Nature at its (not so) finest: JGough

In this painting I initially began in hopes to capture Rochester’s Satyr Against Reason and Mankind; the idea that it would be better to be beast than man if only because of the drive that propels animals. Instead of focussing on frivolous things, animals are instinctual. They do not ponder the meaning of life; rather, they live it. I chose this piece of writing because I really enjoyed this concept. I like the thought of not spending day after day studying so as to get acceptable grades so I might get a job doing something I do not necessarily enjoy. So for Rochester to suggest this foreign idea of not abiding by society’s idea of being successful, of having a well paying career and a family and whatnot, is inspiring. It makes me think of all the people who have lived their lives working towards something to find that they are not happy. While Rochester himself may have taken this to an extreme, from my viewpoint, the core concept I agree with.

To build on this concept I also want to talk about Swifts’ A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed. As I continued to paint I began to think about this poem; how Corinna spent all this time and effort into making herself into something she was not. And maybe she was happier for it, but it seems to me so trivial when regarded in comparison to Satyr Against Reason and Mankind. Though I’m sure Rochester enjoyed the fact that women dressed themselves up, I also think it’s contradictory to his idea of living instinctually. If a hummingbird were to weigh itself down with bangles and ornaments, it would hardly be beneficial and would even impinge on it’s lifestyle. Instead of living instinctually, indulging in what is enjoyable, people subjugate themselves to a standard set by society; a standard that dictates how they should look, act and dress. They find themselves caught up in things that do not matter in the long run instead of enjoying what they have. This is what Rochester is saying and what Swift is ridiculing.

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