The Island of Satire

The author leaves Lagado, arrives at Maldonada. Then takes a short trip to Glubbdubdrib.

I arrived at Maldonada with the help of Google Maps. The man at the docks told me that the ships heading towards Luggnagg for an entire month. An entire month! I’ll have to make sure to find a way to charge my phone throughout that time. Another man at the dock told me that I might find it entertainable to go to the island Glubbdubdrib, which if Google is correct translates to Island of Sorcerers or Magicians. When I arrived to the island, the governor was extremely friendly and treated me to a fine feast in my honor. After dinner, the governor told me I was able to call up and shade from the past and talk to them about anything that I would want. The first person I decided to call up was Alexander the Great. Although he only spoke Greek, I was able to understand him and communicate with him through the help of Google translate. Alexander the Great told me that he had died not from poisoning but from alcohol intoxication which astounded me. History had painted him in such beautiful lighting. The next person I called up was Barrack Obama, the 44th President of the United States. I asked him what he had thought about Trump’s campaign and his controversial claims. He then told me that Trump should have stayed quiet about deportation. Obama told me that he had been the president that had deported the most people during his two terms as president. He then also laughed about how people overreacted when Trumped bombed Syria and continued to tell me how he had dropped 26,171 bombs all over the Middle East. Using my calculator app, I calculated that to be seventy-two bombs per day, meaning every hour three bombs were dropped. I was astounded to find all this out about Obama since it was never really brought to light, only his achievements were, such as Obama Care. After trying to wrap my head around everything I had just learned, I decided to call on Winston Churchill. Winston had led Great Britain to victory over Nazi Germany. I had asked him why some saw him as the greatest Britain ever while he was controversial to others. He told me it was because during the Bengal Famine he let four million people starve to death because “they breed like rabbits.” After talking to everyone I finally understood what is was meant by the saying history is written by the victors. I finally understood that historians skew the way we see leaders. They choose to show us how they want us to see them not for who they really were. It’d be better to see people for who they are through literature rather than through history.


I choose to write a parody of a parody. I choose to write about Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, specifically part three, chapter seven. I chose this section because it was where Gulliver met great men of history and was shown that wisdom does not come with age. It helped undermine great political figures and helped undercut standard learning. In this chapter, Swift was satirizing historians and skewing the view of his political opponents. He also was able to elevate certain people while simultaneously bringing them down. I chose this scene because I felt that the same could be said about our current leaders. Everyone seemed to love Obama and believe he was doing great thing for the country, and I am not saying he didn’t, but I felt as if not everyone really knew everything he did. Ii felt that Trump was getting a lot of heat because of his blatant comments, not protecting him but just saying what I saw. Everyone was outraged by what he said about immigration and deporting people, while Obama was the president that had deported the most people so far. To top it off, the Obama administration was bombing Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. He had authorized over ten times as many drone strikes as George W. Bush had. Winston Churchill was also a controversial figure because of his decisions to take no actions to relieve the Indians from their famine has he had believed they had brought it upon themselves. He had also evicted Kenyans from their homes in the fertile highlands of Kenya because he believed that that are should be preserved for the white settlers. I chose to keep the part about Alexander the Great the same to pay homage to the original parody, for it is a great part in my personal opinion. I also tried to modernize it a bit more with the simple added feature of a cellphone because I believe it would be more believable that he was able to communicate with those who spoke different languages because of Google rather than him being a language savant.

-Andres Quezada


Harp of Ireland

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 Friday (4/28), 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, I’ve inserted a link to a scholarly website that traces the long and complex history of the Irish harp in Britain:



The poem by Thomas Moore “Harp of my country” utilizes the Harp as a form of Nationalistic Pride. When there is darkness Moore states he found the harp and thats symbolic of the Irish that are now controlled by the English. And in a way Moore is expressing his reminiscent outlook on the drastic changes that have come about as well. The Harp is the pride and  Joy of the Irish and now he feels as though it has been tainted by the foreigners that don’t really appreciate it which he expresses when he states ” Til touch’d by some hand less unworthy than mine” . This extends history in that it is drawing attention to the changing of the times. Where once the Harp took on a message of freedom and joy it is now the thing that keeps the Irish people bound to the English as almost a form of slavery. It is not used to express freedom and Joy but to entertain the new foreigners diminishing the original feelings the Harp once brought.  The Harp is something that had been mastered and specialized by the Gaelic people for many generations and now it is being glorified in a sense for the wrong reasons. Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.10.32 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.10.21 AM.png

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 Friday (4/28), 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, I’ve inserted a link to a scholarly website that traces the long and complex history of the Irish harp in Britain:

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 Friday (4/28) 1pm, but students have the option to revise it until 6pm that day.  And please sign your posts so that your TA, Hannah, and I know who wrote what.  Warning: blank or filler “placeholder” posts submitted after the deadline will not receive a grade!



