Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow Symbols, Allegory and Motifs
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Written by Micola Magdalena
When the writer speaks about the poor, he speaks about the lack of things that characterizes them and the criticize they have to endure because they can’t afford to buy. Petty items like a coat made from a certain material or an umbrella made from cotton are seen as symbols for wealth and those who do not poses them are seen as being unworthy of being treated with respect.
In the fifth essay, the predominant motif is the idea that flattery is what makes the world go round. Without flatter, humans would not be able to live in close proximity with one another. Because we flatter those around us and they flatter us, we are more willing to accept the faults the others have and we accept their faults hoping that we will be flattered in return.
In all the essays in the collection, names taken from literature, mythology or history appears. In the essay where Jerome talks about wealth, he mentions the name Robinson Crusoe to prove his point that a man is unhappy with his financial status only if he is surrounded by people who tell him to be unhappy. In the essay about vanity, he mentions the name of Titania and Venus to tell his readers how to properly flatter a woman and win her over. These types of names are a recurrent motif in all the essays written by Jerome.
While swearing is usually perceived as a negative thing, the writer sees swearing as being as a symbol that stands for internal cleansing. When a man swears, he releases all the negative emotions inside him and according to the writer, causes less damage than other types of release like punching or verbally assaulting someone.
In the essay about shyness, a person who is exceptionally shy is perceived as being as being automatically a good person. The argument on which this idea is based is that a shy person will never be able to do anything wrong because it is not in that person’s nature. Because of this, shyness can be considered a symbol that stands for goodness and purity, a divine quality found only in a selected few.
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