Gully’s Space Travels

space

This is a parody of an exert from the first chapter of Gulliver’s Travels.

As a most famous space captain, many often ask me my life story, this is typically what I tell them:

“My father had a small animal farm on the North side of Jupiter’s moon Europa: I was the second oldest daughter of 3 sons and 2 daughters.  He sent me to the Space Academy on the South side of Europa at sixteen years old, where I lived for three years, and studied and trained to join the Intergalactic Space Force. During this time and after I had graduated, to earn a little extra cash on the side I was apprentice to Mrs. Nancy Rogers, a pilot of some sort. I was charged with cleaning and maintaining her ship. Often, to help ease the financial burden, my father would send me small amounts of money, this I used to help learn more about flying a ship. When money got too hard to supply, I went up to see my father. Who being supportive and willingly came up enough money to get me by throughout the year.

Soon after my return from the Southern Hemisphere, my good teacher, Mrs. Rogers, recommended me to be a co-pilot to the well-known Space Force Captain, Stevie Liken. Which after accepting, I stayed with for a few years, and who I went on a lot of voyages to the nearby planets and even to other galaxies.  When I came back from my multiple space voyages I decided to live in the city, not with my family. I consulted with Mrs. Rogers, who encouraged me, and told me to do what I thought was best, and also found me job. I bought a small quaint house with my savings and eventually married a friend turned significant other later on in my years.

When Mrs. Rogers died a few years after I moved into the new house, I had to reflect on my life, and all the choices that led up to me being where I was. Thinking, it was best to talk with my husband and the few friends that I had, I decided it was time to go out into space again. I was a co-pilot successfully on more than two ships, and made several voyages, for many years, to the ends of this galaxy and into others, which helped to add to my growing fortune (the pay was good). When I was not piloting and being a leader in an expedition, I read the so-called best Earth authors, both ancient and modern, amongst other authors. It was one of the few things I could do whilst being on the ship for long periods of times. Though it’s not to say that I didn’t do it whilst I was on land.

The last voyage that I co-piloted lasted about a year and a half and at the end, I was tired and ready to come home. However, this final voyage proved to be the most interesting of all of my journeys, and I was more than excited to go off and explore So, I packed up my things, said goodbye to my family, and set off to join the crew. My hard work had finally paid off an I was made Captain Leila Gully of the space ship “Galaxy” (ironic, I know). And finally, set sail from the main Northern city of Europa on March 9th, 2149 of which our voyage was at first very prosperous. Some would say, a little too prosperous.

Review:

For this creative project I decided to write a parody of the first chapter of Gulliver’s Travels. In the original story, the author is explaining his life story, from his childhood to his adulthood and how he ended up where he did. I decided to do all that but with a futuristic approach. I took the story and set it in the future where humans no longer only live on Earth but have populated the surrounding planets and have made contact with intelligent life from other galaxies. They work and live together, in this future society, we all coexist peacefully. Within in my interpretation of this story, the main character is a female spaceship pilot who left behind her small life to experience bigger and better things. She joins a space force academy and trains to achieve her dreams of one day flying her own ship. Had this story continued it would have followed her and her crew on their most exciting voyage across the stars, where they encountered new species, and places they never would have thought to uncover. The main character leaves behind a husband and her family, of which wouldn’t not be unheard of in these times since society had advanced, and as she is an independent woman, it wouldn’t be strange. This story—instead of not only being an adventure story, would focus on the relationship the main character has with herself and how she grew and developed whilst on this voyage experiencing things for the first time. I wanted to write something different like this because I thought it would be fun to imagine a Gulliver’s Travels but, in the future, and in space. It’s easy to imagine since in the original book, it basically feels like the main character is exploring new planets because of how different and unlike “normal society” these new places were like.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

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Harp of India

I found that Henry Derozio, “The Harp of India” was a very interesting take on the idea of the Harp and what its symbolism. The other two poems are written about the Harp in an Irish context, but Derozio’s is written in the context of the Harp being significant in India. The first part of the poem starts off in a very sad and melancholy tone basically talking about how the speaker laments that the Harp is no longer being played and how there is no one to hear it’s beautiful and “sweet music.” That even the wind cannot make it play, therefore it just sits there neglected and unused. However, the second part of the poem starts to become a bit more optimistic and ultimately ends in a positive and hopeful light. The speaker shifts from speaking about the actual Harp to those who play it and includes some contextual information regarding the history of the Harp. The speaker emphasizes how beautiful and worthy the songs the previous “poets” played on the Harp and how the speaker is not worthy of comparing. As well as how those songs are so important that they have become famous and will live on forever. The speaker ultimately ends with despite the poets being dead, their songs will continue to live on, and he will aspire to keep them alive and restore glory to his India.

