The stone is prudent and persistent or is this just the adjectives that I gave to a stone. The conversation examines the idea objects have the characteristics that we give them. However the stone is different because stones seem to be symbols of patience or a burden. Yet these descriptions that I just assigned to a stone are created by me not part of the essential nature of the stone. It seems that the stone in the poem only responds in the way it can, by turning in to sand and displaying no emotion.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The poet’s contemplation of time allows for multiple perspectives to be examined and it is not limited to one level of time. Within this poem the poet takes us through her life, her ancestry, and past a time that cannot be imagined. This contemplation offered by the poet examines the greater affect of living within time. This may seem strange because we are always living in time but the idea that I identify here is the effect on history by one individual. The poem seems sober because of its conclusion with relation to time. However the poet examines her life beyond her time and at that level the effects of an individual are minute. Perhaps the poet is humbling herself to understand a part of human existence and its mortality.
The tone for this writing makes me uncomfortable. The nonchalant attitude displayed is unexpected for the situation. The description of the daily events does not seem to affect the narrator. The level of desensitizing seems more that can be imagined. The narrator goes about his day as if he were in any other place the worries of acquiring possessions. The sarcasm also brings the reading to a further understanding of the level of desensitizing that the inhabitants experience. This reading seems to be evidence of the horror that affected millions and the means with which to cope it.
At the beginning of the film I was doubtful of its ability to be effective. The connections between the characters seemed to be forced. As the story continued the connection between the characters is revealed and I was attentive to the story. The acts of violence are stark and brutal. The first act of violence in which the cab driver is killed startled me because he remained alive for sometime. The cab driver died while asking for a message to be delivered to his wife. This scene allows for little comfort. The question of justice comes in to play. The life of one man was taken so another should also be taken in order for justice to be restored. I do not believe that capital punishment is an acceptable form of justice. It does not replace the life taken by a murderer. The film also seems to agree with my position because the execution scene of the murderer is strong and seems inhumane. Two acts of violence, or rather two murders, do not restore justice.
January 25, 2008
The Honorable Barrack Obama
Dear Senator Obama,
I am following your campaign efforts through the primary elections and believe that your message of change through hope, as well as action by the voter, is the best one presented by any of the candidates. As your constituent I would like to call your attention to the human rights issue that is occurring in
The lack of legal rights of the detainees needs to be corrected because it does not comply with universal human rights or our nation’s traditions of an individual’s rights. Amnesty International tells us of the inadequate acknowledgement of prisoner’s rights, “These include secretly transferring suspects to locations where they have faced torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and indefinite detention without charge.” All of these allegations have been in the media but have not been represented in a widely and ardently by a politician. It is in representing this issue that I ask you to take action in hope of improving the situation. These individuals who are tortured and held with no charge require their basic rights through the Geneva Convention and this country’s own initiative.
Several media reports, through different sources, exist on the conditions and legal situations of the detainees in
It is my hope that bringing the denial of human rights and the torture of detainees to the attention of the country through the campaign and support of politicians will produce a change for the detainees and the representation of human rights by our country.
Thank you for your time and effort,
Reading Neruda’s poem brings the loss of a lover into poetic form. I can’t help put notice the tactile interactions that Neruda highlights through the poem. The poem also explains what seems to be a shifting relationship. Love coming and going between the partners seems to happen often. This shifting relationship also seems to work. The poetic voice is sad at the loss of his lover while attempting to maintain the fleeting memories between them. The constant possibility of loving her and not loving her seem to affect the poet but he does not resolve to change the situation. It seems that this poem is dedicated to her and their shared experiences.
Through reading about exile and its many forms I can’t help but put examine my own situation and experiences. I left
The text is a confrontation with the situation that Senegalese individuals, among others face. It is a sobering experience to read it. The aggressive language of violence and the need for justice are common themes through the entire text. The text is difficult to comprehend because of the style but with the themes one is able to make connections through the text. The themes and language seem more apt especially considering that Césaire was an initiator of the Negritude movement and would later influence other writers.
