I knew you were trouble when you crash landed

By Johnathan Swift

This one is dedicated to anyone’s who`s  ever been done wrong by a man

I went out on a boat

Gotta wife and kid at home

But I think there’s more out there for me to see…

It’s time to pack up and leave, get wrecked with some friends and

Then try and figure out where I can possibly be.

I guess my friends left me and headed to the west

They`re just jealous because they know I’m the best

An island to myself, this aint too bad.

Just need a honey to share this place with

This song for you too girl, don’t be sad

*Chorus*

With a body like that who needs a mind

Give in baby, it’s just a matter of time.

If you really want to do the best for your kind

Give it up, give it up, give it up, your mine.

[ Beat Intensifies]

Welcome to the land where the geniuses roam free

all of this to enjoy untainted beauty.

Even with all this boundless beauty, girl all I see is you.

…Oooo girl…

With that long flowing hair and a mane like a waterfall

I only seen you from behind, but girl I know you got it all

I’m running through these fields to get closer to you

Girl don’t be shy, show me what you can do 

*Chorus*

With a body like that, who needs a mind

Give in baby, it’s just a matter of time.

If you really want to do the best for your kind

Give it up, give it up, give it up, your mine.

Girl you know we were meant to be

Name one person here that’s better than me

When you turned around, your big brown eyes stared into my soul

Oh damn you a horse… I gotta go

Is this some kind of magic trick?

You smart and all but your body too thick

Man I’ve been played

I was in love but now you a beast

…. It’s time to get slayed

Come on you`re smart, so scientific

I know you want to be like me, just so terrific

I’m sure you can find a way to fix that face

Go on, be a part of the superior race

*Chorus*

With a body like that who needs a mind

Give in baby, it`s just a matter of time

If you really want to do the best for your kind

Give it up, give it up, give it up, your mine.

Maybe I shouldn’t encourage you

Go on and fix your face, you’ll still never be part of the crew

In our minds you`ll always be the yahoo

Yeah, I know this may sound mean

But there’s a reason why God only saves the queen

Dear, Reader

I pulled my inspiration from The Lonley Island Boys which I believe originated from the digital sketches on Saturday Night Live. The band uses topical humor and guest stars to introduce their brand of raunchy comedy to their audience. I tried to make this like a kind of failed love story parody that mimics the crude rap songs in today`s media. Although advocacy for gender equality his a very popular topic in our society at the moment, rap songs still continue to portray women in this inferior state. I compared this issue of gender inequality to Jonathan Swift`s depiction of the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos when Gulliver encounters them in Gulliver`s travels.

These lyrics depict Gulliver as a rapper of some sort and shows how he sees the Houyhnhnms as such an advanced race, but only through the mentality that they are comparable to humans. This reflects how these rap songs put women on a pedestal while objectifying them. It makes it seem like a man`s success is defined by how many women are attracted to them and the ridiculously misogynistic traits that they believe women find attracted. This is exactly why I depicted the Houyhnhnms as an undesirable woman who has been objectified by a man yet the man still craves her attention just as Gulliver craves the attention of the Houyhnhnms even though he still is unable to completely accept these animals as superior beings because he is still holding them to this standards scientifically advanced humans. The chorus expresses the notion that the both women and Houyhnhnms are both subjugated to the standard that mankind is the dominant species and regardless of their vast intelligence and advancements that they can offer the world it will still always be better if man took over the mantle as the superior being. The second verse is a direct parody of love songs and how girls are described in a really vague way so that all girls can identify with that girl being sang about. My interpretation of Gulliver`s travels and his interaction with the Houyhnhnms is that he feels superior to them even though they are super intelligent begins. If they are anything but white males he looks down upon them. This is the colonialist ideal that I try to portray in the chorus. Like women are objectified and thought of as something that you can own in today`s music. Gulliver looks at the Houyhnhnms in the same way. He expresses the Eurocentric mindset in saying that maybe if the person that he is directing this to “rather woman or Houyhnhnm” looked like him, he would except them. The song then dives deeper into the mindset of a European male in the 18th century by essentially saying if another race adopted the traits of European culture, or assimilated, then they would still not be accepted so what`s the point in trying to force them to. As we have learned throughout the entire year, forced assimilation and integration of European culture and language into other countries is a dominant theme in many of the texts we`ve read. These lyrics expose this issue and reveals how this never leads to equality, but only promotes more problems. As for the form of the song, it can be sung with any rhythm that the singer pleases. I did however, greatly admire Swifts idea to let the horses name fit the sound that horses make.  I did include a line in the chorus that alludes to the song not just being a satire about a horse-faced girl, but about the Houyhnhnms as well. The chorus is about how women and Houyhnhnms should give up trying to be a contribution to society with their intellect and basically let the men take over, but the line “Give it up, give it up, give it up” is also meant to mimic the galloping rhythm of a horse. Overall, the piece is meant to be considered from the egotistical point of view of Gulliver arriving in every land and expecting to be praised for his status as a white European male; this idea is also made obvious with the closing line which refers to British royalty.

