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Cloister Walk and Moby Dick-Reflection essay
← Reflection on Steps toward a Small Theory of the VisibleReflection Paper →

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" A married woman such as myself, for example, who makes frequent visits to a monastery will follow the Rule in a far different way than the men and women who commit their lives entirely to a monastic community" (Norris, xvi).As I read this book, I marveled at the richness and simplicity of the author. She made me shelf my negative attitude towards monastery and together embark on an adventure to discover the reality about a monastery. Every paragraph is a new revelation of what actually takes place in a monastery and not repetitious prayers by holier than thou nuns as I always thought. I believe her main objective of writing this book is to expose the monastic world to the readers and dispel stereotypes surrounding monastery just like she had before joining the monastery.The fact that the author was brought up in a protestant background but later took monastic vows with the simplicity she did was very unusual to me. Like the author I am from a protestant background and taking monastic vows I hardly know anything about would be suicidal. Coming from such background has helped the author to catch the attention of Protestants and get them to read this book since they can easily identify with her. As I read this book I was amazed at the way the author presents lessons she learnt at the monastery to spice up the readers appetite. For example, scriptures were read in meditation at the monastery which was different from how she used to read. "lectio is an attempt to read more with the heart than with the head....A slow meditative reading primarily of the scripture..." (Norris, xx). I find the author indirectly urging the readers to read the book in a contemplative mannerBefore I read "Cloister Walk" book, it had never occurred to me that married people can become oblates. Moreover, what does a married woman has to do with monastery. Being ardent supporter of family, the author's priorities seemed terribly misplaced. Monks and nuns, according to my own observation, seemed deprived of their social life. I always questioned why they had to be shuttered from the rest of the world and stay from their families. The revelation by the author that she was a married woman sparked a string of thoughts in my mind especially about the welfare of her family. To my honest opinion nothing good could come out of a monastery.
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I was strongly anticipating knowing the fate of her family. I surely expected problems between her and the husband largely because of her frequent visits to the monastery.  Moreover, her unwavering desire to keep her family intact generated more suspense in me. At the end of the day I desperately wanted to know how she will solve any challenges concerning her family. Just like I anticipated her husband walked out on her. The night had come. I admire her courage and optimism amid such a big problem. In her passage "Dawn" she says ".....but now when I emerge from night it is with more hope than fear. I try to get outside as early as possible so that I can look at signs of first light, the faint muddy red of dawn."(Norris, pg 1)   I believe throughout this book, the author has succeeded in reaching her audience. She has also accomplished her objective for writing this book. The book has revealed a lot of information I did not know about a monastery and dispelled the stereotypes I had about a monastery. I have realized that monks and nuns are normal people and even behave in a manner ordinary of all people. The nuns watch television, have problems and even become depressed just like other people. By reading this book I have come to know that even married people can take monastic vows, although they follow a different Rule from those who commit their entire lives to a monastic community. Surely, monastic world has a lot to offer.
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"Whenever I see myself voluntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping onto the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off-then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."The Moby-Dick is an extraordinarily detailed and accurate account of an American whaling in the nineteenth century. The diagrams of equipments used in whaling, and cross-section of a whaler among others helps the reader get a clear picture of this ancient whaling. The story sole survivor of whale-rammed pequod uses imagery to describe scenes and situation making it interesting to read. Even people like i who have no slightest liking of the sea cannot resist the temptation to complete reading the book. The story also brings out irony making it enjoyable to read. For example, "I never fancied broiling fowls- though once broiled, judiciously buttered, and judgmatically salted and peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully, not to say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will" (Melville, pg 5&6)Moby- Dick is about a story of a whaling voyage that finally ended in tragedy with only one man surviving. Ishmael the only survivor narrates the fateful story to the author of the book Melville. Ishmael not only was he a merchant sailor but also had a strong affection for the oceans. He loved to sail forbidden seas and land on barbarous coasts. In contrast, I dread any moment in the sea. On one occasion I boarded a ferry and held my heart in dread that the engine may fail causing the ferry to capsize.As I read the final scene of the story I wonder what was going on in Ishmael's mind at the time of tragedy. I admire his strong will to live as he clinged to a lifebuoy fashioned from queequegs' unused coffin. I concur with author that Ishmael's survival miraculous. I believe after such a narrow escape Ishmael never thought of going back to whaling. The book uses rich sensory details makes the reader want to read the book again and again.

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