Creative Writing Project

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The Convict 2019

The warm light of the evening hit me from the side of my face;

–On the side of a hill I stood,

Happiness at the moment ever fleeting me while calm left my body

Through the freeness of my body there in the beauty of nature.

“Why must I leave from such safeness and calmness? Why must I seperate?”

My pained spirit spoke,

Agony struck me as I turned in, hope of fixing him fleeting,

The person in which laid in the cell; the convict; the victim

The thick beige walls showed the shadow of the victim

The victims prison being nothing but a dungeon in disguise

At this sight; I stay still

The outcast being failed by a criminal justice system; pity

His hair dark and not cared for; his back hunched,

His exhales turning into deep sighs,

His wallowing in the loss of his hope for the future

The impending doom of his life being over

Pity and sadness at this sight,

The body and mind dejected from care;

He notices me an anchor for a broken system

This hideous image lay in front me.

He withers emotionally, socially, and physically,

For he wishes he can change the past;

For his crime defines him, overwhelms him, he states

His views darken as for socially he is dead

From the group of those sentencing him,

To his dungeon he was lead by an atrocious malignancy,

All those that can soothe his pain not having the resources,

He lay his sorrows in a cold cell

But in his depression, he is consumed, in his mind he is stuck

His conscience his torture for he cannot bring appease to it,

In his agony he cannot reach tranquility,

His imprisonment being his life’s disease.

At night his soul cannot reach rest while these emotions press on his limbs,

The weight of these emotions being unbearable on his body,

For his sleep lacks actual rest with the memories of his crime haunting,

The wretchedness of the implications of his conviction waying on him

His chains being the walls that confine him and dull his future,

Cold-sweats beat on his skin trying to exude his crime

And terror strikes in his heart

He raises his eyes to meet mine; they sink in, deep into my soul,

A tear slides down his face;

Sorrow and silence is the only motions to occur

He proceeds to ask me why I am there

“Poor convict! In all reality, alone you are…

In comparison to you our states being completely different

For I the warden and you the convict; failed by a system

I am your brother and I share your sorrows”

Compassion fills me, but I cannot do anything by the nature of our roles,

My care cannot do anything, but if I were God it would,

If I had the resources to plant your future you would blossom

Review:

William Wordsworth’s “The Convict” is a political statement that tries to bring to light the injustices that come along with the criminal justice system and specifically; with issues regarding imprisonment. In my parody of his work, I attempted to conduct a contemporary approach in which the jailer observing the prisoner is sympathetic towards the prisoners situation due to him knowing that he cannot help the prisoner due to the failure of the structure of the criminal justice system. I wanted to focus on this subject matter due to the fact that back when this was published; this was a very politically controversial subject as it is now. Furthermore, it is one of my favorite poems from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s & William Wordsworth’s, “Lyrical Ballads 1798 and 1800” and its controversial nature I felt allowed me to communicate how a modern prisoner feels and experiences being imprisoned; but, as stated, with a more modern approach. This parody, like it’s mother poem, I wanted to be emotional by focusing on how Romanticism evokes emotion over reason traditionally, partnered with the employment of Romanticism’s concept of “senses over intellect (lecture notes #8).” What can be explained from my parody is that the jailer, like in the original, feels deep empathy for the jailed; but cannot do anything about the prisoners future and current state. All of this ultimately making the jailer feel trapped emotionally along with the prisoner due to him knowing how the system works by him also being a part of it. Wordsworth piece has notably been taking out of certain additions of the “Lyrical Ballads”; and it is one of the strongest pieces in the book. This being one of the biggest reason why I picked it; it’s controversial nature. This form of protest is powerful due to how it evokes loneliness, pain, and sorrow. With my parody I hope to evoke such emotions about the wrongdoings of the criminal justice system through the eyes of a warden and through a prisoner.
-Isabel P

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Derozio’s Political Harp

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio “The Harp of India” demonstrates colonialism and Irish influence through the diction used to illustrate the beauty and mysticism of then Harp through the Derezio’s viewpoint of it. The significance of him writing the poem is that of him being mixed race; so essentially him seeing it differently then that of other poets. With how sononimous the harp was to Irish culture in the twelfth and  late nineteenth century (O’Donnell, harpspectrum.org) the notoriety of the instrument is fundamental to understand due to the fact of the Irish being characterized by being uncivilized by the English this making the instrument more significant in the way the Irish saw themselves due to the beauty and elegance of the instrument. The instrument eventually playing a big role in politics and Irish culture as a whole. For example, Sydney Owenson characterizing the harp in such a way politically to speak out on social justice in the form of using it to discuss poverty in Irish society (O’Donnell, harpspectrum.org) What can be inferred by Derozio’s poem is that it’s a poem speaking against colonial influences that the English had with the use of the Harp as a vessel to point out the political shambles that is the English’s political influence, and imperialism and colonial influence around the world.