The picture below relates to the mad mother in that at first it seems depressing and sad but the more you think about it the more it seems to tell a tale of hope. In this picture it seems to be depressing and ominous but there is light in the window that signifies hope and hints that once there could have been a great castle or something there but time has taken its toll. There is a cross and what appears to be graves and so the building may have once been a place of worship. Just like in the mad mother where she says

“Dread not their taunts, my little life!
I am thy father’s wedded wife;
And underneath the spreading tree
We two will live in honesty.
If his sweet boy he could forsake,
With me he never would have stay’d:
From him no harm my babe can take,
But he, poor man! is wretched made,
And every day we two will pray
For him that’s gone and far away.”

She too was once worshiped and now forgotten, and the nature of this poem is sad in itself but it gives hope just like the light in the window. She left her husband and the baby may be dead (not clear) but she wants to for a new life and change from the past. Like the light in the window her baby is her only hope in such a sad and depressing time.




  • Haley H

A Beautiful World of Ethereal Places and Ephemereal Wonders

Their colors are distinct as those of the sun and regularly and obviously blended, though less vivid, fine specimens may be found any night at the foot of the upper Yosemite fall, glowing gloriously amid the gloomy shadows and thundering waters, whenever there is plenty of moonlight and spray.

– John Muir

Dear my fellow venerable peers and aspiring scholars, I present to you a plea.

Awaken your slumbering reverence of nature within. This world that we share asks for our appreciation now more than ever. The strength of a movement is determined by the collection of the will of its individuals. Wordsworth intuitively composed his poetry at a time of boiling industrial forthcoming, but do not hesitate to relate its antiquity to the pertinence it has in a world of modern environmental peril. Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads is as contemporary to our present problematic endeavors with Earth as you could possibly imagine. Their words continue to speak for a voiceless mother Earth, the most beautiful of all planets we have ever encountered. As students of the University of California, Merced, we are granted an opportunity to embrace a pioneering spirit that has fueled and characterized the United States of America for centuries. Considering our proximity to the greatest wilderness of them all, Yosemite, we are living embodiments of Frederick Jackson Turner’s Frontier Thesis, which spoke to the roaring passion for Western expansion and human inquisitiveness. Go forth and revel within the temples of awful (awe-inspiring) natural wonder, avoid the temptation and distractions of modernity, as they serve no true purpose to your free-spirited soul.

Wordsworth and Coleridge have me lost in a world of beauty and pain. Romanticism speaks to me like a siren-wailing fire truck calls to a lonesome canine to howl incessantly. I’m enamored by this imaginative prose, delicate as a rose, insinuating thoughts of philosophical scorn, like an unforgiving thorn. I have literally and figuratively lost myself in the forests of the Sierra Nevada, blanketed by chilling darkness, but it was then, that I had ever felt more alive. I was young then, and my eyes scrambled in the twilight in fear of black bears. I know now, that these lovable bears in comparison to fearsome grizzlies of the north or population dwindling from receding landscapes of polar bears, are not to be feared. Fresh mountain wind,  towering sequoias revived me from my past loathsome troubles that lay insidious within my mind for so long. The landscapes of this breathtaking mountain range lay etched in my thoughts even with my eyes closed, and are now ingrained in me for the rest of my existence.

The painting “Buttermere Lake: A Shower”, instills moody thoughts in a gloomy overcast. I initially see a bleak landscape of melancholy, that speaks of a desolate past. The rainbow from the painting reminds me of Lower Yosemite Fall’s moonbows. We are within 2 hours of North America’s tallest waterfall. An exciting thought to contemplate itself. I look within these dark clouds of anguish and uncertainty, however, and I find hope. Just as I once lost my wallet and my keys in Yosemite and panicked for my life, I would eventually calm down and see that they were exactly where I had placed, underneath a pile of my belongings. There is always hope even in death and absolute remorse. Even if you cannot see it, there is always light somewhere within or somewhere far beyond the twilight zone. It is only in darkness that light truly shines. Be courageous in the face of overwhelming odds. Fight on until your last dying breath, and submit to no oppressive force. I reference another poem that carries my sentiments. “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” – Dylan Thomas

Buttermere Lake, with Part of Cromackwater, Cumberland, a Shower exhibited 1798 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Joseph William Turner’s painting carries multiple aspects of Romanticism within its frame. It is an encapsulation of the feelings and emotions of The Lyrical Ballads. Expostulation and Reply discusses enjoying nature even if its morals and lessons taught are not as direct as a lecture of philosophy or a laboratory session of science.

