Raven Symoné

Raven Symoné

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

El Papel Pintado Amarillo (idk why i did this)

Charlotte Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper follows the deterioration of Jane, a nineteenth century middle-class woman. Many take Gilman’s story as a gripping thriller, purely for entertainment. But, as literary critics delved into the story, something much deeper and haunting was revealed. Gilman bravely shed a light on something not often discussed: the docile and domestic role of women during her era. By showing the dangers of the submission of women, and how it essentially leads to madness, Gilman was able to point out the issues in gender roles almost seamlessly. So, why did this all happen to Jane?
            There are various instances in the story that push Jane’s mental deterioration further and further, but the one occurrence that stood out the most was her husband, John’s, complete and utter infantilization of her. An example of his treatment of her follows: “I got up softly and went to feel and see if the paper did move, and when I came back John was awake. ‘What is it, little girl?’ he said. ‘Don't go walking about like that--you'll get cold’” (Gilman 4). Through many quotes just like this, calling his wife “little girl” and more, John completely disregarded Jane’s intellectual capacity as an adult (which we knew was present as she demonstrated knowledge of advanced architecture various times throughout the story) and dumbed her down to the level of a child. Gilman represented the woman during this time as nothing but a baby, placing Jane in a nursery and giving her no control whatsoever. By doing this, Gilman was able to emphasize the absolute lack of independence and power women had, pushing on the obvious fact of the underestimation of women, perhaps her goal in writing The Yellow Wallpaper.
            This story fits right in to the context of the nineteenth century. With women as nothing more than a tool, a domestic slave used for elementary tasks, Gilman does a fantastic job in emphasizing not only the reality of life for women during her time, but the unbelievable dangers of their treatment. The Yellow Wallpaper is an amazing story that was years beyond its time in regards to gender roles. Gilman touched on the issues relating to women in a subtle yet thrilling way that causes the reader to contemplate the larger issues and assumptions of men’s superiority in our society. Technically, this story could be extrapolated to society today. Although we are amazingly close to gender equality, women continue to fight for their rights to equal pay and more each day. Gilman’s lesson on the dangers of gender roles not only applicable today, but encourage women to continue their fight against their age-old assumptions of domestication.

Works Cited
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. N.p., n.d. United States Library of

Medicine. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Heart of Darkness

            Many literary critics have argued over time about the nature of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: is it a work of Gothicism or not? According to Campbell, Gothic novels are made to create terror and to “open fiction to the realm of the irrational – perverse impulses, nightmarish terrors, obsessions – lying beneath the surface of the civilized mind,” (Campbell). With these points in mind, it’s clear that readers can assume Conrad’s famous novel is a work of Gothicism, specifically, a gothic horror.
            One of the major gothic aspects visible in Heart of Darkness is the clear gothic atmosphere. One of the most prominent examples of the darkness of the atmosphere is in the opening of the novel: “The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth” (Conrad 2). Here, Conrad contrasts the neutral sea with the tainted land, now dark due to the inherent evilness of man. The atmosphere touches on the perverse impulses that man has, which are actually evil, initially creating an aura of Gothicism. The forest shown in the novel is also a major representation of the Gothic movement, explaining it as “motionless in the moonlight was like a rioting-invasion of soundless life…to sweep every little man of us out of his little existence” (Conrad 79). The forest, in a sense, holds the secrets of Kurtz and his weaknesses in regards to his “perverse impulses,” one of the main Gothic characteristics explained previously. Other examples of Gothic elements in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness are the fact that Kurtz sees a ghost, a “nightmarish terror” Campbell discussed in her explanation of Gothic novels.
            Although only a few examples of the Gothicism of Heart of Darkness were touched on, Gothic elements are extremely visible many more times throughout the novel, making Conrad’s famous work a clear piece of Gothic horror. 

Works Cited 
Campbell, Donna M. " Gothic, Novel, and Romance: Brief Definitions." Washington State University. N.p., 3 July 2014. Web. 8 Mar. 2015. 

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness.NY, NY: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1988.