-Kamani Morrow

Harping in India

 

The significance of the harp contains a duality within itself. On one hand, it is a symbol of aristocracy and Refined taste. However, in writing about it as something that acts as a savior from barbaric costumes or a molder of status, the poem becomes a harp, a verb meaning that this is a long rant to defeat the ignorant understanding of their nations people. In Henry Derozio`s poem, “The Harp of India” he highlights the turmoil of a colonized nation without a voice. Like Ireland, “after the conquest of the country by the Normans, identified the skill of the Irish harpers as the sole redeeming characteristic of an otherwise barbaric race.” This poem gives a voice to India, as the poem reverses the harps meaning of creating a higher class individual from a barbarous culture, to showing how their beautiful culture had been destroyed. In this viewpoint, Derozio is sharing the view of the colonized public. He is expressing how they have been wronged by people who thought that taking over their land would make things better.

The poem seems to personify England colonization of a fatal mistress of some kind. In the line “Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain” silence is portrayed as the aforementioned sinister entity, however, it is clear that this silenced is caused by the imperialist tendencies of England. India is bound by this colonization and they have no choice but to adapt to their conquerors language. Thus, the song of the harp is silenced by the boundaries set by the English. The poem serves as a harp to bear the speakers grievances with the overtaking of their land but also an ode to the beauty that once occupied the region when the speaker says “Once thy harmonious chords to sweetness gave.” Considering the political cartoons that we have examined in the past, many people pictured unconquered and exotic lands pure and beautiful, although still considering its residents barbaric. However, colonialist viewed the land as a vessel of untapped potential, where they can help through technological advancement. Of course pollution, war and politics was the result of this, leaving the residents poor, sick and miserable. The land is from then on, marked as one with the delusion of liberty in a desolate land. The real freedom, in fact comes from the joy that was once there, existing in the natural beauty of the land and its people.

Therefore, overall the poem spears to be a way for the author to let the public know that the harp, as a symbol of aristocracy or high class, is not representative of the colonized nation. It is not the colonizers that allow the nations beauty to shine through and, in a sense, polish the harps bow. It is in fact, the pure and untainted beauty of the land and its people that deserves to be represented by the harp. It is the natural radiance of the land that allows the song to flow joyously. It is only when the land is taken over and turned into an industrial waste land where the native people are chained to this belief that this English standard of beauty and correctness, which is what the harp seems to represent for the colonist, is when the strings are plucked from the bow and the music ceases.

-Kamani Morrow

Inglewood,2017

 

People once took to the cosmopolitan street as it bustled

And true colors were shown on the curb

Now their feathers have been rustled

The city has fallen further from a suburb

 

All people of different sizes, ages and race

Witness the change of a nation

Unfortunately, some learn at a slower pace

What is the cause for this occasion?

 

March to praise diversity

Fight for your neighbor

Stand up against the fear of adversity

Equality shouldn’t be an act of labor

 

Consider this a way to help them awaken

Not an act of rage or retaliation

Of course tragedy strikes when a cause is mistaken

Witness the change of a nation

 

