Never Trust Anyone… Especially Family

In King Lear by William Shakespeare, both the women and men continuously defy their own families for a shot at power. At the very beginning of the play, Lear divides all of his power as King and his land up to his three daughters. However, each one soon disappoints Lear greatly and Lear becomes outraged. With Cordelia not pronouncing her love, and Goneril and Regan breaking their promise of housing him, Lear watches his daughters betray him, and his inability to believe what he is witnessing pushes him towards the edge of insanity.

When Gloucester becomes aware of Lear’s daughters turning against him, he as a loyal friend, decides to help Lear in spite of putting his own life in danger. When Regan finds out that Gloucester is trying to help Lear, she gets her husband, Cornwall, to help gouge Gloucester’s eyes out and accuse him of treason. Cornwall and Regan speak to each other, “Blind him I say”, ” Hard, hard, O filthy traitor”( III. iv. 38-39). This shows again the signs of second-hand betrayal from Regan to her father by making sure he receives no further help.

A little Later on we are introduced to Edmund, the “bastard” who is illegitimate. Edmund frustrated that he is unable to receive any power or land due to being born out of wedlock hatches a plan to gain it. When he hears Gloucester coming towards him and Edgar, he pretends to fight Edgar. Edgar runs away, but Gloucester check on Edmund who had cut himself to make it look like Edgar had injured him. “Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion of my more fiere endeavor”(II.i. 36-37). He tells his father that Edgar was planning a plot to kill him and he refused so Edgar punished him. Gloucester only hearing Edmund’s side, believes him and announces that Edgar should be banished. Edmund successfully get rids of his brother and deceives his own father for his own selfish needs.

With several characters turning their backs on their own families, gives the impression that family is not as important as power. Or at least, power can make people do nasty things to others, including to some of their own.

Every Day is a New Day

Quinn XCII (pronounced like 92)’s song “Another Day in Paradise,” from his album Change of Scenery, is considerably the best song choice to prove that music is poetry. Some argue that this song is his most popular and known song. I believe that is because of its tropical, vibrant tone reflecting on the ups and downs of life in a cunningly poetic way.

The song begins with a lovely melody of a women and a brief moment of EDM. Quinn XCII does not actually start singing until about 20 seconds after the song has begun. The quick shift between the beginning and Quinn singing opens the viewer to the song and creates excitement and anticipation. The song follows the concept of two events taking place at the same time that correlate with each other–a relationship a women has with life and the overall outlook on life. 

The first opening lines of the song are, “Her body’s gold like September/She burns through the night like an ember.” These lines are striking and immediately draw a viewer into understanding what Quinn XCII is feeling and communicates with the viewer how he feels about this women with deliberately comparing her actions to an ember– a heated piece of coal, usually a remain from a fire. I believe that Quinn XCII set the song like this in order to introduce the idea of how people often look at the end of an event rather than enjoying the moment as it is happening. 

Quinn XCII follows this idea with the next couple lines singing, “A little sunshine cause she need it/A dose of rainfall in the evenin’.” Quinn XCII believes that people often take for granted what life has to offer and the small things people do not cherish like the sunshine and rain. As the song continues, he continues on the path of using fire-related diction to describe the difficulty of appreciating life and allows the viewer to feel comfortable by stating that this woman does too. He continues with the lines:

Loose cannon but still it won’t fire
No need to leave, spend our whole lives
Another day in paradise

By using the word fire in the context of firing a cannon, I believe he also uses this word multi-purposefully and strategically playing it into the role of fire vs. ocean. He brings up the idea of a wave/ocean and compares it to the complexities of life. Quinn XCII uses these words at the beginning of each chorus, “All the good comes in waves/ I bide my time by the ocean.” I believe his song is explaining the battle of getting caught up on the insignificant troubles life brings and encourages the reader to truly look as life as a gift and live everyday to the fullest. He uses these words repeatedly throughout the song to ensure the viewer understands and listens to the words to engrain and communicate this idea. 

Quinn XCII does not explicitly say that life is tough, things will get better until the last part of the song, during the bridge of the song. He says, “Mistakes we made, they made us who we are/These games we played they got us really far/That shit to most won’t ever mean a thing/But it got us here, so I hold on”. With these words, Quinn XCII communicates this idea about life through personally experiences and experiences he has witnessed.

If We Are All Others, Is There Such Thing as an Other?

