Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Brueghel Post

When I first witnessed the picture of The Fall of Icarus by Bruegel, there was a quite unique concept about the color structure he used. In the background there is an aluminous sky shaded by the yellow shadow that represents a form of purity and well-being. The rest of the background is hard to make out but the clouds provide a contradictory image of the eternally lit flame of the sun. This may be foreshadowed as the danger that may come from the death of Icarus and the clouds are the warning sign of dangerous times. Next, the richness of the Mediterranean Sea is pictured oh so elegantly by Brueghel. The radiance of the sea is perfected in the blue shadings. The color really captures the importance of the sea as if it were human and the painting is fairly adequate when measuring the prolific empire of mythology and how we interpret it. The image of the boat is amazing in the sense of how steady it is against the calm blue sea. The Island is portrayed as a prison in the myth, but seems filled with people who seem to enjoy the time they have. The title of the painting, The Fall of Icarus, obviously represents the tragedy that will be faced by the title character. The painting seems to pick up just after the incident has occurred judging from the fallen angel wings in the water trying obsessively to swim back up to the heavens. The painting also focuses on the ignorance of the peasants or farm workers or the workers with the Earth, The man in red who plows on by while he had just admired the significance of the fly. The Shepard who is turned away from the fall and sees nothing of the incident could signify the accepting of the Gods while Icarus has defied these same gods by flying higher than he thought he could and making the workers believe as if he were indeed a God. As Icarus falls into the water, his father Deadalus tries to reach into the water and save his son. He fails and the painter does not offer the sort of emotions that one, Deadalus, should express by the death of his son. When glanced at a second time I realized that the first image that strikes me as odd is the effect the painting has on the impact of the plowman. He takes up a large portion of the left side of the picture. He is also one of the only characters to be clearly displayed with symbolic amounts of color. The red suit personifying rage and evil stemming from in this case the entrapment on the island that is evident through the eternal suffering Deadalus must now submit himself to. The shadows are clustered in the region in which Icarus drowns is blackened and darkened to emphasize the effect of the death and the darkness that is soon to follow the orders of Gods and their wrath. While on the other side of the equation there is a light that is illuminating on the clear water, however some may see this as a clear path to the Promised Land and that is something nobody on the island will ever be able to achieve further symbolizes the imagery of the Sun as a sign of rage and passion that is burning continuously as the events continue to unfold. The next thing I notice is the select amount of sheep that are different colors who still roam with the other normally colored sheep. I can make an assumption about the fact that they are “black sheep” which in this case could be used to apply Deadalus and Icarus as out of place in this prison island of Crete. They are different because of their fight with nature. The herdsman and Shepard and plowman are all one with nature and they work with the gods something that both Deadalus and Icarus fight by inventing things and defying the laws of gravity and in doing so anger the Gods so much as to do something as inhumane as grossly murder the son of Deadalus. The painting also show the deep and unfortunate aspects of the universe are and how all beings on the earth are trapped their. In a deep thought this one island is the rest of the universe. The workers and prisoners are trapped their for as long as I can see and the end is symbolized by the death or fall of Icarus and just how badly one can come to an end as quickly as it is put on earth. The color green is used in the mix of the ocean which is ironic of the reason Deadalus is on the island in the first place. He murders his own nephew because of his jealousy, or to be more fitting, or envy which is commonly applied to the color green to represent something that is a sin under the bible’s definition of the terms. Also, the green is being applied to the pastures that are being plowed indicating the turn of spring and the trees of which are not fully grown are still brown. This was possibly to emphasize the immaturity of youth and how when youth is not fully experienced it can wither easily in the passing time. Icarus learned this lesson based on his ego trip that angered an elder God(s), it was Icarus’ dream to be just like a God by flying so high while intellectually being a lesser being, a child. It is important to see the pictures of what it is that we read. In this case a myth about youth or about man facing off against nature, by looking at the picture we can gather an even larger mental picture of the actions at hand. We learn about emotions, we learn about patterns and how they are represented by different colors and objects that are symbolic of the people involved in the picture or painting. What else do we learn from a picture? Do we really see everything on first glance? Is there more than meets the eye?