In this poem I tried to capture how politics has affected where I live back home with my family. My family has lived in Inglewood for generations and many of them are still alive to testify to the drastic change in the city. Although, because of the time period, my grandmother never witnessed her neighborhood I Inglewood being all inclusive. It still remains the charm of a quiet street today but a lot more diversity has been added. Every now and then violence spills out into the neighborhood, but all cities have this issue every once in a while. Sadly, the riots and racial violence is a direct result of political ideals that have become very prominent in the media. In this poem I tried to depict how living in this political strife has affected my neighborhood compared to how it used to be. The black lives matter movement is the one that I tried to depict here because it had a momentous effect on the population. There have been multiple marches, protests and riots in this area which I will go further into detail about in my revision and I will also talk about how this movement has been mistaken as one that is inherently violent, aggressive and down putting towards other races and police while viewing the All rights matter movement as a retaliation to this idea because it has also been misinterpreted.  In lieu of the poem that mine is mimicking, both Blake and I describe our regions as contrary to what they are popularized as. London is seen as extremely glamorous but he reveals its gritty underbelly. While Inglewood has a stigma against it that classifies it as an extremely dangerous area. However, I tried to stay away from that image and emphasized the idea of peaceful protest and living. Also I mimicked Blake`s abab rhyme scheme and style.

-Kamani Morrow

Imitating Greek Art

I know that this may seem far-fetched, but the first thing that came to my mind when looking at each of these pictures where the ruins of ancient Greece. After seeing the blending of light and color depicted in each picture, they seemed to portray a moment where heaven meets the Earth, or better yet where the mythical Greek Gods are able to reign over their territory. As Zeus can summon a flash of light in the first picture from the bottom, Poseidon reigns over the sea in the next and Hades declares his domain as the sun attempts to rise in the third depiction. The thought of these pictures being inspired by Grecian myths isn’t far-fetched however, in the last picture as it depicts muscular men swimming naked and distinct architecture like the bridge and buildings in the distance which are widely recognized as characteristics of Greek art.

In relation to romantic poetry, it is important to recognize that both William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge were known to have taken inspiration from Ancient Greece. At Hawkshead Grammar School, Wordsworth was educated in Greek and Latin as part of his general education. At Christ’s Hospital school in London, Coleridge was discovered reading Virgil for pleasure and was made a Grecian. Both poets from the romantic era have found inspiration in the architecture and myths that ancient Greece provided.

Particularly, “We are Seven” by William Wordsworth emulates the family dynamics, tragedy and divine myths of ancient Greece. In correlation with the third picture entitled, The Abby in the Oakwood, 1808-1810 by Caspar David Friedrich, “We are Seven” also depicts a tragedy that is made better by the promise of heaven after death.

“But they are dead; those two are dead!

“Their spirits are in heaven!”

‘Twas throwing words away; for still

The little Maid would have her will,

And said, “Nay, we are seven!”

In this stanza death is made apparent and is dramatized as something that is final and extremely tragic. The next line that brings forth the option of heaven and continuance of life helps the person dealing with death and fills the reader with optimism and light. The picture does the same thing. The two share a tone that brings hope to the promise of peace after death. The light shining over, what seems to be a decaying church or cemetery makes it seems as if heaven is opening up to accept spirits into its gates. Thus religious imagery and the promise of divinity in death plays a very large role in both pieces.

-Kamani Morrow

Dedication to the Story

The tone of the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Coleridge begins with a protest of hearing the man`s story about the mariner`s time at sea. It`s filled with panic and an abrupt redirection from one story, about a wedding, to another within that story that revolves around the ancient mariner. I believe that the song, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Iron Maiden begins the same way. The tone of voice is loud and seemingly unwelcoming to the listener. However, the song continues and the combination between its astonishing length and tone puts you in a trance-like state where it becomes meditative and you begin to focus on the song as it is, instead of the poem that is being discussed in the song. As in the poem, the protests stop and the wedding guest eventually gives in to listening to the man`s story. Thus, the poem transforms from a kind of meta-tale into the focus being on the tale of the ancient mariner alone.  This transformation occurs in the poem rather subtly where it is written,

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,

Yet he cannot choose but hear;

And thus spake on that ancient man,

The bright-eyed Mariner.

 

And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he

Was tyrannous and strong:

He struck with his o’ertaking wings,

And chased us south along.

The wedding guest, as “he beats his chest” marks his last effort to refuse to listen to the story of the mariner. The man promptly avoids giving way to the guests’ objections by raising his voice in in the following stanza, which also shows a testament to how strongly he believes in his story and how desperately he wants to share it. Perhaps it is his commitment to listening to the story that prevents him from living, or the physical embrace that the man has on him. Either way his final attempt is proven futile. The song mimics this resilience through the its length. The same effect occurs when someone listens to the song. They become invested in hearing the story and the rhythm just as much as the wedding guest becomes invested in this story that the old man is telling.

