The Getaway

Unfortunately, the Irish Harp had only been appreciated for a short period of time. It was typically played for those of a higher class and for the elite who were granted special privileges. Harp playing would even be accompanied with poetry and other types of high-class singing. Harp playing had become very popular until the high-class, kings, and noblemen no longer desired to have them around, leading harpist to travel which also lead to the near extinction of harp playing. The harp had also been known as an instrument used to resist the crown and England, then leading the harp to be banned.

The poem that had stood out to me most as I was reading up on the history of the harp had been Dear Harp of My Country by Thomas Moore.

Dear Harp of my Country! farewell to thy numbers,

This sweet wreath song is the last we shall twine;

Go, sleep, with the sunshine of Fame on thy slumbers,

As I read this small portion of the poem, what had instantly come to mind had been how harp playing was coming to an end and dying out, how it had no longer been valued although it has a major symbol to it in Ireland.

I was but as the wind, passing heedlessly over,

And all the wild sweetness I wak’d was thy own.

As I continuously read through the poem, I read it in a soft, smooth, calming tempo. Which also reminds me of how a harp is played. The sounds of a harp are soft, calming, slow tempo. These lines of the poem and all throughout this poem also sound as if a person had been in a depressed state and that harp playing had brought them out of that. In the lines above where it states how the speaker is like the wind just passing buy until the had been awakened by the harp is a sign of happiness perhaps, but now that harp playing is dying out so is the speaker of the poem. The harp had been the getaway.

But, so oft hast thou echoed the deep sigh of sadness,

That ev’n in thy mirth it will steal from thee still.

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The Forgotten Harp

Tania De Lira-Miranda

Image result for harp gif

The harp plays an important part in the history of the Gaelic as the last High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, was a great harp player which could explain the harp’s history. This history and the harp’s importance can be seen in its appearance in forms of art and literature such as poems. This is most apparent in Henry Derozio’s poem The Harp Of India.

Henry Derozio’s poem was using the harp’s cultural history, which he assumes people will already know about, to really drive the point of how important the harp is. If one were to discuss the poem in a literal sense then the poem goes through a range of tones – from sad and gloomy to hopeful and positive – when talking about the harp. In the beginning, Derozio laments the decline of the harp’s usage/importance as it is being allowed to wither and be unstrung. He explains that the harp’s “music once was sweet” but that now no one is listening to it now. It’s being neglected like monuments. The poem ends hopefully as Derozio states that the harp will be used again and that its songs will be heard once more.

But if one were to look at what was happening during that time period, there is a different meaning to the poem. One interpretation is that the harp is supposed to signify India. Derozio is trying to explain how India is not being appreciated since under England’s rule, it will be forced to change to whatever the colonizers want. Their culture will be forgotten and all that will be left would be remains like how only monuments are left to represent the ancient civilizations. The hopeful tone at the end is his hope that Indian culture will stay alive if people remember it.

The Irish Harp: History, Politics, and Art

Image result for guinness beer harp logo

Since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the harp became synonymous with Irishness, an association most notable today in the Guinness Beer Company’s trademark logo (est. 1759).  For next Wednesday (5/1), students will write a blog post on the symbolic significance of the Irish harp in ONE of the three assigned poems for that week: Thomas Moore, Sydney Owenson, or Henry Derozio.  How do these poets use the cultural history of the harp to convey their nationalist message?  Explain how their poems extend, rewrite, or complicate this history. To help you answer this question, click on this link to a scholarly website that traces the long and complex history of the Irish harp in Britain:

http://www.harpspectrum.org/historical/Irelands%20Harp%20A%20Story%20of%20Survival%20and%20the%20Shaping%20of%20Irish%20Identity.shtml

Please explain your answer through a CLOSE READING of the poem, paying careful attention to rhyme, tone, diction, imagery, and form.

Please categorize your post under “The French Revolution” and don’t forget to create specific and relevant tags.  The post is due by 9:30am this Wednesday (5/1).  And please sign your posts so that your TA and I know who wrote what.

Warning: students who don’t submit their post on time or edit their blog post after the submission deadline, will not receive a grade (a “0”).

Dark Expressions

I feel like rock has been used by music artists to express their anger and discontent of the world around them. Romantic Poetry was also used in a similar way to express the emotions that flowed through someone during this time of their life. Romantic Poetry was used to go against what once was. And thus, this reminds me of rock and how in Iron Maiden’s version “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is not what you expect, and it goes against any set ideas or enclosed box that most people want to place “Rock Music” into. The poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” has a dark tone to it. The poem talks about a Mariner who after arriving safely somewhere he kills a bird in which the crew thought was a good omen. The crew isn’t happy, and they express their anger towards the mariner, but it doesn’t matter because they start dropping dead one by one. The Mariner is punished and cursed to live and be alone. The Mariner prays, and god forgives, and he always feels compelled to tell and retell the story. The imagery in the poem and the lyrics are so ugly and dark because the poem is about death and curses. Both the poem and the song are alike because they have a similar rhythm and tone and because the lyrics from the song are inspired from the poem itself.  

Karla Nichols

Knowledge is Power

In “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” by Olaudah Equiano, the author alludes to many literary pieces throughout the telling of his narrative as his story rocks back and forth between extreme pendulum swings. Swings between doing good and then doing intensely awful. But throughout his entire journey, his intellect and wisdom are key components of his persona and overall way of being. He’s well educated and was fortunate enough to have former slave masters pay for an education. He picked up “tolerable English” by the middle of the narrative and shared a story where he communicated directly with the books he came across. He says he’d put the book to his ear and wait for a response. I find sharing this story to be significant to the overall love of literature he upholds. His love for literature may be directly correlated to the sum of his literary references. By Ch. V, the author finds himself once again in a bad pendulum swing dealing with a serious state of hopelessness and desperation. He recites the poem by Thomas Day “The Dying Negro” that fantasizes about death as a way of leaving suffering behind permanently. Reciting this poem was a form of grieving or purging the emotional baggage Equiano has carried up to this point. Up to this point, he has been in and out of many different situations and experiences. He has also met and lost many people along the way. But the only thing within him that remains fixed is his mind, his intellect and his attachment to learning. He’s able to reference so many literary pieces because he’s spent a lot of time dedicated to his studies, he even mentions learning languages other than English. He doesn’t “obsess” over English literature, it just might be all that he has.

Growing pride in learning the English language and English customs stems into a new form of self-empowerment for Equaino. He mentions how English is different and also a difficult language to pick up, but he managed to do so. Equaino managed to pick up English manners and customs to not be like the English but more to have a form a self-empowerment when engaging with the English. In simpler terms, Equiano was a soul that understood the power of knowledge and wisdom. Later in the narrative we are able to note how knowledge of the English language serves him well along his journey.

 

Brianna Barajas

A System of Convenient Truths

By: Leena Maria Beddawi

Something which may come as a surprise while going through Mary Rowlandson’s narrative piece about her time in Algonquian captivity, are the many ways in which the native people and herself get along, even with her being an English colonizer, she was treated with humanity and even made relationships with some of the natives themselves. The narrative itself acts as a journal of her time in captivity, and this becomes one of the few examples of an “accurately” portrayed relationship which goes beyond the war in which the Algonquian people found themselves in with the English colonizers, due to their abhorrent lack of respect and dignity.

Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation. The question, in brief, is…this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured, they may well be essential to survival.”

― Noam Chomsky

However, that being said, the themes of genocide and sexism raised in Thomas Pham’s earlier blog post portrays almost entirely too well the reality in which we are in today, where the ignorance, misconstruction, or a purely imaginative version of history is easier for future generations to digest, therefore the watered down versions are given platforms to explain the past, and a whole generation of people are remembering and learning history based on entirely false accusations. This was how the American public would grapple with the many atrocities they placed onto innocent people, and how we currently allow ourselves in the age of technology to believe falsehoods because they are simply easier to deal with. Going to war with another group of people merely for something as quintessentially useless as power and land is the history of the world post-Anthropocene.

