Thursday, June 25. 2015
Ask yourself first what kind of story you're reading. Is it a tragedy? How must it end?
Provide your conclusion, written as a narrative story. Then provide the rationale for that ending!
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The youth flung back the door, barely blinking as he heard the low growls erupt from within the chambers. Out leapt the tiger, lusting for blood and immediately pouncing upon his handsome visage. As he was torn to shreds, the princess could not bring herself to look away from her lover. Even as her own father, the one who had called upon such a trial, shielded his eyes from the gush and splatters of crimson, something in the young princess’ semi-barbaric heart stirred, and she continued to look on. Oh, and how the blood flowed! The stunned gasps and sighs of the audience were accompanied by slash after slash by the tiger. He ripped into the young suitors ribcage, tearing at his stomach until he was completely disemboweled, until he was nothing but a pile of bloody bones and guts on the floor.
I believe the princess pointed her suitor in the direction of the tiger because she was jealous and would rather have him killed then see him love another. “But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair, when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door of the lady!” This proves that she disliked the thought of him being wed to another more than having him ripped to shreds by a tiger.
1) The youth strode without hesitation to the door and opened it. Does he expect the tiger?
2) It's a very violent ending, but the story never deals with violence. If the youth is to die, does the story end there?
3) What do you think the point of the story could be, provided that Stockton ends it in his head the way you have here? In other words, why write "The Lady, or the Tiger?" at all? What does it exist to say?
1.) He expects the tiger because he knows that his lover is a jealous woman. As you said, death isn't the worst thing that could happen to someone. He knew she would choose the tiger because death is a more favorable option than having the person you're in love with love someone else.
2.) The story ends with the youth dying and the princess moving on with her life with her sick and twisted father.
3.) I believe it exists to say that there are worse things than being dead or torn apart by a tiger.
Then if the story is meant to be tragic...are we supposed to be sad that he's dead? Is this really just a "love conquers all" story in disguise, where we're supposed to feel that the young people will overcome the arbitrary system of justice the king has put into place here, even at the cost of their lives? In other words, is the happy ending for the young man to die?
The ideal happiest ending would include a wedding ceremony between the young man and the princess. However, that is not happening as the princess is sitting high above the young man, watching him approach either his death or an unfortunate marriage. So yes, I believe I wrote a happy ending where the youth dies as a result of not being able so spend the rest of his short life with his lover.
So the question is: Why write this story? What's he saying?
The handsome boy strolls over to the door on the right. This could either be the death of him or the joyous nuptials of a bride and groom. Palms sweating, heart racing, the spectators lean forward in anxiety as the youth grips the golden handles of the doors of his destiny. He violently swings the door back. The crowd waits for the surprise with bated breath. The arena is so silent you could hear a pin drop. The suspense is slowly building. Finally, the crowd lets out a tumultuous roar, but is it of joy or sorrow? The tiger pounces onto the princess’s lover. Ruby-red blood is splattered throughout the arena floor.The crowd is mourning. The iron bells ring their melancholy tunes as the tiger strips away the boy’s flesh and has a feast. The crowd retreats to their humble abodes as the remnants of a courageous hero is left, rotting away.
Why would the princess choose such a horrific fate for her true love? It’s probably in her blood. The story states that the princess had ‘a soul as fervent and imperious as his own,’ referring to the semi-barbaric king. She also adored this man ‘with an ardor that had enough barbarism in it to make it exceedingly warm and strong.’ Why would she hand off the man of her dreams to the fairest maiden of the land? You could say that she was jealous. The best way to see the man of her dreams was in the afterlife rather than on the arm of another beautiful woman.
1) Which is the more powerful emotion: jealousy, or love? In order to accept that the princess could send someone she loved to her death, you have to believe - or Stockton has to believe - that jealousy is stronger. Do you believe that, and if so, why?
2) If she sees him in the afterlife now, do you think he'll have anything to do with her? She did just send him to his death...
3) Do you think the daughter eventually marries someone else? Would the king allow his only heir to go unmarried and produce no children?
1) I believe jealousy is stronger because the jealousy of the princess made her do unimaginable things to the man, such as sending him to his death. She knew that if she can't have him, no one can.
2) The princess sent him to the door that led to his demise. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want to meet up with the princess again.
3) I believe the princess would get married, but forced by the king. She would need to have children to become heirs of the throne to continue this royal family and rule the kingdom.
Why, precisely, can't she have him? Stockton alludes to "gold, and the power of a woman's will" when explaining how she discovered the secret of the doors. What's stopping her from still seeing him? A marriage he "agreed to" against his will?
Who suffers more in this story, then - the young man who dies, or the woman who must live on?
