The Portrayal of Women as Animals

Throughout the play, the female characters, Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril, are associated with animals. Characters in the play often compare the female characters to animals and in moments where King Lear is extremely upset at his daughters, he shows a lack of respect towards his own children. The metaphor of animals representing female characters depicts how men in the play view women. The comparison of women to animals signifies how women are viewed as less than human. Women are seen as inferior to men. This comparison also reflects how women are perceived as primitive. The common belief is that animals do not think and act like humans do. Animals cannot reach the same levels of achievement and power as humans can. When male characters compare women to animals, it shows that those male characters believe that women cannot achieve the same things as men. This idea connects to the play’s idea of power. The comparison signifies that women cannot hold the same level of power as men because they are inferior. As Lear loses his power, he becomes angry at his daughters. When he talks about his loss of power and family conflicts, his anger at his powerlessness is coupled with his lack of respect towards women. This relates to the comparison of women to animals, he is angry because his daughters took his power, and he believes that women are not equipped to hold positions of power.

In Flight: “Cranes In The Sky”

“Cranes In The Sky” is one of the incredible songs featured in A Seat At The Table, an album written by Solange Knowles. The song is about recovering from life and trying to acknowledge your inner feelings and emotions. One verse from the song is,

I tried to let go of my lover
Thought if I was alone then maybe I could recover
To write it away or cry it away
Don’t you cry baby
Away

The listener knows that this person is trying to recover and move forward from their hardships. The use of the word “away” connects to the song’s title: Cranes in The Sky. Just like birds, Solange is trying to fly away, moving to a new part of her life. Solange wants to let go of her lover, cry, and write everything away. The word choice tells the listener that she wants to be free, released from her past. In the lyric, “Don’t you cry baby” it sounds like Solange is comforting herself. By this word choice, the listener automatically feels comfort and reassurance. Listeners are put into Solange’s head; they can hear how she calms herself down with those words. Then, the verse ends with “away”, reinforcing Solange’s desire to start a new journey.

In the chorus, Solange goes back to the image of birds in flight. The chorus goes,

Well it’s like cranes in the sky
Sometimes I don’t wanna feel those metal clouds
Yeah, it’s like cranes in the sky
Sometimes I don’t wanna feel those metal clouds

In these lyrics, Solange writes about how she doesn’t want to feel metal clouds. By using “metal” to describe clouds, listeners picture the clouds as a heavy weight. The imagery transports you into Solange’s life, and you can understand how weighed-down she feels.

By using a simile to connect two seemingly unrelated things, cranes in the sky and regaining control of your life, Solange makes her listeners truly understand how she is feeling. The vivid imagery and similes in the song make the read understand how Solange is feeling. In “Cranes In Sky”, readers can imagine the feelings and emotions that Solange is experiencing. The song uses figurative language and invokes emotion, turning the music into a poem.

Under a Microscope

Exit West makes many readers, including me, think about how our society tells the stories of global others. Oftentimes, when people think about an immigrant, they see them as a global other before a human being. The media often strips the humanity away from migrant stories, making people see migrant journies as more of an entertaining story than someone’s life. The way that we acknowledge global others reminds me of the way people look under a microscope. When people look under a microscope, they study the specimen with fascination over how unique and different it is.

Similarly, I think that people treat migrant/immigrant stories with that same “other-worldly fascination” that you feel when looking under a microscope. The media treats migrant stories simply as fascinating action-packed tales instead of treating global others with humanity. Instead of regarding an immigrant/migrant as a person first, people often only acknowledge global others by their “other-worldly” migrant history.

The idea is clearly acknowledged in Exit West. By using the doors as a symbol for Saeed and Nadia’s journey, it makes the reader focus less on the actual process of migration and more on Saeed and Nadia themselves. This makes people focus on the humanity behind Saeed and Nadia’s story, not just their journey away from their home country. Hamid knows how people and the media can have a twisted fascination with migrant stories, so he used the doors to make sure readers don’t just focus on the migration aspect of the book.

Emotions During Loss

In The Stranger, we see how emotions change when you lose a loved one. The book introduces Salamano and his dog, and readers quickly believe that Salamano is aggressive, violent, and shows immense hatred towards his dog. In the book, Salamano calls his dog a “Filthy, stinking bastard(27)” and constantly yanks the dog, beats the dog, and swears at the dog. From Salamano and the dog’s daily relationship, you would think that Salamano has no emotion and care towards his dog. However, when Salamano’s dog was lost, he showed different emotions. When his dog was missing, Salamano was anxious to find his dog, talking to Meursault about ways to find him(45). Salamano even said that when he hears other dogs bark, he thinks it is his own dog(36). Salamano’s actions show care and compassion towards his dog, which is a stark contrast from how he acted towards his dog during everyday life. This was confusing to me. It made me wonder if our true emotions and feelings are shown in our everyday life, or if they are shown when we lose the people/animals that we love the most? I don’t know the answer to my question, but it was very interesting to think about.

Mutual Recognition in Our Life

In Benjamin’s theory, she talks about mutually recognizing the other people in your relationships. I think that mutual recognition can also extend to people with different ideas.

Our society is full of people who have dissenting ideas. In politics, our country is becoming extremely polarized and people cannot agree with each other politically. There is rarely compromise between parties or people. I think that political parties and political ideology can be binaries, even though political viewpoints are ideas and not an inherent part of you. I think Benjamin would argue that mutual recognition and binaries can be applied to ideas and politics.

rereading for the right purpose

This summer, I read the book “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. The book followed the descendants of two half sisters, one who is sold into slavery, and the other who marries an Englishman. The essay intertwined history with storytelling and made you feel entrapped in the story. After the story ended, I took a day to sit on it and reflect on the book. The story was extremely moving and impactful, and I knew that I needed to reread it. I needed to relearn the history, re immerse myself in the character’s stories, and find more meaning from the book.

When Nabakov talked about how good readers are rereaders, I instantly thought about me wanting to reread Homegoing. Even though I wanted to reread Homegoing, there are many other books I haven’t considered rereading. There are also so many reasons why someone would want to reread-they wanted more emotional depth, they didn’t understand it the first time, or they just loved the book in general. I think that a good reader can be a rereader, but they don’t have to be. I think that a good writer makes books that readers reread because they love the book or they want to get even more depth and meaning out of it. I wanted to reread Homegoing because Gyasi was such an amazing writer and I needed to lose myself in the book again.

Spiderhead

In Escape from Spiderhead, it says, “My guess is, ProtComm’s going to be like: “Wow, Utica’s really leading the pack in terms of providing mind-blowing new data on ED289/290”. This made me think that while the Spiderhead is a prison, it is also a science laboratory. It shows that these prisons are popular and these prisons are some of the leading forces in science and innovation. These prisons also probably compete with each other. It also shows that these immoral places are widely accepted by this society.