The film began with a clear enemy to the Irish people, the British Black and Tans. The violent scene that ends with a life of an Irishman by the hands of the Black and Tans for speaking Gaelic is discomforting. The film sets you up to join the Irish side alongside the story. The battle against the Black and Tans seems justified because of their extreme repression especially against the Irish using their native Gaelic. As a viewer I felt engrossed with the story when Damien decides to join Teddy in the guerrilla warfare. This idealist struggle comes to an end with the signing of the treaty that creates a new dilemma. This clearly brings to light the difficulty of fighting for something better if all members of one group do not and perhaps cannot, agree on the same terms. The film ends with the painful scene of brother executing another brother, Teddy executing Damien. It is difficult to believe that the ideals that they were struggling for were worth the death of another family member. The acts of violence through war, or other wise, seem even more horrendous.
I also find this poem interesting because of how he describes his love for his former lover, and specifically how this love changed over time. In line 9, he says, "...sometimes I loved her too." If you only "sometimes" love someone, it is strange that he is writing a poem with the "saddest lines" about someone he has lost. In line 23, he says, "I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her." Again, it is strange that he is writing this poem to her despite the "certain" (imagine me making quotation marks with my hands) fact that he no longer loves her. If this poem was written to a former mistress, and his wife were to read this, I think Neruda would be busted!
Monday, April 28, 2008
Human Rights Response
Dear Senator Bayh,
I am writing this letter in hopes to raise awareness of the tragedies that are currently taking place in the African country of Kenya. The social upheaval occurring there is a direct response to the presidential elections that were held approximately one month ago. In these elections future President elect, Mwai Kibaki won a much disputed vote to overtake the head of the government. After the votes were tallied and the results were released, Kenyan citizens immediately began to question their legitimacy and have since been displaying their frustrations with public protests and in some cases, rioting. In a country that has long been considered the most stable of all African nations, the possible demise of its once reliable democracy will have devastating effects world-wide.
The disputes currently taking place are already threatening to tear apart tribal and political lines that have taken nearly a decade to build and have been vital to Kenya’s stability in recent years. Early implications show that the public is refuting the elections because of past corruption and scandals linked to both Kibaki and several members of his cabinet. However, Kibaki’s troubled past is quickly becoming the least of Kenyan’s worries right now, as rogue political officials and police have amassed hundreds of documented cases of human rights violations against themselves since the election. Many of the cases in question directly link Kibaki’s officials to authorizing the murders and rapes of innocent civilians. Reports dating as far back as March of 2007 also link them to government ordered attacks on media studios and individual journalists in an effort to control the media and prevent reports of their scandals from reaching the public. Current figures linked to the political crisis place the death toll around 700 civilians with estimates that another 250,000 people have been forced to leave their homes and villages in response to the ethnic tensions that have been re-flared. Police brutality at many of the protests seems to only be strengthening the public’s cause and making for more distrust between the people and Kibaki.
I believe that it is our civil duty to come to the aid of these unfortunate civilians that have been caught up in a whirlwind of political violence and oppression. The government of Kenya is moving backwards and its officials are seemingly condoning the harassment of civil rights. Kenyan police not only seem to be disregarding their civil responsibilities to uphold the law and order in this time of crisis, but many times they are just multiplying the problems by exacting their own revenge and carrying out personal vendettas. I believe it is not only our right, but our duty to ensure the safety and well being of Kenyan citizens and the government that have fallen into this recent crisis. For years the Kenyan’s have set the example for other African nations to follow, and now in this time of need, we must rally to support liberty and justice for the suppressed citizens that are now fighting for their rights. I believe the first action taken should be to offer a peaceful coup d’état, and if this fails then the United Nations needs to organize a military effort to remove Kibaki from office and allow the Kenyan citizens to organize another election. I appreciate your time, and can only hope that you will help in the efforts to find a peaceful resolution to this unfortunate situation.
