28th February 2013
Event Analysis #4
There are many differences that separate human beings from one another. Such differences as religion, ethnicity, and the color of ones skin have sparked some of the greatest and most heated confrontations in history. In the poem “Tableau” by Conless Conlin and “Theology” by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, cultural differences are addressed as creating a type of discomfort and perhaps even hostility within society. Along with Collen and Dunbar, Mary Shellen’s short story “Frankenstein” features the theme of cultural differences as exhibited by the monster that creates discomfort and uneasiness within society simply for being different than everyone else. These three authors utilize the theme of cultural differences within their literature to bring awareness to this problem within society.
“Theology”, written by Paul Lawrence Dunbar is a short, 4-line poem written with an ABAB rhyme pattern expressing the speakers’ true belief in both heaven and hell. Also written during a time of cultural separation, “Theology” discusses the theme of disharmony within society from a religious standpoint. The first two lines of the poem create a tone that the speaker is a very devout and spiritual person looking beyond the earthly limits of his life. However, the last two lines mark a serious shift in tone from religious to more cynical and humorous perhaps even mocking religion. Stating that he for sure will be going to Heaven and that there must be a Hell because “where would my neighbors go?” half-heartedly asks the speaker referring to his neighbors as the white folks who enslaved his parents. There is a deep sense of irony within the line asking where else his neighbors would go other than Hell because that line is a clear contradiction to God’s law stating to “love thy neighbor”. The title of the poem being “Theology” adds another layer of humor behind this poem due to the poems apparent religious and spiritual foundations that quickly turn into a satirical target for racial segregation and oppression.
“Tableau”, written by Countee Cullen, is another short poem, consisting of three 4-line stanzas with an ABAB rhyme scheme throughout. Taking place during the “new negro movement”, this poem can be read as a sort of “dream vision” of a world where racial segregation has been eliminated. This can be seen by the line “locked arm in arm” referring to the black and white boys. Although the boys receive disapproving looks from black and white folks alike demonstrated in the following line, "From lowered blinds the dark folk stare. And here the fair folk talk,
Indignant that these two should dare In unison to walk”. Heaven apparently has sanctioned the friendship between these two boys as seen when Heaven sends down a sign in the form of thunder and lightning. The poem subtlety touches upon the theme of homosexuality, which at the time (and still widely today) is looked down upon by society. The title of the poem, “Tableau”, means “a graphic description or representation” which is appropriate to the poem’s meaning because it describes a scene, which is graphically shocking to the audience as for it is very out of the ordinary. The idea that these boys, although from different cultures, are still able to walk in unison together because friendship is not determined by skin color, but by the “content of ones character” to quote from the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The novel “Frankenstein” was written by Mary Shelley and first published anonymously in 1818 in London. “Frankenstein” is the story of Victor Frankenstein and his fascination with the natural world and the power of nature. After studying in school for many years, Victor creates a monster that slowly develops true human qualities. After observing the way “real humans” act and behave, Victors’ monster tries to integrate himself within society but is rejected terribly due to his hideous external appearance. This story continues the theme of cultural differences as seen through the character of the monster. Although he is a genuinely good-hearted kind individual, he is out casted from society purely due to his external features.
Although we have not yet finished “Frankenstein”, it is clear to see that the novel possesses many themes. Of those themes, there are noticeable connections to both “Theology” by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and “Tableau” by Countee Cullen. The theme of cultural and racial barriers is very prevalent throughout these three works. In “Theology”, the speaker uses religion as a source for satire to make light of the racial oppression his people were experiencing at the time. In “Tableau” similarly, the two boys are crossing the racial barriers by locking arms much to the disapproval of the older folks. “Frankenstein” features a man who creates a monster that only desires to be accepted for what he possesses on the inside but is shunned from society for his external grotesqueness.
Meditation, for my event, is very much about bridging the gap between our mind, body, and soul. Just like the monster moving away from being an uncivilized beast towards a sensitive, emotional human-like being, meditation allows us to move away from being discombobulated and frantic to becoming one with ourselves. Each time I attend a meditation session it is as if the world around me is nonexistent. All there is in that particular time is my breathing and I. By eliminating external stimuli, I am able to bridge the gap between having a separate body, soul, and mind, to being one individual comprised of separate elements joined together operating simultaneously as one.