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Ernest T.
Anthropology, Sociology, and Social & Cultural Analysis
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Writing
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Question:

Refer to "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" and consider the yearning in Yeats for escape in this and other poems of your choice.

Ernest T.
Answer:

Refer to An Irish Airman Foresees His Death and consider the yearning in Yeats for escape in this and other poems of your choice. An Irish Airman Foresees His Death is an elegy concerning the life and death of Robert Gregory, an Irish artist who, despite being an only son, enlisted to fight in the First World War and consequently died. In typical modernist fashion, however, Yeats deviates from typical elegiacal structure and borrows from other poetic forms to express a desire for escape or transcendence –– these not being mutually exclusive. Where most elegies concern a speaker and the dead, here Yeats adopts the voice of Gregory –– the dead –– to demonstrate his own Thanatos and thoughts on death as a means of escape. This idea is established in the opening line where the first person is employed –– “I know that I shall meet my fate”. Perhaps this departure from typical elegiacal norm lays the framework for the rest of the poem: a deliberation on the way one might navigate a set of decisions to lead one to desire death. More specifically, the peculiar or uncanny way Yeats will express a desire for escape later in the poem. What is clear in the poem is the method through which the speaker seeks his own death: war. Militarism features heavily in the poem and is expressed through its structure: 16 lines comprising four thematically, if not physically, divided quatrains; a regular alternate rhyme scheme that is largely comprised of full rhymes that is satisfying to a reader; and an iambic octameter suggesting ideas of wholeness and replicating the patterns of a march. The irony inherent in this militaristic Thanatos is that the subject of the poem (Gregory) had little reason to actually go to war: the Irish were not conscripted for the First World War, not to mention that if he died, he had no next-of-kin to care for his estate. This sheer ambivalence is conveyed in the lines “Those that I fight I do not hate/ Those that I guard I do not love”, reflecting the Irish experience of the war. What is clear from this, then, is that the Thanatos expressed by the speaker –– whether Gregory or Yeats –– is personal and not affiliated with political expression or belief. The disregard for patriotism here is in direct contrast to the lamentation of political inertia expressed in September, 1913 and Easter 1916 where Yeats asserts that “Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone” (September 1913) and that he exchanges “polite meaningless words” (Easter 1916). Perhaps this is due to the nature of the conflict: where Irish Airman concerns a war that the Irish were not expected to affiliate themselves with, September and Easter concern themselves with the Irish republic. Yeats’ yearning for escape in Irish Airman is largely presented as deliberate and pre-meditated. This is expressed in the syntactical and lexical balance in the poem, marked by the use of repetition and thesis followed by antithesis. Other than the lines concerning those the speaker fights and guards, lines 5 and 6, 7 and 8, and 9 and 10 all contain the aforementioned literary devices. In lines 5 and 6, “country” and “countrymen” are contrasted alongside “Kiltartan Cross” and “Kiltartan’s poor”; in 7 and 8 a consideration of the state of Ireland after the speaker’s death –– that Ireland would be no better nor worse –– is expressed in the contrast between “loss” and “happi[ness]”; and in 9 and 10 “law” and “duty” and contrasted with public rhetoric and fervor. This notion of a poem steeped in structure but content-heavy was a desire Yeats expressed in The Fisherman, where he suggests that art is best when made with an imagined, idealized audience –– “a man who does not exist” who is “wise and simple”. His desire to write a “[p]oem maybe as cold/ And passionate as the dawn” is his way of expressing his desire to write poems that are both deliberated and passionate; structured in a considered manner that conveys a message. Surely this is seen in Irish Airman, where this consciousness of balance between structure and content is present throughout the poem. Perhaps this is fueled by Yeats’ desire to escape the destructive nature of time by any means necessary. In Irish Airman, this notion is expressed in the Thanatos the speaker demonstrates, particularly in the final two lines where the “balanced” conclusion to the speaker’s life is the speaker’s death. Here, by dying, the speaker manages to escape the hand of time by choosing the way and time at which he dies –– his willingness to do so is anticipated by his view that “[t]he years to come seemed waste of breath”. Yeats offers us here a somewhat perverse view of individualism and agency, as while it is typically thought that one would utilize one’s life to create –– as seen in Sailing to Byzantium, where Yeats and his poetry take the form of a mechanical bird “set upon a golden bough to sing/ ... Of what is past, or passing, or to come” –– here, in Irish Airman, Yeats brings to the attention the fact that agency can also lead to self- destructive behavior.

