Lines composed a few miles from UC Merced. May 7th, 2019

Two years have past; four terms, as long as

Four long years! Yet still I hear

The wind, blowing along the sunburnt grass

With the collective sloth of the cows — And again

Do I see the flat lands the mountains far,

That on this lifeless canvas dismay

Thoughts of social reclusion; and feel

The world with its emptiness abound

This day has arrived When I look back again

Here out under the piping valley sun, and view

The weathered streets, these deprived students, just kids.

Which at this moment, with their torn minds

Are wrapped in the stressful embrace, and lose themselves

‘Mid classrooms and halls. Again I observe

These students, hardly people anymore

Lost inside their work, Societal Obligations!

Inside the dormitory cave, where by the lamp

There exists a student. In the cave they study.

The student studies alone.

A slave.

                                                These twisted forms

Through a lasting presence, have belonged to me

As a canvas to a painter’s brush,

Still often in busy rooms amid the bustle

Of chattering peers, I am indebted,

Hours of exhaustion, senses numbed,

I feel in my bones, in my mind;

Perhaps even in my heart or my very being

Our feelings ripped apart, turned to dust

Disregarded thoughts and opinions,

That have no listeners, no impact

Until, the breathing stops

The blood stops running

And we are all lowered down, into the Earth.

The body dies and the spirit with it.

Never to be heard again, as if they even heard at all.

The end, and the joy of it.

With death brings light we cannot see

                                                                But this!

Is just an empty belief, yet, common! So common—

All throughout the many teachings of

Empty knowledge, empty beliefs, professed!

It hangs heavy on my heart—

How often I have turned to You

Oh Lord! Thou hopeless illusion

How often I turn to you!

Yet of all the people. I blame

You.

You did this.

    But now, with rays of disillusion,

I recognize poisoned thoughts

And perhaps, a somber confusion, or is this clarity?

Yet this mental picture still haunts me

Meanwhile I sit here, not only with this madness

Of the current pain, but with painful thoughts

That in this moment there is work then death. For what?

For the future, and that I fear.

I’ve changed so much, from the beginnings

Who am I now? Who are we?

Certainly not us.

I made it to these halls, and despite everlasting torment

I worked harder than ever, like the wind

Pushing against a mountain, fruitless

I walked across the campus, where the schedule dictated

Wherever I was led: Like a lost child, worthless

Running from fears, instead of chasing dreams

Getting caught and catching none. For now

I cannot envision what I used to be

Because when I am here, it is gone

Amid the ruins of distorted identities

If I should stand where all I can hear me

I say this.

Inside Me.

Inside Us.

Something is wrong.

This is my parody of Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth. Instead of the sense of tranquility and happiness described in the original poem, my parody flips that on its head and describes a sense of despair and chaos that many students, myself included feel at this particular time of year. The unorthodox style of romantic poetry interested me greatly when reading it. I particularly enjoy how it is not held back by the standard conventions which, while certainly valuable at times, can also limit creativity and ideas. I chose to emulate William Wordsworth’s somewhat unorthodox style that lacks the standard conventions of poetry. Because of this I felt Tintern Abbey was the perfect poem to emulate because of its complete lack and disregard of poetic structure. I feel like this matches the sense of disillusion I was trying to convey with the parody. Instead of a peaceful recluse of a church. There is instead the chaotic nature of a college campus filled with people all experiencing the same social tension and anxiety. The beginning of the poem stays close to the style of Wordsworth yet as it goes on it diverges. This was done purposefully, not only to separate it from the original but also to give off a sense of distortion. Many people begin a semester feeling hopeful and slowly become more and more anxious as it goes only. I tried to display the exact opposite of the hopeful emotion displayed in the original but at certain times went for the same sentiment, as it seemed appropriate in particular moments. Some short lines I elongated and some long lines I made shorter if I thought it added to the parody. To me parody is about a drastic shift in the message of something while at the same time keeping mostly the same style of the original, which is exactly what I hope I achieved here.

  • Evan Klang
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Atwater, CA, 2019


Driving through the town,

Next to where the buildings end

And where the land becomes green with brown,

There are traces of sweat that drip down from the bodies that bend.


The hands have scars from the labor,

The workers know cries of pain,

But being able to rest is not something they favor

Because they’d lose a workday’s gain.


The workers begin to sigh

As they look down on their stained boots,

But there can be no tear from any eye

Because they are their family’s roots.


