When connecting Orientalism to real life the first thing I think of is Hollywood movies. More specifically superhero movies. The first movie that comes to mind is how the theory of Orientalism connects to Wonder Woman 1984. Edward W. Said is someone who is known for diving deep into Orientalism. He argues that Orientalism is “a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction between ‘the Orient’ and ‘the Occident’. In this way, Orientalism tends to rely on binary opposition and stereotypes between the West and the East that most of the time is misleading and destructive. WW84 shows perfectly how little has really changed when it comes to Hollywood’s treatment of other countries and other cultures. Specifically those of the Middle East and North Africa. WW84 indulges a view of Middle East and North Africa, that bears little resemblance to its myriad and unique identities, in the 1980s or now. A clear example of this is in Wonder Woman 1984 is how the movie tells the story of Wonder Woman fighting against a supervillain. But what was disappointing was a sequence in which the villain meets with an overthrown Egyptian King who wishes to return to power and kick the “heathens” out of his land. The villain helps him, but the guy already sold his oil to the Saudis. Then the villain raises a wall, cutting off the poorest people of Egypt from their water sources. After that scene, we are shown Arab children playing in the road as military vehicles race towards them; their nearby parents do nothing, requiring Wonder Woman to save them. And in one brief moment, an Iraqi official asks the villain for help because the Soviets were backing Iran. This is filled and I mean filled with historical inaccuracies. And some insensitive depictions of Middle Eastern people. This showed a lazy, sort of Orientalism by Hollywood. The film’s creators needed a foreign locale to show off the villain’s powers. They wanted people the hero could save. And they wanted a foreign conflict for the villain to get involved in. So they turned to the Middle East. This is the disappointed truth of Hollywood but a sad one as it never seems to get better.
Author: REID B.
Similarities between Cordelia and Edmund
Edmund and Cordelia are two characters who occupy separate roles in the play but carry a lot of similarities. Relationships in King Lear focus around both good and evil as Cordelia and Edmund, perfect images of good and evil, struggle with sibling rivalry, betrayal, love triangles, and experience a tragic death. Both characters introduce chaos in the play as Cordelia refuses to fake the terms of her love for her father before Lear passes on the kingdom. On the other hand, Edmund unleashes chaos by choosing to act against his father who favors his half-brother, Edgar.
Sibling rivalry is a key problem that both Cordelia and Edmund deal with. Cordelia’s sisters, Goneril and Regan, plot against her and keep unloyal feelings against her throughout the play. Cordelia has to deal with her sisters’ evilness indirectly through the whole story. Similarly, Edmund and Edgar are brothers which have a bumpy relationship. They never get along because of power struggles and jealousy. Edmund purposes to outdo his brother believing that, “Edmund the base/ Shall top th legitimate” (Shakespeare Act I, Scene II). By the end of the play, the siblings unfortunately never figure it out. Both Cordelia and Edmund not only endure unsympathetic relationships between their siblings but also they are assassinated by them.
King Lear is a story filled with betrayal in which Cordelia and Edmund are involved. Cordelia faces the betrayal of her father and sisters, while Edmund betrays his father, his brother and his lover Regan. Betrayal at the end is the reason both end up dead. Cordelia dies because of the betrayal of her sister and brother in law and Edmund dies as a result of his own artful betrayals. Edgar correctly calls him, “thou art a traitor; False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father; Conspirant gainst this high illustrious prince; A most toad-spotted traitor” (Shakespeare Act V, Scene III). He realizes that Edmund is a traitor who has neither faith nor truth in him. Conversely, Cordelia is very loyal and easily lends her affections to her family. She surrenders her stake in the kingdom to her sisters rather than giving in to the fake love. At the same time, her family takes advantage of her and does not realize how much she loves them. She is the definition of a selfless character, and Shakespeare shows the horror of true selfessness – the reality of being noble.