This poem touches briefly on the history of the harp as well as the history of India and one interpretation of this poem can be that the harp symbolizes India and how it lays forgotten due to the colonization of India by Britain. And how it now lays forgotten because no one will remember it, but despite all of that, the poets who have written about India have kept it alive and kept it remembered and therefore is willing to keep “playing the harp” to keep the memory and importance of India alive and known, ultimately bringing the glory of India back.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Los Angeles (Any City) 2019

A tribute to William Wordsworth’s “London 1802”:

Women! You shouldn’t be out at this hour:

The World is too dark and dangerous: and he is out

Causing misery and pain: “it’s your fault”,

They’ll say, no questions asked whatsoever,

You have forfeited your personal rights

Of inward happiness. They are selfish men;

Oh! “She was asking for it,” “did you see what

She was wearing?”; it all comes with a price.

First teach them manners, virtue, courage,

And then, power.

Thy soul was like a bright Star, now broken and burnt out:

Thou haven’t a voice to make noise or speak up:

No longer pure as the naked heavens, or majestic,

It was never even free.

So this is the way we must live our lives,

In in uncheerful frighten godliness; and yet their hearts

Sleep and live in peace, no regrets.

 

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Written in Early Spring

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For this post, I decided to use the poem “Lines Written in early Spring” by William Wordsworth to accompany Théodore Gericault’s painting, “Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct.” For this interpretation, I decided to make the narrator the figure that is sitting down on the rocks, as the second line of the poem states “While in a grove I sate reclined, /”. I had many different interpretations of this poem but the one that stood out the most and made more sense with the painting was the one that stated that early spring was a time to reflect on the experiences we had just passed in the year before that. It was a time where nature was barely blossoming and therefore would enlighten the narrator on some aspect of life. Each line had lots of imagery that went with the painting. Such as the first line, “I heard a thousand blended notes,/” from a musical perspective “blended notes” must sound very beautiful, it means everything comes together to sound very peaceful and put together. Which is what I can imagine when it comes to the painting. The painting also gives off a nostalgic feeling when I look at it, which also goes with the line in the poem “In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts/ Bring sad thoughts to the mind./” I interpreted this as the day is finally ending, and even though one is still having fun, and the light is still out, soon the darkness will take over and one must be ready to face those bad thoughts that will come right after. It’s a very beautiful play that describes the beauty of nature that many people don’t care or know about.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 2.0

If someone were to mention Romanticism poetry and the band Iron Maiden in the same sentence, people would think that person is crazy. What does poetry about “romance” have to do with a heavy metal band? More in common than one would think. Romantic poetry is not really about actual love between two people, it actually has more to do with appreciating the value and beauty of nature as well as expressing feelings and emotions. Which is exactly what is being talked about in Iron Maiden’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” which is why I think it would be considered Romantic poetry. It may not be in the most traditional form of poetry, but it could still be considered a sort of homage to the original poem.

One of the main reasons we can say this song is considered Romantic poetry is because of the way the speaker talks about nature. Just like in the original poem, nature is interwoven into the story and there is specific imagery that is used to describe nature, placing special emphasis on it. It also helps that the images use in the lyric video coordinate with the lyrics so that we can actually visualize what is being sung. What is also interesting is the types of images the video uses to describe the lyrics, all the pictures are all pretty dark and they’re not exactly what one would use to explain the lyrics, so that adds to the tone of the song which is already quiet dark and in a way sort of creepy. Another reason is the way the speaker speaks about the mariner, and the feelings that he has as the poem proceeds is definitely like the original, certain feelings in certain verses are elevated to help achieve a certain tone. It’s definitely interesting to see something that would be considered very old be brought back to life, in a new more modern form of art. It goes to show how amazing it is to keep interest in forms of art alive.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

In God’s Eyes, We are the Same

Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative definitely has many references to biblical scripture throughout his narrative as a form of relative content that could be presented to his intended audience. I think he decides to use this type of language because at the time that he was writing this, religion—specifically Christianity was at its forefront. Almost everything people did revolved around religion and faith. And because Equiano wanted people to read his book in order to understand what was so bad about slavery, religion became one easy way to have access to a specific audience. Even the idea of him having theological textual references in his narrative meant that he wanted the world to know that he was educated and that he wanted himself to be considered an equal to the white man. One of the many quotes that caught my attention was:

“Oh Jove! O father! if it be thy will

That we must perish, we thy will obey,

But let us perish by the light of day.”

