The Blue Jar contains a variety of important elements in terms of prose fiction. With a unique plot structure, manner of symbolism, theme, and depiction of characters, Dinesen develops an interesting work of fiction that seeks to instill certain ideals in the reader. The point of view is that of an omniscient narrator. The Blue Jar’s plot follows the track of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action in a unique manner with a “double plot” mechanism. Also, it isn’t solely up and down in plot, but instead many twist and turns are discovered during the course of the plot as well. The effect of this unusual double plot exposes Helena’s character and her changes throughout the poem. The opening two paragraphs functions as the mini plot. The exposition introduces us to the main character, Lady Helena and her father, an old rich Englishman. They sail around the world to such places as Persia, Japan and China collecting blue china. The rising action is brief and consists of two words, “It happened.”, then the climax happens rapidly. The boat they are traveling on catches on fire and Helena is forgotten. The narrative pattern can make one briefly have the sensation a tragedy was taking place, because Helena was considered dead. Luckily, a young English sailor rescues her and carries her to a waiting lifeboat.
The Falling action in the mini plot is their nine-day ordeal of floating for nine days before they are recovered. The conclusion of the concise plot is the Dutch merchantmen ship, Helena’s return to England, her reunion with her father and finally, the father paying and sending the young sailor who rescued her to the other hemisphere. The mini plot affects Helena in many ways. It shows the bond that Helena and her father have because they travel the world together. The old Englishman loves his daughter very much, “The old lord had believed his daughter to be dead. He now wept with joy, and at once took her off to a fashionable watering-place so that she might recover from the hard ships she has gone through.” The father loves her so much, he believes that it is unpleasant for Helena to think that she was rescued by someone from a lower class, “For what, would be the good of that.” The ending of the mini plot also arises questions about Helena of whether she is going to recover and what she’s going to do now. The mini plot also has grabbed the readers’ attention, drawn them into the story and changed the focus of the story to Helena.
The major plot of the story has now taken over. The exposition is lady Helena’s recovery and her new apathetic view on life. The rising action entails that lady Helena has become obsessed with the perfect blue color. Even her father cannot distract her from her goal when he suggests that it might not exist. Helena’s reply, “Surely there must be some of it left from the time when all the world was blue.” The climax has Lady Helena ultimately finding her perfect blue jar she was in search of for so long. Her father has already passed away but Helena’s life is complete, “I have found it at last. This is the true blue.” The falling action takes over and her life’s meaning has ended, “ now I can die. And when I am dead you will cut out my heart and lay it in the blue jar. For then everything will be as it was then. All shall be blue around me, and in the midst of the blue world my heart will be innocent and free, and will beat gently, like the wake that sings, like the drops that fall from an oar blade.” The conclusion is short; she dies shortly after her discovery. This major plot answers the question left by the mini plot.
Yes, Helena recovers and she decided to look for a blue jar like her father use to collect blue china. This brings together the importance of the blue jar as it relates back to the mini plot exposure of Helena and her fathers bond. Her whole life she was surrounded by blue. When her and her father were sailing, she had the blue skies and the blue water. When she was at home with her father she had all the blue china. Blue meant safety and love to her and now her dead heart was engulfed in that same blue she had been looking for. The blue jar also symbolizes her desire to find the right thing for her with the right place to keep her heart safe when she dies and to find comfort. When she finds the jar, she admits she is ready to die. Death loses its usual morbidity in this case as she now has reached the peaceful end of her life. In a life filled with the color of blue, she now dies comfortably after obtaining the perfect shade of blue and achieves closure.
The quest for the perfect blue jar can also be interpreted as the need for one to seek out their goals and stop at nothing to achieve them. The desire to travel and collect china was considerably something Helena gained because of her father. Her father was of great influence to Lady Helena when it came to traveling, but the obsession she had for obtaining a specific color of blue was something her father could not make sense of. Her obsession to obtain the perfect blue color became so bad that even her aunts from England ” implored her” to go back. After many years of sailing her father suggested to her that maybe the “color which she sought did not exist”. Throughout the years of her search she found many jars with different blues but ended up unsatisfied. She never lost hope of finding her perfect blue jar and was ultimately stubborn with her desire to find this seemingly non-existent jar. Dinesen could be seen as promoting the idea that one should not settle in life for second best, and seek out what they truly desire. Though it took Helena’s entire life, she did finally reach her goal. She also reflects this overall theme of hope and perseverance by incorporating Lady Helena last words as “
Is it not a sweet thing to think that, if only you have patience, all that has ever been, will come back to you?”, before finally dying. The double plot of “The Blue Jar” exposes the true nature of Helen and relives the bond of Helen and her father. Dinesen uses this unique plot device in a way that leads one to believe that the “mini” plot will result in a story of Helen’s father seeking out his daughter instead of Helen seeking out a perfect blue jar. However, this ends up being far from the case. The tone quickly shifts from traumatic to a sense of relief in the matter of a few sentences. The theme then onward centers on perseverance and hope that one will find the true thing they are looking for. The ending is slightly ironic in that it was preceded by a mini plot and a relatively long central plot of Helen’s quest and then it ends so abruptly with her dying right after attaining her goal in life.
This ending brings a further sense of resolution after the arduous adventure of Helen. In conclusion, The Blue Jar teaches great lessons on perseverance and having standards in life. Helen’s hope was perceived as foolish by her own family, but was unrelenting as she aged and even grew more decrepit. Though she was presented with other blue jars, nothing seemed to match the particular shade she was looking for in her life. Ultimately she was able to die content with the knowledge that her pursuit was over and she accomplished her goal.
Courtney from Study Moose
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