1) Her semi-barbaric father is standing in the way because he did not like the boy secretly falling in love with his daughter. He was the one that sent him to have a trial in the arena.
2) I think the princess would suffer more because she must feel guilty about the horrible choice. It must be such a heavy burden to carry for her whole life.
The tiger pushed its way through the door, smelling meat and eager to get at it. It caught sight of the young man and eyed him hungrily. The tiger pounced upon the young man, and proceeded to tear him to pieces. The poor man was given no time to react. The iron bells sounded out immediately, and the mourners’ wails rose up. The audience cried out in horror as they watched the tiger rip the man apart. Not a soul was silent and untouched by the death. All the while, the princess watched stoically. In the last few seconds of his life, the young lover looked up at the princess, and she met his gaze solemnly. There was no blame in the look that passed between them, only sorrow and pain. Then the trial was over, the lover’s fate decided, and the royal family retired to live with their decisions.
The princess chose to send her lover to his death. Although the lover may not have been consorting with the lady, jealousy contorts the princess’s vision of the two to make it seem so, despite all evidence to the contrary. The princess has “a soul as fervent and imperious as [the king’s]”. The princess is just as barbaric as the king. Neither is not beneath sending people to a horrid death, whether they be innocent or guilty, if they have a good reason to do so. The princess does have good reason to do this. She has often “imagined... [the lady] throwing glances of admiration upon the person of her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were perceived, and even returned”. Her jealousy overcame her love, blinding her reason and encouraging her to send him to the tiger.
1) Does the princess believe her love will stay faithful to his new "wife" if he discovers her, not the tiger, behind the door? If so, why? Given that he's already broken with tradition and the law in order to be with her once, and given that she's already found workarounds in order to accomplish the impossible (learning which door hides the tiger), wouldn't she have a better chance of reuniting with him while he lives than she would upon dying many years later?
2) Why do you think everyone shows up at the arena to watch the "trial" when all involved are aware of the love the young people share? Are they hoping to see him spared? Why doesn't anyone do anything, given that Stockton notes the murmured disapproval of his placement in the arena when he first emerges?
3) How does this affect the princess's relationship with her father?
1) The princess does believe that her love will be faithful to the girl she hates so much. She believes that she saw her supposed lover admiring the lady and not herself. She has no reason to believe that he would not be happy with the outcome if he had married the lady. Likewise, he has no reason not to be happy with the marriage.
2) People want to watch the trial because they want to know whether the young man will be punished by the gods for daring to love a member of the royal family. If he lives, then that implies that anyone can love a princess and get away with it, so they probably want him to live. The trial was not to decide whether or not the two loved, but rather to decide whether the love was right or wrong. They pity the man for the position he is forced to be in, but they don’t do anything because they are afraid that they will be put in that position if the rise up against the king.
3) The princess would probably hate her father after the decisions he put her through, though he would never know it because she is not supposed to know the secrets behind the doors. Even if she refuses to marry another man, he would probably force her to, to produce an heir. That would further damage their relationship.
1) Interesting that you think he has no reason to be upset with the arrangements. The young people knew the consequences of their actions, were they to be discovered, well in advance. They proceeded with the relationship anyway. Stockton also notes that they are "of one soul," to the point where they can communicate without speaking across a wide emotional range, generating questions and sharing intentions. Is it realistic to assume that he shares something similar with this other young woman, that he would be just as happy with her as with anyone? If so, why wouldn't the princess be happy with her next match? (And there likely will be a match, as you noted... she's her father's only heir and he will require male descendants to succeed him on the throne.)
This seems uncharitable to the young man - to assume the depths of his feelings are far weaker than those of the person whom he loves, and with whom he shares a soul. Why reach that judgment?
2) What do you think the young man is asking when he looks at the princess? What does the word "Which" mean?
1) He may truly love the princess, but the princess has reason to suspect that he does not. She has reason to believe that he prefers another, and that he would be happy without her. This may not be true, but her jealousy blinds her to reason. She would never be satisfied with another match because this one turned out so badly. She would always be comparing her new match to this one, and wondering whether or not his eye was wandering.
2) With his silent question, he is asking her which fate she chose for him. He trusts her completely, though that trust may be misplaced, and would go to his death if she bids him to. If she would rather him die than be seen with another girl, so be it.
The man smiled as the tiger came out and quickly tore him to pieces. The crowed gasped and cried in horror that such a handsome youth was killed so gruesomely but the king silently rejoiced. The princess used the distraction as an opportunity to pull out a dagger and stab herself in the chest. The king looked over horrified as he saw his daughter dead on the ground surrounded in a pool of blood.
