Derozio’s Literary Instrument

In his poem “The Harp of India”, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio uses the harp as a symbol of India’s lost glory. Derozio grew up in a time when India’s Hindu population faced social turmoil. Since the Hindu society was unable to worship their idols, the backlash that Derozio witnessed motivated him to try and create social change. In the poem, Derozio writes

“Why doth the breeze sigh over thee in vain?

Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain;

Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,

Like ruined monument on desert plain:”

These verses reflect the depressive effects of India’s social reforms. The “silence” can be interpreted as a reference to the silence of individuality because people were unable to express their beliefs in idolatry. Since Derozio was an advocate for the freedom of expression, his poem sought to reflect the struggles of his country so that his readers could by moved by his words. The poem reminisces on how splendid India’s past once was just like the music belonging to the harp in the poem is no longer “sweet”. The poem then reads,

“Those hands are cold — but if thy notes divine

May be by mortal wakened once again,

Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!”

This part of the poem is a call for social change. The harp has not been played and the hands have lost their warmth from not playing the instrument, but that does not mean that it will never be played again. If the Harp were to be played again, then its music would be revived. This reflects Derozio’s beliefs in social change and the passion to live up to one’s identity. Just because India’s society faced a difficult time period, it does not mean that it can never be restored to its former glory. The significant culture that was once lost in India could be recovered and reborn if it were to be practiced by those who believe in it. Therefore, Derozio’s short poem is a reflection of a time period when India faced many difficulties, but nonetheless had the ability to restore its “Fame”.

-Maria G. Perez

The Travels of an Old Man

This painting, titled Evening: landscape With an Aqueduct by the artist Theodore Gericault, provides a very accurate visual representation of the Poem “Old Man Traveling: Tranquility and Decay. A Sketch” by William Wordsworth.

The poem relates the posture and apparent attitude of the old man in his journey to see his son (a mariner) who resides in hospital. The man is described as “insensibly subdued” and possessing “mild composure” given by “long patience”.

The painting depicts not just the physical form of the narrator speaking to an old man (as it is described in the poem itself), but also possesses the calm, almost lackadaisically determined demeanor of the old man; the bright and bold yet unobtrusive and warm color pallet of the painting perfectly captures the description of the old man’s reserved bravery. Moreover, the subject of the painting, the river and bridge, brings to mind a journey, or a place one is only meant to pass through – Much like the suggestion within the poem that the old man has traveled from a far away place, roaming the hills and rivers of his own land in order to reach his son.

Overall, both the poema nd the painting possess a spirit of travel, and a sense of quiet determination masking the wisdom of age.

-Shawn Pintor-Day

Heavy Metal and Literature

Whether Iron Maiden would be considered Romantic Poetry, I would say that yes for the take they had on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. The song for me gave a different outlook, it’s different when you read something whether and someone else interprets it in their own way. The use of images in the video of Iron Maiden gives an outlook of what was written by Coleridge, as well as the emphasizes on the grief that the Mariner must have been feeling for being left alone while on a ship. It emphasized the wrongdoing of the Mariner for killing the sea-bird. It was showcased in the video when I saw the ship in a harsh environment that I would imagine is where the Mariner was when he was left alone praying for God to help and forgive him. The video for me really put the emphasize on the grief that was present for the Mariner. The images where it showcased his crew coming back from the dead gave me a different outlook then when I read it. In the video it feels more of a punishment towards the Mariner, and in the reading, it felt more of a weird experience that brought fear. Different interpretations are brought in when I saw the Iron Maiden video, which was Romantic poetry, different characteristics would define it as being considered romantic literature. Some aspects from Coleridge’s writing was seen in the video, but as well as a different outlook can also be seen in the Iron Maiden’s music video. Literature is supposed to be interpreted differently depending on the person, and Iron Maiden achieved that with their style and use of imagery for their song.

  • Maria Mendiola

Genre to Conquer

Equiano’s implicates known English writers and abolitionists in an effort to restore and defend his claims to strengthen his own validity. Equiano appropriated the English language as a whole by containing the ability to present his literary status, even beside his troubling childhood. He was then able to coherently express the timeline of his life and individual reflection into a much more dense frame, that often seemed to contend with other various writers. Through reading and paying close attention to his autobiography, I found that he was often known to primarily expose the approach behind the English Language. Towards the end of the eighteenth century and beyond, the English language tended to be honored as the imperious move that essentially brought the world together as one. The English Language in and of itself came along with very well articulated phrases that compellingly illustrated Equiano’s timeline.

