Ruffled hair, tattered shirt, equipped with nothing but a crowbar, Ron-ron treks the offending threshold of Smokey Mountain as early as the crack of dawn, searching for good trash just so he can earn for he and his family, a day's meal. His family though, doesn't seem to be quite as helpful. His father, a jobless old loon, seemed to have bestowed upon his son the role of "breadwinner" long ago. And seeing that his mother ain't what she used to be, Ron-ron was forced to carry the burden upon himself and completely forget his childhood dreams. Having interviewed this remarkable young lad, who was forced to become a parent at a wee age of eleven, made me ask myself, "What have I been doing all my life?" Here I am, studying at one of the most prestigious schools in the country, having almost all the things a teenager like myself, would want, and still not contented with my life. Having been asked about his hopes and dreams, Ron-ron meekly answered, putting down his crowbar, "None… but I do have one for my family…" He paused for a while then smiled, "I hope for the day when my family would rise from poverty and be able to eat three times a day… I also wish that my dad would stop gambling the money I earn and start looking for a job so that we could buy the medicine that mom needs and that she could get well again." At the sight of that boy's eyes, full of hope and innocence, his words pierced right through me and threw me at the verge of realization. How shallow are his hopes and dreams! How selfless are his views in life! And then it hit me hard, aren't these the very same dreams, hopes and...
pages: 2 (words: 530)
One of the main functions of literature written during the Middle Ages is to represent the value system and culture of that time period. With The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer does just this. Through the various tales told by the travelers on their pilgrimage to and from the tomb of Thomas a 'Becket, the reader gets insight on the social theory, class boundaries, and value systems of the age in which it is set. One issue that Chaucer deals frequently with is the idea of what an ideal wife should or should not be. In both the Franklin's tale and the Clerk's tale, the reader is presented with two women, Griselda and Dorigen, who exemplify the characteristics which an ideal Medieval wife should depict. With the Franklin's tale of the larger Canterbury Tales, Chaucer characterizes the ideal Medieval wife through Dorigen, the main woman of the story. When the reader first meets her, she is described as being a "lady in the highest wise" (3) and "the fairest under [the] sun" (6). Out of pity she agrees to take an honorable knight to be her husband, thereby lowering her social status, and vows to be forever a faithful wife and lover to him. Together they have a happy and prosperous marriage overflowing with trust and respect. Being a knight, though, Dorigen's husband is often traveling. During these periods of separation, Dorigen "mourn[s], watche[s], wail[s], she fast[s] and complain[s]" (91) for her husband's swift and safe return to her, much as a noble wife should. On one such occasion, however, a young squire pledges his loyalty to her if only she consents to be his lover. To this, Dorigen, in jest, responds thus: Aurelius . . . by God above, Yet would I well consent to be your love, Since I hear you complain so...
pages: 5 (words: 1282)
The Broken Spears is an eye-opening book about the Spanish Conquest of the indigenous people of Mexico, the Aztecs. This book is unique in that it gives a perspective of the Aztecs. Most of the time history is written from the viewpoint of the winners, and the Aztecs were by no means the winners of this encounter. What made this book so appealing was that great detail and passion in which the events were portrayed. It feels as if the reader was there watching or even partaking in the events during that time. If a piece of literature can make a person feel like they want to be an activist for the tragedy that is taking place in the story, it has succeeded in communicating its message to the reader. This piece of historical literature is very important, because of the lack of knowledge that people have about the true history of the world. The Spanish were very successful in their conquest of the Aztec people for two distinct reasons. The first was their technology. As a civilization grows and agriculture is developed, people are then able to specialize in certain tasks. Some people become farmers, some become blacksmiths, and some become scribes. Once the people begin o specialize in different areas, then they are able to barter with on another and there is more time for people to explore with technology. Now it is not clear from the book if the Aztec civilization was at that point in their existence to explore with technology, but what is very clear is that the Spanish were, and were willing to use it to expand their culture. Everything about the Spaniards and the tools available to them where advanced light-years ahead of the Aztecs, iron swords, shields, and armor that they had. The...
