Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Milton, Shakespeare, and Schiff 9/24

In John Milton's ”When I consider how my light is spent”, William Shakespeare's “My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun” and Stacy Schiff’s “Know It All; Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?” the individual authors try to rationalize different imperfections that face society. Each author faces a problem, whether it deals with Milton and his loss of sight, Shakespeare and his mistress’ unconventional beauty or Schiff and Wikipedia’s wealth of conflicting knowledge.
Milton’s poem is a perfect example of finding imperfections in one’s own life. The blindness that has thrown itself upon him has caused him to reflect on how he is serving his God. Milton believes that his incapability of sight is a fault, and it will upset or anger God. Milton must consider his life and face his imperfections. Milton rationalizes his performance on earth and realizes that he has served God to the best of his ability and he must continue to lead his life to the fullest, even though he has flaws.
The second piece of work is Shakespeare’s sonnet on how his lady is filled with imperfections. Beauty standards have always been an important part of society, but in Shakespeare’s sonnet he embraces everything about her. In the end he even claims that no one can compare with her. Although she may not be composed of society’s standards she is his and he realizes that their love is rare and beautiful.
Finally the last piece of literature is a contemporary account of encyclopedias. Wikipedia fits in perfectly with the theme of imperfections because this online encyclopedia is free and open to the public. Anyone can make or edit an entry, which in return leads to much error and imperfections. In one of the last paragraphs there are two perfect analogies that help explain the acceptance of this imperfect knowledge bank into the world. Jorge Cauz states “Wikipedia is to Britannica as ‘American Idol’ is to the Julliard School.” I thought this was such a perfect image, because it shows that wikipedia is a good source filled with great talent, it just is not as refined and as respected as Britannica. Wikipedia has not been classically trained, and cannot be completely trusted, but nonetheless it is still valid and therefore its imperfections should also be embraced.

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