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Becca P.
Junior majoring in Secondary English Education at Charleston Southern University
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

Describe two different British Literature writings that show the second wave gothic anxieties.

Becca P.
Answer:

In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, second wave gothic anxieties can be seen through multiple aspects of the story. One major one is how Dr. Jekyll a respected well-known man, allowed science and his dark desires to overtake him. Though not fully understanding what the science portion of his experiment was doing to his body physically or mentally, eventually, science and his evil side won over to the point of where Jekyll could no longer control his turning. Jekyll eventually had physical and moral decay, to the point of where he felt death was the only way to end the evil. Another text that shows gothic anxieties is “The Importance of Being Earnest”. This text mainly shows the decay of morality that the ‘high’ class could or does have. In the story, they aren’t concerned about the lying, the importance of marriage, hypocrisy or even how morality restrains them from doing whatever they please. They are more concerned with the appearance of these things instead of the actual acts. Earnestness is the most important thing in their society, not true morality. Those in the story whose character is eviler than the others are portrayed and or seen from the other characters perspectives as though they are more ‘earnest.’

Literature
TutorMe
Question:

Imagist Poetry by definition is poetry that gives you an image of how it has been written. Deconstruct "A Red Wheelbarrow" by Ezra Pound.

Becca P.
Answer:

In any type of writing, the author attempts to portray some type of image or imagery. Poetry by definition is “the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful imaginative, or elevated thoughts”(dictionary.com). In Imagist poetry, the author is “aiming at the clarity of expression through the use of precise visual images” (writing.upenn). William Williams and Ezra Pound seem to hit the nail right on the head with two of their poems. The Imagist movement was a response to the careless thinking and Romantic optimism that was being created by English and American poets. Poets believe that literary influence is not merely a process of revising past works or elements of them but is instead a much broader interaction between earlier and later writers, one that involves cultural attitudes and epistemological assumptions as much as is does literary forms and language according to Christopher Beach’s book. In the Red Wheelbarrow, Williams gives you a short brief description of what he is attempting to portray. He only gives you enough to imagine the picture but not completely understand why the poem was written. He writes with very little wording putting extreme importance on each of his words. The first line of “so much depends” is almost a precursor to the significance of each line. Allowing the readers mind to wonder what exactly so much is depending on, but also realizing the magnitude of the situation by the word so. The next stanza is just the word ‘upon’. It seems as though the first stanza is resting upon the second, and the poem continues this pattern. The first stanza also has just three words and the second just one, which is also a continuing pattern, creating a couplet. Going into the next stanza, it has ‘a red wheel’. Red paints a vivid picture as well as the singular wheel. The next line is just ‘barrow’. Williams chooses to break up wheelbarrow almost forcing the reader to distinguish the difference between the wheel and the barrow. Williams then paints a picture of a new wheelbarrow because his diction with ‘glazed with rain’. Once again only being three short words that are extremely descriptive of the simple tool. It is as though the new wheelbarrow has been decorated with rain. He also breaks up the word rainwater, causing the emphasis of the fact the rain was made of water. Rain means there must have been a storm or some type of natural occurrence. It seems as though one of the most important parts of the poem wasn’t included. In his last couplet, the first stanza is ‘beside the white’ and the second is ‘chickens’. The colors of red and white are very different in the way they contrast, creating a very vivid image of contrasts. ‘Chickens’ is the last word of the poem, once again just one word, having the previous line depend upon it. Ezra Pound is important in the world of imagist poetry. “In the station at the metro” is one of his more famous poems. The title of the poem creates a base for his poem of “The apparition of these faces in the crowd; petals on a wet black bough”. The first stanza makes you envision individual faces coming into view very quickly and defined. By calling them “these faces”, it’s almost as though Pound isn’t distinguishing them from each other; that station is full because of the crowd that is made of faces. “Petals on a wet, black bough” is the second and last stanza. Since there is no exact interpretation of this poem we can only guess what exactly he means. “The wet, black bough symbolizes the darkness of an underground metro station while the petals represent the beautiful faces” is a logical explanation of the very specific image he verbally painted. The idea of the petals against the black bough is showing the contrast of the people and the liveliness of the faces compared to the station which was most likely a dirty and unclean place. His words show you the contrast of living things to created things. Imagist poetry aims to paint a very vivid, precise image of the story they want to portray. Pound and Williams fulfill the imagist stereotype.   Works Cited "Imagism." Imagism (defined). N.p., 18 July 2007. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/imagism-def.html>. poetry". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 14 Apr. 2016. <Dictionary.comhttp://www.dictionary.com/browse/poetry>. Gans, Tristan. "The Red Wheelbarrow: Dissecting the Minimal Masterpiece." Student Pulse 3.06 (2011). <http://www.studentpulse.com/a?id=536> Beach, Christopher. “Ezra Pound and Harold Bloom: Influences, Canons, Traditions, and the Making of Modern Poetry”. ELH 56.2 (1989): 464-465. Web... "In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound." The Difficult Forms and Content of the Long 20th C. N.p., 12 Apr. 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <https://thedifficultformandcontent.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/in-a-station-of-the-metro-by-ezra-pound/>.

