In the readings "Liberty" by Thomas Lynch, "Suburban" by John Ciardi and "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe one reoccurring theme is: Punishment without proof and liberty. Within these texts there are multiple examples of people being deprived of their ability to either prove their innocents. In addition there is also an example of the liberty which can be considered the opposite of punishment without proof. All in all, these readings mesh together because by comparing punishment without proof and liberty you find yourself dealing with opposing elements.
In the poem "Suburban" the speaker gets a call from their neighbor named Mrs. Friar who claims that the speaker, Mr.Ciardi's, dog went to the bathroom on her lawn and that she wants it picked up. Mr.Ciardi knows that his dog could not have possibly done that because his dog is ironically with his son camping for the weekend. Regardless of the situation and if his dog did not do it or did, the point is that Mrs. Friar called with no substantial evidence and simply assumed that his dog was the perpetrator. From this poem one can understand how the theme of punishment without proof is connected to Mr.Ciardi and his dog.
Branching off of "Suburban", the story "The Cask of Amontillado" describes a similar story about two men. The characters in the story are Fortunato and Montresor. The story begins with Montresor falsely accuses Fortunato for insulting him and speaking badly about him behind his back. Though Montresor has no factual information that Fortunato did insult him, it doesn't stop him from punishing him. Edgar Allan Poe writes many stories revolving around this same concept of punishment without proof so it is easy to see how "The Cask of Amontillado" fits in with the rest of his work. As for Fortunato, Montresor leads him down a crypt, gets him drunk, chains him up and then builds a wall so that he can't escape. Similar to the other poems, Fortunato was accused of a crime he did not commit but he wasn't able to prove his innocents.
In addition to the readings, at Helen Benedict's readings she discussed the issue of woman being raped in the war. For me this tied into, punishment without proof because in most cases woman who are raped report it but get no justice. Benedict states that if you are a female in war you are one of three things: a bitch because you won't sleep with them, a hoe because you do engage but you have a significant other or a dyke because they simple don't like you. This aspect of war life is almost always looked over because people don't want to believe or hear the bad publicity sounding the troops that are suppose to be helping the country. Benedict published a book about the harassment and mistreatment of woman soldiers and ever since she has received a lot of action against the sexual assault. The most memorable part of Benedict's reading was her elaboration on the fact that even if woman report the assault almost 25% of the time the person they report it to is the rapist and if not then its also 33% likely that they know the rapist. Therefore these woman are denied liberty and freedom. This woman are being punished and the only proof is their word over another.
The opposite of punishment without proof would be the ability to prove yourself innocent. In other words, the opposite of punishment without proof is liberty and freedom. These concepts of liberty and freedom are main themes in the poem entitled "Liberty" by Thomas P. Lynch. The poem expresses the ideals of what freedom is and what makes a person feel free. For example Lynch writes "Some nights I go out and piss on the front lawn as a form of freedom" (Lynch 311). Lynch in this quote is expressing that to feel free he has go against authority. In addition to Lynch's quote about feeling free, in his last couple lines of the poem he talks about giving "homage to the holy trees". This phrase means to give respect to the "holy tree" which is a tree that gives coverage. Furthermore one can conclude from this poem that Lynch wants to get across the message that liberty is what makes a person feel free but also the aspect of being surrounded by a spirit of freedom that one must pay respect too.
Theses poems and stories in addition to Helen Benedict's reading really shed light on two aspects, what makes a person guilty and what makes a person free. John Ciardi, Edgar Allan Poe
and Helen Benedict express through their writing how one can be punished without proof, and on the other side Thomas Lynch expresses how one can feel free. Punishment and Freedom are opposites elements and within these different representations it is obvious the flaws in punishment without proof, you are taking away someones liberty.