The Girl With The Voice

She was there, Sitting, Looking down,
Her hair flowing across her face,
She sees me sit down in front of her,
She looks up, Smiles
Holds out her beautiful baby hands,
Offers me a black tie between the tips of her fairy fingers,
I handed her a shiny quarter,
My sense sacrificed,
And I bite into the apple, its juices streaming down my chin.

And she spoke words that
Slithered their reflective skin
Around my ears
Like a cool breeze in the middle of a summer day
But soft, warm, and mellow,
Breathing the air into my lungs,
Clear crystalline water fills my chest.

And that voice
Is dripping with honey,
Melding with sweet warm milk,
Into a river of milk and honey
That leads me into the land of Canaan.
And my boat capsizes,
And I drown in this beautiful liquid of sugar and warmth.

And I wash ashore
Onto her smile, Into a garden of daisies
Under the warm shining sun,
So I pluck the most beautiful of them all
And I hold it close up to my nose
And I breathe….

Her aroma lures me in,
Her body telling how she loves me,
Her sound, seductive, beckoning me to come
The hole in the earth opened up once again
And the gold revealed I fell.

But…. you know what she did to me? You know what happened? What, she, she did to me?
She took me, got a knife,
Carved my breast out, and my heart,
My aching heart, exposed, vulnerable, threatened,
And she gouged it
Like a man gouging his eyeballs out because he’s too afraid
Too afraid to see the truth
That maybe, all he did , the kingdom he inherited,
The wife he married, the children he bore,
Was a lie.
A freaking lie, so I
Too scared, crushed my own heart.
So she couldn’t.

Suicide is the only form of relief when it comes to love.

But everytime I look back at her
She seems to get farther and farther.
As if a dream is slowly floating away
And I can only admire….

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That Kid

I remember walking home from school one day, and I saw this kid. A kid– not a typical high school teenager walking with swag and backpack on, but a different type of teenager. He was shuffling, to God knows where, with glasses all the way down to the tip of his nose, with his humongous backpack hanging from one arm. Just shuffling like a penguin. And as he shuffled past me, my eyes followed him.

As my eyes followed him, I thought. What if I were him? What if I had that same ignorance of how people viewed me as weird and different? Wouldn’t I be free? Wouldn’t I be unrestrained by the chains of society? So I looked on as he shuffled with a mix of admiration and envy.

But then I remembered. I remembered how when I was little, I was weird, hyper, and uncaring. I remember that kid, when he first went into that restroom, how he pulled down his pants all the way to his shoes at the urinal, and how all the little classmate boys would laugh at him. And he would stare at them with questioning eyes and wonder what was wrong. And when he saw what the other big boys were doing, he copied them, but he never felt no shame for what he did.

That kid, who would always joke around in class, even during the tests. The more the teacher said hush, the louder he talked and the funnier he joked. All to impress a girl next to him. I can’t believe I was already falling for girls since kindergarten.

That kid, who thought everybody laughed with him, but in reality they laughed at him. That he was the class clown. But he never knew. He thought, why, the whole school is my friend! That kid, who wet his pants in kindergarten, first, and second grade, three years in a row. The weird kid who pees his own pants. But he never thought his friend would think him no wrong. That kid, just a Charlie. Even the teacher suggested to his parents he go to special ed.

But like Charlie, he matured. It was just a late maturity. And he realized that it’s a cruel world out there. That all his friends weren’t real friends. His innocent outlook at life gave way to a mistrust. The fact is, people are two-faced. One day he’s your best buddy; the next day he’s gonna backstab you.

But like what? This guy was just in 2nd grade. He didn’t care much; all he wanted to do was play and have fun.

Fast forward to middle school, and you know what I see? A suddenly transformed student, working hard on all his classwork, acing all his tests, making a name for himself. No more class clown. This kid’s a genius, they all say. The top of the top. Dam, he’s got potential, he’s got future. And the kid bought into it, and he smiled. Outside, he didn’t say much, but inside, he was bathing in praise.

But in return for that praise he got no friends. Except for one. He was a golfer, and he was in the grade higher. And everyday after school, that kid would meet with him in an underground classroom and all alone, just the two of them, would philosophize. About chess, math, life, speech, everything there was to know. It was Plato and Aristotle once again, in the streets of Greece, singing hymns of wisdom to each other. And it was in these hymns that the little kid started thinking ever more ferociously and ever more actively.

From that thinking, the kid gained an outlook on life– that the meaning of life was to pursue intellectual wisdom. So he climbed that ladder, and up and up he went, and right when he was about to reach the top, he realized he was a fool the whole time. And his hands slipped, and he fell all the way down.

To a hole. A hole in his heart.  I see a kid, sitting there, near a dumpster late during the day, eating his own sandwich, just staring at the trash around him. Sometimes, it rained, and if so, he would look up at the rain and feel it meander down his own face like the blood from his heart. And he’d watch how the sun was covered up by those dark, gray clouds. But no matter. In his eyes, the sun was gray, too.

I see a human being drowning in the water of his own mind, in a sea of alcohol he was drunk on. I see a kid, walking alone in the dark, the passing cars shining their lights on him and then disappearing, and how the kid looked up at the sky for stars. But there were no stars.

I see the kid, trying out for track team. He sees all his teammates jump high, lift weights, throw heavy balls, sprint, do anything. And all the kid can do is just stare. He can’t even lift the bar. He can’t even throw the ball. He can’t jump shit. He can’t do nothing. Pathetic. Hopeless.

And that kid was dying. He was succumbing to this cancer inside, that was feeding itself over and over and over. And the only ailment he found was the pen.

And so I looked at the shuffling kid, shuffling across the traffic light. And that kid got run over by a car. Maybe I dream, but I know it’s truth. Cuz I saw that bloodied body somewhere, arms torn up, legs cut off, brain smashed, heart gone. Yes, I’ve met that kid somewhere. I’ve met that kid.

My 2nd Love Poem Part 2

If you haven’t checked out my last post yet, do so. In that post, I briefly explained the background of the poem in which I was writing it. Today, however, I want to go further in-depth, and then perhaps maybe get into a theoretical aspect of writing poetry.

One thing I want to first note off is that for this poem, unlike any others I have written, is that I actually get quite literal. In my first line, I say “she’s looking at me”, then later on I continue on with “Her head turned/ From the corner of her eyes”, and soon I have another “Her eyes scan over me,”, and I end the poem with a “And I solemnly realize/Even if she does like me and even if I like her back/We will never be together.” All of these are literal descriptions of what I saw from her while I was writing this poem or what I was thinking.

The second big difference is that I did not attempt to put any fancy smancy literary devices like I usually do. For those who have read my past poems before, you might have noticed a ton of symbolism in those poems. I actually made an effort to put those in, because I had a belief that symbolism was the ultimate essential piece of literature and was what made things beautiful. I HAD that belief. As you can see in this poem, I made no attempt. I just wrote what I automatically felt.

So what made me shift from symbolic to more literal? Music. Nowadays, there is the general gist that contemporary music is not deep, that it is dirty, that it is just people singing and rapping out shit. And as a child, I totally agreed with that. I barely saw any symbolism or any of that stuff in say, Ariana Grande’s music. Her songs oftentimes are just a repetition of  the words “I love you” in various forms.

Take this sample from Ariana’s “Right There”-

You know what I need (aye)/I know what you like, (aye)/Put it all together baby/We could be alright (hey)/How could this be wrong/When it feels so right/Yeah, I really love you/I really love you (oh)
And I’ll never let you go…

Here, the lyrics are seriously just like literal talking, and I don’t see any artsy kind of stuff. There’s no symbolism I see or any literary devices I see. Yet guess what? I still like the song.

And why is this? Because sometimes people don’t get your symbolism the way you see it. The saying “as big as a rhino” can be perceived differently. I might see it mostly in terms of size, while another guy might see it mostly in terms of roughness, etc. Sometimes, people don’t even catch it or get it at all. But with literal words like “I love you,” people understand what one is talking about.

Another good thing about being literal is that people can relate to it more. Whereas symbolism and literary devices seem to be relegated to poets, authors, and literary artists, being literal is what people do in everyday life. Therefore, people understand it more. When a guy asks a girl out, he usually doesn’t say, ” Will you float with me above the clouds and bathe with me in water?” etc. He will simply say. ” Will you go out with me?”

And then this concept of writing poetry without thinking but just feeling. Just doing so, I feel it captures the emotion more- the way my heart leaped and the way I felt scared when she looked at me. Whereas if I had thought too much about how to incorporate symbols and other stuff, I would have gotten lost in the thought and forget about the initial feeling that propelled me to write the poem. This is perhaps a new concept that I would have to explore more.

