Lear’s Common Family Issues

King Lear’s relationships with Regan and Goneril is a heightened version of the common family power struggle. As children get older, the parent child relationship changes drastically and it is up to both parties to work together to maintain peaceful playing ground. However, as opinions differ and the child grows more into their own version of self, they often stray from the once close relationship with their parent and separate themselves in order to establish their own beliefs. This separation is the root of Lear’s family issues and others. Beginning in act one when Lear demands his daughter proclaim their love for him in order to gain his approval and then his kingdom, when Cordelia admits to only caring for Lear a normal amount, she is disowned and virtually kicked out of the family. Now, Lear has already lost one daughter by his own will and he is unknowingly about to lose two more as they separate themselves from him.

Later, Lear is blindsided by Regan and Goneril when both do not permit him to stay in their castles if he keeps all his guards. This powerful move by the daughters had been in the works since Lear created the initial separation of his family when he needed a declaration of love to qualify for land. Lear did not make any efforts to save his relationship with any of his daughters and even swore revenge on them when he said, ” I will have such revenges on you both/ That all the world shall- I will do such things-/ What they are yet I know not, but they shall be/ The terrors of the Earth!” (II.iv. 320-323). Although Lear never attempted to rekindle his relationship with Cordelia, he worsened his issues with Regan and Goneril by swearing terrible revenge on them. Regan and Goneril both stood by their own beliefs which caused strife with Lear as he had lost some of his power. The power struggle that Lear faced with Regan and Goneril is reflected in less serious ways such as the child taking their car out when the parent disagrees or phone usage, but it is still applicable. The opinions on many family issues vary depending on the situation and parent-child relationship but many problems can be traced back to the initial separation when establishing beliefs.

“Good News” is Good Poetry

Mac Miller’s song “Good News” from his album Circles offers an unique look into the artists mind right before his accidental drug overdose in 2018. This song was the first single to be released after Miller’s death and it carefully lays out his struggles with depression and drugs. In his song, Miller reflects on his battle with depression and the day-to-day effects that it had on his mind and body. Miller reiterates throughout his song that others only want to hear that he is doing well and that those around him want him to ignore his negative feelings. The most commonly remembered part of Miller’s poem is the chorus which he begins by stating,

Good news, good news, good news

That’s all they wanna hear

Millers repetition of the words good news not only reinforces his idea that others do not want to know about his personal struggles, but offers insight into Miller’s mind as he reminds himself to put up a positive front. Also, Miller’s low tone throughout his poem hints to his audience that he is constantly battling with himself. By Miller referring to other people by the term, “they”, he broadens the number of people whom he feels he must lie to about his negative feelings. This generalization groups his audience together as people who want Miller to pretend that he doing well. Miller continues his chorus by adding on,

No, they don’t like it when I’m down

Again, as Miller refers to his audience by the general term “they”, he alludes to his idea that he feels he cannot show his true self to the public. He could also be referring to his agency or managers who want Miller to portray a positive outlook on life rather than represent his personal struggles. He reflects that celebrities must act as though their life is amazing in order for the public to deem them acceptable. Finally, Miller concludes his chorus by stating,

But when I’m flyin’, oh

It make ’em so uncomfortable

So different, what’s the difference?

By Miller beginning this line with the word “but” he makes it clear that regardless of what he does, he can never seem to make the others happy. By Miller not explicitly stating the times when he his “flyin'”, it leaves the reader to decide if he is most popular when he is his true self, or when he puts up a positive front. However, when he adds “so different”, he seems to be referring to himself as different, which ultimately will not make people happy. Miller seems to be stating that although he is not like a stereotypical celebrity, there are no true reason why he is any different than them. By concluding his chorus by questioning the true effects of his individuality it leaves the audience thinking about their place in the world and also why being viewed as different has become a negative association.

Miller was a very talented artist and his poetic song, “Good News” is only one of many memorable songs. Regardless of how many times the song has been listened to, there is always a new aspect or notable line to dissect. Miller’s melancholic tone throughout his song reminds his listeners, whether they want to recognize it or not, Miller deeply struggled with his mental health and desperately needed a break, all of which happened too soon.

