Monday, January 14, 2008

Heart of [the symbolism] Darkness

In literature authors may use a particular symbol to extenuate their meaning in writing a novel. Select a novel or play of literary merit in which a single object, person, or place symbolizes a greater meaning. Then write a well-organized essay in which you describe the symbol and explain its relevance to the work as a whole.

Joeseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness utilizes darkness as a symbol countless times, including as its title. Each mention of darness, it yields a different although no less important meanings, and come together to create one cental message important to the novel as a whole. This novel informs its readers of the horrors of European colonialism in Congo years ago, and symbolism immensely helps in doing so.

In his novel, Conrad uses the symbol of darkness to exemplify his attitude toward both Europeans and Europe as a whole. Conrad refers to as a dark place. He uses the symbol darkness as a device to explain how polluted, immoral, and evil place Europe has become. The symbolism helps express the narrator’s despise for Europeans and with this the author’s own hatred as well. By using symbolism, Europe develops a highly negative connotation that remains active in the reader’s mind throughout the novel. The reader cannot help but feel as the author does. By making Europe dark it suggests that it is tainted by all things impure, particularly colonialism. Already the reader despises colonialism as much as the author does, and the book has yet to begin; thus making Conrad’s persuasion easy to press upon his readers.

Darkness is also used in explaining the Congo after Europeans’ occupation of it. In describing the Congo, Conrad allows the darkness to represent colonialism ruining the nation as it illustrates the European’s contamination and dirtying of a once pure nation. This symbol is very often made, obvious from its title. Once the Europeans colonized the Congo they made this once pure country as dark as their own homeland, staining it with their hatred, greed, and inhumanity. The people of the Congo became dark themselves all due to the Europeans. Conrad uses darkness as a way to allow his readers to be aware of how tainted Congo has become allowed the Congo to become, further strengthening the readers’ dislike for Europeans and their brutal foreign tactics.

Most importantly, in this novel darkness is used to contrast another symbol: light. Conrad uses light when describing the Congo absent of European influences, emphasizing its purity. This symbolism of light allows for the change the Congo undergoes following the Europeans’ arrival, making it more distinguishable and impossible to miss. The contrast the symbolism both light and dark creates forces the readers to clearly see the difference between the Europeans and Congo’s people. Conrad utilizes the idea that when two dissimilar objects are compared the differing characteristics become more apparent and strike its reader with more of a perspective impact.

Through this novel Conrad has forced people to listen to his message that colonialism is wrong as it destroys whole countries. He forcibly informs his readers of the truth, eliminating any possible excuse of ignorance so many humans use today. Through the use of symbolism of darkness the readers are able to fully extract this negative attitude as if the author was arguing it to him/her personally and not through his novel’s pages. He then demands change as he his heeds warning to the world, thus fulfilling his entire purpose for writing the novel.


This essay appears to deserve more of a five.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Love is an element that constantly arises in pieces of literature. It often represents more than the deep affections of a two people, but a greater theme in life. Select a novel or play of literary merit in which the author uses love to describe a greater meaning. Then write a well-organized essay in which you describe the symbol and explain its relevance to the work as a whole.


Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God reveals the racism held in the Deep South. The novel utilizes a black woman’s voyage through life and love to illustrate the blacks’ drive to be independent of white society and racism despite their suppression.

Janie’s character represents the general evolution of black sentiments for their independence. Her journey through love mirrors her race’s journey toward its own independence respectability. Janie begins the novel marrying a man not for love but instead to appease her grandmother. Her character is na├»ve of any desire for independence, and thus is very obedient despite the contradiction to her own feelings. This adherence to other’s demands is entirely what characterized the black race during slavery and even the times following the abolition of slavery. All were obedient by nature because they were taught to be nothing less than obedient. All were chained by duty and tradition, just as Janie was chained by her obligation to a loveless arranged marriage.

After some time, Janie’s character takes a first step toward independence. She goes on to stray away from strict obedience by running off with Joe Starks, a man she thought she loved. This restlessness is similar both in nature and duration to the restlessness blacks slowly began to feel about their own suppression in society. However, this love Janie feels does not last too long when she finds Joe Starks will not allow her to be anyone other than a mayor’s wife. Thus, as she once again plays the obedient wife her individuality is locked away inside her. She remains a slave to her husband’s oppression despite her awareness that she wants change. There are brief moments when Janie breaks free from her obedience, illustrating her growing awareness of the void of personal freedom and individuality. Yet, she is quickly reprimanded, set in her place, and things remain the as they were before. Like Janie, blacks began to be aware of their pitiful situation yet they too remained suppressed. They put off their yearns for freedom and allowed their practical slavery to continue.

It is not until later that they completely realize entire independence, just as it takes twenty years for Janie to finally discover and embrace her own independence. Following her second husband’s death Janie finally becomes free from all obligation and duty, and she revels in her victory, defeating all of her previous oppressions. It is then that she finds true love and happiness with Tea Cake and lives for nothing but that love that she is finally free. Blacks waited just as long to discover their true worth as they overcame oppressions set in front of them through racism, prejudices, and economic oppression. However, they have found it and revel in their victory as well, progressing faster than ever to become equals in an unequal nation.

The novel Their Eyes were Watching God Is more than the recounting of a black woman’s life long hardships and trials through love. It also tells the journey of a young girl’s independence and in turn, the journey and progression of African America independence and individuality in an oppressive world.


I will be liberal enough with my scoring to give myself a six on this essay.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Carpe Diem:: A new life Motto

Dead Poets Society deserves very nearly a 9.9. Robin Williams, two young studs, poetry, and a splash of rebellion, no movie can be better than this. This film is the story of a group of high school students learning to live life for themselves, despite the discouragement of doing so from authority. DPS was a solid ten until the main character decides to ruin everyone else's life by taking his own. I understand that this act makes the movie more moving and worthwhile, but it is disappointing anyhow. Everyone loves a happy ending, and this film barely provides one. (Except for the very powerful scene of standing on desks accompanied with the usual triumphant music).

This movie was not exactly about poetry, quite the opposite in fact. It does not actually address poetry's structure, but instead the importance of creating it. This movie stresses the need for people to disassimiliate, think for themselves, and live life unchained to obligation and expectation. It instead suggests Carpe Diem, live life to the fullest. Robin Williams gives a very inspiring performance with a type of role that he needs to take up again, and very soon.

The Dead Poet Society poses poetry in a unique way different than what is typically taught in English classes. It avoids offering a mathmatical and definedway to analyze and create poetry. It actually denounces these methods. Instead, this film tells people that poetry is not a mathematical equation, but a simply the expressing of emotions and thought. That is all. It can be done anywhere, any way, and by anyone as long as it is passionate truth.

This movie should be shown in every English class, not only AP. It brings beauty and appreciation back into poetry, of which was lost (or perhaps not even known to students) through the many tedious years of analyzing poetry in previous grade levels. I did not enjoy poetry at all prior to this movie. However, after seeing this movie my only lack of money is keeping me from buying a poetry book, a notion I never before had. There is a much bigger world of poetry out there, bigger than the usual "thyth flowers are blooming in the spring's soft breath..." banter. The dead poet society sounds very fun, and I only wish it was a program at Thurston. Maybe then appreciation for poetry's beauty and free eloquent expressions of thought will reestablish itself in people.

By the way::
I have adopted Carpe Diem as a new life motto.
I would suggest other humans do so too, as a way of making the world more colorful.
We all know it definitely needs it. People need to take of their shoes and walk barefoot through life. It's the only way to live

Monday, November 26, 2007

Present to the Past

Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman centralizes around past occurrences rather than those in the present. By having Willy, the main character, constantly reminiscing of the past Miller poses the idea that the past and its actions affect a person's present state.

Using Willy's delusions of the past Miller reveals human's tendencies to linger on the past as a way to avoid present hardships. Willy finds it easier to remember the high times in life rather than dealing with the less happy state of of his life during old age. Humans tend to do the same. Miller warns against this and suggests that it doing so may lead to a person's own demise, just as it did with Willy. It was a character of his past, his uncle, who encouraged suicide.

Willy's past actions prove not only to affect his own present state,but others as well.This cause and effect cannot be helped and usually not intended. Willy did not intend to ruin his son's life with his affair in the past, but nonetheless it happened. Miller seeks to stress the importance of past actions by utilizing Willy and Biff's situation. He suggests to the reader that taking great care for one's current actions may improve a person's own future as well as the future of another.

Although the past occurs and then continues on, it still eaves a lingering impression on a person. Miller understands this idea and portrays it in his play. With Willy's hardened nostalgia the play becomes Miller's plight to humanity to pay attention to the pastas well as the present. He utilizes Willy's pathetic and desperate state to conjure readers' sympathy towards the subject matter, which in turn heightens his/her awareness. It is then that a reader will attempt to heed Millers' message.

In this playMiller confronts a person's actions and its affect on the future by using Willy's past, his son's past,and his own reminiscence of it all.

