Dylan Liguori 10/16/13
Dr. Ellis EN 101 Understanding Literature
Attending the talk about what lies ahead for Jesuit education and the challenges it now currently faces opened my eyes to what I’m getting into in furthering my education and my self being. In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” Countee Cullen’s “Tableau,” and Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s “Theology” the message that I received and connected to the event was self-improvement and individualism. In all of these works we either see people having pride in what they do and what they stand for as in “Tableau” when the black boy and the white cross the way and how everyone is staring and judging, but it doesn’t in the slightest way bother them. The event’s speaker was commenting on what it means to receive a Jesuit education, and how the teachers, whether or not they are Jesuit and whether the fact that they are teaching at a Jesuit school will affect their research. This isn’t self-improvement in essence but as a community of Jesuit learners we must strive to instill these customs of learning and promote justice and realization of who you are, and why you are that person.
When Victor Frankenstein left his home to go study at Ingolstadt he left a very loving self-made family and was mournful, but looked on the bright side to learn about subjects he wanted to know more about. When coming back home after creating the creature he found his family and friends to be in a state of complete turmoil .Once he decided to leave to find the creature whom he believed had killed his loving brother, this is when his self-improvement began. He then observed the poor family and how even though they looked miserable and hungry, they found ways to smile once in a while and help each other out every single day for the betterment of the other members of the family. This connects to the event in the sense that the Jesuits are always trying to improve the way we learn, but still keeping what we believe to be fair and just instilled within the Jesuit students. Victor Frankenstein, although a troubled man who presumably lead to the death of three of his most loving companions and family members is trying to find ways to improve his well-being and that of others.
Tableau speaks of individualism and pride. The walking and the crossing of arms with one of another race during this time period was almost seen as breaking a commandment. While judged and gossiped about, the two hold their heads high and are comfortable with what they believe in. In the speech a student asked a question regarding the ethnicity difference that we have here at Loyola and why is it that the school is predominantly white. The question was answered directly and the thing that I mostly got out of it was the last thing the man sitting next to the speaker was that it was an embarrassing truth about our school’s diversity. It is a step of the awareness that this should and must change, but I didn’t see any intensity and honesty on reflecting on the question and maybe suggesting ideas to think about on changing the status quo.
“Theology” is a very short poem, but has a message that is meaningful and long lasting. What the speaker talks about is having the belief in an eternal resting place, which I also believe in, and the way to end up there when you pass on from this earth is through good works and kindness to all things and others. His neighbors (most likely the ones whom he sees as not very polite or warm-hearted) have done ill deeds and will end up with eternal damnation and suffering in the afterlife. With this thought buzzing in our heads, it teaches us to act and be a judge of our own characters and realize what is right from wrong. Jesuit values are what coming to Loyola is all about. Self-awareness and judgment and improvement is what we focus on and should continue to focus on.
After sitting through the speech and reading these works it struck me that even though I believe I am a loving individual and caring towards others, there is always one tiny thing that still misleads us from perfection. In response to this living with your own freedom and your duty to yourself to become the best suited person you can become is what this life is all about.