Also, as the picture of the dead bird shows in the video, it becomes clear that the mariners action of killing the bird is to blame for all of the death at sea. Even though they had no water and were at sea for an extended amount of time as mentioned in the poem, the song still makes it seem like the main cause of death was a curse from killing the bird. The delirious state of mind and the crews famished state isn’t given any credit to their demise. Perhaps this is the most blatant comparison that can be made between the song and the romantic genre, which in the class survey, was described as the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. This is extremely apparent in this song seeing as reason and rationality does not appear in the lyrics as a valid excuse for the crews’ death. In the picture, the dead bird and the curse that he unleashes seems to be the main reason for everything going wrong at sea. It is however, this powerful impulse that occurs when you believe something despite not having any logic to support it. The man telling the story is most- likely just insane but he has the same commitment to telling the story that this man and the audience of the song have when listening to it that is most likely brought on by sea madness that blinds the mariner to the rational truth. Thus, the song becomes a lot more gruesome and creepy than the poem because it focuses on the death of the bird and we don’t get the full story. Thus, both the song and the poem express this spontaneous outburst of emotion which grasps the audience by at first introducing a harsh tone, then compelling them to continue listening to the story as it enchants the audience with the strong sense of dedication to the story, which is a characteristic of the romantic genre.

-Kamani Morrow

The Future of the Ecosystem and Humanity`s Past(Extra Credit)

Sustainability, as the main topic of discussion in Professor Robert Markley`s lecture “After sustainability: (The future) Histories of climate change” poses an important connection between the oppression of different cultures throughout human history and the mistreatment of distinct ecosystems around the world. Professor Markley began his talk by offering two separate visions of this planets future in sustainability. He asks, “What do we envision being sustained?” First he proposes the idea that mankind wants to sustain the earth as a whole. As an alternative he presents the notion that mankind would rather preserve the productivity of the natural world so that we can maintain, improve and extend first world standards of living. The latter is an incredibly colonialist mentality in my perspective.

Instead of human beings living in harmony with the undisturbed balance of nature, we feel the need to want to transform it into something that we consider “better.” Based on the political cartoons that we analyzed for the previous blog post, it seems as if humans are to the environment what European colonialist are to the victims of imperialism. One of the pictures depicted the Anglo –Saxon settlers as living in turmoil. Despite their technological advancements, governmental order, and political power they are portrayed as sad and poor individuals who liv in squalor. The setting is glum and lifeless despite the presence of buildings which emphasis their development in juxtaposition to the native’s land on the other side of the picture. The natives seem happy and free. More importantly, their land is untouched and not disturbed by the shelter that the natives have built and the food that they eat. Instead of altering their environment to allow them to live in a better and more civilized society. The natives used the resources that they were given coexist with the land. In doing so, they were able to sustain the beauty and purity of the land.

The most prominent point that intrigued me the most about Professor Markley`s lecture was how he mentioned in William Damipier`s map of the pacific trade winds, which was made in 1709, shows how land that appears along the same latitude lines contain and sustain the same plants and animal. Not only does Markely touch on the subject of slave transportation with this information, it also served as an interesting interpretation of the political cartoons spatial imagery. The picture by the unknown artist, depicting the two opposing lands so close together grew more significant as I learned that species that grow along the same latitude lines can thrive even thousands of miles apart. This interested me because it seemed as if the artist was showing how it isn’t he land that is unkind to the natives when they are transported. It is the people who ruin that land and oppress the natives. This is the warning that Markely`s talk contained. Sustainability is a matter of maintaining nature in the state that it is in naturally. Instead of trying to make something better by transforming it into something else, we should co-exsist with the environment and help it thrive as it naturally is meant to do.

-Kamani Morrow

Slavery of Mankind

The political picture shown above by an unknown artist appears to be an anti-slavery depiction at first glance. However, through further examination of the picture it becomes clear that the picture is more of a campaign for that white man deserve all of the freedom that unowned Africans have. The cartoon depicts happy Africans sitting under a tree happily with their families. Their only cares seem to come from what they will eat that day and how they are living. This cartoon portrays the laws and rules of a developed society as a type of oppressing subjugation. Therefore, the artist makes it seem as if white men who are privileged over other races are still slaves to the documents such as the Bill of Rights and Magna Carta which are put in place to prevent societal chaos. This picture shows the life pf an American man as oppressed and unfair because they are slaves to an authority that is greater than them.

