Death in Venice - Cultural Criticism & Reader Response Criticism
Reader-Response Criticism is a legitimate, proven method for readers to use when digging into the deeper meaning of a piece of literature; it's always a good idea to broaden one's understanding of literature by gaining a grasp at how others view the same work. And meantime, employing the use of Cultural Criticism as research into the meaning of literature is an intelligent formula, as well. In this paper, the two, Reader-Response Criticism and Cultural Criticism, will be examined in terms of reaching a fuller understanding of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice.
What is Cultural Criticism and why is it an important tool for comprehension and understanding? One thing it is not, according to author Naomi Ritter (172), is a structured university department established in order to examine "high brow" cultural activities such as ballet, symphony, opera, or art. Indeed, a big part of the misunderstanding novice observers may fall into as regards Cultural Criticism is when they see that loaded word, "culture." The first thing a student needs to do is get it out of his or her head that "culture" only applies to great literature, plays, great art works or classical music. "Contemporary cultural critics are as willing to write about Star Trek" as they are willing to write about "James Joyce's Ulysses," Ritter writes. In fact, Ritter continues (172); an authentic cultural critic is fully comfortable contrasting a comic strip or a recent film with a work of art by Picasso or a classic by Charles Dickens.
One of an alert observer's duties with regards to Cultural Criticism, Ritter explains (173), is to "combat old definitions" about what culture really is; in other words, one should question, at every turn, why some cultural works are revered, and why other cultural works are frowned upon, even scorned, as not being "Great Works."
In its online promotional literature about the Cultural Criticism courses offered, Cardiff University (in the UK) claims that "Cultural Criticism is a new subject, available only in Cardiff...[which offers] a whole range of cultural materials..." from…… [Read More]
Upon first meeting, Albert is not the most noble of men. However, we begin to see aspects of Albert that are more worthy as the novel progresses. We learn that Albert is quite devoted to his father Fernand. When the Count of Monte Cristo speaks badly about Fernand, Albert reacts in a very noble way, wanting to fight the Monte Cristo for the harsh words he has spoken. Mercedes reveals the truth of Albert's father to Albert and thus he sees that he was wrong to treat the Count of Monte Cristo the way he did. Albert has the humility that his mother possesses and he also has the devotion to his father, even though his father lacks certain moral characteristics. It is this juxtaposition of father and son, two men who though related become totally different men and it shows that men are not the sum of their parents. Monte Cristo thus makes an exception to his idea that all sons carry with them the guilt of their fathers.
The relationship between Albert, Fernand and Mercedes is important to the overall meaning of this work by Dumas. Dumas is showing how greed and lust for power has placed itself in the midst of people and how it works to drive them apart -- even family. Fernand does so many manipulative things throughout the novel, which includes sending the letter that condemns Dantes. Fernand never seems to consider how all of his treachery is affecting his wife and son and when his horrendous deeds are revealed, his family leaves him. The mother and son are now a coalition and Fernand kills himself.
Mercedes tells Albert: "Whatever path you follow, you will soon make this name illustrious in it. So, my friend, come back in the world, made still more brilliant by your past misfortunes; and if that is not to be, despite all my expectations, at least leave me that hope" (Dumas 1003). It is in these words, from mother to son, that Dumas is…… [Read More]
First and foremost, the doctrine of separation of powers handicaps the Executive Branch from maintaining the confidentiality and security of decisions during wartime as well as decisions in postwar and pre-wartime planning in connection with subsequent wars initiated, by necessity, in the timely and efficient response to the global War on Terror throughout the next decade, at least. Understood in relation to the magnitude of the threat to this nation posed by the specter of escalating international terrorism, the voluntary ceding of congressional power to the Homeland Security Secretary in 2005 was a necessary but insufficient first step in this regard. To ensure the timely and efficient prosecution of the War on Terror, we must dispense with the limitation of the Secretary's waiver authority to specific projects, such as fence-related matters, and allow the Secretary to apply it, as deemed appropriately necessary for the War on Terror by the Office of Homeland Security, to all conflicting legislation and constitutional principles in that regard. Limiting the necessary application of the Secretary's waiver to specific projects within the scope of homeland security unnecessary undermines efficient wartime, post-wartime, and pre-subsequent-wartime administrative efficiency. In effect, doing so limits the authority of the Secretary to waive laws piecemeal, such as by merely addressing environmental and conservation laws that interfere with fence construction when the real culprits interfering unduly with the War on Terror are equal rights, search and arrest by warrant requirements, free speech, and privacy notions that are incompatible with effective wartime, post-wartime, and pre-subsequent-wartime operational concerns and efficient governmental administration. Finally, we must dispense with the conceptual distinction between revoking inappropriate laws indirectly by congressional enactment of subsequent legislation and accomplishing this same essential goal directly, by authorizing the Secretary to rescind or revoke laws and constitutional principles directly by waiver. Legislation and antiquated constitutional principles that threaten to interfere with efficient wartime, post-wartime, and pre-subsequent-wartime governmental administration must be capable of timely and efficient redress, directly by the Secretary of Homeland Security rather than indirectly and inefficiently by Congress, as may have once been appropriate before the modern era of international terrorism and the vulnerability of…… [Read More]
