Windows of the Soul

1. Who wrote " in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is King"?
   H.G.Wells. In the story, a sighted man fell into the Valley of the Blind and fell in love with a blind girl. 
    When faced with the threat of losing his sight, he fled.

    Recently, a newspaper in Thailand was prosecuted for treason because the editor used the same 
    phrase. He was thought to mock the King of Thailand who lost one of his eyes during a car accident 
    while studying medicine in Harvard.

2. In Balzac's short story "The Elixir of Long Life". What happened to the eye of the dead man when his son
    applied a magic potion over it?

  In the story, a dying man asks his son to spread a magic potion over his corpse to resurrect him. The 
    youth applies it first to one eye. It opens, and all at once it is "thinking, accusing condemning,
    threatening, judging, speaking, shouting and biting." The son shuts the eye and keeps the elixir for 

3. Who mused that "The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter -- often an unconscious but still a faithful 
     interpreter -- in the eye" ?

    Jane Eyre. Unfortunately, her future husband Mr. Rochester lost his sight in a house fire.

     Mr. Rochester is said by Charlotte Bronte to have dark eyes. A quick review of  Western literature 
     shows that most women writers portray their heroes to have dark eyes. The psychologists believe the
     reasons being men with dark eyes are perceived by women to have bigger pupils and therefore more 
     caring and romantic.

     In human, the pupils are profoundly expressive. These disks not only widen in dim light but also before
     an image that excites us, as shrewd poker players and bargainers know. Antique hunters are said to 
     prefer dark glasses or colour contact lenses to hide their excitement during bargaining. Researchers who
     showed men pairs of photos of women identical in every way except that retouchers had enlarged the 
     pupils of one, and found men preferred her but could not say why. 

     Our pupils reach peak size in adolescence, almost certainly as a lure in love, then slowly contract till age

4. In La Vita Nuova  who flashes love from her eyes and inflames Dante?


    Love at first sight usually involves eye contact, and the Greek poet Meleager (1st century B.C) placed 
    Cupid inside the eyes, whence he aimed his barbs. In much subsequent lover poetry, and later among Arab 
    poets and Provencal Versifiers of the 12th century, the eyes shoot arrows, darts, or fiery beams that 
    wound the soul and infect with longings.  

5. What is " a green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on"?
    Jealousy. Iago blandly warns Othello that jealousy is "a green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat 
      it feeds on." In China, covetousness is "red-eye disease".

6. Who wrote " Laugh, and the world laughs with you;/ Weep, and you weep alone."? 
     Is this line, now a maxim, literally true?

     Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919). No.

     This maxim is literally untrue. Weeping actually brings people together. A crying face in a child evokes 
     concern in parents, and in an adult, compassion from others. The pull is arresting. A person sobbing in a 
     supermarket, for example, generates an instant circle of well wishers. 

    Handling a baby chick, Lady Chatterley suddenly burst out crying "in all the anguish of her generation's 
     forlornness," and the keeper touches her shoulder, a gesture of comfort that begins their affair.

7. Who advised wooing men to shed tears? 


     "They move the most adamant natures. Let her, if possible, see tears on your cheeks, in your eyes." 
      And if you can't produce tears at will, he says, bring a vial of water and fake it.

8. Who observed that "the English wept less than the Mediterranean"?

      Culture strongly conditions tears. One recent survey found that Israelis cry less than Britons, possibly, 
      the authors suggest, because of mandatory military service in Israel, which  "encourages an active and 
      resourceful approach to the solution of problems and produces someone better able to cope with 
      (DG Williams and G.H.Morris, "Crying, Weeping or Tearfulness in British and Israeli 
      Adults,"British Journal of Psychology, vol 87, pp 479-505, 1996)

     Women cry more often and longer than men. In one study they wept 5.3 times a month, compared to 1.4 
       for men. They also use tears more commonly as a coping device, to win sympathy and shame 
       (F de Fruyt, "Gender and Individual Differences in Crying. " Personality and Individual Difference,
        vol 22, no.6 pp. 937-940, 1997.)

        Grief is not the sore cause of tears. Glory, success after extreme effort, can bring tears. Perhaps the
       oddest of all, music can cause tears. One duct-squeezing trick entails repeating a musical theme a step 
        higher or lower than when the listener first heard it, as in Albinoni's Adagio for Strings. Another, even 
        more effective, is the appoggiatura, or delay in resolving a musical theme. The Beatles' "Yesterday"
        begins with one, and appoggiaturas abound in tear jerking tunes. They build a kind of anxiety, which 
        the melody finally resolves. 

To verify the above you may like to download "YESTERDAY"
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(modified  from The face by Daniel McNeill published by Little, Brown and Company)