Tom Phillips

On page 11 of Tom Phillips’ A Humument, Phillips suggests there is some kind of battle between good and evil and more importantly how it affects the human element. Phillips uses fire and the presence of blue as a resistant force against the fire of red. By using traditionally involved colors with themes, Phillips presents this battle and how it intends to play out.

To start there is a breach in the very title of the page that presents a question right off the top. The inferno red hides the “an doc” part of the Human Document. Now it could be interpreted as a questioning of what the picture really is. The picture is a test to the intellectual capabilities of the observer. The fire can be seen as the shape of a dragon, a mythological creature who presents chaos and destruction. The fire can be seen arising from the depths of hell. Phillips contrasts this by using the blue base of the painting to represent the ocean which has been used in literary works to traditionally represent a cleansing region. The water represents the rising force that pushes away the immoral acts being committed on the written words.
With the focus changed to the top “half” of the page there is a noticeable point in the highlighted words that appear. Phillips talks of the “book” that is given to a “reader” and tells the reader that he can not reveal what it is indeed that he has changed. Phillips makes these words the first primary highlight of his page. It is from here that the flaming red terror eats up the rest of the page and proceeds to wear away at it’s meaning. The scarlet is fractured at spots, possibly indicating that there is something of some importance to the words he presents. Phillips preserves the words of his play “but..it is a hum.. ument” which brings about the essential thought process behind the picture.

Phillips prepares to reach his point by the second “half” of his artwork. He labels the second half of his painting “The Characters.” There is an influence that the characters play in preserving the work created by artists. The usage of the first line, “the history viola” provides something comforting to match the teal blue of the imagery of the ocean or force of good and well-being. A violin however is also associated with the song of departure and ever lasting depression. As it applies to the page, the violin can be used as a romantic ballad to incorporate the cooperation of love and hate in the battle for literary equality. The turquoise and rose align to describe the two realities that Phillips’ sees affecting the everyday words and the threats they pose in society.

The blue box is set off with the red raging from the depths and acting as it’s own unit in the page. The page also goes to show the old adage that you can’t fit a square inside a circle which might help represent the contrast of ideas associated with Phillips skepticism of the written word and the threats that are opposed to this everyday.

The characters are representing the root of all good that can come from a work. Demonstrated by the strands of roots that stem from the title feature are damaged elements of writing that could be fixed by features of the blue texts. The furthest from the strand involves people or the fractured word of people. The establishment of this word’s distance implicates that people are different from characters. There are features such as the operation and togetherness that separate these two factors of literature. Much like the words on the page there is no connection and thus creates an interpretation of what the rest of the text really means. The page is a message from Phillips and from the large scale literary world that tells the watcher that there is indeed a battle that thinkers face and the changes that are to occur soon are going to be forever repressed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hamlet's Soliloquy

Hamlet Soliloquy (Laurence Olivier)

In the 1948 version of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, Sir Laurence Olivier captures the heart and soul of the title character during his famous soliloquy while often not even talking. As an established actor of the twentieth century, Olivier has had a variety of roles that portray him as a tragic hero, Spartacus and Othello come to mind, that accurately prepare him for the role of importance. It is his seemingly fluent understanding of Hamlet’s importance and eloquence in his soliloquy.