Thin-is-in Culture, Mass Media, & Thin Body Ideals
Mass media affects the people who watch it. In the beginnings of mass media, there was no public research about how it affects people. In the late 20th and 21st centuries, there is now substantial research that shows that mass media affects consumers and that there are a variety of affects. Thus, it is not just that mass media affects people, we must consider how mass media affects people. Thin-is-in culture is fairly self explanatory. It is the elements of the culture that represents what is most popular, most trendy, and what is "in," specifically that excessive thinness is the ultimate physical achievement for women. There is a direct relationship or connection between mass media and thin-is-in culture. Mass media is often the vehicle by which thin-is-in culture is transmitted. Mass media is one of the biggest ways that people learn about thin-is-in culture. Mass media shows people what is in a variety of ways. Mass media also affects people deeply. Mass media often makes people feel pressure to participate in thin-is-in culture. The paper will explore the relationship between mass media and thin-is-in culture with respect to images of what the ideal body is for women.
The ideal body type for women, according to mass media and thin-is-in culture is one that is thin. A thin body is the ideal body in western culture right now. What is the ideal changes over time. Right now, in western culture, the ideal is for women to be not just thin, but also underweight. Mass media participates in forcing women to be this ideal, but mass media is not the only place where women feel this pressure. Mass media, instead of being the sole reason or only pressure on women to be thin, is more like an important factor in the social context that overall puts pressure on women to be thin. Park (1995) makes intriguing conclusions based on the changing studies and conclusions regarding how people react to media messages in social isolation. What Parks brings to the discussion that is new and innovative is that social influence comes from a lot of sources and that the social context within which…… [Read More]
Freibert; "The custom of using the handmaid for progeny permeated Israelite history and custom" (Domville, 2006). Legal documents that date back to the 15th Century BC support biblical records of that practice, Domville continues.
In another scholarly article in the University of Toronto Quarterly (Neuman, 2006), the writer explains that Atwood, and outspoken feminist from Canada, insisted after publishing the book that she, Atwood, "invented nothing" in her descriptions of the fascist state of Gilead. "There is nothing in the book that hasn't already happened...All the things described in the book, people have already done to one another" (Neuman, 2006).
But Neuman is quick to point out that not every critic buys into Atwood's believe that this dystopian is plausible. Critic Dean Flower wrote that Atwood's premises in the Handmaid's Tale is "...so lacking in plausibility or inevitability as to be embarrassing" (Neuman, 2006).
But back to the original thesis: it is the contention of this paper that much of what Atwood has portrayed could, in some way, come to pass (or has already happened). Indeed, power could be grabbed by unorthodox and unscrupulous means. And the U.S. Constitution could indeed be changed, altered in some way, perverted in order to justify the bold acts of a power-hungry president. This contention in fact can be backed up with the real world executive excesses of the current leadership in the White House. Indeed, and this is not about a violent coup de teat but rather the heavy-handed abuse of executive power, which, if allowed to continue unchecked, could change the way Americans live.
An editorial in the New York Times asserts, "Over and over again...given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House has shrugged off the legal constraints" (www.nytimes.com,2006). One example is the Guantanamo Bay Prison, where hundreds of prisoners have been kept locked up in horrible conditions without any charges being filed against them (which is a violation of habeas corpus, one of the Constitution's guarantees). When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2006…… [Read More]
Listening to the apparent vents reveals no sound emanating from the object; that, and the apparent lack of any internal source of heat both seem to indicate that the object was powered off only relatively recently. The sides and back area of the object feel like hard plastic to the touch. They also respond to the fingernail tap test in the manner expected of hard plastics, producing a higher audible pitch and less vibration and "give" to slight pressure than the glasslike front panel. The hard plastic does not have any specific taste to it, but use of the tongue seems to confirm the prior observation that the surface was warm to the touch.
