September 12, 2013
Understand and Respect All
The literary works “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, “Accident, Mass. Ave” by Jill McDonough and “Learning to Read” by Frances E.W. Harper and “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education” by Peter-Hans Kolvenbach all focus on the central idea of respect for all humans and how something tragic may make one a better person in the end. Each of poems also centers on different aspects of a certain respect and understanding for one’s surroundings. The three poems are able to connect with Kolvenbach’s paper, which presents that we must be able to understand something to change it in a positive manner. When first glancing these pieces and listening to Stephen Graham Jones read a few stories and talk about his life, they may not appear to have any commonalities between them. With further analysis, the four literary works and the discussion all focus on the idea of respect and being able to understand others.
In “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, two neighbors meet every year to repair the fence that divides their property. The narrator is skeptical of their “tradition” and does not seem to understand why the wall should be repaired or even exist and tries to explain to his neighbor that the wall is not needed. His neighbor ignores him and only replies “good fences make good neighbors.”
McDonough’s poem “Accident, Mass. Ave” brings the reader to a scene where two women are involved in a car accident. In the midst of yelling and screaming at one another, one of the women realizes that there was no damage to either of their cars and there was no reason to be angry at one another. The women were so quick to jump to conclusions without being able to analyze what has happened.
“Learning to Read” by Frances E.W. Harper is written in the perspective of a slave who has the desire to learn how to read and become educated, but is not able to do so because of their masters. In a way this poem presents a metaphoric “wall” when it comes to different social classes. Some are more fortunate than others in terms of being able to read and write. In this poem, the “wall” is able to broken down with the teachers willing to help the students no matter what it takes.
Kolvenbach’s “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education” discusses the importance of respect and being understanding to better oneself and others in a positive manner. It also discusses the concerns of faith and justice held within Jesuit institutions today and how it is important to express what a person is feeling to create strong relationships with others. Also, if a people act respectful towards one another, it may possibly establish a community as one.
Stephen Graham Jones discussed many things about himself and his reading during the lecture. One story he talked about that relates to all of the literary works is how being of Indian descent, he was being picked on when he moved to Florida. Some kids would call him names, such as “chief”, while other would ask him questions about being Indian. All the literary pieces are about being able to have respect for one another and understand others. Although Jones was not understood or being respected in the way he wanted to be, those around him should have made an effort to understand him and his culture and should have respected him as a human being.