#amreading: Abby Reed and Elli Gifferson
In our #amreading series, we ask people to tell us about something they’ve read lately and what it got them thinking about. In this installment, Abby Reed and Elli Gifferson share.
William Wordsworth’s 1802 poem “My Heart Leaps Up” (https://poets.org/poem/my-heart-leaps) is a Romantic masterpiece that embraces nostalgic reflections and questions of existentialism. Though only nine lines, the poem manages to weave a captivating narrative that warmly welcomes all readers on a personal journey of self-discovery.
Both pure and honest in tone, “My Heart Leaps Up” concentrates on a lost innocence from the perspective of a young man recollecting evocative images from his childhood. I first read the poem after having encountered its seventh line, “The Child is father of the Man,” while watching television. I was immediately intrigued by the quote’s interpretative depth and alluring ambiguity.
Determined to unravel the poem’s cryptic meaning, I delved into the scholarly world of Wordsworthian research and literary criticism. Essentially, scholars have forged two theories: Either the poem is about man developing into the product of his childhood or about man longing for the innocent wonder experienced in his childhood. After reading biographical research on Wordsworth’s life, I concur with the latter assertion.
Furthermore, I personally relate to the philosophy residing at the theory’s core: “The Child is father of the Man.” Ironically, age is the ultimate impediment in perception. Though man is recognized as wiser in the eyes of society, the realities of adulthood have blinded him from the innocent beauty and imagination of a child.
Thus, Wordsworth’s ultimate message is that man must embrace his younger self to fully experience life. Only then, will man be able to genuinely exclaim, “My Heart Leaps Up!”
What is it like to live fully alone? To not only live alone, but to have an isolated life. Would that person be really be happy in their isolation? Would they be healthy on their own and still have every opportunity to thrive, both mentally and physically? In Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine these questions are explored. Not only does it do this in an approachable way, but in way that penetrated my thoughts for quite some time after I finished the novel.
I first came across the book, passing it by multiple times in local bookshops. Through word of mouth, it was highly recommended by some of my GoodReads friends and also by the Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. Even though I had absolutely no idea what this novel was about, I knew I needed to give it a try.
This book may easily be categorized as a light read, but it definitely packs a punch. Eleanor Oliphant’s character is familiar character to the reader. While we may not experience the thoughts she has, we take them on as we follow her character progression. Her personality dances on the pages. By the end of the book, you know her inside and out.
The result of reading this book made me ask myself several important questions. Do I know anyone like Eleanor in my life? Do I inadvertently ignore someone who is seeking attention? How can I improve my social skills, to ensure everyone is cared for? Taking a step further, how do we take care of those with mental health issues?
Eleanor’s point of view is the definition of an outside opinion. As I read from her perspective, all of my daily routines and behaviors were under analyzation. After reading this book I found myself thinking about how I interact with others. That in turn helped me change my behavior for the better. While I am in no way perfect, this book did change me. It left me looking at my life from a different perspective and challenging my normal behavior toward others. For this reason, I consider this wonderful novel by Gail Honeyman to be a must read.