My trip so far…

Dear Stacey,

You would not believe the culture shock I’m currently having! My trip to Cancun has been a nonstop party and I have gotten to meet new people! The city itself is around the beach, which makes it convenient to go to and you can’t walk around without running into locals selling their homemade products. I actually bought you a Virgin Mary rosary; I’ll post it on Instagram later, so you can have a souvenir. I think you would really like it here and it’s not too late to jump on the next flight out!
I know you said you have a history report due soon but did you ever think you could finish it here? Basically all I know is that Cancun was a name derived from the Mayan population before they died off; It was on a brochure. You’re report will also look better if you were to come and talk to the locals; I’m sure they would admire us with their hospitality. It’s truly a blessing for the citizens of Cancun that we even come to their city! Honestly, they need all the help they can get. Being here for only two weeks I can already tell how corrupt the city is hence why I only party in the resort; you should do your report on this issue. But then again, maybe it’s not all bad? The beaches are beautiful that it makes me want to live here despite everything else. I would tell you about other things I’ve done in the city but it would be rude to remind you of all the fun I’m having.

It’s interesting, I spontaneously decided to go snorkeling for the first time and it was life- changing! I’ve been feeling rejuvenated and can somewhat see the potential this city may have if we decided to stay here. My husband would probably agree seeing as it’s a business opportunity to expand his company. Oh my, I can’t believe I let that slip out! I actually got married to Robert before arriving in Cancun; he’s just so tall, muscular, rich, obviously white, kind, and so many things I can’t think of right now. Anyways, I haven’t even told you the reason why I’m writing this letter but trust me you’ll want to hear this.

Apparently, I was told that Cancun is like a gold mine for eternal- happiness and I need a lot of it. It’s been a stressful year not only with my job promotion at Apple but also all the first world problems I use to victimize myself. That’s truly why I want to move to Cancun, it would give me a chance to pursue my passion in helping others and simultaneously look better in comparison to my work colleagues. You should let them know I’m extending my vacation time the next time you clock in for work. I also think the locals can learn from our American customs like our language, unseasoned food, and maybe privilege? Anyways, i’ll talk to you soon and tell everyone at the office not to miss me too much!

Much Love,

Stephanie

 

Review

This letter was written as a parody of Phebe Gibbes’ Hartly House with the intention of pointing out Sophia Goldborne’s ignorance when visiting Calcutta, India. The story is sectioned into letters addressing her friend Arabella, who resides in England, and would ultimately be basing her views of Calcutta through Sophia’s impressions. While some statements are direct criticisms of Sophia’s character, “first world problems” and “privilege”, I also indicated some phrases where it requires further analysis. As I wrote, “Being here for only two weeks I can already tell how corrupt the city is hence why I only party in the resort”. It’s contradicting how the sentence indicates a negative view on the foreign land and at the same time not learning about it prior to the critique. Phebe Gibbes does something similar in her story because Hartly House is praising a foreign land, which should be praiseworthy, but the effects lead to false attraction. The attraction Sophia feels for Calcutta can, and does, manifest into feeling insecure about her own English customs and trying to reclaim those. My parody has been modernized by replacing Calcutta with Cancun and also the two women for the sake of keeping some of the original elements of Hartly House. There are instances in Hartly House where Sophia discusses her “new world” experiences with Arabella but does it as a way to brag and prove her worth. My parody switches off from praising Cancun and the locals to concluding that the city is corrupt and needs “saving”. The overall mix of emotions towards Cancun, in Stephanie’s letter, suggests that without trying to educate one another or being open-minded we will never get past our ignorance; same concept can be applied to Sophia’s letter. If characters like Stephanie and Sophia were to learn more about the foreign lands they visited would they still have the same ideas they chose to speak? Literature of Power is an aspect that writers such as Phebe Gibbes gear towards; the purpose of writing a story intended to move readers emotionally. That emotional movement cannot exist if we’re not being honest with one and if we’re lacking empathy towards a group or setting different to eurocentric standards.

