The Fate of a Creative Person What is creativity? Who are creative people? What role do they play in our society? Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art etc. ) that has some kind of value. According to this definition we may conclude that creative persons are those people who are able to produce something new that has some kind of value, both personal and public.
On the one hand, many scholars are sure that people reveal their creative abilities only when they are surrounded by positive things, when they have a loving family, good friends. On the other hand, some researches show that many people can create something only when their life is full of hardships and difficulties. Many writers devoted their works to description of creative people’s life.
Among them are William Somerset Maugham, Kazuo Ishiguro, Mary Shelly and Ernest Hemingway. To my mind this fact proves that the fate of creative persons has interested people since long ago. To watch how the above mentioned writers reflected the fate of creative people in literature we decided to analyze the protagonists’ characters of the three novels: “The Painted Veil”, “An Artist of the Floating World”, “Frankenstein” – and a short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.
All these characters have both similar and different traits: they devoted their life to different fields of science and art (Walter Fane – to biology, Masui Ono- to painting, Victor Frankenstein- to study of chemical processes and the decay of living beings, Harry-to literature), but the end of their life is the same (all of them, except Masui Ono, died at the end of the book). Now let’s have a deeper look at these characters. Walter Fane is one of the main heroes in the novel “The Painted Veil” by W. S. Maugham.
He was a young, poor but giving great hopes biologist when he first saw Kitty and married her, thinking that he really loved her. As the novel progresses Walter starts to understand that marriage with Kitty was the greatest mistake in his life. At first he put all the blame for distraction of their marriage on Kitty. She wasn’t fair to him when started to have affairs with Charles Townsend. But later Walter realizes that part of the blame was on him, it was he who proposed to Kitty without getting to know her properly. Walter tries to find the escape from the problems in science.
He convinces Kitty in Charles’s shallowness, cowardice and deception and persuades her to move with him to China where he will be curing people of epidemic disease. This trip became a crucial moment both for Kitty and Walter, from this moment they started to understand and respect each other. Days and nights Walter spends at the laboratory trying to find the cure. People treat him as a saint, only Kitty at first doesn’t notice that he is a very intelligent, kind person, devoted to his job. I think he would be also devoted to a family if he had a good one.
May be Walter hoped even that everything can be good in the near future, he notices that Kitty changes, she becomes more thoughtful, more sensible. But Kitty destroys his hopes when she understands that she is pregnant, but on Walter’s question “Who is the father? ” she says “I don’t know”. Shortly after that Walter dies, supposedly in the result of experiments that he carries out in himself trying to find the cure. But the reader doesn’t know whether all this happened by accident or whether Walter did it deliberately, as his hopes for happy life had been destroyed.
The tragedy of Walter’s life is in his deep involvement in science. Being absorbed by it since youth he failed to make out between true feelings and Kitty’s desire not to lag behind her younger sister and marry someone as soon as possible. So, from the example of this hero we can see that sometimes people of great creative potential are too devoted to their occupation, they are very successful in their job, but suffer in everyday life, being unable to accommodate to it. Another example of a creative person in literature is Masui Ono, an elderly man who devoted his life to paintings.
His creativity, his art had a destructing character. He and some other painters and composers during World War II propaganded Japan’s involvement in the war and German’s support by their works. When a young man, Masui depicted in his works “a floating world”: beauty of nature, beauty of women, night pleasures- all the things that were not forever. But later when he matured, when he realized that his country was in crisis, that poverty and famine were progressing, Masui decided to do everything he could to help people.
This decision seems very generous, but the way he embodies his plans and the results of these plans change the reader’s mind. In his pictures he calls people to join the army and help Germany to lead the war, hoping that the win in it will help his country to overcome all the difficulties. On the one hand, we can’t despise him, because everything he did was realization of his sincere desire to help his country, and besides he also suffered as he lost his wife and his son in the war.
But on the other hand, Masui and people having the same ideas, who were blind and couldn’t see the real political situation, led the country to even more critical situation, because the war brought nothing but ruins and dead bodies. In the period of reconstruction such people like Ono become outcast, some of them even commit suicide, some of them are too old and just spend their last years in loneliness. Ono in comparison with such people is not lonely, he has a family: two daughters and a grandson. He never stays at home alone, his elder daughter very often comes to visit him.
But Masui isn’t lonely only on the surface, deep inside he is extremely lonely: his daughters don’t understand him, they watch at him like at an elderly man, all they feel is only pity. Masui’s past has influenced not only his own life but also lives of his children: his younger daughter couldn’t marry, because young men didn’t want to have any business with a family, that had contributed to the destruction of the country. So, the tragedy of such people like Masui Ono is that they failed to give their gift the right direction.
People could have admired Ono’s works, but he didn’t manage to make out between art and politics, two things that are very rarely can be combined. The third novel tells us a story of Victor Frankenstein, a young man who became interested in science since the very childhood. His study at the university has inspired him to the terrific experiment-creation of a living being from dead people’s bodies. He becomes fascinated with the “secret of life,” discovers it, and brings a hideous monster to life.
The monster proceeds to kill Victor’s youngest brother, best friend, and wife; he also indirectly causes the deaths of two other innocents, including Victor’s father. Though torn by shame and guilt, Victor refuses to admit to anyone the horror of what he has created, even as he sees that he loses control of his creature. As the novel progresses Victor turns from an innocent youth fascinated by science into a disillusioned man determined to destroy the result of his horrific experiment by all means.
At first Victor doesn’t care about the results of his experiments, he cuts himself off from the society and carries his experiments out. He lacks humanity in spite of the fact that he was brought up in a big family, in which everyone loved and respected each other. He takes the responsibility of the God for making people alive, but can’t cope with the consequences. He realizes what he really had done only after the monster starts killing people who were close to him. The rest of his life Victor devotes to searching for the monster and killing him, but dies himself.
His life and life of all his relatives-that is the price that victor payed for his thoughtless experiments. The example of this character, as well as the example of the character from the previous novel, one more time proves the fact that not always creative people know, how to use their gift. Instead of using it for peaceful purposes they are blindly wasting it or are directing it to dangerous innovations. Creation of the monster by Victor Frankenstein in the novel can be put on the same scale with creation of the atomic bomb.
The protagonist of the short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” Harry is a writer, who during his travel in Africa infected his cut on the leg and is dying from gangrene. This character is as lonely in life as Masui Ono: he has a woman who loves him, but he doesn’t love her, she is reach and this is the main reason for Harry’s staying with her. In fact he was lonely all his life: he loved a lot of women but all of them left him because he was demanding too much. The problem of this character is that only at the end of his life Harry realizes that he didn’t manage to write about everything he wanted, that he did very little in this life.
Lying on the stretcher in the last evening before his death, the hero recollects all the events he would like to describe in his books in details. Rich imagination of this person, imagination that wasn’t fully used, is revealed in the last minutes of the hero’s life: his death seems to him a flight on the helicopter to his destiny – a snowy peak of Kilimanjaro. To make a conclusion I would like to say that a fate of a creative person has been quite a hot issue in literature for many centuries and is touched upon by many contemporary writers.
Different writers took different protagonists for their books but many of them make such heroes unhappy outcast of the society. They can’t find their place in the world by different reasons: one of them are so absorbed by their ideas that can’t distinguish people’s true feelings, others can’t direct their creativity in the right way, others use only very small part of their talent and don’t perform their function in this world. If you have gift it means you were touched by God and you should create only good things using this gift. If your creativity brings destruction you will be punished by God.