Later into the autobiography, we are shown his views on the subject of slavery. It is important to point out that Equijano’s narrative showcased and eventually helped establish the genre of the slave autobiography that soon enough encouraged Fredrick Douglas. Truth be told, those who were often persecuted within the English Language, were the main groups (particularly people of color) who grasped and apprehended the many attacks written during The Enlightenment. English was a language that was becoming more and more comprehensible to outside countries as well, which later became a somewhat popular and universal language of literature. Expressing the intimidating stature that is English Language, it often upheld and led to being conquered by those who were often exposed to its prejudice.

-Rosalinda Flores

Everyone’s Literature

Throughout his autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Equiano constantly uses quotes or references other popular literary works to describe his current situation. In one such instance, Equiano quote’s Homer from the famous epic poem The Illiad as he and his ship crew prepare to fight as they set sail after dark by exclaiming:

“Oh Jove! O father! if it be thy will

That we must perish, we thy will obey,

But let us perish by the light of day” (78).

This small nod to the famous story about the Trojan War does an appropriate job of setting up the scene, as in similar fashion, his own ship is about to head straight into unknown circumstances before “the light of day,” and as such, he knows they must be thoroughly prepared to accept defeat and death if need be.

More importantly, however, is Equiano’s fascination for using such profound works of literature in his own autobiography and adventures, as choosing to exclude them would do little to change the meaning of his experiences. It seems his decision to refer to established writers and stories shows the importance of literature as a whole not only within this time period, but also to Equiano himself, and serves as means to prove his intelligence to his audience. As a Black slave in the 18th century, Equiano wants nothing more than to be apart of English society and desires “to resemble them; to imbibe their spirit and imitate their manners” (74). By using the exact words of the very people he aspires to be, he attempts to convince his audience he is no different than everyone else. With each author he cites, he not only increases his credibility, but also demonstrates the potential people have despite coming from such a harsh background. Equiano shows that literature belongs not just to the high-class and high-profile English society, but to everyone from any background.

–Jose Ramirez

The Need for Good Literature

I want to focus on image #3 I believe Pope is calling out the lack of quality that writing has because of the need to be recognized and the need to reproduce literature. In this image I see this being portrayed as what Pope dislikes the most which is the lack of “quality, taste, honesty, intelligence”

“And keep them in the pale of Words till death. (160)

Whate’er the talents, or howe’er designe’d,

We hang one jingling padlock on the mind:

A poet the first day, he dips his quill;

And what the last? A very Poet still.

Pity! The charm works only in our wall,” (165)

In the 18th century literature was booming and in these lines it’s an affirmation that this was the case, the image in a way represents this notion that “The Dunciad” represents the upside world of where quality doesn’t matter rather dopes are honored. These lines represent the image in my opinion. In the image The Grub Street Journal, has the journal on the ground yes but the man entering is bringing in another journal, while the man is sitting, and is writing another poem. He is tied to the Grub Street journal of being locked to write for the journal not for merit, “he dips his quill; And what the last? A very Poet still”. The poets from this Grub Street writers don’t give up as you can tell in the image because of the trash can being full of what I assume to be past writing since the image is satirizing the typical writer from the Grub Street. From the footnote the poet is fenced in continuing to write in Pope’s opinion none of that writing is good it’s just dunces, dullards or dopes that are being honored as “The Dunciad” has been portraying; an upside world.

  • Maria Mendiola

And the Goddess

image.png“And all the Nations summon’d to the Throne.
The young, the old, who feel her inward sway,
One instinct seizes, and transports away.
None need a guide, by sure Attraction led, [75]
And strong impulsive gravity of Head:
None want a place, for all their Centre found,
Hung to the Goddess, and coher’d around. 32 
Not closer, orb in orb, conglob’d are seen
The buzzing Bees about their dusky Queen. [80]” 


Utilizing image #3 as a filter to understanding the verses listed above taken from Pope’s “The Dunciad” there are many references made to the Goddess. He even mentions particular Goddess names such as Athena and Isis. While I read this epic poem, I got many visions of Mother Gaia. The Goddess that this planet was named after. The Goddess that grows our fruits and vegetables. The Goddess that provides us with fresh air and water. The Goddess that provides us with the air to breathe; the air to live. The Goddess that keeps us attached to her through gravity. Through gravity, we are connected to Earth’s core. The Goddess that is our mother. Just like “the young, the old, who feel her inward sway…” and “Attraction led” – we the people are tied to the Goddess because we are Earth’s inhabitants. Humans despite race or religion are one species. We are Earth’s children.

In the picture, we have a woman placed in the center. Embodying Goddess energy as she rests in the comfort of her home. As she knits away creativity into inner-warmth.

And on the right of the image, we have the poet. The poet who knows the Goddess because the poet has seen God face to face. The poet knows that the woman and the man are simply just One. Here on Earth we have many illusions. One of them is believing that we are separate or that one gender came before the other. But the poet who knows God knows this isn’t that case. Men did not come before women and vice versa. We came as one. The God and the Goddess are one. And as Earth’s children born from a womb, we come from the Woman because we are from Earth- Mother Gaia.


