37 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2021
    1. He gave me a mind and He took it away when He saw how I used it wrongly, and gave it to me again just as He pleased. He allowed me to repent my sins and afterwards to be aware of his divinity, to do His bidding and to improve my sinful way of life. [407-413] Glory and honour and thanks be to you, Lord God, who are a medicine for all misfortune! Thank you for my well-being and for my adversity. Thank you for my growing older and my sickness. And thanks be to your infinite goodness for all your gifts and benefits, and to your mercy and your grace I call out.

      The idea that Hoccleve went through everything so that he would be a "good religious boy" is incredibly upsetting. With this mindset, someone would be stuck in terrible situations because they believed they somehow deserved it. Hoccleve's Complaint shows us how victim blaming can create a toxic mindset for the victim.

    2. Goodbye to my sorrow, I throw it to the birds! With patience, I think to unpick the lock of such melancholic disease and sorrow from now on, and let out those things which have made me sick. Our Lord God may, if it please Him, make all my former friendships return in the future, and I will comfort myself with the hope of that.

      This is reiterating what I mentioned earlier about Hoccleve putting his entire being into God.

    3. ‘Rather you should think in your heart like this and say, “To you, Lord God, I have done wrong: I must suffer so painfully for my offences. Just as I deserve, I am destroyed, unless you will grant your mercy to me. I am very sure you cannot deny it to me. Lord, I repent and I beg mercy from you.”’

      This line of thinking is incredibly toxic. Even when one did nothing wrong, they feel as though they must have done something wrong to deserve their horrible situation. This kind of thinking also keeps people in abusive situations.

    4. ‘Wrestle,’ said Reason, ‘against the oppressions of the world, troubles, suffering and hardships. [344-350] ‘Look how many people suffer disease, as much as you and often more seriously, and though it pains them sharply and seizes them, yet they suffer and bear it patiently.

      This can be inspiring to some, but it mostly feels incredibly condescending. A physical illness such as a cold is much easier to overcome than something chronic like depression.

    5. The other day I saw in a book a lamentation by a sorrowful man*, to whom Reason gave words of consolation, speaking helpfully, and my heart was very eased by it, for when I had read for a while in that book, I was well nourished by the speech of Reason.

      Just as someone might read Hoccleve's Complaint, and find comfort in it, Hoccleve found comfort in another writer's work.

    6. And they told them every part of the truth, but they considered their words nothing but lies. They might as well have kept quiet.

      The people only want to hear what they want to. This also takes more autonomy away from Hoccleve - people don't even trust Hoccleve himself to tell them how he is.

    7. I blamed them for only one fault. They could not believe that I was healthy, and yet day by day they saw me pass by them in hot weather and cold, and neither when speaking or silent did they find me acting suspectly. A dark cloud obscured their sight within and without, and because of all that they were in such an uncertainty.

      People base things off the past and refuse to believe people can change. Hoccleve (rightfully) resents this form of thinking. How can humanity evolve if we don't accept change?

    8. And as quickly afterwards I thought like this: ‘If I despair in this fashion, it is a way of obtaining yet more adversity. What need is there to harm my feeble wit since God — blessed is he — has made my health return home? And whatever people think or speak, I plan to endure it and I won’t take revenge on myself.’

      God has truly gone from someone Hoccleve spites to someone Hoccleve turns to for comfort in day to day life. Finding something to latch onto in order to live is a very human reaction, no matter what said thing is. If Hoccleve can put all of his being into God, then he can potentially live a somewhat decent life. This line of thinking makes sense.

    9. 260-266] Since my good fortune has changed her mind, it’s high time for me to creep into my grave. What am I doing here, living without joy? I’m able to find no gladness in my heart. I can say little without people deciding that I’m raving. Since I can grasp nothing other than sorrow, I’m now ready for my tomb.