This quote definitely reminds me of the Luke 23:34 verse in the bible where Jesus is being crucified and he says in exasperation, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  They both cry out to a father who is not physically present to them but is there spiritually. And I think through this quote, Equiano’s intended audience would have definitely been able to relate to him and be more sympathetic to the wrongdoings that had been committed not only against him but his entire race. Equiano uses religion as a tool to emphasis that he is the same as the white man—he is well educated, he is well travelled (regardless of how he has travelled), and also well mannered. To use these kinds of references in his narrative I’m sure encouraged people who read his narrative adapt his point of view regarding his people’s enslavement.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Old Gully’s Satire

In Jonathan Swift’s book Gulliver’s Travels, it can definitely be noted that Swift uses satire to parody the captivity narrative and travel narrative that were so popular at the time. He does this by creating a work of fiction that encompasses all the aspects of a captivity and travel narrative in it. Many of these aspects include using certain words to describe the natives as well as incorporating the actual language of the other island people. Even the way Gulliver acts around the natives, emphasizes the relationship between the narrator and their captors. These different examples can be first seen in chapter 1 where Gulliver describes how the natives capture him. He says, “But I should have mentioned, that before the principal person began his oration, he cried out three times, Langro dehul san…” In this sentence he parodies the use of native language that Mary Rowlandson had in her narrative. He also writes later on in that same paragraph:

“I answered in a few words, but in the most submissive manner, lifting up my left hand, and both my eyes to the sun, as calling him for a witness; and being almost famished with hunger, having not eaten a morsel for some hours before I left the ship, I found the demands of nature so strong upon me, that I could not forbear showing my impatience (perhaps against the strict rules of decency) by putting my finger frequently to my mouth, to signify that I wanted food.”

Notice how he used the words “submissive” and “impatience” in the same sentence. To me these two words have very different tones and meanings, and they definitely contradict each other. Meaning that Gulliver recognizes that he has to act a certain way in order to get what he wants, and then figures out that he can exploit this advantage to gain things in his favor.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Mrs. Rowlandson…

Dear Mrs. Rowlandson,

It has come to my attention that the narrative you have written about your experience being held captive by indigenous peoples— “A Narrative of Captivity” was just recently published and will now be sold at my bookshop. I usually take it upon myself to read every new title that comes in, just so I can get educated on the matter and be better able to help my costumers with their shopping. However, I have to say that while your narrative does encompass your own experience throughly and thoughtfully, it does not and should not define the way these people are perceived. Whilst reading your work I came across many sections in which I was extremely frustrated. Because on one hand you speak as though you are okay with the natives, and as if you accept them for who they are, but then you go off and say how it’s not right what they did to you. And you do have a point, you shouldn’t have been kidnapped, nothing of the sort should have happened to you, and yet it did, and you had the chance to finally understand these people that have always been misinterpreted, mislabeled, and hated and you completely blow it. You had the chance to show the world that there is more to them than meets the eye and you instead decide to go on a tangent about how barbaric they are. Forgive me ma’am but it seems as though you are not the type of Christian who forgives those who wrong them. You instead channel your anger onto innocent people who the only reason they did this to you is because they themselves were threatened by your people. I have much more to say and I would really love to hear your opinion on my argument as I am always willingly to try to understand other people’s opinions. I love forward to your letter.

Sincerely,

William Apess

 

Unrealistic Love

In his play, The Indian Emperor, John Dryden depicts the native Aztecs and the Imperial Spanish very differently from their historical counterparts. He romanticized the relationship between these very different nations, making it seem like they got along, and that the Spanish really didn’t mean any harm. When in reality they invaded and killed off thousands of innocent natives. And even when Dryden does show this in his play, in the scene where Pizarro and the Christian Priest torture Montezuma and his high priest in hopes that one of them will tell them where all their gold is stored. To me, this scene is written in a way that criminalizes Montezuma and the high priest and makes it seem like they are greedy and deserve their punishment. He uses the trope of the most “noble hero” by having Cortez the most gracious and sympathetic conquistador who is against violence and stop the torture before Montezuma can die. Not to mention the fact that he just so coincidentally falls for Montezuma’s daughter Cydaria is also extremely romanticized and not true. This relationship is obviously fictional but it’s incredibly bizarre and uncomfortable to one if they think about the fact that the one being oppressed is supposed to be in love with the oppressor. Even if in the end they don’t actually end up together, this type of play would probably be considered propaganda that would be shown to the English general public so that they think they knew what was happening across seas when in reality it was a much more dark and violent history. I think what this shows about what the English thought of the real relationship between the Spanish Crown and the Aztec natives is that they could see that there was obviously a distrust in each other. Therefore, it wouldn’t make sense to unite Cortez and Cydaria who actually represents the Other that is lesser and not worthy of being united in matrimony to a civilized European man. It was known that Dryden wrote his plays because he wanted to please his audience so perhaps, he romanticized the whole relationship between Spain and the Americas because that’s what people wanted to hear at the time, they didn’t care that it wasn’t true. So long as it made them believe that what was being done was right.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos