Essay Example on After reading Mermaid Fever the statement that I Think








After reading Mermaid Fever the statement that I think this essay makes about societal attitudes is that people will react and behave very strangely to anything that is out of the ordinary The narrator bases his essay on a public beach located in a small town in Connecticut and out of the blue this teenage girl s body was washed up under the tide line one summer night After extensive scientific tests and examinations on the body the news finally broke out that the girl was a mermaid The girl was soon transferred to a local museum in town where she would be put on a glass display that will be open to the public This news brought the whole city together and people waited in line for hours just to observe this fond discovery Most women and teenage girls loved the idea of the mermaid that it grew into a new trend of fashion Their obsession over this new trend even encouraged them to walk on beaches with mermaid suits and their breast exposed to male voyeurs Millhauser wanted to justify to his readers that this societal attitude the people had on the creature can get out of hand and lead to madness and instability within the town For example a fourteen year old girl was assaulted at a party by some high school girls painted her hips down a green bound at the ankles and tossed into her into a stream The first direct question

Millhauser asks in the essay was What was it we were looking for He was trying to ask his readers the reasons the people of the town would get overly excited over a mermaid that wasn't even alive anymore and what causes them to establish all of this rage and destruction over society I believe that the people wanted some excitement for a change This sense that the invasion of the supernatural into our every day is essential to fill the desolation of ordinary life His next question was What did she want from us I believe he was asking what kind of business the mermaid was looking for that made her appear up in town in the first place And it caused people to wonder waiting for what the mermaid had in store for them For example Millhauser says in the essay It was as if we were waiting for something from our mermaid who had come to us from out there but we did not know what it was The final question he asks was Couldn't she see we were pushing ourselves to the limit Millhauser wanted to know if the girl knew what lengths the people of the town were going to in response to her appearance Some direct connections between Millhauser s essay and The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock by T S Elliot are that they both have unpleasing introductions Elliot wrote When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table This is not a very pleasant image for the end of the day or the sunset

 A patient etherized on a table is like an inert body a body without liveliness or consciousness It s deadened even though it is not all the way dead Millhauser wrote Caldwell found her lying just below the tide line he thought she was a teenager who had drowned The body lay on its side among strings of seaweed and scattered mussel shells This too is not a very pleasant image as it conveys the reader the horror and fear Caldwell went through when he found her body not knowing what happened to her or even if she was still alive Both these introductions are images that set up a tone of bleakness The two readings are also different in a way because the overarching theme of the poem is the idea of indecision and its ability to lead to missed opportunities I believe that Elliot feels the world is not a very nice place and that he will have time to make all the decisions of life but never being able to take a stand on anything of importance His life is breezing by him and he is still not taking any actions what s ever He is not so much concerned in any way about being judged by his thinning hair Always measuring his life in tablespoons meaning he never took a daring leap in his life Everything in his life has been very deliberate He is no risk taker Also Eliot wrote The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window panes The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window panes Curled once about the house and fell asleep I think the yellow smoke is a sort of metaphor for all the cowards out there that is like him that want to be inside with the people but are fulfilled to look in the windows and settle themselves in the corners of the night The yellow smoke prefers to dance around the action but never conquer it And in Millhauser s reading the theme of the essay was how people will behave when an extraordinary event occurs within their own society Everyone is familiar when some fever of a sort sweeps a village but with the mermaid it took on far more impractical proportions So it was amusing to see the way everyone started dressing like a mermaid bathing suits that attenuate down like a tail But it was also interesting to hear people debating about how dehumanizing this new trend became And it was equally creepy to see how far people were willing to go to imitate the new figure tattoos parties false sightings and delusional swims in questionable waters

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