Jesuit Principles In Poetry
In the readings; “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, “Accident, Mass. Ave.” by Jill McDonough, “Learning to Read” by Frances E.W. Harper, “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education” by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach and the reading of many works by Stephen Jones, we see the portrayal of some of the many Jesuit ideals. Some of those principals include love for others, determination, faith and education, and we see each portrayed differently in the readings.
In the first reading “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, we see a neighbor trying to break down a barrier between him and his next-door neighbor. Both are mending the wall after a long winter and the narrator sees no need for the wall to exist any longer. His neighbor doesn’t seem up for the idea and feels that he needs the wall kept up for his own privacy. From a Jesuit point of view, the narrator is trying to be a good person by getting to know his neighbor and creating a more open atmosphere. In the end his plan fails but we, the reader, are left with the feeling that the narrator did the right thing in trying to become friends with his neighbor. The narrator should learn from this experience and become more knowledgeable about his neighbor like most Jesuits would do.
“Accident, Mass. Ave.” by Jill McDonough takes a different approach then “Mending Wall” does. At first we see the anger and rage that can come from a situation the characters are in. When reading it, one does not expect it to end the way it does, in a hug. After the male character sees the small, elderly women crying, it pulls on his heartstrings and he feels as though the only way to make things right with her is to make sure she is okay and show her affection. This can be related to the respect for the world that Jesuits have, just like the male character had for the women. He realized that he should be respecting her and not making it into a bigger ordeal then it needs to be.
Within the poem “Learning to Read” by Frances E.W. Harper, we see the determination of a slave to learn to read in order to better understand his faith. The slave risk’s his life just to be able to read and be educated. His determination for faith would be compared to that of a Jesuit, like in the last reading, “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education” by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. Each reading talks about the importance of education and especially about committing to that education of faith. The last reading focuses more on justice and service of faith while “Learning to Read,” is more focused on one risking his own life to be closer to God.
The event tonight focused on many different genres of literature by Stephen Jones. Many would call him eccentric and someone who is indecisive when it comes to choosing a topic to write about. Even though a lot of his stories showcase zombies, blood, and violence, a lot of his other writings seem to show the softer side of him. A lot of his more violent writings also have a poetic way to them that tie them to the other readings for homework. He knows how to be descriptive and loves to compare his work to poetry. For example in his one story “Bold Meat”, he talks about a marriage through the eyes of a man who is falling more in love with his wife. In the story he compares that wife to a greyhound when she sleeps, creating a vivid picture for his audience. When being questioned later on he tells us all that he prefers to write descriptively because it helps his work flow. He also states that he wishes we all “discover horses every time we sit down” to write. In relation to a Jesuit many would argue that there is no comparison, but in some of Jones’s writings, one can see love and compassion in most of his characters. Jesuit’s would show this same love and compassion towards their neighbors, like in Frost’s poem.
“Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, “Accident, Mass. Ave.” by Jill McDonough, “Learning to Read” by Frances E.W. Harper, “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education” by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach and the reading of many works by Stephen Jones, all take different positions that can be linked to Jesuit teaching. Jesuit’s believe that it is important to live by certain guidelines that include love and compassion towards those around you, determination of faith, and the pursuit to learn something new everyday.