Rebuttal to E: P’s Interpretation of the Nightingale and the Rose

So as all of you know, E didn’t really like the story of the nightingale and the rose. And for obvious reasons. I mean, it IS a pretty depressing story. But I have to disagree on what should be taken out of the story.

Let’s think about it. Stories are supposed to make you think. They’re supposed to make you question what you believe in. Say the nightingale had died and the Student had given the rose to his girlfriend and they had lived happily ever after. No one would remember this story! What would be the point? After I read this story I thought, “Wow. If I had been that girl I might have done the same exact thing. But after reading this story I won’t choose the riches over the flower, because who knows the story behind the flower?” The point of the story is to make us think. About how we may be wasting our resources or how we may be taking things for granted, like the ability to love or just the beauty of a crimson rose.

If you go to Wikipedia and you check up the word martyr, a lot of definitions pop up.

Here are the six common features of martyrdom.

1.     A hero- A person of some renown who is devoted to a cause believed to be admirable.

2.     Opposition- People who oppose that cause.

3.     Forseeable Risk- The hero foresees action by opponents to harm him or her, because of his or her commitment to the cause.

4.     Courage and Commitment-The hero continues, despite knowing the risk, out of commitment to the cause.

5.     Death- The opponents kill the hero because of his or her commitment to the cause.

6.     Audience Response- The hero’s death is commemorated. People may label the hero explicitly as a martyr. Other people may in turn be inspired to pursue the same cause.

So there we are. Courage and commitment. Things we all strive for—was the nightingale so wrong to be courageous and committed to what she believed? She believed the heart of a man was greater than the heart of a bird and so she knew what had to be done. But I think the most important part is the sixth one. “Other people may in turn be inspired to pursue the same cause.” Others will fight for love. I think that’s what Oscar Wilde was trying to say. We’ll fight for love. What would happen if we tried to take love away? People would fight for it. They would die for it. And I’m not saying let’s all go be really drastic and angsty and kill ourselves for the love of others, I’m just saying appreciate what the nightingale did. Appreciate her sacrifice, and be willing to fight for love. Even if it is only in small ways.

When E and I were discussing this poem E said, “She should have used her problem solving skills to find another rose or some other kind of dye to feed to the tree to turn the rose red. And then she could have lived and the student boy could have given his stupid crush a rose without a beautiful bird being sacrificed!” I think as humans we do this a lot. We’re unwilling to sacrifice. I know I do it all the time. I rationalize why I shouldn’t do some things or I listen to my head instead of my heart. But here’s the thing. Red dye wouldn’t have worked. The point was that the bird didn’t have problem solving skills. She was unlike the Student. Instead of reason, logic, and philosophy, she has only love and emotion. And this is what she acts on. And that’s okay. It’s okay sometimes to let your emotions be stronger than your reason. (Just please try not to let it get you killed like in this story.) The point of the story is that red dye won’t work. She has to build it out of music by moonlight and stain it with her own heart’s blood. She was willing to sacrifice for love. And truthfully there are many things I AM willing to sacrifice for. My mom, my dad, my brothers, E, my best friends: I would do anything for them. And even on a less drastic level…we should be willing to sacrifice. Lose an argument once in a while, sacrifice an evening, abdicate something we like, but someone else would like more. A lot in life is about sacrifice and how much we are willing to compromise.

Next point. Yes, the nightingale died. But guess what? It created a beautiful crimson rose. A rose that had the capability to create love. The nightingale took a risk!! Yes, she may have failed, but she died for what she believed in: LOVE. In E’s argument she brings up a Tale of Two Cities (one of my favorite books by Dickens, you guys should read it if you haven’t). She says that Carton sacrifices his life for Darnay and his family. But the future isn’t set in stone! Darnay and his family could have been caught on their escape out and died. Random lightning bolts could have rained out of the sky and smitten them dead! Would it all have been in vain then? NO. IT’S THE THOUGHT. It’s the thought that counts. It’s the willingness to fight for something that you believe in. That nightingale took a risk. She took a risk. And she died for what she believed in. And yes, that’s the end of her life. She will never again be able to sing or create love or anything. But guess what? All the other nightingales will speak of her tale. They will sing of a nightingale who wished to create a world with more love. And they won’t be afraid to love. Or die for love. And one day a nightingale will die for love and the love won’t be wasted. The girl will accept the rose and her and the student will dance the night away and fall madly in love. And a girl in a small town in Texas will appreciate the beauty of a rose. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that you have to take risks. You have to take risks and you have to know that sometimes you will fail. You will fail and that will be the end. And you have to be okay with that. Millions have failed before one succeeds. The path to success is one that is riddled with failures. We take billions of risks. Everyday, everywhere. And only a few pay off. But when they do pay off, it’s worth more than anything we could have ever imagined.

So I’m sorry for this extremely long-winded post but I just thought ya’ll should know where I was coming from when I posted that.

Snowflakes and Hugs,



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