Twisted Governments, Characters, and Intentions: The Tempest

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We began our talk of The Tempest with some much needed plot clarification as this is one convoluted story. Prospero (the rightful Duke of Milan), Miranda (his daughter), Caliban (his slave) and Ariel (a spirit he freed, also a slave) have been together on this uninhabited island for 12 years or so. Prospero and his daughter were shipwrecked here, but don’t seem to have intentions to leave which we discussed in class as a bizarre choice. Caliban was born on the island to the witch Sycorax, who was sentenced to death but couldn’t be executed because she was pregnant. So she was exiled to the island. Antonio (Prospero’s brother) and his gang of ignorant misfits are now shipwrecked on the island as well, thanks to Prospero’s magic. The final plot point I would like to make is Antonio usurped his brother Prospero as the Duke of Milan, and Prospero left the situation only to be marooned on this island and now is seeking revenge.

We hit a range of topics regarding the story and its characters. In this protokoll, I would like to discuss the three kinds of government that are found on this island and the notion of a hierarchy. Government and politics is something we cannot get away from, even in a story of a shipwreck on an inhabited island. This was something I did not see right away but was appreciative that it was brought to the attention of the class. I would also like to discuss Miranda’s role in this play and the power dynamics that exist between Prospero and his slaves. It is interesting to see how Ariel wants more agency and to be completely free, while Caliban is fine with just having a new master.

The idea of a hierarchy on the island is an interesting one I would like to explore as I believe it is Shakespeare demonstrating that even in a dire situation people will perhaps try to work together, but struggle or even manipulate others to achieve power. All of our readings so far have had this theme of a hierarchy being created. In Arabian Nights, the hierarchy was of the royals and their subjects as well and men and women, but women had a way of finding power in an unexpected way. In The Canterbury Tales, the author harshly judged many of the characters, but we could also create a hierarchy in that text of the different professions and beyond that the gender dynamics were something we explored at length. Women and their strength was also an interesting point in these tales. In The Treasure of the City of Ladies as well as The Battle over Free Will, God is at the top of the hierarchy. In The Treasure of the City of Ladies a hierarchy of women is created as Pizan addresses women from all walks of life, giving them life advice while ranking them in the process. All these texts mentioned had a lot of people in mind regarding the hierarchy that was established so I ask, who is there to even rule on this island?

In terms of ruling people, Machiavelli had very forceful points about how to rule, but the way that Antonio talks isn’t reminiscent of a thirsty power grab. He already achieved that by throwing his brother from his rightful place. It feels more like a sense of entitlement and pretentiousness that propels his discussion and that of his gang what kind of power they will gain while on this island. The three types of government that were brought to light were: Machiavellian – Stephano with his wine, hedonism – Gonzalo with power politics, and Prospero with restoring the kingdom through marriage. Is the idea of creating this system easier because they can start fresh and build upon it due to the lack of people here? From this question I think of the process of colonization due to Prospero wanting control of the spirit and the person that was there before he was. The two that must suffer as a result are Caliban and Ariel, although interestingly, only Ariel seeks freedom.

Caliban and Ariel are the two (person and spirit) that were there previously to Prospero. It seems very unjust to automatically wish to enslave people or spirits upon arriving at a new place. Through history, we see this behavior of conquering, so while unjust it is not surprising. In class, there was talk of the defiance of both Caliban and Ariel in subtle ways but I do not see that happening in this play. While they can push against their master, they must ultimately submit to his wishes. There are two different people here to consider and they want different things from their lives. Caliban is disobedient to Prospero but when Antonio and his gang appear, Caliban seems oddly willing to having some new masters that aren’t any better than Prospero. Ariel, in contrast, was freed from a tree that Sycorax locked him in, and Prospero is really milking that situation unfairly. Ariel wants true freedom but Prospero wants Ariel to continue doing tasks for him and reminds Ariel how he freed him. Another point to consider is that both the slaves are grateful to the master, one for all he learned from Prospero, and the other for being freed. As the story unfolds, we will see how these two characters develop further and we shall see about Caliban’s ridiculous idea to attack Prospero with his new masters. Another character connected to Prospero is his daughter, Miranda.