Friday, April 25, 2008
As the poem states, as one takes apart the layers of an onion, there is only more onion, or as the poem says, "Inside it, there's a smaller one/of undiminished worth." As the last stanza reminds us, humans are not like onions. We hold different things in our bodies, like "veins, nerves, and fat,/secretions' secret secretions."
There is also the self-awareness issue. One has to have a little extra knowledge of the poems outside of "The Onion," but taken with "View from a Grain of Sand," one can see that, this poem, too, has a theme of the onion being perfect without being aware of its perfection. There seems to be some quality of self-unawareness that is beautiful and grand. People, as I'm sure we all know, are all too aware of themselves and what we are, and only strive to find out more. Onions and sand do not do this, and thus are favored by Mother Nature.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The next poem I looked at was "Soliloquy for Cassandra." This, for those that do not know their Greek mythology, is a poem about the prophet Cassandra, who was cursed to never be believed. She tried to warn the city of Troy about their impending doom upon bringing the horse into the city, but, again, the townsfolk did not believe her. So, Troy was destroyed. This story tells us how Cassandra was treated in the third stanza, but we we see that now, her prophecy has come true and Troy and everything around her are now ashes. Cassandra tells us how lonely it has been living in the future, and now she left with only her possessions and "A face that didn't know it could be beautiful." I actually am not sure what to make of that last line, but I'd guess it's something about how ignored she was before the fall of Troy.
The last poem I looked did not deal with Troy, but still references history. "Beheading" is a poem referencing the death of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the rise of Queen Elizabeth I, who followed her. The poem starts off telling us about beheading, and tells of the "shift." The shift is the actual beheading, which acts as a shift because Queen Elizabeth would take the throne upon Mary's death. We are told the shift was "decollete," or low cut, and "red as a hemorrhage." These are self-explanatory. The next stanza tells us about Queen Elizabeth, who is standing triumphantly in her white dress, in contrast to the red of "Bloody" Mary, and how it is buttoned to the chin, an almost protective dress, given what had just happened to her sister. The third stanza tells us they both thought the same things that day, but clearly for very different reasons. The last stanza explains to us why this the reasons are different.
Monday, April 21, 2008
The second part of the film further looks into the irrationality of human decision. We learn of how the main character kills the taxi driver and is sentenced to death. The man's lawyer seems to be the character that presents the viewer with obvious existential questions as he questions his career's motives. At the end of the film we are presented with possibly one of the most absurd emotions of human beings. Even though this man has been convicted of cold-blooded murder, his attorney sympathizes with him at some level and we almost left feeling sorry for the man being hung for his horrific crimes. I feel that this short film deals with an array of deep existential thought and did a decent job of portraying the everyday absurdity of man's existence.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
The second stanza goes on to say how through training and hard work the body can take them to a whole another level. She makes it seems as though she;s leaving her body here on earth, and elavating herself to another level. I like to think of it as when I get "in the zone" during basketball games, and the only thing that I see on the court is me and the basketball goal.
The third stanza talks about how ambition is the right thing which is the willingness to do work. The possibilities of both her and her body are endless, and it makes me think about when I get my body right, all the things that I will be able to do
It is written in first person from the perspective of girl that is five minutes away from birth, but decides to turn around and go the opposite direction, into her unbirth. I was kind surprised because I really didn't think the poem would unfold in that way. As the poem goes on the unborn child goes through the Romantic period, the Renaissance Era, the Middle Ages and even the times of Adam and Eve. The unborn child goes so far back that she doesn't ever reach birth and dies.
In the third stanza, she says, "My body, you are an animal...". This helps us understand the animal reference in the first stanza. Here, she is saying that without her mind and the ability of the mind to control the actions of the body, her animal instincts concentrated in her body would come through. The last two lines say, "Splendid possibilities/ are open to us". This shows that she is optimistic about the ability of humans to control their animal instincts in order to reach a higher level of discipline and concentration.