Lipka, Jennifer. "The Horror! The Horror!: Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness as a Gothic     Novel."Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rochester is ____? Joon Ooyoor

In Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, many times Jane’s love interest Rochester is seen as a hero. But which type of hero is Rochester? Many literary critics argue between Rochester being a tragic hero, others a Byronic hero. When analyzing the text, Rochester seems to embody much more of a Byronic character, someone dark and moody, yet brilliant who “sometimes hints of forbidden love,” and can be seen as a “wanderer” (UHCL). Through these characteristics and many more that come with being a Byronic character, it’s very clear that Brontë was influenced by this extremely popular Romantic-era personality.
Initially, Rochester’s “wanderer” characteristics are very evident and are announced in Chapter 11 by Mrs. Fairfax: "He is rather peculiar, perhaps: he has travelled a great deal, and seen a great deal of the world, I should think. I dare say he is clever" (Brontë 136). Other times Rochester is seen as a wanderer is when his trips throughout Europe before meeting Bertha are written about, where his promiscuous affair with Celine Varens is revealed. Rochester never can really “sit still,” he is always moving around from country to country, not even being able to stay at his own home at Thornfield Hall for more than a few weeks before departing again mysteriously. The wanderer that Rochester is just begins to classify him as the type of hero Byron developed.
Furthermore, Byronic heroes many times have sinful thoughts and like previously stated, crave forbidden love. Essentially, Rochester and Jane’s love was forbidden, considering his on-going marriage with the insane Bertha. Rochester simply neglects to think of the moral and legal importance of not cheating on his wife by marrying another woman, as he gets as far as the wedding ceremony before his secret is revealed. Overall, his lack of care for Bertha and their marriage, seeing her as “his burden,” as well as his sin of attempting to marry another woman while already married further shows Rochester as a Byronic character. Although sinful and, sometimes, hard to love, Rochester still somehow makes his way into many of the readers hearts as we constantly root for Jane and his relationship to become a reality. Brontë shows us that even the most careless and sometimes evil characters can somehow become likeable for readers in both Brontë’s time and today.
Works Cited
"American Renaissance & American Romanticism: The Byronic Hero." University of   Houston -   Clear Lake. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.
Brontë, Charlotte, Fritz Eichenberg, and Bruce Rogers. Jane Eyre. New York: Random    House, 1943. Web.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lost in Paradise

Milton depicts Lucifer in a very unique way in his work Paradise Lost. In lines 242 to 270, Lucifer exclaims his defiance against God and, furthermore, his lack of interest in changing. Lucifer truly believes he has the power to become greater than God. This shows how much of a high-risk creature Lucifer is. The quote, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” shows Lucifer’s unwillingness to better himself, and furthermore shows how strong he is in his opinions, even though they are completely backwards (Milton 263).
Milton shows Lucifer as a quite envious character, wanting to be essentially just like God, ruling his part of the world, Hell, as opposed to God’s heaven. Lucifer goes on explaining how in Hell, “at least we shall be free…” and then explains the positives of God being “out of the picture” in Hell (Milton 258-259). Lucifer is seen as quite obsessive in the given passage, so focused on comparing himself with God and heaven, and doing whatever he can to make sure his Hell is seen as more superior. Although Lucifer is clearly evil, he is also seen as an anti-hero that readers can somehow relate to. Lucifer craves sympathy, and readers, like myself, cannot help but feel for him. In my opinion, God and Lucifer represent a very common archetype of the “older brother,” or in this case father. God is always more successful, and is always seen in a better light, while Lucifer is stuck in his shadow. Readers can relate to this feeling of being “second best,” and therefore classify him as a hero, even if he has evil tendencies.
Milton’s Lucifer has made a huge mark on literature through his creation of a very unpredictable anti-hero. Milton’s Lucifer explored a new, unexplored area in literature that was somewhat revolutionary, as it completely changed the way readers rigidly classified a hero and villain. Milton furthered the idea of the anti-hero, and helped literature evolve into the multilayered creative outlet it is today.
                                                         Works Cited
Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. Scott Elledge. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 1975.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Toompoost, nina