The poem opens with:

“ Why hang’st thou lonely on yon withered bough?

Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain;

Thy music once was sweet — who hears it now?”

The harp in this sense is used to speak for what once was an unimpacted land that once was free to be what it was supposed to be; this can infer that the reasoning being due to colonization. The instrument being used as a political form of protest to show this. The withering of a nation and a culture being shown through the harp.

It continues:

“Why doth the breeze sigh over thee in vain?

Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain;

Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,

Like ruined monument on desert plain:

O! many a hand more worthy far than mine”

Derozio continues the poem in this way to show how colonial influences have chained India while disallowing the country to grow by the harp being characterized as “Neglected, mute, and desolate  (6)” At the end of this chunk of the poem it can be seen how the harp’s presumed owner doesn’t see themselves worthy of the instrument. This characterizing the unworthiness colonization has left people with such an invoked feeling of not being worth of such beauty due to the injustices that come with colonization and imperialism.

Lastly:

“Once thy harmonious chords to sweetness gave,

And many a wreath for them did Fame entwine

Of flowers still blooming on the minstrel’s grave:

Those hands are cold — but if thy notes divine

May be by mortal wakened once again,

Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!”

The last chunk demonstrates a resurgence in belief of political reform to fix that of what once was; a “pre-colonial” mindset to a “post-colonial” future. This is Derozio’s form of protesting is by speaking of what once was in the stanza “Once thy harmonious chords to sweetness gave….(9)”, but his political thought can be seen at the end of the poem. This being due to him saying “Harp of my country, let me strike the strain! (14)” This can be seen as a promise that a resurgence in political justice for these countries, and peoples, affected by colonialism will happen.  

-Isabel P

SF 2019

(Parody of William Blake’s “London”)

San Francisco 2019

Through the narrow and hilly streets,

Near the coastline, near the bay

Every face that can be seen

Every face that I can see

Is marked with seriousness, marked with woe

In every cry of every person

In every child’s face there is grief,

In every voice, in every case of gentrification

The grief and sadness of a ever changing place can be heard

How small businesses owners cry,

Every new ‘hip’ establishment appalls

The sad sigh of San Francisco natives

Runs through every breezy overpopulated street

But most nights you can hear

How the youth proceed to continue to enjoy the city

Blast the child’s grief

And gentrification fills the city like a plague

  • Isabel P

Lonely

Romanticism relies on the spirituality and mystery that is evoked by nature itself (lecture notes #8). Both the paintings that we are presented with to choose from, and the book Lyrical Ballads 1798 and 1800 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, present Romanticism at its height of introduction and it’s evocation of Romanticisms attributes of culture, nature, emotions, the author’s voice, and various other attributes attributed to Romanticism.

“The Convict” by William Wordsworth portrays these notions employed by romanticism like the mysteriousness of nature and author’s voice. In this case; the painting Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), The Abby in the Oakwood, 1808-1810 demonstrates aspects of romanticism through it’s own imagery and it’s possible relation to the poem. The poem is a poem of a Convicts need, and dream, of redemption that he may not necessarily have in this; their time of anguish. The poem opes with

“–On the slope a mountain I stood,

While the joy that precedes the calm season of rest

Rang loud through the meadow and wood (1-4)”

Interpreting this into the painting the convict being on a mountain, we can see the loudness describes through the poetic piece through the destruction of nature depicted in the painting. This evoking loneliness, mysteriousness, and destruction through the poetic piece and through the painting. The painting is like the poetry, with eery emotions being actively evoked, the imagery provided by both supports this. The painting shows this through the gate being alone, nature seemingly destroyed through the tree, also the lack of grass, and the employment of a broken building. In the poem it can be related to the image, and it evokes these emotions, through these direct stanzas for example:

“The thick-ribbed walls that o’ershadow the gate

Resound; and the dungeons unfold:

I pause; and at length, through the glimmering grate,

The outcast of pity behold (5-8).”

,In relation to the this imagery above by Friedrich, we can relate it to these stanzas due to the fact that we can see the solaceness through the description of the gate, and the wall. This in relation to evoking loneliness through the mysticism of nature through it’s seeming destruction of nature itself through the image. This being evoked through the stanzas by the “grate” due to its evocation of loneliness of the convict who is in awe of their loneliness in the meadows and woods. Their depiction of a dungeon as they relate to being a pitiful outcast can be translates to how the image evokes pity, sadness, and the destruction of nature. This can be further demonstrates by these last stanzas:

“When from the dark synod, or blood-reeking field,

To his chamber the monarchs is led,

All soothers of sense their soft virtue shall yield,

And quietness pillow his head (25-28).”

The field presented through the image can be imagined by the reader of this poem, or interpreter of the piece and image, as a lonesome and a possibly blood ridden field. In relation to these stanzas this image depicts loneliness, in which the convict can relate to, through the dark colors, imagery that is just dead trees, dead nature, and that of a destroyed building which stands a gate. This imagery adding to the sense of lost that the convict feels through their pain through aspects of romanticism that relied both on the mysticism of nature and authors voice. This being obvious in the poem and in the image. Lastly, all of this imagery can serve for the pain that the convict feels in wanting to desperately redeem himself through all of his loneliness and angish due to how sad, and lonely, the imagery is.

— Isabel P

Is Music…Poetry?

Iron Maiden’s interpretation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is an example of the flexibility, and viability, of romantic poetry translated to the art form of songwriting which in itself is a form of poetry. Iron Maiden remixes and essentially summarizes Coleridge’s written piece.

Romanticism is the defined as nothing necessarily romantic, but as simply put by our lecture notes, is defined as being part of the “the sixth sense of creative imagination (lecture notes #8).” To further explain it was the rejection of social, institutional, ideological, and structural order through creative works (lecture notes #8). But, why does this have anything to do with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and Iron Maiden’s interpretation of the romantic work? Because Romanticism, with the use of music and poetry, and be communicated in a deeper and creative way then in  other types of art forms.

Romanticism reliance on ideas of nationalism and natures beauty; is employed by Coleridge in a way that it is poetic and lyrical. For example:

“The Sun now rose upon the right:

Out of the sea came he,

Still hid in mist, and on the left

Went down into the sea. (Coleridge, Pt. 2).”

As this stanza from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” demonstrates poems rely on sound and rhythm; that’s what differentiates it from other forms of literature. This making it a potential powerful source of communicating a story or a concept. From the example above what can be demonstrated is the stylization and the employment of rhythmic techniques that makes the flow to be more appealing to an audience. What can be argued is that music, in Iron Maiden’s case, is a form of poetry that is amplified through the use of instruments to further explain a story.

Though both of these pieces, one inspired from the other, the modern translation by Iron Maiden adds more to the story with the use of instruments like the drums, the use of human voice, and the guitar. For example, guitar riffs during a dramatic part of the song allows there to be more emotion to communicate with the audience. Since emotion is evoked not only through lyrics, but can be evoked by non-human sounds. Iron Maiden’s interpretation of the Mariner’s tale allows there to be more to the story due the employment of rhythm through the band’s voice, lyrics, and instruments. An example for this, this can be shown through the use of pauses in between telling the Mariner’s story and the use of guitar riffs through this lyrical and musical piece:

“She…She,

Life in Death

She let him live, her chosen one (4:09, Iron Maiden).”

This stanza from the song shows how strong emotion can be evoked by forms of romantic lyricism and poetry. Emotion evoked by a pause in the song through the addition of a pause just consisting of the use of a guitar. Also, Iron Maiden’s attempt to dramatizes the story is used through the use of rhetoric and after these lyrics have been sung; is shown by a dramatization by a prolonged guitar riff to show the extent of the situation. This adding to the dramatization that the Mariner was the ‘chosen one.’ What also can be shown by all of this is how poetry is music; just music uses instruments and voice to add to it’s story while poetry relies solely on word pattern and rhetorical devices.

— Isabel P.

Equiano’s Deeper Understanding

The Slave trade has been, especially when it pertains to the expansion of the slave trade which happened globally in large amounts from Africa to the North and other destinations, horrific. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano allows us to see that through Olaudah’s life story especially when it pertains to his faith, freedom, and reflection of his time being enslaved. A specific quotes that stood out to me was:

“…any person in whose custody a bible was found concealed was to be imprisoned and flogged, and sent into slavery for ten years….” 147 Olaudah Equiano

“…The false god of riches; see Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters…. You cannot serve God and mammon.” 147 footnote

Equiano uses his faith as a way to explain the inhumanity of the slave trade in his experience and to expose the possible experiences of others. As shown by the illustration in our lecture notes about the Atlantic Slave Trade; we can see the inhumanity of the trade with people being packed onto ships for months at a time; the architecture of the ship clearly showing conditions in which many could not be able to normally handle. The conditions being that of excessive close contact with others on ship, malnutrition, and shackles; just to name a few. To explain this horrendousness and to show that he is well versed in the bible; he uses it to express his emotions and thoughts. His use of English writers and biblical terms in his self written autobiography is used as a rhetorical device to show that he is a educated man and a man of faith. For the quotes (as shown above) from his autobiography show that he is a man of faith and, again, is educated. To explain the first quote and second, he knew, sadly, to listen to those who oppressed him although he knew that the only person he had to truly listen to was God this being due to his faith and how strong it is. Through this interpretation I observed his compliance knowing the difficulties he faced due to oppression. The reference used by him in the form of “The false god of riches” is a way to critique colonizers/imperialists who have made this assumption to themselves that they are meant to have these “riches” due to it being a ‘god given right’ this justification gives a false sense of righteousness that they convinced themselves that they have. This leading to a sense of entitlement by them; Equiano being able to observe this.

Isabel P

Alexander Pope and the Bullies

(Image #1; cannot insert. My apologies.)

Alexander Pope’s The Dunciad, Book 4 in which was used in dedication to his lifelong friend Jonathan Swift was a heroic like-epic in which satirized plagiarizers, the public, and publishers. Pope had a difficult upbringing with him having Port’s disease this was a very factor used by his enemies and critics as a form to demain him; it especially did not help that he was Catholic during Protestant rule. With these various forms of discrimination what can be assumed is that his critics with not having many ways to criticize his satire, other than demeaning it as distasteful and crude, they went for personal attacks towards the Catholic poet.  It further did not help that with the discrimination he faced, he faced these criticisms just due to his background and satirization of peoples he deemed as essentially stupid and illiterate.

As Swift warned, this being due to the discrimination Pope faced for being Catholic and not being able to live within 10 miles of London, he states:

“twenty miles from London nobody understands hints, initial letters, or town facts and passages; and in a few years not even those who live in London.”

This being a direct attack to those who attacked them, specifically in this case Pope, due to the rejection and constant struggle to be published by publishers. This being due to Pope’s use of satire, his religion, and his illness.

As shown from the picture above these motives lead to inappropriate bullying through illustration toward Pope. With the exploitation of his illness by characterizing him as a rapist essentially, and not looking exactly competent or like everyone else through this piece plastered near a brothel in an attempt to hurt his career and reputation.

To further continue in Alexander Pope’s The Dunciad, Book 4:

“When Moral Evidence shall quite decay, 112

And damns implicit faith, and holy lies,

Prompt to impose, and fond to dogmatize:)

Let others creep by timid steps, and slow, [465]

On plain Experience lay foundations low,

By common sense to common knowledge bred,

And last, to Nature’s Cause thro’ Nature led.”

All-seeing in thy mists, we want no guide,

Mother of Arrogance, and Source of Pride! [470]

This quote demonstrates his views on morality through is Catholic faith. Essentially, in my interpretation, saying that morality and knowledge is not essentially common sense. In addition he points out Pride as a culprit of evil. This furthering the point that the inappropriate actions of the demonstration of him as a not normal (by stature) person/rapist was a Prideful way to differentiate Pope from others only due to the reason that many disagreed with his form of writing satirically and his religion.

  • Isabel P.

Citations

Alexander Pope, 1688-1744.

http://www.ablongman.com/damroshbritlit3e.

Garcia, Humberto. ENG 102 Lecture Note #5a.Docx. 2019.
“The Dunciad, Book 4.” Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown”, andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/dunciad4.html.

Rowlandson and Gulliver

  • Isabel P

Satire and the Enlightenment. Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is a satire that is essentially a critique on colonial expansion around the world and specifically was chose to poke fun of indecencies caused by the greed and accounts of such travels to new places. The relationship between Gulliver and Lilliputians people is essentially a satirical comparison to that of colonial powers and natives.

Lilliputians represents colonial powers, although they think they are strong because of their weapons specifically the arrows Gulliver is afraid of, and with Gulliver representing natives. The Lilliputians are a critic of how small colonial powers really are and Gulliver serves to be shown as a submissive character that is supposed to represent natives. The power struggling seeming to be ridiculous due to Gulliver being able to retaliate because of his size, but for some reason he is scared of small insignificant, it seems, weapons. Gulliver is letting himself be treated like this because with his size we could assume he could do whatever he wanted against these small(er) people.

The emperor, with the ridiculous way of trying to defend themselves by having a small miniature weapon (sword) on him, seems to demonstrate the naivety of colonial powers and how with this irony. A small weapon and small man against a giant, doesn’t seem right, right? This parallels Enlightenment due to the satire of the whole situation and the whole situation is separated from reason. This example when compared to Mary Rowlandson tobacco smoking is ironic. She acts as if Natives are barbaric for smoking although she has done it too her justification being her past naivety and religion. Reason not being a strong suit by both oppressive powers to demonize what they don’t know.

Rowlandson with the Natives in comparison to Lilliputians and Gulliver. Although both are animalized, and taken advantage of, for different reasons they both face the sad irony of dehumanization due to wrongful entitlement.

For example:

“I took them all in my right hand, put five of them into my coat-pocket; and as to the sixth, I made a countenance as if I would eat him alive.  The poor man squalled terribly, and the colonel and his officers were in much pain, especially when they saw me take out my penknife: but I soon put them out of fear; for, looking mildly, and immediately cutting the strings he was bound with, I set him gently on the ground, and away he ran.  I treated the rest in the same manner, taking them one by one out of my pocket; and I observed both the soldiers and people were highly delighted at this mark of my clemency, which was represented very much to my advantage at court (Part 1, Chapter 2).”

As for what is demonstrated is that Gulliver has the real power although he is being held “captive.” And in comparison to Rowlandson; she too held the real power. She, even though, she went through her towns demolition by retaliating natives, but  she ultimately had all the power because of her ties to Colonial English forces. Because ultimately the retaliation of colonial powers sadly represents the animalization, taking advantage of, and murder of natives. Especially with the spread of ideologies demonstrating the animalization of natives like how it had been done by Rowlandson.

We Share the Same God?

Creative blog post assignment by: Isabel P.

We share the same God.

We mustn’t blame those affiliated. As you cannot see, that the true privilege is held by you. You hold our God and his words in your mouth to afflict those who hurt you.

For has our God not taught you? Has he not shown you through the dim that there is light? These natives didn’t do this because they wanted to.

A last resort retorted into your pain. Your dehumanization of these natives, these fellow children of God, as you and yours are leading them to retaliate. They are being left desperate with not another choice in sight.

We share the same God.

Losing your family. They lost theirs. Hypocrisy at your hand and you cannot see.

They show you compassion as a prisoner. You cannot find any compassion. When yours has treated natives as if inhuman.

May I assume that regardless of your beliefs; your actions when shown compassion by those you choose to hate; you choose to spread hate rather than love. This creating a drift in communities.

We share the same God…

You only validate your pain through hate written pages which you spread to the masses to further validate your hate, along with your and their exploitation of Natives.

Their rights taken away.

Now I ask this? Of you…

We share the same God?

Righteousness is his teachings. You use his words to slander and demean. You seperate yourself from them.

Why do you see them as a them. Not as a us. For your people too have caused them pain.

Now I ask this, again…

We share the same God?

As you cannot see through your pain. Through perpetuated discriminatory actions.

Robbing. Murder. Stealing. Natives have suffered this by the hand of you and your people. They retaliate out of pain. Out of hurt.

Your dehumanization of them perpetuates hate.

We share the same God.

But may I ask?

Do you share the same God?

Human Ethics?

By: Isabel P.

The Colonization of the Americas and the treatment of indigenous populations is something that has made us as a species question our ethics towards one another. Like the previous readings had us question colonial views towards indigenous populations, especially the normalized view of natives being that of them being of beastly nature only due to the reason that they lived differently with less “modern” technology, retaliated towards colonizers/perpetrators of hate crimes, and believed different religions. A definite influence in these views, actions, and literature were influenced by colonizers, like John Dryden, by Puritan ideology and being that Rowlandson’s narrative became widely popular this spreading this view further. Like, for example, the demonization of their use of tobacco for example. This making natives seem other.

But, is she right to be upset over her captivity and the losses she suffered during that time? No. Like the prompt stated colonizers essentially caused the mass murder, “The American Holocaust”, of native populations. And in her case she is just one person; to their thousand or more natives who died due to the greed of the colonizers. Human ethics has always valued morality. But, think of this in a philosophical way an arm for an arm; is only right, right? Especially when in comparison only her family members and daughter passed. In comparison to Dryden’s “The Indian Emperor” , Rowlandson makes her struggles standout in comparison to these people. She points out her pain towards the death of her daughter and having to leave her in the ‘wild’. I find it amazing that she uses her religion to push through and uses it to rationalize the death of her daughter. Although she’s grieving; why couldn’t she express similar remorse towards native populations killed by colonizers that she knew of? Especially with her knowing the pain of loss. Wouldn’t an ethical human being understand? Or perhaps she has the bias due to her being captive and her town being under attack. It’s understandable, but it’s sad that during this historical era, and for decades after, history covered up the cruelty of colonizers and literature like this was not given a critical eye; nor a 360 view of the situation. What needs to happens so atrocities like this aren’t covered up in history is to learn the situation through these texts, native texts, and by empirical facts that we know about that time period.