But overall, I realize that today’s music is not less deep. Just more relatable.  Yet, I believe the best way is to achieve a balance between this literal-ness and symbolic-ness. In my next post, I will shift away from art and move into something more science-related.

My 2nd Love Poem Part 1

So, I have this sneaking suspicion this girl from a class of mine likes me or is interested in me, and as the summer passes, it’s getting more and more obvious. Even my female friends based on the hints have told me she does. But today, the signs were too obvious, and it made me feel something uneasy. And just like that, I started writing while ignoring my teacher teaching. Below is the poem, and in my next post, I will talk about what I did different in this poem from any other poem I wrote and go more in-depth.

A Girl Who Likes Me

She’s looking at me

Giving me glances, like

Light feet tapping the water,

Prancing along

Footprints embedded on my heart.

The way she looks at me

Her head turned

From the corner of her eyes

I am the prey

She the lioness

I feel violated, breached, trespassed

Me overturned, lying on my shell

Underbelly exposed

Her eyes scan over me.

When our eyes meet, she quickly looks away.

………….

But at the same time,

My heart dances, jitters,

Leaps, yelps,

Smiles, giggles,

With a little skip

Why, she likes me!

But then a roadblock—I stop.

I look up at the cloudy sky,

And I solemnly realize

Even if she does like me and even if I like her back,

We will never be together.

The Loss of Passion, From The Grapes Of Wrath

Before I start, please check out and like my new photography page Titus Wu Photography! One of my upcoming posts will be about my take on the art of photography.

As for now, there’s this passage from the novel The Grapes of Wrath that I want to share.

The houses were left vacant on the land, and the land was vacant because of this. Only the tractor sheds of corrugated iron, silver and gleaming, were alive; and they were alive with metal and gasoline and oil, the disks of the plow shining. The tractors had lights shining, for there is no day and night for a tractor and the disks turn the earth in the darkness and they glitter in the daylight. And when a horse stops work and goes into the barn there is a life and a vitality left, there is a breathing and a warmth, and the feet shift on the straw, and the jaws champ on the hay, and the ears and the eyes are alive. There is a warmth of life in the barn, and the heat and smell of life. But when the motor of a tractor stops, it is as dead as the ore it came from. The heat goes out of it like the living heat that leaves a corpse. Then the corrugated iron doors are closed and the tractor man drives home to town, perhaps twenty miles away, and he need not come back for weeks or months, for the tractor is dead. And this is easy and efficient. So easy that the wonder goes out of land and the working of it, and with the wonder the deep understanding and the relation. For nitrates are not the land, nor phosphates and the length of fiber in the cotton is not the land. Carbon is not man, nor salt nor water nor calcium. He is all these, but he is much more, much more; and the land is so much more than its analysis. That man who is more than his chemistry.. turning his plow point for a stone, dropping his handles to slide over an outcropping, kneeling in the earth to eat his lunch….knows the land that is more than his analysis. But the machine man, driving a dead tractor on land he does not know and love, understands only chemistry….when the corrugated iron doors are shut, he goes home, and his home is not the land.

When I first came upon this passage, my first reaction was something that was stirring inside my heart. The lyrical rhythm of this passage is sort of like the beat of a heart- a beat of something living, something alive. I love how John Steinbeck (the author) repeats the same words over and over again, but in a poetic way, and with the intent of emphasizing the concepts behind those words. His focus on detail and his doing it so beautifully are what makes him such an unique outstanding writer. For example, he talks about how the horse is “breathing”, “[its] feet shift on the straw,” and how its “jaws champ on the hay,” and all of this creates a vivid, living image for me.

But from the content of this passage, we see a dilemma that was being faced in the past and we so face now- modernization of farming versus the old ways of farming. Using technology versus working by hand. As we see in our everyday lives, the benefits technology brings are enormous- we can spread ideas and communicate faster than ever, we are able to access and create many things easier than ever, and we have made our lives much more comfortable because of technology. As stated in this passage, “…this is easy and efficient.”

However, there are drawbacks to these benefits, which Steinbeck laments, how “the wonder goes out of the land….and with the wonder the deep understanding and the relation.” Using the beautiful images of plowing, kneeling into the earth, and farming, Steinbeck is praising and mourning the deep connection between the farmer and his land. This concept I find fascinating, given I have never seen a farm before, but it reminds me of the same passion between a worker and his job, something that is so rare in this industrial world.