Miranda is the only female character we encounter and she is intriguing. She is Prospero’s daughter but she seems to have a sense of strength about her. She is inquisitive and curious about what brought her and her father to this island. She is the first to speak in the play before her father, and I wondered if that had any significance in the play or if it was an arbitrary fact that I noticed. Miranda could have developed far more as a character, but upon seeing Ferdinand the only man she had ever seen in her life, she becomes overwhelmed with love and he does as well. I wonder if her father is creating this forbidden love story so they fall more in love is to help her, or if it is his way of maintaining control over her like he does over his slaves. If Ferdinand did not come, I would be curious to see what kind of character Miranda would become. It seems like she was a strong character, until she finds love. Then, she becomes a slave to that love. That concept is particularly interesting because Dido is referred to in the play, and she is a goddess that also was very powerful, until her love for Aeanus and his abandonment of her destroyed her in The Aeneid. Hopefully, there is a happier ending for Miranda. Given this is a Shakespearean comedy I have a hunch that things will work out just fine for Miranda. It seems to be a running theme that when a woman has agency, she loses it, blinded by love. In the conclusion of this play, we have to see what will become of her love and of Caliban’s foolish plan, as well as the building of a hierarchy as the play progresses. What will be the outcome for Prospero’s plans and will Ariel be free? There is a lot to resolve but there are three acts remaining so I have faith Shakespeare will accomplish just that. Perhaps, Miranda will continue to be a strong character despite her new found love.

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The “Other America”

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When one is taught about World War II, the genocide of six million Jewish people and other minority groups is usually first to come up. We have all heard dreadful stories about the Holocaust, which came about though the mind of Adolph Hitler. The “final solution” was the German dictator’s plot to rid the world of human life that did not quite meet his outrageous expectations. This might lead one to inquire as to the untold story of the Polish troops and their struggles in their portion of the world. How come we almost never hear about what they went through for the safety of their county? Even though they didn’t win, they put up a fight- like a knife in the dark that you don’t know about. Just like the Polish general had to clash with the Nazis, Pharaoh and Lafayette were forced to encounter dangerous gangs, only on a much different level. The “Other America” is like the stories that are never told, those whose fears are never recognized until it is too late.
Alex Kotlowitz alludes to brushing off violence and its consequences quite often. Almost always it seems our protagonists are off on the railroad tracks or buying fast food so that they can avoid thinking about their father or their neighborhood. Paul survived through a drug overdose because of LaJoe, who pulled the syringe out of his arm and called an ambulance. This incident didn’t change Paul’s actions, and he soon survived another overdose. This particular neighborhood does not help. It is definitely not one that you might see advertised on t. v. or read about in the newspaper. Henry Horner is a place located in the deep South of Chicago, where violence was portrayed as a harsh reality that even the smallest child was bound to face. Pharaoh was never a child for he was never permitted a normal lifestyle. Often he dealt with inescapable shootings correlated with the Vice Lords, a gang that resided in Henry Horner. Even if Jimmie Lee would be some how killed, the violence won’t cease. If anything it would intensify.
In Pharaoh’s America, he had to dodge bullets from gangsters whom he knew or might have even encountered on the streets. Lafayette never helped either, for although he defended Pharaoh, the younger brother always appeared to want to break free of Lafayette’s pressures and demands. Absorbed in school work, it never appeared that he would be drawn into their world and he never was. He realized that to kill innocence people and then act like everything was fine is just ridiculous. The society of the “Other America” is shaken by poverty, poverty on a significant level. LaJoe thankfully had food stamps and other ways of supporting the family, but compared to myself and other parts of the U. S. of A. they were in desperate conditions.
Lafie, as his mother called him, was found guilty of committing a crime, and although never drawn into the black hearts of the gangsters, he came close to following in his older brother’s footsteps, steps which were much like the boy himself- certain but watchful. Lafeyette had in fact, packed his bags and waited to be sentenced to prison for a long time. Although he didn’t go to jail, one may never be certain of what curve balls the streets of Henry Horner may throw mercilessly at the two boys. One thing is for sure, Lafayette and Pharaoh will never take things for granted in the “Other America.”