Likewise, the front panel has no specific taste but feels even cooler to the tongue than to the hand; it also reveals a layer of dust that was not originally perceptible to the hand. A swiping motion of the fingertips against the glasslike panel does detect the presence of dust that was too fine to perceive by a non-moving touch of the hand previously. Nearing the head to the object for the purpose of tasting it discloses that the object is slightly charged electrically, because the residual static charge attracts human hair in a manner precisely consistent with everyday experiences with electromagnetic charges and common substances. The front panel looks exactly like transparent glass and it is attached only by its edges to the object, exactly as it felt to the touch. Similarly, the rest of the object appears to be made from hard plastic with vent areas on the back in the vicinity of the edges between the rear section and the sides. Viewing the object from the rear reveals numerous other holes, depressions, and pressure-printed writing in the plastic rear section. Twenty of the holes represent metal screws approximately one inch below the surface of the…… [Read More]
When death finally comes it comes as a respite for Aschenbach who is so far pushed by his infatuation with the young boy that he has no control over his conscious or subconscious behavior. He sheds his dignity completely when he decides to recapture his youth with makeup much like the bumbling old fool he had spotted (and secretly laughed at) on the steamship that brought him to the city. The journey from the derisive observer to the silly old hag is painful and uncompromising. The slow collapse, which drags Aschenbach from the one state to the other, is finally completed once death disintegrates him completely.
Like Aschenbach Gabriel Conroy's collapse begins early on in the story. The initial jolt he receives from the caretaker's daughter, Lily, is furthered at every stage of the text. Many of these he seems to bring upon himself. His hesitation over quoting Browning at the speech he was to deliver at dinner was unfounded and completely avoidable, much like the smart-alec like comment he makes at Lily at the beginning of the text. As the narrative unwinds Conroy gives the impression of being a rather nervy old fellow with a calm facade. However this calmness too collapses easily once he discovers his wife's secret feelings for her former lover a certain Michel Furrey who 'died for her'. Conroy is devastated on realizing that this young boy had invaded into his wife's mind at the very moment when he was grappling with a strong, new desire for her himself. But his fury soon turns into hopelessness when he realizes that this young boy had given up his life for Gretta. This sacrifice he realizes is something he is incapable of and thus try as he might, in his mind, he would always fall short of the dead young Michel Furrey.…… [Read More]
Likewise, Joyce Carol Oates short story, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? also involves a basic story of violence with a more symbolic meaning. To summarize Oates' style is to say her works typically mix the themes of Gothic estrangement and high social observations with violence being a central theme, often to a sensationalist point. Interestingly, she cites William Faulkner as one of her major influences.
The story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? is inspired by the Tucson murders of Charles Schmid, a 1960's serial killer who killed between three and four individuals in the Tucson area. Oates' also claims that the story was inspired by Bob Dylan (who she dedicated the anthology by the same name to) song entitled it's All Over Now, Baby Blue. Further, the title of the story is in reference to Judges 19:17 of the Old Testament, which states, "And the old man lifted up his eyes and saw the wayfarer in the street of the city; and the old man said to him, Where are you going? And Whence do you come?"
In the story, the main character, Connie, is a beautiful fifteen-year-old girl. While her parents are away, two men pull up to her house and ask for her to come out. The driver, Arnold Friend, tells Connie that he is 18 and that he has come to take her away. However, Connie realizes this is a stranger and that he is really much older than eighteen. Hence, she refuses to go with them. Arnold then becomes more forceful and threatening and Connie finally goes with him and do what he demands of her. The story ends with Connie leaving her front porch.
