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Tutor profile: Lucas C.

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Lucas C.
Freelance Illustrator and Tutor
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Questions

Subject: Spanish

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Question:

Identifica una Metáfora dentro de la Novela Don Quijote de la Mancha escrita por Miguel de Cervantes e interpreta su significado.

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Lucas C.
Answer:

En la novela Don Quixote describe a su “amada” Dulcinea del Toboso de la siguiente manera, “Que sus cabellos son de oro, su frente de campos elíseos, sus cejas arcos del cielo, sus ojos soles, sus mejillas rosas, sus labios corales, perlas sus dientes, alabastro su cuello, mármol su pecho, marfil sus manos, su blancura nieve”. Dentro de este pasaje se pueden observar varias metáforas que Cervantes ha utilizado para describir a Dulcinea. Por ejemplo, cuando Cervantes escribe “Que sus cabellos son de oro” él no se está refiriendo que su cabello está hecho de oro si no que tiene una cualidad y un color tan precioso como el oro mismo. Aparte de esto, cuando Cervantes escribe sus “perlas sus Dientes” no está diciendo que sus dientes son perlas si no que sus dientes son igual de preciosos que las perlas.

Subject: English

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Question:

Describe one of the main themes present in the story “Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe?

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Lucas C.
Answer:

One of the main themes in the story “Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allen Poe is the theme of Deterioration. This theme can be observed both in the condition of the house and in Roderick himself. As the story progresses we can observe how Roderick’s condition worsens. However, this deterioration becomes even more visible after the death of his sister, Madeline. Apart from this, the house is described to have cobwebs, and cracks all over the foundation which are both clear signs of decay. Finally, the story ends with the collapse of the house representing the end of the Usher family bloodline.

Subject: Art History

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Question:

How does Salvador Dali utilize motives such as the lobster to to make sense of his unordinary past and traumas?

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Lucas C.
Answer:

The idea of a lobster telephone might appear out of this world for most, for Salvador Dali this very idea was as common as any other mundane thing. In fact, this idea was so ordinary to him that he was even quoted saying “I don’t understand why when I ask for a grilled lobster in a restaurant, I am never served a cooked phone”, but is there a logic to this nonsense or is this just a madman making a humorous statement? By basing his work on dreams and Freudian ideas Dali is able to make his unordinary subject matter blend into the realm of the familiar/ordinary. Moreover, Dali makes sense of his unordinary world by utilizing certain motifs like the lobster, which he most notably depicts on his sculpture Lobster Telephone to represent familiar themes such as trauma, and fear of sexual intimacy. Up to the point of the start of the Surrealist movement, representational art was mostly used to represent current or historical events, while non-representational art was being used to represent more abstract concepts such as vitality or spirituality. However, a new interest in investigating the human psyche led by Sigmund Freud inspired a new generation of artists to aspire to depict and make sense of the human subconscious. This movement gave birth to Surrealism, and as artists started merging representational objects found in dreams or associated with certain desires the idea of the dreamscape emerged. One of the most acclimated of the Surrealist artists was Salvador Dali who utilized highly rendered smooth images to represent complex ideas such as phobia, trauma, and even eroticism. In 1936 Dali created a piece featuring a lobster on a phone and titled it Lobster Telephone. On the surface, this piece could be argued to just be meant to be a humorous statement. Many people claimed to have inspired this piece, for instance, Edward James a friend and patron of the arts said that in one instance he and his friends were having a lobster dinner on a bed and that as they were eating a lobster shell was thrown and it so happened to have landed on top of a telephone. However, other sources claim that the true inspiration for this piece came from a story of an Aristocat that when the telephone rang she mistakenly grabbed a chilling lobster instead. Although the Lobster Telephone had a humorous origin Dali’s intention with this piece was much more. This is why when the piece was first exhibited it was titled “Aphrodisiac Telephone,” linking the name to the idea that lobsters were considered to have aphrodisiac properties. Apart from this, other sources indicate that the use of the lobster as a symbol has something to do with Dali’s fear of Locusts and argue this by stating that “The word “lobster” comes from the Latin word root for “locust”, Locusta.”. Moreover, by adding the lobster onto a telephone (an item one brings to their head) he starts playing around with the idea of castration, but more importantly the idea of his own fear of sexual intercourse. After the creation of the Lobster Telephone Dali incorporated this symbol into many other pieces. However, the lobster symbol is most notable in a collaboration he did with fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli titled Lobster Dress, where a drawing of a Lobster is featured at the bottom part of a mostly white dress. By adding the lobster at the bottom part where a person’s genitalia would be located, Dali further emphasizes the Lobster as an aphrodisiac/sexual symbol. The Lobster Telephone was a unique piece for Dali as he is more famously known for his complex dreamscape paintings. At first glance, this piece is as its name states, a lobster made from painted plaster sitting on a black plastic telephone. However, as we further look into the sculpture we can see that the lobster has been perfectly aligned with the phone sot that it appears to be a part of it rather than being on it. Additionally, the lobster has been aligned so that when one holds the phone against their head the claws which are the more threatening part are closer to the top part of the head where the brain/thoughts are located. Apart from this, by making the lobster a colored bright orange and the telephone colored black Dali is generating a sense of contrast that forces the viewer to notice the lobster as the focal point in the piece. Although this piece is visually distinct within Dali’s body of work it still represents many of the themes commonly found in his work such as the themes of phobia and eroticism. Moreover, this piece is similar to other works by Dali as he utilizes the juxtaposition of an organic element(the lobster) against a manmade item(the telephone). This visual motif can be seen in many of Dali’s pieces but he is more notable for using it on The Persistence of Memory by painting ants on top of one of the clocks to suggest that time is organic. “The artists are trying to objectify the unconscious”, this quote from the article An Amusing Lack of Logic by Keith L. Eggener describes how artists such as Dali were trying to shine logic to concepts beyond our understanding. Moreover, Dali implemented Freudian ideas such as the Oedipus complex, castration anxiety, and incestuous desire as thematic inspirations for his pieces. Furthermore, by using Freudian ideas familiar to the public at the time as a base for the construction of his visual world Dali is able to make his pieces seem logical and familiar to his audience. For instance, although a Lobster Telephone is conceptually unordinary by understanding that the lobster is being used as a symbol for Dali’s traumas as a child, the audience can then see the lobster as a metaphor giving it a sense of familiarity. Apart from this, Dali’s work not only explores Freudian ideas but it explores these ideas through his own experiences making each piece as if it were a reflection of his own life and personal experiences. Dali’s Lobster Telephone is a great example of the artist expressing/confronting his own personal traumas through Freud’s ideas of the human psyche. As a surrealist artist, Dali combined elements of the irrational dream world to try to make sense of concepts familiar to us all. However, there will always be those who will use Dali’s eccentric narcissistic persona as an excuse to say that his art was just strange for the sake of being strange, and perhaps there are a little bit of both sides in his work. In conclusion, by taking a closer look at Dali’s work one can see past his irrational world and reach a greater understanding of the ordinary things that he was dealing with, and by doing this, we can allow ourselves to reflect and give ourselves the freedom to talk about the things we keep repressed in our minds.

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