My trip so far…

Dear Stacey,

You would not believe the culture shock I’m currently having! My trip to Cancun has been a nonstop party and I have gotten to meet new people! The city itself is around the beach, which makes it convenient to go to and you can’t walk around without running into locals selling their homemade products. I actually bought you a Virgin Mary rosary; I’ll post it on Instagram later, so you can have a souvenir. I think you would really like it here and it’s not too late to jump on the next flight out!
I know you said you have a history report due soon but did you ever think you could finish it here? Basically all I know is that Cancun was a name derived from the Mayan population before they died off; It was on a brochure. You’re report will also look better if you were to come and talk to the locals; I’m sure they would admire us with their hospitality. It’s truly a blessing for the citizens of Cancun that we even come to their city! Honestly, they need all the help they can get. Being here for only two weeks I can already tell how corrupt the city is hence why I only party in the resort; you should do your report on this issue. But then again, maybe it’s not all bad? The beaches are beautiful that it makes me want to live here despite everything else. I would tell you about other things I’ve done in the city but it would be rude to remind you of all the fun I’m having.

It’s interesting, I spontaneously decided to go snorkeling for the first time and it was life- changing! I’ve been feeling rejuvenated and can somewhat see the potential this city may have if we decided to stay here. My husband would probably agree seeing as it’s a business opportunity to expand his company. Oh my, I can’t believe I let that slip out! I actually got married to Robert before arriving in Cancun; he’s just so tall, muscular, rich, obviously white, kind, and so many things I can’t think of right now. Anyways, I haven’t even told you the reason why I’m writing this letter but trust me you’ll want to hear this.

Apparently, I was told that Cancun is like a gold mine for eternal- happiness and I need a lot of it. It’s been a stressful year not only with my job promotion at Apple but also all the first world problems I use to victimize myself. That’s truly why I want to move to Cancun, it would give me a chance to pursue my passion in helping others and simultaneously look better in comparison to my work colleagues. You should let them know I’m extending my vacation time the next time you clock in for work. I also think the locals can learn from our American customs like our language, unseasoned food, and maybe privilege? Anyways, i’ll talk to you soon and tell everyone at the office not to miss me too much!

Much Love,

Stephanie

 

Review

This letter was written as a parody of Phebe Gibbes’ Hartly House with the intention of pointing out Sophia Goldborne’s ignorance when visiting Calcutta, India. The story is sectioned into letters addressing her friend Arabella, who resides in England, and would ultimately be basing her views of Calcutta through Sophia’s impressions. While some statements are direct criticisms of Sophia’s character, “first world problems” and “privilege”, I also indicated some phrases where it requires further analysis. As I wrote, “Being here for only two weeks I can already tell how corrupt the city is hence why I only party in the resort”. It’s contradicting how the sentence indicates a negative view on the foreign land and at the same time not learning about it prior to the critique. Phebe Gibbes does something similar in her story because Hartly House is praising a foreign land, which should be praiseworthy, but the effects lead to false attraction. The attraction Sophia feels for Calcutta can, and does, manifest into feeling insecure about her own English customs and trying to reclaim those. My parody has been modernized by replacing Calcutta with Cancun and also the two women for the sake of keeping some of the original elements of Hartly House. There are instances in Hartly House where Sophia discusses her “new world” experiences with Arabella but does it as a way to brag and prove her worth. My parody switches off from praising Cancun and the locals to concluding that the city is corrupt and needs “saving”. The overall mix of emotions towards Cancun, in Stephanie’s letter, suggests that without trying to educate one another or being open-minded we will never get past our ignorance; same concept can be applied to Sophia’s letter. If characters like Stephanie and Sophia were to learn more about the foreign lands they visited would they still have the same ideas they chose to speak? Literature of Power is an aspect that writers such as Phebe Gibbes gear towards; the purpose of writing a story intended to move readers emotionally. That emotional movement cannot exist if we’re not being honest with one and if we’re lacking empathy towards a group or setting different to eurocentric standards.

-Kristy Frausto

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Transcultural Harp?

Henry Derozio’s poem The Harp of India depicts an individual who is at their lowest point and ends with the hope of turning it around. While that is a general idea of the poem it actually goes beyond that if you consider the historical context. India, just like Ireland, had faced a multitude of challenges brought out by their colonizers. While enduring these attacks it made not only an individual but also a country silent. The title being a Harp symbolizes the lively melody so when Derozio suggests that there’s a silent country it represents silence in politics and culture. As stated, “Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain;/ Thy music once was sweet — who hears it now?” (2-3). The Harp is originally a symbol in Ireland to represent their fight for survival and adapting in a changing society. Since the poem brings up silence it may represent India not having their own sense of identity and having problems in standing out such as the melodies of a harp.

