Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blog 11: Hero & Claudio

This Blog is about Much Ado about Nothing, in class we have been reading this play by Shakespeare and  this entry focuses on the courtship during the playwright's time.

Based on the acts and the movie we saw, the way in which marriage came about was like a business transaction. Hero in this case is nothing more than merchandise with a warranty. Don Pedro and Claudio talk about Leonato's heir, in this case it was only Hero. Therefore, what ever was Leonato's becomes Claudio's once him and Hero are married. 

The situation is very complex to understand, on one hand he asks about Leonato's heir. This makes it seem like he is interested in Leonato's inheritance. However, on the other hand he explains that when he first saw Hero before he went to war he was stricken by her beauty but the thought of war was far too consuming to think of matters of the heart. Then when he returns victorious he feels confidant and when he sees Hero once again he feels that he is "sick with love" for her, and he wishes to be married.

The courtship back in the Shakespearean era was a few meetings with the family of the bride and a few exchanges of words between the couple. Then it is off to the ceremony and then the night of the wedding, which the bride must be a maid in order for her to have all the riches her father leaves her. Another reason why she must be a maid is because if she has lost her virtue she is nothing in that society but a whore or a temptress. The honor of women was based on her chastity.

Do I think that Claudio truly loves Hero? Not really, I think it is lust and business more than love. I don't think you can truly love someone in that short amount of time. For matters of the heart, I believe that getting to know someone is very important. In the partnership between Claudio and Hero, there isn't enough time for them to truly love each other. I think that there may be physical attraction and lust, but not love. Love takes longer to develop and I think that in this era they didn't really care about the true feelings they felt for each other as long as there was stability and the woman was a virtuous maid without losing her honor. They cared more for the appearance and what the people thought than what the couple felt for one another.  It seems though that after the lie Don John plants in Claudio's head that he becomes jealous of Don Pedro. He believes that letting someone else do the work doesn't pay off because the attraction can make a loyal friend turn on them and just act for themselves. Claudio really seems hurt by the lie because he may have feelings for Hero after all... I just don't think they are real love.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blog 10: Self evaluation and Reflection

In this Blog entry I chose #8: The Fight, I picked teh definition of Kindred.

The reason why I am proud of this blog is because of my understanding between the connection of the definition of the word and of Dana's own Kindred in the book. I see the irony of the word as the title of the book itself, and then of Dana's discovery of her own ancestors. Another big reason why I liked this blog is because of the Topsy Turvey Doll. The doll is unique and i believe it has a double meaning in American Society. If you haven't read the blog I think it's pretty good.

In regards to what I have learned based on the narrative it's sooo much to explain.
First I knew about slavery but never to the extent of what I learned in this class. With all the masks and all the cruel forms of puishment that slave masters gave the slaves it's very upsetting. I learned of the importance of education back then and how important it is today. Everyone should have the right to learn to better themselves intellectually.

I learned regarding the system of slavery as control. One of my blog entrys focuses just on that aspect. What it takes to make a slave and how a slave owner is made. It's mind boggeling to accept such inhumane treatment because your life has been terrorized and beat all the way down to the point that you feel helpess and afraid to take any type of stand.

This blog entry should have so much detail but I can't put it all down in words. I am left with a great feeling of sadness for all the slaves in the past and the current slaves that exist in the shadows. Slavery is just cruel and shouldn't exist but it still does. Today's society accepts it because once again everyone turns a blind eye. Everyone it out for themselves and I think this is the biggest mistake we all make. We never stop to think of the things we buy and remember how they are made, and at the expense of who.

I didn't get to do my house evaluations, but I will read all of my group's blogs because they are all very smart and insightful and I think that everyone's opinion counts.

All I can say is this, Professor X you rock!! The book choice was excellent, I cried, I was angry, and I felt happy that Dana made it out alive, incomplete, but alive. The incompleteness I understand is due to a greater meanining and that's because no one who lives in this time and doesn't know slavery would be fine, but someone taken from now and placed into slavery would never be whole once they returned. There just is no way to ignore the past and that symbolizes why she isn't complete.

Blog 9: Looking back in Kindred

In this blog entry, I will be discussing the second question which is regarding the symbolism in "lost" and "home."

The way that the question is asked, "lost" means trauma, and "home" is Dana's desire to be back in her world and her "real" time. The first question is what traumas are indicated by the loss of Dana's arm? When Dana looses her arm after she kills Rufus, she is left incomplete. During her times back and forth between time periods Dana has endured so much pain and suffering. Her life before as a wife to a white man will never be the same. Her knowledge of her ancestors brings darkness into her life. As a black woman in her present time she didn't know what it was really like to be black in a white man's world. She had her so called "rights." She was working and able to marry her white husband with the objection of his family and her own. But the fact was that she could do so. However, after she starts going back and forth between past and present, her future will no longer be the same. She has been marked by her past and the trauma she experienced as a black woman in the past. This will be with her forever, so much that the loss of her arm shows the pasts grip on her life and her present. She was able to survive the Antebellum- Maryland, but this survival comes with the experience and the traumatic events she endured.

How  is a the loss an indication of Dana's personal traumas? Well, when she was in Maryland, she witnessed so much pain and suffering from her friends at the time. She understood Sarah's attitude and way of being after her children were sold for Margaret to gain fancy things. She witnessed the rape and beating of her Ancestor Alice, and all the pain and suffering Rufus caused her that made her commit suicide. She had to endure her own whippings when she tried to escape to find her husband that was lost there from her previous return to her Los Angeles home. She was never complete after she knew of all the damage the people had to withstand in order for them to survive living as slaves of that plantation.