Although the reader is not told of what happens to Connie, because of the detail given in the story of Arnold's character, it is read that she experiences some form of violence. The reason the reader is able to make this connection is that Arnold represents evil, or even the devil. Further, the author offers the reader clues…… [Read More]
That dynamic was so familiar to the boy that he responded, probably automatically, by adopting the correspondingly appropriate demeanor on his part, as clearly evidenced by the following passage:
The woman was sitting on the day-bed. After a while she said, "I were young once and I wanted things I could not get." There was another long pause. The boy's mouth opened. Then he frowned, but not knowing he frowned. The woman said,
Um-hum! You thought I was going to say but, didn't you? You thought I was going to say, but I didn't snatch people's pocketbooks. Well, I wasn't going to say that." Pause. Silence. "I have done things, too, which I would not tell you, son -- neither tell God, if he didn't already know. So you set down while I fix us something to eat. You might run that comb through your hair so you will look presentable."
The natural ability of the woman - even (presumably, from her autobiographical descriptions), an ordinary woman without advanced education or training in adolescent psychology - to understand the importance of allowing the boy to identify with her experiences is also characteristic of a time period when (virtually all) adults seemed to understand how to reach out to troubled adolescents. The pivotal moment in the change in the nature of their relationship followed immediately, both as described by Hughes and also, specifically, in terms of the boy's response: In another corner of the room behind a screen was a gas plate and an icebox. Mrs.
Jones got up and went behind the screen. The woman did not watch the boy to see if he was going to run now, nor did she watch her purse which she left behind her on the day-bed. But the boy took care to sit on the far side of the room where he thought she could easily see him out of the corner of her eye, if she wanted to. He did not trust the woman not to trust him. And he did not want to be mistrusted now. [emphasis supplied]
Do you need somebody to go to the store,"…… [Read More]
The fact that 10 of the first 16 of the students who graduated from the first year of the course went on to continue their education at four-year colleges and that the rest were either attending community colleges or working fulltime strongly suggests that the program was beneficial. Even the fact that the one unemployed student was unemployed because she had tried to form a union at work suggests that she benefited from the course with respect to her confidence and her ability to think independently and to act politically.
There seems to be little reason to doubt that a program such as the Clemente Course implemented by Shorris is extremely beneficial in that it encourages poor individuals to appreciate education and to discover intellectual abilities they may not otherwise have the chance to discover. On one hand, the experience recounted by Shorris seems to prove the initial supposition that increased availability of educational opportunities of this type can be instrumental to helping poor students increase their self-esteem and their ability to achieve something of value in their society. On the other hand, the experience does not necessarily prove that studying Humanities in particular is any more important in that regard from studying other disciplines, such as science or law, for example. Ultimately, it is likely that any comparable educational opportunity would be equally beneficial under…… [Read More]
Space, Confinement, & Women in "The Yellow Wallpaper"
I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus -- but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad. So I will let it alone and talk about the house.
~The protagonist in "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" in 1899. In the western world, this time was a period of significant change in many areas of society. It was the turn of the 20th century, one of the most historic centuries in modern history. It was the eve of the industrial revolution, an event with consequences that would cascade for decades into the future. In countries such as the United States, this was also a moment in history when women began to organize and express their grievances with the imbalances the experienced as women and because they were women. Gilman writes a female protagonist that is, what we would call now, agoraphobic, but in that time was called nerves. The main character is a woman. Some of the more important men in her life, such as her husband, are doctors. They are doctors that seem emotionless and untrusting. For example, the main character's husband does not believe her when she tells him she is sick, yet he treats her for nervousness and hysteria, as if she is quite ill.
The female lead of this story is confined by her nervousness, confined by her husband, a figure for patriarchy, and she is confined physically within the space she occupies. She describes a lovely home, garden, and grounds. She spends a great deal of time in a particular room. The protagonist seems to go out of her way to convince readers that the room…… [Read More]
Meanwhile, T. was a different kind of leader. He wants his ideas to be followed and he led the gang to a dangerous and cruel mischief. The story also touches on the choice between good and bad as presented by Blackie's decision of whether or not join the destruction of Old Misery's house. Eventually, Blackie chose a purely egoistic choice basing his decision on the need for distinction.
Ironies are also presented in the story are numerous like how T. And Blackie burned the Old Misery's savings instead of dividing it among themselves during hard times when money is essential. Another example of an irony is how Old Misery takes care of his house not wanting to soil it and yet, in spite of his care, the gang destructed it. And towards the end of the story, it was ironic how the truck driver could laugh at Old Misery's misfortune.
