Wednesday, June 3, 2009
So now the time has come. I have written about three literary works, and I have found that I am a little disappointed with my results. Butterflies are primarily used in literature to express innocence and metamorphosis, just as I expected. In Lolita, butterflies were also used to mimic the capture of Dolores Haze by Humbert Humbert, and so it went a little further. But all in all, I felt that butterflies are a pretty shallow motif. Assuredly, if I continued this quest I may have found other themes that butterflies help to explain. So why butterflies? I think that the frequent use of butterflies, rather than a moth or dragonfly, which can also be used to express innocence and childhood and transformation, is simply because of their beauty. Most humans enjoy looking at beautiful things, and insects are generally (let’s face it) not very pretty. But butterflies are! Their symmetry and bright colors have always fascinated people. Insects live on a small scale world. It is a relief to compact great emotions like truth, bliss, innocence, change of self, and force them upon a tiny bug. Their small physical size combined with the emotions that they have come to represent throughout the age of literature makes them worth more to the environment and society. The use of butterflies to express innocence was simultaneous with the beginning of the zoology. Butterflies were captured for science and leisure in the 19th century, and the appearance of butterflies flying freely in nature, while in danger of hunters, became a special symbol for freedom and carefree youth. This is the vision I have in my head after doing this blog. What I have learned has become a landscape, set beside a river. There are butterflies floating in the breeze, there are bright flowers in the impressionist style. There is a small group regarding them from afar, one man appears like he is about to lunge towards one, but the rest of the party looks on calmly. All they want to do is appreciate the beauty and the innocent motion of the butterflies’ flight. And that’s all this unborn canvas will ever tell me.