 

Having the perspective of silence in the poem suggests that the poem may both extend and complicate history. The issue that the poem meant to address was a country, India, being overrun by Europeans but can the same overshadowing occur with the Harp? While an excellent symbol for Irish identity it also does not directly come from India thus it complicates the history of where they derive their sense of identity. Within the extended history outlook the idea that finding a sense of identity may be challenging suggests that we don’t necessarily know how. We, just like the India people, have been conformed on what it right and wrong in society.

 

– Kristy Frausto

East LA, 2017

For my creative poem I decided to take inspiration from Wordsworth’s London, 1802. While the poem itself does not directly mention my hometown it still has key elements that would apply to my hometown. East Los Angeles is a city that is known for it’s high population of low-income households. For many of its’ residents it can be challenging getting by day-to-day when the opportunities of financial success are close to being nonexistent. The poem underlines a call to God because I wanted to address a highly viewed figure in my community and, at least the way I grew up, God would be the first thing or “solution” I’ve been told would listen. Additionally, the means of production was included in the poem because in a city where its’ citizens have to work nonstop in order to survive it becomes unfair when our “leader” gets to enjoy the benefits of financial success. While our leader enjoys these luxuries there are communities such as my own that have a hard time breaking this cycle of manipulation because it’s unfortunately all we see. Overall, the poem was intended to address that issue and the beginning of the poem was also meant to captivate the audience’s attention. It’s not a literal death occurring but rather a figurative death due to our placement in society. The placement of a community that has difficulties breaking away from our leaders’ policies because it’s what we have grown familiar with.

 

God! When will thee resurrect?

This world is pure chaos; one too many slaughters

A contemporary world full of red waters

So many sins that I can’t correct

Without the possibility of some misdirect.

You may be weary but we are not corrupt

We promise to not be abrupt

What we need now is guidance and equal trust

Because it has gotten too far

One too many scars

So many lives that can be pure

But instead they turn into manure

In a world where our leaders are obscure

About policies that result in destruction

We need to seize the means of production

Before God decides he no longer wants to provide

Any sign of stride in order to survive

 

-Kristy Frausto

Gloomy and Empty

romantic image 3Looking at the painting The Monk by the Sea I initially see a person standing in a vast surrounding that is gloomy and empty. This kind of perspective can be seen in The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman because the poem describes a mother who’s child will be taken from her and is going to be left behind. As stated,

“My child! They gave thee to another,

A woman who was not thy mother.

When from my arms my babe they took,

On me how strangely did he look” (139)!

The image itself can be seen literally of the Indian Woman alone since she was abandoned or it can also be seen figuratively  because of the gloomy and empty emotions the woman is feeling after having her child taken from her. Because the person within the picture is a darker shade as to blend with the background it also symbolizes how she’s being consumed by the gloomy and empty emotions. Lastly, there’s a lot of fog, or what appears to be fog, surrounding the image, which further suggests an unforeseeable future for the woman since these foggy details also obscure any other details, some that may be lively with bright colors or have a promising outcome for what she’s endured.

-Kristy Frausto

Similar or Not?

Within Samuel Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of the poem I believe the song does the poem justice. From a first impression it seems like the song may be too “aggressive” or “satanic” to even compare to the aesthetic of the poem but on the contrary, the heavy metal genre fits well with the aesthetic of the poem and it also tackles the idea of what romanticism means.

The more I listened to the song and read the poem I notice not only a lot of the dialogue similarities but how both work well with one another to illuminate the concept of the poem. The song begins with the lyrics:

“Hear the rime of the Ancient Mariner

See his eye as he stops one of three

Mesmerises one of the wedding guests

Stay here and listen to the nightmares

of the Sea

 

And the music plays on, as the bride passes by

Caught by his spell and

the Mariner tells his tale”.

 

Not only is the song straightforward with the idea that the Ancient Mariner will tell a story but what it will revolve around, a nightmare. This is important to notice from the song because the sound of the song, from beat and rhythm, suggests a nightmare and the poem itself illustrates the imagery of these perspectives by Iron Maiden.

In Samuel Coleridge’s poem he further elaborates on the nightmares by discussing elements of religion and death. The speaker of the poem displays himself or herself as someone vulnerable by stating:

“Alone, alone, all all alone

Alone on the wide wide sea;

And Christ would take no pity on

My soul in Agony” (59)

This kind of diction not only humanizes the person but also paints a picture into what extent their suffering looks like. As readers this idea of what suffering looks like differs but because we’re all envisioning a nightmare the emotions are mostly the same and that’s where romanticism chimes in.

