Coming, Aphrodite!

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“Coming, Aphrodite!” by Willa Cather is a story that portrays the elements of a romance. A definition of Romance is a strong, sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination, or enthusiasm for something. This definition describes the relationship between Don Hedger and Eden Bower. Don, who is a painter, was dark and quiet. He rejected fame and didn’t need fortune to be successful, he painted for “painters,--haven’t been born.” (37) Contrastingly, Eden was light and free spirited. She went out into the world to meet new people and to become known. Because the both of them were from totally opposite worlds, their attraction sparked like fireworks. They both were young artists wanting success and wealth out of life, but in different aspects. “My dear, I have the most expensive luxury in the world,…”(37). “I give you up. You know very well there’s only one kind of success that’s real.” (38) Despite the fact that they disagreed, the two bonded and romanticized.

Imagination is defined as the image-forming power of the mind that modifies the conceptions, esp. the higher form of power exercised in art and poetry. This definition, I think, clearly describes Eden and Don’s state of mind. Even though their artistic abilities differ, both of them submit to a higher power of their art. As a singer, imagination plays a major role in Eden’s life. She often have images of being famous, traveling around the world and everyone loving her. She worries about what people think of her and whether or not she will be accepted. “Before she was out of short dresses she had made up her mind that she was going to be an actress, that she would live far away in great cities, that she would be much admired by men and would have everything she wanted.” (22) Unlike her, Don’s imagination wasn’t as inspiring. He couldn’t care less about what people thought of him or his paintings. He was a painter because he enjoyed doing it and he didn’t care to be famous. “…A public only wants what has been done over and over. I’m painting for painters,--who haven’t been born.” (37) They both convey a form of imagination which is a description of Romance.

This story also portrays valor, which is described as courage and boldness. Both Eden and Don carry this characteristic. Eden’s boldness was recognized right away when she took Molly Welch’s place and went up into the hot air balloon. “I don’t know. When I saw her coming down, I wanted to try it. It looked exciting. Didn’t I hold myself as well as she did?” (29) This quote suggests to the reader that Eden is a very courageous person who loves to take risks whenever she see fit. She is also bold as to the fact that she is willing to do anything and possibly everything it takes to achieve her dream of fame. Similarly, Don also shows courage and boldness. His boldness is shown by him refusing help to become successful. He chooses to not be recognized by connecting with people who are known but by using his true talent to gain success. I think that he is courageous because he doesn’t try to persuade people to pull strings for him, but he recognizes his own talent and considers himself successful whether or not his work is being viewed. “As I look at it, … I am successful.” (37)

Another element of this story is emotion. Emotion is described as a strong feeling of any kind. This story possessed a lot of emotion, ranging from Don’s see-saw feelings of Eden, to Eden’s feelings of being successful. Don’s emotions throughout this story was kind of rocky, as to how he felt about Eden. Sometimes he felt that she was really something and he really wanted to be with her. “He was going back to her because she was older than art, because she was the most overwhelming thing that had ever come into his life.” (39). At other times he really seemed to be unsure of whether he wanted a relationship or just a something to relieve him of his boring life. He felt that she knew nothing about...
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