      I wonder if Hoccleve's Complaint reached the kind of people who would have ridiculed him. Perhaps this story would help them see the damage that out-casting can do to a person. If there was someone who had compassion toward Hoccleve, he wouldn't feel this way.

    10. 225-231] If someone falls into drunkenness once, will they remain in that state for ever more? No, even though someone drinks to excess, so much that he cannot speak or walk, and his wits are almost taken from him and buried in the bottom of the cup, afterwards he comes to himself again — otherwise things would be difficult. [232-238] Just so, though my mind has been a pilgrim and travelled far from here, he returned again. God emptied me of this harmful poison which had infected and maddened my brain. See how the most excellent and merciful doctor gives medicine to the sick at their time of need and relieves them of their pain.

      Hoccleve makes an amazing point that people shouldn't be obliterated for one action they took in life.

    11. Thus the best test is by conversation.

      Exactly what I said earlier.

    12. By tasting a fruit you can truly know and identify what it is, there is no other proof: everyone knows that well as far as I can see. Just so for those that think that my mind has left me. Still to this day there are many people who think I am not well: may they, as I pass by them, taste and assay if that be true or not.

      I feel as though what Hoccleve is trying to say is that one can't judge someone truly until they get to know them.

    13. But then I thought on the other side of things: ‘If I’m not seen among the crowds, people will think that I hide my head and am worse than I am, that’s the truth.’ O Lord, my spirit was so restless, I sought rest and I did not find it, yet trouble was always ready at hand.

      Hoccleve literally can not win in this situation. No matter what he does, people are going to dislike him for his differences.

    14. I am a great fool to beat these streets like this every day and to work doggedly and sweat indoors and outdoors, in order to earn nothing but restlessness and misery, since I am fallen out of all good fortune and grace

      "Why try when I'll just be ridiculed for it?"

    15. Since I have recovered, I have very often had cause to be angry and impatient, at times where I have born it gently and patiently, suffering wrong and offence to be done to me but not answering back and keeping quiet, in case that people would judge me and say, ‘See how this man has become afflicted once more.’

      The violence mentioned in the beginning was simply Hoccleve getting angry when people still don't accept him despite him acting the same as them. My former notes that mention DID were completely off base. Hoccleve doesn't seem to have anything "wrong" with him unless one counts being neurodivergent as such.

    16. If I knew how, I would willingly do the right thin

      Hoccleve mentions several times that if he knew how to "fix" himself then he gladly would. This makes me feel incredibly sad.

    17. I often leapt up to get this mirror, thinking, ‘If I look in company in the same way as I look now, no fault of a suspect look may appear in my face. I’m sure that if I go on adopting this expression and this behaviour, there will be nothing to object to, at least for those who have reasonable ideas in their heads.

      He tries so hard to be accepted by people only to be out-casted. No wonder he has such a bleak outlook on life.

    18. struggled anxiously to fake my expression, behaviour and look, because people spoke about me with such amazement and I shook for very shame and fear

      This heavily reminds me of how people stim or twitch and are ridiculed for it.

    19. 141-147] And I considered this carefully, and also understood well that whatever I might answer or reply, they would not have considered it worth anything. Because of that, as if I had lost my tongue’s key, I kept myself hidden away and went on my way, drooping and dejected, and completely overcome with woe. It seemed to me that I had little reason to be happy

      Rather than creating a space that's accepting of people who are different, Hoccleve was ridiculed for "socially unacceptable" behaviors. The harassments created from his mannerisms lead him to a depression. This seems like a logical course of events.

    20. it’s wise to dread a coming fall.

      "Nothing good lasts forever." Hoccleve seems to insist that everything will fall to despair one way or another. He seemingly puts all of his faith in God and insists that his illness has been cured, but his depressed state of mind says otherwise. Perhaps Hoccleve is deluding himself in order to cope with the remains of his illness.

    21. but in the end He smites.

      Similar to the beginning of the story, Hoccleve's despair (potentially due to the mental illness despite it being "cured?") extends to every being - even one he praised several paragraphs ago.