A characteristic we may find within romanticism is a predilection for the exotic, the monstrous, the diseased, and even the satanic and if this holds true then it goes back to my argument that the heavy metal genre is well-fitted to the poem. Also, finding an interest in this poem despite its’ dark elements is another form of beauty because just as life is a natural thing so is death especially when concepts of religion start surfacing. Lastly, the idea of emotion over reason is crucial since romanticism strives us away from the literary structure forced upon us and encourages us to focus on other elements that are not merely the text such as the beat and rhythm of a song.

-Kristy Frausto

Anti-Slavery or Not?

From the first part of the image i see indications of anti-slavery. There is propoganda going on, specifically the man holding an image in front of the telescope,  that demonstrates the visual this man dressed in black wants his audience to see. The image he holds displays what seems to be a slave being whipped by a white man. To have that image obscure an Island of foreigners is a form of controlling the audience into what should be percieved from said Island. It’s been known, at least within stories like Hartly House, where Europeans go into an indegenious land and take over said land and that can be a possible reason as to why the telescope is being obstructed. However, does the rest of the image lean towards anti-slavery?

In fact this is where i get confused, and why political cartoons are not my fortay in deconstructing, because there’s other people in the image being protrayed as inferior without realizing it. First you have two “poor pats” sitting on the ground looking filthy and miserable. This is a way to demonstrate the Irish people who were once seen as slaves. To bring awareness to this issue is an indication that even in this time period eurocentrism was at large; globally. The display of children signing a petition to abolish slavery is also a way to criticize those individuals’ ideologies. Ultimately, this type of obscurness makes it so European people, specifically British slave owners, remain dominant in society and to do so by keeping the truth away from their slaves.

-Kristy Frausto

Europeans and their “Explorations”

Sophia Goldborne has wandered onto foreign land and just like anyone who runs into a new setting, curiosity ensures. However, what if the curiosity set by Sophia is done to not only show off her “edgy lifestyle” but also fetishize the foreign land? This fetization is dangerous because it creates standards to uphold and can be harmful rather than beneficial for those that are indigenous to said land.

In this novel when the East Indian Company, British company, took over India it was because of the attraction to the foreign land and it eventually becoming a Utopia to reside in. Additionally, these European intruders are implementing their own customs in a foreign area where such customs don’t exist. This can be seen when she states, “I have beheld so brilliant dazzled, and so captivated, and, like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput, find all the objects around me so diminutive and so mean, that i overlook and disregard them at every point”(269). In Guillver’s Travel, text being referenced, when describing the land of Lilliput, the main character, Gulliver, not only talks about this land but does it in a way to dehumanize them. Some words Gibbes uses are “diminutive” and “so mean” in order to have readers visualize what Gulliver is seeing but is that the only thing she’s doing? I see this as a way of describing Indigenous people and what is to say it’s in good taste? This can be a way Goldbourne perceives these individuals and it may not be the way they percieve themselves. Additionally,  these characters may be lying to compensate for their own insecurities. This rhetoric becomes dangerous because both Golborne and Gulliver are dehumanizing the people of the land they’re in and unsurprisingly, feel it’s their “duty” to fix or modify something that isn’t meant to be fixed or modified by foreigners. Also, it’s hard to trust the characters themselves since they will say anything to make themselves look well and if that means dehumazing those around them then that’s what will occur. British insecurities become the prime topic in both Hartly House and Gulliver’s Travel because the constant assurance that Eurocentric lifestyles are ones to uphold demonstrates a culture that is lacking in qualities that can be found in Indigenous people.

  • Kristy Frausto

Curiousity within the “English” Language

Samuel Johnson not only shaped the English language but has also proven that this creation is like many things European people create, not including marginalized groups. As stated, “Commerce, however necessary, however lucrative, as it depraves the manners, corrupts the language” (10). This phrase suggests that anything outside Europe ideologies can be a threat to the English language.

Additionally, Johnson has also built a dialect centered around his views and intelligence rather than considering what other citizens had in mind. It becomes an issue since we’re led to “live up to” the expectations of one man whereas a society should consider other viewpoints. In our contemporary world it becomes interesting to hear and see the slangs words and multilingual dialect in our conversations because it’s an opposition to what Johnson, typical European man, expects from society. I’m not inferring that having structure in our language is obsurd however what made a society agree with Johnson’s dictionary? If many people were not as educated as Johnson did they have an idea of what they were agreeing to when adopting the English language? For those that did not, what would our linguistics look like if given a translation of Johnson’s Dictionary?

