Wednesday, May 1, 2013

harlem renaissance

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“The Hearing of the Soul”

African Americans, though such an integral part of the nations history, fail to receive the due attention they deserve in all of their literary accomplishments. The Renaissance of the twentieth century that took place in New York is so often ignored when, in actuality, so much was contributed to the world of arts by such a degraded and derided people. It is time for more time then just a day in February to remember Martin Luther King to be spent on the myriad works of the African Americans. This revolution of ideas and spirit was known as the Harlem Renaissance. This time period entailed the beginning of the raising of African Americans social status, both economically and politically. Though not completely accepted by the society at large, they still had the strength to make a difference. Thus, within their own communities, grand steps were made. From such communities evolved the beauty of jazz music.

Making bounds in education, drama, music, and literature alike, this Harlem Renaissance was also known as the New Negro Movement, an accurate name for the rebirth of African Americans previously under great tension. No longer were the writings of the African Americans considered dangerous and unworthy, rather they were now being read and written as much as those of the whites. A new genre of literature had been born with the African Americans. Seeking to correct the false stereotypes and images portrayed of African Americans by the whites, African Americans created a strong sense of understanding of what being Black meant in those times. Such writings instigated racial pride and confidence that gave Blacks a meaning to their lives instead of just being a nigger.

Realizing that America was not yet the racial equal country that it idealized to be, African Americans made sure to keep themselves conscious of what society would react to them. In order to create successful and meaningful literature, African American writers were forced to fully educate themselves on the government and history so as to compile accurate literature. One such writer was James Weldon Johnson; taking on the persona of a black preacher, he was able to greatly impress upon the black community how important it was to have a strong faith in God and in oneself. Catapulting the 10s artistic movement that created a bulk of the first major literary pieces by African Americans, Johnson was the ancestor of great men and women such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Wallace Thurman, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

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Langston Hughes is often called the poet laureate of Harlem. His poetry is an effective commentary on the adverse conditions faced by blacks in America during the 0th Century. Hughes placed a particular emphasis on Harlem, an area in New York that was predominately Black, which became a Mecca for many hopeful blacks in the first half of the 100s. Hughes has a theme in most of his poetry, in other words his writing style was to write poetry that is called dream deferred. His use of a dream deferred focus in several poems paints a vivid picture of the disappointment and dismay that blacks in America faced in Harlem. Furthermore, as each his poems develop, so does the feeling behind a dream deferred, his words make the reader feel the growing anger and seriousness even more at each new stanza.

In order to understand Hughes idea of the dream deferred, one must have a working knowledge of the history of Harlem. It was first intended to be the home of an upper class white community, many fancy brownstones attracted wealthy whites. Between 106 and 110, when whites were forcing blacks out of their own homes and neighborhoods in uptown Manhattan, the blacks began to move into Harlem to create their communities again. Due to absurd racial fears, the whites in the area began to move out. Between 110 and the early 140s, more blacks began flooding into the area for a safe harbor from all over the world, fleeing from the racial intolerance of the South and the economic problems of the Caribbean and Latin America. At this point, Harlem became an entirely black area where comfort was created for all of them. Although it seemed to be a good thing, this town once filled with much potential, soon became riddled with overpopulation, exploitation, and poverty. Thus, what awaited new arrivals was not a dream; rather, it was a dream deferred. They began to hurt themselves without even knowing it.

Harlem, Hughes first poem, clearly outlines the dream deferred theme, setting the pace for the poems to follow. The poem begins with, What happens to a dream deferred? The poem explains the dream, the promise of Harlem, and what blacks hoped to find there opportunity, improved conditions for living, and the freedom from racial intolerance.

When blacks arrived in Harlem, though, their dream was deferred; instead of the opportunities they had envisioned, they were faced with congestion, mistreatment, and dearth. It is clear that at the beginning of Harlem, the frame of mind that accompanies a dream deferred is a questioning one that begins a search for characterization. This mood, which Hughes develops as each poem progresses, encourages the reader to reflect upon the meaning of a dream deferred, is preparing them for its development. As the poem continues, it lists the different possible fates of a dream that unfortunately never become reality.

Hughes unique poetical vision and insight is the main reason for Hughes prominence. He sometimes has been considered a superior poet than Countee Cullen. Since Cullen had documented his disagreements with Hughes poetry, many claimed that he was limited in vision. However, Cullen did agree with Hughes poetical subject matter. Hughes believed, and practiced, that any aspect of life common to African-Americans was worth writing about. He stated that it was best to include Afro-speech in poetry. It is evident that in Hughes point of view black life was worth philosophizing about. On the other hand, Cullen did not believe that poetry should be used to describe daily life; he believed that poetry should be specifically set apart from everyday life. It was this type of perceptual limitation that set Hughes apart from other African-American poets, including Cullen. Although his views were different, Countee Cullen was also a greatly significant personality during the Harlem Renaissance. It was said that he was an American poet, a leading figure with Langston Hughes in the Harlem Renaissance. His work is also an excellent contribution to the foundation of the Renaissance.

In Countee Cullens poem If You Should Go, he emphasizes on the understanding of human joys and sorrows, for people of all races. The use of different examples exhibits the importance of joy, such as love and dream. Both of the stanzas include a persons feeling or reaction towards joy during happy moments as well as the feelings after the joyous moment has passed. In this poem, Cullen cleverly conveys several different messages to the reader. One of the themes of the poem is that one never realizes what he/she has until it is lost. In this case it refers to joyous moments. In the second stanza, the poet also tells the reader that joy creates an everlasting memory in a persons mind that is then exhibited in the persons personality or the gleam on the [persons] face. Although, Cullen does not mention whom the love is directed towards in the first stanza, and neither what the dream is about in the second stanza the reader can interpret that it has been said in a positive manner. Using a classic example of metaphor, love is compared to the light that brightens a day just the way in which joys brightens peoples lives. Not only in this poem, but also in each of Cullens poem he displays this same ingenious writing style. Cullens contribution to the Harlem Renaissance is a privilege for the era. All of the writers created an amazing outreach to the rest of the world with their different and unique pieces of work.

The writers of the time period described the Negro dilemma the problem of cultural affiliation and the inability to resolve the seamy reality of the present with the dream of ancestral homelands. They explain the paradoxical crisis of self-expression and perception, fulfillment of the white-propagated stereotype of primitivism, while corrupting their noble, yet untamed African impulses. They suffer under the dilemma of political inefficacy, suppressing radical political impulses with the passive-resistant front of a falsely smiling face. Thus, the Negro dilemma seemingly presents itself in full. The writers of the Harlem Renaissance have gracefully portrayed the truth of what the past was like for them, and people today need to recognize that they went through all of this in order to be what they are today. They are a tremendous contribution to the society of the United States today, and without them it most likely would not be as well rounded and diversified as it is now.



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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hamlet's Isolation

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Isolated Essay

In Hamlet, much of the loneliness and suffering he endures is due to the secrets and betrayals he is forced to keep. There were many instances where Hamlet felt alone and upset but he could not share his pain with anyone else. This was a factor that added to his suffering. We can also find many examples of Hamlet’s despair due to betrayal from his so called friends. All of these factors not only contributed heavily to his depression, but caused his overall demise.

Hamlet also feels intense betrayal from his mother. He trusted her and feels like she has disregarded any love she ever felt towards her former husband.

Hamlet also encounters loneliness and despair from Ophelia. As part of Hamlet’s plan to put on an antic disposition he distances himself from Ophelia who he is actually in love with. He does this by insulting her and convincing her that he is mad and never had any true feelings for her. . I loved you not (III; i; 117) Get thee to a nunnery......Marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them (III; i; 15-17) Hamlet also kills Polonius (by mistake thinking it was Claudius). Both of these incidents cause Ophelia a great deal of grief and so she kills herself. Hamlet is of course devastated because he never actually meant to hurt her. I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum. (V; i; 45-46). This shows how much Hamlet truly loved Ophelia

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The last factor that contributed to Hamlet’s loneliness is the fact that he didn’t share with anyone (except for Horatio) the hatred he had towards his uncle, the loss he had from his mother and the secret of his encounter with his father’s ghost. As well as the murder of his father. If he had told more people his secrets then they probably would have been more willing to help him. The person who could have helped him the most and spared him the most grief is Ophelia. By telling her about his father’s murder and about his plan to avenge his death, Ophelia would have provided him with comfort and understanding.

