Having rights and responsibilities is part of being a human person. It is to be able to demand respect and to show respect to others. To be human is to know that you are valuable and that you have an important job to do. It is to acknowledge that you have rights to be upheld and a job to be worked. The Catholic social justice lecture entitled “Rights and Responsibilities” illustrated that human beings do have rights and responsibilities and the literary works “Frankenstein,” “Theology” and “Tableau” illustrate this as well.
The lecture I attended focused on the fourth aspect of Catholic Social teaching, which is “Rights and Responsibilities.” The speakers at the event were young teens that are participating in a nonprofit organization called “Wide Angle Youth Media.” This organization puts the tools of film production in the hands of Baltimore’s youth so that they can tell their stories and be the powerful voice of change in their community. We watched several videos that the teens had made. One video titled “More than Jobs” focused on how there are very little job opportunities for the youth in Baltimore. Another video focused on how a teen had overcome self-doubt about his academic potential, and another focused on “food deserts” and recycling. Every video illustrated a problem that Baltimore has, and every video proved that there is a teen that is willing to take on the responsibility and face that problem.
The teens in “Wide Angle Youth Media” have exercised their rights, and have acknowledged their responsibilities as citizens of Baltimore. However in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” the protagonist Victor seems to have done the opposite. After creating a hideous monster that escaped, Victor learns that his brother William was murdered. A woman named Justine was blamed and faced execution. However, Victor is convinced of her innocence and that his monster is the murderer. Clearly, Victor is faced with the responsibility of demonstrating Justine’s innocence. However, Victor remains silent and lets Justine die for fear that people will think that he is insane. However, Victor’s demonstration of irresponsibility is not limited to “Frankenstein.”
In the poem “Theology” Dunbar falsely leads the reader into thinking that he is a pious person, until the last two lines reveal that he is judgmental. As a Christian, it is clear that the speaker is forging his responsibility to spread love to others. In a way, he is making himself God by condemning his neighbors to hell. It is clear that the speaker is not a responsible Christian. The theme of responsibility appears in another poem as well. In “Tableau” two boys of opposite colors walk side by side to the astonishment of the adults. In this poem, these boys are exercising their responsibility of working for solidarity with others. Unlike Victor and the Christian, but like youth in “Wide Angle Youth Media,” these kids know that it is important to acknowledge their responsibilities.
In conclusion, every human being has an important responsibility in life. The event I attended and the literary works demonstrate that some people acknowledge and uphold their responsibilities while others shrink away from them. It takes courage to be responsible, and it is something that the youth have, and something that Frankenstein and the Christian of the poem did not.