And then how Steinbeck breathes life into the land by comparing it to man, how the land is more than just its compositions. Where is this type of passion these days? I see almost none. By passion, I don’t mean having an interest or liking towards a subject, I mean what Steinbeck means- seeing the subject as life. When I write, take photos, listen to music, I see it as breathing, as an organism. But most people now just do their jobs for the money and nothing more, whereas with these farmers, they saw their land as their own family.

But was Steinbeck blaming technology? No. He was blaming the human greed behind all of it, and how technology has furthered that greed. Before the Industrial Revolution, everything was made by hand. Jugs, baskets, etc. and for those craftsmen, it was art. Once technology and the factory settled in, all of that was nearly eliminated. Why? Because technology made things easier, and thus, cheaper. And by wiping out craftsmen, it was also wiping out a way of art, a way of passion. “He goes home, and his home is not the land.”

But for me, it’s something else. My school is a very academically-strong school, but I feel for the wrong reasons. I ask a friend of mine, why did you join that club? He says, for college. Why do you go to college? For a good job. Why a good job? So I can make more money and have a happier life. In the end, it’s that want for money and for a wealthier material lifestyle. But I see that because of this, they don’t see the passion and the life between them and what they learn. They may achieve that materialistic lifestyle, but in the end, they’re giving up on so much more.

Steinbeck mourned the loss of this passion he was seeing. It’s so sad that it still exists today.

What Happened to the Poets?

If you don’t know yet, I’m in love with literature. It’s perhaps the only thing in life so far that I actually have a true passion for. So when I began watching the movie The Dead Poet’s Society just two days ago, I was awed. And I was inspired. For those of you who don’t know what the movie is about, it’s about this new English professor at this prep school in England who tries to teach these kids the beauty of poetry. And the way he teaches is unique and entertaining, but perhaps best described as beautiful. Because the way he speaks, the way he teaches, the way he quotes poems, is like honey dripping out of his mouth. It’s sweet, soft, and moving.

So this professor, named Keats, was back in his high school days part of this organization called The Dead Poet’s Society. Students would meet in this cave and reread poems of big poets like Whitman and Frost or they would present their own problems. And they would just sit there in the cave in a circle letting words flow out of their mouth and playing around with it. Just being artistically beautiful with it.

As I sat there watching this movie, thrills were being sent through my spine. I was like simply wow. Because I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to be in this school of literature where poets, authors, novelists all come together to present, talk, and discuss about the beauty of literature.

And then my light bulb flashed. What if I could make a club just like this? And so I began a search for someone in my academically driven high school who shared this same passion with me. And the results- I felt like I was the last of a dying breed.

I mean, if you want to go find some math or science people at our school, you will have no problem. Like the majority of the students I know are those kind of people. Or if you wanted to find people who like to present, do speeches, do law, you also won’t have trouble finding them. But when I tried to find someone just one person who liked to write for the fun of it, for the beauty of it, for the sake of the art itself- I found none.

I did find a few people who were interested. And the closest I could find was this friend of mine who likes to write rap lyrics (which is a form of literature by the way). But overall, no success.

And so I asked- WHY. Why do I feel like I’m the only guy out here all alone. And so I thought.

And I realized. It’s because of the sense of economic security. Those people who do math and science and law usually pursue these subjects because they know for a fact a  good-paying job is out there for them in those fields. This is perhaps the only reason why I have still held on to engineering (I do think it’s cool though). But if you pursue literature, not really.

But you see, rather than having this discourage me, I became even more motivated. Because I realized that the majority of people who do pursue literature actually do love it. No one would take big risks such as those taken in the literature field if it weren’t out of love for it. Whereas in the other fields of math and science and others, there’s a big chance there’s gonna be a lot of phonies out there who do it just for the job.

So even if I am alone, I like it. It makes me feel unique. But I don’t want to keep this all to myself. I want to spread it throughout my school. I want to spread this beauty I see in literature. I want to create a school of literature in my high school. This is my goal, and may God help me achieve this before I graduate.

