Transcendental Wild Oats

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Transcendental Wild Oats is a satirical work of art which was derived from Alcott’s personal experience within her own family. The success of this story is based on the validity of the themes discussed, as well as the style of narration used to construct the story. For one, Alcott’s point of view in the story and the third person narration allows her to discuss the utopian experiment.

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From her point of view, she observes the actions of the characters in the story, and reports it to the audience in a manner that comes off as reproaching the reckless venture, one that almost destroyed the family and the actions of the man who risked exposing his daughters and wife to poverty, anxiety and ostracism (Mills, 2007). Alcott speaks from experience. She understands the problems that arise from gender inequality from firsthand experience.

The story applies irony to critic situations intended to culminate in a utopian world but which failed to support this premise. For example, Timon expressed his dissatisfaction with the consumption of animals, publicly yelling at Jane, claiming that eating a fish tail could nourish the world tiger in her bosom (Alcott, 2011). He is depicted as a critic of the vegetarian lifestyle. It is also ironic that the quest for a utopian world leads to a further loss of female freedom. Sister Hope worked tirelessly doing extra work at night so that the men could avoid working in the farm, which helped them save time to explore their individual inner natures ( Michael, 2016). The utopian world which was sought after in the Fruitlands was aimed at providing equal rights to all individuals of the community, but it was ironic that, while the animals were freed from suffering by being excluded from their diet, women continued to suffer in labor, not only carrying the burden of their lives, but also that of the men (Michael, 2016).

The story applies a combination of tones from a satirical, comical and even serious tone depending on the effect that the author desires to achieve. The combination of tones can be seen as a creating difficulty in the communication of humor to the reader. The fact that the text does not wholly work as a parody, satire of burlesque (Mills, 2007) allows the author to switch between effects, so that the context dictates the kind of tone that the author picks, and consequently creates different ideas of approach towards different issues in the book. For example, the text opens with the description of group’s journey, which is a serious tone, forming a foundation for the comical and satirical exploration of the actions and decisions made by the individuals of the group after their settling. The author later picks a comical approach to expose the irony in the ideas expressed by the vegetarians, those who were trying to protect animal rights while simultaneously neglecting the rights of their fellow human beings by overworking and underappreciating the labor of women. The fall of the imagined Utopian Fruitlands is described in a satirical tone, juxtaposing the ideas in the beginning of the establishment of the new world with the reality that the individuals had seen in the end. This is emphasized by the conversation that comes at the end of the book, here the author proposes that Apple Slump would be a better name for Fruitlands (Alcott, 2011), as they had failed to achieve the utopian system as they had envisioned.

The organization of the events surrounding the establishment and the failure of the utopian world as desired by the characters of the text is another aspect of the story that contributes to its effective conceptualization as well as the communication of ideas. The story is largely themed on the inequality of men and women, where the success of the feministic approach is dependent on the organization of the plot. The text is organized in a way that allows the reader into the ideas that supported the construction of the utopian system in the very beginning. It describes aspects of the lifestyles adopted by the characters in an effort to support the system, such as the elimination of meat from the diet, while following the life of Sister Hope and her interactions with the rest of the characters, and especially those that pointed out her struggle in labor to support the system (Alcott, 2011). The fact that the plot includes the collapse of the Fruitlands completes the thought that including some members of the society in the plan of creating a utopian world while exempting some of the members who are equally participants in the fulfillment of this system creates a humorous imbalance which finally results in failure. The plot acknowledges the fault in the imbalanced ideas on which the individuals of Fruitlands created their system by pointing out that a woman’s selfless desire to support everyone does not help to support the group of women in the society, and this imbalance finally leads to the collapse of the whole system.

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