Josh Groban <3 [[ If God could sing ]]

Weeping
Josh Groban
(feat. Ladysmith Black Mambazo)

I knew a man who lived in fear --It was huge, it was angry,--It was drawing near.--Behind his house a secret place--Was the shadow of the demon--He could never face. --He built a wall of steel and flame--And men with guns to keep it tame--Then standing back he made it plain--That the nightmare would never ever rise again--But the fear and the fire and the guns remain. --It doesn't matter now it's over anyhow--He tells the world that it's sleeping--But as the night came round --I heardIts lonely soundIt wasn't roaring, it was weeping--It wasn't roaring, it was weeping. --And then one day the neighbours came--They were curious to know about the smoke and flame--They stood around outside the wall--But of course there was nothing to be heard at all"My friends," he said, "We've reached our goal--The threat is under firm control--As long as peace and order reign--I'll be damned if I can see a reason to explain--Why the fear and the fire and the guns remain." --It doesn't matter now it's over anyhow--He tells the world that it's sleepingBut as the night came round I heard--Its lonely sound--It wasn't roaring, it was weeping--It wasn't roaring, it was weeping. --Say ah, say ah, say ahSay ah, say ah, say ah
[Ladysmith's solo]
It doesn't matter now it's over anyhow--It doesn't matter now it's over anyhow--It doesn't matter now it's over anyhow--He tells the world that it's sleeping--But as the night came round I heardIts lonely sound--It wasn't roaring, it was weeping--It wasn't roaring, it was weeping.Say ah, say ah, say ahSay ah, say ah, say ah [to end]

Thursday, November 15, 2007

music album

Often times, analytical poems do not bode well with me. They sound beautiful, but the second I am told to brutally analyze the piece, the beauty is lost. However, I have come to acknowledge that poetry is found in song lyrics such as those on the album assigned to the class. This heightened my understanding for poetry analysis. I am slowly realizing that analyzing the poems, if done correctly, could offer a different meaning and insight into the poem.

Mr. Hughes’s choice of music generally sounds as if it comes from the same group of like artists. Their Beetles influence, for me, is impressive and gives the albums more of a classic hard edge devoted to the classics. Yet, the bands never fail to insert their own personality into their music.

Although its melody and beat resembles the classic bands, great consideration has to be taken to the words being sung in order to actually appreciate the poetry behind it all. Every song present in this album has lyrics that spout the speaker’s desperation and regret for lost love. The listener can feel his despair, and they cannot help but cheer for his hopeful happy ending. Yet, a happy ending does not come. Nonetheless this poetry is filled with emotion, which is tied with the emotions of its listeners. Poetry can be much stronger than any novel, if written correctly.
Poetry thrives on literary devices to add eloquence and meaning into the piece. Its ambiguity is never due to negligence, but is incorporated as a way to emphasize the poem’s purpose. When one has to think about the meaning of a poem, one will learn and appreciate it that much more. In these lyrics so many devices could be found. That is the beauty to poetry.

These men who are the speaker in most of these songs portray their desperation so well. The listener feels the love the men once had, and they feel sorry for its loss. By the end of the songs the listener cannot help but feel a sense of determination to make their relationship work, no matter its condition. The repetition was especially touching for me because it made the man more vulnerable, as if he is repenting his wrongs by doing a simple load of laundry, yet it is not enough. Vulnerability is not often found in a man, and yet every one of these speakers is filled with it, giving them a lot of character.

In return of listening to these songs, I have come to see poetry as a form of art rather than a droning off unmeaning piece of ambiguity meant only for looks. No, poetry strikes emotion and teaches the reader/ listener many things.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Symbolism Prompt

In The Metamorphosis Kafka allows the beetle to be more than an insect, but a symbol signifying humanity as a whole.

Kafka uses Gregor’s character to represent humanity and all of its faults. Gregor is transformed into a bug as a way to further demonstrate to the readers the symbolism prevalent in the novel. As a bug Gregor is forced into solitude and loneliness, just as humans are pushed into their own solitude. Even with his family Gregor remained alone. Society structures itself in such a way that independence is not only encouraged but forced; Kafka recognizes this fatal flaw and points it out using Gregor as its device.

Kafka also utilizes Gregor as a tool to reveal the humanity’s cruelties, especially those formed from the solitude pressed upon society. Gregor’s family’s abandonment of Gregor after his metamorphosis represents the lack of attachment humans have with one another, and it grows worse. This solitude and unattached tendencies encourages humans to be cruel to one another, just as Gregor’s own family was cruel. His family would not even look at him, let alone help him in his dire situation, thus demonstrating humanity’s cruelties.

The many symbols present in Kafka’s novel contribute meaning and purpose to the novel. Without such devices, the novel would be simply an abstract story lacking any literary merit. Instead, Kafka’s acquired credibility allows him to unveil humans’ faults. He reveals his pessimism for humanity to his readers through his symbols. Symbols force the reader to think, and therefore appreciate all that Kafka has to say.

Through his own life experiences Kafka realizes that humans are prone to be lonely and in turn become cruel to one another as a way to maintain their solitude. This understanding is portrayed in his novel through Gregor’s character and by doing so provides the novel with purpose.