Goodbye Harp

As I read through Dear Harp of my Country, Thomas Moore’s overflowing emotions were apparent. I would describe Moore speaking to the lost harp, as La Llorona speaking to

IrishHarpher lost children. But more importantly the harp is personified in this poem to represent the state of Ireland. In Greek Mythology, Apollo, the god of the sun would use the lyre/harp to heal people, similar to how the harp in Irish poetry was used to metaphorically “heal” the people of Ireland. 

Interestingly enough, in Irish culture the harp is what became the symbol for hope, the actual instrument, not the person playing the instrument. In one of Moore’s lines he writes “go, sleep, with the sunshine of fame on thy slumbers”, ultimately saying goodbye to the harp. The harp, being as renowned as it was served as a representation for Irish culture, and when Moore says goodbye to the harp, he is essentially also saying goodbye to Irish culture as well. This final goodbye makes this poem more nationalistic than it originally seems. By saying goodbye to the harp, and to the notion of irish culture, he is also saying goodbye to hope for his country.

-Arturo Raudales


Downtown, Los Angeles — The Pico Union Side

Image result for la adelita pico y unionI recreated the William Blake’s poem, London.

I am on the side with the Panaderia,
Near the Central American stores.
And through the window in the apartment a woman in her silla,
Is wondering if she should spend that last dollar on smores.

In every face of the four kids,
In every note from school.
In every sound of the empty lids,
The poverty proves to be no fool

How beautiful it must be to live on the other side
Every one to get a meal on their own,
And the best she can do is lie beside,
Runs back and forth to try to get another loan.

But that will only dig a deeper hole,
How times were before the invasion of the rich
Blasts of music and soul,
And now we’re left with a temporary stitch


Ruth Serrano


From Captivity to Wanting to Fit In

On the third of February 2017, I experienced for the first time, what they call here First Friday. Apparently, it’s a night rich with culture and arts and great people to share these things with. To my luck, I live above my friend’s shop that is within the blocks that get closed down for First Fridays. This meant that I could watch from my window before I decided to go downstairs to enjoy it.

There was a group of people that had hula-hoops, sticks, and chains that were on fire. But these people were dancing with fire, they were really connected to this fire. My roommate told me they call it the dance of hell—and reasonably so! Though the others didn’t seem to enjoy it as much. They probably didn’t appreciate the danger of it since it was filled with people of all ages.

I decided that it was safe to go outside after a while that I saw everyone getting along well. As I walked out, there was a couple guys in hoodies that were spray painting on plywood. They had very minimal lighting on their pieces but even then they had an audience.

“We should ask them if they know anything about the people that have been spray painting our shop!” my roommate exclaimed as she started walking in their direction. I had forgotten about the shop getting marked up but we were both pretty upset because, why us? My roommate first talked about their art. They seemed like pretty interesting and harmless young men.

“Why would I know about who is tagging up your spot?” one of them responded once my roommate finally asked him, “I know as much as you do, and I don’t even know where your shop is,” he said with frustration. My roommate pointed out where the shop was, which was just a  couple meters away from us.

“Oh,” he said as his shoulders dropped. “I don’t know who did it, but I do know that they probably did it because they’re upset—that used to be soul food place where the cook was like everybody’s grandma—matter fact we’re all pretty upset that it was replaced with yall’s vegan shit—like who the fuck is vegan?” He made a face of disgust while he shrugged again with his hands out. I was offended by his tone and tired of that damn question. Since I wasn’t part of this conversation, I decided to step away while my roommate responded to him, in a calm but argumentative tone—which we knew where it was headed.

As I was walking towards the shop, kids were running around with swords that lit up in multiple colors. They got closer to me and I jumped away but I stepped on a beer bottle and ended up on my ass. The kids stopped, and laughed, as did some people around them. I couldn’t understand why they were being so rude and disrespectful. They laughed hard as if they were really enjoying themselves over my misery.

My roommate realized I had fallen and went to help me up. Without a word, we both just rushed to the shop to get away from them. We slammed our door hard as we closed it and everyone went silent.