In conclusion, Hamlets loneliness is caused by many incidents, some of which Hamlet brought on him himself. Secrets, deceptions and despair plagued Hamlet throughout the play, and ultimately caused his overall downfall. In society today it is important we have support from our friends through difficult times. When we alienate people by keeping secrets from them, it is to our disadvantage. We cause our own loneliness.



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Sunday, April 28, 2013

How does Margaret Atwood present Serena Joy?

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In The Handmaids Tale Margaret Atwood uses Serena Joy to reflect various aspects of Gilead ideology. Serena Joy is part of a collective group of women, known as the wives who are used to highlight the hierarchy that exists in Gilead and emphasize female power.

Serena Joy is introduced by Offred, she is shown maintaining and caring for her garden as if it was her child and she was the surrogate mother. This relates to her function in real life, as just like in the garden she has to be a surrogate mother if Offred or another handmaid gets pregnant and produces a healthy baby. Atwood informs the reader about how Serena Joy knits scarves for the Angels. However, Offred tells how she doubts that ‘the Angels have a need for such scarves’. This gives the reader the idea that Serena Joy has less of a function to play in society than Offred. This is because Serena Joy is not fertile like Offred and the other handmaids.

Serena Joy demonstrates her power when Offred has a flashback about when she arrived at Serena Joy’s house for the first time. Serena does this by ‘blocking the entrance. She wanted me to feel that I could not come into he house unless she said so’. This shows the reader that Serena, as a wife has power over Offred. Serena Joy’s power of Offred is also illustrated when the reader finds out the wives can hit the handmaids ‘not with any implement. Only with their hands’. Atwood shoes this to illustrate the hierarchy that exists between the different groups of women in society.

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Serena Joy is portrayed as an unpleasant woman, who really has bought this dilemma on herself. In the time before she used to preach about women staying home, which is what she does now. However, she is speechless and therefore has got what she preached for. Atwood uses this to show that Serena Joy’s identity has been withdrawn. Atwood in addition, uses Serena Joy’s name to show how she has lost her identity from the time before. Her name portrays an image of serenity and joy, which once she was as a young woman but now her nature has come to contradict her name. Evidence of this is given by ‘how furious she must be now that she has been taken at her word’.

Her husband is sleeping with another women, and as far as she is concerned it is because she cannot have children. She also knows that this life that she has helped to promote, is awful and she hates the way in which she has to live now.



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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Horses of the NIght

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Throughout life, many people will be placed into situations of conflict. However, these conflicts may become a beneficial learning experience for some, but for others those conflicts may become dream shattering and life altering. In the short story “Horses of the Night” by Margaret Laurence, the character Chris is faced with many challenges. External conflicts can be seen involving Chris and the Grandfather, along with Chris and the environment. In conjunction with the external conflicts are the internal ones which can be seen within Chris. These conflicts ultimately prevent Chris of ever reaching his goal of becoming a civil engineer.

The conflict within the story between Chris and Grandfather is a differentiation of opinions. Since Chris’ father chose unproductive land, going against the Grandfathers advice, the Grandfather now sees Chris as a hassle. The poor choice made by his father has in turn limited Chris of any support from Grandfather. Without this support Chris, like most people, develop a sense of lost hope towards their dreams. Children must be supported by their parents and loved ones in every way possible to gain the knowledge and assurance that is needed to achieve any dream. As stated by Grandfather Connor, “If he takes after his father, it’s poor lookout for him,” (Laurence 5). Due to this conflict, Chris is never able to gain the support from his Grandfather and those around him. Without encouragement, people such as Chris find it very hard to attain their goal in life. Furthermore, Chris “hasn’t got two cents to rub together” (Laurence 5). In society, financial security or wealth determines how a certain individual will do in life. This stereotype is not only detrimental to society but also to the individual. Without support of others, people will never reach their goals in life due to the lack of support. As a result of the external conflict between Chris and Grandfather Connor, the dream for Chris to become a civil engineer may never be reached.

Not only does the conflict between Chris and Grandfather effect Chris’ dream but also the external conflict with his own environment. A major external conflict for Chris is the absence of wealth in his family. Without money, Chris, like most people cannot survive in a biased society. To provide for himself Chris had to fight to maintain a steady income with many different jobs. The plans to “get rich quick” are in most aspects an unattainable goal. Certain jobs take many years of hard, extensive work, and personal sacrifice without the guarantee of a steady income. Without a steady income, the schooling required to attain a profession is not possible. Physical appearance is also a large stereotype seen in today’s culture. This is shown in the response from Grandma upon meeting Chris, “Heavens, look at the shirt and trousers” (Laurence 5). Since Western society is mainly based on financial security, people like Chris, who lack the appearance of being prosperous and secure, will never be able to pursue a dream in a culture where wealthier people hold the upper hand. Without financial aid or support along with the extensive cost of schooling, the ability for less wealthier individuals to prosper is decreased. Because of the detrimental stereotypes within society that come with financial security, the probability of an individual, including Chris, to prosper is limited.

The internal conflicts within Chris also prevent him from achieving his dream. Throughout this short story Chris “simply appeared to be absent,” and never partook in normal everyday events (Laurence 50). In today’s ever-changing, fast pace society those individuals that cannot adapt to change are doomed to fail. Mental capability is a factor when choosing a person for a job. The ability for an individual to cope mentally and physically in life will determine how they will survive in the work force. Those who are mentally incapable in society are stricken to a life of solitude, which is depicted in Chris’ character. Chris had to mentally escape any situations he was exposed to, to cope with reality. This mental escape is seen by society as a weakness, due to the instability of that individual. Without mental strength, people cannot expect prosperity or growth in life. Throughout the short story, Chris’ mind and body were detached and seemed that he “Didn’t live inside it anymore.” (Laurence 70). The reality of life for some can become too much to handle. This can later lead to a complete breakdown of body and mind. The strength and coping skills that come with successfully completing post secondary schooling and being placed in a secure working environment must grow with an individual. Without this growth in an ever-changing world the success of an individual will be lost. The mental escape that Chris chooses in the story weakens his ability to follow through with his dream of becoming a civil engineer.

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In conclusion, both external and internal conflicts are cast in the way of Chris achieving his dream. This can be seen in the peripheral conflict involving Chris and Grandfather, Chris and his environment and the internal conflict within himself. All these conflicts are enough of a deterrent to keep Chris’ dream of becoming a civil engineer an aspiration instead of a reality. Throughout life many different people will be faced with many different challenges. But with the words of Hamilton Mabie “Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against; not with; the wind.”



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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

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In the short story ¡°Hills Like White Elephants¡± written by Ernest Hemingway, the reader becomes acquainted with Jig. She resembles a complex character that offers the reader more feelings of emotion, innate wisdom, and depth of character that comes with a better understanding of the dialogue shared between Jig and her boyfriend. A clear discernment of whether her character is round or flat, a determination her traits and qualities, and conclusion of the verisimilitude of Jig¡¯s character will be defined through simple words exchanged between two characters.