English
TutorMe
Question:

In the novel "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest Gaines, how is reproduction shown through a Marxist Criticist lens?

Becca P.
Answer:

Reproduction is evident in A Lesson Before Dying. Whether that reproduction was political, racial or religious, this theme appears in every chapter and every main event that occurs. Gaines uses the white American or those who are religious as the bourgeoisie, having repressive power over the other individuals in the book and portrays those who are black Americans or don’t have a specific religion as the proletariat class. The clash of the dominant and oppressive class is shown through the unjust sentence placed upon Jefferson and Sheriff Guidry’s aggressive behavior towards Jefferson and those who visited Jefferson. The political values in the text posited that those of white race were the bourgeoisie and those with black skin color were the proletariat. They placed individuals such as Henri Pichot with influence over Jefferson’s life such as being able to have visitors and how long they were allowed to visit. The Sheriff was also placed in this class and would threaten taking everything away from Jefferson. Pichot and the Sheriff were aware of these advantages they had, being able to force their agenda through the use of the bourgeois class. This is also shown through Jefferson’s death sentence. The defense lawyers created a misplaced blame onto Jefferson, which used him as a scapegoat, instead of the hand of the law prosecuting him correctly. The political values were not the only clash of constructs. Socially, these two classes were different. Religion turns into a social group more than a traditional definition of religion. The outside show towards those around you meant more than the actual belief in God. Through the lens that human beings live and exist in social groups, Grant and Jefferson are outsiders in their social group. These two threaten to undermine the reproductive system that constantly produces those of faith and those in slavery. Reverend Mose Ambrose uses religion as a Repressive State Apparatus, using the public domain and verbal violence over the ideology and true belief of the religion. Reverend Ambrose does not represent a truly God-fearing man, but one who is more concerned about the appearance of Jefferson’s actions, that will be shown to the social group. The reproduction is encouraged by Reverend Ambrose. The theme of reproduction is where one reproduces just enough to sustain the others but not enough to thrive or make a change, and the following quote agrees with the idea that Reverend Ambrose is using religion in this way. “As the scene depicting the children praying during Jefferson’s execution indicates, Ambrose’s religion is something that can sustain, not something that the members of the community ‘are attempting to overcome,” says Nash (348). Historically, preachers lead their congregation out of bondage, bondage referencing towards sin. Nash states, “The preacher’s name, Mose Ambrose, also has important religious significance. The connotations of Moses, as one who will lead his people out of the wilderness, are obvious…” (349). This quote references the irony of the preacher’s name, who very much unlike Moses in the Bible who liberated his people from the bondage of slavery, Reverend Mose Ambrose goes silently encouraging the oppression they are facing. Reproduction of religion is also seen through Grant’s Aunt Tante Lou who treats Grant harshly throughout the novel. Tante Lou, even after his threats to leave, forces religion onto Grant. They use religion as an escape, such as it does not matter that we’re oppressed, as long as we have the religion nothing else matters. This thought process is the way the bourgeoisie wants the proletariat to think and believe, which creates no action from the proletariat and continuing oppression. The reproduction of such belief continues because it is seen as a sin, literally and figuratively, not to be affiliated with a religious construct, therefore being easy to force individuals without belief into their mold. Jefferson refuses to do so by ignoring Reverend Ambrose and Miss Emma’s begging. The social group of religion, puts a Repressive Ideology onto Jefferson, requiring him to fall to his knees instead of walking straight up towards his death. This falling to his knees turns into a submissive act towards white men, even though it’s meant towards God. “… no class can hold State power over a long period without at the same time