To open the scene, there is a rustle of waves that hit up against the stones upon which Hamlet graces to set up for an opportune setting later in the scene. Olivier captures the tone and emotion that Hamlet is experiencing as he begins his speech. “To be or not to be, that is the question,” (line 55) implicates that Hamlet is at a standstill because he does not know whether there is an ultimate goal to the existence given his own situation. What is being questioned can be clarified in lines 56-59, “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer….Or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them.” The ultimate debate is whether Hamlet should use the “arms against his sea of troubles” in order to act swiftly to King Claudius or rather to suffer from guilt. The setting proves to be all too fitting in context to the play as the ocean waves are attacking the shore an image that represents the crisis Hamlet endures. It is important to note that Hamlet at this time is still in a state of depression over not being able to cope with his father’s death and Olivier does an accurate job of portraying doubt and how Hamlet should feel about the revelry Denmark has to endure.

In a more philosophical approach, Hamlet uses the lines, “To die, to sleep” (58,63) repetitively in order to branch off of the emotions he looks to pass off during his soliloquy. “in that sleep of death what dreams may come,” implies a feeling that if death is but a prolonged moment of silence and vacancy of the mind, or a clean slate. The act of death may be an entrance way to the cleansing of these evil thoughts. Hamlet further prolongs the feelings of suicide by “bearing those ills we have, than to fly to others that we know not of,” (80-81) acting as if we are cowards for considering the notion of suicide.

The scene within the play is a representation of the most literal form of a soliloquy in which he is all to himself. While in the play he is still surrounded by Ophelia, Hamlet is assessing his thoughts all by himself. The interpretation of the speech leaves the viewer to a mystery, is this scene really at the seashore or is this occurring in the actual mind of Hamlet. At this point in the play, the readers much like the characters are not sure whether or not Hamlet is going insane or faking. By the acted, or overacted, version of the speech it appears he is still insane, but is conflicted with all these unfortunate images of suicide and the “undiscover’d country” (78) of the post-life.

Though there are a few inaccuracies in the scene, the portrayal is stunning in the capturing of emotions. What is lost in text is realized in thoroughness of acting. Olivier’s version relies more on the lack of a special effect element and by using a natural setting creates a deeper meaning.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Plum Plum Pickers