From the initial reading of ¡°Hills Like White Elephants¡± one may conclude that ¡°the girl¡± (Jig) is a very flat character. However, after a couple readings, Jig is understood as an individual, full, lifelike character. The reader feels the emotion of uneasy tension between Jig and the man. It is clear that a life-changing decision will be made. Instead of sharing her feelings openly about having an abortion, she asks for her boyfriend¡¯s opinion. s the ability to take pleasure in simple things while larger issues are pressing, ¡°What should we drink?¡± (par. 1) or ¡°They¡¯ve painted something on it¡¦What does it say?¡± (par. 5) Jig is also very slyly sarcastic. For example, ¡°Everything tastes like licorice. Especially all the things you¡¯ve waited so long for, like absinthe,¡± (par. 5) and ¡°I was being amused. I was having a fine time.¡± (par. 5) She shows many emotions of doubt and love throughout the entire dialogue in paragraph six, which will be discussed further in the essay. Jig communicates patience, ¡°Would you do something for me now¡¦Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?¡± (par. 7) Which soon leads into anger, ¡°I¡¯ll scream.¡± (par. 8) Jig is lifelike, the reader feels her frustrations and pain.

Within the first few paragraphs the reader becomes familiar with Jig¡¯s traits and qualities. First, Jig is very creative and artistic through her expressions. While looking off into the scenery, she observes the hills, and says, ¡°They look like white elephants,¡± (par. 4) and continues later in the story by saying, ¡°They don¡¯t really look like white elephants. I just meant the coloring of their skin through the trees.¡± (par. 5) Another example of her artistic expressions is her description of a new drink, after taking a sip, she says, ¡°It tastes like licorice.¡± (par. 5) Jig uses her creative and imaginative traits to bring forth a very significant topic to life. Though her character is not upfront about the issues that are pressing and need to be discussed, she clearly makes it known that there is something on her mind that she needs to talk about. The expression, ¡°white elephants¡¦the coloring of their skin¡± refers to pregnant woman. The hills are representative of what pregnant women look like when they are lying on their backs and the coloring of their skin, refers to exactly that, the coloring of the skin on pregnant women to be white and delicate. Jig also uses her intuitions to determine when a pleasant subject change is desperately needed. Because the couple is in public trying to discuss a personal issue, Jig uses the familiar and agreeable topic of drinks to ease the tension.

Throughout the dialogue exchanged between the couple in paragraph six, Jig reveals qualities of fear and discontentment. She questions their happiness, ¡°And you think then we¡¯ll be all right and be happy.¡± (par. 6) She continues, ¡°And if I do it you¡¯ll be happy and things will be like they were and you will love me?¡± From the past two quotes, the reader can determine that she is not only insecure of the love she feels from him and but is also fearful of the outcome of their relationship. Yet, more importantly, she questions whether his love is enough to gratify her. Jig is also very discontented with herself, she expresses, ¡°Then I¡¯ll do it. Because I don¡¯t care about me,¡± (par. 6) and again, ¡°¡¦But I don¡¯t care about me.¡± (par. 6) She is only going to go through with the operation, not for herself, but for the sake of ¡°us.¡± Jig puts her desires at a halt to salvage the relationship. She is sacrificing.

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After finishing the story, the reader is lead to conclude that Jig is perhaps a very verisimilitude character. She represents many real women in society both now and then. It is said that one of the most amazing qualities of people is their ability to adapt to different circumstances and situations. History acknowledges that women, by nature, are more prone to be nurturing, sacrificing, and adaptable, to take on different roles that are required to ease the tension and pain of others, especially those one cares about. Jig is very real in that she, despite her pain and unwillingness, she says at the very end, ¡°I feel fine. There is nothing wrong with me. I feel fine.¡± (par. 10)

It is determined that through a simple four page dialogue as seen in ¡°Hills Like White Elephants,¡± is a great discovery of character. Dialogue affirms the characters feelings, emotions, traits and qualities. It provides the reader a sense of verisimilitude as well as allowing the character to leave a memorable mark with the reader.



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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hillbillies Are Misunderstood

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Hillbillies are Misunderstood.

Hillbilly is a word that is often heard in West Virginia. West Virginia has the

impression of “poor country folk”. The men in West Virginia are portrayed in the

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image of coal miners and uneducated. The women give the image of being

pregnant and bare foot in the kitchen. My husband was raised in Chicago and he

took me there several years ago. We met up with a few of his friends and they to

had their opinion about West Virginia. Their exact words to me were, “Before to

long you’ll be pregnant and bare foot in the kitchen, cooking Jeff his dinner.” I told

them that it was not like that at all, but of course they have this mental image of

West Virginia being like that. That’s what they picture. They were brought up to

believe that West Virginia is really like that. That is reality to them.

Another term for that would be called self fulfilling prophecy. That means

people act on the basis of their interpretations of reality and consequently they

create that reality. We reaffirm and maintain our own version of reality. Everyone

in this world has self fulfilling prophecy. We as West Virginians would stereotype

people from California as people who are rich and spend most of their time on the

beach or surfing in the ocean. We would also think that they use the words “dude”

or “as if” in every sentence they say. It is the same when people from other states

portray West Virginians as hillbillies. If you were to ask another person from

another state what the word hillbilly means to them, more than likely they would

say, “hillbillies are backwood hicks who are dirty, crazy, and illiterate”. How

people portray hillbillies are to a certain extent wrong. Everyone has their own

opinions on what a hillbilly is. People’s opinions rarely change, especially on a

subject such as this.

The definition of a hillbilly is a person who lives in or comes from the

mountains or backwoods, especially from the South. There are different

characteristics of a hillbilly. One group is hard working, loyal, devoted to and

provide for their families. The second group, on the other hand, is the total

opposite. They do not care for anything or anyone. They like to party or drink

most of their life away. They barely work and take care of themselves, let alone a

family. But they too can change their lifestyle.

My father is a hillbilly. He grew up in the backwoods on a mountain. He was

born in 156 in a small three room cabin. He grew up in that very same cabin. My

father had to drop out of school when he was sixteen. He went to work in order to

help out his family. He still works today as one of the bosses of Southern West

Virginia Paving and has a good life. He provided for his family all those years

without a high school education. He had five children in all and now we are all

grown up with families of our own. Though my father does not have a fancy

certificate or a diploma, he still managed to raise us right and provide for us as

well. Back then when my father was young, people did not have the opportunity

that we have today to better their education.

There are some famous people in this world who did not finish school.

They too are considered hillbillies. A good example would be Loretta Lynn. She

was born and raised in Kentucky, another mountainous region. Her father was a

coal miner and he did not have a high school education as well. But he too

managed to raise his family right and teach them self respect, morals, and

responsibility. At all of her concerts Loretta Lynn makes a point to tell everyone

she is proud of who she is. She is proud to be called a hillbilly. Being a hillbilly

makes her who she is. It is part of her heritage. She is caring and kind hearted

and that is all that matters. She worked hard to get to where she is now. The way

she was brought up also made her the way she is. A hard worker and someone

who never gives up in what she believes in. I’m not saying that back then people

did not have it hard because they did. Even more so than we do today. There

was a whole lot less pay back then. When my father started working at the age of

sixteen, he was only paid seventy five cents an hour. If we were coal miners like

Loretta Lynn’s father was, then we would not get paid with money. He got tokens

which then could be used to buy milk, bread, and other food items from only the

company store. In other words, he worked for food and not money. Some

hillbillies are hard workers and they believe in what is right. So being a hillbilly is

not such a bad thing. If all the people in this world knew these facts then there

might not be stereotyping of hillbillies.

Living in West Virginia and being a hillbilly myself will too someday affect

me. I’m in the nursing program and whenever I get my degree I am planning on

going out of state and work. Whenever they see that I am from West Virginia it

will lower my chance of getting a position in that hospital or clinic. They will think

that I am less educated. They would be wrong to think that. I worked just as hard

as they did to become a nurse. I would not judge them on the basis of where they

got their education or what their I.Qs are. I would treat them the way that I would

want to be treated. I would want to be treated with respect. I am proud of who I

am and where I come from. I am not the kind of person who would lie about

where I was raised and turn my back on my homeland, family, and friends. If they

could not accept me for who I am or where I come from then I really don’t need to

be working there in the first place.

