29 October 2014

Combating Ignorance with a Fateful Past

In “1945-1985: Poem for the Anniversary,” Mary Oliver weaves her seemingly pleasant ambivalence in traipsing through forestry with the grave consequences of global indifference: the millions massacred in the magnitude of the Holocaust. Though she dreams of aberrating throughout the natural beauties surrounding her, gleefully eying the creatures enclaving her, she notes that even in “lush, green, musical Germany,” when others aspired to similarly descry requiescence in the ignorance of their surroundings, the results of ignoring their responsibilities were catastrophic. In fact, by personifying the German populace of the early 20th century as Mengele sipping wine on a beautiful afternoon in his garden, Oliver condemns all copacetic ignorance, as, in ignoring our responsibilities, any ataraxia stems from devitalizing sources that may be too easily forgotten.

27 October 2014

Balancing Unfulfilled Potential with the Demands of Patriarchy

“Biography of an Armenian Schoolgirl” by Naomi Shihab Nye tells a tale of lost chances, empty fate, and life abandoned in the unnecessary demands patriarchies force unto the women in their midst. While the narrator revels in her reveries of one day escaping to a land of liberation, she remains tied to a life in which she is betrothed to a “man with no hair” and purchases her necessities “from the vendor with the humped back.” Although she imagines herself one day flying away like the scattered pages of her thrown textbooks, the protagonist is forever incarcerated in femininity within the Armenian patriarchy, only gazing out at the phantasmagorical scenes beyond her cell window in order to distract herself from her externally validated, yet internally despised, bromidic lifestyle.

15 October 2014

Art and Exploration: Discovering the Weeping Women Within Our Very Own Soldiers

Art is one of few entities possessing the utter capability of pulling us from the problems and fortunes of our lives, tying our hands in order to let us grapple with the alternative perspectives of a diverse people and charging us to actively exert ourselves to mend the misfortunes that we detect within our immediate communities and beyond. Transcending boundaries of geopolitics, socioeconomics, and time, it allows us to connect to the dilemmas and strives of one another, preaching empathy for human beings we’d otherwise never genuinely understand.

Take Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man, for instance. In this film, Eric Lomax, decades after his service in the British Military during World War II spent primarily incarcerated in a prisoner of war camp in Singapore, realizes that in order to finally commence his overcoming of a lifelong buildup of hatred and begrudgery, he must leave his wife, Patti, behind as he ventures on a personal journey to the location of his torture, in which his captor, Takashi, maintained him in excruciating pain, chastising him for constructing a radio from spare parts—the only device he owned that bore him hope from the outside world.

12 October 2014

Balancing “Traditional Values” and the Merits of Communal Ideals

Experiential art transforms passive onlookers into detectives of their own surroundings, commanding them to perpetually re-investigate their place within communal realms, scrutinizing diversity in values and counterweighting newfound ideas and trends with the amenity of normalcy. In Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, for example, what constitutes a “traditional” Southern code of ethics comes into question when Blanche rides along the steel tracks built between ignoring her mistake-ridden past for a fateful idealism of truth and embracing her future, dreamily imagining her mundane moments to be evermore ethically supreme. Her newfound temporary home in the den of her sister Stella’s French Quarter apartment allows her to either appreciate sexual deviancy and overlook adultery or remain a painful rejectionist to New Orleans culture. Stella’s husband, on the other hand, sees no opportunity for choice in mind: Blanche must leave, animalistic and physically brutal sex must continue and the poker game of life must never cease to exist. In the end, while only Stella commits to a final decision for her family, Williams, like all genuine artists, confiscates viewers’ ignorance to the necessity of contemplating their own thoughts of communal morality and how their family and geography enslave or liberate their very anima.