Response Essay #2

01/31/2011

Venus is an amazing planet as well, although doesn’t hold as much intrigue to me as Mars does. The thick clouds do offer a bit of mystery and maybe that’s why the planet seemed feminine to ancient astronomers who couldn’t see to its surface. It is a very good point that was made in the text that Venus isn’t really a planet that went wrong as it is not really an oddity. Earth is the oddity. Whenever I think about the planets in the universe, and especially when reading the textbook for this class which details the harsh conditions on other planets in our solar system, I always think about how amazing it is that we have Earth–how of all the chances, of all the variables, Earth exists and has such an amazing capacity for life. Of course, then I start wondering what type of other life forms there could be which could live on other planets without some of the materials we see as necessary for life here. Like the tube worms that live on the deep ocean vents here without sunlight. The molecules in a living body would at least require temperatures and pressure levels that would allow for cohesion and movement, though, and it does seem like life requires water (thus far that we have seen).  I think Venus would not be hospitable to life, especially life that required water.

The music that Holst wrote to accompany the planet Venus is very much along the lines of solemn and mysterious, which fits in with what we know about the planet (or what we hadn’t known about it for so long). It does have a feminine feeling to the music, with light airy strings and wind instruments almost in a frolicking sort of pace in the beginning. Then there is a sort of shift and it becomes more wistful seeming, but still the same types of instruments are used. It could easily be used for a love song, which is fitting for the Goddess of Love. I feel like the music Holst wrote for Venus is very innocent and hopeful sounding. It even gets timid sounding at points. These are all things that could be considered “feminine”, although the feminist in me doesn’t really like that kind of connotation. It’s too bad that we have to genderize so many things, but either way, this piece is a stark contrast to the Mars composition for sure and therefore makes an entertaining companion piece to it.

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