Monday, February 24, 2014

"On the Sonnet" by John Keats and "Sonnet" by Billy Collins

                Keats describes an idea that in the sonnet the poet is bound to a structure, but they should make the poem original and be inside that structure. Collins instead believes that this poetic form is extremely easy and does not convey much by itself.
                Even though sonnets force the poet to write “dull rhymes [that] our English must be chained” (1), he believes sonnets help the poet find originality. He believes sonnets help us “inspect the lyre, weigh the stress of every chord, and see what may be gained” (7-8). He believes that through sonnets poets have a chance to find themselves. They can “see what may be gained” (8). He also describes that sonnets make “Misers of sound and syllable” (10). Sonnets lead poets to become selfish because they want the structure for themselves only. He also compares the poets who write sonnets to Midas who was a greedy king and was given the power of turning everything he touched into gold. Sonnets are comparable to Midas because the turn dull words into gold. He believes that sonnets make any old words beautiful. The structure of the sonnet does not allow the imagination of the poet to run free and it cover the words “with garlands of her own” (14).  Keats believe that sonnets disguise any words into something beautiful, but they do not allow the imagination to roam free.
                Collins believes that sonnets are extremely cliché and does not do anything to the poem. This differs from Keats who believes that sonnets can make any dull words beautiful. Collins shows that he thinks sonnets are easy by describing that 14 lines is all there is to it. He says you can get “Elizabethan and insist the iambic bongos must be played and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines” (5-7), but that is not necessary to create a sonnet. He says that in “the final six where are will be resolved” (10). This shows that Collins believes that sonnets are cliché and superficial because they are have a sweet, loving resolution at the end. He does not agree that every poem should have a happy ending. He does not end his sonnet this way. He instead mocks Petrarch for writing these sonnets about Laura. He says Petrarch should “put down his pen, [and] take off those crazy medieval tights” (13-14). He mocks Petrarch for continually writing cliché sonnets about his lover Laura.
                All in all the beliefs of Keats and Collins differ because Keats believes that sonnets mask the words and create something wonderful while Collins believes that sonnets cause words to become cliché with a happy ending. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blog of your choice: Analysis of ending in relation to fantasy v. reality

                Marlow’s encounter with the Intended shows that fantasy of Kurtz will live on rather than the reality of Kurtz. When Marlow visits Kurtz’s finance she mourns as though Kurtz died yesterday. She has an unwavering love for him, and she believes that Kurtz was a pure, virtuous, perfect man. I believe she looks up to him as a god like figure. She believes “it was impossible to know him and not admire him” (161). In her eyes Kurtz was a man of perfection.
                She wrongfully believes that she is the one that knew him best and that he confided everything in her: “I had all his noble confidence. I knew him best” (161). Yet, Kurtz never mentions his finance in the novel. As the girl speaks of Kurtz as godlike describing how his words and example will live on, Marlow begins to grow angry. He becomes angry because this girl is so disillusioned. Marlow instead knows that Kurtz is an “eloquent phantom” (163) an evil man whom everyone is drawn to. In this scene Marlow’s anger turns to pity for the finance. His pity shows that the girl is living in a fantasy and has no idea of the true man Kurtz was. She has barely any confidence of him. Kurtz was a suffering man who last words were “the horror, the horror”, and the girl knew nothing of that. When Marlow lies and tell his finance that in his last words he spoke her name, he allows her to continue her fantasy which she knows Kurtz well and he is perfect. Marlow wants to spare the girl of the darkness that lay inside of Kurtz. By doing this, the girl will not know the truth.
                Conrad shows that this girl lives in an absolute fantasy, and Marlow cannot bear to tell her the truth because he pities her. This shows that the fantasy of Kurtz perfection will live on as his legacy. Conrad shows that the truth is sometimes very difficult to find because it is usually very dark and depressing. This relates back to the Congo Free State. Many people did not know the truth about it because it was not published in the open. The truth about what happened is not commonly known to this day, and the truth is absolutely horrid. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Siren Song by Margarent Atwood Explication

This is the one song 1
Everyone would like to learn: the song
That is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons 5
even though they see the beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who has heard it
is dead and the others can’t remember.

Shall I tell you the secret?
and if I do, will you get me 10
out of this bird suit?

I don’t enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical 15

with these two feathery maniac,
I don’t enjoy singing
This trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you. 20
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas 25
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

            In this allusive poem the speaker describes how the relationship between men and women is too artificially based on beauty. This poem alludes to the Siren which are sister who lure sailors to rocks to their deaths by singing a beautiful tune. The speaker describes the song the sirens sing as “irresistible” (3). It forces men to forget what they are doing to find the women singing. The men “leap overboard in squadrons even though they see beached skulls” (5-6). The men forget about the death ashore because they are following this beautiful sound from the women. They are too focused on the sound that they forget about the rest of the world.
            Also, the speaker alludes that the women do not enjoy being coveting for their beauty. The speaker says, “I don’t enjoy it here/ squatting on the island/ looking picturesque and mythical (13-15). The speaker does not enjoy alluring men to her with her song. She wants something deeper than that, something that does not rely completely on outside beauty. She calls the sirens “two feathery maniac” (16). This depicts the sirens in a negative way. She then goes on to describe the sirens as “fatal and valuable” (18). The sirens are fatal because they lure men to their deaths, but they are also valuable because they grab the attention of men. The speaker believes that the irresistible song is the only thing that were lure men to women. Women have to go through so much artificial effort to get the attention of men. Men will not listen or come near a woman for her inner beauty.
            This song is a horrible thing, it is a “cry for help” (22). The speaker is crying for a man to help her end this irresistible singing. She wants a man to notice her for something more real and deeper. The speaker persuades the reader to come near and near until they are close to death. She finishes the poem by saying “Alas/ it is a boring song/ but it works every time” (24-25). This song that is irresistible is described as boring. If the men looked more critically at the song and used their brains in that situation, they would not be brought to their deaths. It is merely a boring song. The speaker wishes men and women could use their intelligence when they are together. She wishes that men would not be so easily lured to a women by the sound of her voice or by another time of artificial beauty. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Research on Congo Free State (1885-1908)

               The Congo Free State was an area in Central Africa controlled by Leopold II who was the King of Belgium. Leopold became the leader of the international committee on civilization for the Congo. He also became the head of the humanitarian committee in central Africa which had a goal of science and peace. He used this power in these committees to convince the international committee to allow him influence in the Congo Basin. His only goal in Africa was to make a state for commercial gain, and he had a secret plan to make a trade route for ivory in Africa.
                When Leopold II was given influence in Africa he promised to stop the slave trade and keep free commerce. He pledged that he had a philanthropic and scientific agenda. Once he gained power, he did the complete opposite of his agenda. He began to limit the natives land and trade because he wanted to make money off the mineral resources and ivory. He developed a monopoly over the ivory in Africa. He also encouraged the East African slave trade because he wanted more workers for free. Plus, imposed duties on the native. Although he broke all the promised he made when he assumed power, he began a genocide when the commercial state was not doing well financially.
                He eventually forced men to work for him without pay so that he would make more profit. He would exploit the men and prosecute their families if they did not make certain quotas. There were some rebels, but Leopold’s army easily put them down. He would kill the families of men if they did not reach their quotas in ivory or other minerals. Many Congolese people were enslaved during this time as well. The Congolese population dropped rapidly due to murder, starvation, and disease.