And a quote from that movie:

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

A Love Poem I Wrote

So recently I have been caught up in some love…….thus explaining why I haven’t blogged for some time. So I have decided to put an end to my love craze for this particular girl. Instead of saying simply “I like you” however, I decided to write a love poem. A really depressing one, because I know that it won’t end well. Nevertheless, I’m amazed at the pathetic piece of literature I created. The meaning of the poem I will leave it up to the reader to decide.

The Gold I Found                      by Titus Wu

Once upon a morning,
A man with a shovel wandered.
Upon a black hill he stood,
A hill barren and lifeless.

Hopeless and disappointed,
He stuck his shovel into the soil,
Expecting nothing
But dirt.

But a clunk he heard,
And there yonder he saw gold.

Gold, beautiful beyond measure,
Angelic beyond angels,
Gold that showered rays of light everywhere,
Turning the hill from pitch black to warm green.

Happy and delighted,
He dug for more.
And he found more.
And the more he found, the more he dug.

But pity the man when his mind
Is consumed with gold.
Obsessed, that he dug too deep
And found himself trapped
In the very hole he created.

Like a bug trapped in a jar,
Like a prisoner in a dark cell,
He tried to climb back out.
But with every attempt he failed,
With every attempt he fell back in,
Falling deeper into distress.

Every new idea, every new attempt
Into getting him back out
Only failed and made him fall deeper.

He became a madman,
Isolated, lonely, depressed,
A child suffocating in poison gas.
For the love that he felt for gold,
Gold never gave back.

He died later one day,
In a cold night.
But the gold was still there.
And his love for it remained.

Holden, Me, And My Depression

Looking back at what has happened so far during my sophomore year at high school, I have realized that I have undergone a major change in my personality and my outlook at life. Or maybe I haven’t; maybe I just affirmed my position in life. Either way, something big happened. And it started with one book. That book is J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye.

You see, I started getting depressed last year when I was a freshman in high school. I don’t know how it started; maybe it was a combination of pressures from home and school. But I knew who was giving the pressure- myself. And I couldn’t help it. Sometimes when it was raining I would walk down the hallways thinking of dying or pretending I was drunk so I didn’t have to worry about the world anymore. The point is, however, that I didn’t see what was happening that time as depression; I only saw it as me being negative.

I had this attitude for the rest of my freshman year and during the summer. The thing was, I really couldn’t put into words how I was feeling. Of course, this all changed when I started reading the book.

My first thought when I began reading the book- I hated it. I hated the voice, the language, because Catcher in the ryemaybe it was too different from what I used to read. I was like- why in the world would an English class make students read this jumble of crap? Until I realized- it wasn’t a jumble of crap. It was pure beauty. My English teacher during one class took one tiny passage out of the book, and from that one tiny passage she revealed to us Salinger’s ultimate purpose. By the time she finished, my jaws were so wide and my eyes were so big. I was awestruck at the beauty- how Salinger managed to give a symbolic meaning behind every single detail.

But soon as I read the book more and more, I came upon another beauty. The beauty of being able to relate to the character. The beauty that because of this, I was able to FEEL Holden. And somehow, I came upon the understanding that through Holden, I was able to realize what I was feeling was depression. Holden became a symbol of my depression. He was my depression conceptualized. In a sense, Holden became me and I became Holden. I soon started talking like Holden, using words like “phony,” “sonuvabitch,” etc. I even started feeling like Holden more than ever. Sometimes I even started lapsing into panic attacks. Somehow me and Holden became one.

Perhaps this is the reason why my depression went worse. Because I related too much to him. I remember when I stayed at school late for track tryouts, and when I was walking home alone, it was all dark. And I just started talking to myself, thinking that you know maybe I could wander the streets just like Holden wandered New York. Only if I had the dough.

Just like how Holden ranted, I felt the need to rant to ease my stress. So I ranted when I was talking to my friends, I ranted on Facebook, I ranted and ranted and ranted. And I wasn’t thinking what I was saying, so soon I was letting out so many negative thoughts, so many negative emotions. And the thing is, I guess I scared people. And so my fellow students reported me. And the next thing I knew, my whole world turned upside down.

I remember being dragged out of my math class by the dean. I remember being handcuffed in front of my crying parents. I remember being transported by ambulance to the place where I would live for six days of my life. To a mental hospital. And I remembered how I laughed at myself, thinking that my life is so much like Holden’s. Crying at myself, thinking my future was ruined. Pitying myself.