Notes from the Author:

This piece is supposed to be a remake of Mary Rowlandson’s History of Captivity that addressed the gentrification going on in Oakland at the moment. The shop replacement is the stealing of lands in this piece and their oblivion to their mistakes—well that’s pretty self-explanatory. I was sure to have them describe different races differently too, like the fire hula-hoopers are white, while the artists are of some other race, either Latino or Black, whichever you imagined first. Mary calls the natives savages pretty often, but in today’s society, microagression is the way we do things. The need to mention the hoodie, the expectation that they’d know who tagged their place and lastly and completely ignoring the fact that the artists had told them they took away a very loved place are reflections of their prejudice towards POC.

The shop getting tagged was supposed to resemble Rowlandson’s attack at the beginning of her story. Though hers was gruesome, I was not about to make Oaklander’s kill white people for the sake of my story—there’s enough news out there talking about the violence in Oakland. However, having your business tagged, is still pretty frustrating and disrespectful to some.

The falling at the end is supposed to reflect Mary’s incident falling off the horse and getting laughed at. She felt insulted by their laughter, becoming a real victim of their doings. As the character in this story is also feeling personally attacked by their laughter—but everyone laughs at people falling unless they’re seriously injured because of the fall, which wasn’t the case in either of these stories (yes, Rowlandson was already hurt, but she wasn’t hurt because of the fall, so it’s still cool to laugh).

All in all, I wanted to bring attention the gentrification that is going on in Oakland because it’s frustrating to see the new comers give us funny looks in our own home.


-Luz Palacios

Tomy’s Explorations

Tomy’s Exploration

Chapter 8

The blogger can relate to resemblance to the Moples. The perfectionism of the Bonobolopos.

My Master Bonobolopos implored me to visit the dry desert nests–from the little I understood with his body language– in order for me to observe the nature of the Moples for I did not see the resemblance to humans. Of course I could not pass up that opportunity for I as a blogger had the biggest opportunity of a lifetime to create a story that had never been written about outside my own universe. That is until I return back to my wifi connection. Moples lived in really disgusting desert conditions with dry heats and freezing temperature. They attacked each other, they seem to be like the way snowflakes live. Their screeches were daunting but they most of all they were shamed for being so wrinkly naked. They seem to divide each other, but my question was ‘for what if they all seem to hate each other equally.’ That made me think their form of communication was sort of similar, the screeches they made as they came out of their caves and began to interact with, it was somewhat comical to watch each other fight over unnecessary situations.
Upon my return from the Moples nesting grounds, I was able to convince my master Bonobolopo to have an interview on the daily lives of their culture. Unlike the Moples, my masters Bonobolopo body language came really easy and natural to learn. I had never noticed that each interaction was more personal and rarely was there any need for more than two people to communicate with each other. Although the body language was a bit slower, it was more efficient because a response would answer more than what was originally asked for with great ease. It was more difficult to translate the reason I was doing the interview, and what purpose it had for our human culture. The language has a more calm nature and the technology that they did have only served to warn each other of dangers and to help each other navigate through dangers instead of exasperate each other on the different views they had. This calm nature in their culture reflected in their interactions Whatever disagreement one had with the other person was gone before they would finish their thoughts because there was no noise disruption in the bonobolopo’s conversations from fear of looking like the Moples.
My first question for my Master Bonobolopo was why they did not try to conversate with speech. Which to my surprise, his reply was really simple ‘we do not use speech because communication is distorted in that form, such as the Moples schreech seem to get in the way of their comfort and create boundaries of oposition.’ For my master was correct, I had so much difficulty trying to find the correct sounds in my head to translate this much onto my word doc, even emojis were useless. He continued by explaining that they had studied the Moples and their discovery showed that they tend to prefer certain sounds and divided each other’s communities despite each of them despising each other anyways. He called speech a deformity in which any other creature used was would be doomed to destroy themselves.
He continue not noticing that he had answered several of other questions I had in mind. Like my second question, ‘why do you all not wear any clothing?’ to which his previous explanation manage to be answered. His reply went as so, ‘we don’t wear “clothing” which he referred to as fur, do to the fact that they had no word for clothing. His reasoning was because nature had already provided them with natural fur that covered every aspect of their body. Which he argued that if nature did not provide a group of species with the right equipment, then that society was meant to be chaotic and not peaceful. But I would disagree, if you primates want to place yourself in a pedestal of perfectionism that’s okay, but don’t tell me that your ways and your simple language is better than our most advanced form of communication because we have better form of living for everyone. This is Tomy’s Explorations and Those are my final notions.

