Women Taking Over Power

King Lear sees women in power and demonstrates women using their position to their advantage. What I think is most interesting about the shift in power is how unexpected it is from the characters in the play. Even though the power is directly handed to the daughters, people do not see them as a threat because they are women. This allows them to act cruelly and nobody suspects them. Part of what makes their strategy so good is that they play into the role men expect them to be in. Regan and Goneril are the perfect examples of this. They use their innocent relationship with their father to pinpoint and expose his mental weaknesses. They maintain the image of innocence with not only their father, but the people around him, for a short amount of time. This helps them capitalize on their fathers deranged state and smoothly transfer the position of power to them without much resistance.

When Edmund comes into power through the manipulation of his father and brother, Regan and Goneril saw him as a potential threat. As a woman in their current time period, people were much more likely to stand with a man as a leader due to the way women were viewed. They knew this and decided to both act on the situation, by both flirting with him and trying to play to him. However, Goneril and Regan both understood that the one who married him would have a large advantage over the other kingdom. This unspoken understanding provoked a competitive and greedy relationship between the two sisters and was eventually led to their downfall.

Overall, Goneril and Regan’s unique and genius rise made the play as a whole and presents the largest theme in the play: power is taken by who has the drive and cruelty to take it.

No Role Modelz

“No Role Modelz” is a song written by J. Cole, featured on his album 2014 Forest Hills Drive.

No Role Modelz

J. Cole portrays multiple themes is this song, and I am going to focus on two of them.

The first theme that I am going to focus on is the one of lack of male role models. J. Cole immediately addresses this by saying,

“First things first: rest in peace Uncle Phil

for real

you the only father that I ever knew”

This is an allusion to a TV show called “Fresh Prince of Bellaire”, in which a character named Uncle Phil looks after a young boy for the large duration of his childhood due to him not having a father figure. J. Cole immediately addressing Uncle Phil shows the importance to him of a male figure who stepped up as a parental figure. The line “you the only father that I ever knew” implies that he did not have a male parental figure growing up, and the fact that he relied on a TV show to gain a positive male influence shows the lack of a male parental figure in his life, and how important it is to have one.

He shows his belief on how important it is to have a male parental figure when he says “I get my b**** pregnant I’ma be a better you.” His desire to be an outstanding Dad for his child displays his belief in importance of a strong Dad in a boy’s life.

J. Cole develops another theme by attacking the people in Hollywood, specifically woman. He develops a theme that some women are good individuals and respectable, but that most aren’t, and that is takes a smart man to decipher and decide between the two. While the theme and the way he portrays it is definitely condescending towards women, he also talks about how men, including himself, play into this role and make it possible for women who he morally attacks to be prosperous.

The main chorus of this song demonstrates this perfectly,

“Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved.

Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved.

Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved.

Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved.”

The repetition shows how he believes the majority of woman do not deserve to be “saved” in Hollywood.

J. Cole tells a story about an encounter he has with a woman in Hollywood that he believes to be morally poor.

“Out in Hollywood bringin’ back five or six hoes

F*** ’em then we kick ’em to the do’, n****, you know how it go

She deserved that, she a bird, it’s a bird trap

You think if I didn’t rap she would flirt back?

Takin’ off her skirt, let her wear my shirt, ‘fore she leave

‘I’ma need my shirt back'”

In this excerpt he dehumanizes the women he had a sexual experience by calling them birds in order to enforce that idea that the majority of women in Hollywood do not deserve the type of respect you would give to an ordinary person. It is clear he believes they are only talking to him because he is famous, and want to attach themselves to him, which he symbolizes him preventing by taking his shirt back.

In this excerpt J. Cole shows how he feels “these type” of women should be treated, but then shows how men feed into this role and make it possible. In another sexual encounter with a women,

“Last night I was gettin’ my feet rubbed by the baddest b****

Not Trina but I swear to God, this b****’ll make you call your girl up

And tell her, ‘Hey, what’s good?

