Women of King Lear

William Shakepeare’s King Lear engages the theme of loyalty as it is shown in two totally different ways. After King Lear asks his daughters to voice their love for him, Cordelia voices her honest opinion while Regan and Goneril play with Lear’s feeling. In Act 1 Scene 1, Cordelia says “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty according to my bond, no more nor less.” Blinded by his “love” for Goneril and Regan, King Lear is baffled from the answer he gets from Cordelia. In order for King Lear to understand true affection, he has to reach rock bottom and have everything taken from him in order to realize what’s most important in his life.

In Act 3 Scene 7, it isn’t King Lear who gets plotted against, but rather Gloucester. Although the letter to plot the good hearted Edgar happens earlier, Gloucester is about to get his eyes plucked out and as a called to rescue he calls for the evil Edmund. Gloucester is told that it was Edmund that betrayed him and as a result Gloucester says “O my follies! Then Edgar was abused. Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!” Gloucester has realized what a fool he was and made the same mistake that King Lear made; not going up to their child and getting the real truth, rather assuming. 

After King Lear has lost everything he begins to realize who was actually important in his life. In Act 4 Scene 7 Cordelia and King Lear are reunited and Lear says to Cordelia “If you have poison for me, I will drink it. I know you do not love me, for your sisters Have, as I do remember, done me wrong. You have some cause; they have not.” Lear realizes all along that it was Cordelia who showed her true affection that night in the castle and that she didn’t want any personal gain from him. King Lear realizes how important Cordelia is to his life and that he never wants to leave her now, even after all the wrong that he has done. 

Pretentious Ideality in MGMT’s “Time to Pretend”

“Time to Pretend” from the hit early 2000’s album Oracular Spectacular by MGMT entails the struggles of a faux ideal world created by those who have reached pinnacle success, but have in no way found happiness. While the song consists of an exceptional beat and melody, the lyrics portray some of the less fortunate realities of life. While still on their climb to immortality, the group wrote their masterpiece in anticipation of what was to come. The piece ultimately becoming a statement that they will have to endure the pain of never being able to have life how it once was growing up.

I’ll miss the playgrounds
And the animals and digging’ up worms.
I’ll miss the comfort of my mother
And the weight of the world.”

Missing the weight of the world refers to the disassociated feeling that comes from using a lot of drugs and constantly living in this world void of emotion. Saying that he will miss feeling connected to life, and expressing sorrow for no longer being able to identify as part of the normal world at large, and not being able to have a sense of importance about life decisions.

I’ll miss my sister, miss my father
Miss my dog and my home.
Yeah, I’ll miss the boredom and the freedom
And the time spent alone.”

They miss the people that genuinely care for them and the freedom of having time to oneself. He references the often told price of fame, loss of anonymity and ability to just blend in and be one’s self, as opposed to pretending to be someone you’re not.

But there is really nothing, nothing we can do
Love must be forgotten, life can always start up anew
The models will have children, we’ll get a divorce
We’ll find some more models, everything must run its course.

Using such fatalistic language as “everything must run its course” about something so garish and clearly unnecessary probably suggests a more high minded subtext. The line facetiously affirms the premise that stardom is a job with certain roles and expectations, such as self-destruction and self-centeredness.

We’ll choke on our vomit and that will be the end
We were fated to pretend

Alike, Choking on one’s own vomit after a drug overdose or heavy drinking has caused the death of several prominent musicians, perhaps most notably Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham, Janis Joplin, Mama Cass, Keith Moon, Billy Murcia, and Bon Scott. The narrators will die in vain, literally destroyed by their own excess, having gained no real value from life. Throughout all of MGMT’s experimentally sound pieces, “Time to Pretend” has to be the most poetically challenging. The emotion evoked provides the feeling of emptiness which counteracts the positively tuned melody and beat. This, I believe, contrasts in order to further express the falsehoods that are displayed in life.

Hamid’s Implementation of the Portal Forces Focus on Migrant Mentality

In Exit West, Mohsin Hamid emphasizes the mental struggle of migrants prominently. The idea of a refugee traveling thousands of miles from home, seeking a place to pursue happiness, only to be rejected by those who were there before them. It greatly displays the idea that humans as a species are selfish and unforgiving.  In doing so, he exposes the privilege we all hold from remaining where we are while even more so exposing the damage that migration does to those who bear it. Yet, he intentionally visualizes the internal effects on migrants through the very real story of main character’s Saeed and Nadia.