Jake Nusynowitz
AP Literature
Ms. Howard
13 January 2015
            Shakespeare’s The Tempest can be interpreted as both a tragedy and romance. When truly interpreting Shakespeare’s final work, though, there are many elements of romance that lead us to lean towards the affectionate genre. Initially, Schwartz writes about “extraordinary occurrences” in his list of characteristics of Shakespearean romance (Schwartz). The Tempest employs quite a few extraordinary occurrences, most specifically the beginning when a shipwreck takes place: “We were all sea-swallow’d, though some cast again” (Shakespeare 2.1). Furthermore, Schwartz speaks about supernatural events, which are extremely relevant in The Tempest. For example, one supernatural being, Prospero, uses his magic to regain his Dukedom and punish his enemies. At the end of the play, Prospero longs to return to society and speaks about his now disinterest with using magic: “…I’ll break my staff, bury it certain fathoms in the earth, and deeper than did ever plummet sound I’ll drown my book” (Shakespeare 5.1). Another example of a supernatural character is Ariel, a magical being who casts spells throughout the play: “Then I beat my tabour; At which, like unback'd colts, they prick'd their ears, Advanced their eyelids…As they smelt music: so I charm'd their ears…” (Shakespeare 4.1.15). Schwartz comments on the supernatural aspects by explaining, “Romance is unrealistic.  Supernatural elements abound, and characters often seem "larger than life" (Schwartz).
            Lastly, The Tempest employs a romantic feel through its sudden “happy ending.” Schwartz explains that “The "happy ending" may seem unmotivated or contrived, not unlike the deus ex machina” (Schwartz). The Tempest’s happy ending comes with setting prisoners free, Prospero giving up his island, as well as his powers that allowed him to control Caliban. The conflict is essentially resolved at the end of the play and all of the characters seemingly live “happily ever after.” Shakespeare commonly employed these characteristics in his works, and The Tempest in no way lacks in being one of his most well-known romances to date.

Works Cited
Schwartz, Debora B. "Shakespeare's Four Final Plays: The Romances. 2005. Web. 14 January 2015.

                   "The Tempest: Entire Play." The Tempest: Entire Play. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2015.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Magical Realism

Jake Nusynowitz
AP Literature
Ms. Howard
6 December 2014
We are told we evolved from an ancestor common to humans. A wizard, Mermis of Atlantis, activated our DNA. Something not many people know was that Atlantis was in touch with the supernatural world. Atlantis was not forever, though. Mermis foretold the end of Atlantis, but few heeded his warnings. My ancestors chose to have their genes activated and imbued with special powers.  When Atlantis sank, we were the only ones to survive. Mermis became our leader. We rebuilt Atlantis deep beneath the ocean as our new home.
I always have this dream that I’m flying. It always starts the same, my lone body hovering above cerulean waters. All of a sudden, I am in total control, exploring the world, watching humans. You know, it’s in that fantasy where I feel completely safe. I’ve finally escaped the waters that trapped me for seventeen years. And then I wake up.
That dream was, in a way, always a fantasy, until the eleventh full moon of the year. It was a normal day; I woke up, had breakfast with my parents, collected four baskets of sea kelp, and raced Meranda around Mermis Rock. It wasn’t until I returned to my parents that things became far from normal.
“You’re going to land today, Meredith. We’ve found a beautiful city for you to stay in and go to school. There are many prospective humans there,” my parents explained. I felt my head getting light. I never thought this day would come. They were sending me out of the ocean and to land. I felt the sea kelp I ate earlier come up. But I knew it was time, and I was ready. When a mermaid turns seventeen, she joins the human world to search for a human man who can help her reproduce and continue her family. I just didn’t know they would send me off so soon. That night, I said my goodbyes to Meranda and my parents. Soon, the Transfer Committee took me to land. As soon as the sun came up, they brought me out of the water. I always imagined what my legs would look like, but I never actually thought I would have them. They were so long and beautiful, just like a human! We all walked to a black box, what we were told were called “cars,” I thanked them, and they were gone. I was on the road to my new home.
We pulled up to a beautiful house in “Miami, Florida.” As I stumbled to the front door (I was still learning how to use my legs), a man, a woman, and a boy were standing there, smiles beaming from cheek to cheek. “Welcome to Miami, Meredith!” They all shouted. They all shook my hand and brought me inside. This was my new home. This was my new family. They showed me the kitchen, the family room, and my bedroom equipped with a pool of water for me to sleep in. When the moon came out, my tail came back and without water, I would not be able to survive. They showed me my clothes and where I would be going to school. It all seemed to happen so fast, but I loved it. After getting to know them, I settled in, then headed downstairs for dinner. The mother and father prepared something called sushi. I did not know what sushi was but it reminded me of the ocean. I liked it.
That night, the boy came into my room. His name was John. He had brown hair and beautiful piercing blue eyes. He asked me how I liked it here. We started off with small talk, talking about school and friends and Miami. We couldn’t stop talking. We talked about religion and politics and the mermaid world and the human world and love and hatred and everything in between. We talked for six hours. I loved him. I knew he was the one. As the sun came up, he went back to his room while as we both grasped the few hours of sleep we could get. He woke me up and told me to get dressed. He told me he was taking me somewhere. I didn’t argue. I slipped on my new shorts and a shirt and walked downstairs. He stood at the bottom of the stairs with a picnic basket and told me we were going to have lunch. We headed to a park with a grassy spot that looked like it was meant for picnicking. We ate and talked for hours. As we got ready to leave, he leaned in and kissed me. I knew it was real. I could feel it. As the sun started going down, he told me we needed to get back before my tail came back out. We got into his car and drove home. I knew I needed to ask him to be mine.
We arrived back to the house to the surprise of our parents standing there at the front door with three tall men in suits. “What’s going on?” John asked. “Back away from Meredith,” his mom yelled. All of a sudden, the three men started walking towards me. They grabbed me and shoved me in the back of a car. I yelled for help, but nobody was there. It was over.
I woke up in a white room. I was tied up and had things stuck to my entire body. I screamed and cried for hours until finally a man came into the room. “What am I doing here, please let me out!” I yelled. “Hello Meredith! Welcome to the MCA! Here, we control disgusting creatures like you. We are a branch of the US government that works with mermaids, mainly. Your new parents were communicating with us the entire time and helping us pinpoint the exact time to bring you here and exterminate you! I appreciate you cooperating so well.” I felt queasy. This was it. I was going to die. My life was over. “Are you going to kill me?” I asked, my voice shaking. “Oh, Meredith, of course we are. And then, once we’ve killed you, we’re going to throw you back into the ocean so your disgusting relatives can see their dead daughter, their dead sister, cousin, and friend and know to stay in the water. Land is not a place for you things. I’ll be back shortly.” I couldn’t stop crying as he left the room. My family, Meranda, John, I would never see them again. I sat there, tied up, with my eyes closed and prayed. As I prayed, I heard screaming. All of a sudden, the door swung open. It was John. “Meredith! I found you!” He quickly untied me. “We have to go.” I kissed him and then we went. We ran. Gunshots seemed to be coming from everywhere. We made it out of the building and jumped into his car. We drove for miles until we were safe and could talk. He apologized to me about his family and told me he never wanted to go back. He asked me to be his forever. I cried and nodded, “yes, of course.” He asked me, “Where do you want to go?” I smiled, and said “Anywhere, as long as I’m with you.”
Five Years Later
We moved to Orlando, Florida, where we both got jobs at Sea World. I could use their facilities every night and we got to be together every day. We moved into a modest house outside of the city and eventually had a baby girl. We named her Mercy. We visited my family in the ocean every so often, and made trips down to Miami to show Mercy where her father grew up. We truly had it all. And I didn’t want it any other way.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fairy Tale