pages: 4 (words: 962)
Growing up a bicultural woman has put a spotlight on Julia Alvarez's writing as it is a myriad of diverse issues and thoughts unique to her own personality that make her stand out. Feeling a lack of identity while living in the United States has forced Alvarez to immerse herself in reading and writing, a form of escape due to her being taunted by schoolgirls for her ethnicity and accent. She puts her own personal experiences in her books, making it that more personal and heartwarming to read and feeling a connection with the author formulates a more enjoyable reading adventure, which Alvarez easily does. Her despair, authenticity and effort to represent inner drama of her conversion to an American self has been a hard journey. Julia Alvarez's Dominican heritage and oppressive childhood experiences in America have greatly influenced her writing and perspective on controversial issues such as rape, abuse, miscarriage, cancer, harassment, and divorce. Julia Alvarez was born the 27th of March, 1950, in New York City. Not long after, her family moved back to the Dominican Republic, where Alvarez lived until the age of ten. She grew up on the family compound surrounded by love and an abundance of maids, sisters, aunts, and other women of the family (Discovering Biography 1). "Although I was raised in the Dominican Republic by Dominican parents in an extended Dominican family, mine was an American childhood" (Discovering Biography 1). Eventually, Alvarez's family was forced to flee their homeland because a plot involving her father to overthrow the dictator, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, was discovered. On the plane 'home' to America she wrote, . . . All my childhood I had dressed like an American, eaten American foods, and befriended American children. I had gone to an American school and spent most of the day speaking...
pages: 12 (words: 3177)
Somewhere between the West Egg and New York lies the Valley of Ashes. A dismal place, it is a dumping ground for things long forgotten. Lying in this wasteland is a myriad of abandoned things: people, ideas, and above all, God. In the 20's, times were changing; people began to ignore God. To represent this, Fitzgerald places an innocuous billboard in the Valley of Ashes. It is an advertisement for an oculist, Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic – their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose....But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground. (27-28) In this short section of a lengthy book, Fitzgerald expresses some basic attitudes towards God. In the novel, Eckleburg represents judgment of a corrupt society. When applied to today's society, this passage takes on a universal meaning. According to Fitzgerald, People are forgetting God, God is becoming more impersonal, but God is still omnipotent. Our forefathers founded America with God in mind. "In God we Trust" and "One Nation under God" reflect the emphasis on religion that was part of early American life. Only 200 years later, God has left the proverbial building. The previously omnipresent deity is no where to be found. One must carefully examine obscure passages to find a reference to God that is not profanity. God exists not in a church, but remains inside an inconspicuous billboard, trapped. There he stays, barely in sight and certainly out of mind. If people do look at the billboard, they only see enormous yellow glasses dominating and distorting the pure blue eyes of God. Painters first put the...
pages: 4 (words: 841)
A man once loved basketball but his legs were paralyzed in a auto accident and he couldn't play. In the eyes of defeat he surpassed that and went into the wheelchair league for basketball. These characteristics can also be shown in John Steinbeck's book of Of Mice and Men. The characters George Milton, Lennie Small, and Candy all show that they could be considered gallant in the eyes of defeat. George is gallant in the way of being self sacrificing because he gives up being able to pursue his dream in order to look after his friend. They were by a river on their way to their new job and George becomes mad at Lennie. He burst out with "God almighty if I was alone I could live so easy. I could get a job'n work, no trouble at all." George is defeated in the sense that hes being held back by Lennie, he gives up his dreams which he is capable of perusing to look after Lennie's well being . But George overcomes it by sticking through it and spends basically his whole life being a babysitter and taking the risk of getting in a lot of trouble because of Lennie's childish behaviors. After Lennie just killed Curley's wife and is on the run, George gets to him first and talks to him. He takes a gun and shoots Lennie in the back of the head, killing him. It was hard for George to do but he had to do it because he was either going to get tortured by Curley, or put in a jail where he wouldn't be happy at all. It was a gallant act for George because this was a person which he cared about and was given a responsibility by Lennie's aunt to look after...
pages: 3 (words: 800)
Hester Prynne, the Scarlet Letter's protagonist is a huge sinner and adulteress. Throughout the novel, she must carry the weight of her sin by wearing the letter "A" on her chest. As a result of this letter, the town's people looked down on her, and think of her as a wretched, and arrogant woman. The people believed that the magistrates were too merciful on her, and thought that, a woman so wicked and scandalous as her should suffer a more severe punishment than the one enforced on her. The women gossiping outside the jailhouse concurred that, Hester, "had brought shame upon [them] all, and ought to die"(Hawthorne 60). When Hester walked out onto the scaffold, she was cast wicked glances from her fellow town members. They glared at the letter on her breast, and stared at the illegitimate child in her arms. This public shame was not severe enough a punishment for this wretched woman, in the eyes of the town folk. Any other form of torture, or penalty would not have been too harsh in the eyes of the community, for this woman was a huge sinner, and deserved the worst sentence possible. After Hester had served her jail time, she was released. After being released, she took her child with her and lived in a cottage on the outskirts of town, becoming isolated from her community. In order to support both herself and her child, she took up the craft of needlework. Her work being beautiful and fit for the governor was required for making christening gowns, and the robes of high officials. Hester Prynne's needlework was chance for repentance; she made garments for the poor, and reached out to society and contributed however she could. Never the less, the people still shunned her, refused to acknowledge her...
