Ivan Ivanovitch tells a story about his brother to reveal how he views the nature of happiness in “Gooseberries” by Anton Chekhov. Even though his brother had fulfilled his dream of owning a country estate, what he did to get there was selfish and caused him to be in a huge home, alone and still selfish. By the end of the story, readers are able to recognize that according to Ivanovitch, a person becomes happier when they are not self-seeking, strive to help others, and never forget of those less privileged. This is because even if someone may have all the land, money, or “gooseberries” in the world, unless they are using their fortune for good, they become plain ignorant just as his brother had. Ivanovitch makes it clear that riches do not make you happy, creating positive changes and helping others is what brings happiness and is good for the soul.
In “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Joy Harjo, the writer uses a kitchen table to represent life and conversations to represent the different stages of life. For example, Harjo starts begins describing the meaning of the kitchen table in infancy, “Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it”. She then moves on to childhood, “It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human”. Next is adulthood, “Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children”. Finally she arrives to death, “and have prepared our parents for burial here”. These events or “conversations” Harjo recognizes can all be shared and enjoyed in one place, the kitchen table.
Harjo ends the poem by touching on an unexpected topic, the end of the world. However, instead of setting a dark and serious tone, Harjo imagines the end of the world to occur “ while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.” This image of the world ending at a kitchen table, something the writer is very fond of, makes it seem like it might not be such a gloomy thing. Almost as if the moments enjoyed at the “kitchen table” or in life are enough to leave the world satisfied.
After reading the “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti, I found the main themes to be about evil vs. innocence and sacrifice. For starters, Laura and Lizzie represent the innocence and purity you may find in young women or children. The goblin men represent the evil for their tantalizing ways to get the girls to buy their fruit. Despite Laura’s sister, Lizzie, warning her to not go near or even look at the goblin men, Lauras lack of experience and judgement choose otherwise. Laura find herself being enchanted by the goblin merchant men and their fruit that is “Sweeter than honey from the rock, Stronger than man-rejoicing wine”. This decision nearly leads Laura to her demise as she could not find pleasure or joy in anything after that. In order to prevent Lauras passing, Lizzie sacrifices herself to get Laura the fruit she longed for, in hopes to bring life back to her. When she approaches the goblin men everything seems normal as they chant “Look at our apples Russet and dun, Bob at our cherries, Bite at our peaches”. However, when Lizzie’s fierce demeanor refuses to eat a bit of the fruit, the goblin men quickly change their behavior. “Their looks were evil. Lashing their tails They trod and hustled her”. Lizzie is able to grapple her way out and return home to Laura. Because Lizzie won the battle with the goblin men, it was as if Laura’s life and joy was restored. “Swift fire spread through her veins, knock’d at her heart. Lizzie demonstrates the theme of sacrafice and that good or “innocence” can beat evil.