The Lost Entry

980xCredit: Glam&Gore on YouTube

The Lost Entry

Of the mystical creatures of the sea; their danger, their beliefs,

their customs. The author’s way of controlling the fate of

the monsters. His vindication of the mer-species.

0X May, 17XX

Although I intended to leave the description of this species to a particular minimum, yet, I cannot ignore the beautiful terror that was before my eyes. We were near the coastline of Lilliput, almost reaching the land that was promised to be gorgeous beyond belief. They seemed to glow from underneath their skin, vivid hues of azure and crimson that I had never seen before. I saw them when I looked out into the vast sea. At first glance, I thought that it was a trick of the light. But when I asked my crewmen to look out and alas, they could not deny the sight of these mighty creatures. We had no knowledge of what they were. Mr. Bates and the crew of the Swallow never shared stories of these…fish? Women? Fish-women? As far as I knew, they had never been seen before. I was the first to see their stunning gills travel along the waves.

My crewmen wanted to capture one of these magnificent beasts and subject them to queries about their culture and ways of living. They could not believe their eyes, that there were such creatures that lived in the ocean as human-fish hybrids. I warned them against this, as there was no telling what the consequences of such an action would be. Eventually, I was able to deviate their minds from such a thought, or so I believed. That night, they snuck out onto the dock and taunted the creatures. They didn’t believe what I had warned them of. We lost a sailor that night. All because they would not listen to my word. The captain’s word. It’s their own damn fault. These poor souls, we have to protect them from man’s selfish hand.

I must destroy this notation. Humanity cannot know what I have seen. They will harm it, make it as wretched as they have made themselves. I have to hide my discovery of these beautiful creatures, but I must also ensure that none of my crewmates spread rumors about their existence.

Whatever it takes.

Tomorrow, I must take the ship. I need to find a way to leave my crew behind, to leave them to their deaths. Those bastards did not even listen to my simple order, they deserve to stay stranded. There’s nothing that could change my mind. I have to do what I can in order to save these beautiful creatures. No—I must name them. Sea-ladies? Oceanic-women? Mer-maids? Mermaids. That will be their name, that only I know. Nothing can harm them, not with every memory of them being wiped away. Diary, I must throw you into the depths of the sea. After I do what I must with my crew, you will be the last thing to go. No one can know the mysteries I’ve found. This is the end.


Review:

For this project, I wanted to focus on my favorite novel throughout the course, Gulliver’s Travels. When looking for inspiration for what to write about, I remembered that an SFX makeup artist on YouTube, under the channel name Glam&Gore, made herself into a beautifully terrifying luminescent mermaid. Once I refreshed my memory on the makeup look, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about and how I would go about writing it. Following the same style as the different entries that were written throughout Gulliver’s Travels, I created a lost entry that exposed the existence of mermaids. Although all the action throughout the novel were an exaggeration, I wanted something to actually be true. The one thing that Gulliver encountered that was actually real, he would never be able to share because of his desire to protect them from the harm that humanity would inevitably force them to undergo. I wanted this lost entry to vaguely mirror the passion the Gulliver develops for the Houyhnhnms towards the end of the novel. I wanted his fascination with the mermaids to be the catalyst for his future fascination with the Houyhnhnms. Through the addition of this entry, I wanted to expose the selfishness, but also the care, that Gulliver has for living creatures. While he may not have cared too much for humanity by the end of Gulliver’s Travels, he definitely would have been one to take care of animal creatures whenever he saw them in need. I really hope you enjoyed my twist on the novel.

Esther Quintanilla

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Don’t Ask About the Harp, the Irish will Go on for Ages

Esther Quintanilla

Historically, the harp has been an important object to the Irish. Many believe the harp to be connected to their so-called “Irishness”. I think that this idolization of the harp in Ireland is valid because it saved the Irish from being considered barbarians. It was regarded as a symbol of status for musicians. As a musician myself, the respect of any instrument allows for my interests and passions to be taken seriously, especially as a great influencer of culture and society.

The poem “Dear Harp of my Country” by Thomas Moore focuses greatly on the harp as a symbol for Ireland and Irish culture. The name alone makes the poem appear as an ode to the country through the appreciation of the harp. In the first line of the poem, Moore compares the harp to a light found in the darkness. With this harp, the speaker is able to create light, freedom, and song, creating a major correlation between these three concepts and the harp. This is important to the identity of the harp because it allowed people to see the importance of having such an instrument being used in their country. Mirroring the idea of freedom, which was almost infeasible to the Irish because of their religious identities, was significant because it was able to give the hope of freedom to those who were in bondage.

Overall, the harp is a pretty cool instrument that was (and still is) very important to the Irish.

The States in 2019

Esther Quintanilla

(Modeled after Percy Shelley’s England in 1819)

An old, brave, crippled, despised, and wise immigrant;

Children, the seeds of their vibrant culture, who trudge

Through public sneering, — mud from a muddy spring;

Deplorables who neither see nor feel nor know,

But expect them to change their identity

Till they no longer have one, without a regret.