Most of the time they are tired,

But they continue to go back to the fields.

They cannot afford to be fired,

Since to their children, they are their shield.

-Maria G. Perez (William Blake’s “London”)

Laura Romero “The Field”

Isolation

The poem I chose to analyze had been, The Mad Mother, before I go in-depth with how I interpreted the poem I want to talk about the title. I found it interesting how this poem was titled The Mad Mother because she decided to be fully devoted to her baby and mother nature. On lines 7-20 on page 115:

She has a baby on her arm,
Or else she were alone;
And underneath the hay-stack warm,
And on the green-wood stone,
She talked and sung the woods among;
And it was in the English tongue.

Sweet babe! they say that I am mad,
But nay, my heart is far too glad;
And I am happy when I sing

It is obvious to us that she has been rejected by society so the only way for her to remain sane or to feel loved is her child. On lines 31-34 on page 115: we read the satisfaction, love, and calmness she receives as her child is being breastfed by her.

Suck, little babe, oh suck again!
It cools my blood; it cools my brain;
Thy lips I feel them, baby! they
Draw from my heart the pain away.

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

Buttermere Lake, with Part of Cromackwater, Cumberland, a Shower exhibited 1798 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N00460

As I am reading through The Mad Mother the image that best fits this poem is this one. As I am reading I think of a woman who is away from society but who is connected to mother nature, right in the middle of it, just like this image. Also, on lines, 41-45 on page 116 it says: which is a perfect description of this image. The boat in the middle of that lake is the mother and her small baby and she is comforting it as they are going through the lake.

Oh! love me, love me, little boy!
Thou art thy mother’s only joy;
And do not dread the waves below,
When o’er the sea-rock’s edge we go;
The high crag cannot work me harm,

The darkness of this image represents the loneliness the mother feels. Although she is happy with her baby and mother nature she is still rejected from society so she has to find satisfaction and comfort with what she has beside her which is obviously her baby and all the nature that is surrounding her.

 

Dull Monkeys

 

Pope was, not surprisingly, mocked and criticized for his attack on “the dull”, as we can see in this satirical print of him (Image #2). Despite the mocking picture being directed against Pope, I believe it serves to further his satirical point within the Dunciad. What happens when the literature of power is classified by the dull and corrupt? Additionally, what happens when that literature is given mounts of time and thought? I believe the monkey-esque figure is collectively the dull scholar, the dull critic, and the dull reader engaging with Pope’s text. Pope mockingly pretends that the Dunciad is an ancient epic that needs scholarly investment. He is mocking those texts which indeed do demand such a privilege, not through the merits of their work, but through dullness. The appointment of Colley Cibber as Poet Laureate in 1730 is an example of this. He was not selected for the merits of his writing, but for his support of the Whig political party. He was appointed a position where his poems would receive attention at special events and such, a spotlight of dullness. Pope is criticizing a society that is disregarding merit for affiliation and consumability. Therefore when we see the monkey of a reader/critic/scholar engaging with a text that is a satirization of third-rate texts, they are made the fool. Pope’s head is representative of what this does to the consumers of these texts. Much like the case of Cibber, if these third-rate texts are held in this esteem and reach the ears of the masses, the dullness of the author can find a home in the reader and perpetuate the cycle. Monkey see, monkey do, as is said. We can see this same cycle within the Dunciad.

 

“As Fancy opens the quick springs of Sense,

We ply the Memory, we load the brain,

Bind rebel Wit, and double chain on chain,

Confine the thought, to exercise the breath;

And keep them in the pale of Words till death.

Whate’er the talents, or howe’er design’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,”

 

We can see in the first line how “Fancy” is dictating the sense of people in what they esteem as worthy literature. This is illustrating how the masses fancy literature through political or personal bias. Enough to engage with it and confine the counter thought that this literature is objectively unworthy. When this literature is exposed to many other dull ‘monkeys’ it is kept in the “pale” of words. I believe the use of “pale” is a pun of sorts. Actually meaning pail, it is replaced with pale as these works which are found in there pale in comparison to the great works of literature. Yet they have the potential to be put in the same pail of “Words”, or important literature. This is despite “the talents” of the author and “the design” of the work. Despite it all they are still a poet amongst the greats. This “charm” only works within the “wall” of the society which perpetuates it, and allows this dangerous cycle to continue. A collection of dull monkeys engaging with dull text.