exercising its hegemony over and in the State Ideological Apparatuses,” states Althusser, which agrees with the White Americans or upper class using the church to oppress with black Americans or lower class (1343). Gaines is even aware of the religious ties to the kneeling, yet purposely chooses to go against them. “By consistently mocking his [Stokely Carmichael] kneeling ministers in his early work and by showing prayer as their useless cure-all response to all challenges… Gaines aligns himself with the anti-clerical elements of the black community,” states Nash (352). Nash agrees with this, even referencing the Black Power movement that occurred in the 1960’s, which is twenty years after this book’s time frame. The main reference towards religion, in the novel, relating to white individuals is, “But one of his aides pointed out that another execution was scheduled during that time, and because of our state’s heavily Catholic population, it might not go well to have two executions just before that beginning of Lent.” (Gaines 156) This shows that currently, the bourgeois view of religion is a social construct and not a traditional definition of religion. Religion becomes a spectacle of sorts that used as an excuse for actions. The church and school, which are held in the same building, are considered Ideological State Apparatuses yet the school functions as a Repressive State Apparatus. The school functioned smoothly through its form of discipline and violence, such as a whack of a ruler or standing in a corner, which kept the children on task and was a boost of ‘encouragement’ to do well. Grant is the equivalent of the shepherd and his students the flock. He uses violence, the schools form of a disciple, to force order in the classroom. The reproduction of labor is consistently even though Grant attempt to change the cycle. "They are acting exactly as the old men did earlier. They are fifty years younger, maybe more, but doing the same thing those old men did who never attended school a day in their lives," (Gaines 62). The school teaches them enough to sustain, so much to continue the reproduction of either teachers or slaves or ‘labour power.’ Althusser states, “…the reproduction of labor power requires not only a reproduction of its skills but also, at the same time, a reproduction of its submission to the rules of the established order, i.e. a reproduction of submission to the ruling ideology for the workers…” (1337). This quote introduces another reproduction, one of religion. The root of the ideology that frames the school, which used as a place of reproduction, is through the church. There is no coincidence that the building they use for both church and school is first a church and second a school. They embody the same type of behavior and belief. Religions rules or expectations turn into the ‘submission to the rules of the established order,’ which is submission to the white American or bourgeoisie class. Gaines reinforces this idea when the superintendent comes to visit through this passage, “Open wide, say ‘Ahhh’—and he would have the poor children spreading out their lips as far as they could while he peered into their mouths. At the university, I had read about slave masters who had done the same when buying new slaves…” (Gaines 56). The students prepared for the superintendent’s arrival, even being punished more and required to be freshly showered. Grant finds offense to the superintendent’s survey of the student’s hands and teeth, yet he encourages the action towards having the children prepare. The superintendent continues the cycle of past treatment towards those who are in the proletariat class, and the lower class continuous to allow said treatment. This shows reproduction of submission. Through this reproduction of submission, Grant is reproduced as well. He turns into a type of clerical figure towards the end. Reverend Ambrose throughout the novel pushes Grant towards the relieving of pain. Grant has the knowledge and schooling to prove he knows better and more than most in his community. Grant recognizes the reproduction of others lives and the hurt and pain that comes with it. Nash states, “Grant finally returns to the church/school to take up his role as teacher, to use what he has learned to be better at what he does, and to participate in the shared responsibility of healing the community’s pain…” (358). Grant pushes against those who function as leaders in the church/school. Reverend Ambrose sees himself as educated shown through this passage- “And