But maybe it was those six days that perhaps had the most impact on my life. It was during those six days that I contemplated about myself. That mental hospital was the site of my apotheosis. And I also realized- I wasn’t the only one out there. Perhaps more importantly, there were people much much far worse than Holden and I.

I met people who cut themselves. People who do things such as lying out in the middle of the road. People who tried to hang themselves. People who were so depressed they had hallucinations. People who were verbally, emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. People who were mentally retarded. As alien as it seemed to me, however, they and I shared one thing in common- we all felt neglected, and we all supported each other. And I’m glad that I met people like that. I’m glad I met Aidan, my roommate, who I will never forget. Because I felt them, and their experiences became mine.

When I was discharged, I felt I changed. But it was only the next day, when I came back to school, that I truly changed. And somehow, I don’t know why, that very same day I came back to school, it rained. I was in track class that time, and just like Holden, I just stood there, letting the rain soak me. Letting myself be reborn again.

So what happened later? Well right now I’m seeing my psychiatrist weekly. I’m still being watched.

So this is my story. You might ask, why make such a personal story public? Let me tell you- out there in the world, people don’t talk about depression much. But then there are those few people who do. And from their sharing, they have begun a new movement- a movement of making depression aware to the public. And so I would just like to contribute this story to this growing library, this growing movement. My story alone cannot accurately convey my feeling of depression, but a library of these stories collectively can. And besides this, there is one more reason why I want to share this story-

Cause Holden would have wanted me to.

Seeing Literature As An Art

Ok, so I have tons of schoolwork to do right now, but I’m going to forget about it because I have a urgency to write this. It’s a big problem I see among today’s readers: most of us don’t appreciate the art of literature.

I mean, think back to the last time you read a book. How did you read it? For most of us, sometimes including me I admit, we pretty much just read. We let the plot or the story excite us, and when it’s over, it’s over. And then we move on to our next book (or in some cases forget about reading).

That used to be me always, all the way from the first book I read in kindergarten to the the last book I read in seventh grade. Read. Get excited. Finish. Move on.

That was my view of literature- something to just excite us, to comfort us, to take our attention away from the world. I never understood why it was considered an art.

Until one day in English class, we were going over the story “The Lottery.” I read the story before, so I thought I was ready for it. Apparently, I was dead wrong. The teacher began pointing out subtle things I did not notice- such as archetypes of color or the allusions involved. I was fascinated. I never noticed these things before. Suddenly, based off from what the teacher told us, I found by myself other archetypes, symbols, and other literary devices, and I even formed my own opinions and analysis based on those devices.

And I found it so beautiful on how all of these literary devices, as different as they seem, how all of them somehow weaved with each other, blended with each other, symphonized with each other, to form one big harmonious message- and in the case of “The Lottery,” nonviolence.

Even more beautiful is the subtleness of the message being revealed. “The Lottery” never directly stated violence was bad. It rather indirectly stated it through literary devices…. to me that was breath-taking, how the true beauty of the story lies within the body of the story, not on the skin of it.

I even found my own analysis beautiful. Isn’t it beautiful that based on seemingly irrelevant details one can reason out a firm logical message? Breath-taking.

So beautiful. That I cried. And from that time, I fell in love with literature. I went back to all my novels and stories I read and analyzed them. I even went to picture books I read and analyzed them. It was just so fascinating and beautiful.

And I asked: how did the author do it? How did the author manage to weave all these details together to make a message? How did the author manage to perfectly incorporate that syntax right at that moment? Mention very subtly an archetype there? And at the same time form a story?

And I realized that that was why an author is also considered an artist. Just like an author, an artist must know how to incorporate each paint stroke with one another. And in the end, all these paint strokes weave with each other to form a coherent picture. And each stroke conveys meaning- just like each sentence.. just like each word.. just like each literary device used.

The problem is, most of us don’t appreciate the beauty. It’s like just viewing a painting of Mona Lisa. We just look at Mona Lisa, say something about it, and move on. Similarly, we read a story and move on. BUT WE DON’T APPRECIATE THE BEAUTY. Why don’t we focus on the details in the painting of Mona Lisa- why don’t we focus on each individual stroke? Why don’t we focus on each individual sentence or paragraph? Why can’t we search for devices and try to find a meaning behind it?

Simply put, most of us miss out on the beauty of literature. In our fast-paced technological world, this beauty is more than ever in danger of becoming gone. Let us all take the time to focus on a novel and take the time to appreciate it fully. Or else, literature is just not as beautiful as it could be.