Brianna Barajas



Making Fantasy Real

“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift brings irony and satire to a tale of captivity and long voyages.  A comedic yet, mystical tale of a person held captive appears as a giant compared to everyone else around him. The author found himself being held captive by an empire of many small people who speak another language. They teach him their language, feed him well and overall make many exchanges. Beginning of Chapter 3 Part One, the author express a sense of desire and hope to “… getting [his] liberty” soon he adds, “The natives came by degrees to be less apprehensive of any danger from me. I would sometimes lie down, and let five or six of them dance on my hand.”

As I read this, I imagined what it must feel like to be so much more larger in size than the people keeping you captive. I find it funny and ironic that Gulliver found himself in this situation. It’s similar to being held captive by a group of really small children- but a size thats only found in fantasy tales.  Although, the natives in this tale are an actual empire with their own advanced society,  the overall satire and irony is found in the author and how he just gives away his power to these people. Humor found in how he allows his gigantic physical vessel to be controlled and shrunk in size to fit into an empire of mini people. The tale itself just feels like an acid trip. All in all, it is a significant fact to the overall story that the the author is from Cambridge and the people holding him captive are the Natives. This fact alone is the plot’s main vehicle and serves as the author’s main creative function of this tale.


  • 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.


An American Sky

It was never this hard before, thought Guillermo De La Rosa as he stretched out his arm, pulling himself out from a muggy tunnel; it was daytime when he reentered the United States—San Diego. He untied the torn, red flannel from about his waist and dusted himself off, and when he got to wiping the sweat from his brow, he began to cry. “I promised you Natalie. I promised you that we would watch the American stars until the day we die,” he whimpered to an empty space beside him. Clutching the shirt to his face, absorbing the tears, he recalled the last time he saw his family: they were all there, standing outside by the patio with distraught, confused faces as the police car rushed out the driveway. The mother of the two little boys stayed by the door, hunched over, screaming into her shaking hands, while the boys ran to the street where they saw their father looking back at them, “Papi! Please! Don’t go!” That was the last time he saw Arturo and Diego—twelve years ago—they were seven and nine years old then. Wiping the last of his tears, he gathered himself and grabbed his backpack, rushing to the city to find his family.

He found himself in an old town where he would play handball with his old friends, all of which were now either in Mexico or no longer played. So, he decided to visit the courts in hopes to see people playing, but found nothing but a spray-painted fence covering unwanted debris. Different variations of “Fuck Trump” covered the entire fence; same words, different style. He was shaking his head with both perplexity of the court being torn down, and with amusement towards the graffiti, when he heard a crowd of young adults yelling what he had just read. Down the street, a Chicanx movement group was protesting the latest Trump executive order. Guillermo didn’t understand why they were shouting profanities aloud while there were children around, and he had an even deeper misunderstanding of what they were protesting. “You’re not with the movement old man?” a young man in a neatly combed hairdo asked Guillermo. “No? Uh. I-I-I don’t know, I’m sorry… My-my-my family…” he anxiously replied. “NO?! Well if you’re not going to fight for our rights then stay out of our way!” the young man shouted. Confused by what had just happened, he walked to a bus stop where he could still hear the faint chanting of the group. He was relieved to discover the bus route had not changed, and neither had the fare. Stepping off the bus, however, felt different; the wind that met him as the doors opened fell heavy on his shoulders. Nearing his old house, he felt his bones quiver, which made it hard for him to keep himself from falling to his knees, but soon enough he found it—with a new red door. At that moment he looked up, and realized the sky was no longer the same.

To Readers (if you exist),

I chose to recreate Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” in relation to its theme—or at least what I could take away from it as the theme. There was always this sense of uncertainty with defining anything that I found within the story. Life is constantly changing, as are the times, and I wanted to reflect on that with my own short story. I knew I wanted to recreate Irving’s story because I wanted to relate it back to the situation with immigration in modern day United States, to sort of satirize Trump’s America. Therefore, instead of a blatant attack on the U.S. president, I wanted to use a personal inquiry of my own to push the story forward. I imagined what it would be like if my own father had reentered the United States, what his interactions with others would be like, how he would feel. So, that’s why my story follows an undocumented father that reenters the United States after twelve years to reunite with his family. His encounter with a young man at a protest, for me, was both extremely funny and upsetting through the irony set in place. Here you have a privileged man protesting for the rights of undocumented folk shaming Guillermo for not “being about” a movement, which can be both funny and disturbing in the sense that the young man is being hypocritical. I ended the story with a new red door and a completely different sky—not the “American” one he promised his lover they would share forever, which was meant to symbolize how much the times have changed, and perhaps, how he may never make it back.

–Daniel Lizaola Lopez