educated boy,’ he said, thumping his chest. ‘I’m the one that’s educated. I know people like you look down on people like me…I’m the one that’s educated.” (Gaines 215). Reverend Ambrose views himself as educated and religiously educated, therefore making himself the bourgeois in the religious class. He forces his ideology onto Grant, pushing Grant into the proletariat position without Grant fully understanding, or even accepting, what is occurring. After Jefferson’s death, Grant refers to the school as the church, saying “I turned from him and went into the church,” (Gaines 256) which shows he now recognizes that he plays a role as a type of clerical worker. Grant also agrees that the school and church play the same role, one of reproduction and submission. Grant’s work towards changing Jefferson’s mindset from hog to man, helps relieve pain that is not just Jefferson’s but also Miss Emma’s. Grant attempts to use this pain as a catalyst in his own life, one that will cause him to move from the oppressive environment physically, yet due to his love of Vivian, he stays. Socially the construct of being a man is different to each class. For the bourgeois, it’s being in power over another individual. Being a man is defined by having the ability to change or affect another human simply by merely being born a different race than others. For the proletariat, it’s being different from what the bourgeois has labeled you. Grant fits this with Jefferson throughout the novel, attempting to change Jefferson’s mindset of himself from hog to man. “…Jefferson shows no concern for his godmother and eats the food that she has sent without using his hands. He acts this way both in reaction to and as a result of being called ' a hog' at the trial -- a cause and effect sequence of scenes that is emblematic of the social construction of black manhood in southern society,” says Jones. The social construct of the black American view of manhood was one that was the men saved the society or women. They were expected to make the change and to do more than the man believed he could himself. Grant realizes this and speaks to Vivian about it saying, “I can give them something that neither a husband, a father, nor a grandfather ever did, so they want to hold on as long as they can. Not realizing that their holding will break me too. That in order for me to be what they think I am, what they want me to be, I must run as the others have done in the past,” (Gaines 167). The women, by attempting to grasp on to what the bourgeoisie could give them, in turn, hold back those who have the possibility to change the reproductive cycle. Jones continues saying, “Although white people have made Jefferson an 'animal', Grant dismantles white notions of black masculinity and reconstructs Jefferson's manhood.” (Jones) She discusses how Grant teaches his students about the three R’s- reading, writing and arithmetic- yet he realizes, through teaching Jefferson, that he has taught them nothing about “nothing about dignity, nothing about identity, nothing about loving and caring,” (Gaines 192). Therefore the change must be with the system that has created these social constructs of manhood. Auger agrees with this by stating, “In effect, for an act of redefinition on Jefferson and Grant’s part of have any lasting impact, the totality of systematic networks of authorization must be breached,” (76). The redefinition of the reproduced social construct of manhood must come from the bourgeois or those who are viewed in higher regard than others. In this society, it’s those men with religious training or who are educated, such as Reverend Ambrose or Grant. This new show of manhood, one that includes dignity, identify, love and care, is shown through how Paul treats Jefferson, Grant, and all others who visit Jefferson. Piacentino agrees stating, “Paul will teach both Grant and Jefferson that strength, sensitivity, and honestly are elements of manhood and no incompatible with whiteness…” (80). This new construct of manhood, though through the bourgeois class, is shown to Grant and Jefferson as being a possible choice to who they are. The relationship of the text to history helps create the text and the ideologies of the author and reader. Gaines produces a text that shows how racism is wrong not only because judging someone based on their outward social appearance is wrong, but that an innocent person could lose their life because of the prejudices from that culture. By Gaines using Paul as the jailer, but a Caucasian man who saw the good, nice