Two exquisitely curious juveniles were once dropped in the center of an immense thicket. Before being left by their abominable progenitors, one of the children left a pathway in hopes that it would lead them back to their household. Being dragged out into the boscage once again, the children instead assembled a different kind of path to lead them back. But, to their dismay, an unsolicited visitor consumed their avenue; one who knew nothing about their dire situation. Wandering aimlessly, the two juveniles stumbled upon a beautiful cream-colored bird and followed it to a clearing in the boscage. Soon, they discovered a magnificent home, rather a cottage, built of tasteful gingerbread and cakes, with windowpanes of sparkling sugar. They could resist anything but temptation. Famished, the children began to eat the rooftops of the candy-coated home. They couldn’t help but feel slightly selfish, but, then again, selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. A decrepit woman soon emerged from the woods, luring them inside and promising them soft, pillow-covered beds and exquisite meals. They comply, the wise fools, completely unaware that the hostess is really not only decrepit, but wicked and plans to cook and devour the children.
            The following morning, the conjurer sealed one of the adolescent’s in a rigid iron cage in the garden and forced the other into slavery. Feeding the trapped child constantly, in hopes to augment their weight, the witch prepares to indulge in the growing child. As the witch prepares the blazing oven for the plump juvenile, she decides she is ravenous enough to devour both children. The witch coaxes one of the children to open the oven and prods her to lean over in front of the blazing inferno. Knowing what the corrupt woman plans to execute, the child acts befuddled in hopes to get the witch to demonstrate her intentions. As the woman leans over the flame, the child thrusts her into the oven, slams, and bolts the door shut. The children emerge free, finding vases full of exquisite treasures and precious stones. With riches beyond compare, the children set off for their home.

            In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. Coming to the realization that their father’s wife had passed from unknown causes, and joyously finding out that he had spent all his days lamenting the loss of his children, they return to their home and the lives they once knew. With the witch’s wealth, they all live jubilantly for the rest of their days.