The short excerpt above depicts a sort of imitation adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. In particular, part 4, chapter 8 of Gulliver’s travel to the land of the Yahoo!’s and the Houyhnhnm’s. As Gulliver’s Travels is already a satire Tomy’s Exploration imitates but also satirizes the way in which the story undergoes. The most obvious way in which it is imitated is the way in which takes a person from the human society and places them in the middle of two opposing society that range from chaos to perfectionism.
Taking ideas from what seem to be a combination of naked mole rats as a comparison to create the “Moples” these semi representatives of the humans from the Bonobolopo’s point of view, but not from the Tomy’s perspective. Bonobolopo’s seem to be a society of bonobos society perspective but in terms of more domesticity, ethical, and polite. Although they are not too perfect themselves, the societies they live in are exemplified by the Tomy and her Master Bonobolopo. Tomy, changes their mind about the similarities the Moples and human have not once but twice this creates a satirical form. Because it mocks the way that no one will be willingly change their ways unless they stay in that society for a long period of time, and when Tomy rants about her blog towards the end that it is all okay but once she shifts her audience thanks to the internet that she will be returning to she shifts her focus of the social norms of the world she came to, because she knows she is guaranteed that return home.

Enrique Ramos

A Harp of Culture

Thomas Moore writes his poem “The Harp of my Country” is written with his patriotism fully present in a poem dedicated to his home country of Ireland. He uses the Harp as a tool throughout his work to represent Ireland as a country and as a cultural symbol. In doing this he represents Ireland’s rebellion and struggle for its loss of power after the passing of the Act of the Union.

Moore uses personification and diction of the Harp in the title and very first line where he addresses it calling it of his country giving it power and importance. He goes on to say in the next to lines of the stanza how “The cold chain of silence had hung o’er thee long,” and how he proudly unchains his “own Island Harp” (Moore, 2-3). The harp, being used for centuries in ireland in religious ceremonies very important to the irish people, holds strong roots in irish culture.  The harp is being used for its culture meaning to the Irish as it remained important and synonymous with Ireland. Thomas Moore is referring to the religious oppression faced by the Irish and culminating in the rebellion. The harp is referred to as being bound by ‘silence’ a contradiction of what a Harp is meant to do. Ireland was unable to fully represent and rule itself with the British parliament denying them right of religious representation in their government. In a country inhabited primarily by Catholics, the restrictions on Catholics in the government denied the majority of the countries people’s representation. Moore also refers to his own harp which represents the inner patriotism he posses. When awakening the harp of the country it in turn allowed the country to fully find itself and act on the silence.

The fourth stanza in the poem takes a turn from admiring the harp to a more somber tone where Moore bids the harp farewell. He says “Dear Harp of my Country! farewell to thy numbers,/ This sweet wreath of song is the last we shall twine!” (Moore, 9-10). He’s acknowledging at this point the merger of the two countries upon the Act of Union. The harp that has been declared a symbol of the country of Ireland is playing its last song. In the coming together of the two countries the harp, or the country of ireland and its culture, is once again sealed up and silent. The people of Ireland were ready to gain their voice or music from the harp but it was quickly taken away.