"You look round on your Mother Earth,
          As if she for no purpose bore you; 
          As if you were her first-born birth,
          And none had lived before you!"

William is expostulated by Matthew. Why does he seem to mindless observe the world with his mind adrift in solitary rumination?

"Nor less I deem that there are Powers
          Which of themselves our minds impress;
          That we can feed this mind of ours
          In a wise passiveness.

William explains his penchant for wonderful Mother Earth. He feels that he assimilates notions of patience and lessons of wisdom in the stillness of meditation and deep contemplation.

Landscapes like the one Turner paints and the ones that you can come across after hiking to a viewpoint are so powerful, that you can’t help but lay speechless. I recall the times I’ve been such amazing views like Glacier Point and Angel’s Landing, and I sat startled and comforted by the immense grandeur for hours.

I make one last reference to another one of Wordsworth’s poems. I ask that you consider your lifestyle and your attachments to materials, just like Wordsworth attempts to convey the contempt of materialism. A life is meant to be fulfilled with experience, and not meaningless objects.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers

The World is Too Much With Us

William Wordsworth

Earth day is on April 22. Also, National Park Week is April 15-23. On April 15 and 16 and again on April 22 and 23 you can visit any national park in the country free of charge. As the heavy snowfall from this year’s dramatic winter begins to recede in the Sierra Nevada, I encourage you to take part in experiencing our world within its raw natural boundaries, rather than dwelling within unsatisfying cities. The following link is a website that has been instrumental in my transition from childhood to young adulthood. It has guided me with a knowledgeable content of incredible hikes in Yosemite and also carries a comedic and informative style of prose. Check it out!

One last note. Last winter I explored Zion National Park, and after embarking on a notoriously scary but enjoyable hike, I found a drone sitting atop Angel’s Landing. Flying drones are strictly prohibited in these National Parks, and I felt obligated to find the owner before a ranger confiscated it. I’ve been looking for the owner ever since. After a considerable amount of time debating with myself internally over ethical matters, I decided to examine the footage of nature. I was absolutely blown away, and I feel compelled to share. I hope that everyone has the desire to embark on their own expeditions. I recommend the HD setting for enhanced theatrics.



Thomas Pham

The English Language

The status of the English Language changed dramatically from Samuel Johnsons Dictionary (1755) to Macaulay’s and Ray’s call for English education in India. The value and English pride did not drastically change though. In Maculays minute he says “All parties seem to be agreed on one point, that the dialects commonly spoken among the natives of this part of India contain neither literary nor scientific information, and are moreover so poor and rude that, until they are enriched from some other quarter, it will not be easy to translate any valuable work into them.  It seems to be admitted on all sides, that the intellectual improvement of those classes of the people who have the means of pursuing higher studies can at present be affected only by means of some language not vernacular amongst them.”, demonstrating that he still prides English as being superior intellectually. In Samuel Johnsons Dictionary though, Johnson does not necessarily pride English in the classical way unlike Macualay. Johnson utilized his book to attempt to reform the English language but instead put his personality onto the pages and realized that the English Language is constantly evolving. As seen in the video, the English language is constantly adapting so there is no way the language several years later would be exactly the same. The pride of the English Language did evolve to an enormity that was felt everywhere someone of the English Language went. In Maculays call for India to be taught in English he clearly is stating how grand the language is but when Johnson wrote the Dictionary, he himself may have even made up some of his own words in the book poking fun at the erratic language. So the respect of the language is what actually changed besides the literal evolution of the language over the years.  The actual style of languge spoken was also dramatically changed as well. In Johnsons preface to his dictionary he uses words that are not common or used in Maculay’s piece such as when Johnson states “I have, notwithstanding the discouragement, attempted a dictionary of the English Language, which, while it was employed in cultivation of every species of Literature, has itself been hitherto neglected…” . The language of Johnson had a feel more of wanting to sound sophisticated and important when it actually was not as well as also being hard to understand due to the chosen spelling of some of the words such as ‘notwithstanding’ .

Happiness is more than Perfection


Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.

George A. Sheehan

Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Sorrow and Frustration have their power. The world is moved by people with great discontents. Happiness is a drug. It can make men blind and deaf and insensible to reality. There are times when only sorrow can give to sorrow.

-Winifred Holtby

Would we be happier if we acted a bit more like the Houyhnhnms, and also reasoned in the same manner they do? Perhaps in some regards, as suffering and conflict would surely be diminished, but the happiness we live and breathe for entails a notion that is evidently separate from the seemingly perfect philosophy of the supposedly superior horse-people in the land of the Houyhnhnms. Happiness is found to occur over accomplishment and triumph, over the strife and struggles present in our society, that seem to be devoid or lacking on this horse-run island. Happiness is infinitely defined, and can be seen also  alongside the vices of our world and the insinuation of terror,  and in the ways blissful innocence and enlightened thinking may. I believe that Swift does a commendable job at putting into perspective the imperfections and ethically digressive actions we partake through the characterization of the Yahoos, and I sense an underlying presence of irony in that Gulliver becomes too caught up in his own fantasy of a Utopian society, forgetting the beauty of the challenge and the triumph of adversity.

Through the doubt of those who have denied your capabilities, you have many times succeeded in life and felt the elation of such a victory. Opposition and challenges are what opportunities to succeed and overcome. They are scenarios in which brave individuals and daring souls have resisted and rejected attempts of tyranny and authoritative rule. Swift shows the fault of laws, greed, war among other repulsive aspects of our culture, but he begins to lose a grasp of what makes us human. Ironically, in his attempt to convey the grotesque and undesirable reality of mankind, he  inadvertently reveals the magnificence of imperfection. There is a severe lack of joy and happiness in the world of the Houyhnhnms. The unpleasant realities of our world give us a platform to contrast onto our perceptions of good and righteousness. Heaven in the bible wouldn’t seem so amazing without the depiction of hell. However Swift brings to light our perception of happiness directly. Truly, happiness can be a result of maniacal fervor, or blatant addiction, but this is where the unique existence of our kind is shaped. For those who find happiness in the light of positivism and ethical behavior, then evil is indeed necessary.

We have come to define happiness in our own ways throughout time, and to extract a more perfect definition of this, would oppose and detract from the original meaning of the word itself. Like each and every human, our world is imperfect in its very own beautiful way, and happiness is defined with this imperfection. Johnathan Swift implies a more peaceful and desirable way of living through the Houyhnhnms, but demonstrates that ultimately a transition to a more perfect society would inevitably dismantle the true definition of happiness that we surely all pursue.

Swift is evidently targeting John Locke’s philosophy of nature, war, and society. Locke seemed to justify European colonization attempts with his doctrine on the necessity of society. The enlightenment aimed to glorify the intellectual, but at the expense of those who were deemed as not within the category of a society, the uncivilized. The Houyhnhmns seemed to emulate this Lockean philosophy, and were willing to exterminate the Yahoos for their own well-being. With Gulliver’s Travels, Swift expresses his concern over the dangers that Enlightenment thinking can insinuate. He insists that superiority will involve gruesome and heartless actions. He makes it clear that happiness is not present through the path that the enlightenment might proceed to. Johnathan Swift defends those who would otherwise have no say, and presents a rare defense to the encroaching oppression of tyrannical governments.

-Thomas Pham



War, the Great Veil of Humanism

It is actually quite poetically tragic to see Anne Hutchinson killed by Native Americans after being exiled from Massachusetts, as Thomas put in his blogpost. Some would think it would make the Natives a literal subject and synonym for savagery, like they are in Mary Rowlandson’s story. However, like Rowlandson’s story, history is a fiction. I’m sure for the natives, history for them is one of a oppression coming from the subject of the Europeans. Thomas writes something interesting about Rowlandson’s story in that it is a “fanatic’s fantasy” of the hubris that was common among the colonists. For the most part, it was commonplace to believe the “pagan” natives were in the way of Christian expansion in the colonies, so it all comes down to perspective. Although Rowlandson’s narrative serves to bring a perspective unto the difference in subjectivity between natives and colonists, it is a perspective–no more, no less. And what it does is, it simplifies the natives into the damage that they did to her life. However, the time in which she code-switches with them, one could see the complexity in behavior and the clash of culture when war does not put a veil over the complexity of human nature.