Swimming Pools of Poetry
The song “Swimming Pools (Drank)” by Kendrick Lamar in his album good kid, m.A.A.d city is arguably one of the most poetic songs of our generation of rap. Coming from an artist who is often looked at as the king of lyrics in the rap game, Kendrick Lamar fills all of his songs with a wide variety of poetic and multidimensional language.
Without even diving into the lyrics of the song the title itself has a deeper meaning. The title “Swimming Pools” is a metaphor for alcoholism and the consequences that come with consuming a lot of alcohol. Throughout the song, Kendrick Lamar vividly addresses a lot of the physical and mental pressure that drives people to drink.
First, the song starts with:
Now I done grew up ’round some people livin’ their life in bottles/
Granddaddy had the golden flask/
Backstroke every day in Chicago/
This first line can help us understand the overall theme of the poem. The speaker is reminiscing about his early years as a kid witnessing a house that was filled with adults and alcohol. Quickly after we learn this, Kendrick gives us a metaphor using the phrase “backstroke”. This is playing on the word swimming pool. It is him drowning in a pool of liquor in Chicago.
Throughout the song Kedrick is able to make the listener feel like they are living in the world of the story, the best instance of that is in this line:
Lookin’ to make a vow soon/ That I’ma get f*cked up, fillin’ up my cup/ I see the crowd mood changin’ by the minute
Kendrick uses imagery to perfection in this line. In this Kendrick has made the vow or decided to get drunk. It’s an interesting play on words because people usually make vows when they have something difficult and positive to accomplish, for example, wedding vows. But in this instance, it is quite the opposite where he makes the vow of something like getting drunk. After he makes this vow to get drunk he takes us through the experience through with imagery. He talks about seeing the crowd’s mood change by the minute because they’re getting more and more intoxicated.
Along with the way he is able to paint pictures to his listeners, Kedrick also uses exaggeration as a rhetorical device perfectly through hyperboles In his chorus:
I’ma show you how to turn it up a notch/
First you get a swimming pool full of liquor, then you dive in it/
Pool full of liquor, then you dive in it/
He uses hyperbole to highlight the ridiculousness and exaggeration of some people’s consumption of alcohol. Hyperboles are a big part of music and rap especially. Through hyperboles, a writer can tell a story with more spice making it more interesting to the reader or listener.
Swimming pools are a song more about how alcohol affected Kendrick as a kid and as a performer throughout the start of his career. He was able to paint a perfect picture for the listener with his poetic lyrics and use of literary devices.
Migrants of Love
“We are all migrants through time” (209). This quote in Exit West can serve as an overall theme throughout the story. Whether it is through Saeed and Nadia’s relationship fading away with time or migrants having to accept change with time. There are many examples of this in the book. One example is Nadia, accepting the fact she loved Saeed in some ways, but not in a romantic way. She wasn’t comfortable with the responsibilities and family dynamics that came along with being faithful to Saeed. She was in her head too much and couldn’t accept the change. In the same way, migrants may or may not be able to accept the fact that they have to leave their hometown because it is not safe. In the book’s example of this being, although Saeed and Nadia eventually begin loving in their new relationships, the slow process that is required for them to pull apart from each other reflects how their breakup for a major life change, just as migration did. Coming from this is the fact that humans can never unlove. We can never unlove a human or a place. When a breakup is accepted that doesn’t mean someone is forgotten. That is why Saeed calls Nadia on the second night of their separation to make sure she’s safe. It is also the same reason fifty years later, Nadia returns to her native city to find it restored and renewed. A place or human you once loved will ever be forgotten just as a migrant never forgets their home.
The second example is the old lady from Palo Alto. “The world had moved, and she barely recognized the town that existed outside her property” (207). She loved her “old” home too much to accept the fact that her “old” home has changed. Just as migrants don’t want to accept their change in “homes”.
