Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Plum Plum Pickers"

Morals of Man

In the passage from Raymond Barrio’s The Plum, Plum Pickers, Barrio shows through conflict that all humans posses an innate pride, which separates the human race from wild animals or even machine. At first, Barrio uses one word sentences, such as “Brute” and “predator” to set a primitive tone. He does this to show the similarities between human and animal, to show how Manuel’s tedious work is animal-like. He uses symbolism in the names’ of the characters. Manuel symbolizes man, and Roberto Morales represents no morals or a robber. He uses great imagery to describe the hot weather, and one word paragraphs to show the briefness of breaks that Manuel receives. He does this to show the harsh animal labor-like conditions Manuel must endure. Barrio compares the rows of trees to jail bars to show the audience how Manuel is almost “trapped”.

Barrio changes the his style of writing when Manuel speaks out against Roberto. The sentences are more flowy, and less primitive. This is to show what separates humans from all other walking species of the earth. He shows the pride that humans posses, that animals do not. Manuel fought for those few dollars Roberto tries to take, which an animal could not do.

Barrio shows through his contrast in writing style, and the conflict between Manuel and Roberto that all humans contain pride within them, which is what it means to be human. That humans, as a race, are separate from all other organisms because humans have pride, and can voice opinion and gather as one. Barrio thinks that if you do not exercise these feelings of pride then, you are dead before you die.

William Carlos Williams

Blind Faith

In the poem “The Parable of the Blind”, William Carlos Williams shows through his interpretation of the painting that having faith or believing in religion is misleading and deceitful. The blind beggars are all leading one another into a “bog”(9). They are putting their trust and faith in something, which they cannot see, just as one would put his or her trust in a god. Ultimately, the beggars are all led into the bog. This shows the result of belief in a god, no progression, no “God” to save them from their failure. Williams shows the struggle and hindering effect faith has. The “beggars leading/ each other diagonally downward/ across the canvas/ from one side/ to stumble finally into a bog”(5-9), showing that the beggars trust is leading them into a swampy mass, just as belief in a god would lead you no where, no one can save one from his fate. In the painting “no seeing man/ is represented”(12-13). Williams’ understanding is that everyone who believes or has trust in God is essentially blind. Blind to the reality that putting faith into religion will lead one to a “disaster”(24).Williams portrays the men as “beggars”(5) and “pitiful”(16) to show that the beggars blind faith, literally and figuratively, has given them nothing in life but hardships and grief. The peasants are depicted as poor and their lives seem tragic. Their possessions include “a basin to wash in”(18) and a “peasant cottage”. They lead poor and their possessions are meager. God has shown no decency to them, even if they have faith. Their lives filled with hope, their “faces are raised/ as toward the light”(19-20), almost asking God to help them on their way. However their faith proves aimless, just as they lead their lives as blind men. The “church spire”(18) Williams writes about of how faith will not help one in need. The church stands, representing religion, while the blind fall into a muddy bog. It is ironic that the men’s faces are facing upward toward light, and they are fumbling downward. Their faith is having an opposite reaction to what they expect, to be saved by God. There is no God to help these poor blind men. This theme of contradiction is shown twice in the poem. Williams describes the painting as “horrible but superb”(1). It is horrible because of the poor men falling into the bog. It captures not only disability but poverty as well. There is no “red” in the poem, suggesting that the colors are dreary. Williams contradicts himself and describes the poem as superb because of the meaning the painting conveys, the idea that God will not help those, even those with faith. He also uses contradiction when he describes the beggars’ fate. “One/ follows the others stick in/ hand triumphant to disaster”(22-4)”. This passage shows the belief of Williams. The beggars are triumphant in how their belief is strong. The disaster is the bog in which they inevitably fall into.Williams’ “The Parable of The Blind”, is just that. It shows the result of people who are “blind” to the truth. The truth being that religion will not save one, even when one needs it the most. Poverty and disability it just two aspects of life that Williams portrays that God will not save one from.
October 15, 2007 9:04 PM

Camus' Essay

In Camus’ essay , “The Myth of Sisyphus”, Camus shows through symbolism that in life, someone can struggle and work achieve a goal, but the result that one attains means nothing. Because of Sisyphus’ defiance to the gods, his punishment is to eternally push a rock to the top of a mountain, and once the rock had fallen down the mountain, he must push the rock back up again. Camus chooses this to be a symbol of life. In class during the discussion, someone mentioned that the rock was symbolic to emotions, which I also agree Camus is trying to portray. The rock is continuously going up and down, just as one emotions do in life. The rock also is a symbol of the struggle that one endures in life during work and everyday life. People work to reach that point where they are at the top of the mountain, where they have obtained that goal, only to go back down to work to achieve something else. This is linked to the “absurdity” that Camus reflects in the essay. The absurdity being, “The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and this fate is no less absurd” (3). Camus is saying that Sisyphus’ “futile and hopeless labor”(1) is symbolic to the work that people in his time endured. People work unconsciously throughout their whole lives, unknowing of the worthless struggle they bear, but they will continuously keep pushing until they reach the top, only to fall and start over.