Meanwhile, DH Lawrence's the Rocking-Horse Winner realistically portrays problems in life and communicates a moralistic message. The story is about a mother who feels inadequate and couldn't fully love her children. Contrast to Greene's story, it focuses on the middle class who lives beyond their means. While the young boys in the Destructors have already lost their innocence and have turned rebellious and cynical, the young boy, Paul, in the Rocking-Horse Winner shows innocence and exhibits understanding and generosity. As their family lives beyond their means, Paul feels the weight of their growing need for more money. It is his kindness that pushes him to ride his rocking-horse where he finds the winner of the horse races. Paul is exceedingly generous, giving all his winnings to his mother. It was his innate generosity that brought him his death. Parallel to his generosity was his mother's greed. When she received the first money from Paul, she ended up wanting more. Instead of being satisfied, she ended up wanting more.
Another theme central to the story is that of parental responsibility. Though Paul's parents were able to buy them expensive things, it was the general desperate feeling of need for more…… [Read More]
I had my hopes up for the exam and I was well aware of the fact that the competition would be tough. Yet I studies as we had been taught in college, in the most academic way possible. Yet now I realize that it was not enough. More than that, I know now that the world of academic studies is a different world from that of the practical world of politics or of the diplomatic practice. Contrary to my own consideration of my qualities, the grade I had for the exam was sufficient for the next step which was the interview. That moment though was crucial for shaking the reality which surrounded me. Although I wrote everything I considered to be suited for answering the exam questions, it was not enough. Now, years later, I know better.
The interview proved to be another important step in my life and in my preparation. It marked the moment when I realized that honesty and a free flow of ideas is not always the most important and most appreciated quality. I answered questions in a very relaxed manner because I believed every single work I spoke. I did not try to convince the Commission because I was confident that if I spoke my mind I would convince them without an effort. I now know that it takes more than self-confidence and belief in my ideas. It takes reservation and the power of self-control. It takes belief in yourself but also the ability to be aware of your limitations. But most importantly, it takes the will to believe in yourself and at the same time to convince the other side to believe. I know this now.
For that opportunity, it is now too late to dwell on what I know. But for my future career and for the road I embarked on what I know now is crucial for the future.… [Read More]
This theory essentially states that myths are designed in order to tell a story, or to explain how, through supernatural means, a particular event took place (Eliade, 1998). Using this definition from Eliade himself, it is much easier to discuss the importance of religious ritual and its tie to myths. Because myths perform the task of explaining what may have only been explainable through sheer faith without myths in place, religions are able to build a somewhat solid foundation for the members of that religion. However, no myth could be expected to merely stand on its own within a religion without some symbolic importance of the myth being demonstrated- this is where the element of religious ritual comes into play. The ritual makes it possible for a logical connection between myth and reality to occur in the mind of a faithful individual. As a quick example, for those of the Jewish faith, the lighting of the Menorah during certain expressions of faith is a concrete way to impress upon the faithful that the myth of the lamps that were lit as a means of survival in the classic Hebrew texts is something that is worthy of remembering in the present day. Lastly, the performance of religious ritual, it can logically be argued, is critically important in the modern day of technology, when people are typically jaded to the point where believing that most things that are seen or heard are more likely to be artificially generated by a computer than to be representative of something real. Therefore, the religious ritual provides a sense of reality to the myth itself.
5.What is one key theme of Sigmund Freud in regards to religious belief?
In order to fairly evaluate the themes of Freud in regard to religious belief, it is important to first acknowledge that Freud-based much of his theories on the discipline of psychology rather than theology. This being understood, a key theme of Freud's in regard to religious belief cuts right to the heart of modern monotheism- the idea of God as an idealized father figure rather than a strictly divine force that is out of…… [Read More]
Women's issues in Renaissance England
What are activities today that we still consider more appropriate for men than for women or for women more than men? Why do you think this is the case?
Gender equality is something that has been debated for many years. There are two sides to the argument about the equality of men and women. There are those that believe that men are superior to women, while on the other side there are those that believe that women can do anything that men can. In the reading Female Orations by Margaret Cavendish she tries to show both sides of this argument. She points out that women shouldn't do certain things because it is men's work, but that women do some things better than men because that is the way nature is.
There are many activities today that are still considered as things that are better done by men than women. One of these is fighting on the front line during a war. This is still an activity that has been deemed to be something that can only be done by men. There are many women that believe that they should be able to risk their lives for their country the same way that men can. But the side of this debate that believes that women need to be protected still presides.