No matter how much easier it is to paint a perfectly sweet story about the” city upon a hill”, corroborated by evidence among the likes of Mary Rowlandson’s narrative, the history itself should not be erased, glossed over, or romanticized. As depicted in Dryden and Winthrop’s pieces as well, we see this manufactured folksy image reappear as if to show just how tolerant the natives were upon getting colonized, this is unsurprisingly a complete exaggeration of the facts which accurately define how Indigenous and English colonials treated one another. more people saw the success the false narrative genre was receiving and capitalized on said phenomenon. What is equally as successful is the number of counternarratives we see today which push past the propaganda like this and tell a story earnestly and honestly, but this “accuracy” has sadly become so muddled, most of it is subjective, but we believe what we want to believe, nonetheless.

 

Fueled Hate

The history of intolerance against indigenous people during the English colonization of eastern North America is neither confirmed nor contradicted through Mary Rowlandson’s captivity account, if anything, it allows one to see how this exchange can complicate the way in which we see history.  Damage was being done on both sides, even though the English colonist were who started the conflict initially. The Native Americans who held her captive are what she had heard them to be. The Indians killed her children and showed no respect for her religion thus confirming that they were in fact savages. Yet later Rowlandson sounds like she might be sympathizing with the Indians which she tries to hold back on doing because of the position she plays in the society in which she lives in, both as a pastor’s wife and Christian woman. Racism seems to play a part in both Mary Rowlandson’s narrative and Dryden’s The Indian Emperour. In both stories there seems to be something “wrong” with the Indians, for example in both stories the fact that the Indians do not practice or have respect for Christianity seems to be what makes them inferior. There was a lot of back and forth damage done on both sides and none of it was right. What was ultimately done to all Native Americans was horrible and this is just one account from one person who experience what she experienced within the Indians who captured her during the time in which Native Americans were being extinguished. It is interesting that the colonist were Christian people who believed in God and had to abide by certain moral standards, yet these “Christians” tortured and killed many Native Americans. The idea that a person or a group of people can serve to generalize a whole population of people is ignorant, and this ignorance is what fueled the hate that fueled the wars.

Karla Nichols

On examining History and Rawlandson

Dave L.

I try to avoid examining history with the same moral standards we apply today. One has to look at the time in which the examined people lived, and take in a “big picture” glimpse of what was going on throughout the world. Using the current worldview to examine history is stupid at best and dangerous at worst. It’s stupid because it’s a simplistic and lazy way to look at history (e.g. “Vlad the Impaler is bad because he tortured people”); it’s dangerous because doing this always results in the past looking evil. If the past looks evil, the response is to destroy it: either by changing it over time or through suppressing it. People who are not proud of their history have no reason to labor for the future.

(This is why I barely skimmed that dude’s blogpost linked in the prompt, by the by. “I for one, am not a racist, sexist blah blah blah.” Congrats, dude, you hold different beliefs than people in the past did. Go pat yourself on the back, you’re such a good person.)

As a result, I tend to be agnostic on these kinds of issues brought up in the prompt until I’ve fully studied the context. I don’t know too much about the early period of North American colonization (other than what I’ve heard in lecture and small articles and such, which isn’t and shouldn’t be enough), so I’ll refrain from discussing it. I can, however, judge the book for its own sake while remaining agnostic about its accompanying historical trends.

Assuming the contents of the book are accurate, then no matter how you look at it, Mary Rowlandson did nothing wrong. If anyone believes that she doesn’t have the right to call her captors savages or demons after they killed and starved her children, after they probably raped her, after they beat her and made her their slave for the better part of 3 months, then I have nothing to say to them, other than that their brains are polluted and they need therapy or something. The petty kindnesses given to Mary by the tribe are moot, since they were not theirs to give in the first place: she should not have been taken captive. Those who say she merits or deserves her troubles because the Indians were “just striking back” or “she had it coming because she was a colonizer” should know that those same excuses could be used to justify reprisals against those captors. I know that if I went through a similar ordeal, there would be unimaginable hell for the captors to pay.