How is it an indication of a national trauma caused by the dark historical facts of slavery? The way that I see this symbolism of "lost" as a trauma in the historical  facts of slavery is the same way that Dana may have seen it. Before she experienced this time traveling, she didn't really pay much attention to the past that blacks had to endure. She was living in her own time with her own rights. Back then however, blacks didn't have any rights whatsoever. I think that by being aware she lost the naive sense of worth she had as a black woman of her present time. The time traveling served as a purpose so that she could know he family's history and gain an understanding of what it was like to have to live in that time period. She basically had no idea, only in her literature. Whatever she read could never compare to what she actually experienced once in that era. This loss i believe is of her pride to be an American. The history should never be forgotten and that's what happened. This served as a big wake up call and reality check. The mediocre rights people have come from the suffering of others and that should never be ignored or forgotten.

Are you also mutilated by the counrty being founded on slavery? I think that people that have survived all the past and live in a time like ours, they have to feel some anger and pain. Anyone who had an ancestor that was a slave would know that it was not an easy life. The fantasys created were done to convince themselves that what they were doing wasn't wrong, but it was. That lifestyle is not right for anyone, and people that had slaves just wanted to pretend everything was fine. I believe that America is mutilated, that's why there is so much hate and crime. There isn't real unity with people, they have just accepted it and moved on, but the real feelings will just be underlying and never fully come out because people have gone with their time.

How can these traumas be healed? I don't think that they ever can be, I think it's all a mask of hidden resentment. Everyone worries about themselves now and for their families and friends. We live in fast paced life where things need to be done and everyone is basically in their own world, not really caring for anyone else. I think these are the effects of all the past. Once everyone had their "rights" thats all they cared for. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I believe slavery still extist in different forms. I think that people just don't think about it because they want to turn a blind eye just like the past slave owners did. They don't want to think that what we all have is through the expense of others. Therefore, it is just a continuation of history in a milder form.

What would it take for America to get home, or for us to be at home with the memory of slavery? People are at home with slavery, they just don't think about it. They hold their celebrations for the 4th of July. No one thinks about the past. They live in the now and in the present we don't talk about slavery. People know it was bad so they prefer not to mention it. People have moved on like i stated above, and they carry on about their lives not thinking about the lives of others.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blog # 8: "The Storm," "The Rope," and "Epilogue"

This week in class we have been finishing up the book, Kindred by Octavia Butler. Our assignment for this blog, is to answer a question. The question which seemed most interesting to me is this one: " Look up the word "kindred" in the Oxford English Dictionary (or at least in a good dictionary and a thesaurus). What does the word mean in relation to Dana? Who are her kindred in this novel? What does the word mean in terms of American society as a whole? Would you say the title is ironic? Literal? Metaphorical? And, how does the picture of the Topsy Turvy Doll in my Day 13 entry symbolize the meaning of this word?

When I did my research on the definition of the word "kindred", I used the following source :
  • Dictionary.com :
    1. a person's relatives collectively; kinfolk; kin.
    2. a group of persons related to another; family, tribe, or race.
    3. relationship by birth or descent, or sometimes by marriage; kinship.
    4. natural relationship; affinity. "
The definitions were all similar, they pretty much said the same thing and the most common definition was blood relative, and ancestor. In relation to the novel's story and title, Dana's "kindred" was Rufus Weylin and Alice. The fact that she never knew about her family's history and the fact that she had white blood in her is metaphorical in a strange way. She was living in a time where there still was some unacceptance to her interracial relationship. She was able to work and make a living for herself without having to take degrading jobs, however Kevin's sister and Dana's family also did not approve of their relationship.

I find it a little funny that Dana's aunt was forgiving because she wanted Dana's kids to have a lighter complexion. The reason why I think it's significant and ironic is due to the fact that her great, great, great, grandfather was in fact white. The book contains certain situations which makes you stop and think of how she must have felt being transported in the past and watching how her ancestors came to life. She was able to see Hagar the most important person which started her family line. This was her kindred, her interracial race and now she herself was in an interacial relationship with Kevin.

In terms of American Society, the word "Kindred" means that we exist in a world that tried to live in a fantasy. Slaves were constantly raped and bore children of slave owners. Therefore the population was always mixed. America was founded by the slaves and together we are one. No matter how in denial the white people are, at some point in their own ancestrial tree they should have some relation to a slave. So the thought of being superior should not exist. Even though it does still exist today, back then it was harder to accept for themselves. That's why the idea of happy slaves made them feel better about slave as a whole. They tried to justify it, but it will never be right. In today's society, you still see the black nannies taking care of the white babies. History doesn't go away, it just comes in moderate forms. I see this in our society, especially since I work in the city.

Iin relation to the Topsy Turvy Doll, the concept of the doll it's self is ironic because the doll foreshadows the new birth of American Society. As professor X said, it does look as if the black side is having the white side. This relates to the idea of Dana's Kindred because Alice is the one that has the baby of Rufus and then creates Dana's family line. The doll is suitable because many black slaves bore their slave owners children and this created the mixed blood lines. The doll's concept is a little weird because the purpose was to be able to play with the white side when no one was around. This allowed the slave children to have a white doll, but the fact that they wanted one because they weren't allowed to have one is sad. They went to such extremes to create a two in one doll which symbolizes once again the idea of the unity between slaves and master and the birth of the American society, which wouldn't exist without slaves.