Hansel and Gretel and Sex

Just recently I was to find a fairy tale to analyze and present in my English class. I wasn’t really creative in choosing my fairy tale topic, so I just chose the first fairy tale that came into my mind: Hansel and Gretel. Before my research, I just saw this tale as somewhat fascinating and creepy. After I did my research, now whenever I think of this tale, I just think of sex. Below is my Freudian analysis/ speech text:

I remember when I was in sixth grade, my class was watching a movie, when suddenly popped a nude female. Before the teacher could cover it, all the boys just stood up from their seats with wide eyes and hanging tongues and started panting.  Well, almost all the boys, because I was smart. I didn’t just stand up- I went up to the screen and got the HD view. Oh, baby, the view was good! Of course, the teacher came up to me and told me to sit my butt down, but it was after that moment that I realized something- I used my brain! The only problem is that like all boys, my high-IQ, biologically advanced, super large brain is not up in my head, but down in my genitals.   So do we see this in the short story ‘Hansel and Gretel’, where through the many sexual references throughout the story, the Grimm Brothers reveal the belief that women have power, particularly when it comes to the domain of sex.

The witch’s house symbolizes sex itself.

The story of “Hansel and Gretel” involves a poor woodcutter, his wife, and his two children named Hansel and Gretel. Since the family is poor and have barely anything to eat, the wife plans on ditching the children in the woods, and the husband reluctantly agrees. The first time, they bring the children out to the woods to ditch them, but the children still come back because Hansel, who overheard the wife’s plan, put some rocks the night before in his pockets and thus left the rocks out to form a trail back. The second time, the wife leads the children deeper into the forest, and Hansel uses bread crumbs. The problem is the crumbs are eaten by the birds, and thus they are lost. They later stumble upon a candy house, and start eating to their delight. Then, a witch comes out and entices them to come in. However, the witch is a cannibal and seizes Hansel and locks him up. She tells Gretel to start feeding Hansel so once he gets fat, she can eat him. However, the witch has poor eyesight, so whenever she checks upon him, Hansel just offers a bone to feel and thus the witch thinks Hansel is still thin. The witch after a few days gets irritated and decides to eat him anyway. She tells Gretel to go inside an oven to see if it’s hot, but Gretel plays dumb and says she doesn’t know how. The witch then demonstrates how to do it, but right then Gretel kicks the witch in and cooks her in the oven. She frees Hansel, gathers up the rich gems in the witch’s house, and they go back to the woodcutter’s house after crossing a river on a duck’s back. Thus, they live happily ever after, now rich with the gems. So one might ask, where is the sex?

FYI, analysts have said that the bread crumb trail is actually Hansel’s trail of sperm

The archetypes in ‘Hansel and Gretel’ present the children’s sexual awakening and the role women play in it. The biggest archetype occurs when it is mentioned that the family had “very little to bite or sup” (Grimm 1), and when Hansel and Gretel devour freely from the witch’s house “built of bread… [decorated with] sugar” (Grimm 2). Eating is the archetype of having sex; thus, the family is actually not hungry for food, but hungry for sex. The fact that the stepmother is dominant over the male in this sex-needy situation indicates that females are in control when the drive for sex takes over. The witch’s house is made of bread, which symbolizes the body, and thus when the children are having the time of their lives eating this bread house, they are in essence going to an all-you-can-have-sex buffet. However, behind the beauty of the house, behind the beauty of sex, lives a witch, or the evil female. Just as the witch owns the house, so do women own sexuality. In the stepmother’s second attempt to rid the children, something the husband does not want to do, the “woman [who is the sole mastermind behind this plan] led the children far into the woods” (Grimm 2), to which the children this time get lost because “the birds of the woods” (Grimm 2) ate the bread crumb trail that Hansel had left on the ground to follow back. In contrast to the woodcutter’s house, which represents society and its constraints and the lack of food or sex, the woods is an archetype of a newer, darker place of their sexual awakening in which the laws of society do not follow. By venturing deeper into the woods, the children are venturing deeper into the new realm of sex. The bread crumb trail is in a sense their only way back to society, but since the birds- an archetype of sexual freedom because of their ability to fly- eats the trail up, they are now lost, and free, in this forest of sexuality.  Since it is only the wife not the husband who can bear herself to get the children lost into sex, it shows the author’s belief that only females have the power to do such an evil deed of sexual corruption.