The Plum Plum Pickers Explication
In the passage from The Plum Plum Pickers by Raymond Barrio, Barrio suggests that there is a more definitive view of what it means to be alive and more importantly to exist by effectively using imagery and exploring the substance of the setting to form an opinion about existence. Barrio adequately uses repetition and allusions to create a smooth transition from the setting to character development to eventually to build a significant climax of the brief excerpt of the story. In doing so, the author establishes his theme or message about existence and making a bridge between modernist and post-modernist mindset.
In the first section of the passage, there is an absolute influence in emphasizing the mood through imagery and incorporating the images by using shortened sentences to create the feelings of the farm workers. Immediately there is a contradiction of terms as it applies to the text’s connection to the title, “he was trapped in an endless maze of apricot trees…” (line 1), the title implies that the foreigners are plum pickers, the apricot trees show that there is probably a play on words. Plum, aside from being a fruit, can mean a desirable or excellent thing. To the workers, the plums may be represented by the antagonist Manuel’s struggle. It is equality and power that may be the “plums” of the people. As the section proceeds, the next notable feature of Barrio’s style is the short sentences as well as the repetition that occurs within the phrases. The constant use of words like, brute, wreck, beast and even referencing the Sun and the effect it has bearing down on the people below. These words are not commonly associated with the happy times that come with work. The words represent the struggles the people on the farm face during the day. Analyzing the first couple of paragraphs it is important to note how quickly the transition is between the sections signifying the uneasy speed of quickly life transitions and how just as quick as time came it goes away just as quickly. The imagery not only helps clear a mood it also helps develop a conclusion about the central characters. The use of words like beast and predator make the people feel as though they are animals and have no concept of what is human. It is at this point that Barrio introduces his primary theme of his work.
Though using many of the same features present in the first section, the second section, paragraphs 3-6, explore more of the character development. In the third paragraph Barrio uses the same short sentence techniques, but only in this excerpt there are little to no vowels present in these sentences. This builds onto the personification of the humans as machines and animals. Shortly thereafter the antagonist, Manuel, has a moment of humanity. “His half-filled bucket slipped from his grasp and fell in slow motion, splattering the fruit he’d so laboriously picked.” After this line we are finally given a name to the two most powerful figures in the story, Manuel and Roberto Morales. When using these names Barrio uses another play on words to provide an in-depth perspective about how the roles of a protagonist and an antagonist are reversed in the scenario. Manuel’s name can be interpreted as he is a representation of “man” or that he represents the “manual” labor that is involved with farm working. Roberto Morales the unlikely protagonist of the story can be represented as one who “robs” morals or is himself without the moral capability to accept and forgive. Finally, in the end of the passage, much like Lady Macbeth and Pontius Pilate before him Roberto is described as having washed away the shame he faced being “one of them” he has moved on to higher plane while still being trapped on the surface of Earth. Ironically, Manuel can be seen as a very similar Christ like figure of who fought the same battle as Manuel.
Finally, in the concluding paragraphs Barrio sets up a climax by beautifully incorporating all the aspects of his earlier sections and finally setting the scene of the “final showdown” with Morales. Interestingly, Barrio only clarifies that Manuel is the only real human of the bunch, “The other exhausted animals studied the tableau through widening eyes. It was so unequal.” The author then shows that the only true human succeeded by fighting for what was theirs. “Then with his last remaining energy, Manuel lifted his foot and clumsily tipped over his own last bucket of cots.” After being self-assured he is the winner, Manuel reflects that there would have to be some kind of punishment, but he knew he would be looked at as a human rather than the machines and animals they thought they were. Barrio makes an allusion to the story of Don Gaspar de Portola who explored the western coast of America as it is also the place where the story takes place. The story of Gaspar was that he was sent by the Spaniards to colonize the western coast of California. He ended up making a big miscalculation and ended up causing the lives of his crew, but the lesson he learned was that he did not give up the fight even though he would face consequences. And in the latest lines of the passage he finally outright states the theme of his work, to explain what it means to exist. “Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride. Or else they are dead before they die. In retaliation he fought for his pride and his sense of honor.
The passage itself suggests what it means to be human and why it is there are heroes within all of us. The passage is a great example of how easy it can be to sacrifice traditional writing for simpler techniques that employ a means of understanding a much broader topic.

Joyce Paper

How Stephen Changes

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce develops the character of Stephen Dedalus by exploring the attraction to art as well as women to greater show the effects of the two in comparison to the roles in actual existence. Through the novel Stephen is a victim of his own unconscious mind and leads him to a journey of guilt and ultimately a loss of innocence. Joyce as well suggests that Stephen, no matter the circumstance, is still a teenager coming of age in, modern society, that one infant boy finds the predominant male figure a threat and needs to find comfort in the mother or alternative female figure.

In the passage in Chapter 1 (pg. 26-27), Stephen is confronted with a rather childish joke played on by the bullies at the school, furthermore this explains Stephen’s progress in the Oedipal stages of personality as well as behavior. The conflict at hand is the criticism of the mother figure in Stephen’s life, phrased by the question, “Do you kiss your mother every night before you go to bed?” At first Stephen says “I do” (26) and the mere shame is enough to spur the imagination of young Dedalus. In this case Stephen’s subconscious is affecting his behavior around his peers. It is in this passage that the diction commonly used to indicate such phallic imagery is further explored by Joyce. Stephen tries to laugh again to relieve himself of the guilt of having been tricked. “He felt his whole body hot and confused in a moment.” (27) Stephen is often times bogged down by these figures that are dominating him.

The passage was further analyzed by Sheldon Brivic in his critical essay on A Portrait, in which he proclaims that the exchange between Wells and Stephen shows, “This refers not to Stephen being at home with his mother but to an imaginary mother Stephen kisses in the present.”(282) Also, on a grander scale Wells’ comment is an emotional scar for Stephen and more importantly his identity which splinters his actions and emotional control.