Without intention, the only thing that this picture made me think of is white privilege. It is interesting how those in a position of power are still able to find something to complain about. This attitude results in those in a position of power only focussing on their own troubles and strife. Thus, they become ignorant to the plight of others. Perhaps the artists intention was to call attention to this phenomenon and help us to understand that everyone suffers, it is ignorance and selfishness that makes us blind to the plight of others. As the man in the cartoon suffers there is an outside point of view that sees the Africans having fun. Thus, from this perspective it seems like the white man is being punished for working hard and essentially slaving away, while the Africans live a care free life without doing anything to ultimately help advance their society. This is a seriously twisted and radical point of view, especially because it takes one of the worst aspects of a life of the privileged and one of the best from the life of the less fortunate, or so it seems. In my perspective, this cartoon expresses some major insight into the mindset of colonialist white males. This picture provides justification for slavery in the sense that it advocates against slavery of white men because they work so hard to provide for their nation and help them prosper. Thus, in this interpretation of the cartoon it becomes a way to justify the enslavement of Africans because, for one, they are jealous of the care free life that the Americans ignorantly presume they are living. As well as, because they believe that the Africans do not deserve to love this life because they haven`t earned it. This is a puritanical mindset that encourages the idea that hard work deserves reward. This mindset carries over into the justification of slavery without proper evidence that supports that the Africans don`t work hard, a notion that Americans only assumed because of the lack of technological presence in there society.

Unfortunately, Equiano is subjected to assimilation and is compelled to comply with this perspective of American idealism, as written in Olaudah Equiano’s narrative

“He taught me to shave

and dress hair a little, and also to read in the Bible, explaining

many passages to me, which I did not comprehend. I was wonderfully

surprised to see the laws and rules of my country written almost

exactly here; a circumstance which I believe tended to impress our

manners and customs more deeply on my memory.”

In this statement Equiano describes the process in which he is being assimilated into white culture. Although he is not official accepted as on of them, he is physically and mentally prepped in order to encourage better treatment. Even his idea of morality is explained through a cultural lens. Although he is able to identify with the laws and rules of what were written in relevance to his cultural customs, he is still viewed as different. Despite them abiding by the same beliefs and internal moral codes, he is still treated as lesser by the white people. It is because of these snap judgements that these colonialists make based on appearance and without any understanding of  the slaves lifestyle, beliefs and ethical values they are able to treat them bad. Thus, the result of ignorance is ultimately dehumanization.

-Kamani Morrow

Expression of English Superiority

’Tis raging noon, and vertical the sun Darts on the head direct its forceful beams; O’cr heaven and earth, far as the ranging eye Can sweep, a dazzling deluge reigns.(Thompson 21).

In Phebe Gibbes Narrative, “Hartly House, Calcutta” Sophia Goldsborn uses her seemingly insightful knowledge of literary influences for one simple reason, to seem more interesting than she actually is. The quote above is beautifully written and poetic by nature. It is a wonderful description of the morning sunrise. It is depicted as a beautiful sight that is unparalleled in their familiar land. Clearly this quote was used to described the Indian sunrise in a way that Sophia could not. However, no matter how enlightened this may sound it is, for lack of a better word, BS. Somehow she attempted to pawn off the description of a sunrise as a significant moment in her day that was worth writing about. In reality, She just wanted to sound smart by using splendidly written diction. Sophia is simply trying to make it seem as if Arabella cannot experience something this beautiful in England, but as she continues with the letter, she states that this quote relates to her current situation, revealing the absurdity of the purpose for which she infuses other texts.  Therefore, I chose this quote for the transparency in which it reveals the true intention of her letters, which is to brag to her friend Arabella about how enlightened she has become through her exposure to other cultures.

Unlike Sophia, I don`t need flowery language to make myself seem as if I have some kind of astute and interesting perspective of the world. In this post I will simply state the obvious, without the aid of literary masterminds to make the language used here sound better. In my perspective Sophia is just a fraud who wants to impress her friend and make her jealous of her new exotic persona. She uses well known literary authors to make herself sound like she has a keen insight that her friend Arabella doesn’t have because she has experienced another culture. However, I am fairly certain that her focus on the English language, being a symbol of her privileged lifestyle, is hindering her from embracing and absorbing any true knowledge and influence of Indian culture. Her fixation on English authors shows that she is still holding on to the idea that her culture is more educationally advanced. Instead of quoting works by Indian authors, displaying how she has obtained a new and exciting outlook on the world, which would have been provided if she were to immerse herself into the surrounding culture. Because of her refusal to assimilate into India culture by fixating on English literature as an expression of her class standing, it becomes ironic in a sense that her knowledge of English literature hinders her from gaining a higher level of education. Thus, she is actually showing how ignorant she is through her use of only English writers. This attitude may be a product of her class standing, as she shows that perhaps her status as a privileged English traveler. Like many of the other authors we have read, she has presented this notion of English superiority as an opportunity to experience and assist the development of Indian culture. However, her bias towards the educational advancement unintentionally comes across as a belittling depiction of how colonialism serves as helping advance Indian society.