Cesar Ramirez

Mary’s Conflict

Mary Rowlandson’s life was probably predictably normal for a settler of her time until the day she was captured by a Native American tribe. If we think about her time period, the 17th century, we can assume her purpose in life was to get married and have children, which is what she did. Her life could be considered dull since she was a woman and a mother. But, her life story can be argued as confirming and complicating the United States history of intolerance and genocide.

Rowlandson’s life was not significant, she was meant to be obedient to her husband and raise her children. Although she did not have much power over the family’s decisions, her just being a settler in this region confirms the history of intolerance and genocide because she was an invader in someone else’s home. Without even trying on her own she was amplifying imperialism. She also exhibits many instances of intolerance when describing her narrative and her experiences being captured. The light in which she describes her captors are also not always pleasant, and she’ll even go too far in demonizing them which makes it more difficult to take her reading seriously. There is a fine line between sympathizing and justifying Rowlandson’s story. It’s easy to sympathize a mother in her condition and consequences but it’s hard to justify the way in which she portrays her story because we have come so far in history as to understand the underdogs side and empathize more with them.

Rowlandson’s life also complicates things as well because in the development of her narrative she begins to change the way in which she describes some of the Native Americans. After awhile she begins to slowly understand a small part of the Native Americans people and although she does not empathize with them as much as we would like her to knowing the consequences of the history that follows, it’s a step in the right direction to humanizing a people. Her story is difficult to read not only because we don’t want to relate or empathize to her because she was on the bad side of history, but if we remove ethnicity from the story it is easier, but it also takes away all the importance of the story.

In discussion we talked about the history and context of this story and of Rowlandson. At this point in time genocide hadn’t happened yet, so to Rowlandson she was just in a midst of a war and could have never predicted what was to come. I believe that most people are unsympathizing with her because she is white and we know what happens next in history so it is hard to sympathize with the bad guy because we can step back and look at everything and realize what happened was wrong. And it’s not bad to sympathize like that either because it builds empathy and opens us up to making better decisions in the future. It is however conflicting to sympathize with Rowlandson because getting captured and ordered around for 11 weeks does not sound like a good time but in the grand scheme of things that isn’t so bad as to what happened to Native Americans in the future. While it is hard to take this story out of the big picture and just take it for what it is, it’s important to do both to see this story on the broad scale and on the more minute scale.

— Alison Vining

Influential Men of Science and the Royal Society


Francis Bacon influenced the Royal Society by prompting the institution regulate the acquisition of knowledge. Bacon insisted that the people and scientist doubt everything before accepting it as a truth because humans can misinterpret anything the experience with their senses. Bacon is the main reason scientists in the past and in modern day test and retest their hypotheses before submitting their work to the public eye. Bacon’s philosophies on regulating knowledge derived from observations helped bring about the Scientific Revolution, which in itself, brought about the Industrial Revolution. The birth of the Industrial Revolution represented the shift from studying nature for knowledge’s sake and more towards stimulating the economy. There is no doubt that we have been moving forward in time thanks to Bacon’s model for acquiring truths and knowledge, but I believe we are losing sight of the role doubt played in Bacon’s model, which is the reason for there being so much science click bait.

Thomas Sprat influenced the Royal Society by reforming the language and advocating for the return to a simpler age. He wanted to forget about the Restoration prose and keep everything simple and sweet. He was a strong believer that everything should be kept clear as to avoid any distractions or misinterpretations of the true meaning of the work due to stylish writing. I would say he succeeded in his mission to keep scientific works simple and professional because in my previous psychology classes our papers had to be under five pages; while in my writing classes and other English classes our papers had to be a minimum of ten pages. Not much has changed from the scientific writings of then to now in my opinion, if anything scientific writings go under more scrutiny now than ever, as the earliest a paper can get published, if done right, is within a year.

Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia is one of the most influential book on physics ever to be published. Principia established the universal laws of motion and gravity we know now (e.g. for every action there is a reaction). The rules of reasoning in Principia also helped shape the Royal Society’s goals and missions. The rivalry between Newton and Hooke helped Newton become a better scientist in my mind, because it pushed Newton to have solid evidence for his claims. Newton’s discoveries paved the way for later scientists such as Albert Einstein who would prove some of Newton’s claims to be incorrect about the universe. Sir Isaac Newton was a force moving the Scientific Revolution forward, whose precise methodology gave birth to the scientific method. Most his works went undisputed as he had eradicated any doubts about the heliocentric model of the universe and had helped lead the resistance to re-institute Catholic teachings at Cambridge.

– Andres Quezada