I believe that the princess told him to go to the tiger. If he was greeted by the lady she would be intensely jealousy towards the woman, ¨How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen him rush to meet that woman...¨ Both her and the lover would feel tortured as they would be forced to continue life without being able to see each other. If she leads him to the tiger she will feel guilty for leading him to his demise. However, she believes in the afterlife so she would believe that this way they could be quickly reunited, by killing herself.
1) What reason do we have to believe that their afterlife rewards those who kill themselves and those who are killed by tigers similarly?
2) Would the king rejoice at the sight of the boy's death, since it indicates that the gods believe him unworthy of his daughter's hand? Doesn't this call his daughter's judgment into question, and therefore his own parenting?
3) I've repeated a cryptic line today: "Death is not the worst thing that can happen to us." Why do you think I keep saying that, since it must pertain to the story somehow?
1) It is unclear what their form of religion is, and also how their afterlife works. However, it is stated that she thinks, ¨Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity?¨
2) The king most likely believed that the suitor was not worthy since he sentenced to death or marriage with another woman, either way not allowing him to be with his daughter. The king most likely wanted him to die to eliminate the chance of him secretly meeting with his daughter. This event wouldn't questions his daughters judgement for she is the one who told him to open the door and die from the tiger. It does question his parenting, as she not only killed herself because she loved the suitor more, but she also found the secret of the doors, disobeying one of his most important rules.
3) I believe you keep saying that to elucidate that their are things worse than death. It pertains to the story because one path led to death and the other led to the lady. For the princess and her suitor, him having to marry the lady could be a harsher fate. They would have to spend decades being tortured by the fact that they could not be together. Since they believe in an afterlife, if they both died then they could be happily reunited for an eternity in the afterlife.
The youth opened the door.
At first, he couldn’t believe his eyes, but there was the tiger, its enormous orange form filling up the doorway.
In his mind, he imagined that the princess must have made a mistake. He didn’t want to believe that she had knowingly sent him to his death, but one look at the pale, trembling girl and he knew what she had done.
The princess looked away from the arena. She couldn’t bear to see her lover torn apart by the tiger, limb by limb, but she was sure it would have hurt much more to see him married to that other girl. Just the thought of her lover holding the other girl, whispering sweet nothings in her ear, was enough to reduce the princess to tears. The decision wasn’t easy, but the princess couldn’t bring herself to let her lover love another.
The princess hated the piercing sound of her lover screaming for his life, but she told herself it was better this way. And it wasn’t like she would never see him again. He would only have to wait a few decades before she joined him in heaven, and then the two of them could spend an eternity together, far away from the prying eyes of other girls. Wasn’t death a small price to pay for an eternity of happiness?
Deep in the arena, the young man screamed for the pain that he could not feel, and for the princess who did not love him enough to let him live. His last thought was of the girl who wouldn’t let him go.
To some extent, the princess did love the young man, but she wanted him for herself. She didn’t love him enough to let him marry the other girl, even if it meant that his life would be spared. In addition, the princess was used to getting what she wanted, so she would have reasoned that if she couldn’t have the young man, no one else could. It was true that the girl didn’t want her lover killed by the tiger, but in her eyes, the thought of him dead was better than the thought of him happily married to the other girl; ¨How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started in wild horror, and covered her face with her hands as she thought of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited the cruel fangs of the tiger! But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair, when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door of the lady! (Stockton)¨ However, the princess didn’t consider that even if she were to see her lover again in heaven, he probably would not love her anymore, given that she was the one who had sent him to his death.
Sometimes it’s in our nature to only think of ourselves, and it’s easy to be blinded by jealousy. If we could all take a moment to consider others, the world would be a better place.
I like the conclusion of your analysis!
1) Why do you think Stockton didn't provide a definitive ending? Why do you think he refused to tell people the end, even years later?
Thus far, we have had five of you finish this story - that means half of the class - and all of you have fed this young man to the tiger (some more graphically than others). If the ending is so cut-and-dried...well, I'm curious to see why you believe the author left things ambiguous.
2) Your question - "Wasn't death a small price to pay for an eternity of happiness?" - is a fantastic one. Is it the one Stockton's asking?
3) We take as a given that if the young man marries the "lady" behind the door, the princess loses him forever. In the afterlife (we're assuming there is one here, since the story mentions it and one theoretically factors into the princess's choice), he'd be with his new bride, not his old love. But why is this so? What bond would matter more: who you were forced to join, or who you chose to love against all odds? Why, in other words, should we believe that the afterlife obeys such a cruelly rigid set of rules? And if the answer is "Because Stockton wants us to," you may have noticed that Stockton plays with rigidity and absolutes. Guilty or innocent; worthy or unworthy. What is he getting at?