pages: 3 (words: 673)
The Great Gatsby is concentrated with wonderfully written content. F. Scott Fitzgerald does a superb job of synthesizing the content together with his uniquely distinctive style. A couple of the devices he utilizes to fuse his work together are his extensive use of imagery and symbolism. These two devices alone are enough for Fitzgerald to convey his several themes that he wants the reader to comprehend by the end of the novel. Fitzgerald utilizes language that is full of images- concrete verbal pictures appealing to the senses. There is water imagery in descriptions of the rain, Long Island Sound, and the swimming pool at Gatsby's mansion. Somewhere in the midst of all that imagery Fitzgerald manages to make good use of symbolism. The green light that Gatsby is caught reaching for in chapter I has many symbolic meanings. It might symbolize Gatsby's goal of once again reuniting with Daisy and the enduring love he still has for her. It might stand for his desire to be accepted into the society that Daisy is a part of. The green light might just be a light at the end of a dock. The very houses that Daisy, Gatsby, and Nick live in have symbolic meanings as well. Tom and Daisy's Georgian style mansion represent their place in society; the elite or the very top of the social ladder. Call it what may the house symbolizes their roles as the accepted rich. Gatsby's castle-like mansion embodies his place in the noveau riche part of society. Nick's house symbolizes his place in the upper middle class. He is supposed to be the model of hard earned money. Finally, the last major symbol lies in the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleberg. This billboard is supposed to have some type of a religious symbolism. The eyes of Doctor...
pages: 2 (words: 428)
F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby is full of symbols which occur throughout the novel in order to develop and understand its major themes. Written in the 1920's, Fitzgerald's novel evaluates and examines Gatsby's vision of the American dream. One of the major themes in the novel is the nature of this "American Dream," a fictitious belief that if we become rich we will be successful and happy. Symbols that help to comprehend theme include the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg, the green light, and grand houses. These are a just a few of the predominant symbols which occur throughout the novel. The green light is a multi-faceted piece of symbolism in the novel which is able to interpret many themes including that Gatsby's love for Daisy (also known as the "American Dream"), has blinded him to all other things in turn causing his death. Nick first sees Gatsby with his arms outstretched toward "a single green light minute and far away that might have been the end of a dock." This quote enables the reader to see that Nick first perceives it as just a green light at the end of a dock while to Gatsby it is much more. To him it represents his longing for money, success, acceptance and of course Daisy. Although after Daisy and Gatsby had reunited, the green light was concealed by a mist, visibly affecting Gatsby, and Nick quotes, "Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever…Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished one by one." This image suggests to the reader that Gatsby may be beginning to see that his quest for Daisy is being misted and is making him blind. All of Gatsby's...
pages: 4 (words: 916)
English Coursework Discuss the social and historical context of each text reflected in 'The Speckled Band' by Arthur Conan Doyle and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' by Roald Dahl. In this essay, I am going to compare and contrast the two short stories "The Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, and "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl, picking out techniques used which make it exactly, or exactly the opposite of a typical detective story/murder mystery. Both "The Speckled Band" and "Lamb to the Slaughter" have ingredients for a detective story, i.e. they both have a cold murderer who is just a little mad. On the other hand, they are presented to us very differently, making one story very formulaic, and making the other very untypical of the murder mystery genre. But, both stories contain similar elements but different due to the time in which they are written. Both Conan-Doyle and Dahl use various techniques to make their stories more interesting; for example, in Dahl's "Lamb to the Slaughter" the story revolves around the character of Mrs Mary Maloney, loving housewife and psychopathic killer. Normally, many stories concentrate on the detective or the victim, this story concentrates on the character of the murderer. This perspective helps with the telling of the murder, making it more unexpected. The story includes two major plot twists; the first being the murder itself, made unexpected by what we have seen of Mary Maloney's character, the second plot twist is at the end, where the detectives eat the murder weapon. Conan-Doyle used techniques in writing "The Speckled Band" also. His story revolves around the character of the detective, Sherlock Holmes. The story is told as seen through the eyes of his companion, Dr Watson, providing a good example of writing in the first person. Unlike Dahl's story, "The Speckled Band" is...
pages: 3 (words: 732)