The choice is a respectful one because he faces the possibility of losing a maternal figure, but on the other hand he may disobey this premature belief that he may lose the attention or competition for the maternal feel and touch. In a state of imagination and self-doubt Stephen talks of his decision to answer the question. After this answer he ponders, “Was it right to kiss his mother or wrong to kiss his mother?…Why did people do that with their two faces?”(27) The use of contradictory thoughts and feelings guides the views that Stephen finds in the intolerable acts of others. For instance when the boys steal the wine from the sacristy (57) “must have been a terrible sin to steal the flashing gold thing into which God was put on the altar.” (57) Joyce makes the contrast that sin is so important than the childhood desires much like the one Stephen is drawn to by the Oedipus Complex involving his mother.

From this point, Joyce makes connections to the sin one must feel indulging in the passions that are associated with the development of children. After the communion Stephen is imaginarily burdened by God as he is his newfound father in the growth process.

In a new passage in chapter 2, Joyce emphasizes the breakdown of the former male figure of his father and the burden of the church coming down on his father more than it should Stephen himself. After his family is in shambles, his father is a scapegoat to Stephen who can now feel more artistic freedoms. “There’s a crack of the whip left in me yet, Stephen, old chap, said Mr. Dedalus, poking the dull fire with fierce energy. We’re not dead yet.” (70) As described by Brivic, there is a “paternal defeat” (285) which brings about the anxiety that Stephen had succumbed to in his passionate encounter of his sin:

“….he was different from others. He did not want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how: but a premonition told him that this image would, without any overt act of his encounter him. They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place.” (pg. 69)

It would be easy to conclude that Mercedes, is a desired mother figure, but Joyce does not intend this to be the preeminent cause of concern for young Stephen. Rather, Joyce uses the imagined incident to guide his character to very well succeed in the locating of the real figure he desires. Arguably in the home of the church and in the heart of the oldest text to date Joyce gives Stephen the Virgin Mary. Here Joyce makes an interesting choice of comparison. He takes a popular Freudian belief and a holy spirit to test the limits of the Oedipus Complex as it applies to Stephen. Joyce takes a virgin figure (Mary) and demonstrates just how far Stephen can control the urge to violate himself in the sin of lust. This is contrasted by the view that Freud thinks that children find sex “icky” and “gross,” but feel that it is awful that their mother was involved with another man. Joyce intentionally uses the Virgin to confirm the changing of the guard as it applies to Stephen. It is assumed that from now on Mary is to be the mother of Stephen and that Stephen in turn is the reincarnation of Jesus who had been killed for his sins against humanity.

The vacancy left by his family’s seemingly abandonment of Stephen allows him the artistic freedom he so truly desires. With a change of setting, Stephen feels “freer” (70) than ever before and his memory of the old town brings back heart “warming” feelings about life. He “missed the bright sky and the sun-warmed trellises of the wine shops,” (70). Once again warmth and heat are being associated with a longing memory and context. Alas, this is also used later in regards to his second dream sequence in which he is receiving communion, “He sat by the fire in the kitchen, not daring to speak for happiness. Till that moment he had not known how beautiful and peaceful life could be” (pg. 134) Stephen’s desire for his former land in retrospect visualizes the desire to get back the mother he had grown to accept and love to the greatest of artistic ability and will. The uses of the flashbacks and dream sequences each demonstrate Stephen’s inner conflicts over religion, morality, and sin. In the growth process he is shielding himself from the horrors of reality, but embracing the artistic freedom and the knowledge of the road ahead.