Sorry I’m never comin’ home, I’ma stay for good'”.

This experience shows how he plays into the role that allows morally poor women to thrive by choosing a girl that he finds extremely attractive over a girl that has a good personality. This shows that attractiveness can take a women very far in the lifestyle that he lives, because famous men like him prioritize it so much.

Entering a Door – Exit West

In the novel Exit West, the author Mohsin Hamid uses doors as a way of transportation. In an interview with Hamid, he explains that a large reason on why he added this element, of long distance transportation through a door, into the story was to help the story focus on the before and after travel, and not on the actual transportation. The reader first experiences how a magical door works when Nadia enters one to leave the chaos of her hometown: “Nadia experienced a kind of extinguishing as she entered the blackness and a gasping struggle as she fought to exit it, and she felt cold and bruised and damp as she lay on the floor of the room at the other side, trembling and too spent to stand”(104). Nadia is repeatedly demonstrated as a strong-willed character previous to this event, but something about the transportation through a door weakens her, and then Saeed who follows behind her. This raises the question of why the door saps away the strength of a character.

I believe that if could mean several things but the following are my theories:

1) The effects felt by the characters are simply the effects of travel, as one is often tired and disorientated after traveling via airplane or on a road trip.

2) The effects felt by the character are a foreshadowing of where they will end up and the experiences they will have there.

3) The effects felt by the characters are a type of punishment for using shortened and easier travel, when regular travel is still available.

4) The effects felt by the characters are a side-effect of an experience they had when traveling through the door.

These are the theories that I thought made since. I believe there has to be some reasoning behind it as he could have easily made the process harmless, considering he created the idea.

Freedom vs Moral Rights

In the story The Stranger by Albert Camus the main character Meursault goes to jail for killing a man. For the first few months that he is in jail, he thinks about all of the freedoms he is missing. When he has a desire for women he complains to the guard that this was an unfair treatment. He responds by saying, “‘Well, yes-freedom, that’s why. They’ve taken away your freedom'”(78). Meursault agrees that this is makes sense and now understands. However, this raises the question on what should be considered a freedom and what should be considered a right. The law decides what is considered a right, but what makes the line the law draws correct? There is some question of funding, as the state can only provide a certain amount of things without going over their budget, but the main question is of morality. One could argue that prisoners deserve the bare minimum rights because they are horrible people, but not all prisoners commit morally incorrect crimes. There is a serious argument, and evidence to back it up, to be made that prisons do not help rehabilitate or change the viewpoint of prisoners, and that once they are released, they are more likely to commit another crime. If the rights in prison’s were improved it would cause less problems in prison and the rate of re-entry in prison would drop.

Morals and Emotions of Meursault

Meursault’s morals are misplaced because of his lack of ability to display and feel emotion. It is evident to the reader throughout the first six chapters that Meursault has little to no emotion. This is clear from the first moment in the story, where he is unbothered by his Maman’s death. It is later confirmed as not a weird occurrence when he is unable to know if he loves Marie or not, despite mentioning that he had previously had a crush on her.

Meursault’s lack of emotion leads him to have questionable morals in many circumstances. An example of this is his friend Raymond. When he first talks to Raymond over dinner at Raymond’s apartment, Raymond describes to him how he beat up his mistress. Raymond understands the stranger’s viewpoint on why he did so and decides to befriend the man, saying that he had no problem with being friends with him. A person with emotion in this situation would have felt bad for his mistress, leading them to dislike Raymond for beating up his mistress, even if she had cheated on him. However, because Meursault has no emotions, he is unable to make a correct moral decision and realize that Raymond is not a good person.

Additionally, Meursault displays this again when he shoots someone. The situation had already de-escalated and he was in little to no danger. He describes his urge to shoot him as a burning pain in his forehead that made him move forward. When he shot the man there was no emotion involved except him being slightly annoyed. After he killed the man it was clear it effected his morals, as he had no reaction and shot the man 4 more times.