The Great Famine

Not just the archetypes but also the alluded historical events help emphasize the power that women have. We see a class conflict, in which Gretel, who lacks bread, kills the witch, who owns tons of bread, and proclaims, “The old witch is dead!” (Grimm 3) The witch represents the rich, and Gretel represents the poor, as seen in the amount of bread, and thus sex, that each has. Rich people have more time for sex; poor people don’t. The event that is alluded here is the many revolutions that have occurred throughout history, most notably the French revolution, in which it was a mob of angry poor women who were the ones who marched into the king’s palace and took both the king and the bread that he owned. This was a turning point in the revolution; thus, it implies the political power that women can yield against the evil rich. However, by associating this with the fact that bread equals body and sex, the Grimm brothers show that it is not just political power, but sexual power that women such as Gretel can yield. Another historical event emphasizes not Gretel’s power, but the witch’s power, which can be seen when the family has nothing to eat and when the witch plans to “kill and cook [Hansel]” (Grimm 3). The whole story originates from a great famine in medieval history called the Great Famine. During this famine, there were cannibalism, families giving up children, and of course hunger. Hansel and Gretel’s family are living in this time period, yet the only person who seems to be not affected is the witch. Whereas everybody else is lacking bread and suffering to the extent of cannibalism, the witch stands out by having tons of bread and living a wealthy life. Thus, because of this stark contrast, the witch is ever more enticing to the many hungry people out there; she is like ice-cold soda in the middle of a desert. Of course, taking in the fact that bread symbolizes sex, one Great Famine can say the witch is ever more seductive, and thus her sexual powers are ever stronger.

Men trapped by women in the domain of sex

By having men be in helpless situations, the Grimm brothers show how dependent men must rely on women in the domain of sex. When Hansel and Gretel are in the witch’s house, the witch locks Hansel up “behind a grating” (Grimm 3), and when she checks on how fat Hansel has become after feeding him “the best kind of victuals” (Grimm 3), Hansel tricks her in offering her a bone, a symbol of excitement; all the while, “Gretel got nothing but crab-shells” (Grimm 3). The bone reveals that Hansel is enjoying sex, which is further proven by the fact that he is getting fatter and fatter. However, he is in a cage, unable to grapple free and lost in the evil lust of sex, just like any man could be. This is in contrast to Gretel, who remains thin, symbolizing that she has lost enjoyment of this kind of sex. All of this shows that the witch, or sex, only serves to fulfill a man’s sexual needs, not a woman’s. Thus, the women, or Gretel, does not fall prey to sex, serving to emphasize women’s control, whereas men are all dependent on whatever the sex does to them since they are now ‘trapped’. Later, Gretel intelligently kills the witch, frees Hansel, and when going back home, she shouts out to the duck to help them cross “over its nice white back” (Grimm 3). By killing the witch, Gretel in essence frees Hansel from the lust of sex, showing yet again the helplessness of men. By killing the witch intelligently however, it shows how women know their way around sex, whereas men like Hansel have no clue and are hopelessly trapped. Just as the witch has power to trap men like Hansel in the cage of sex, so do women have the power to free them from sex, and transform them back to society, as when it was Gretel who called the duck to help transport both of them across the river, signifying renewal. Again, note that Hansel is dependent on Gretel, a woman, for saving him.

Ladies and gentlemen, once in your life I can guarantee that you will enter the realm of sex. You will enter into a new world, full of new pleasures, new excitements, and new knowledge. However good they may seem, please be aware that behind it all is a dirty little witch. And men, if you don’t watch out, this witch will come after you and eat you, and he will find it very delicious. So you better watch out.

Works Cited

“A Walk Through the Forest: A Recipe for Resilience.” Fairy Tale Channel. Blogger, 28 Sept.

2009. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.

Brothers, Grimm. “Hansel and Gretel.” Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Grimmstories.com, n.d.

Web. 01 Oct. 2013.

“Gingerbread Temptations: Analysis of the Grimm Brothers’ Hansel & Gretel.” The Fine Art

Diner. Blogger, 31 Jan. 2013. Web. 01 Oct. 2013.

Check out the last work cited. It has a very good Freudian analysis. Anyway, have fun reading Hansel and Gretel again! This time, when you read it, you will look at it more differently ever than before.