– Kamani Morrow

We get to Speak English, Woohpeee!?

The status of English changed from being defined by its obscurity and diversity of pronunciation and meaning, as the issue is shown in Samuel L. Johnson`s “English Dictionary” to the meanings being determined by the dominant society in order for them to obtain control of other countries and cultures, as it is depicted in Roy`s and Macaulay`s text.  In other words, the status of English did not, under any circumstances, change for the better. If anything the oppressive state of mind and imperialistic tendencies implied by the ignorant tone that promoted “purity” of the language set forth by Samuel Johnson, has only increased over the years to be a much more direct expression of the white superiority agenda. From the very beginning of Johnson`s preface he approaches the idea of development and cultural influence of the English language stating, “suffered to spread, under the direction of chance, into wild exuberance, resigned to the tyranny of time and fashion, and exposed to the corruptions of ignorance, and caprices of innovation” as an unfortunate part of English`s fate (Johnson1). His promotion of order and rules is quite persistent throughout his work but his ability to omit the ambiguity or parts of English that he doesn’t like from the dictionary is misguided and severely lacks a viable rational. His notion that the English language is obscure because of the multiple influences from different languages may be valid, however, he cannot pick and choose which part of the English language truly belongs because English is a mixture of languages and no matter how hard he tries to tether it to one contributor it will lack authenticity and therefore, purity because its true original roots will have been abolished. This will result in even more perplexity because his deconstruction of the language will have created major language gaps.

Despite his utter disrespect for the history behind a text, what Johnson also doesn’t understand is that in his ridiculous attempt to purify English. He fails to realize that it is far more ignorant to ignore the fact that over time social and cultural factors will influence English.   Thus, not only is Johnson a hypocrite for attempting to tamper with the English language, while promoting his contribution as necessary to maintain order while he criticizes other influences of the languages adaptation, he also barbarically attempts to over throw what he describes as “inherent irregularities in language” while claiming barbarism of those who accept the inherent “anomalies of language (Johnson 2). Thus, he attempts to strip English of cultural origins and significant etymological influences that have been embedded into the English language by claiming that it is barbaric because they are perplexing and derivative. Overall, this reformation of the English language is just a control tactic, to yet again try to claim a something that has been infused with diversity as property of the “English” which has been modified and perfected.

This attitude only gets worse as it spreads over time and English works its way into India. Both Roy and Macaulay seem to believe that they are deserving of some kind of praise for “civilizing” people by bringing English to their land and forcing them to learn it. As British rule began to move into India, it was in fact in the native’s best interest to learn English. However, it was the notion of modernism, as the reason for this educational ruling that makes me realize that the colonialist agenda had gotten worse since Johnson wrote hid dictionary. Seeing as Johnson sought to remove foreign elements from English and not completely eradicate other languages outside of his own, I would say that Roy`s text is much more effective of preserving English superiority. While they both focused on language the subtexts clearly defended the idea that the English tried to depict themselves as the white savior. They viewed their conquests as people who needed to be saved because they don’t know any better. Johnson described this as the “danger of ignorance” referring to any cultural or societal impression that would lead to inconsistency in English (Johnson 5). Whereas, Roy depicts how Indian natives were seen as uncivilized and England took it upon themselves to convert them to what they felt was a higher way of living, starting with the conversion to English. It is the arrogant nature of the English that infuriates me in these scenario, as they continuously presume that their racial status earns them praise and they therefore, judge others by holding them the English standard of living. In doing so, cultural customs that are different and simply based off of familiarity and preference are seen as undeveloped and barbaric. Suddenly the English are able to judge, as Macaulay writes, which language is the best worth knowing?” as if they are responsible for judging the worth of humanity (Macaulay). In closing, to answer the question the status of English did changed in levels of intensity and arrogance that the English community upheld. It is unfortunate that this is there thought process but this Eurocentric point of view still continues long after these readings.