1) I believe Stockton didn’t provide a definitive ending for this story because he wanted the reader to think about the princess’s decision, and the role that human nature played on it. The easy answer for the princess was to have her lover die so she wouldn’t have to watch him marry that other girl. Stockton gave us hints that the princess chose to let her lover die, by mentioning that she was so blinded by jealousy that even in her dreams, she found the thought of her lover marrying another girl more frightening than the thought of him being torn apart by the tiger.
I don't think Stockton wanted his readers to know the answer that easily; at least not without thinking about it first.
2) I don’t think that’s the same question that Stockton’s asking. In my opinion, Stockton is asking us to think about human nature and the role it plays on our decisions.
Although death itself is not the worst thing in the world, death by tiger is extremely painful, so I don't think the young man would have chosen the tiger if he was given the choice. In an idealistic world, maybe the young man would have died for love, but I think in reality, the pain of being torn apart by the tiger would not be something that would appeal to the young man.
3) There is no reason to believe that the afterlife has a rigid set of rules. The princess only thinks that the afterlife is rigid because she grew up in a such rigid world. Even if the young man marries the other girl, he’ll remain loyal to the princess if he truly loves her. Marriage is nothing more than a ceremony. Unfortunately, the princess doesn’t see that; some of her major obstacles only exist in her mind.
I believe that Stockton is trying to say that even in a world that is so black and white, there are always going to be shades of grey.
As the striking boy started to pull up the right door determining his fate, suspense began to rise within the amphitheater while every living soul grasped the edges of their seats. Instead of confronting the bloodthirsty fangs of a ferocious tiger, the boy was awkwardly welcomed by a desperate lady, followed by a prompt wedding. Joyous celebration rang exuberantly throughout the crowd filled with lively spectators. A sharp, conspicuous shriek ripped across the arena, disturbing the rapturous applause. All eyes suspiciously rotated slowly toward their king and immediately followed his gaze to the stadium floor right below the royal balcony. Roughly a 50 feet drop, the princess lie motionless in a crimson pool. The imperious king suffered with grief as the people began to realize that the dead girl was his daughter. Moments later, the barbaric king unnoticeably murmured something briefly to his advisor who ran off in a flash. Everyone was too busy mourning with despair when suddenly, the left door started to escalate, revealing a hungry and vicious tiger. The dispirited and hopeless boy, who laid and mourned by the princess’s side was devoured in an instant, leaving him to be with the princess, forever.
Her strong love for him clearly expresses why she desired to let him live with another lady, because she didn't want her lover to die. Due to the princess’s jealously from interminable stress, she couldn't live knowing that her lover is living with another girl forever. This caused her to commit suicide. The king’s barbaric temper explains why he ordered his messenger to release the tiger into the stadium to consume the boy because of his daughter’s death.
1) Is the princess's response to losing her relationship, well, proportional? People break up, get dumped, endure divorces...every day, sadly. Yet the streets do not run red. Why would the princess do this?
2) Similarly, is the king's decision in keeping with his earlier behavior? He's so obsessed with the specific format of the arena trials that he a) puts people on trial even when he knows they're guilty, essentially giving those who commit crimes a free shot at a life they don't deserve (under his code), and b) doesn't let himself know which door hides which being. Why release the tiger?
3) In this scenario, isn't the "lady" the boy discovers behind the door eaten as well? How does that fit in with Stockton's moral code?
1) I believe that her response by suiciding is not corresponding to typical love affair loss standards, but she has earnest, unbreakable feelings for the boy and can't stand the prospect of her man and another lady getting married and living together. She deliberately ends her life so she doesn't have to endure the distress and jealousy of the lady for the rest of her life. In other words, she would rather pass away than live with profound misery without her true lover.
2) The king’s decision is not in line with his usual behavior because before, he wasn’t suffering from grief and didn’t really seem to be concerned about the outcome of the boy (less important than his daughter). I think that the king orders the release of the tiger because he is overprotective of his daughter due to his love with his heart. In the story, when the king discovered that the boy and the princess were secretly in love, he made the boy go through a trial of destiny in the arena. Since the door to the right held the lady, the left door must conceal a tiger. Because of his daughter's tragic death, the brutal mood of the king took over. He carries out this action because he is experiencing severe sorrow which led to his insanity (“sad mad”).
3) I forgot to include this in my conclusion, but the lady escapes through an exit through the right door, in the room, as she perceives the left door opening up, which confined the beast. As a result, the lady who was found behind the right door was not eaten by the tiger. It doesn't correlate with Stockton’s moral code because the couple can only live together in the afterlife.