Granted, there are some people in West Virginia who do make this state

look bad and give people in other states the image of us being nothing else but

hillbillies, like Jessie White. But on the other hand, there are some really

intelligent people who have grown up here like Don Knotts, Little Jimmy Dickens,

and Kathy Mattea. They all worked hard to get to where they are today. People

believe what they are taught. They have their own reality on what hillbillies are

and we have our reality on hillbillies as hard working, honest, caring, and most of

all down home country folk who know the difference between right and wrong.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Genetically modified crops - advantages and disadvantages

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GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS PAUL HOGAN

To genetically modify an organism, scientists have to try and break down the DNA structure of that organism, and then take out or add single or multiple genes and alter them to give it an advantage over other types of crops or organisms. As a result of this procedure scientists are also creating health and safety hazards as well as environmental concerns for the whole world.

The good things that come out of genetically modifying do help to make people forget about the disadvantages’ but not me; I am totally against it because of the dangers and risks that come of it. The general public are not the only ones fooled by the advantages of genetic engineering; food companies, supermarkets and lots of food retailers, are more than happy to buy and sell the products. They are like this because it is cheaper to produce, less work is required and if there were a food shortage, genetically engineered crops would be the perfect answer because they can be produced in vast amounts. To me this sounds brilliant and safe to eat, or is it?

There are many fundamental weaknesses of the concept like imprecise technology. When a genetic engineer moves genes from one organism to another, they can cut the DNA from the organism very precisely but when they decide to try and insert it into the target organism, it is basically random. To me this sounds a bit unusual. As a consequence, there is a risk that it may disrupt the functioning of other genes, essential to the life of that organism. Side effects are another key factor. “Genetic Engineering is like performing heart surgery with a shovel” (Washington Times 17). Scientists do not yet understand living systems completely to do any kind of genetic engineering, without creating mutations which would not only be harmful to the environment but also to our health. Widespread crop failure is just another big problem; because farmers intend to profit by patenting genetically engineered seeds. This means that they have all the same genetic structure, so if one gets a virus or a bug infestation; there could be widespread crop failure. An even bigger issue than before is that it could threaten our entire food supply because birds, insects and wind carry genetic seeds anywhere they want, like fields and beyond. Pollen from genetic plants can cross-pollinate with genetically natural crops and wild relatives. All crops-organic and non-organic-are vulnerable to contamination of cross-pollination.

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Even more crucial is the health hazards; there is no long term safety testing. Genetic engineering uses materials from organisms that haven’t been part of the human food supply to change the fundamental nature of the food we eat. Without long term safety testing the food might not be safe to eat. I definitely think, that laws of some sort should be passed so that we can have peace of mind about the food we are eating. Genetic engineering can cause mutations in an organism, which can create new and higher levels of toxins in foods, which also concern me. Genetic engineering can also cause unforeseen and unknown allergies, in foods. Problems cannot be traced without labels; our public health agencies are powerless to trace any problems back to their source, the potential for tragedy is staggering. Side effects can kill; 7 people died; 1500 were partially paralysed; and 5000 more were temporarily disabled by a syndrome’ that was finally traced back to a substance; tophan made by genetically engineered bacteria.

The most critical matter that I can possibly think of, that arises, is the environmental hazards. The influence of genetically engineered organisms on the food chain may damage our local ecology. The new organism may compete successfully with wild relatives, causing unanticipated changes in the environment. Once genetically engineered organisms, bacteria and other viruses are released into the environment’ it is impossible to contain or recall them. Unlike nuclear or chemical contamination, negative effects are irreversible. I think genetic engineering is very wrong because there are more reasons against it than for it and by looking at what it does not only us but the environment, I can see that it should be stopped before it is too late. I would not like to wake up one day in the future, and know that it is dangerous to go outside because of the chemicals, or having to stick to certain foods and giving up the ones that I like because the others could kill you. This might not be real but some day it could become a reality.



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Monday, March 25, 2013

How Far Do You Agree With The Assessments of Iago, That He Illustrates “Motives Malignity Malign”?

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The most interesting person in this play “Othello” is certainly Iago. A cruel vindictive villain filled with hatred and jealousy over people surrounding him. Iago is a character different from all the others in the play. He seems to be everyone’s friend and is seen to everyone has on honest guy. Iago even says he is honest although he is not at all. I am an honest man.... (,,58). Iago is a character that is utterly cynical and is not ruled by his intellect but is driven by jealousy. Iago is a very sly and is the most heinous of all characters. Any chance he gets to take advantage of someone someway he will execute it. Iago reveals himself only to the audience but he tries reveals others character to everyone. The rest of the characters only have a partial glimpse and small doubts about him. Iago disguises his characters to a certain extend therefore the audience must also interpret and judge for themselves why Iago does what he is doing. “Thus I do I ever make my fool my purse” (1,,76). Iago telling Roderigo that he wouldn’t make a profit out of a fool. Iago is showing his rudeness and ill-mannered character. Then he actually does it, keep all the jewels and money that Roderigo has given him to pass on to Desdemona to show his love. Iago just ignores it and puts all of the charms in his pocket. Iago is showing his cruelness.

Iago is using jealousy to take his revenge on the moor (Othello). Since that was what he felt earlier as the moor did not vote for him. Iago describes himself best “He hath me a daily beauty in his life, that makes me ugly”. Iago is ugly he is ugly as sin. The key to Iagos character is in the line I am not what I am. Iago is as times humorous, especially in his scenes with the foolish Roderigo. Iago certainly shows his manipulative abilities to the audience particularly when Roderigo is at the scene. He doesn’t only execute it in front of Roderigo but also manipulates Othello. But all this is done behind in very a clever but cowardly way. He is a genuine coward, as he killed his wife so that she could not express the truth about him out (5,,0-6).

Iagos true, underlying motive for persecuting Othello is believed to be his homosexual love for the general. He always seems to take great pleasure in preventing Othello from enjoying his marital happiness. Iago uses a lot of brutal sexual images while talking about Othello. “An old black ram is tupping your white ewe” (1,1,8-0). Iago talks about Desdemona and Othello have sexual intercourse to Brabantio. He uses sheep terms, which is a disgusting and disrespectful way to describe such a thing. Iago is expressing his character out to the audience.

Iago is a master observer. He observes everyone extremely carefully. Iago tells the truth about himself quite often, but in a way that everyone ignores. “I am not what I am” (1,1,66). Here is Iago telling the truth that I am not what I appear to be. Yet everyone ignores that remark from him. Iago slowly poisons peoples thoughts, creating ideas in their heads without implicating himself.

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Iago is jealous of Cassio because Cassio got the vote from Othello to be appointed lieutenant instead of him. Iago takes revenge on Cassio by tarnishing his reputation and by creating a doubt in Othello’s mind that Desdemona and Cassio are lovers. He also hates Othello and gives the reason that he is black. In front of the moor Iago behaves himself, appears loyal and respectful. Behind Othello’s back Iago takes every opportunity to abuse and diminish the moor. Iago pieces together his whole sinister plot to get revenge. He gets Roderigo to come to Cyprus with him and plans to get Othello into thinking Cassio is in love with Desdemona. That way Cassio will be dismissed from lieutenant and Othello will lose Desdemona. Once they reach Cyprus Iago shows his evil right away, by getting Roderigo his supposed friend to believe that Cassio and Desdemona are in love. This makes Roderigo hate Cassio. After the fight that Roderigo had with Cassio, Iago convinces Cassio to arrange a meeting to talk with Desdemona about reinstating him as lieutenant. Once Cassio listens and goes to Desdemona, Iago will turn to Othello and tell him how Cassio is in love with his wife Desdemona. And she is cheating on him. I never knew a Florentine more kind and honest. This line by Cassio proves how innocent he actually is and how wickedness Iago can be.

