Tutor profile: Heidi M.
Do you feel that autobiographies are a thing of the past, or still relevant to modern times?
Autobiographies tend to have a stuffy, almost stagnant image. But it doesn't necessarily have to be the case. A wonderful example would be Bruce Springsteen's most recent memoir, "Born to Run". The memoir detailing the singer's life and times comes across in a remarkably melancholy, lyrical way, much like the songs he write. You can't help but find yourself getting drawn into the flow of his words, the gritty world of New Jersey and his working class roots. As human beings, we are constantly striving to understand the human psyche, what moves us to behave as we do, the decisions we make, how we feel, how we love. Autobiographies tend to be seen as flashbacks to an older era. There's nothing wrong with that, but we do have modern personas that have something to give back to the public, between the pages of books (whether it be paper or electronic.) Springsteen, Steve Jobs, David Bowie, Nelson Mandela, Gloria Steinem, Bob Dylan. All of these are modern personalities who have played a hand in influencing our current cultural climate. Why wouldn't autobiographies NOT be relevant?
Can you tell me about the relevance of the poem Invictus, as well as the author's point of view when writing the poem?
The author, William Ernest Henley was a 19th century poet and writer with severe health problems. He wrote the poem Invictus, the night before he was scheduled to have his feet amputated. His doctors warned him about the limitations of what he could do, as well as his life expectancy. The poem itself is passionate, full of life, and his declaration that no one else will determine his fate. He actually ended up proving that by living far beyond his doctor's expectations, and became an avid outdoors man. The poem itself came to be relevant in modern times when Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, and was instrumental in encouraging the country's soccer team to ignore the still raw racial divide and work together (black and white) to become a winning team. It was the basis of an acclaimed movie, Nelson Mandela was a fan of this particular poem. We live in a cultural climate that is certainly rocky, and Invictus still has the capacity to speak to one's inner warrior, to overcome despite the odds that one may face.
Subject: Criminal Justice
What are the current issues facing female convicts as they attempt to re-enter the current American society? Touch base on the following: Political/Economic/Cultural.
Persons with a convicted criminal record, face a number of hurdles as they re'enter today's society, even more so if it's a felony conviction versus a misdemeanor. Consideration would have to be given with regards to whether the conviction was a federal offense or no. Currently, we live in an incredibly microscopic, post 9-11 world. Our every move is monitored by the Patriot Act. It may not be fair, but employers do have the right to not hire someone if they have a criminal background that deems that person untrustworthy. Even worse, if said offense was that of a violent nature. Securing a job would be incredibly difficult, unless the conviction can be eliminated from public record. But that usually cannot be done for an average of 5-7 years. (would need to determine the statute of the state as well). For a woman who may have a family of dependents, such as children and elderly parents who are in need of care, especially a breadwinner, this can prove to be a crushing burden that may not be fulfilled. In addition, a woman who has served an indefinitely long period of time in corrections, may not have up to date skills to be used in the workforce upon her release. This can also be a factor difficult to overcome. She would need to update/relearn those skills at a community college. But that's only if she's able to procure funding of some sort. So education certainly can be a hurdle. The world itself has changed, and it has not been kind to women with regards to the current President-elect, as well as the outcome of recent highly publicized sexual assault trials. As much as women's rights have advanced in the past 30 years, a number of feminist historians would argue that we are seeing a backlash against women's rights.
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