Reading Reflection: I’m Going

The fun I’m Going has captured my attention by its humor and the reality of marriage, love, and inflexibilities that occur in relationships depicted, Bernard (1915). Henry wants to go racing, and he does not need any company from his wife. He claims that if they go together, they will spend twenty-five francs, yet Jeanne has no interest in horseracing. Henry also explains how he enjoys the race alone as there are no restrictions in running about, looking at stables, or judge’s stand, and he also wears what he likes: the old moth-eaten clothes. However, his wife will not take any of this and accuses him of walking slowly and makes her go unaccompanied, the accusation Henry quickly defends by saying “if you’d only walk slowly and steadily instead of always walking as fast as your feet will take you.”

These arguments continue with Jeanne complaining how her husband will leave her all alone and lonely at home. Henry, not intending to take her with him, finds all sought of excuse by claiming that the kind of weather on that day is not suitable for a walk or drive, which Jeanne likes doing, and that he does not want the rain to spoil her dress. However, Jeanne is ready to sacrifice her good time with it and wear an old dress.

This literary work is also interesting to me since the play ends with an emotional part, in which Jeanne cries saying that her husband does not love her. This touches Henry’s emotions and gives her an assurance of his love. At some point, Henry is also ready to sacrifice his pleasure and chooses to stay with Jeanne at home.

Another aspect of interest to me is lack of trust in relationships, which is common in relations between the husband and wife. Henry, who does not want Jeanne to accompany him, feels comfortable with her going out herself to send a telegram to Juliet. After a long argument, Jeanne finally lets him free, but he does not take this permission with a positive intention. He wonders for the immediate change of mind and even asks to have a look at the telegram she claims she is going out to send. He thinks that Jeanne is doing it out of revenge or has plans with Juliette to meet a man. Out of jealousy, he pretends to choose to forego the race and both of them stay at home or take his wife to Juliet’s place. However, it is evident that all this was to have his way and make his wife remain at home.

 James (1984) says the reader-response approach is a common analytical approach used by literary critics. It involves the reader connecting, imagining, and reflecting how a story or play is related with his or her personal life (p.47). Although this approach may make a reader more inclined to make conclusions based on his personal feelings, it is necessary not to depend solely on feelings and opinions but rather on specific aspects in this work that make one feel in such way.

According to Richards (1961) to discover the significance of the play, a reader has to identify techniques such as metaphors, irony, or personalization that the author may have used (p.37). In the play I’m Going, Henry uses a metaphor by comparing Jeanne to “a stubborn little minx,” and at some other point, Jeanne calls Henry “stark staring mad” in order to compare him with a person who has awkward thoughts. These techniques demonstrate the intensity of the disagreement between Jeanne and Henry caused by inflexibility in relationships.

As required by this approach, I get a personal link with the author by imagining that I am actually the one in the said setting. The whole theme and emotions described in the play make one connect, reflect, and feel its reality. This analytical approach has made me critically examine this play by possible question that may arise. What captured my imagination is how each person wanted the other to do what suits him or her best. This brought a lot of arguments just as it happens in our day to day relationships. While reading, I get mixed feelings and emotions, especially where Henry seems unfair.

Such disagreements in relationships make couples behave like children, and there is a desire for me to avoid such behavior in my relationship. I have felt that I need to let my partner flexible to do what please him/her as we all have different sources of happiness. I think, it is only fair if Jeanne had let Henry free to go horseracing as she engaged in an activity, which would please her. However, it is good to consider other people’s interests. It was so mean of Henry to stop Jeanne from neither going with him nor meeting Juliette while he wanted to have his way to the race. For peaceful coexistence, it is good to give space to things that each person likes; but again, it should not be at the expense of the other person’s hurt. Being mindful of others brings fairness.

This approach according to Richards (1961), therefore, requires the critical process of acknowledging personal feelings excluding the other techniques (p.28). These two help to identify the significance of the play. The author has used metaphors such as “a stubborn little minx” and “stark staring mad” in order to compare the actors in the play with each of the things portrayed. Jeanne was stubborn as the minx while Henry interpreted Jeanne’s intentions like a mad man. This fact demonstrates humor and, at the same time, exposes the inflexibility and doubt that develops in relationships. At some point, an element of sorrow is seen when Jeanne cries claiming she is not loved. Personal feelings also emerge when Henry turns down Jeanne’s offer to accompany him to the race. By the end of this play, using a combination of these two techniques, we can conclude that the significance of the play is to bring out the arguments, trust issues, inflexibility, and maybe, love that exists in marriage relationships.

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