Iago claims himself coil and says he has no emotions, but is driven by jealously and hatred. These are both emotions. Othello and his wife are in love and have a wonderful relationship “It gives me wonder great as my content to see you here before me. O my soul’s joy…” Othello telling us how happy he is to be with Desdemona. All until Iago gets involves. “A most dear husband”, Iago saying that Othello is a loving but costly husband. This is where he already has everything in his mind on is ready to put it into action “Knavery’s plain face is never seen till used”. It is almost as though Iago never lied through out the play. Iago is smart; Example if I say do not read the notice board, then everyone would be curious and everyone will go read it. He uses the same tactics in fooling Othello. But he did tell some lies, he told Roderigo that Cassio is in love with Desdemona that got Roderigo jealous. “I did not like the office. But sith…fate that gave thee the moor!”(,,407-4). He has just told a huge lie. Iago tells Othello that Cassio spoke in his dreams and said things about Desdemona. He would make people draw their own conclusions. Example when he (Iago) tells Othello that the handkerchief that Othello gave Desdemona before their marriage was seen with Cassio. Then Othello suspects Desdemona and causes him to disgust Cassio even more after he was already sacked from his job due to getting in a quarrel after drinking to much. Othello has just drawn his own conclusion that his wife is being unfaithful to him and that Cassio is cheating on his wife. The truth is that Desdemona dropped the handkerchief and Emilia picked it up and gave it to Iago. A small lie from Iago has caused Othello to think absolutely the wrong craze. He finds Desdemona a minx for the reason that he is going to cockle (that’s what he thinks). Iago a character who just can’t live without putting chaos around his life. “But, with a little act upon blood, burn like the mines of sulphur”. Here Iago shows his wicked self, what kind of mind he has in him.

Iago has driven Othello absolutely crazy by jealousy. Othello’s anger is so powerful that he thinks he has no option but to slaughter his own wife. “I will chop her into messes! Cuckold me! (4,1,16). Othello could not take it any more, so he laid his anger on Desdemona by slapping her across the face in front of Lodovico (4,1,7). “What you know, you know” (5,,118). Iago knows he has been caught, but Othello cannot do undo his action. Iago has driven Othello nuts.

Iago a character of this sort did what he did because he had other motives but also with such a cruel vindictive mind he had done some of his actions just for enjoyment. His motives were frankly to take revenge. He didn’t get to be the lieutenant therefore he had intentions of taking revenge on Othello. He also wanted to take revenge on Desdemona since she insulted him when he was insulting Emilia in front of everyone when they arrive at Cyprus. “O, lame and impotent conclusion…” (,1,158). He is very worried about his reputation and that disturbed it. He also dislikes Cassio because he beat Iago to be lieutenant. He believes he should have got the job since he has more capabilities and is more experienced. He also dislikes his own wife Emilia since he thinks that she had slept with the moor. The bottom line is that he is jealous of everyone and takes revenge in very cruel, brutal and unforgivable ways.



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Friday, March 22, 2013

Founding fathers of the constitution.

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Our founding fathers made the constitution to help form a government for the people. Changing the constitution will make us disobey our founding fathers, which were the same people that build this country to what it is today. We shouldn’t change the constitution because our founding fathers made certain guidelines in the constitution, which they felt were the best way to establish a government for the people. If we change the constitution then we will be basically change our government structure, because the constitution tells us how our government is structured and the different powers of the three branches of government. Some people might not want to follow a new constitution after a certain time period because they are used to the old constitution and it’s values, which are the powers of the different branches of government and the way we elect our public officials. To convince you that we should not change the constitution after a certain period of time, I am going to tell you the advantages and disadvantages of changing our constitution, history and nature of the constitution, and how this change will affect people all over the country.

First of all, I am going to tell you the advantages and disadvantages of changing our constitution. Some of the advantages of changing our constitution is that power might be split more evenly then it is today so more than one-person runs the country and makes the major decisions for our country. Some of the disadvantages are that changing the constitution might cause one branch of government to have dominant power over the other two branches of government. For example, the president might have the power to declare war and be the commander of the army, which might lead us into many more wars just because of one person’s opinion. Another major disadvantage is that, the government might be lead into authorities because the new constitution might take away a lot more freedoms of the people and might be strict.

Next, I want to talk about the history and nature of the constitution. The constitution is a very well organized document, which clearly states the powers and the duties of each branch of government. So, if we change the constitution then we will change our government structure. This occurs because the constitution mainly symbolizes our government and how it works. If we change this symbolic structure then a new symbolic structure aka new constitution will be made. This new constitution might symbolize a different government from the one that we are currently used to which might lead up to many problems.

Finally, I want to talk about how this change will affect the people. People are used to the basic concepts old constitution. If we change it every 0 years then in an average persons lifetime they will face government structure changes, which might corrupt the government because they couldn’t choose one type of government structure. The president might be dominant over all the others branches and the president might have the power to declare war and might be the commander of the army and navy which will give him the chance to start a war with anyone he wants if they pose as a threat, without even consulting someone else

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So in conclusion, changing the constitution is not right. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this change. A major advantage is that we might see equal power in the branch structure and a major disadvantage is that the new constitution might let on branch of government be dominant over the other two which could lead into some major problems. The constitution symbolizes our government structure and how it works, so if we keep changing it then we will keep changing the structure of it over and over again which will eventually corrupt our country because they couldn’t stick to one form of a government structure. The public might be split onto which government structure is the best which will cause our country to divide in separate government structures with different constitutions and might even cause another civil war to occur. .



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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How merlin is portrayed in 20th century films

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Using Malorys Le Morte DArthur as a guide, discuss how the character of Merlin from the Arthurian Legend changes throughout three 0th century film retellings.



Many writers and artists throughout the ages have made attempts of retelling Malorys Arthurian legend. In saying this, many of the ideals of characters change. Merlin, in particular, has been appropriated to fit many different texts. His image and his behaviour between different texts reflect this. Such texts that portray these changes include the films Excalibur, The Sword in the stone, and Merlin.

Thomas Malorys Le Morte DArthur was the original text that introduced the character of Merlin. Twentieth century films tend to portray Merlin as a magician whose soul purpose in life was to cast spells. In Le Morte DArthur Malory portrays Merlin as a very wise adviser and guide to Arthur, and was said to hold some magical powers.

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There can be seen to be a vast contrast between Malorys text and Disneys The Sword in the Stone. The sense of Merlin being a wise adviser and guide to Arthur is lost. Quite the contrary, this film portrays Merlin as an old fool, and people refer to him as an absent-mined magician, and a bumbling blockhead. He tends to stutter, forget vital spells and get his beard caught in things. Thus presenting Merlin to the audience as a stuttering imbecile, which was not the case in Malorys text.

The Sword in the Stone shows Merlin dressed in a long cloak, blue-grey in colour. On his head is a large stereotypical wizards hat and he always carries a wand. He wears spectacles and has a long white beard. Through this use of physical attributes Merlin is portrayed to be quite old throughout the film.

Merlin also has a faithful sidekick in this movie. It is a talking owl, named Archimedes. This owl is very wise and teaches Arthur most of the things he learns. He often prompts Merlin when he forgets spells. Archimedes, in this film, is seen as the brains of Merlin. Disney wanted to portray Merlin as a well loved old fool. Therefore, it can be seen that Archimedes exists to maintain order in the film.

Merlins bumbling and forgetful attitude in this film leads the audience to have the view of him as being fun and exciting, which is not the case in Malorys text.

Merlin sings many songs in this film, which is rather typical of Disney, however not true to the legend. There is no mention of Merlin singing songs in any of the texts studied.

Another theme that is not in Malorys text is the idea that Merlin has the power of flight, and the ability to disappear. In this adaptation Merlin can turn himself, and any other person, into whatever he wishes. How would you like a to be a squirrel?

Merlin uses magic for all purposes I plan to cheat...use magic.

Disney has adapted the Arthurian legend and made it its own. The tale plays on the magical theme of the legend and does so to create a sense of enchantment for children. However, in doing this, the original characteristics of Merlin, which were created in Malorys text, have been lost.