The fair and lovely lady awaited silently behind the sound proof door she was placed for what seemed like a long period of time. Adrenaline kicked in as she eyed the grand latch on the door tilt and lift above the metal holding. Fast and strong, the door swung open and rays of light exploded into the room. Red radiance flushed her cheeks as the light blinded her. As her eyes tried to adjust to the brightness, she stepped out of the door into the warm atmosphere of the crowd.
However, the arena was dead silent. The crowd was at the edge of their seats, peering into the arena for a closer look at her. There was no hand for her to take. No smile to be returned. No priest or jolly maidens. The subject was not in sight. However, the door to her right hung open loose. No beast in sight. There at her feet lay flesh and bones. Rusted blood still oozing through from underneath the torn flesh. She looked away in disgust and terror as she dropped to the ground. Weeping in despair for her expectations were not met.
On the other side of the arena, up at where the royal family was seated and entertained, the princess’ order to chain the tiger was completed as she ran desperately down to where the lifeless skeleton lied. Regret and despair crushed her as she fell onto her knees at the pool of blood. Wailing in agony as her heart shredded to pieces.
This was exactly what the princess did not want to happen. Before the trial, she firmly decided to lead him to the door which held the fair lady. The princess knew that she would have to tape her broken heart every day. Crying in secret misery as jealousy eats her away. The betrayal she will receive from her own decision. On the other hand, if she directs him to the door claiming the hungry beast, he will be wasted. She will drown in her own tears of shame and regret; for her greed became the death of her love. However, she truly loved him. She wanted the best for him and certainly, death was not an option.
The lady was placed behind the left door. The princess therefore directed the man to the left door by signalling to her right; his left. However, the man misunderstood and opened the door to her right. This miscommunication claimed the man as guilty and ended the trial with no glee.
Analysis: True love can kill not only physically, but also mentally. It tempts sacrifice and unselfish desires. If the princess truly loved the subject, she would not lead him to death’s door, but she instead, she would want the best for him. Even if he were forced to marry the lady she envies, the princess would go through the pain of jealousy and loneliness just to see him alive and happy. In the story, the princess truly did love the man. However, luck took the wrong turn and miscommunication ended with a tragic, undeservable death. All love stories do not have a happy ending. Happily ever after still remains a mystery. In this case, death was the result of their true love. Therefore, love stories like these are more beautiful than any other.
1) If she's in the dark, how did she see the latch lifting?
(I kid. This is a mostly wonderfully cinematic depiction.)
2) Think about how the arena is set up. I can't depict it here on the blog thanks to the aforementioned terrible formatting, but I'll draw it on the board. Needless to say: when the youth faces her, she raises her right hand - which is, as you point out, on his left side. But he then turns, aligning their sides, and opens the door on the right, per Stockton. An interesting attempt at a twist, to be sure, but it has to match the text we have, not the text we want!
1) I never wrote that she was in the dark. Now I know that I should clarify in my writing that it is a dim room. When the door opens, the light outside is brighter therefore it outshines the light inside.
2) Okay now I understand. I tried to make a plot twist, but I guess it does not work. I will think of another!
If I made changes to my writing, do I post it again? Or do I just resubmit it to turnitin.com?
With the look of terror on his face, he pushed open the door.
A roaring tiger pounced on the chasted courtier with his broad paws, growling and showing his set of sharp teeth under his blood-stained nose. The young man turned and stared at his lover in enmity, realizing he was fooled. He knew what he had to do. He took out a wicked, curved blade, and stabbed the tiger’s right eye to buy some time.
He dropped the sword, raced to the audience, and demanded help. A young maiden, with golden radiant hair, glossy-red lips, piercing blue eyes, gazed into the courtier’s, and offered her hand. The young man snatched her hand without hesitation, and with all her strength, she struggled to pull him up into the seats. However, it was seconds before the tiger was up, and at full speed he galloped at the young man, jumped onto the fence, dragged him down and ate him alive.
Analysis : It was apparent to me the princess had pointed the courtier to the wrong door, because it is human nature to react to envy, and jealousy. In the short story, the princess described the fair maiden as one of the most charming, and loveliest of the damsels of the court, and as a result to envy, she hated her. Moreover, the princess knew her lover often chats with this fair maiden, which made the hatred even stronger. Therefore, in my opinion, the princess would never let her lover marry this particular maiden, even if it meant watching her lover being torn to pieces.
OK, kiddo - that's a twist and a half. But does it square with what you already read? Or would Stockton be reading this with something like this expression (0.o) on his face?
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