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ELA 20-1 The Blue Bouquet Essay

Discuss the idea Octavio Paz develops about an individual's transition from innocence to experience?

The transition in a person from innocence, or naivete, to experience, or the voice of reason and thought from previous knowledge, is a somber one, for we say goodbye to our purity and are inaugurated into a harsh world. The naive may believe this statement, but upon further review it becomes clear that the transition between innocence and experience is ultimately necessary. In Octavio Pazs The Blue Bouquet the protagonist is faced with a dangerous situation, one where afterwards he subconsciously realized it was necessary to make the metamorphosis between innocence and experience. His naivete skewed his perspective of the world, and thus made the transition crucial; this was made clear through Pazs use of literary techniques. His previous perspective consequently put him in a very dangerous situation, and made him act fatuously. In The Blue Bouquet readers should learn that the transition from innocence to experience is one of necessity, because your inexperience does not allow you to realize the true state of the world around you. This worldview not only results in a misshapen facade, but this bent mentality can cause people to act foolishly.

In Octavio Pazs short story, it is clear that Octavio Paz is saying the transition between innocence to experience is necessary, through his use of symbolism pertaining to a mere cigarette. In the story, the protagonist: Threw his cigarette down (p.2) The cigarette in the story can be used to represent many different things. Firstly, the cigarette can be seen as the finite of our naivete in todays world; as the cigarette burns, the light will inevitably go out. The light represents our purity and immaturity, which will go out with time no matter what you do to stop it. Furthermore, the cigarette, falling like a shining curve, shooting out brief sparks like a tiny comet, can be seen as a shooting star across the night sky. Shooting stars are most often seen as a symbol of hope and innocence, but in the case of the falling cigarette it is

inevitable that this star will hit the ground. This is reflective once again of the necessity for us to transfer from ingenuousness to experience, for our lives must eventually face our inexperience and make the inevitable shift in character. As you can see, through Octavio Pazs use of a cigarette he shows us that the transition between jejunity and maturity is necessary, this is because naivete creates a clouded worldview.

The shift from innocence to experience is ultimately necessary because innocence by definition is a distorted view of the world around you, not realizing the full effect of your surroundings on yourself. In his short story, Paz uses various literary elements to show this. Firstly he uses the crumpled white wall as a symbol for immaturity. White is often used as a symbol for innocence and purity, but in the story, the white walls brightness ended up blinding the protagonist. This symbolises the blindness that innocence causes; and the dangers associated with it. For while the protagonist was blind, he had one of his senses taken away, and he lost much of his ability to perceive the world around him, this is parallel to the effects of naivete on an individual. Furthermore, Paz uses the symbol of eyes, and the colours they represent. Blue eyes are most often associated with innocence and newborn children, for when babies are newborn there eyes are a dark blue, gaining melanin as they age. Also, when babies are newborn, their eyesight is not yet developed; as they gain colour in their eyes, they gain the power of sight. This is reflected as a symbol in The Blue Bouquet for blue eyes represent a clouded worldview, and in order for them to clear, they must go through a transformation of colour, reflected through the transition from inexperience to maturity. Pazs use of literary elements effectively show that jejunity blinds and clouds the perspective of a person, this results in the individual to act foolishly.

Failure for people to transition away from innocence results in foolish actions, for naivete causes their outlook to be skewed. Paz uses subtle dramatic irony to show the naivete of the antagonist in the story. My girlfriend has this whim. She wants a bouquet of blue eyes (pg.#2) the antagonist explains as hes holding a machete to the protagonist; what the antagonist doesnt realise is that his girlfriends request was actually less morbid. Baby Blue Eyes are a common flower, and she was probably referring

to those, rather than a bouquet of human eyes. Through this, we see that the antagonists lack of reasoning and logic caused him to be in a rather macabre situation. Another example of the failure to transition between naivete and experience is the protagonist at the beginning of the story, when he is warned by the boardinghouse owner, but does not heed those warnings. Octavios choice for the boardinghouse owner to have a missing eye is an interesting one, for it shows what the consequences of the Protagonists actions could be even before we are introduced to the conflict of the story. His missing eye is representative of the wisdom gained by the boardinghouse owner through his trials, and shows that his experience could have saved the Protagonist from the events that transpired next. Unfortunately, the protagonists failure to transition from innocence to experience sequentially caused him to act blindly.

In Pazs work, the reader must realize that the transition from innocence to experience is essential, for innocence itself is not understanding the true state of the world around you. This worldview is not only a lie, but this bent mentality can cause people to act foolishly. The main character of the story is faced with a very climacteric moment in his life, one where afterwards made the development from innocence and experience, because naivete was clouding the outlook on his surroundings. His previous mindset was one of great danger, for it got him into a vulnerable situation, one of possible mortality. The transition from innocence and naivete to experience and understanding is one of absolute necessity in todays world, because innocence obfuscates the mind, and doesnt allow you to live up to your full potential.