side of Jefferson and how those around Jefferson loved him, created an undermining of the bourgeois system. In alignment with the bourgeois state of mind, the Sheriff and Henri Pichot believe Jefferson should be put to death, even if he had no part in the crime. Jefferson was black, he was there and he was guilty. In current times, we understand the mindset of racism and the ideologies behind the justification of racist actions, are inexcusable and not tolerated. Race becomes a social construct through the way the white American’s exclude the black American’s. “Race-based societies perceive designated racial groups as biologically discrete and exclusive group, and certain physical characteristics…They hold that races are naturally unequal and therefore must be ranked hierarchically,” (Smedley 20) which is a statement that comes from a study about racism being a social problem. According to this study, it is shown that how a person physically looks a certain way, is classified as a social group. Through these social groups, people are classified in A Lesson Before Dying, which translates into either the proletariat or bourgeoisie. “Of all the white characters in A Lesson Before Dying, however, Paul is the only one to reject the myth of racism and to show this by embracing the ‘common humanity that is in us all,” says Piacentino (74). This quote is in reference to how Paul treats Jefferson and those who visit him. Paul is the only character that the author writes who goes against the social constructs that they have created. At the end of the novel, Paul having a desire to read Jefferson’s novel shows a man who was not only interested in who Jefferson was, but one who started to break down the constructs that the bourgeoisie created racially. Paul puts the importance onto Jefferson and his thoughts and feelings, whereas a proletariat’s point of view is regarded as unimportant or not worthy of the bourgeoisie’s time. The common humanity principle is seen only through Paul ‘s character and those who are being dehumanized, the black Americans. “Paul Bonin plays a significant and recurring function… as an ambassador of racial goodwill and harmony… the white deputy befriends and establishes meaningful connections with Grant as well as with Jefferson, connections that counter the racial barriers in a segregationist society in which both African Americans have become victims,” is another quote by Piacentio which further talks about Paul’s humanization and relationship toward those who their current society states are ‘below’ him (77). Politically, racially, and religiously, reproduction is shown as the main part in the society of Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying. Through the social constructs of religion and race, the theme reproduction is forced and embedded into the proletariats everyday lives. Paul shows that there is an ability to change the reproduction cycle, through his relationship and care towards Jefferson and Grant. He shows there’s an ability to break the reproductive cycle that his class has embedded into him. Grant sees this and realizes he too can break the cycle his class has reproduced for so long. Works Cited Althusser, Louis. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed, W. W. Norton & Co, 2010. Auger, Philip. “A Lesson about Manhood: Appropriating `the Word’ in Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying.” Southern Literary Journal, vol. 27, no. 2, Spring 1995, pp. 74–85. Gaines, Ernest J. A Lesson Before Dying. Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Jones, Suzanne W. “New Narratives of Southern Manhood: Race, Masculinity, and Closure in Ernest Gaines’s Fiction.” Critical Survey, vol. 9, no. 2, Jan. 1997. CrossRef, doi:10.3167/001115797782484583. Nash, William. “‘You Think a Man Can’t Kneel and Stand?’: Ernest J. Gaines’s Reassessment of Religion as Positive Communal Influence in ‘A Lesson before Dying.’” Callaloo, vol. 24, no. 1, Winter 2001, pp. 346–62. Piacentino, Ed. “‘The Common Humanity That Is in Us All’: Toward Racial Reconciliation in Gaines’s ‘A Lesson Before Dying.’” Southern Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 3, Spring 2004, pp. 73–85. Smedley, Audrey, and Brian D. Smedley. “Race as Biology Is Fiction, Racism as a Social Problem Is Real: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives on the Social Construction of Race.” The American Psychologist, vol. 60, no. 1, Jan. 2005, pp. 16–26. PubMed, doi:10.1037/0003-066X.60.1.16.

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