Collected writings from academia and other media.
“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquerable whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! And since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! This I give up the spear!” (Melville 559).
Spoken before throwing the last spear at the great white whale, Ahab’s final words possess the madness that has twisted a man beyond his own mortal limits. Although the narrator of Moby Dick is Ishmael, the emphasis of characterization falls upon the lap of Captain Ahab....
"All Work and No Play Makes Horace A Dull Boy: Comparing Gothic Elements Portrayed in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining."
The sound of the bassoon is slow and monotone. It repeats the same measure over and over again, without mercy. The mountain-view is bright, crystal clear; it is absurdly vivid. The camera skims the water, so close the viewer instinctively holds his or her breath in anticipation of submerging into the cold, Colorado River. It slowly raises, nearly touches the top of trees of a lonely, isolated island abandoned in the center of the water. The audience is emerged in the vastness of the Colorado Rocky Mountains; endless to the eye, the valley elongates beyond the camera’s lens. The mountains strike as much fear as awe; the viewer begins to feel the sense of flight as the...
“I alone have stood for a synthesis in the mind and spirit of analogous, perhaps, to the actual fact of at least six blood minglings. The history (sic) of five of these are available in some approximation to the truth… No picture of the southern person is complete without its bit of Negro-determined psychology” (Shruggs 89). Prophetic in are the words Jean Toomer wrote to the admired colleague Waldo Frank in response to Frank’s ode to the United States, Our America: a historical memoir of the United State’s cultural make-up.. Toomer took issue with Frank’s exclusion of African descended citizens from the text and initiated a life-long friendship between the two writers. Frank became captivated by Toomer’s description of the “American Negro” which, along with other contemporaries Hart Crane, Alfred Kreymborg, and Lola Ridge, urged Toomer to travel back to his hometown South and experience America’s southern blackness (Rusch 16). The centerpiece of Toomer’s contribution to literature is Cane: a multi-faceted, cross-cultural depiction of an American Epic...
In 1947, John E. Hankins expounded on Shakespeare’s The Tempest stating that Caliban, the play’s enigmatic part-fish/part-man antagonist, represents the playwright’s perception of primitive, uncivilized man. Hankins states that “while Caliban worships a Patagonian god, he is the child of an African witch from Argier (Algiers). This would seem to indicate that Shakespeare is not trying to represent primarily a red Indian from the New World but has broadened the conception to represent a primitive man type” (793). Hankins identifies Caliban’s intelligence repeatedly throughout his argument identifying his eloquent speech as proof of residual intellect from his ‘primitive’ state, yet does not possess the qualities to live among humankind, and affirms this by stating:
"he is a slave because he cannot live successfully with human beings on any other terms. He is educable to a certain extent but is completely lacking in a moral sense. He had repaid Prospero’s kindness by attempting to violate Miranda’s chastity, and he cannot be made to see anything wrong in his action, but neither punishment nor kindness can give him a sense of right or wrong" (796)...
One of the first rules that I learned as a relocated American Northerner to the American South was a simple one: you don’t talk about religion. No one told this to me, nor did I read it on a website, and it is not like a secret society of Northern expatriates pass along insightful suggestions to newcomers while sharing beers at a local tavern, but it came from my general experience. To me, the pointlessness of speaking religion stems from the fact that you can never convince people away from their initial thoughts or leanings and many people are not interested in doing so. For the most part, people tend to believe what they believe as if cemented into floor, and it takes a large amount of force to budge them into any other direction other than the one that they hold on to. Conversion from one religious viewpoint does not stem from oral persuasion, but from a need for change.
Sometime around the year 500 B.C., Sun Tzu wrote in his iconic and timeless masterpiece The Art of War: “All warfare is based on deception” (Sun Tzu 15). To paraphrase Sun-Tzu, military strength does not equate to victory, but that the smallest and weakest of armies, when applying deception into combat, can overcome and defeat the mightiest foe. In Shakespeare’s Othello, the character of Iago, a faithful servant in his master’s army, plots against the play’s namesake general. Essayist Fred West in his article “Iago the Psychopath,” argues that Iago’s behavior displays his detachment from emotion, that Iago lacks self control and remains blinded by his own jealousy (West 31). In The Influence of the Audience on Shakespearean Drama, Robert Bridges calls Iago “stupid and dull… a poor and implausible character” (Bridges 23). Labeling “honest Iago” in such a simple category as a psychopath or an underdeveloped Shakespearean character, or, as too numerous articles and essays deem fit to state, that the personification of evil rests within the character, can be simply rebutted as lazy critiquing. Iago creates chaos among his enemies; he divides and conquers through deception. The seed of Iago’s motivation to destroy the life of Othello does not lay in insanity, nor in the simplistic notion that Iago personifies Satan or evil, but rather his actions remain consistent with a well-trained and well-disciplined soldier in the art of war.