John Boormans (181) film, Excalibur, shows Merlin to be middle aged. He wears black attire and has a trimmed ginger beard. On his head he wears a metal skullcap, which gives him a frightening demeanour. Unlike The Sword in the Stone, Merlin does not hold a wand; instead he holds a sceptre which is defined as The ornamental rod carried...as a symbol of power/authority. (Chambers Dictionary, 10) Therefore, in this case, Merlin is seen as powerful and dominant, which can be seen as true to Malorys text.

In this text, unlike The Sword in the Stone and Merlin, the audience never sees Merlin with a long white beard, which is often the stereotypical nature of him. In fact, this movie sets itself far apart from the other two, in regards to Merlins physical appearance.

Another difference between the texts is the titles that Merlin is given. In The Sword in the Stone Merlin is given the title as a magician, however in Excalibur he is known as a sorcerer, and in Merlin he is referred to as a wizard. Although the definitions of these words only vary slightly, these variations are still to be noted.

In this text Merlin is feared by the other characters, which of great contrast to The Sword in the Stone. It is seen that he is feared when Arthur asks of him; Are you just a dream, Merlin? to which Merlins reply is A dream...to some...a nightmare to others!

It can be seen then, that the character of Merlin has changed between The Sword in the Stone and Excalibur. Disney attempted to make Merlin a friendly character that is well liked, and Boorman appropriated Merlins character and made him one to be feared.

In the film Merlin the audience see the whole life span of Merlin, from an infant to a very old man. In this film (whilst he is young) Merlin has medium length wavy brown hair and is of average height. He wears long robes that are of dark colours and at some points of the film he also holds a sceptre. In this film Merlin is seen as powerful, but is not looked upon as highly as Merlin in Excalibur. In this film, Merlin is simply seen as a man who is half-mortal and can has visions of what is to come.

Due to the fact that Merlin is retelling his life story, the film flashes to him as an old man. When the audience see Merlin as an old man, he still carries the stereotypical image with him, the long white beard and the wrinkled eyes. However, The Sword in the Stone is the only text who has Merlin wearing a wizards hat.

This is the only film out of the three that shows Merlin with a love interest. In fact, most of the story is about Merlin trying to reunite with his love, Nimue.

Thus Merlin has a romantic side which shines through in this movie, that is not seen in any of the other texts.

In this film Merlin has many powers. He can change shapes, talk to animals, control weather, heal people and cast many other spells.

However, in saying this, this portrayal of Merlin does not like to use magic, and only uses it when it is absolutely necessary; which is a vast contrast to The Sword in the Stone, where magic is used wherever possible.

It can be said then, that there are drastic changes to the character of Merlin between the texts. He is portrayed differently both physically and mentally, from a wise elder to a bumbling old fool. In this sense, it could be seen that throughout the ages Merlin could be appropriated to such an extreme that nobody would know the true Merlin.

Merlin (18 TV)

http//www.netdoor.com/~moulder/thwhite/tsits_a.html

(Unknown) Visited //0

The Sword in the Stone

http//www.allscifi.com/Topics/Info_5841.asp

J Moulder and M Schaefer 16. Visited /0

Excalibur

http//www.advsys.co.uk/loganandglitz/reviews/g-excalibur.htm

(Unknown) Visited //0

The faithfulness of Excalibur http//www.tncc.vccs.edu/faculty/longt/ENG4/Moore_film_review.htm

September 1, 00. Visited //0



Excalibur. Dir. John Boorman. With Nigel Terry, Nicol Williamson, Cherie Lunghi, Nicholas Clay, Helen Mirren. 181

Merlin. Dir. Steve Barron With Sam Neill. Artisan. 18

The Sword in the Stone. Dir. Wolfgang Reitherman. With Ricky Sorenson. 16

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

In Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest can the figure of McMurphy be said to offer realistic alternatives to the conformity of America in the 1950s?

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This essay will show that the character of McMurphy in ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ (16) does offer realistic alternatives to the conformity of 150s America. The essay will achieve this through an examination of the culture of the time, how the author of the novel, Ken Kesey, developed the McMurphy character so as to become a symbol of non-conformity and how through similar developments, the non-conformity of ideals, principals and thoughts became a reality during the 150s and 160s of American counter culture. The essay will also demonstrate that although McMurphy can be seen to be ultimate symbol of enforced authoritarian conformity at the end of the novel, the influence of his particular brand of non-conformist ideals continued to be carried forward in those patients who managed to ‘free’ themselves from the restraints of the institution. Yet the essay will also demonstrate that ultimately the system against which those of the institution are rebelling, continues to survive as the dominant influence in society. At the time during which the novel is set, it is important to understand the social and cultural environment in which a majority of Americans were living, in order to appreciate those social ‘norms’ against which McMurphy can be seen to be rebelling.

America of the 150s was a nation undergoing significant economic, social and political changes which, following the Depression of the 10s and the War years of the 140s, left the country as a whole in a state of paradoxical flux. This can be seen to have been demonstrated in the election of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 15, who despite turning his attentions to politics following the Second World War - during which he had been a General and Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces for the Invasion of Europe in 145 - disliked politics and politicians equally. His was an administration which oversaw a marked increase in urbanisation, a growth in corporate business, a religious revival, economic expansion and consumer growth . Yet contrary to a feeling of safety which might have been expected to have arisen during such potentially prosperous times, Americans were paranoid. They feared that all that they had gained through years of depravity was being threatened, mainly through the perceived growth of Communist idealism and via the scare mongering of what came to be known as McCarthyism that ended in a seven years “witch hunt” , that as a result the nation was in grave danger of losing this comfortable lifestyle. It was feared that society was under threat from those who wished Americans to conform to the limitations of carte blanche governmental control and thus deprive the people of the freedom and democracy that they cherished. As such, the ward in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ can be seen as a metaphor in as much as it is a microcosm of society in which its inhabitants, prior to the admittance of McMurphy, are held within the authoritarian jurisdiction of Nurse Ratched and, like the world outside, it is a jurisdiction and authority that is built and thrives upon fear. It is only following the arrival of McMurphy that this authoritarian control becomes threatened, as it transpires that a majority of the patients have volunteered to enter the controlled environment of the institution - just as the nation ‘outside’ has democratically volunteered for it’s own controlled environment through the election of its leaders - as the patients cannot live within the accepted norms of the social agenda that exist in the outside world. Therefore the patients can be seen to represent the fears of the American people who are perceived to be turning in growing numbers away from governmental control through fear that their recognised system has become too oppressive, only to discover that there is no tangible alternative to a controlled and autocratic existence. This sense of paranoia is best indicated by the opening words of the book ‘written’ by Chief Bromhead, the novel’s deaf without speech - ‘Dumb Indian’- narrator. They’re out there he claims, meaning that they - those who control the world outside - do not pose a threat to those inside the walls of the institution, as those controllers of the faceless machine Chief calls ‘The Combine’ are only interested in ‘manufacturing’ mass produced consent to sociological conformity. However, what the government of the United States has failed to recognise is the change in expectancy of that society which it has been elected to represent. 150s Society was being culturally challenged throughout America via the advent of Rock ‘N’ Roll, teen-age angst movies, the work of artists such as Edward Hopper and Jackson Pollock and by play-writes such as Arthur Miller, all of which can be seen to have protested against the restrictions of the capitalist ethos and the sense of prevailing chaos of the new-atomic age. It is out of this chaos that the character of McMurphy emerges and brings with him the external maelstrom of one who has not conformed in a manner in which that society sees fit and demands of it’s inhabitants.