A people starved and ridiculed in the media;

A caravan, whom seek freedom and shelter

Make their way to land of the free;

Golden Gates and sunny skies promised;

Freedom in belief and Godly in nature;

A sacred wish, stripped away by red hats—

Are made impossible for any to achieve, but a dream may

Catalyst, to illuminate the future.

Shadows of Guilt

romantic-image-1

Esther Quintanilla

I imagined the painting “Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct”, by Théodore Gericault, while reading the ballad “The Convict”, by William Woodsworth. The opening lines of the poem alone are enough to make the connection:

The glory of evening was spread through the west;

On the slope of a mountain I stood,

While the joy that precedes the calm season of rest

Rang loud through the meadow and wood.

The painting is awfully breathtaking; there’s a glorious castle on the side of a mountain with a drawbridge connecting it to the rest of civilization. In the left corner, you can see the sunset beautifully taking place, giving a brilliant glow to the tree and drawbridge a beautiful aura. Contrasting this is the top right corner, where there are, what seems to be, storm clouds forming or the darkness of the night settling in. There are two men presented in the painting, one who appears to be a begar and another is offering help. While neither are featured in “The Convict”, because they’re both outside and free, it gives a good visual to the idea of the two men in the poem could be. Additionally, the man who is offering help parallels Woodsworth in the poem, who is visiting a convict because of his guilt. I would consider this painting to be romantic because of the way that it beautifies and personifies the sunset. Emotions are also a key element in this painting because while you are in awe of the sunset that is being presented before you, there is a period of night and darkness that is waiting to take over. The mystery of the night, as well as the beauty of the sunset, are used to add romantic elements to this artwork.

The poem, in simple terms, is about, who presumably is Woodsworth, who is visiting a lonely convict who is imprisoned inside a beautiful mountain because he feels guilty that he’s captive and wants to set him free. This poem exemplifies romanticism because it is deeply rooted in powerful emotions. From the description of the convict, “His bones are consumed, and his life-blood is dried,//With wishes the past to undo;//And his crime, through the pains that o’erwhelm him, descried,//Still blackens and grown on his view,”, to the great guilt that Woodsworth feels toward the convict, a man that he doesn’t even know the name of, “Poor victim! No idle intruder has stood//With o’erweening complacence our state to compare, //But one, whose first wish is the wish to be good,//Is come as a brother thy sorrows to share.” The powerful emotions, the regret of the convict and the remorse that Woodsworth feels for him is more than enough to constitute this poem as romantic.

Iron Maiden Meets Literature

Esther Quintanilla

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere is a captivating poem about the Marinere, interrupting a young man about to go to a wedding, telling the story of a wild storm and how it caused treachery over a ship full of crewmen. The crewmen battle with Life-in-Death and Death and perish in front of the eyes of the Marinere. The Marinere lives the rest of his life haunted by the compulsion to share his tale to anyone who will listen. Based on the tragic events that transpired in the poem, it wouldn’t be considered Romantic poetry. However, because it goes deep into the emotions of the Marinere and focuses greatly on the description of the wedding and the sea, it would be considered Romantic poetry.

Given the long, tragic story that this poem depicts, of course, an artist was going to make music out of it. In this case, it was the heavy metal band, Iron Maiden.

It makes sense, actually. All music derives from poetry, especially poetry that depicts an interesting story that has the ability to captivate an audience. The story that is told in the poem could only be told through the anger and drive of heavy metal. The heavy guitar and almost panicked rhythm of the song creates a certain urgency that is very evident in the poem when read aloud. I think that the rendition by Iron Maiden is perfect for this poem.

There are many similarities between the original poem and the rendition by Iron Maiden. Obviously, they both have very similar subject matter; they both focus greatly on the Marinere and his plight. The rhythm and tone remain the same in both of the pieces. When the action picks up in the poem, the music (i.e., drums, guitar) picks up and sets that atmosphere for the listener to really dive into the story for themselves. Making the song thirteen minutes long really adds to the effect that I think Coleridge was trying to go for, and it was successfully done by Iron Maiden.

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Esther Quintanilla

Olaudah Equiano in The Interesting Narrative references many novels and works in order to make his argument for abolishment clearer and succinct. As a former slave, he has a unique worldview on the different inequalities, aside from slavery, that occurred in front of his own eyes. In order to help the individuals in his generation (and ours) that never experienced slavery, he utilizes different texts to help us understand the concepts that he is expressing.

In Chapter 5 of his narrative, Equiano shares an excerpt from a poem called “The Dying Negro”. This poem, as the title suggests, is about the dream that African slaves had and how they were a cruel reminder that they would always be enslaved until their last breath. When Equiano uses these powerful words, he is sharing a story where he almost had the opportunity to escape on a boat from a ship that he was being held captive on. But of course, his plan was destroyed when he told a white man that he imagined he could trust, and he was held on the ship. However, he had a promise from a lady who was once involved with his former master, that she would purchase him and take him to live with her. This promise was unfulfilled, and Equiano was left on a ship that would soon set sail before the lady had a chance to save him. Equiano shares these words as an insight into the exact emotions that he was feeling: hopelessness and despair. He called for his death and longed to be in a place where he and his people are finally free.