Furthermore, this story can be broken down into different stages and how the growth of Stephen is important to better understanding the ultimate goal of Joyce’s writing. In the stages there is always a hope that Stephen gets to “her” and that he can be self-fulfilled. In the natural progression there is also the possibility that his saved up emotions can lead to fulfillment. Joyce’s abusing of these “epiphanies” all begin with the repetition of the phrase “he was sitting” (71-72) all these lead to the next stages of Freud’s belief pattern. In humanity, most bottled up emotions result in anger, however, Stephen absorbs this infuriation with society. Joyce creates the artistic freedom because for a rare instant, Stephen is paralleling Joyce in his own novel. At this point they seem to know each other by heart and the severe misunderstanding of behaviors and events both seem to inspire. Joyce writes to explore his own path and what Stephen can do to change Joyce and vice-versa.

In Chapter IV, he goes to the beach which is a significant setting change, which resembles of the first stage in the psychoanalytic diagram presented by Sheldon Brivic in his essay (291). “His soul had risen from the grave of boyhood, spurning her grave clothes.”(154) The reference to the imagined “bird-girl” (153) exposes Stephen’s newfound freedom stating that “beauty is without shame” (154), however, the warmth that “she” provides is only a memory conjured up by the unconscious part of his brain. Ironically, the harsh realities return in chapter V, as stated by Brivic:

“His fantasies of transcendence are contained in a framework that shows them to be illusions, but without them Stephen could not build his vision…the opposing vectors… allow the structure to embody the vitality (pulse) of Stephen’s mind.” (293)
This becomes a turning point in the reasoning for his art, the “why” and “how,” he creates this “art.” He (Stephen) can now use art to document his history and use it as a way to forget the memories that held him back so long. The retrieving of the art as a fulfillment of history and its forgetfulness, initiates a balance of power between life and art and how these two no longer so associated. Stephen’s idea of this balance is contradicted by the literal interpretation of stasis (balance). On pg. 183, Stephen argues that, “the mind is arrested and raised above desire and loathing,” however the idea of a stasis is that two planes are at one, paralleled in every way, shape, and form. Stephen’s argument can be broken down even further into a simple effort of emotions not being able to coexist in the same world as art; therefore one can not be mixed with the other. Stephen accuses kinetic (active) emotions are purely physical emotions:

“Our flesh shrinks from what it dreads and responds to…what it desires by a purely reflex action of the nervous system… [But] Beauty expressed by the artist cannot awaken in us an emotion which is kinetic or a sensation which is purely physical. It awakens…an esthetic stasis, an ideal pity or an ideal terror, a stasis called forth, prolonged and at last dissolved by what I call the rhythm of beauty.” (184)

Joyce seems to write this segment of the story to have an argument with his own conscious represented here by Stephen as a means of aggression. In this crossfire, desires are matched with ideas and Stephen acknowledges the difference between an emotion that is kinetic and one that lacks the heart and soul of the others. According to Simon Lesser, “The peace of stasis is arrived at by balancing opposed psychic forces in a pleasing way.” Also, Lesser demonstrates that a failure to communicate these emotions in Stephen’s art embodies the work as disgraceful and lewd as well as cheap and prohibitive.

This greater struggle Stephen has forming an alliance with his art concurrently relates to his feelings about Ireland and his later conversion to a stance in which he is a non-conformists to the state in taking socialism. His “motherland,” Ireland, to Stephen is like a “strumpet” that now “works” solely for the state of England. With the scary images of such treachery and anarchy seem like the depleted state of his voyaged trip for his mother. By the time Chapter V arises, Stephen no longer feels the need to be nurtured by a “mother.” Instead, Stephen has found his calling, his freedom, by fittingly: Abandoning All Hope Ye Who Enter Here (in this case, a creative freedom). Stephen, being isolated by the end of the novel, finds that one must be alone to attack their nation. He would not be able to find the strength needed to do this if he does not learn from the psychoanalytic approach to his life.
Stephen is given the power to relinquish all the disturbing thoughts and events that he had pondered about for so long and all those things could not change Stephen and what he really was. The transition Stephen makes is not one in which is immature to wise in the ways of art of development. Stephen is trapped in this situation because he is caught in between the transition from a boy to a teenager, between what he has been taught and what is logical, and between the real world and his imagination.