A Colonial History of Violence

Mary Rowlandson was held captive for eleven weeks and five days after she and her three children were taken captive by a Wampanoag raiding party. The details of the brutality Rowlandson witnessed and at times endured give readers a look into the conflicting relationship between the colonists and the natives. Rowlandson’s interactions with the Algonquian people complicate and contradict the history of intolerance against native people during the English colonization period. Though Rowlandson initially endures brutality and suffers the loss of her baby, the development of her writing gives the natives a sort of humanistic perspective that early writers did not give before. For example, when Rowlandson is taken to meet with King Philip, she begins to weep and when a native asked her why she cried, she said that the natives would kill her. To this, the native responded no and that “None [would] hurt [her].” Furthermore, one of the natives “gave [her] two spoonfuls of meal to comfort [her]” while another “gave [her] half a pint of peas”, which according to Rowlandson, “was more worth than many bushels at another time”. This contradicts the idea that natives only inflicted violence upon settlers. In this scene, the natives display an act of kindness during a time when Rowlandson showed vulnerability and sadness. When Rowlandson meets with King Philip, he offers her a smoke of his tobacco pipe as a compliment and though she speaks about how sinful smoking was, she never explicitly states whether or not she accepted to smoke. In the ninth remove, Rowlandson learns that her son is less than a mile from her and when she asks for permission to go and see him, they allow her to do so. The simple and seemingly meaningless acts of kindness contradict the ideas that both people were completely intolerant of one another.  In a close-up view, the threats Rowlandson faced and the deaths she witnessed in Lancaster may cause readers to have sympathy for her. However, by looking at the situation from a historical, outside, and educated perspective, the deaths that happened in Lancaster and the threats Rowlandson faced do not evoke much sympathy. The conflict that led up to the actions taken by the Algonquian people were a consequence of the white immigrant colonists’ constant invasion on native lands (a consequence of their own actions and example of hypocrisy). When taking into the consideration the years of violence and constant dehumanization natives faced, one small raiding party and the death of some white colonists does not measure up to the hundreds of native people and children brutally murdered. Rowlandson’s writing does confirm the violence that existed between natives and English people, but only to a certain extent. Many of the threats Rowlandson faced were words and actual brutality was not commonly placed upon her. Her writing complicates history because the natives did not invade the small town just to inflict violence. They acted upon violence to capture the wife of a minister and to defend themselves against the constant white invasion. Perhaps Rowlandson restrained herself from including more details in order to protect her Puritan chastity, but the small details actually mentioned and the inclusion of native words only support the idea that she actually formed some type of unspoken bond with her captors.

-Maria G. Perez

Peek Beyond the Curtain

By: Leena Beddawi

The very existence of a stage comes with the grandeur of a curtain, which acts as the boundary between the audience and the actors, the real and the artificial, the known and the unknown. In John Dryden’s The Indian Emperour, the readers are shown both sides of the curtain which divided the foreign imperialists and Aztec natives, although it is worth noting that Dryden was by no means the right person for this very important job, so there was a very strong bias towards the imperialists.

Having his two characters Cydaria and Cortez fall in love only showed a romanticized version of the very extreme events going on in the world. That being said, there was always a means to his end, and that end was seemingly to propagate and influence history to show one side of the story while failing to actually depict the true horror and destruction going on behind the metaphorical curtain.

curtain

Sure, it may have been easier to minimize all the rape, destruction, dehumanization and genocide of the Mexican natives down to a simplistic love story that completely derails that which actually happened within the time period, but that is very sadly what history has very often become. Small romanticized stories about the establishment which fails to tell the stories which real people would face as a consequence of each and every historical event.

I believe it was very much Dryden’s plan to keep his ending ambiguous, just as most of the play was in terms of historical accuracy. It is quite normal to write a romanticized version of history, even if just to make it more appealing to the common person, but it is propaganda which shields future generations from being shown the truth. I’m excited to see what romance blossoms form Obama’s drone strikes or Trump’s everything.

It may have been easier for Dryden to keep the curtain pulled down, to show only the parts the imperialist regime would’ve wanted to show, but I don’t think he took into account the many other stories that were told about the time, which drowned out his falsehoods, and is the reason we are able to argue for his accuracy today. This may be the only thing giving me hope for the future anymore. As long as real stories are told, we can drown out the imperialist cover-up of history’s atrocities.