There is a speech Benedict Cumberbatch performed that I often watch over when in need of inspiration. The speech he is performing is between pioneering American artists Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse. In 1960, pioneering American artists Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse met for the first time and became close friends. In 1965, Eva found herself facing a creative block during a period of self-doubt, and told Sol of her frustrating predicament. Sol replied with this letter. The main part of the speech I always focus on is the following,
“learn to say F*ck you to the world every once in a while, you have every right to just Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping,…Stop it and just DO!…”
As we recently read The Stranger by Albert Camus my mind kept coming back to this speech, especially toward the end of the novel.
Throughout the entire passage, Meursault in many ways lives his own world. Like I said above I often look to those words in the speech to think to do better in my own life. So why do we often judge how Meursault lives his life? Throughout the novel he undoubtedly, doesn’t overthink, he doesn’t worry and he doesn’t fear. He does what a lot of people in this society wish they could do, JUST DO IT. Whether it was taking care of the Arab man without hesitation, not judging his peers for their abusive lives, or being 100% honest in his romantic with Marie, he doesn’t overthink anything in life, whether good or bad. Speaking specifically to his relationship with Marie most when faced with the question “I love you” just give an unmeaningful response back, the easy way out. But not Meursault. He knew his feelings and is very self-aware. He told her straight up that he didn’t love her. He throughout the novel is entirely self-aware with his decisions and feelings, which is something I respect. I will never understand why most readers’ first thoughts of Meursault is to judge his lifestyle rather than respect it. The average person does not feel the emotions he feels and is nowhere near as self-aware as he is, which is why Meursault’s mindset is one to be respected not judged.
A Healthy Observer
Throughout the first part of The Stranger Meursault plays the role of the detached observer. In my eyes, I feel many overlook the fact that Meursault is living a healthy lifestyle. When discussing The Stranger many feel the need to judge Meursault by giving him a diagnosis of a disorder because of the way he interacts. That is straight up the most wrong thing you can do to a character at the beginning of a novel. They try to judge him without giving him any empathy. Readers will judge him for not crying at his mother’s funeral without knowing the true relationship he and his mother shared. I feel there is an abstract point of view no one touches on and that is that the way Meursault lives his life in such organization and normalcy, that in his way is healthy.
Throughout the first part of the book, Meursault will go into this deep Rome of observation. Whether it is a character he meets or just how he feels the temperature in the room is too hot, he is very self-aware about how he feels the world around him is going. There are many points where his brain will go on random sprees of feeling the need to go into great detail about such a little event. Some examples being, when he was randomly observing the movie watchers he noticed things like “They look more serious. They were still laughing, but only now they seemed tired and dreamy.” Another time is when the “robot” lady sat with him at dinner and he was able to describe her every move from the exact tip to the way she was eating. When most analyze his observations they explain them as a way of weirdness and obsession but in my eyes, they are a great skill. I am amazed by the way he can keep in his brain one thing at a time so precisely that he can think and observe for as long as he can.
Another way readers judge Meursault is how lack of care for the world around him. While I agree yes the way he doesn’t seem to care about his mother’s death is very odd to me, I feel there is more than the reader does not know so I won’t be focusing on that piece of it. More of the way he interacts with his peers. Most readers think of it as anti-social ness but I think it is the very opposite. An anti-social wouldn’t follow a lady on a walk after he was interested in the way she ate, an anti-social wouldn’t listen to an abusive boyfriend and be able to not go off on him, and anti-social wouldn’t be able to have a clear structure to the way he feels in his sexual relationship. I feel rather than this showing he is anti-social it more shows how amazing Meursault is at controlling his feelings. I feel that isn’t talked about enough. Every decision he makes in the first 5 chapters he does so easily. He knows he doesn’t love the girl, he knows he is only going to listen to Raymond and not go too far for him, he knows how he feels the lack of need to worry about his mom’s death.
In many ways, while this may not be the popular viewpoint on how to take in the first part of the novel it is a viewpoint that had to be talked about. Just keep in the back of your mind as a reader that maybe he isn’t just weird and uncaring but instead so ahead of his thoughts and feelings that he does not feel the need to barge into anyone’s business but his own.