, both the music video and the short story share a message about human greed. In the short story, the people of the village lock the sick angel in a chicken coup for their own entertainment and in the music video humans exhibit greed by spilling oil and other hazardous chemicals for corporate gain. Both of these works greatly emphasize the concept that it is human nature to prioritize personal gain over helping others.