-Kristy Frausto

L.A. Girl

My name is Anna. My family lives on a small farm in the rural part of Texas. I grew up surrounded by cows, pigs, and chickens, along with my younger brother. I have just graduated high school and want to explore outside of what I have known my whole life. My parents gifted me a trip to Los Angeles, California for a few days. I pack my bags with essentials and some outfits that I thought would be nice to wear on my trip. I said goodbye to my family as I board my plane. I sat in my seat and looked out the window in excitement as I look at the sky and daydream about all the things I would do and see when I land in California.

I finally arrive to my destination. There are lights shining from all directions and so many tall buildings and so many people walking around in the middle of the night. I take an Uber to my motel room and knock out the moment I touched the bed. Morning comes, and I wake up refreshed and ready to start my day. I look up good restaurants nearby and picked one that I think I would enjoy the most. It was crowded in the restaurant as groups of people wait for a table. As I was being pushed, I took a step back and accidentally bump into the girl that was behind me. As I turned around to apologize, her appearance was blinding. Her face was covered in make-up, her outfit was beautifully revealing, her nails and hair were done, and she was carrying at what looks like a really expensive bag.

I realized that she is someone that is famous. I finally apologized after staring at her for a while. She accepted my apology with a smile. She asked “what is a girl like you doing in a city like this?”. I knew the way I looked and dressed gave me out. I explained to her why I was in L.A. She then invited me to spend the next few days with her. She took me to all of the tourist destinations and took me shopping with her. As we spent the whole day together, a part of me grew envious. I looked up and down at the way I dressed and became embarrassed. I was also embarrassed of the way I talk. I realized how out of place I was in a city of glamour. I want to be like her. I want to live like her. I want to sound like her.

So in the next few days, I tried to hide my accent and only wore clothes that she picked out for me. I think I am doing a good job of trying to hide who I really am. I don’t want to go back home. I don’t want to associate myself as a Southern girl. They’re not pretty, they don’t wear pretty clothes, and they are not glamorous. I want to be an L.A. girl.

I dreaded leaving L.A. and going back home. I still want to stay here but there is no way I can do that. I sadly walked to the plane. When I finally arrived home, I look around and realize how ugly and crummy this place is. My family greeted me at the front door. I looked them up and down and I see how unkempt they are. I was disgusted by the way my family presented themselves and the crappy place I call home. I sit on my bed, staring out the window, dreaming of being in L.A. again.

Review:

I am recreating Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. I am writing a short version of the story with the intention of showing the similarities of Gulliver and Anna. I chose Gulliver’s travels because Jonathan Swift’s writing is plain and simple. He said what he wanted to say and kept it simple for everyone to understand. Gulliver was kicked off of his ship and ended up on the Land of the Houyhnhnms. There, he learns of how “amazing” the Houyhnhnms are. He loses his sense of identity and wanted to be just like them; all so alike without any individuality. I wanted to portray the same thing in my parody. Just like Gulliver, she wants to become something other than who she really is. Gulliver compared the Yahoos as filthy, human-like beings to the majestical horses while she compared her unkempt family to the glamorous girls of L.A. Gulliver thinks that the way to happiness is to be like a Houyhnhnm. He starts talking to horses and associates himself as one of them. My character is a Southern girl trying to hide her accent and wearing nice clothes that looks awkward on her screams desperate. She believed that she was able to hide her identity with material things but doesn’t realize that she looks more like a laughing joke.

-Naomi Van

Parlier, 2017

I’ve decided to imitate, William Blake’s “London”, Blake focuses on the sense of hearing and how things are not always okay. My hometown sometimes seems to be okay, all put together, but the truth is it isn’t. People only chose to be nice when they please, roads are constantly messed up. Since it is an agriculture town, we get to smell pesticides on the daily, we hear gunshots, the trains passing by, fireworks even if it’s not the fourth of July. Blake has challenged me to look at the negative, I’ve never looked at my town in a negative way, but sometimes we need to acknowledge the problems we face on a daily.

 

Parlier, “A Fine Community”

Where everyone works at Sunwest

Yet, there is countless scrutiny

But it’s okay, our fruit is the best

 

People ride their bikes for that next high.

Amigo’s Market, Rancho Market, The Purple Plum.

Some don’t realize it could be their last goodbye.

How could you want to be so numb?

 

The nights are the worst.

Guns, trains, fireworks, and Pesticides.

Would it be easier if it was rehearsed?

Instead, let’s count the homicides.