America’s impulse to redefine human existence and to therefore recreate the human conscience away from the materialistic urge of a burgeoning Industrial Revolution has been glamorized since its conception in the middle of the 19th century. Scholars and writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau encouraged Americans to leave behind frivolous possessions to embrace a more naturalistic existence nature. A manifestation of repressed New England idealism, the Transcendental Movement appears to be a flash-in-the-pan moment of American history; an event occurring only in and rarely venturing beyond the state lines of New England. This emotional plea to return to normalcy, Thoreau’s call of “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity,” was not universally accepted; few scholars..
It is difficult to define Creole existence in Caribbean literature. Descended from colonial ancestors, people of the West Indies possess the values and birthed power of the hegemonic culture, but yet they wield a level of responsibility to the other half of their birth: the cultural lineage of the native people. This loss of identity results in a void of the self, a place where Creole characters find themselves torn between two warring cultures and questioning allegiance to either. In her article The Daughter’s Return: African-American and Caribbean Women’s Fictions of History, author Caroline Rody expounds the role of the mother in African-American and Caribbean literature. Rody notes that post-colonial writers tend to weave a tragedy around the potential loss of a mother and the accompanying cultural-identity, and the subsequent replacement with a nanny (Rody 821). The loss of the feminine figure is a gaping wound within the morality of protagonists of Caribbean literature...
In humanity’s worst hours, people cling to survival with every ounce of strength that they can muster. Mankind repeatedly tests our will-to-live by means of genocides, slavery, and other disgusting forms of ignorant humiliation and destruction of our fellow man. During these desperate times, those who are repressed find themselves in hopeless situations, teetering on the brink of a physical and/or psychological collapse, seek out salvations. These saving graces, whether real or imagined, in many situations, are nothing more than symbols of release; they serve no true means of salvation but act as nothing more than a “safety net”. Desperate desire creates sometime false hopes. Like a child using a teddy bear for companionship or a blanket to ward off monsters, desperate people create empty protectors to serve as a means to salvation. In Narrative of the Life, Frederick Douglas illustrates such a case in point; when an ordinary object of no importance, becomes of symbol of survival...
On July 6th, 1535, Thomas More uttered his last words before his execution at Tower Hill. To his executioner, he spoke these words: “Thou wilt give me this day a greater benefit than ever any mortal man can be able to give me. Pluck up they spirits, man, and be not afraid to do thine office. My neck is very short: take heed, therefore, thou strike not awry for saving thine honesty.” Moments later he said to the crowd that he would “suffer death in and for the faith of the Holy Catholic Church” and that he was King Henry VIII’s “good servant but God’s first” (Halpin 299). Following this, the executioner followed More’s request and completed his office not afraid. These last words, along with his refusal to swear the Oath of Supremacy by request of his King, paint Thomas More within the divine light that echoes characteristics sought upon investigation for Canonization. The kind-heartedness, forgiveness, and honesty to both his executioner and gathered crowd depict a man of noble-surroundings and reflect the Catholic faith in action as well as words: within these words exists no anger, malice, or denial of his faith. These characteristics and behavior lead to the martyrdom and future canonization of St. Thomas More.
Lisa K. Taylor’s (2007) article “Reading desire: from empathy to estrangement, from enlightenment to implication” examines the means of readers’ cultural receptions as they critically build approaches to Arabic literature that expresses and challenges various points of view of preconceived ideas, and further confronts the dilemma of the void of pragmatic and non-sensationalized Arabic literature within school systems. Taylor recognizes a hegemonic schematic within contemporary readers in which interpretive frameworks build into generalization-centered and euro-centralized approach to reading and pedagogical frameworks (p. 298). The article theorizes that the multicultural classroom taught from the lens of self-proclaimed “anti-racist/anti-colonialist white perspectives” leads to limited cross-cultural experiences, limited awareness of their implication in interlocking material and epistemic systems of discrimination/privilege (James, 1995; Taylor, 2007).