There are many occupations that have traditionally been known as women's work and to this day still have this stigma. These include being nurses, teachers and stay at home parents. Although there are more and more men becoming nurses and teachers and even stay at home dads these roles have traditionally been seen as nurturing roles and better carried out by women. Just because women are more nurturing by nature does not mean that they should be relegated to just these types of occupations. Women should not have to suffer for the way that they are just because they are women. This notion can be seen in the poem Eve's Apology in Defense of Women by Amelia Lanier. In the poem Lanier says that Eve was just trying to share something good that she…… [Read More]
In the Vanderhaeghe story, the old man could have jeopardized his life and that of his horse just because he could not admit that he had injured himself.
The other element of courage illustrated by the story is particularly relevant to the stage of life of high school upperclassmen. By the time we are seventeen or eighteen years old, we are beginning to develop our own ideas about life and personal values. Sometimes, those ideas and values may not necessarily be the same as or even consistent with those of our parents. Joseph refers to the "difficulty of unlearning the things you were taught as a kid" and about his tendency to "backslide" in the "current" of his father's values, even as a middle-aged adult twenty years later. In Joseph's case, he has consciously rejected his father's definition of courage as something that necessarily (and maybe exclusively) relates to toughness, grit, and physical courage. Meanwhile, Joseph apparently agrees with his colleagues that courage is much more about moral values and convictions than it is about physical endurance which he regards as an impulse more appropriate for Neanderthals than for contemporary cerebral human beings.
The story suggests that Joseph might be having difficulty fully accepting his personal definitions of courage because he cannot bring himself to fully reject his father's influence during his upbringing. That conflict parallels the experience of many of us, such as children born into racist families who learn why those sentiments are morally inappropriate. While rejecting the wrong ideas to which we were introduced by our parents may be the right thing to do on a conscious level, genuinely and fully achieving that intellectual independence in our lives can be extremely difficult. Given the lasting importance of our family relationships in most of our lives, that may indeed require a significant demonstration of genuine courage, although not likely the type that Joseph's father would recognize. In fact, it is the essence of personal integrity nurtured by courage.… [Read More]
Where Connell emphasized myriad consumer items like silk pajamas and finely tailored suits, Lawrence highlights two items: the rocking horse that gives the story its title and money. Before the protagonist, Paul, is even introduced Lawrence attests to the significance of money (in reference to Paul's mother): "There must be more money, there must be more money" (1). Shortly thereafter, the protagonist furiously rides his rocking chair, which endows him with great authority; after riding the horse, Paul is endowed with a castrating gaze: in response to his "big, hot, blue eyes," "The uncle stirred and laughed uneasily" (4). Lawrence takes a complex perspective toward the rocking chair; while it supplies Paul with greater authority, it also makes him forceful to the point of eliciting trepidation in the other characters.
After the rocking horse episode, Paul leaves with his uncle to the race horse -- the parallel between the toy horse and the race horse is significant in that it alludes to continuity between the toys that one plays with as a child and the ways in which one "plays" as an adult. Additionally, Lawrence places great emphasis on luck; early in the story, Paul's mother states that luck "is what causes you to have money." However, although Paul wins an ample sum of money at the racetrack, it is not due to luck but rather to the authority that he has acquired from riding the toy horse. The implication is that by devoting oneself to boyish consumer items (toys, etc.) one can successfully navigate the adult "toy world" of the racetrack. Paul is able to manipulate his uncle into spending money with ease, to the point that his uncle refers to him as "Master." Through the alarming ease with which Paul is able to transition from the child horse to the adult horse, Lawrence wryly critiques the wealthy, "lucky" upper class society to which Paul's mother aspires at the start of the novel as being childish. Although…… [Read More]
English Literature - Flowers for Algernon
Though Flowers for Algernon is a fictionalized account, it addresses genuine issues, many of which are universal. Published in 1966, the novel reflects the less sensitive treatment of mentally disabled people during that time period. Allowing a unique perspective through the eyes of a man who lacks, gains, then loses genius, the novel is both tragic and inspirational, making definitive statements about high intelligence's great impact in some areas and lack of impact in other areas of human life.
How Has the Treatment of Individuals with Mental Disabilities Changed since Flowers for Algernon was Written?
