Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Poe, Browning, Hamby, and Hoagland

In some way or another, the four works of literature that we read each indirectly related to the problems suffered by individuals and the definite need that we have to find ourselves and learn to love who we are and be comfortable in our own skin. In Edgar Allen Poe’s, “The Cask of Amontillado,” we learn about a deep rooted rage within the narrator who solely wants revenge. It is obvious that he is suffering from some form of insanity as he buries his friend alive while seeking revenge. We only know that Fortunato has betrayed him, but we never learn quite how. This short story relates very easily to, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” in which the main character becomes increasingly more insane, commits murder and still does not realize the seriousness of what they did. Poe’s piece also relates to “My Last Duchess,” by Robert Browning. In this poem the reader can tell that the speaker is obviously very jealous based on the fact that he murdered his flirtatious duchess. This deep rooted problem of raging jealousy led to an incredibly rash decision and murder. The speaker is obviously not comfortable as his own self and is not confident leading to his jealousy and his insecurity. Perhaps it was this lack of confidence that lead his duchess to be flirtatious with other men.

While Barbara Hamby’s, “Ode to American English,” and Tony Hoagland’s, “America” illustrate not only the ideas in love in one’s self, but also an illustration of two opposing views of America. In Hamby’s poem we read that the speaker truly loves America and wants to be there. She knows that America is where she is truly happy and she desires to be there. She is able to admit that she is not necessarily happy where she is and knows how to fix the problem. Along with demonstrating true understanding of one’s self and what truly makes you happy, she also illustrates the part of America that we all know and love. She describes the things we hear and see every day and take for granted. On the other hand Hoagland’s piece describes a much less favorable aspect of America. He describes a feeling of emptiness and repetition. The student is said to feel ‘buried,’ ‘captured,’ or ‘suffocated.’ The speaker then falls into the same emptiness and claims to see others falling deep to a terrible fate. This poem demonstrates people who are once again not completely comfortable with themselves. If the boy was comfortable and the teacher perhaps did service for others, they may not feel so negative and so suffocated in life.

In short, these four pieces of literature clearly relate to a major theme of loving your present being, and helping others when you can.

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