March 1, 2005

Young and Old

There has always been this question of who has it worse off the young or the old. I believe that there are bad aspects of both. The young are often used by those older than themselves in order for the older's advancement and the old are trapped in bodies they can no longer use.

"In the Old Age of the Soul" by Ezra Pound I couldn't help but feel sorry for the narrator. He is just an old man that doesn't want to remember the past because it pains him to do so. He compares himself to a knight who is too old to joust and has to sit on the sidelines while the young do so.

I can remember the saddened look in my grandfather's eyes when he couldn't get up and play with us like he used to. It was heartbreaking. That is what I see here. It almost makes me believe that Pound was writing about someone that he knew.

In contrast, John Crowe Ransom writes "Judith of Behulia." This is about a young girl who's beauty is so astounding that it shocks an invader to death. This is an example of someone who was used by her elders. I come by this conclusion because the poem says that "it is stated she went reluctant to that orgy."

It would really bite to have people that you trust use you in such a way. I know that the one time that I was used and I found out about it I felt like dirt. I was told that it was for the betterment of my team, but at the same time I still felt walked all over. This must be the same feeling that a slave would have. Never being able to do what they wanted because they were being used to the advancement of their owners. I know that's how I felt.


Posted by Tiffany Brattina at March 1, 2005 11:11 PM | TrackBack

Hmm... in the bible, the Book of Judith presents Judith as a heroine, willing to act when her elders won't. It's not so much that the old men used Judith, but that the young men don't share her modesty and restraint -- they aren't reluctant at all to indulge in the senses (and that, the poet suggests, was the downfall of the Invader).

Alternatively, you might want to consider this poem in comparison with the excerpt from Adams, "The Virgin and the Dynamo". We see Judith's power overcomes the heathens.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 2, 2005 9:40 AM

Okay, Tiffany--I concede that I, too, felt bad for the narrator in Pound's "In the Old Age of the Soul." But in any thought, we are only as old as we feel. I said something similar in Moira's blog... In that respect, the narrator needs to stop feeling sorry for himself and get up there and teach those young knights the tricks of the trade! Even if he can't joust like a kid, he sure can share his experience and wisdom--that's what the older generation is best for!

And in response to your thoughts on "Judith of Bethulia," *shameless plug!* you might find my blog entry on this poem of interest. I'm going to do my thesis on this poem and its relation to a couple different things, including art! Let me know what you think.

On another note, as a Lutheran (Protestant), I guess I never heard of a "Book of Judith" in the Bible before, Dr. Jerz... Don't Catholics have about six more books in the Old Testament than the Protestants (stemming from Luther's Reformation)? I'm interested to know more.

Posted by: Karissa at March 2, 2005 9:36 PM

We do have extra books that you guys don't have...An interesting person to talk to on this subject might be Cindy Boland (you'll have plenty of time to talk to her about it next week!) or Professor Leap...

Just some thoughts hun.

Posted by: Tiffany at March 2, 2005 10:08 PM

Hey thanks for that--it'll be helpful to ask where I can find more information on this, since I'm not at all familiar with Catholicism. I mean, I can follow along in mass pretty easily... Thank you!

Posted by: Karissa at March 3, 2005 11:33 AM
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