Obama Chapter

Filler Chapter
(The following is a rewriting of a section of the book, in which Obama describes ordinary people and their struggles, pgs. 41-42)

I spent a lot of time in my life dealing with the differences of people, whether it is a party affiliation or a race, gender, and even the inescapable position of class. It does not matter if you are the smartest or most talented person there is a place for everybody, white and black, poor and rich, male or female. There is a popular inscription on the statue of liberty that states: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Shouldn’t that be the most upheld belief in our common day society? It is despicable that we still have to struggle to over come these adversities and find our own personal happiness whether it is through work or charity.
There are still critics out there who doubt the ability to escape these hardships and maybe they are right. There maybe an everlasting war that continues to divide our nation one of class and distinction. Deep down however there are groups of people who overcome all this negative criticism and learn to grow in the midst of all the social and political turmoil that shapes us and our beliefs. The political system in this country has turned into a game, a sport if you will. We can stand by and paint our faces and cheer for our favorite politicians or laws and kick ourselves when they don’t go through or don’t score. The world is filled with cheap shots that put us back years and slow the progress of success. If we let theses ideals be self-evident then we will never find a way to get over the bumps that stand in our way.
These people are ordinary citizens the people who accept these undesirable qualities about our government at face value and fight. They are not only fighting the political factions that bog them down, but also the “culture war” that influences the world around them. The celebrities that are activists and the people they encourage make them better people, but also can mislead them into doing the wrong thing. When all is said and done, however, these warriors find a way to come together and create a harmony of peace and acceptance.
The memories from our childhood and our lessons we learn from them shape our futures forever. One may think of a white southerner growing up during segregation, then later realizing the ethical inaccuracies of name calling and making friends with the African-Americans at the office. There is another struggle in the world, the gap of poverty and wealth that enables our citizens to get by. There are employees in all companies in the U.S. that make people panic and wonder that in the greatest country on Earth if they will be able to feed their family and live for another year. I imagine these people are waiting as much as anybody to have all the turmoil and chaos presented in Washington to resolve itself. They want politicians to balance common sense with idealist views and make it work for everybody. We can’t accomplish this by ourselves we have to get together and work together to make America better. These ordinary people do not always understand the meaning of left and right, conservative and liberal, but they know better to distinguish between common sense and dogma. They are waiting for the Republicans and Democrats to reach the finish line to meet them, seemingly for the first time.

College Essay

My Father, My Hero
My father was an extraordinary person. It was not easy to tell from his personality or his behavior, but he had a flare for life. He was somebody who stood by me during the difficult moments when my mother had trouble supporting me by herself.
My family used to tell me that I had a unique quality about me. After my father died, I didn’t really feel so special anymore. I was just another person.
My father lived in the “good old days” as he would call them, when family values were at the forefront of society. Back then, all you needed to get ahead in the world was a high school diploma and if you were lucky, you got a family. When I told him of all the standards being raised, I think deep down he was more overwhelmed than I was. He was old-fashioned; he did not know the meaning of the word quit. This proved to be something he would have trouble accepting as he approached his end.
One night my father was in the hospital. It pained me to see him suffer, but he told me that there was no need to worry. He later told me though that someday there would be a time where I would have to hardship. A month later he passed away, all too soon. The family turned to me as an emotional outpost of grief and for the first time I felt that it was important to take control and accept responsibility.
At first it was chaotic seeing the sad faces and hearing the cries of grief among my family. The only thing that got me through the pain was the lasting images of my father and how he shaped the world that I really see. I was the only one he spent a whole lot of quality time with and it benefited me in my work habits. He was not one to have strong beliefs about any particular topic it’s what made him unique to me, just as he thought I always had that something special that made people like me. After he left I realized that his struggle was passed on to me, the pain of control being a burden too big for one person.
He was not a very philosophical man, but he taught me more about life with words than teachers, books, and doctors. His accomplishments inspired me to realize my dreams. To do something with meaning that can excite me.
I want to be an accountant I want to understand what numbers really mean. Being in the work world, I realized just how important money was and what my father had meant about work all these years. He said that money could not buy you love and happiness, but it is a start. I know that going to college would be his proudest accomplishment, but it would not be mine. My biggest accomplishment would be to find a way to find my own personal happiness through my love of business and my family. Then I can be just like my hero, and he’s looking down on me now.

