In these three pieces, “Theology”, “Tableau”, and Frankenstein, there is an underling theme of absorbing knowledge as it pertains to coming into the acceptance of real life. Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Theology” awakens the reader to the dangers of becoming too religiously self-righteous with a poem that has a slightly humorously satirical spin. Contee Cullen’s “Tableau” acts a sort of plead for equality and is a poem that shines light on both the people who enforce such equality and those that hinder it as well. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein shows the development of a monster whose only wish is to not be lonely and instead fit in and be human. These three pieces all have a resounding theme of somehow teaching the reader about awaking oneself into life.
Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Theology” pokes humor into the importance of religious beliefs specifically about the absence or existence of heaven and hell. Dunbar at first tricks his reader into thinking that he is a devout religious person since he talks ever so seriously and deeply about his belief and faith that there is in fact a heaven. The first two lines of this short poem are dedicated to him being convinced that there is a heaven because of his soul’s need for there to be one. However, the shift in the last two lines gives the reader a better glimpse of who the speaker actually is and where he is actually coming from. The last two lines about his belief in a hell show the reader that he is actually a very hostile and harsh person especially towards others or “his neighbors”. This satire of a poem illustrates the importance of not becoming too enthralled into the religious aspect of a person’s life. He implies that religious self-righteousness is unhealthy and pokes fun in people’s dramatic beliefs in heaven and hell. Even the title is ironic for there is no way the way he laid out his beliefs in the poem at all reflects theology.
Countee Cullen’s poem “Tableau” characterizes his need and want for the eventual equality between blacks and whites. He is adamant and clear about the necessity for change to go away from oppression and lead towards equality for all. The first stanza shows that this positivity can be found in the hands of the new generation; this is showed with the interlocked arms of the black and white boys and the “golden splendor” that surrounds them. The second stanza of the poem then shrouds a dark veil on those who are not willing to accept that these two boys have the right to be with each other; the lack of acceptance from both the “fair and dark folk” implies that there are still people who will repeatedly deny this change towards equality. Cullen suggests that, for the world to become a better place, it should first separate itself from the stagnant cycle of racial discrimination. By comparing the boys to thunder and lightning in the final stanza, he is portraying them as things that are not only certain and set in stone but meant to be as well. Cullen implies that his reader must be willing to have an open mind and be awakened to the way things are meant to be; his audience would have most likely been people during the Civil Rights Movement.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a novel that embodies the story of a monster that’s one and only desire is to fit in with not only society but also humans in general yet conversely is shunned by everyone because of his outward appearance. The monster is literally awakened into life but then is abandoned by his creator, Victor Frankenstein, who himself is horrified that he has created something so hideous. The monster turns out to be not only a highly intelligent being but also a being that has the knowledge and power to quickly learn how to become human. Shelley shows the monsters absorption of knowledge through his observation of the De Lacey’s who he is able to observe without their knowledge. The monster sees their love they have towards one another and learns French by listening to them speak. The one who most indirectly influences the monster is Felix who is actually educating Safie. What drives the monster most is the need to break away from being lonely and his great want to be human. There is no one that wants to be perpetually lonely and Shelley shows this through he monster who goes to great lengths for the possibility of living a real and normal life.
Every time I go into Zen Mediation Class, I have the intent of replenishing myself especially because it lies on Monday which is the beginning of each week. Meditation for me is a way of quieting my thoughts in the hopes that I will refresh my mind and prepare it for the coming week ahead. Each time I come out of meditation I find that I have a new and positive outlook on my life. Although the stresses of school may never be fully out of my head, it does indeed let me look at my problems in a new light. Just like the three pieces’ theme of coming into terms with real life, meditation prepares me for what is to come in the school week ahead of me.