 

No! There’s a lifeless dog!

How could one be so cruel?

Never mind, they’ll just go for a jog.

It’s alright, Parlier is still a jewel.

 

-Viviana Ojeda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Los Banos, 2017

For my poem, I selected to imitate William Blake’s “London”. Like the speaker in “London” my poem will be about the visuals of my hometown.  However, I don’t see despair in the faces of people I meet but rather the beautiful smiles of the townspeople. My peaceful town is a total contrast than industrial 1800’s London.  The town is a close knit community thriving in agriculture, education, and athletics. The youth is the pride of the town and many parents work hard in order for their children to live comfortably.

 

I walk through each packed hallway,

Near the pasture of grazing cattle.

And mark the student’s casual sway

However, the ringing bell allows the prattle.

 

In every student the smiles demonstrate,

The excitement of lunchtime

The upperclassmen run out gate

The student already know where to dine.

 

The parking lot prolongs,

Every shiny car and lifted truck,

Stereos blasting with everyone’s favorite songs,

We all wait stuck.

 

Boys and girls lavishly dine,

Snapchat pictures on display,

Not worried about the time,

Today’s another blessed day.

-Dario Lomeli

 

Winton (The Dead Town)

I found inspiration through William Blake’s “London”, because of how he described the negative aspects of London. He depicts London as this ashy covered place full of sorrow. He depicts how the people still carry on with their everyday lives as if everything is okay and as it should be. Blake is also able to depict how dead London is through his words: hearses, blood walls, and plagues. It reminded me of my small town because it is not the best place. It is ridiculous how you can see the shift from the other town to mine all by crossing the train tracks. No one knows about my town except for those who grew up in Merced and those who do see the negative aspects such as the shootings, teen pregnancies, and drug abuse.

 

Town or city one does not really know,

Every place has that area one does not go.

For Winton that place is everywhere the wind can blow,

Everyone has a problem or two that brings the woe.

 

Those on California street always have an uncertain fate,

Mostly known for its acts of violence and nothing more.

The teens receive that, I think I’m late text for not wearing that late-x

An infant is brought into the world to suffer as the teen mom goes through the hospital door.

 

Everyone walks with their head down

Choosing not to look around.

Drug use is evident in most kids and adults in the town

Hardly a kid that is college bound

 

The people no longer love thy neighbor but despise,

The streets are pooled with blood

At night, I hear their cries aimed at the skies.

All google searches of Winton show how a bullet met flesh with a thud.

– Andres Quezada

East LA, 2017

For my creative poem I decided to take inspiration from Wordsworth’s London, 1802. While the poem itself does not directly mention my hometown it still has key elements that would apply to my hometown. East Los Angeles is a city that is known for it’s high population of low-income households. For many of its’ residents it can be challenging getting by day-to-day when the opportunities of financial success are close to being nonexistent. The poem underlines a call to God because I wanted to address a highly viewed figure in my community and, at least the way I grew up, God would be the first thing or “solution” I’ve been told would listen. Additionally, the means of production was included in the poem because in a city where its’ citizens have to work nonstop in order to survive it becomes unfair when our “leader” gets to enjoy the benefits of financial success. While our leader enjoys these luxuries there are communities such as my own that have a hard time breaking this cycle of manipulation because it’s unfortunately all we see. Overall, the poem was intended to address that issue and the beginning of the poem was also meant to captivate the audience’s attention. It’s not a literal death occurring but rather a figurative death due to our placement in society. The placement of a community that has difficulties breaking away from our leaders’ policies because it’s what we have grown familiar with.

 

God! When will thee resurrect?

This world is pure chaos; one too many slaughters

A contemporary world full of red waters

So many sins that I can’t correct

Without the possibility of some misdirect.

You may be weary but we are not corrupt

We promise to not be abrupt

What we need now is guidance and equal trust

Because it has gotten too far

One too many scars

So many lives that can be pure

But instead they turn into manure

In a world where our leaders are obscure

About policies that result in destruction

We need to seize the means of production

Before God decides he no longer wants to provide

Any sign of stride in order to survive

 

-Kristy Frausto

Life After Death

“The first that died was little Jane;

In bed she moaning lay,

Till God released her of her pain,

And then she went away.”

