Why Not Weep for a Tragedy?

In King Lear, Shakespeare characterizes Lear as a prideful King and Father who is losing power as he is getting older. There are many struggles in the story between people, oneself, a person and nature, and nation to nation. The most intriguing struggle is Lear’s internal battle of trying to accept his age and losing his power of being King, while trying to keep the title and respect as father and King, because it expresses the difficulty of having something for so long just to lose it.

At the end of Act II, when both Goneril and Regan refused to allow their father to stay with them along with his hundred knights, Lear argues that he may not need the knights but as King and father he should be allowed to take them as protection. After their denial, Lear claims they have betrayed him, “I have full case of weeping, but this heart shall break into a hundred thousand flaws or ere I’ll weep. – O Fool, I shall go mad!” (II, 4, 117). Lear’s internal conflict of wanting power or or wanting love and respect has cost him the respect of his daughters as their father, and the respect of the kingdom as their leader. He has essentially lost everything, because he wanted too much. Lear is then left with his title, with no power, and the clothes on his back. He will not be upset about everything that he just lost, but trying to keep the respect and role as King is becoming so difficult for Lear that his mind is spinning in circles. To a man who was not a father and held no title, accepting that he was not powerful or had children would be easy like any other day, however having known the power and respect as King and father it is considered a great loss.

Image result for image of heart shattering like glass

September Song: Listening to the Lyrics

Many times, people forget that music is rooted in poetry. Most believe poetry to be a depressing, rhyming, boring few lines. However when diving deep into the meaning of poetry, we see that it is all around us, and can be enjoyed. In “Perrine’s Sound & Sense: An Introduction to Poetry”, Arp & Johnson explain what poetry is and how good readers should read poetry. Saying that poetry exists “…to bring us a sense and a perception of life, to widen and sharpen our contacts with existence”(2-3). Poetry is not created to tell us a story, but to draw us inside the story and experience it by activating your emotions, intelligence, senses and imagination.

So… How does JP Cooper create poetry in his 2017 song: “September Song”?

“September Song” is a poem with a beat tracked in the background. The poem is about his experience as a 15 year old boy falling in love with a girl. And how he remembered the experience of losing her, giving him nostalgia and regret. Listening to the lyrics, the audience can tell that this was a summer relationship that ended once school begin in the fall.

You were my September Song summer lasted too long
Time moves so slowly when you’re only fifteen
You were my September Song, tell me where have you gone?

He still loved her through fall even though they were no longer together. The “Song” is a symbol for all of the emotions he felt for the girl when they we together, but the meaning changes as the song continues to become his longing and nostalgia for their happy relationship when they were younger. The use of repetition also creates the passionate emotional struggle for the reader to experience as the boy did in this love story. JP Cooper, through his use of symbolism, repetition, and other literary devices creates and experience for the audience to think about, feel, sense and imagine, making it a poetic song.

You made it! Now what..

When people think of refugees, images of people taking long, difficult journeys to reach a new, better world pop into mind. And while the journeys refugees take are dangerous and amazing stories, that one trip does not define who these people are. The novel, Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid dives deep into the stories of refugees without a single mode of transportation mentioned. Hamid’s use of magical doors for refugees to walk through and end up in random, beautiful countries, stresses how society focusses on the least important part of a person’s journey to a new place.

The real story is how a migrant adjusts from their homeland to a new place with a different language, people, food, religion, and government. When Nadia and Saeed were adjusting to there new home in London after traveling through a door, “The fury of those nativists advocating wholesale slaughter was what struck Nadia most, and it struck her because it seemed so familiar, so much like the fury of the militants in her own city” (159). Hamid’s comparison of the struggles Nadia is facing while adjusting from her homeland that she was forced to leave to a new “safer” land, full of strange people that dislike her simply because she just moved in, creates a new perspective for readers. The readers realize that migrants are people that have faced hardship, they are not invading, but simply trying to adjust, and suspicious natives don’t make that transition any easier. It is challenging for people to travel across unruly waters, but the real challenge comes when those people have to fit into an alien world.

Feeling Human

In the Myth of Sisyphus, a man named Sisyphus was in the underworld, and lied to the gods saying that he needed to go back to Earth in order to punish his wife for not preparing his body correctly after death. After the gods sent him back to Earth, Sisyphus spent his time enjoying life as a human. The gods noticed that they had been tricked by Sisyphus and decided to punish him with the physical and mental strain of pushing a heavy stone up a mountain only for it to role down as he reaches the top.

Camus argues that while this is supposed to be a torture, it really would be making Sisyphus happy. This argument is considered absurd until you dive deeper into why pushing a stone up a mountain for eternity could ever be a good thing; “the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it, and push it up a slope a hundred times over”(Albert Camus) honestly sounds awful. Camus states that the physical act of touching the stone and the feeling of struggle in Sisyphus’ body would be enough to give him a sense of the life he wanted back. It made him feel human in the underworld, which is all he wanted in the first place.

I agree with Camus’ argument that this punishment for Sisyphus isn’t really a punishment. I agree that, yes, having the feeling of touch and feeling like being on Earth for someone who always wanted to live would make them somewhat happy. However, Camus also argues that Sisyphus was able to turn his punishment into an everyday task and be content. The only way he was able to live out his punishment in the underworld for eternity was by accepting the absurdity. By acknowledging that the punishment is the way the afterlife is going to be, Sisyphus was able to not be punished.

The Belles: How social media can affect self esteem.

In the novel, The Belles, Dhonielle Clayton explored the way that people viewed themselves through the world of the belles. Since the world needed the belles to help correct their physical flaws, the belles were constantly covered in the news. The news in this world, however, was not factual news. The news was all gossip and rumors. “Lady Francesca Carnigan, of House Helie, rumored to have a beauty addiction. Queen might lift sailing restrictions, opening kingdom to trade. Some hair textures don’t catch the beauty- lantern light” (44). This newspaper is very similar to the way that social media works today. Many times, social and beauty standards are assumed from what famous people post online. This newspaper is exposing that about our society with these rumors and trends that nobody could ever keep up with. So the underlying message of the story is to just be yourself, and do what makes you feel beautiful, not what others think.

Escape From “Acknowledge”

In the short story, “Escape From Spiderhead” George Saunders creates a different point of view in punishment. While the prisoners are being experimented on with different drugs by Abnesti, the prisoners are supposed to give consent for the drug to be administered. Every time that a different drug was administered, Abnesti would ask “Drip on?” and the prisoner would need to give consent by responding with “Acknowledge”.

The word “Acknowledge” should be seen as the prisoners only power or freedom, because they must consent to the experiments being done. However, as the story goes on we see that the word “Acknowledge” is being much more forced and controlled by Abnesti than by the prisoners. When Rachel was about to receive the Darkenfloxx, Jeff “did not say “Acknowledge” ….. Abnesti said. “Verlaine, what’s the name of that one? The one where I give him an order and he obeys it?”(75). Since Abnesti is taking away the one piece of power that Jeff had during his punishment, this experiment is more of torture and cruelty. So Abnesti is not a kind person being forced to punish and experiment through the system, he is using the system as justification for torture.