“Where slaves are free, and men oppress no more.

Fool that I was, inur’d so long to pain,

To trust to hope, or dream of joy again”

These words are used very strategically, for the audience is able to feel the anguish that the African slaves suffered through for generations—all through a few short lines of a poem.

There is a power in literature that transcends generations. Although this poem was written as a fiction inspired by a deceased black servant, the pain that slaves endured is still very prevalent. I believe that Equiano “obsessively” quotes literature because of the power it holds. Especially in his time period, there was little to no real facts that were spread about the cruelty and mistreatment of African slaves; literature was the only way to make their pain known to the world. In quoting those specific texts, and other relevant pieces that talk about the morality of man, he is showing how important and urgent the matter of abolition is. Equiano is strategic in his usage of literary quotes, he is using them in a manner that draws attention to the idiotic flaws that white people have placed themselves, their religion, and their future generations.

Perfection? Not Even Once.

Esther Quintanilla

Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathan Swift offers an interesting narrative of Lemuel Gulliver who swears that the stories of his travels are true. Swift is known for using satire in his works to provoke thoughts that aren’t as popular to the masses. This is evidently seen in Gulliver’s Travels, particularly in that of the description of the “utopia” that was fantasized over by different writers and thinkers, much like Francis Bacon. Swift makes an effort to poke fun at the unrealistic ideas that are put at the forefront by Bacon and rebuttals his ideas by pointing out that if there were such a thing as a perfect utopia, humans would end up ruining it.

Bacon, in The New Atlantis, mainly focuses on the description of the seemingly perfect utopia of Atlantis. He stresses the equality, beauty, and abundance of food that is found in Atlantis and forgets that there can be other nations besides Atlantis. In his article, there is no mention of any other regions or nations besides Atlantis; Solomon even goes as far as to disguise the kingdom of Atlantis in order to keep it safe—“For the several employments and offices of our fellows, we have twelve that sail into foreign countries under the names of other nations (for our own we conceal), who bring us the books and abstracts and patterns of experiments of all other parts” (Bacon 1279). Bacon refuses to name the nations of which they are stealing ideas from, the reader can only assume that it is from Spain and the other powerful nations in Europe.

Gulliver, however, does mention a different nation when he talks about Mildendo, a so-called utopian metropolis of Lilliput— “Now in the midst of these intestine disquiets, we are threatened with an invasion from the island of Blefusco, which is the other great Empire of the universe, almost as large and powerful as this of his Majesty” (pg. 84).

Mildendo is the equivalent to Atlantis in this novel, but Gulliver writes about it in a completely different light. To contrast the description of Atlantis, which is described to be absolutely beautiful with high towers and universal language, Meldendo is contained by five-hundred-foot tall walls with the alleys and lanes only being twelve to eighteen inches wide—not very impressive when compared to Atlantis. Swift is, once again, satirizing the ideas of perfection and how some things just may be too good to be true. This is seen time and time again when Swift makes fun of humanity for needing perfection.

Swift does not believe in the goodness of people. In various works of his, such as A Modest Proposal and Gulliver’s Travels, he talks about how humanity strives for perfection but does not have the ability to keep it perfect. Swift pokes fun at the human idea of perfection and blames us for the lack of it. In Gulliver’s Travels, the philosophers would rather humans try to go to space than infect Mildendo—“…[our philosophers] would rather conjecture that you dropped from the moon, or one of the stars; because it is certain, that in a hundred mortals of your bulk would, in a short time, destroy all the fruits and cattle of his Majesty’s dominations” (pg. 84).

Swift is criticizing the human desire for perfection because we are unable, and possibly even unwilling, to take care of it when it is right in front of us.

A Complicated Narrative

Esther Quintanilla

Mary Rowlandson’s narrative is an interesting one, to say the least. Her story of torture at the hands of the Algonquian people brings up an equally interesting question: do we, as an evolved society, sympathize with her? Or, do we side with the native people?

I find it very complicated to find the line in between excusing racism and pure cruelty in the past while still acknowledging the consequences the followed suit because of racism and ignorance.

Rowlandson was a racist, that is just a fact…and so was every other colonizer (i.e. white person) in this time period. However, the Algonquian were being cruel. As far as we know, Rowlandson did nothing to aggravate the native people. Yet they still captured her, raped her, enslaved her, starved her, and forced her to watch the death of her child. This, in my opinion, is the greater sin.

This story opens a can of worms that we never expected to open.

In the modern era, it is easy to excuse the behavior that was evident in the native people. It is easy to say that the Europeans put themselves into a situation that would lead to their enslavement by the native people; some of would even say that they deserved it. We now know that the Europeans went to the Americas with the intent to steal the native land and make slaves out of the native people. We now know that because of this intent, native people were taken from their sacred lands and forced into slavery. We now know the horror and atrocities that were forced upon the native people. We never saw a point in history where the natives attacked and killed Europeans without being provoked first. We learned to sympathize for the native people because we never saw an instance where they were in the negative, cruel position. Rowlandson’s story complicates the history of intolerance that we have been taught.