After analyzing Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”, Thomas Lynch’s “Liberty”, and John Ciardi’s “Suburban”, I found a slight connection with the themes these works offered in relevance to the Zen meditation session I attended this past week. It is during this session of meditation where I was able to get myself into a state of mind based on realizations that I’ve come to during the span of the day or even my life. The realizations one is able to encounter in the very moment of meditating has the potential to be awakening to the individual in the sense that we have learned something about ourselves that may not have been as clear as before – as time is not so generously taken to experience this type of opportunity.
One of the more prevalent realizations I came to that made an understandable connection to the mentioned pieces of literature we read was that meditation improves one’s thought on how we carry ourselves day to day and how we act and respond to the people around us. This calming meditation allowed me to realize a few of the conflicts I am having in my life, whether it was with a family friend or one of my siblings. I am able to target these feelings I have and gain an insight on them to know how I should go about mending these conflicts, whether the conflict surfaces out of anger or disagreement.
The conflict we observe in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” is between two men, named Montresor and Fortunato. Montresor and Fortunato appear to be lifelong friends as the opening line reads: “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe 1062). The insight that Montresor gains from these years of knowing Fortunato ends with the unfortunate demise of Fortunato, a man known for his connoisseurship in wine. At the end of “The Cask of Amontillado”, Fortunato is sealed behind a wall erected by Montresor, who says his labor is over by sealing the last stone into place. Montresor targets his feelings of anger through revenge and it is until this revenge is carried out that peace is achievable for him. This is seen in last line of Poe’s short story where it reads in Latin, “In pace requiescat!” (Poe 1066), which translates to “Rest in peace!” This suggests that by leaving Fortunato in this abandoned place, Montresor believes that this condition will make both of their lives more peaceful and better off.
Within Thomas Lynch’s “Liberty”, the speaker states, “Some nights I go out and piss on the front lawn as a form of freedom” (Lynch 538). For the speaker, this is his own personal insight on how he carries himself day to day. It is in this fashion that the speaker is able to express himself, his own personal way of achieving this sense of freedom, where he is able to make the point that he comes from a fierce bloodline of men. The speaker then mentions that his ex-wife questions this act and debates with him asking why he does this and why can’t he be like every other human being and do this act indoors. The speaker finds no conflict with the people, such as his ex-wife, due to the basic piece of truth: the speaker attains his liberty by doing as he wishes within the suburbs.
Lastly, within John Ciardi’s “Suburban”, a Mrs. Friar phones her neighbor, Mr. Ciardi, regarding something she stumbled upon in her petunias. Mrs. Friar has no intention of making this a social matter and so confesses that Mr. Ciardi’s dog deposited excrement that she wishes him to clean up. Mr. Ciardi admits to himself that his dog is out of town, but takes care of the situation is a jokingly manner, saying, “But why lose out on organic gold for a wise crack?” (Ciardi 511). This demonstrates how Mr. Ciardi carries himself day in and day out. He appears to be a very relaxed man who knows how to enjoy life while avoiding unnecessary conflict. Instead of arguing with his neighbor and refusing to come over to pick up this piece of excrement, Mr. Ciardi solves the issue by scooping the excrement up himself. This act reveals a man who doesn’t let the small things bother him in life, even though he still maintains an opinion based on the event. Mr. Ciardi references his neighbor to represent the suburb they both exist and blend together in, stating that they are both in need of a “glorious resurrection”.