In Defense of Edmund

It’s easy to discount and ridicule Gloucester’s bastard son, Edmund from the moment the play begins. Only the bastard, destined to live in the shadows of his legitimate siblings. In this historical setting, illegitimate children were meant to be whisked away, to rot in a cellar to become a priest, anything to stay out of the legitimate children’s way.

This was not a lifestyle meant for Edmund, and it is perfectly reasonable for him to try and escape his bastard label, which would hold him back from what he wants to do in life. In time based heavily in titles, legacy and respect he has to find some way of moving up the social later. While being considered he is prevented from acquiring land and titles, things vital for success, so a natural course of action is to remove his direct competition in Edgar. While his actions actions and their consequences are less than noble, it is at least admirable to some extent his ability to pray on people’s (Gloucester and Regan) insecurities like no other.

He is quite politically savvy, moving his way between Gloucester, Regan and Cornwall. He can quickly identify what each person fears and uses it to advance his own agenda without them noticing his motives. He does also achieve what he wanted, to be recognized as part of normal society, however only after he betrays his father. After Gloucester’s blinding it makes it a lot harder to defend him but we’ll see what happens in act 5, maybe he will redeem himself.

Time Is Our Worst Enemy

The ice age was a period long ago melted and washed away with the passage in time. In their song, “Ice Age“, How To Destroy Angels references this period in comparison to the human experience. “Ice age” is apart of the Welcome Oblivion album, which creates an atmosphere of despair and a lack of purpose. The subtle, deep electronic yet complex beat strings the album together. “Ice Age’s” central message is that everything is temporary, and no matter how much you try, people or things in your life will eventually fade away. Like a once frozen solid world, slowly melting away. This is an unavoidable truth that we all must accept.

“Ice Age” is the perfect example of a “Song-Poem” despite it’s few words. The song is nearly seven minutes long yet only consists of seven short stanzas. The time to stanza ratio adds to the poems meaning by drawing the listener further into the stanzas.

The poetic nature of the stanzas can be found immediately in the opening verse:

I find it looks the same but everything has changed
I find remembering gets harder every day
Sometimes I still believe who I pretend to be
Sometimes well everything’s exactly how it seems

The first stanza establishes poetic elements through it’s structure. The four line stanza follows an “AABB” format, common among more traditional poetry. The “I, I, Sometimes, Sometimes” verse design serve primarily to illustrate to the listener the band’s uncertainty in the past and what lies ahead. The first two lines of every verse establish what the vocalist sees in the present, and “sometimes” is reflecting on what once was. The same format can be found in every verse stanza, only broken by the chorus with it’s own, “ABAB” style.

In the following stanza, the feelings of despair continue:

I see the color of your eyes has turned to grey
I feel the wind is growing colder every day
Sometimes I open up the walls and disappear
Sometimes the crashing of the waves is all I hear

In the present, “eyes has turned to grey” and “growing colder every day” connote a feeling of lost time that can not be regained. This gives the listener the impression that what has already happened can not be reversed or prevented. The second half of the stanza continues this feeling with “disappear” and “crashing of the waves” suggesting the artist is fading away and slowly beginning to accept the situation. This strong image connects back to a feeling of hopelessness against a strong tide.

Ocean
Help me find a way
Ocean
Wash us all away

It is the chorus that completes the poem’s image perfectly. Throughout the poem, How To Destroy Angels uses words like “grey,” “colder,” “ice,” “waves,” and finally: “Ocean”. These are the words that make the listener feel the past melting away. The once great iceberg melts away into the larger ocean. Until the chorus, they resist the change, or rising tide. Once the listener reaches the chorus the mood shifts from one of resistance to acceptance. The lines “Ocean Help me find a way” brings acceptance and the hope of a new beginning.

That all things come to an end is a truth of life for all people, and this poem grapples with this struggle through poetic expression. The poem puts the image of an individual resisting the changing tide, until they finally accept the inevitable.

“others” are unavoidable

While the creation of “other” groups can have many negative effects on how we see the world today, this trend is in our human nature. The other group builds a greater connection between people within our group. Without a global other, our nation would divide itself into others as well, whether that be democrats vs Republicans, east vs west, etc. The other will either be found within, or outside our society.

To try and eliminate or limit the effects of the other’s negative perceptions is an admirable goal. To be aware of what we as a society are doing to another group, we can attempt to mitigate it’s effect on our perception of the other. However, this is never ending battle, as one other is accepted in our group, another will be separated. Humans will always find a way to alienate others, it’s an unavoidable human truth.

Meursault just upsets me.

Usually when I read a book for English, I find it to be a challenge to connect to or get invested in the story. With “the stranger,” I read about Meursault and his words and actions irritate me. Everything in his life is handed to him, everyone he meets with goes out of their way to be nice and positive. But

he

doesn’t

care.

That’s what bothers me, nothing matters to him. This come from part one, part two hasn’t changed mu opinion yet but my examples come from part one. Maman dies, yet his life continues as if nothing happened. Basically just “well, it is what it is.” and moves on. This is just an inhuman response, and I don’t get it. Then, he meets Marie. Simplifying a bit here, but, go swimming, make breakfast, Marie says “will you marry me?” and Meursault just says “Sure ok, if you want to.” His boss offers him a promotion in Paris. Again, he doesn’t accept or decline, just shows no interest what so ever. People around him are nice and treat him well, but it all does does not matter. However, because of my strong dislike of the main character I’m the most invested in a class novel in a long time.

“Mutual Recognition”

While we have discussed before the many benefits of mutual recognition in our everyday lives. But what about the negatives? Would a mutual recognition classroom be in our best interest? I don’t think so.

If the teacher is brought down to the same level as the students, nothing would be accomplished. The classroom needs a figure to drive discussion and the flow of ideas. The classroom has to be a binary dynamic, where the teacher shares knowledge with the recipients. How could a mutual recognition function without a figure with significant knowledge on a topic before meeting with the group? The classroom would fall into complete chaos, which in my opinion could be worse than a “boring” lecture. While it is good to acknowledge the everyday usefulness of the mutual recognition perspective, it does have its flaws, such as in the classroom setting.

The significance of “acknowledge”

Throughout the story, “escape from spiderhead”, acknowledge is used to force Jeff to cooperate with the experiment and it’s consequences. All of the test subjects are made to be a part of the experiment and to administer the trial themselves, through the word “acknowledge”. The most important moment in the story was when Jeff refuses to say acknowledge. It this moment, Abnesti still makes Jeff allow him to give Rachel Darkenfloxx.

“I did not say “acknowledge.” Enough, Abnesti said. Verlaine, what’s the name of that one? The one where I give him an order and he obeys it? Docilryde. Is their Docilryde in his Mobipak? Abnesti said. Theres Docilryde in every Mobipak, Verliane said.” (75) In this scene, it connotes that Jeff is not making his own decisions, but he is made to believe he is. If every pack has Docilryde, how do we know Jeff’s action have been his own at any point in the story? The word “acknowledge” is a representation of the illusion of choice. If Abnesti can make Jeff do what he wants anyway, acknowledge’s only purpose is to Jeff feel to the impact of “his” decisions and believe they are his, but maybe it was Abnesti all along?