Monday, September 20, 2010

Avalon: Beauty (and Driving Nightmares)

The 1-year anniversary of this blog slipped by unnoticed. It was September 12th. 

As my birthday approaches (bringing with it eligibility for my driving permit), I've been having a lot of driving-related nightmares. Although I always seem to be driving from the passenger's seat.

For instance, a few nights ago I had a dream that I was driving along down a well-known road near my school whose name I am leaving out for privacy reasons. My dad said "Oh, there's always a cop hanging out behind that building" which made me nervous, which (since it was a dream, and therefore my emotions affect my surroundings), cause a whole platoon of cops to drive directly into the line of traffic in front of me. I swerved to avoid hitting them, which brought me smacking into the rear end of a flat-bed truck, except the flat-bed part inexplicably flew into the air and I drove under it into the next lane. Scary.

Today's Avalon question is this: "Is Gwenhwyfar (King Arthur's wife) a sympathetic character? Does Bradley treat physical beauty in a positive, negative, or neutral matter?"

Sympathetic shall be defined as this: "appropriate to one's mood, inclination, disposition."

NO. I'm sure I've mentioned that I despised Gwenhwyfar for the majority of the book. She's a simple woman, with simple wants, who doesn't think. (I'm not saying I despise all people who meet those criteria. It's just that those things, combined with her specifics, made me not like her).
I am a complex woman/girl/female adolescent, with complex wants (and I know this because most of the time I'm not sure what I want, therefore it has to be complex), and I know I think about things more than I should. I spend too much time thinking and not enough acting. I know this, but I don't do anything about it, which proves the point.
But I understand why some people might find her to by sympathetic. I sympathize far more with Morgaine.

But to the second part of the question...

I don't want to say she portrays it in a neutral way. Bradley portrays physical beauty like this: It matters to people, and in that sense, it is important, but it's not necessary to accomplish things, and it won't solve all of your problems.

Gwenhwyfar is often described as beautiful. Morgaine is often described as ugly (even though she's not- she's just not conventionally beautiful). Gwenhwyfar failed at her greatest goal (bearing Arthur a son), and Morgaine did do that, but she also did loads of other stuff (such as manipulating the entire country and being an awesome priestess of Avalon). Lancelet is loved by "every young maiden in all of Britain," and he was very successful in battle, but in the end, he wasn't happy, and his desirability got him into a lot of trouble.

I guess all of this talk about beauty goes along with the English journal you'll be seeing in... a little more than a week, I think.

Also: who on Earth was reading this blog at 3:00 in the morning? Unless you live in a different time zone, go to bed.

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