Baraka Poem

Baraka-Esque poems

Why is it I look up at night
and find a burning light
that catches my eye.

I think of what I write
& see why it is that I
make the world end around me.

I can preach and lead
And find God smiling
But I ask for peace and
And I see them cry and die.

My world as well as yours
Is filled with wonder and
Imagination that spawns
A wave of infatuation with
Nature and why it is we live

We live in war and peace though
With our Brothers and Sisters
There is still rivalry among us
To compete and survive
From this we learn to live.

Amiri Baraka Research

Amiri Baraka

As I watched the film in class, the mention of Amiri Baraka led me to research not just who he was, but also how he did his work. In order to research these topics I have to know a little about the life of Baraka. Baraka, born Everett LeRoi Jones, grew up in the city of Newark, New Jersey. He would later change his name in 1967 to his current name. He came from a life that was far from perfect, his mother a social worker and his father a postal worker made enough money to get by. Despite his condition, he went on to study philosophy and religion at Rutgers, Columbia, and Harvard and later enlisted in the US Air Force. I next looked into what connects him to the subject of Polis is This, Charles Olsen. The connection lies in his poetry and more importantly in the time period in which he completed some of his most famous works of art. It has been documented that after Baraka’s move to Greenwich Village where he learned about the influence of Jazz. It is believed that this was his first real encounter he had with the Beat era poets and writers such as Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Looking deeper into what Baraka is about I tried looking for some famous quotes from his career including this controversial one that also expands upon his writing style, "Most American white men are trained to be fags. For this reason it is no wonder their faces are weak and blank. … The average ofay [white person] thinks of the black man as potentially raping every white lady in sight. Which is true, in the sense that the black man should want to rob the white man of everything he has. But for most whites the guilt of the robbery is the guilt of rape. That is, they know in their deepest hearts that they should be robbed, and the white woman understands that only in the rape sequence is she likely to get cleanly, viciously popped."
Baraka’s literary style is very moving and at their peak influential. His stanzas are on average only about five to six lines each with little to no rhyming scheme and a heavy use of punctuation. I learned that there is a way to effectively use the punctuation and emphasize not just the mood, but in relation the overall message of a work of writing. As of late, Baraka’s works consist of a politically themed message and more directly the post 9/11 world and the political landscape since then. It was documented in the film, that Olson also carried these same messages in his works that he wrote towards the end of his career and before his death, though his writings delved into the postmodern thought process. These covered events such as the San Francisco Renaissance and the height of beat popularity.
Baraka’s influence was finally achieved after the death of Malcolm X, when he became a nationalist where he traveled back to Harlem and then to his roots where he re-started his life. It was this kind of life-changing experience that empowered his best works which were also collected in series and sold as collective works that usually influenced one after another. At the end of his career, he became even more prominent than he was during what some consider his peak of creativity. As like Olson, it was his exit from the world of art that dominated a cultural movement in mainstream America.
During research, I learned that he was also inspired by modernist writers such as William Carlos Williams, who taught him to speak in his writing and to think when you speak. He taught me that there is such a thing as writing too defensively that there is no such thing as “writing black or writing white,” but writing with soul that is the ultimate test to one writer’s credibility. Also, he says there is a testament to a writer, that being that he can tell the difference between telling a story and giving the reasoning about why one must think this way.
When reflecting back on the movie, I think they could have built a more stable bridge between the two writers, as well as when Farrini came into the classroom to present his piece of art.