Personal Response to Literature- Passage from "Wild Geese", Responding to Jude's need to escape.

Essay by Jessica_dueckHigh School, 10th gradeA, November 2003

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Minor Assignment: Personal Response to Literature

Passage from, Wild Geese

In the passage from Wild Geese, two ideas convey to me about Jude's need to escape. The first idea is that Jude feels smothered by her daily surroundings, and second is that Jude is living two separate lives.

Jude's farm life and family ultimately suffocate her. Jude's father, Caleb is controlling and overbearing. Caleb is constantly seeking control over Judith by pushing farm work over her head. If that is not enough for Jude, her mother, Amelia and her older sister, Ellen, are both submissive to their father's controlling demands. These family factors lead Jude to feel trapped and in need of freedom. Jude escapes this feeling of suffocation by spending time alone near a little ravine. She there, sheds her clothes and lays freely on the ground. The shedding of her clothes conveys the idea that she is taking off her daily life, metaphorically speaking, and being free from it all.

Her clothes are worn on the farm for chores and labour, so she frees herself from that aspect of her life. The Ravine and Jude's nakedness gives her a feeling of escape. The fact that Jude is lying naked on the ground shows how much she longs to escape her life and be free from everything that is real. The Ravine where Jude escapes to interprets her opposite world, aside from her real life. This 'opposite world' signifies her separate life.

Jude's first life is one in which she works on the farm with Caleb, Amelia, and Ellen. She is pushed to work hard on the farm, which is clearly something she is not fond of. In this life, Jude feels ugly and she feels the ugliness of her surroundings. Jude feels her hands are big and calloused from her work and she wants to be someone she is not, as well as live a life that is not hers. She cannot have the freedom to do this where she is at right now. Jude creates a second life for herself. Jude's second life is one in which she escapes from her real surroundings. This life is one where Jude can feel free on her own and feel good about herself. In Jude's second life, she dreams about becoming more like Lind Archer, the school teacher. She thinks about the teacher's small hands and laughing eyes. Jude is clearly envious of Lind Archer's life and she probably wishes her life was similar to this teacher's life. The fact that Jude thinks about Lind Archer's small hands and laughing eyes tells us that Jude wants to be daintier and have a more womanly appearance. Jude probably feels insecure in her real life, on the farm. While at the ravine, Jude lets her mind free of everything and ponders the stretching ground and leagues upon leagues of air. Jude wonders about what the leagues of air lead to or what is at the end of the stretching ground. Jude wonders about these complexities because it gives her a sense of independence and fills her with the knowledge of a world much more then the farm. In Judith's separate life, she thinks about Sven Sandbo, her sweetheart, returning home. By the ravine, Jude does not dwell on Sven Sandbo, for she feels she can explore so many other options. Jude wonders if Sven is the guy she really wants or if there is someone else who she could possibly desire. As Jude lies there, she dips her hands into the water and lets the drops slip off her finger tips like tiny cups of light. The drops described as 'tiny cups of light', could symbolize Jude's dreams and freedom slipping away from her. Jude's second life is the life that offers her freedom and a state of mind which escapes her reality.