-Noel Nevarez

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

Sophia: Angel in the House

Patmore's Wife

Patmore’s wife Emily, the model for the Angel in the House, portrayed by John Everett Millais

I found it interesting that she described herself as an angel in the sixth letter and not just any ordinary angel, but in reference to “the angel in the house”. She did not use an exact quote, but italicized the word angel to refer to another work of literature. This analogy originated from Coventry Patmore’s narrative poem during the Victorian era describing the middle class women. Women of that time were taught to be house wives with skills that will not be beneficial outside of the house. They were to remain confined and sang, painted, and supported their husband in any affair. This was the European view of the perfect woman and Sophia being European herself and at the age of sixteen, we expect her to have been educated in this sense. Now in Calcutta, she is exposed to a whole new culture and a whole new view of a woman’s role in society. She was quick to call herself an angel so confidently, “I had bound myself a solemn promise, to be an angel on each succeeding evening,” because it was easy for her to do (44).

It was not a challenge at all for her to take a step down from her initial living style to that of a woman in India. If anything, she sounded relieved from no longer having to be self-conscious about her appearance. Although it sounded like she was admiring their culture, what she was really telling Arabella was that she had no problem living poorly or savagely and said “mirrors are almost useless things in Calcutta” as if the Indians did not care about the way they looked (36). Sophia showed an interest in the way men and women interacted at social gatherings and found pleasure after witnessing how men and women sat wherever they pleased and discussed whatever they wanted. European women were constrained in what they could do. Sophia may have been intrigued by the amount of freedom that women had in India and took full advantage of it. From afternoon naps to automatic free refills on their drinks, it is no wonder why she is loving her time there. To her, it was like a sort of getaway, a break, a vacation away from her life.

The angel is so much different there than from her hometown. She tells Arabella, “[Y]ou know me too well to suspect me of a departure from my established custom,” taking pride of her European life style but it is ironic how quick she was to drop these established custom (38). Upon learning that women took naps in the middle of the day, she did exactly just that. She learned people will still be attracted to her regardless of appearance and sophisticated social etiquette, but to call herself an angel in an Indian household is a bit egotistic especially knowing that she had been there only a short time. Sophia is stating how easy it is to her to live as an Indian woman but she is making a fool of herself. By the way she described their behaviors, it seemed there were no such thing as “angel in the house” in Calcutta but Sophia brought this European analogy into a different culture and attempted to make it universal. This to me kind of sounded like she was practicing colonialism through literature.

-Van Vang

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

English, you got some learning to do.

From what I understand, not much has changed from Samuel Johnson to Macaulay and the status of the English language. Johnson and Macaulay still hold English as this imperialist language that should rule over other cultures, other “savages.” As we already know, Samuel Johnson’s goal was to create records of the English vocabulary, STANDARDIZING it; before this, the English language was influenced by other languages; Jutes, Anglo, and Saxons, being the origin of this complex language, following many other languages as talked about in this week’s blog post from my fellow classmates. Whatever Johnson’s intentions with standardizing English, it opened up new opportunities to record the ever evolutionizing language, yet it also created limits, that could be manipulated by people in power such as Macaulay that prevented English from expansion. Macaulay argued against the government “which have hitherto been spent in encouraging the study of Arabic and Sanscrit” which he disagrees and calls it useless, calling it “downright spoliation” (Macaulay 5). I would disagree with Macaulay and say that learning from other languages such as Arabic and Sanscrit would not ruin or destroy the English language, but it would be able to learn other perspectives such as in the sciences, language offers perspectives, if we look back to the Royal Society, their society was built off the Greek and Roman perspectives they did not hinder the language, but was able to expand the studies in other fields such as science. What is spoliation though is the fact that people would be comfortable with a stagnant language, because of the lack of courage to learn other languages for pride on being THE most powerful language.

This offers the perspective that English could be and in fact is the bridging tool to connecting to others cultures and beliefs. Yet, it is being time and time delayed by these elites and/or imperialist beliefs that linger in politicians such as Macaulay. Today in the twenty first century, many people recognize that English is a powerful language and it has been because it has taken from other cultures, other tongues. But it has taken and not really reciprocated and the proof is in media and entertainment, such as music. There are artist, groups or bands for example that are Spanish, Japanese, or Korean etc, and use the English language to write lyrics; but you’ll rarely see a pop song that that includes lyrics of other languages. Why is that? English, you got some more learning to do…

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