Taking a look at Macaulay’s work, Minute by the Hon’ble, I see an attempt at trying to understand the language structure outside of Europe. He states, “I have no knowledge of either Sanscrit or Arabic. But I have done what I could to form a correct estimate of their value. I have read translations of the most celebrated Arabic and Sanscrit works. I have conversed, both here and at home, with men distinguished by their proficiency in the Eastern tongues. I am quite ready to take the oriental learning at the valuation of the orientalists themselves. I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia. The intrinsic superiority of the Western literature is indeed fully admitted by those members of the committee who support the oriental plan of education” (10). The phrase “I have never found one among them who could deny” right away suggests that this overview is not merely his own but others he’s observed but is that so? How can we take Macaulay’s word just because of the way it’s written despite its’ lack of evidence? He speaks as an intellectual thus it makes readers, such as myself, interested in hearing more. This pretentious way of writing is similar to Johnson and the way reader’s react to both has not changed, in my perspective. The way the passage begins is also contradicting to what the rest of the text say since he starts with, “I have no knowledge of either Sanscrit or Arabic” because it implied the author had no interest in looking beyond his eurocentric ideologies. The contradiction is also a reason as to why i’m iffy of Macaulay’s viewpoint, since there’s no evidence on whether the stuff he’s implying is true.

-Kristy Frausto

 

Utopia or not?

I disagree that human kind would be happier if it could think and behave the way the Houyhnhnms do.

While Swift uses the Houyhnhnms as a Utopia for what society should be like the phrase itself is, in my perspective, an indicator as to how ridiculous the concept itself sounds. It’s ridiculous in the way that it’s not something society can obtain; it overall seems like a made up concept in order to expose what is wrong with the way 18th century Europe was coming along. The attraction of the Houyhnhnms was that they possessed reason and that their society is envisioned through a common wealth, indicating a contrast to how Europe and the New World were. These two places are driven by authority figures and are constructing a society based on lies and demands rather than as a unit with every citizen involved. While the Houyhnhms’ Utopia is “as good as it gets” is it realistic?

This reminds me of 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes since his novel Leviathan goes further into deconstructing the idea that people could live in harmony through a common wealth. When people are put on equal ground they, according to Hobbes, will soon compete with one another in order to strive in society since they do not have structure in society as to how things should be run. Adding the increase in competition society may enter a state of war in which they no longer live in harmony but rather a contrast of the Utopia envisioned in Gulliver’s Travels. Ultimately, that is why it becomes crucial to have authority figures so that a society does not have to enter a state of war and thus have a better chance in living with the fundamental laws of nature in order to maintain peace within themselves and their society.

 

– Kristy Frausto

Savages aka “Colonists”

Rowlandson’s narrative only confirms the history of genocide that occurred in North America. She not only failed to comprehend what the Natives went through, since they were also victims of constant captivity and slaughter, but then she justified it by adding on her Puritan ideologies. It further relates to how the colonists used their religion to hide their true intentions; wanting a new world where the natives aren’t around and that their race should be the only dominant one. She says, on the Twentieth Remove, “I can but stand in admiration to see the wonderful power of God in providing for such a vast number of our enemies in the wilderness, where there was nothing to be seen, but from hand to mouth…But now our perverse and evil carriages in the sight of the Lord, have so offended Him, that instead of turning His hand against them, the Lord feeds and nourishes them up to be a scourge to the whole land”. This is one of many instanses where she asserts her own entitlement, due to the way she was brought up in society, to undermine the people not sharing the same belief system as she does. My perspective of that statement is that the Natives are so “evil” that it should be something disproved by God but because God is so “amazing” he rather takes care of the Natives. It’s as if she tries to show herself and the Natives as one by justifying their lifestyles in the wilderness however it’s always through a backhanded compliment.

Rowlandson’s rhetoric makes it difficult to sympathize with her situation because even as a captive she already has a biased opinion on the Natives and the audacity to look at a community of Natives, some that were also mothers, and refer to them as “demonic” or “savages”. There’s also that assumption that she had no power to begin with but rather it was her husband that “brainwashed” her; since women were still being oppressed but that’s not the case here. Her rhetoric makes it clear she’s not an idiot and that she knew what impact her diction could have. Ultimately, I sympathize more for her children for they did not have the opportunity to develop their own ideologies away from the Puritan mindset. This mentality of “who should be number one” still becomes evident in the contemporary world since the fight has never finished; it’s just merely transformed as to what we see as a social norm; a norm that white people are still dominant and anything outside of that idea will make the world stop turning. The Natives are still being run off this land and the current issue of the Dakota Access Pipeline further illuminates history repeating itself.

-Kristy Frausto