    22. that madness

      The mental illness.

    23. Thanks be to God that it did not happen as they predicted.

      Hoccleve has turned from resenting God to praising him for the help he seemingly gave Hoccleve. Hoccleve has no other ideas what could have helped him, so he let's all of the reasons/ problems be explained by a higher power.

    24. Lots of people spoke like this and said about me, ‘Although his violent sickness has receded and passed from him for the time being, it will return, especially at the age he is now’ and then my face began to burn for hurt and fear. Those words reached my ear without them realising.

      This definitely sounds like DID to me. Hoccleve is upset that people think this way of him and he seems to barely recall acting violent. Prior to this he doesn't mention being violent, only depressed and despaired.

    25. I heard many a person living near me blame me and find fault with me.

      The idea that people let their mental or chronic illnesses overtake them is still prevalent today. Many people face this same discrimination now in 2021.

    26. I saw the faces of those who used to invite me into their company fall and grow pale. They turned their heads away when I met them, as if they did not see me.

      This feels as though those people knew what they did was wrong and they can't bare to look at him or apologize.

    27. [64-70] For even though my mind had come home again, people would not understand or accept it. They disdained to deal with me: I was thought to be a disorderly person and thus ignored. All my old friendships were shaken off: no one wanted to make conversation with me.

      Everyone thought he was faking his illness instead of actually having it. That or people associated him so much with his illness that, even though he was better, they still thought of him as that other person.

    28. But although the main part of my memory took a break for a while, yet the Lord of Virtue, the King of Glory, through His high power and merciful grace, made it return to the place from where it came, which happened exactly five years ago on All Saints’ Day*, neither more nor less.

      This sounds vaguely like someone who disassociated for five years - signs of DID before it was a diagnosable thing? Or perhaps he experienced trauma during this time and reverted back to the time before hand? I have so many questions.

    29. They promised pilgrimages for my health and undertook them themselves, some on horseback and some on foot — may God reward them for it — to get me my cure.

      His friends care about him! They go to find help for him.

    30. which threw and hurled me out of my own self.

      Disassociation or a change of character?

    31. As it pleases His goodness, Almighty God afflicts folks every day, as you can see, with loss of possessions and physical sickness, and He did not forget me among the others.

      "God is an unforgiving being that cares not for people" is what it sounds like he's saying. Very bitter - As someone with my own chronic illnesses, I understand that well.

    32. Grief so swelled around my heart and constantly bulged so painfully, more and more, that I absolutely had to come out with it. I thought I couldn’t keep it hidden any more nor block it up within me while I grow old and grey. And in order to prove that I was born of a woman, I burst out in the morning and thus began. Here my prologue ends and my complaint follows.

      This is incredibly sad. The depression overwhelms him so much that he can no longer take it alone, but obviously from the last annotated line, bad things happen when Hoccleve seeks help.

    33. The sun lost its strength and the dark shower poured right down on me and made me wallow in depression, so that my spirit had no desire to live, nor no delight.

      The way he says this indicates that his depression/ mental illness is something that was forced on him by an unknown being.

    34. the melancholic disease so troubled me.

      "Disease" = "Disability?" Melancholic: Boring, sadness without a cause

    35. however rich they are now, strong, vibrant, fresh or lively

      The quick repetition of these ideas of "wealth" and "livelihood" make it seem as though he's talking about something that happened to himself.

    36. However wealthy or lucky in life someone is, it will not last — they will lose it. Death will trample them down under foot: that will be everyone’s ending

      Everyone is equal in a morbid, depressing way. Nihilism?

    37. which had once been green and of vivid brightness, and had dyed them the colour of yellowness and thrown them down under foot, that change sank down to the very bottom of my heart.

      The leaves sound like they could be a metaphor for Hoccleve himself. He's also noticing the yellowing of the leaves in particular, which notes something negative rather than positive.