Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Assignment 6

Assignment 6

Lousie Gluck

To me her poem “Parable of the Hostages” seems to be about the ironic contradiction between war and life. Instead of an interruption of life war in this poem seems to grant an ability to live life without having to deal with the complicated questions that can plague a man or someone becoming a man. Instead of being what kills them it in a way shields them from the harshness of routine life. “Everyone is eager for more of what is in Troy.” I also enjoyed the analogy between war and it being a dress up game for men. Dress-up as a game for younger children usually girls provides a way to wear try on different masks and see which one they like best weather it be housewife or school teacher or any other of the number of persona’s dress-up can call into duty. It is very interesting for me to look at war as a kind of dress-up for men because it certainly fit’s the mold only made manly. To the soldiers sitting on the beach the war itself seemed as a time of not having to worry but just wonder what the future held for them. Try on the different types of manliness that war could bring and figure out which one they thought best. It is also interesting to mention that the author seems to categorize the men who obviously are not hostages yet as already being in enthralled or hostages. Perhaps she is commenting on how these men are already hostages of war in their eagerness for it still. In their eagerness to not progress into the routine life but instead digress to the more exciting male dress-up game of war.

Sherman Alexia

I think his poem “Evolution” is obviously about the what the white men did upon entering their culture from the beginning of America. Whether it be a pawn shop taking the Indians pride and selling it for what ever price he deemed or America itself lying through their white man treaties over an over again until they had taken everything from the Indians even it’s soul. What prompts the Indians to sell their beloved items is the possibility of something greater such as the money they receive in return so that they can purchase something. They are told that’s what they want to do, or have to do in order to become “civilized”. They find out in the end that it is much more bitter than they conceived. Selling off everything that they ever owned in order to gain what they were told would make them better only to receive a “Museum” that holds what’s left of them that’s not even theirs any more. They are even charged to view the pieces of their own heritage. Almost the same as when the white man introduced the first bottle of liquor to the Indians probably saying, “Here this’ll help you sleep.” This poem seems to outline what our presence has meant to the Indians since we came into their land. A form of trickery that seems to befall them every time. This is where I think the title can mean so many different things at once. Perhaps it is suggesting the “Evolution” proclaimed by the settlers when they deemed it necessary to civilize or speed up the Indians evolution in order to show them the right way to do things. This certainly seems pertinent to the poem. Or perhaps the “Evolution” in it’s full circle meaning produces the interpretation that the Indians underwent in order to become more civilized. They sold their or ceded their territory, culture, crafts, even their heart and soul in order to get along in this “new world” when the white man secretly only wanted him gone. The poem also seems to have an interpretation that can lead the reader to today also. Certainly this image of “Buffalo Bill” and the Indian pawn shop is extremely relevant today. Has anyone been to Cherokee, North Carolina lately? This poem seems to call out the atrocity that occurs when we treat Indian heritage as something that we can just buy for five dollars at a store where the Indians teepees probably used to stand. The author seems to be advocating that even today we are still disrespecting the Indians by making a spectacle of their culture as if it were something that we could purchase or look at in order to give us entertainment. The image of the museum at the end of the poem seems to be a direct metaphor for what we do today in “reverence of them”. We steal every thing from their land to their souls and fit it in a museum that we can charge admission to. Even charging them to look at their own heritage.

Adrian Louis

I enjoyed his poem “Without Words” the most. His topic of alcohol or alcoholism seems to be apparent in some of his other poems but in this one he speaks on it directly. From the first stanza he points out that to quit drinking is an impossibility. In the next line he seems to play with the definition of water totally. Sure scientifically this is true but Louis seems to mean “water” in a different way. Perhaps the water here stands instead for a feeling of wanting to be able to escape the horrors and difficulties of life. That’s something I think most humans are mainly composed of. And this feeling of escaping from terrible feelings is something that I feel is essential just like water to the human body. Nobody wants to feel terrible or wronged or angry. Instead they try to get fid of those feelings any way they think will work. I love his analogy of the “frayed rope” reaching down to pull up the tears. Almost like the Indian nation is so tired of shedding them that physically their bodies ability to cry is about to snap or break into. I also feel this line holds a duality in the Indian tears could also be referring to the liquor itself. By referring to it this way he presents it as a kind of scourge for their society or a curse. The next line “we have nothing to live for, nothing to die for” would make anybody want to drink. Perhaps at the end of the poem, “the nations do not demand a reason for drinking because it is understood. After all this is a Nation that’s land has been stolen along with their soul through lies, war, and trickery (as I stated in my previous post). The title seems very important and my first impression is that the title comes from the feeling you get when you don’t have words to describe something, not the struggle to find words for something great, but the other end of the spectrum. Through reading the poem I felt a sense of despair so deep that to even attempt to put it in to words would be to disrespect or belittle it. I got the feeling of such a displancency and such a despairing tone that it seemed all their was left to do was drink “without words“. No explanations, no arguments, no apologies, no righting the wronged; just the bottle.


His poem “Bully” seems to comment on the ethnocentrism in America‘s past. The changing of the statues name from Roosevelt to Hernandez certainly anticipates the change that is seen in the poem. It’s ironic style in which it relates that the school based on these ethnocentric beliefs is now becoming “invaded” by “Brown” kids stockpiling the lunch room, jumping naked through murals. The satire almost shows a spitefulness. The poem ends with children considering spraying graffiti on the statue to cover up that “Victorian” mustache and monocle. This shows the great change that has occurred in America. The authors word choice (such as in the words “nostalgic” and “Victorian”) give the reader the impression of past expectations or opinions of a corroded right way of doing things being destroyed to make way for new and more encompassing ones.

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