Tuesday, July 3, 2012

High School English essay

My favorite woman character in fiction

When it comes to deciding who my favorite writer or who my favorite star or character is, I find it a very difficult choice. I am appreciative of the fineness of each individual character that I do not feel the necessity of making a choice. But if it has to be made the character of Desiree Clary in the Novel DESIREE written by Anne Marie Selinko is a character portrayed with remarkable insight into a woman's nature. It is the character of Bernadine Eugenie Desiree Clary. the daughter of a silk merchant and Napoleon's first love that is intriguing and her strength, her quick reactions and her obstinacy attract admiration. She is seen in this novel as a daughter, as an excitable girl, a fiancee, a rival, a princess and a queen. She is also portrayed in the role of a wife and mother.

Whether or not the portrayal is historically true, it is difficult to say. But the portrayal is quite fascinating and one can read the lengthy book from cover to cover only to fathom and understand the character of Desiree Clary. There is something remarkable in her character. Napoleon's mother appeals to her to intervene in order to save a life. Her sister Julie clings to her for support. Napoleon's first wife Josephine depends on her and seeks comfort from her on the night of her divorce. It is Desiree who is instrumental in Napoleon's surrender and who prevents the shedding of blood.

It is not merely her importance that matters. She happens to be there and continues to be there when needed. There is, in her, a hidden strength and resourcefulness. She is also very brave. When her sister and her children, her nephew and niece and Napoleon's stepdaughter's sons come to her for protection and she finds herself short of money, she does not borrow money, she does not sell her jewelry; instead she goes straight to her father's silk warehouse (after a lapse of many years) and collects her share of the money. She does not even hesitate to sell silk at the counter. Here she learns that her sister Julie's husband had regularly been drawing his share. She is far too human and non-materialistic to be bothered by materialistic considerations.

Desiree is also very unconventional. She is not hedged in by the rules of etiquette. She treats her aides with remarkable unconventionality and appears very human in her relationship with them. Her way of arranging a meeting with Oscar, her son, after a long interval of eleven years is also unconventional. It is because of her unconventionality that she is reprimanded by her adoptive mother-in-law, the Queen of Sweden. But true to her character, instead of submitting. she defiantly walks out of the palace not to return for a long, long time.

One thing very remarkable in her character is her sense of gratitude and of attachment. She does not forget people who have either helped her or have won her regard at sometime or other. Her visit to M. Persson, her father's ex-apprentice, illustrates this. She is often overcome by nostalgic memories and has a sense of humor. Both these qualities help her to save her husband from his inner fears.

However, Desiree has her own failings. Her pride and self-respect blind her to her husband's needs. She does not join her husband when she becomes Queen of Sweden. She must have been terribly lonely without her husband and her son, but the loneliness of her husband must have been more strenuous as he would have been on the political front. He yields to his sense of insecurity by resorting to dictatorial and anti-democratic methods. It is now Desiree's return to him, her continued stress on the Rights on Man, and her reminder of their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary save him from his sense of insecurity. If, in spite of this shortcoming, she was able to retain his love in competition with Russian and Prussian princesses, there must have been some tie which could endure the strain. And though time leaves its impact and she is not completely unscathed by sorrows, she is a forceful personality; she is the lady of peace.

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