By Swir saying that "writing is suspect," I believe that to her writing is controversial and challenges society, so it is easier to give up typing/writing and just do laundry instead (line 8). Swir is challenging the belief of just taking the easy road. She compares writing to being "like three interrogation marks," as if writing was something questionable and unladylike to do, and also something that you were being graded on or your performance was being watched (line 10).
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The observation made about the tone of the story, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the Gas Chamber, in class seems to be the most striking aspect of the story. Borowski’s tone of narration seems to be desensitized from the seriousness or sadness of the Nazi concentration camps. But at the same time, the tone of the story is contradictory to the actual situation of the story. Even the harsh realities are reflected as the matter-of-fact issues, and without outrage or emotions. Although the tone seems to be desensitized, I think his woes are reflected in the issues that are brought up. They do not transit smoothly, and random ideas seem to be popping up, which reflect some sort of paranoia. “Even the usual recreation is lacking: the wide roads to the crematoria are empty” (2773). I found it hard to follow some of the arguments because they fluctuate so much.
A key point in the story that really caught my attention was when the narrator was assigned the job of moving the dead bodies and during this time he was thinking so highly of the concentration camp. From a student that has read stories such as The Diary of Anne Frank I am in awe when I see a character who is victim to this tradgedies think so highly of their situation.
I also felt Borowski used a very serious tone in his writing. Take for instance, when the beautiful, young lady asks the narrator where she is being taken. The narrator does not respond, then she responds saying, "I already know." As we all know, she puts herself on the truck that is headed to the gas chamber. But the question remains as to why Borowski appears to switch tones near the end of the story? I think the girl's actions causes the author to rethink what he is taking part in as a prisoner. His tone becomes much less sarcastic after that, and much more critical about his life and the lives of others in the camp. I really felt that this had strong ties to Borowski's own suicide and the fact that, as said by Emiliano Zapata, "It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees."
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Krzystof Kieslowski's film shows that outlawing of death penalty is still a tall order. As unjust as death penalty seems, only new lawyers are advocating against the capital punishment. Eventually, the fight against the capital punishment becomes a useless attempt. Kieslowski portrays the sadness of the whole situation by showing contrasting emotions between the ones carrying out the death penalty, and the one defending and the one being executed. It is shown as just another job for the ones carrying out the execution, and they are smoking cigarettes like everyday.
It is interesting to note that the director tries to pose a question about the fairness of capital punishment. Is death penalty fair even for one of the worst killings? Jacek is shown to respond to actions that many people ignore. He strangles the taxi driver and kills the driver after several blows to the head. Later, Jacek is executed for his crime. Many argue that one killing, execution, does not justify the other killing, crime. Aside from that argument, Jacek does not physically suffer as much as the taxi driver before death.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Now as for the reason why this murder happened...I think it had everything to do with his little sister. He was mentally damaged by this which I think lead to the murder. However, he committed a murder nonetheless. Does he deserve to be sentenced to death? I still can't decide.
I will not attempt to give my direct thoughts on the entirety of the movie but some reactions to what I have read on this films as well as one book that strikes me as particularly related.
It appears that the movie attempts to make the point that while a crime had def. been committed against the cab driver, another crime (this time by the state) was committed in the execution of the murderer. It also makes it ironic in that the noose does not snap the neck of the victim and instead strangles him in much the same way as the cab driver, minus a rock apparently. This reminds me all too well of a book I once read on the subject of the death penalty by Sister Hellen Prejean called Dead Man Walking. Prior to this book I had been very pro-death penalty but after which I have come to realize a)the Church's teaching on the beauty of each and every human life and b) the amount of money required to kill another person as a result of convicted murder. Sister Helen walks the reader through the trials and appeals of a few men she met on death row and shows the reader why it is wrong that two people should die for the crimes of one. She also makes it known the great financial pains that the appeal system costs American society prior to the actual execution. We learn that it is far, far cheaper for us to imprison murders for life without the possibility of parole than it is to sentence them to death. I would urge anyone who was moved by A Short Film about Killing to pick up a copy of Sister Helen's book; you won't be sorry you did.