Hamid incorporates, through the use of doors as portals. Not regular doors, but doors that are a means of escape, a transportation system that simultaneously speeds the story of migration while also slowing down the significance of the journey. However, after encountering the doors time and time again, I began to believe that their purpose held much more than to be seen as a fantasy element. I believe that the doors never did exist, but more so Hamid uses them to take the focus on the story of migration off of migration itself. The physical occurrence of a migration is one thing, but through using the doors as portals, Hamid is able to focus more on the personal effects on Saeed and Nadia. There is more time to focus on how they feel about the strenuous act of migration, mentally, which is what I think the biggest problem is for migrants of the world.

In summary, Hamid addresses how difficult it can be for a refugee to have to leave their home and their family and the life that they are comfortable with. I think by exposing details like this, through the implementation of doors removing the physical aspect of migration, it helps the reader see refugees from a more personal perspective.

What’s a God to a Non-Believer?

Meursault lacks the ability to interpret the meaning of his own existence in this world. He is unable to put his life in sequential order and because of this he cannot identify the past, present, or future. He’s is finally being held accountable for his own existence. He can’t just float through this event in his life because he actually has to be conscious for it. Meursault was only truly made conscious though the inevitability of his death. He realizes that hope only delivers torture because it creates the false illusion that he can change the fact that he is going to die when he can’t. Meursault finally begins to accepts and even embrace that his views make him a threat and stranger to society. This is why he is being sentenced to death, not because of anything that went on in the trial. Meursault discovers that him and the world are alike because neither of them pass judgments. The world does not rationally order and control the events of human existence and this is somewhat comforting. When we die, the world doesn’t care that our bodies will leave themselves in it’s dirt, but it doesn’t matter because it happens anyways. “I open myself to the gentle indifference of the world” (Camus 122) Meursault finally finds peace in the end through his death because he finds freedom in his unimportance.

Lessened Lesson

The short story, “The Lesson” written by Toni Cade Bambara, compares the mindset of the lucky and the not so fortunate lifestyles but doesn’t reach any sure conclusion. Throughout the story we witness much commotion and seemingly there is to be some cause and effect, but I beg to differ. There is no singular point between any two characters that we will notice to have an everlasting impact. Sylvia and Miss Moore both seem to bump heads through most of the passage. Sylvia constantly wants to be better than her so she won’t have to listen to what Miss Moore has to say. However, we don’t really note any relationships being made, or any ground being covered among the kids. They both try and get the better of each other over aggression and force, but none change. For instance, in the last line of the piece, “But ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin.” This sentence can be interpreted in many ways, but I take it as something good used for nothing good. Sylvia never wants to be beat, she always wants to be the best, but what stands in her way is her perspective of what’s important in life. She has great ambition and wants to be at the top, but because of her background, she won’t ever use her motivation for the betterment of herself. Yet, she will use her drive to do things like fighting her friends or getting away with stealing and that’s what I think will keep her at the social level she resides in currently.

Acknowledgement Paradox

In the short story Escape from Spiderhead by George Saunders, the illusion of choice within the piece, is present in Jeff’s use of the word, “Acknowledge.” Jeff and the other test subjects are required to address the drugs to being administered to them before Abnesti and Verlaine are allowed to do so. However, it is not exactly as if they have any choice in the first place. We see the outcome of this when Jeff refuses to let Abnesti administer Darkenfloxx, the most pain inducing drug, into Rachel. Abnesti immediately wants to give Jeff adore of Docilryde, a drug to make him follow all his orders, to make him acknowledge the administering of Darkenfloxx into Rachel. When Verlaine states “‘There’s Docilryde in every MobiPack,”‘(75) It connotes that even though a waiver would need to be signed, Jeff can be very easily manipulated with that drug. Thus the illusion of decision is made present if the scientists went without signing a waiver. They would very easily have the ability to use the Docilryde to make him approve of its usage in the first place. That being said, with no cooperation from Jeff needed to, “Acknowledge,” then there is no choice to begin with. Both Abnesti, Verlaine, and the rest of those operating within Spiderhead, have total control over their subjects. Concluding that Jeff’s words and wishes are meaningless, and he is merely a puppet to their science.