In the novel Exit West, Mohsin Hamid writes towards the end of the story with the last words, “We are all migrants through time”(209). After reading this, I reflected on this statement and tried to grasp the meaning of it. However, pondering this sentence only left me with this question…

If we are all others(migrants), is there such thing as an other?

My definition and what I have come to terms with is that “an other” is classified as — not a majority and alienated from the rest of the group. As I became more reflective, I realized that I still consider myself an other as a person of color in a predominantly white community because Asians make up about 5% of the population in Oak Park. When looking globally, I am a part of the majority race. There are more Asians in the world than any other ethnicity.

The same thought process can be put into terms with migration. Oftentimes, people look down upon people migrating from one part of the world to another especially when not done legally in fear of the people bringing more chaos into the United States. But, people move from one part of the country to another all the time. Understandably, the migrators are doing it without proper documentation, but in the bigger picture, they overall are the same.

Going back to Hamid’s sentence, I’ve realized that when expanding the lenses of an other, there is always going to be an opportunity to be “an other” but when taking a step back and approaching, a very simple, but complicated thought, we can all be categorized as “an other” in something. Even further, we can all be “an other” and take part in the same thing as Hamid said–with time.

Smile at the Little Things

Albert Camus brings up an interesting viewpoint of the meaning of life in his argument within “Myth of Sisyphus”. While reading, I reflected on his proposal for why Sisyphus is actually content with his punishment by the Gods. Sisyphus is punished by the Gods with the task of pushing an enormous stone up a hill, all for it to fall back down, and thus Sisyphus must start again. At first, I believed that this would be an extremely challenging and horrible punishment because the person works so hard to complete something but can never quite finish the task. As a perfectionist and goal-oriented person, not being able to successfully bring the stone up the hill without it rolling back down would strike up an excessive amount of anxiety and anger to myself mentally.

What I had not thought about before Camus’s synopsis was that he mentions how his punishment includes several of the wonderful amenities Earth provides including the stone and hill. I believe that Albert Camus argues that since Sisyphus can control his punishment, embrace his fate, and recognizes the amazing objects Earth provides us, Sisyphus is happy.

This allowed for myself to reflect on all of the amazing things that surrounds my everyday life and all the little things I take for granted. The small cherishes of accomplishing and experiencing life.

Although this is not exactly what Camus was stating or trying to prove, my reflection brought me to the ponderous question; what is the meaning of life? I could state all the big and small things that I live for including: family, friends, my future, love, etc. But I have realized that the meaning of life is subjective. Everyone is living for different reasons. It may be because of faith. Or money. Or even living to find the meaning of life. Everyone is living for their own reasons and meaning of life.

So that leads me to think why live for meaning in life in any construct you choose to live if it all ends the same? Death.

But for now, I will embrace my life and cherish everything in my life to the best of my capability.

Again and again

The novel, Everyday by David Levithan allowed me to ponder the question “would I want to live in another person’s body, even if it was just for a day?” The story begins with a character, A, who wakes up in another and new person’s body for the 5994th day in a row and accidently falls in love with a girl, but he has to figure out a way to tell her and explain to her that he wakes up in a different body everyday.

“The body is the easiest thing to adjust to. if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.”-A

This quote on the first page brought up a ton of reflection and wonder for me personally. I have thought about how in the world we live in right now, there is currently no one able to do this and therefore, I will never be able to live and experience life in another person’s body and thoughts. I am especially curious with this question because it’s amazing and intriguing that what one person is experiencing can be completely different from another.

If a person were able to experience life within another body other than theirs, would we realize the wrong beliefs and opinions of your own thought? Would we be able to shift the mindset of the one you are in?

damned if you do, damned if you don’t

In the short story “Escape From Spiderhead” by George Sanders, Jeff has to decide whether Heather or Rachel will be injected with Darkenfloxx, a deadly potion. When talking to Abnesti, he makes the remark that the choice will be random.

“I can’t decide,” I said. “It’s random.”

“Truly random?” he said, “Okay. im giving the Darkenfloxx to Heather.”

I just sat there.

“No actually,” he said, “I’m giving it to Rachel.”

Just sat there(57).

Abnesti believes that Jeff truly has no preference. With this, Jeff believes he has saved them from Darkenfloxx but in turn, Heather ends up dying. When reflecting upon this, it shows that sometimes the end result you try so hard to stay away from, still happens. Jeff would have most likely killed one of the women if he had chosen a name. But that was no difference because Abnesti killed at least one of them anyways.