Dysfunctional Families

William Shakespeare’s King Lear among many other themes and concepts is a timeless example of familial relations along with gender roles. When I think of a modern day family with many kids I immediately picture the older sisters as the bossiest. However when there is an older brother, they are viewed as responsible and protective for doing the same things. Although uncommon, the concept that Lear’s power is going to his daughters with their obeying husbands following behind is a refreshing story line. I think that the one thing that is overlooked is the attitude the audience is expected to have towards Goneril and Regan. It is important to see them as antagonists, but I think it is also important to consider that if their characters were male, their betrayal of Lear would not be considered so intense. Which ties to the idea that daughters are meant to obey their fathers and be grateful for him and what provides them, simultaneously accepting that sons are portrayed to be more prone to disloyalty in a search for independence. So although it seems progressive that Shakespeare has Goneril and Regan to be daughters rather than sons, it is important to consider whether or not it was to ensure that their characters came off as evil and disloyal rather than independent.

Budapest, but this song could be named Alaska and have the same meaning

George Ezra’s “Budapest” from his album Wanted on Voyage was released in 2014 and is part of the Folk Rock genre. The songs purpose although confusing, is not to talk about Budapest. Ezra’s purpose was to write a song about all the things he would give up for an individual and how important they are to him. It has been exposed that Ezra wrote this song after missing his train to his next stop and being stuck in Budapest another day because he overslept due to a little to much fun the night before.

My many artifacts
The list goes on
If you just say the words
I’ll up and run

Ezra’s use of the word artifacts gives the idea that he sees his past life without them as historic and old. Objects are referred to as artifacts when they are historically important as well. By using this word he puts forth the idea that although important his potential life with this person is far more important than his past.

They fear they’d lose so much
If you take my hand

In these lines Ezra refers to his family and their judgement if he were to leave his current life to be with ths person and it is poetic because he shows their importance to him by disregarding his families thoughts even potentially leaving his family with nothing. In his wording he says “if you take my hand” and that leaves the listener to wonder if he means take my hand in marriage or simply to hold him.

My house in Budapest
My hidden treasure chest
Golden grand piano
My beautiful castillo
You
You
I’d leave it all

This chorus line is the main point of the song that out of all these amazing things Ezra would sacrifice to be with them. He titles this song “Budapest” not because it is an ode to budapest but because it is an example of what he would give away. He then shows some exaggeration by mentioning a hidden treasure chest which one could only dream of finding. These things that many consider once in a lifetime, nothing compared to a life with the person he is talking about. This song is not as simple as a love song asking to run away together but one that compares amazing things to something Ezra cant even fathom anything better.

Perspective

The idea of an other is something is typically thought of as something negative, something/someone that you have no relation to, nothing in common. For instance, refugees are often not thought of as people like ourselves that just unfortunately have been tough circumstances but as totally different human beings, people that are invading other countries rather than focusing on their own. One thing I think is an interesting point is when people make the argument about the United States, is the saying “if you’re not happy here then leave” which is amusing to be because oftten the people that are saying this phrase are people that are against immigration despite the idea that that phrase agrees with the idea that if a person is not happy in their own country (refugees) then they should have the ability to find a life by leaving their war torn countries.

Back to Hamid’s approach for Exit West, Hamid narrates in a way that forces the reader to question why people consider refugees to be significantly different than them. He includes information like Saeed and Nadias relationship with their phones. Additionally, Hamid addresses how difficult it can be for a refugee to have to leave their home and their family and the life that they are comfortable with. I think by exposing details like this it helps the reader see refugees from a more personal prospective.

What Really Matters?

I remember my friend last year telling me about this talk in AP Lit. I heard her say that her teacher was questioning all of her beliefs and all I could think to myself was how crazy that teacher must be. A year later, to be more specific a messy 2020 later I can start to understand the concept of this talk that was meant to make us think like we have never thought before.

There is no binary in which things are considered important. The word priority is a better way of thinking at it really. Everyone perspective on what matters is different. That is the while point of life. Not to base our experiences, accomplishments, mistakes on what has happened to others, but to base what matters on what we truly believe to matter. I like to connect this concept to Maslows Hierarchy of needs, the most complex of these needs, Self Actualization. Self Actualization is defined by Oxford Language as “the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.”

It is said that not everyone reaches this level of thinking, which does not necessarily mean that that individuals life did not have purpose, but means that an individual who does not reach self actualization life has meaning as a result of the goals and standards set by others rather than themselves.

Escape From Emotion

George Saunders, “Escape from Spiderhead” approaches the idea of artificial emotions. With this in mind, as our world has evolved, emotions have become more standardized. There are feelings we are supposed to feel in different situations, rather it be the mourning at a funeral opposed to a celebration of life among other examples.

Our minds are programmed to feel emotions that are reasonable in a situation. The real issues come when ones emotions are unable to correspond with the present situation.

Saunders continues his artificial experimentation with emotion by displaying a human weakness regarding emotion. The inability to afflict pain on an innocent being. In the story this trait has to be deciphered from affection in order to test the effectiveness of the drug, but still with the deactivation of the drug, human compassion remains intact.

Love

“Thus every human is worthy of love. As I watched Heather suffer, a great tenderness suffused my body, a tenderness hard to distinguish from a sort of vast existential nausea…”(69) This description added some emotional intimacy compared to the rest of the text. It seems as if Jeff took a step back from the experiment to truly think about his feelings at that moment.