Flowers for Algernon (Keyes, 1966) was published in 1966. In the 56 years since that novel's publication, the treatment of individuals with mental disabilities has dramatically changed in several ways. For purposes of this paper, the change regarding the word "retarded" will be considered. The attitude expressed through language has changed significantly. As the assignment pointed out, Charlie often speaks of himself as "retarded." For example, a journal entry about his mother says, "Why is it so important for me to say to her: 'Mom, look at me. I'm not retarded any more. I'm normal'" (Keyes, 1966, p. 156). What's much worse is the fact that a mental health professional -- Miss Kinnian -- apparently also calls Charlie retarded: reporting his March 30 conversation with Miss Kinnian, Charlie writes that she said, "At werst you will have it all for a little wile and your doing something for other retarded pepul" (Keyes, 1966, p. 31). Even official titles included the term "retarded": Charlie writes, "Then we're at the Adult Center for the Retarded" (Keyes, 1966, p. 48). Fortunately, there is now a greater sensitivity to the impact of words such as "retard." The most striking change has fittingly occurred in the professional area of Psychology, as the…… [Read More]
No matter which side of this debate that you find yourself on, there is one thing for sure the interpretation will always be up to whoever is reading it at the time.
The same can be said about which side of the gun control argument that you find yourself on; it is truly a matter of who you are talking to at the moment. Both Thompson and Desuka have made good points in making their arguments. I think that the stronger of the arguments was made by Desuka. Even though I can see both sides of the argument, the idea of controlling the amount of handguns that are available for criminals to use is a good one. Thompson's argument that crimes would go down because everyone would have a gun is somewhat logical. But it does not address the issue of the innocent people who get hurt and killed because there are so many guns available.
The big flaw that I see in Thompson's argument is that she is assuming that just because laws are passed that say everyone can carry a handgun does not mean that everyone will go out and buy one. So I'm sure that her logic that crimes would automatically go down is correct. I think that she could strengthen her argument by showing the amount of people who own guns in those communities that have concealed weapons laws.
The strength that I see in Desuka's argument is that of the fact that so many innocent people get killed because there are so many handguns available. It is bad enough that the criminals are using them not only on each other but on innocent people, but having kids and innocent bystanders get killed just because the gun was there is not acceptable.
I'm not sure that either of these arguments taken at face value is the answer to the ageless problem.
I think that maybe a different approach that incorporates some of both of these approaches but meets somewhere in the middle is better approach. Some form of controlling the amount of handguns that are available, but yet upholding the second amendment right to keep and bear arms is what is needed.
Bedau H.A., Bedau H. And Barnet, S. Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide…… [Read More]
Achilles is the most prominent character and hero of The Iliad. He is the pride of the Greek army, having nearly god-like capability on the battlefield. His mother was to have been a nymph and his father, a king. Both Hector and Achilles are of notable and prestigious births. Achilles killed a plethora of Trojans over the course of the war, and one of his most notable duels was with Hector, where Achilles, firmly having the upper hand, slices Hector's heels and begins a humiliation of his body that lasts for days after Hector is dead. Ironically, later Paris, Hector's brother, kills Achilles by shooting him in his heel, his only known spot of weakness, which is where the euphemism, "Achilles' heel" comes from. Achilles was capable of great rage and power during battles, and sometimes Achilles could not be adequately calmed by those around him, or even events that might go in his favor. The rage of Achilles is a central aspect to the overall narrative of The Iliad. Hector always fought in the war, despite his fundamental disagreement of Troy's involvement in the war. There are times that Achilles' feelings keep him from participating in the fight, and it is his feelings again that brings him back into the war, such as the case when he hears the news of Patroclus' death, a dear friend. Upon hearing this news, Achilles decides to rejoin the battle after having briefly refused to fight earlier. Before returning to battle, Achilles' mother visits him and brings him new armor made by Hephaestus, the shield in particular, Homer spends much attention to in its description.
Both Hector and Achilles are amazing warriors and both are tragic characters in that they are doomed to die. Both warriors have a great triumph that is shared: that they did battle with each other. Hector's tremendous fight against Achilles is admired and respected, and that Achilles finally kills Hector is the only way his participation in the epic battle between incredible warriors could be more admired and respected than Hector's. Achilles seems to have a greater sense of self and a stronger attachment to his self-worth as it relates to his war victories than Hector. This does…… [Read More]