-Daniel Rodriguez

For the Love of the Play

Dryden was a highly intuitive writer, and the way he portrayed the relationship between Cydaria and Cortez would seem to be a mix of many aspects. The period and audience had a great impact on his finalized work. During the time where this was performed theater was the social hub, people of all classes would come together and observe it all (performance and other audience members). This included nobles, so strategically, to show his loyalty to the monarchy and country, Dryden projected it through Cortez’s hesitation regarding Cydaria’s request to have peace. However, I do not think this was to demonstrate any anxiety about the relationship between foreign imperialists and Aztec natives, but more so to please the higher ups. It also would just happen that Cydaria’s and Cortez’s relationship that was portrayed in Dryden’s play, fit well into the genre of serious drama that he seemed to employ. The building suspense of their love left a lot to be desired, it was there but not fully there, the drama of it made it more enticing. This play was known for the idea of love versus honor and in not fully developing an amorous relationship between Cydaria and Cortez, Dryden emphasized the struggle.

-Sabrina Vazquez

The Social Equilibrium, Never Set in The Indian Emperor

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From any angle that we tried to see it, John Dryden’s, The India Emperor was a satirical overview of what society tended to be during his time. Yet, we see such blasphemy to this day with gender inequality within most countries of the world, especially in the United States amongst others. To many, this was considered to be the defining work in the sub-genre of heroic drama, but there was merely any joyful scenario to even categorize it as such. We undergo through the conflict of love and honor, and the Emperor of Mexico Montezuma was the primary character to influence with such beliefs that love is much more important than whatever status he has in place;

“But of my crown thou too much care dost take;  

That which I value more, my love’s at stake.”

To contrast this, Cortez, the Spanish General, takes the complete opposite route and turns back on his love for the obedience of his king, more than willingly knowing that the order commanded to him were flawed. A power whore? Yes, but that’s something that subliminally Dryden tries to convey to the reader; no such power can overlap a strong bond of love. Unfortunately for Montezuma, he never ended with a happy conclusion, as his suicide was the end of all that’s pure in love when overseeing power amongst others.

“Already mine is past: O powers divine,

Take my last thanks: no longer I repine;

I might have lived my own mishap to mourn,

While some would pity me, but more would scorn!

For pity only on fresh objects stays,

But with the tedious sight of woes decays.

Still less and less my boiling spirits flow;

And I grow stiff, as cooling metals do.

Farewell, Almeria.”

Dryden excellently portrays Cortez as deviously high-minded and magnanimous, to show what sort of influence the Spaniards are as oppressive and cruel to never establish social equilibrium amongst all people. In today’s time, we emphasize the notion of current feminist movements and insinuates that patriarchal norms that we challenge in today’s’ society aren’t equal as we set to foresee them. Men and Women are never treated equally, even to this day, we will always have something that would stray us more apart than bring us close together.

– Stephen Muñoz

Wordsworth of the Modern Day: America, 2017

A Modern imitation of Wordsworth’s poem:

Jefferson! Your declaration has turned against you:

America needs your return; She has become the home of political unrest.

Of corrupted shores: rebellion, terrorism, and insanity,

Seaside, the great country of freedom,

Has revoked her own former glory

Of Democracy. We are our own demise;

Please! Rise from the grave, return to life;

And return us to Freedom, Liberty, and Democracy.

Your writings like a guiding sign, and long forgotten:

You once had a voice that lead to our country’s liberation:

Clear as a cloudless sky, open, unyielding,

So did you wish for this fate,

In regretful acceptance; and yet your heart

At the destruction did not sway.

Is Sophie Just Another Teenager?

Sophia is definitely a young teenager, who clearly doesn’t care to give attention towards the political aspects that are happening on the “sidelines” of her stay in India. We get a sense of “me, me, me”, dare I say monumental ego? In Letter IX, there is still a pretty formal introduction as to what is happening, but it is one of the first times she gets a little more into the politics surrounding her. It shows a great deal of hierarchy, the servants don’t speak in broken English, and she likes that she doesn’t have to fuss with a servant who is English illiterate. As Sophia begins to discuss “The Writer’s Building”, and interacts with George Lyttelton’s poem Advice to a Lady and writes “Her fairest virtues fly from public sight, Domestic worth, that shuns too strong a light.”(58), I seen it as she understands something political is going on but rather like the lines say, her role in society is to just be a wife. It isn’t okay for a woman to enter into the political spectrum, her duty is to look pretty. Which is why we can see Sophia illustrating herself as a beautiful young woman. Men are meant to be in power, and women are only meant to be in the shadow of men.