Randall Patrick McMurphy is the protagonist of the novel. He represents the antithesis of all that control in any form represents via his enthusiasm, vitality and energy, hence the irony in his initials of RPM or Revolutions Per Minute. He appears to be a man out of control and represents the counter-culture of the American nation prevalent at this time. The fact that he allows the court proclaim him to be a “psychopath” so as to escape a prison work farm, is testament to the fact that he is clearly shrewd and determined to escape the oppressive outside world from which he has been sent. It is also clear that any member of a recognised society is taking a gamble in stepping out of that society’s confines. Therefore Kesey has made McMurphy a “gambling fool” who is being punished for breaking the established order required by those who govern. He is also a man free from what he sees as to being any form of guilt, hence his reluctance to take a shower upon his admittance and merely acts naturally as he introduces himself to his fellow patients. So naturally in fact that one of the first things that Chief notices that is particular to this new admission, is that he laughs naturally. It is the first genuine laugh that Chief has heard in years and clearly marks McMurphy as being somewhat different to those within the institution and therefore within society. However, within the confines of recognised normality, that which exists on the ward is anything but ‘normal’ as the usual role of the white dominant male has been replaced by that of the white dominant female with the assistance of coloured aides. Thereby asking the recurring question as to what is normal? As the novel progresses, the conflict between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy develops into what can be seen as a battle between bureaucracy and free-will. It is in this that McMurphy is most used to illustrate the alternatives to conformity. Although he can be seen to recognise the need for rules in life as much as there is a need for rules in cards, McMurphy is of the opinion that these rules need not be inflexible. This is illustrated in the game of Monopoly which takes place on the ward in which the patient Martini is given some leeway as to how the game is conducted. Yet to Nurse Ratched, rules -concerning the volume of the music on the ward for example - are set in stone and will not, rather than cannot, be changed . Hence the issue of the Baseball match in which, though McMurphy eventually loses the ‘democratic’ vote of the ward having first tried to change ward policy, he can ultimately be seen to have beaten the system as all of those who voted with him sit down and imagine that they are watching the ball game and are thereby not getting on with their designated chores, thus bringing the ward, and the interior world of the ward, to a standstill. This unorganised act of insubordination demonstrates that the power of popular support can override the decisions of the minority which control such ill informed altruistic policies. The issue also offers the first realistic opportunity for the patients to have a say in what goes on within their society in connection with matters pertaining to the outside world. This in turn changes the parameters of their perceptions and embodies a desire for change that is taking place within American society.

The fishing trip further emboldens the patients as they can be seen to overcome their fears of venturing outside the confines of the institution. Though McMurphy originally sees the organisation of the trip to meet his own personal needs, the opposition provided to his proposal by Nurse Ratched can be seen to have undermined her authority. This is especially true when the ward Doctor is included in the expedition. What Kesey seems to be saying here is that should only a small amount of officialdom be willing to listen to the voices of the people, then significant change can be invoked for the good of the majority. The number of patients far outweigh the number of staff, yet all are held within the authoritarian conformities imposed by the minority number. This can be seen to be representative of the world at large when transferring the numbers of patients to those of the people and those of the ward staff for those of government officials. Yet with the inclusion of the Doctor, the trip goes ahead despite the warnings of The Big Nurse, which have nothing to do with her ‘fears’ for the safety of the patients but rather of Ratched losing control over ‘her’ ward and the way in which it is run. Again this can be seen as a demonstration of the power of popular consensus over bureaucracy. The accepted norms of social conformity - all be it within the limitations of the ward - are being openly challenged and it is authoritarian control which can be seen to conform to the will of the mass. The fear of the outside world to such wholesale change is illustrated on the fishing trip, with the stop at the gas station when the patients are encouraged to use their illnesses so as to achieve their aims. That an overall change is possible however is demonstrated in the change of attitude of those at the dockside, who had been overtly hostile to the group before setting sail, yet welcoming and warm when seeing that no harm had been done and that the group had acquitted themselves well in bringing back such an impressive catch of fish, despite expectations to the contrary. This shows that all new ideas set out by the minority of non-conformists might not necessarily be bad ideas despite any preconceived interpretations, but that in order to find out the majority should at first be willing to listen before casting any such ideas aside. This section of the novel sees the patients confront society and as such, can be seen to transform them into a self reliant body who are worthy of respect as men and as equals to their immediate contemporaries, in this case the fishermen. There is also the religious significance of this section to be taken into consideration. McMurphy has been transformed, via the fishing trip analogy, into something of a Christ like redeemer. The trip has changed from a rapidly growing demonstration of open insubordination by those on the ward, into a unit of men filled with a sense of self worth denied to them under the confines imposed by Nurse Ratched. This is all that has ever been desired by the majority of the patients. Therefore McMurphy can be seen as to have understood this better than any psychologist ever could and has given the patients ultimately what they needed. Therefore Kesey is underlining the fact that the needs of the people are ultimately uncomplicated and need only be recognised as such.

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Ultimately however, the conflict between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy, can only be resolved via violence which results in a hollow victory for the system. McMurphy is finally reduced to conformity by an enforced lobotomy, but only after his literal exposure of the system - in the shape of Nurse Ratched’s breasts - to being something unnaturally large, misplaced and omnipotent. The fact that the subjugation of the patients has now been shown as to being nothing other than a sham, McMurphy’s treatment can be seen to have had a positive effect upon the majority as the system loses control of the populace. This is pinpointed by the fact that when she returns to the ward, The Big Nurse cannot speak and, as the novel has progressed, Chief Bromden has found his voice. There is also a sense of bitter irony in the fact that, upon the discovery of Billy Bibbit’s suicide, Nurse Ratched accuses McMurphy of playing God and was ultimately the cause of Billy’s death. It is in fact true to say that the oppressive authoritarian and systematic denial of self esteem imposed on the ward by the Big Nurse was the cause of the suicide and not the attempts at instilling a sense of dignity by McMurphy. To further the religious connotation, Billy can be seen as McMurphy’s Judas, as he betrays him to the Big Nurse by telling that it was McMurphy’s idea to hold the ward party. This goes further however, as it shows that a small group of individuals is only strong whilst it remains united in affecting pro-active changes whilst tackling a society controlled by majority rule.

In conclusion, the character of McMurphy does offer realistic alternatives to the desired conformity of America in the 150s. Yet it also illustrates that the resistance to such conformity must be united in its objectivity and determined in its ideals. This necessary unity can be seen to have manifested itself in the Civil Rights Movements of the ‘50s to such great affect, having been led by “the descendants of slaves, who were themselves only half free … who came out of the shadows to find their own place in the American sun.” The actions of Thurgood Marshall and the unity amongst black Americans in managing to have black student - Autherine Lucy -reinstated at Birmingham University from where she had been barred from enrolling due to her skin colour, underlines the thoughts and feelings of Ken Kesey in writing this novel in that not all of which a controlling body says is right is necessarily correct. The actions of McMurphy also serve to demonstrate that, though the mind can be trained and restricted medically, freedom of thought and action against deliberate oppression cannot be restrained amongst those who seek such freedoms and the actions of the patients following his death, can be seen as a testament to this fact.



Bibliography

Hugh Brogan. The Penguin History Of The United States Of America. London Penguin, 185.

Harold Evans. The American Century. London Jonathan Cape Publishing, 18.

Ken Kesey. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. London Picador, 17.

George Brown Tindall & David Emory Shi (Eds.). America. London Norton and Company, 000.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Hunger of Memory

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Is the “Hunger of Memory” the same for all?

Hunger is defined as a desire or craving and memory is defined as the ability to remember and recall. I believe Richard Rodriguez has a desire to remember the ways things used to be, the closeness he had with his family. Richards provides an in-depth look into his struggle to find himself and cope with the battles he was dealt. He not only lost the ability to communicate with his family but also had to experience his suffering alone. Although Rodriguez’s family suffered from his “hunger”, he has sacrificed and lost more than any other.