Tom Phillips

On page Page 56 of Tom Phillips' A Humument, Phillips shows through words and color, the authority and power that is obtained through religion and the opposition of fantasy in the Roman Catholic Church. At first glance, one may attain feelings of passion and love from the image. The deep blood red and light pinks and other shades of red would make one acquire feelings of love. However, red has another meaning. The colors seep from and off white- fleshy tone at the top of the page to a deep red at the bottom, causing the image to appear more intense towards the base. There are splashes of light colors throughout the dark red. From about a quarter down from the top of the page, towards the right side of the image is a strip of dots. The strip of dots looks similar to a long star constellation, only the dots are black. The diction on the image is choppy and broken. Words relative to religion are brought up many times throughout. The word “sceptre” represents a staff, which could have biblical reference. Sceptres are a representation of power, just as Moses’ staff held the power of God. In the middle of the image, power through religion is shown through, “a cardinal simpered super”. A “cardinal” is a high ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church. The cardinal described in this passage is said to have had the presence of being “super”. This superiority is brought on from the title of cardinal.The word “between” is shown twice on the image. This word is representing the split between fantasy and religion. By following the words one may read “the little dwarf, who might have been kissing something”. This “dwarf” represents a fantasy character. Roman Catholics have strict beliefs against believing in fantasy or imaginary beings. Also, the Roman Catholic Church also are strong believers of abstinence. The dwarf is “kissing something” which is why it says in the image the dwarf is “behind him”. “Him” could be a reference to God, since he can be referenced to in this way. “Him” is judging the dwarf. At the bottom of the page, there are more broken sentences. If one reads it as, “nice-/ To-night/ the shape of the priest/ I must go farther than usual”, one can see the reference to religion again. The narrator could be referencing the priest when he says “I must go farther than usual”. The priest is a representation of God, therefore one must “go farther” for the priest to impress God. The vivid red on the image is a representation of the power and passion of believers. People such as the “cardinal” or the “priest”. Red is bold, a primary color, just as God is the primary being in all Roman Catholics life. The black dots are a representation of premarital sex, shown through the dwarf kissing, and fanatical beings. They are a smear on the Churches’ beliefs.

Hamlet's Soliloquy

In Kenneth Branagh’s rendition of Act 3 Scene 1 of Hamlet’s soliloquy, the use of the mirror in which Hamlet speaks to represents a parallel world which is a theme throughout the novel and the appearance of false reality. Throughout Hamlet there are many parallels. There is a parallel to Hamlet and Fortinbras, Fortinbras’ Uncle and Claudius, and between the Queen and Fortune. Also, the mirror represents the illusion of something being real when it is not. This is shown through acting. This causes doubt to the authenticity of Hamlet’s soliloquy. He may or may not know of the whereabouts of Polonius and Claudius. In Branagh’s rendition Hamlet is shown standing about 6 feet in front of a mirror. He begins talking in a low voice, almost a whisper slowly walking towards the mirror. After saying, “what dreams may come”(65) music begins playing, intensifying the scene. His actions seem as though he is trying to instill fear in someone, making it seem as though hw knows someone is watching. Throughout the soliloquy Hamlet is only seen through the mirror, only his back is shown at the beginning which eventually is only himself in the mirror. This represents a false person. It is not truly Hamlet, only his reflection. His reflection is the false Hamlet, the actor. He is aware of Claudius’ presence. Hamlets reasoning to this soliloquy threaten the King. After saying, “When he himself might his quitus make with a bare bodkin..” (74-75) Hamlet pulls out a dagger, and a flash of Claudius’ fearful face is shown. This passage means that Hamlet can make the score even of his father’s death with a dagger. This act that Hamlet is given is a warning to his Uncle. The dagger foreshadows the fate Hamlet wishes upon his Uncle to avenge his father’s death. Hamlet’s loony demeanor in the play is an act, just as this soliloquy is. It is a front to deceive everyone. His deceit is driven from his desire to avenge his father. After Hamlet pulls out the dagger continues to advance the mirror till he becomes almost inches away. He brings the dagger towards his heads and presses it against his face while he continues his soliloquy. In the play, as he does this, he says “And thus conscience does make cowards of us all”(82). In the play “conscience” means reflection which directly connects to Branagh’s rendition. In the rendition, Hamlet is staring into his reflection in the mirror. In the play the passage means that self reflection can frighten someone, perhaps from seeing the actual truth that one holds deep within. In the rendition, as Hamlet ends the soliloquy, he touches the mirror with his sword and says, “And lose the name of action”(87). The soliloquy is a reflection, just as the one seen throughout the rendition, of Hamlet’s life and future doings. When Hamlet says, “pangs of depis’d love”(71) he speaks to Ophelia. When Hamlet says, “that patient merit of th’ unworthy takes”(73) he speaks to his Uncle who took the thrown from his father, “unworthy” of it. Though Hamlet acts as though he is alone, his speech is directed toward Claudius. In it he reflects upon the pains in his life and the pains he wishes to seek out against those “unworthy”. The dagger shown in the rendition shows Hamlet’s intentions. His intention of this soliloquy is to threaten Claudius shown through his low voice, his dagger, and his use of words. The soliloquy is a parallel of his life.

