Friday, December 17, 2010

Chaos is…in the confines of the mind

Raskolnikov lives for and by the constant stream of thoughts rushing through his brain. These thoughts are crazy, there is no doubt, but they are the governing body for his entire reality. As he slips further and further into a delusional state, the contents of his mind, translated onto the paper reflect this. Chaos in his mental state results in chaos in his physical interaction with the world around him. Authors also struggle with this concept, which is perhaps the reason for writing in the first place. Translating thought and emotion onto paper is a difficult task but also a carthodic one. Releasing the chaos within, while sometimes treacherous, can lead to some of the most beautiful works. Dostoevsky uses his classic novel to exemplify this beauty from chaos.

Crime and Punishment~Fyodor Dostoevsky

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chaos is…a lesson

Prince Hal is not one for order by any means. He is less than excited to take on his role as king, evading all levels of responsibility whenever possible. He instead spends his time wallowing away with his bar crawler friends. Falstaff and the rest of his chaotic crew however prove to be less than beneficial to Hal, often causing him more trouble than they are worth. However their influence hardens Hal and brings him to the realization that he needs to grow up and take his rightful place as king. The chaotic nature of his friends, while it helps him escape his duties for a while, ultimately pushes him to become a better king than his father.
Like Prince Hal, Shakespeare also enjoys the presence and comic relief of Falstaff and the other bar crawlers. Characters like these are used by Shakespeare to appeal to a lower-class crowd, commonly referred to as groundlings. However the more educated crowd also benefits from these characters, as they move the plot. The chaos of the bar crawlers provide order in a sense, the fuel to develop Shakespeare’s story and also demonstrate how through chaos can come order and clarity.

Henry IV, Part I~William Shakespeare

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chaos is...the opportunity

Odysseus is long lost at sea, leaving his home unprotected and vulnerable, and leaving his son the opportunity to become a hero. Telemachus is just an infant when his father leaves and grows up in the chaos left behind in his absence. Suitors fight for his mother’s adoration and land, leaving the home he knows in shambles. This chaos is put to an end with Odysseus’ return as father and son fight side by side to eliminate the chaos. This bloody but inspirational battle reaches its close as Telemachus exposes his true beauty, saving a man’s life at the hands of his father. His empathy builds him even above his father’s natural talents arguing that through a chaotic childhood he has become a better man.
Although Telemachus is exposed to the chaos of the suitors, it is nothing compared to the horrors witnessed by Odysseus on his journey home. His conflicts with the Cyclops, witches, Posiedon, and many others not only make him into a better man, they also construct a hero. A man’s legacy was very important at this time, it defined him. Odysseus, through the trials he endures, is written the ultimate legend, and lives on through it. This opportunity for immortality in script is only available because of the chaos he endures.
In addition the familial chaos brings interference from the goddess Athena, who exemplifies beauty in its finest form. Without their bad fortune Odysseus and his family would have never pulled on the goddesses heart strings and thus would have never witnessed her beauty.

Chaos is...absent from beauty

Lily Briscoe finds comfort only in her painting as her world is turned upside down in the chaos of Mrs. Ramsey’s death. Lily begins the portrait of her mentor, friend and idol at the beginning of Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, portraying her as the perfect mother. As the chaos in the household intensifies Lily is drawn away from her painting and her idealized view of the world. She only completes it once order is restored. She observes a ship, deep in the horizon, carrying a changed Mr. Ramsey and his children and thinks that “nothing stays, all changes; but not words, not paint”. Despite the turmoil of the past and even the changing present Lily’s ideal, her true version of beauty, is preserved.
Like her portrait displays, Mrs. Ramsey also enjoys a life without chaos. She is a socialite who maintains her livelihood through dinner parties and having guests at the house. The beauty of Mrs. Ramsey is that, even with an absentee husband and countless house guests, she maintains the order and cleanliness of a home.