Sociology
TutorMe
Question:

Assess the view that foreign aid may be harmful to developing countries.

Ernest T.
Answer:

Before discussing how aid might be harmful to developing nations, it is important to distinguish between different types of aid. There are 3 primary forms of aid: multilateral aid, where aid is administered and negotiated by international agencies such as the World Bank; bilateral aid, where aid is administered between individual governments and countries; and tied aid, where aid is administered conditionally –– conditions may include access to airspace, land, or other resources. Furthermore, we must establish between these forms of aid and humanitarian aid. These forms of aid are administered to help countries develop. Humanitarian aid, on the other hand, is administered typically without official conditions, and in response to humanitarian crises and natural or man-made disasters. This essay in large part will focus on the former. Modernization theorists view aid as an important tool in lifting developing nations out of poverty. They argue, from a capitalist economic perspective, that aid allows nations to develop and industrial infrastructure. As the most expensive part of the development process, aid stimulated the growth of infrastructure which would then allow companies and corporations to be set up and contribute to economic growth. Low interest loans from lending countries create win-win situations in which the developing nation is able to immediately start the development process, and where the lending nation is also able to profit financially. However, they argue that once the development process is stably afoot, that it must be replaced by self-sufficiency. Evidence gathered over the past 60 years, however, might suggest that aid does little to start the development process, but rather contributes to a system of deliberate underdevelopment. The main criticism of granting aid to developing nations is that it is, in modern terms, used to “buy” political influence. Hayter (1969) conducted an investigation into the nature of aid and found that most aid administered was in fact tied aid, granted on the bases that included debt servicing, protecting the interests of governments granting the aid, and regulating the policies regarding import and export in the recipient nation. This is problematic because it allows more developed nations to effectively determine the ways in which their aid recipients develop. Instead of allowing them to use the money for public interest, much of the aid money went into the development of the private sector which would then only create markets and profits for governments and corporations stemming from the lending nation. In addition, she found that countries who consistently required aid were also the countries that were most unable to repay the aid, and so had to consistently borrow from lending nations, leading to a cycle of poverty and underdevelopment for the recipient nations. Furthermore, aid that is administered through governments often fails to reach the people who need it the most. Funds are often lost as a result of corruption and used to fund the projects of the wealthy rather than actually funding the development of infrastructure or healthcare. In Turkey, for example, the president has recently commissioned a 1000-room presidential palace costing 350 million USD. As one of the primary recipients of aid from the U.S., one must wonder if the aid is being put to efficient use. Even if the aid was used accordingly, however, it often involves countries adopting structural adjustment programs imposed by their lending nations or international agencies such as the World Bank or IMF (two other major agencies who negotiate aid to developing nations). Structural readjustment programs redirect public spending and funds to development in the private sector. Having to comply with these rules has meant that capitalism in these nations has grown to a point where, while it may have lifted people above the absolute poverty line, has in fact increased wealth inequality. This is because the lending nations’ interests lie in the development of their home corporations in these markets, who historically have raised incomes to a point where people may afford their products before plateauing, effectively maintaining underdevelopment. All this evidence fits into a Marxist or dependency theorist’s views on aid: that the ruling class has the power and capital to effectively change the means and modes of production of a society through structural readjustment programs. The power that the owners of the means of production then exercise over those who do not –– governments of less developed nations included –– allows them to perpetuate a system of inequality and underdevelopment. The cyclical nature is particularly apparent when discussing countries who receive the most aid, as the structural readjustment programs almost never lead to infrastructure that might lift more people out of poverty and allow the nation to service its own debts, thus becoming more and more reliant on aid in exchange for political influence.

Anthropology
TutorMe
Question:

Explain the importance of participant observation in ethnographic and anthropological fieldwork.

Ernest T.
Answer:

Participant observation is important because it allows the researcher to gain an insider's perspective on the culture they are studying by engaging in its daily rituals and activities. Furthermore, when asked about their lives, people are often unable to articulate the symbolic meaning behind their daily practices, or might attempt to seem humble or more virtuous than they actually are––participant observation allows the anthropologist to judge for themselves, and not rely simply on interviews.

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