References to Evolution & Darwinism in Xun
In The Diary of a Madman, Xun is probably influenced by the theories of evolution put forth by Darwin & Huxley. For instance in chapter 4 Xun writes, “After I’d taken a few bites, the meat felt so smooth and slippery in my mouth that I couldn’t tell whether it was fish or human flesh. I vomited.” This could point to an understanding that we, as humans, had evolved from our days of all creatures living in the sea and being of the same flesh. Which is this case would make fish flesh and human flesh almost identical. I believe that Xun also believes human beings must undergo some changes in our perception of the way we eat meat in most cases as we have much in common with the animal world around us so that eating animal meat would have similar repercussions as if we were cannibals and eating human flesh.
Monday, March 31, 2008
The movie portrays the taxi cab driver in many instances, to put it bluntly, a bastard. He doesn't do his job well and goes out of his way to make people miserable. This is what makes people not feel much sympathy towards him when he was killed. He was a mean person that didn't contribute much to society, even though he does mention he has a wife. The question is, did he deserve to die? Of course he didn't.
On the other hand the murderer throughout the entire movie looks like an innocent young man that would never hurt a fly. He cares about his family, is somewhat talkative with strangers, and even plays around with two little girls who are watching him eat in a cafe. Although the viewers somewhat know in the back of their minds what will eventually commence, they don't view him as a murderer until he actually is in the vicious act of killing the taxi cab driver. He eventually is sentenced to death, and the movie ends with him being executed. Once again, the question is, does he deserve to die?
This question is harder to answer and will have many different opinions. We often tend not to think of murderers as human beings, and honestly it is hard to do so once we hear of the heinous crimes they commit. However, the director, gets us to feel bad for the murderer, because we see him cry, we see his love for his sister, we see all the struggles that he has faced. The director used a powerful tool in arguing against the death penalty tugging at our hearts and gaining our sympathy for the man we should be despising. However we must not forget that he did what he did, and no matter how sympathetic something seems, murder is still murder. The director makes a good argument against the death penalty, one of the best that I have seen. However, the man is still a killer.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
In Section 10 of Diary of a Madman, Elder Brother upsets the madman because he is unable to prevent the cannibals from wanting to eat him. Here, Elder Brother claims that creating change among the cannibals is virtually impossible because they fail (and refuse) to look back and analyze the problems they face. By explaining cannibalism in this way, Lu Xun shows that cannibalism is a peculiar practice that is unable to change and evolve despite being influenced by outside factors. In section 8, the madman inquires if "this business of eating people [is] right". This question is quite significant because of the response it provoked from the cannibal it was directed towards. The cannibal reacts by trying to change the subject of conversation and directly avoid answering the madman's question. It became clear from his response that the cannibal knew he was in the wrong for his actions, but was unable to accept responsibility for them and act accordingly.
I believe that the death sentence served it's purpose in the "playout" of the movie, and also serves it's purpose in today's lifetime.
I was a little confused in the movie when they kept going from scene to scene during the entirety of the movie. One scene would be a meeting with gentlemen sitting at a round table and then it would switch back to the scenes with the 20 year old man, who eventually commited a horrible crime. The movie also makes me think about karma. Throughout the entire movie the taxi cab driver who eventually gets killed was avoiding and being rude to potential customers. I believe that if he picked up just one of those customers, the customers would have led him possibly to the other side of town, way out of the path of the murderer. Due to his bad actions, I believe that karma caught back up with him, which enforces my belief as, "treat others as you would like to be treated."