I Resent That
Throughout the literary works of Edgar Allen Poe, Thomas Lynch, and John Ciardi, the characters and narrators all struggle with differing forms of resentment. In Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado,” the narrator resents his friend Fortunato for insulting him, and in Thomas Lynch’s poem “Liberty” and John Ciardi’s poem “Suburban,” both narrators resents their societies for the restrictions placed on their personal freedom. Although all of the characters and narrators of these works feel resentment, each deals with this feeling in his own unique way.
In Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado,” the narrator feels a strong sense of resentment towards his friend Fortunato and deals with this feeling in a direct and physical manner. The narrator reveals his resentment in the first line of the story by stating, “the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could,” which shows that the bitterness towards Fortunato had been building up for a while. Then the narrator states that when Fortunato “ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” and from this point on, the narrator devises a plan to avenge himself. The narrator uses Fortunato’s love for wine to lure him into a vault in search for Amontillado and eventually traps Fortunato inside, leaving him to die. The narrator’s feelings of resentment are so powerful that he feels the need to take immediate and direct action by getting revenge and killing his friend all because of an insult. Of the three works, this is the most extreme example of resentment and the actions taken to solve it.
In Thomas Lynch and John Ciardi’s poems, the narrators’ resentment is not directed towards a specific person but rather towards society’s restrictions on freedom and the standards set by its members. In Lynch’s poem “Liberty,” the narrator resents society for altering tradition and for taking away a part of his liberty. Like the narrator of Poe’s short story, the narrator here also takes physical action against his resentment but in the less extreme form of taking a “piss on the front lawn as a form of liberty.” He does this as a protest against society’s expectations of using a bathroom and also as a way of recognizing an older way of life. Similarly, the narrator in Ciardi’s poem “Suburban” is also frustrated with society and is resentful of the behavior expected by him. The narrator in this poem is blamed from something he did not do and instead of speaking his mind, he simply follows the behavior expected of him by society and complies politely with the old woman. In this work, freedom of speech rather than freedom of action is being restricted. Unlike the other two narrators, this narrator does not take any physical action but rather, he approaches his resentment in a very passive and compliant manner. Although all three narrators feel a strong sense of resentment towards another character or society as a whole, they all go about managing their resentment in different ways.
As a teacher’s aid to a second grade class, I felt the slightest bit of resentment towards the young students only because of their carefree and easy going outlooks on life. Because they are still so young, the daily pressures of everyday life do not faze them and they are still amused by the simplest things. It is hard to say that I resent the adorable second grade class I had the pleasure of working with, but I do envy them because they have not yet experienced the daily difficulties of life in the real world.