A Reflection of “Global Others”

The idea of certain groups of people being “others” seems like an outdated concept. In Exit West, every time Nadia and Saeed traveled to another place they entered feeling as outsiders. They would then often meet other migrants who’s feelings reflected their own. This communal awkward feeling is unnecessary and benefits no one. Even at the end of the novel, when the old woman was reflecting on her life that she had spent in one house she decided, “We are all migrants through time” (Hamid 209). A woman, who watched the block around her change throughout her life, knew that although the people who lived there were from other parts of the world, they were no different than her. As all people are technically “global others” to each other there is no need for this distinction as it only creates separation. While it is important that maintaining a distinction between groups of people is important for various reasons, the negative connotation that is associated with the word “other” creates a harmful hierarchical separation between those who are viewed as “native” versus “other”. All people, at one point or another will be considered as “others” and experience this outdated hierarchy. Although a distinction between people should be made, it should be based on feelings of pride and security, not fear or hate.

Meursault’s Lack of Emotion Results in Divergence From Society

From the beginning of Albert Camus’ novel, “The Stranger”, the main character Meursault demonstrates a distinct lack of emotion towards typically moving events such as death and relationships which leads to a distinct separation from society. After attending his mothers funeral services and returning home, Meursault’s deepest thoughts are about finally going to sleep. The next day, although boring, results in him reflecting that, “…anyway one more Sunday was over, that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed” (24). Meursault’s apparent lack of grief towards the death of his mother divides him from the typical societal response to death. He continues on with his daily activities such as going to breakfast at his favorite restaurant, going to the beach, and returning to work after a weekend instead of the archetypal actions such as reconnecting with loved ones, evaluating ones feelings, or reviewing fond memories of the deceased. Meursault further demonstrates his nonchalant view of life after his girlfriend Marie asks him if he loves her. Marie questioned Meursault about his true feelings to which he responds, “…she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t think so. She looked sad” (35). Meursault’s clear lack of acknowledgment of typical feelings shared in a romantic relationship makes his character appear disconnected from the world around him. Meursault even recognizes that Marie reacts negatively towards his indifferent response, however his unemotional perspective on life renders him incapable of understanding her sadness. Meursault’s uncaring and dispassionate attitudes of generally important events of his life cause a downfall in his relation to society.

Mutual Recognition vs. “Dry”

The novel “Dry” by Neil Shusterman takes the reader on a journey following a group of mismatched teenagers through a lengthy and deadly drought in future Southern California. The story begins following two siblings, Alyssa and Garrett, who search for their parents with the help of their geeky neighbor Kelton, after they do not return from scavenging for water. The unlikely friends end up traveling with a dangerous seeming girl, Jacqui, who agrees to take them in her car to Keltons bugout, where they promised water. Immediately after meeting Jacqui, Kelton developed a deep mistrust of her which was rooted in her age superiority and his own insecurities. This mistrust was mirrored by Jacqui as she worked to maintain the upperhand on Kelton and the rest of the crew. Benjamin expressed that mutual recognition can only be achieved after both parties acknowledge that the other has a similar center of experience. This lack of mutual recognition was highlighted after Jacqui forcibly took over the drivers seat from Kelton claiming she was the better driver. Towards the end of the story, as Jacqui is about to make a reckless and impulsive decision, the reader witnesses Keltons internal dialogue where he expresses that he sees Jacqui as one of the group and acknowledges that she is just as scared and lost as the rest. This crucial turning point for Kelton was reciprocated at the end of the novel where we meet Jacqui again and she is kind and respectful towards Kelton and the others, an action the reader had not seen before. The newfound mutual recognition between Kelton and Jacqui was great character development throughout the story and also solved an underlying unresolved conflict.

Escape from Mutual Recognition

The lack of mutual recognition in the short story, “Escape from Spiderhead”, was demonstrated through the relationships between the criminals and the scientists. Although the participants had to verbally consent to take part in the experiments, this option could be taken away through simple paperwork. After Jeff will not agree to watch Rachel go through extreme agony, the scientist Abnesti states, “‘What good’s an obedience drug if we need his permission to use it?'” (Saunders 75). Abnesti wants to take away all control that has been given to Jeff. This power imbalance represents Abnesti’s lack of recognition that Jeff is still a person who should have control over himself. The absence of mutual recognition in Abnesti’s relationships with the participants leads to a growing mistrust and strong dislike of the scientist by the criminals.