While reading The first two assigned reading for week two, “The Wanderer” and “The Wife’s Lament” I was interested in how I was able to relate to the two works. They were written in a time so distant from today that I assumed, without realizing it, that I wouldn’t relate to them on a personal level. As I read “The Wanderer” some of the lines required decoding, as the Norton Anthology explained there would be, but there were also lines that stuck out to me as being much more universal. The first line that I highlighted was “He who has experienced it knows how cruel a companion sorrow is to the man who has no beloved protectors.” I highlighted this immediately because I realized that human emotion is timeless and while the setting may be very foreign to me the feelings being portrayed are not. This isn’t a very complicated concept; however, I often find myself getting lost in the historical criticism of works such as this, and am unable to enjoy their general teaching. The second quote from “The Wanderer” that I highlighted to further my concept of timeless human morality and emotion was “The wise man must be patient, must never be too hot-hearted, nor too hasty of speech, nor too fearful, nor too glad, nor too greedy for wealth, nor too eager to boast before he has thought clearly.” I felt like this quote was really fantastic because of how well it spoke to the personification of our current social codes. Sometimes I too feel like I am always making sure I adhere to all of those restrictions, this was such a delight for me as the reader because I had expected not to relate to the narrators of these poems.
Next I read “The Wife’s Lament” and after applying the previous works to myself and the concept of timeless teachings, I found myself thinking of several women who would be able to relate to the woman in this poem. It is a sad love story, a theme that several novels, poems, and movies have been created to portray. As the Norton Anthology informs us, it is not explicitly explained how or why the two lovers are separated; however, it is obviously the reason that the female narrator is so distraught. The closing line is “Woe is the one who, languishing, waits for a lover.” As I said before, I think there are many readers who could relate to a missed love one, who for whatever reason is separated from them. Again, these qualities are what has made these works an important addition to the anthology and in defining and describing a timeless an universal emotion both works were very successful.
- purinton posted this