George Lyttleton was a member of Parliament from 1735 t0 1756.  In this poem he acknowledges the struggles women have to go through, he acknowledges men are not the best creatures, but in such “women still need to be servants to their husbands”.

Viviana Ojeda

“I know what I know, therefore knowing what I know makes me so like smart; like, ya know?”-Sophia

Phebe Gibbs in, Hartley House, Calcutta, introduces the world to a privileged European sixteen year old Sofia, and her narrow perspective of life, through the letters she writes to her friend Anabella.  Throughout the description of India, and all its surroundings, is an over exaggerated sense of nostalgia.  The nostalgia, being she in the center of it all; and the center being her.  In each letter, she writes of the people she meets, and proceeds to analyze them, as well as rate them at different levels of importance.  Her grading system is all dependent of her own knowledge and level of education. Thus, whenever she responds to the acquaintance of someone new, she refers quite often to English literary works and authors to solidify her judgment of them.  

    Upon one of her location stays, she refers to a woman named Mrs. Rider who is giving her a tour of the Mrs. Hartley’s room and closet, and mentions:

“The drapery is well executed, the attitude happily chosen, the likeness masterly, the commentary of the Genius of Shakespeare, which lies on a table in the background…

I feel myself proud when my mind tells me this lady is my countrywoman”(Gibbs, 148).

Two things can be seen here: one, she places herself on a level of all-knowing and implies that what she is well versed on- such as that of authors like Shakespeare- entitle her to a sense of authority; and two, she places Mrs. Hartley in a higher echelon, only for having shown an affection for Shakespeare work, and in that attaches herself to Mrs. Hartley’s elite “worth.”

    Sophia, while truly convinced that she is exploring a new world, only continues to revisit the same conventions she is used to and glorifies -her own self, and that of anything glitzy and glamorous.  It indeed alludes to the  notion that even on a level of academia, her lack of really appreciating other scholars and not holding them up to that same regard as she does to European authors, shows how much European authors were viewed as exclusively supreme; or, rather, the bar to reach.

-Maricela (Marcy) Martinez

Throwing Culture Out the Door for English.

I don’t believe the English changed much from Johnson’s time to Ray and Macaulay’s time. During Johnson’s time the English language was expanding and had no set rules or structure. There was no proper way to write one word so he set out to change that by creating a dictionary. His dictionary wasn’t useful in the way he thought it would be useful. He thought everyone would flock to his dictionary to check their spelling and the meaning of the word, but what it really was used for was to show the importance of having standards for English. The English language was expanding due to people spellings words slightly different from one another and because the English language was picking up words from other countries and languages. The English language was created for science, so scientists could communicate their discoveries. And new words were being invented faster than Johnson’s dictionary could keep up. I believe the English language had stayed the same in the sense that it was expanding and consuming other parts of different languages. It had changed in the sense that it had evolved to be a more defined, coherent, updated version of itself.

During Macaulay’s time the English language was still being expanded and formed with Indian words. English had reached the point where it was ready to go out into the world and share its use. In India, English was being introduced and being taught but there wasn’t much support to learn English as there was to learn Sanskrit and Arabic. Macaulay’s argued for the introduction of English and French as foreign languages to be studied. For English and French literature, science, and philosophy to be subjects of academic study in schools and have less emphasis on Arabic and Sanskrit. “We have to educate a people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother-tongue.” “Whether we look at the intrinsic value of our literature, or at the particular situation of this country, we shall see the strongest reason to think that, of all foreign tongues, the English tongue is that which would be the most useful to our native subjects.” From these two quotes pulled from Minute by the Hon’ble T. B. Macaulay, he makes the statement that to educate the people it would be better to teach them English. That English would work better for their subjects and progress in science. It does have an imperialistic sound to it: claiming that a movement away from native languages, culture, and studies would be a step towards the better and future. Macaulay made a well argued point to have English be the language to replace their native tongue shows how well English must have evolved if people are willing to throw their old language out the door.

In  Roy’s writing he also calls for English language education in India in hopes that it will modernize India’s society and Indian education. He writes that students learning Sanskrit and Arabic are learning what was known two thousand years ago,but must now be taught what was going on at the moment and the language of the future. Roy also points out how difficult it is for natives to learn Sanskrit and that it would be easier for them to just have academics taught in English.

– Andres Quezada