“So in the church-yard she was laid,

And all the summer dry,

Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I.”

 

The painting The Abbey in the Oakwood (1810) by Caspar David Friedrich depicts a broken down church that is used as a grave yard surrounded by oak trees. This painting is significant to the poem from the Lyrical Ballads titled We Are Seven by William Wordsworth, in the sense, that the painting’s imagery, color, and form gives the reader a depiction of the poem.

The colors used in the painting are not the most vivid, but these colors create a desired effect of death, sadness, and a bit of mystery. These traits then give the impression of a grave yard as talked about in the poem. But what the colors in this painting really do that helps it reveal a Romantic theme is that these colors helps bring emotion into the painting. Emotion is one of the characteristics in Romanticism. The use of the color black in the painting to substitute ‘shadows’ creates mystery as the viewer can’t really see what exactly is going on, but can get the sense that there are shadowy figures around a grave (church) yard the same way as in the poem ‘So in the church-yard she was laid’.

The broken down church is a symbol which stands out in the painting, but this is also significant to the theme of death in the poem. When someone looks at the structure in the painting they notice that it is a broken down church opening. In the poem, the little girl argues that her dead siblings still count as part of her family, and the broken down church signifies that the building, regardless of its status, still stands. It may be a broken down church, but it still holds significance as people still leave their fallen to rest at the broken down church. The oak tree also holds significance to the painting and poem. Although, the oak trees may look broken down and simply tree bark they are nonetheless still a forest of oak trees. So, although, the little girl’s siblings may be dead they still belong to the family.

“But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!”

‘Twas throwing words away; for still

The little Maid would have her will,

And said, “Nay, we are seven!

In the painting, people are seen standing around different graves throughout the forest. This is significant to Romanticism and the poem because its means that the living still care about the dead as if they were alive. The little girl is told by the man that since her brothers are no longer living they don’t count as her family, but the girl is persistent in the idea that they still belong to her family. Her replies are always ‘we are seven’. The girl seems reasonable in her argument as she also states that she eats her meals next to the graves as if she were eating a meal with her siblings. The setting in the painting of people visiting the dead creates the theme of life after death, and if the dead are truly gone from this world.

-Benjamin Montes

A New Beginning

Joseph William Turner’s Buttermere Lake: A Shower, there is a dark ambiance to the painting, yet at the same time it is so bright. As I like to think about it the extremely dark blues and blacks is contrasted to what looks like a bright rainbow. In The Tables Turned, I was reminded of this painting in the third and fourth stanza Woodsworth writes

 

“Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife:

Come, hear the woodland Linnet,

How sweet his music; on my life

There’s more of wisdom in it.

 

And hark! how blithe the Throstle sings!
And he is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.”

In Turner’s painting, two individuals look like they are traveling by boat towards a lit up city, but are being guided by nature(rainbow and water). In the poem we are told to abandon books and let nature guide us to new knowledge and experience, hence “Let Nature be your teacher”. The misty mountains surround an opening towards the middle of the painting, it looks like a very light blue as if there is more to discover out in the world. Besides reading and looking at books, why not go out into nature and let it guide you to new wonders?

Although the painting is extremely dark, there is an endless feeling of hope. Even in the darkest of places there will always be a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

 

-Viviana Ojeda

 

 

Transcendence

 

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

Gloomy and Empty

romantic image 3Looking at the painting The Monk by the Sea I initially see a person standing in a vast surrounding that is gloomy and empty. This kind of perspective can be seen in The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman because the poem describes a mother who’s child will be taken from her and is going to be left behind. As stated,

“My child! They gave thee to another,

A woman who was not thy mother.

When from my arms my babe they took,

On me how strangely did he look” (139)!

The image itself can be seen literally of the Indian Woman alone since she was abandoned or it can also be seen figuratively  because of the gloomy and empty emotions the woman is feeling after having her child taken from her. Because the person within the picture is a darker shade as to blend with the background it also symbolizes how she’s being consumed by the gloomy and empty emotions. Lastly, there’s a lot of fog, or what appears to be fog, surrounding the image, which further suggests an unforeseeable future for the woman since these foggy details also obscure any other details, some that may be lively with bright colors or have a promising outcome for what she’s endured.

-Kristy Frausto