Monday, March 10, 2008

College Essay


This is a story I have told many times. I have told it to doctors, lawyers, police, and even the curious. People can be curious about the scars I bare on my arms thighs, and stomach. This is a story of a hot, sticky afternoon in the summer of 2003 that would change my life forever.

Aspen had escaped from the yard again. She was my best friend Sara’s dog. Aspen was five-year old, fairly large, Siberian husky. Her entire face was black except for two white ovals that looked like cut-outs around her eyes. One eye was dark brown and the other was icy pale blue. She was constantly panting crazily, and her glassy eyes and clumsiness made her the look as if she was drunk. Sara’s older brother kept Aspen chained to a tree in the back yard; it was like a looking at tiger at the zoo pacing back and forth, with its wild animal instincts still running through its veins waiting to break loose. We were in Sara’s front yard when we saw the dog take off down the street. Sara asked me to try to catch the dog while she would run to tell her father of the escape.

I pursued her, knowing how to handle the situation because I have always been a dog owner. She finally stopped running and turned to face me, not too far from Sara’s house. I squatted and called the dog over to me. I could feel the heat of the sun beating on my neck. The air was thick, it was hard to breathe. I put my hand out for Aspen to smell it as she approached. I looked up at the sun for a moment. It was very bright that day. Then my eyes returned to Aspen, who was now in a defensive position. Her front half was bent toward the ground, her lower half pointed upwards, ready to attack. I immediately knew something was wrong. I tried to move my arm away, which I had offered as a sign of comfort, but I wasn’t quick enough. The dog latched its jaw onto my arm and I watched in shock as it tore away a chunk of my skin. I swung to protect myself and again teeth sunk into my arm and ripped away more flesh. I began to kick and punch, still holding my ground. I felt the dog bite my stomach and legs but I continued to fight. Finally, with one hard kick to the dog’s head, I was free. The dog ran off down the street. I looked down in horror; the whole front of my body from my chest to my sneakers was drenched with red, sticky blood. More blood than I had ever seen in my life. It continued to bubble out of my arms. Tissue and muscle hung out of the gashes. I screamed but no one heard. I was alone on a street lined with houses.

The next thing I remember was firemen grabbing my head and putting their hands over my eyes to keep me from vomiting again. I just wanted to see my Dad. I kept yelling, “Please call my Dad, his number is 7.…8...1.…3..wait no, that’s not it”. I couldn’t speak, it was too hot, the pain was too intense. I was losing too much blood. I wanted to see him so badly, just one last time. The thought of never being able to see him or my mom and sister again scared me more than I have ever been in my life. I blacked out. I kept coming in and out of consciousness, but I remember hearing my Dad’s voice in the ambulance. That gave me some comfort, but I couldn’t make out the words goodbye and I love you.

I woke up in the hospital around 12 am. I was wheeled out of the hospital that very night. I had survived, and I am grateful still today. But, that day I lost my ability to quickly trust in others. I stopped telling myself, “that could never happen to me.” I had saved myself from a husky and I didn’t give in. This is the attitude I still carry with me today. From this attack I have become more independent. I am no longer a naive little girl who thinks she is immune to all the world’s horrors, because I have lived through one and the scars remind me everyday.