How Life has to be

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It pains me greatly to say

I love you anyway

After the way you acted

My heart was compacted

Smashed up, shattered, and torn apart

Gosh, I don’t even know where to start

I played my part too

By being clueless and not being there the way you

Wanted me to

But no matter what is said and done

I love you like the rising sun

And the calm moon

Everything happened too soon

Now you are married and I’m happy you found someone who could give you what I couldn’t

I shouldn’t be sad, I shouldn’t

The truth is I loved you so much

I craved your touch, to see your lovely eyes and hear you laughing

Now you are with another

Goodbye to my one true love

I’m so happy for you

I would never wish badly

That much is true

I could have loved you so much more if you let me

I’m filled with regret

But the point is

You are happy

Just not with me

And although I will miss you, sometimes that’s how life has to be

The Last Breath (My struggle to face it)

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When it comes to the end
To transcend life
I cannot comprehend but I know
It’s not pretty, pink, prim or gitty
It is none of these things
For example watch a rated R movie
You will see
What I mean about the end
But the movies have only the look of death down
Pale, cold, final words, crying hands to hold, dramatic fall
The rest of the movie’s ideas
A mass of lies
In reality death not about that cinema glory
Or the man who died doing what he loved
Those are words newscasters love to use to
Place a blanket of cover
Over the deadly details and truth

When it comes to the end
How ever painful
Or painless it may be
The last breath of life is the final act
In your life
However miserable or wonderful it was
That last breath is the last thing you’ll see

So when the unfortunate but unavoidable light comes
You must choose sprint from it or towards it
You might be triumph you might be defeated
Chase it, embrace the outcome
And take your last breath
Knowing as you do
The final gasp, grasp of air
Before the cold claws of death
Sink their claws into you

Remember that you lived
That you were accomplished, loved, content
Remember before death takes you
And you’re a gravestone in row 2
Now the world goes on
But without you
So sip that breathe and enjoy the sweet taste it will give
Because you will soon no longer live

The method to my “madness” – How I write

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There are a few things (men, politics, and death) that are more complex than the psych behind writing. It is sporadic, impulsive, indiscriminately, timeless, impossible, and delightful. Writing is a journey with stepping stones: great leaps or tiny steps, it’s going forward that’s important. The steps I go through during a writing assignment depend on what kind of time limit there is and what type of essay it is. Is it a poem? Is it a twenty page research paper? I always start brainstorming ideas for the main point of the paper no matter if it is big or small. Ideas and inspiration come to me at the most awkward times (the bus, the bathroom, at a movie). I group together these ideas into a topic before the real work begins.
I usually do not consider my audience too much at this time. I work in such a fashion fervently, and although I know it is for a teacher’s eyes only, I write to a universal audience, hoping all my efforts were not in vain. Poetry is the art form I adore, and I generally can captivate a large audience with. I use elements such as rhyming or repetition in my poetry and in my writing. Another way that I mesmerize the audience is when I write to the sound of classical music. When I write it makes me feel like I am on a journey, and I am taking my audience with me.
Speaking of journeys, the method I take is not organized. Its profile fits only the essay to which it was assigned. My support method behind it is not a method so much as it is a vision. After I research or consider ever angle I deceiver and deduct which is not just the strong point but the one I want to bring to attention. Lists are very helpful way for me to find ideas that work and ideas that don’t such as diction. I must often change, flip and rearrange my wording but syntax is something I don’t feel I achieve too often. The last element which I find related to syntax is the proofreading, which I do. Usually I have a sibling check my work as well and in the past multiple teachers have viewed my writing. I am not too pleasant while hearing criticism, but I will take it and try to spin a better story. As for a four hundred work limit, I am not use to word limits. So checking the word count is now like stopping for gas on my writing journey. I cannot go on to write without it.

The Power of One’s Heart

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The charity space

Had been in place

And even though it had to end

There is no way I would prefer to spend with my best friend

I saw my professor, Lou and gave him a hug

The best professor so talented never smug

The cause was empty bowls to buy a ceramic dish

And wish that it wasn’t true

But is

That someone’s bowl is always empty

Sound

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Sound
Sat Still
More Sound
More Shrill
Dial Number
Can’t Breathe
Evil Advancing
I Proceed
Help Me
I Say
My Legs
Not Fast
Eyes Meet
Minds Screaming
Hurry Run
Open Window
I Exit
Sound

Hide First
There’s Five
Five Men
Five Masks
White Men
White Snow
Crawl Deep
Spiky Bush
I Shiver
They Grasp
I Shriek
Sound

Jaw Clenches
I Bite
Now Run
My Fight
Red Snow
In Trouble
Cops Cops
Shooting Starts
Pop Pop
I Duck
And Cover
Cold Shiver
Not Asleep
Dead quiet
Sound