-Kamani Morrow

The Cycle of Oppression

“Upon the whole, the behavior of these animals was so orderly and rational, so acute and judicious, that I at last concluded they must needs be magicians, who had thus metamorphosed themselves upon some design, and seeing a stranger in the way, resolved to divert themselves with him; or, perhaps, were really amazed at the sight of a man so very different in habit, feature, and complexion, from those who might probably live in so remote a climate. Upon the strength of this reasoning, I ventured to address them in the following manner: ‘Gentlemen, if you be conjurers, as I have good cause to believe, you can understand my language; therefore, I make bold to let your worships know that I am a poor distressed Englishman, driven by his misfortunes upon your coast; and I entreat one of you to let me ride upon his back, as if he were a real horse, to some house or village where I can be relieved. In return of which favor, I will make you a present of this knife and bracelet,’ taking them out of my pocket” (Swift 284-285).

Instead of focusing on Gulliver`s description of the Houyhnhnms lifestyle to accredit Swift`s suggestion that mankind would be happier if they lived like them, I disagree with the position seeing as the oppressed state of humans or “yahoos” living amongst the Houyhnhnms cannot possibly amount to an ideal utopia. Gulliver`s response to the Houyhnhms intelligence is what seems to be repeated the most in the passage that I chose. There isn’t really a repeated word or phrase in the passage, however, the concept of his disassociation with the yahoos is emphasized through his constant use of complimentary terms towards the Houyhnhms.  This repetition of the descriptive terms of the horse’s attentiveness and rational, implying superior intelligence, is also described as behavior as humanistic traits. Even though he has no rational evidence to support his notion that there are humans on the island at first, he still, assumes that humans must be responsible for these horses’ hyper intelligence. He even admits to the possibility of the existence of magic, yet he still cannot conceive of a land where humans are not superior beings. He constantly confirms this idea as he mentions every elegant part of these horses’ existence as it juxtaposes to the savagery of animals that he is used to seeing. The repetition continues as every word that describes the animal’s life style is still equated to that of a human, yet it becomes clearer that they are more advanced than humans because they have created this society where their dominance is praised. The reminder of their superiority is constantly looming over the yahoos, as they are slaughtered and oppressed. Perhaps it is this affirmation that a mutiny from these intellectually disadvantaged creatures is highly unlikely that appeal to Gulliver, especially since he had just been rejected by his own species.

However, Gulliver still doesn’t learn from is mistakes and carries his attitude of entitlement and stubborn ideals that annoyed his crew over to this new island where he expects to be worshiped for his status as an English man. It has been observed over time that history repeats itself and often it is the mistakes that we make that we do not learn from. Imperialism and the need to do anything, no matter who it hurts, to reign superior seems too often be the cause of these mistakes. Like many, Swift may have acknowledged this notion by showing how Gulliver abides by his perspective of Anglo-Saxon superiority where ever he goes without ever learning his lesson. Because of this attitude Gulliver`s expectation of the human’s involvement with civilization becomes contradicted to the point of irony. The humans are not only seen as savages but Gulliver immediately refuses to identify with them and rejects them. Thus, further validating the lack of comradery amongst the human race. I wouldn’t say that the phrase “I make bold to let your worships know that I am a poor distressed Englishman,” is out of place in this context because I expected him to display a sense of entitlement. It however is out of place in the story because the horses are just as worthy of his worship than him theirs.

The human race is treated as animals but who is to say that they didn’t have it coming to them. Perhaps their barbaric customs of imperialism and disloyalty prompted their enslavement. Swift maybe offering a commentary on how, if the inner savagery of humans were reflected onto their outward appearance, then they would look more like beast than animals who only exist within the boundaries that the more advanced race (humans) have created for them. Or possibly he is warning us that the future of English imperialist may be bleak if they were to continue to mistreat other races with no expectation of retaliation. The history of how this enslavement began is missing from the text, no matter his authorial intention, the fact of the matter lies that there is a cycle of oppression that occurs in a society built of spite and entitlement. As long as there is one race that considers themselves to be superior based on stature or even morals there will always be an oppressor that prevents the oppressed from advancing until they rebel and then it starts all over.

-Kamani Morrow