A child pulling away, because he is unable to relate to the family or culture, causes the family as a whole to experience hunger pangs of their own. Rodriguez’s family often had to deal with the embarrassment they felt knowing people are reading personal things about their family’s private life in newspapers and magazines. Also Richard’s family did not read the articles or essay he had written or even knew when they were in magazines. Not knowing what personal things were written about and when these writings were published caused his mother and father to have to worry about what the public knew. His family thought their personal life should not have been used for entertainment. His mother and father did not want to become the “cheap people” they criticized. “My mother and father are not cheap people. They never are tempted to believe that public life can also be intimate” (184).

My senior year of high school I had to deal with a similar situation. I was asked to be a leader for a religious retreat for which I had to write a 0 min talk about my life. In order to do this I would have to mention my family and speak about private issues that had always been kept inside. When I asked my mom if she would be okay with it, she was hesitant. My mom did not “want the families dirty laundry hung out for all to see”. Much of my struggle had to do with my father. My father did not want me to write about my personal life because he did not want to be perceived as anything less than he is today. My mom and dad never read what I wrote nor did they fully support me, but that is something I had to deal with because I knew my struggle would help someone much like Rodriguez’s has helped me.

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Though it is hard to compare people’s pain, I believe Rodriquez sacrificed and had to deal with more loss than his family. With Rodriquez’s choice to pursue education he lost his culture, felt divided from his family and had to go through a difficult time in his life alone. Yes, this may have been his choice and he should have to deal with the consequences of his action, but to go through it all alone, with out his family must have been very hard. Rodriguez gave up these things because he wanted to not only become better through education for himself, but also for his family and culture.

Throughout the years of his education, Rodriguez lost a part of his culture because others thought it would prevent him from reaching his goal. Rodriguez had to stop speaking Spanish in the home in order to fully perfect his English. “In an instant, [my parents] agreed to give up the language [Spanish] (the sounds) that has revealed and accentuated our family’s closeness” (1). That was not a choice he actually made, his teachers suggested that to his mother and father and they made the decision to only speak English in the home. The decision not only affected Rodriguez’s education but his communication with his family as well.

Rodriguez’s mother and father did not speak English very well which caused the communication between members of the family to be very minimal. “The family’s quiet was partly due to the fact that, as we children learned more and more English, we shared fewer and fewer words with our parents” (1). This not only distanced Richard from his mother and father but also from his siblings. Richard would separate himself from the rest of his family to concentrate on his studies. He would spend hours in his room reading books for fun. In a sense he was preparing himself from the lonely road ahead. Richard’s loss of his culture and division from his family lead him to a lonely life just like when he was a child.

Richard’s pain is far worse than that of his family because he must deal with it by himself. After Rodriguez decided to become a writer he said, “a New York editor told me that I would embark on a lonely journey” (175). He must live with himself everyday knowing the actions that he did as a young man created a gap between. He now must work hard to re-gain his culture and family. I believe the last chapter Mr. Secrets shows Rodriguez’s desire to have his culture and family in his life. He proves he is not ashamed of neither his culture nor his family. He is working on his Spanish and is continuously apologetic to all those who he has lost or hurt.

I know this must be hard for Richard. He yearns for what he calls “memory”. He wants to remember all the things he has lost. Though Richard does not regret the sacrifices he had to make in the past, he clearly has learned from them. This is very painful for him and he proves to have gone through the most pain.

(High Potential Program)

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Irony in "There Was Once"

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Irony in “There Was Once”

The use of irony in the story “There Was Once” is the form of irony that we call verbal irony. It is basically about two people who bicker and complain about the use of cliches in a fairy tale story. It is a statement, really, about how much writers have come to rely on cliches, and how people have become brainwashed by them pretty much. Our story starts out with the first person telling a certain story. It begins, “There was once a poor girl, as beautiful as she was good, who lived with her wicked stepmother in a house in the forest.” (Pg. 57) This one sentence is FULL of things that we have all heard before. Almost every fairy tale that we have heard has started out like this, and contains characters who are beautiful, poor, and conflicted. They all have evil stepmothers, or there are witches, and they all find happiness in the end. So not like real life, but that’s the way it goes with most stories. “There Was Once” goes on, and there it turns out that the person is reading the story to a realist, and this person simply will not take this kind of storytelling anymore, obviously, as he/she starts throwing out criticisms and little sarcastic remarks and tries to make the story a bit more up to date and realistic. “Forest? Forest is passe, I mean, I’ve had it with all this wilderness stuff. It’s not the right image of our society, today. Let’s have some urban for a change.” (Pg. 57) This bothers the person telling the story, and they try to change it as best they can to fit this other person’s wishes. This person has problems with the fact that the main character in this story is poor, has a wicked stepmother, and is beautiful, and has hardly any flaws whatsoever. This story is as far from real life as it can possibly get, and this just isn’t a good thing. It must be stopped!

The author of this story, Margaret Atwood, makes a very good point throughout. I mean, today people seem to long for more realistic approaches to things. That has been one thing that I have noticed over the years. People can’t stand being lied to, or manipulated. Take films for instance. People are tired of seeing the same plots recycled over and over and over again. I know that I am. I work at a video store, and there are some people who come in complaining that this movie was basically the same as that movie, and that there wasn’t much of a difference. Then, there are others who, sadly, sell out for cliche-ridden movies and REFUSE, absolutely REFUSE to embrace anything that’s different or original. Anything that requires a little bit of thought or a bit of analyzing is something that they’d rather avoid all together. I simply don’t understand this. I think it is very sad. I often wonder what its going to be like years from now, and what the movie industry will be like. Will producers and film makers succumb to the outcries of the redneck movie going public and continue to shovel out so much crap, that there are hardly any unique, provocative films to be seen? This scares me, and this story that I read PERFECTLY captures what I am trying to say. I have felt this very same way for the longest time, and when I read this story, it just blew me away. I’m NOT the only person who thinks this way! What is wrong with wanting something different? What is wrong with wanting realism? DON”T LIE TO ME. Tell me like it really is. Please! That’s what I want. A little bit of cliche is good now and then, but when you over do it, it can be dangerous and sad. I mean, hey, I work at a video store, and you should see some of the people that come in there. Enough said. It’s like I was saying..in this story there is a person who longs for originality, and she keeps constantly beating this into the narrators mind. If the “beautiful” princesses wicked stepmother makes her sleep in the fireplace, you know for a fact that she is not poor. The person on the other end makes a point. If she is poor, then why does she live in a house that just happens to have a fireplace? This is not the dwelling of a lower class individual. “Aha! They had a fireplace! With poor, let me tell you, there’s no fireplace. Come down to the park, come to the subway stations after dark, come down to where they sleep in cardboard boxes, and I’ll show you poor!” (Pg. 58) Once again, the real world. Also, the issues of physical appearance and race also come up into the conversation. Usually, the main character in fairy tales is a beautiful woman who is white and doesn’t have the tiniest flaw. Now, what would be wrong with it if you made her an average individual? How would people respond to that? “...Women these days have to deal with too many intimidating physical role models as it is......Can’t you make her, well, more average?” (Pg. 58) Soon, the narrator starts to change the story around a bit more. It begins to sound more like something out of real life. Something that average people would HATE. Put this kind of story or movie out in the theaters or on the shelf and just see how many tickets or books would be sold. “There was once a girl, as average-looking as she was well-adjusted, who lived with her stepmother, who was not a very open and loving person because she had been abused in childhood.” (Pg. 5) Another thing that you may have noticed in the last quote, was that it brings up the issue of the “wicked” stepmother. The thing that most fairy tales forget to tell us is WHY this woman is the way she is. Maybe it would give the character a bit more depth. Hmmm. I guess we’ll never know, but I love that this short story brings up the issue. I almost died laughing. All in all, this piece raises issues that most people would never give a second thought. I believe that today, our society needs to start thinking about these sorts of things. I, for one, tend to get a little sick of all the brainwashing. The point that the author and also a point that I am trying to make is to all the people out there Embrace originality, and appreciate the things which are unique and different. At least give them a chance, and you may end up appreciating it!



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