The literary works “Theology” by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, “Tableau” by Countee Cullen and Frankenstein by Mary Shelly all say something about personal reflection and responsibility. As humans we are required to accept each other no matter what. However through history and personal experience it is more often than not that humans are reluctant to accept others. In “Theology”, the speaker mocks those around him and believes that he is better off alone. In “Tableau” the boy and girl hold hands, showing that race shouldn’t be a barrier. Lastly In Frankenstein, the protagonist Victor Frankenstein shuns the monster because of his appearance. As usual this weeks Zen Mediation provided a relief for me, as it forced me to just sit quietly and reflect on the past week. The works and my meditation experience all forced me show how acceptance is important.
Paul Lawrence Dunbar uses “Theology” to show human nature and its different sides. Although the poem is short, it carries a deep message about how we should interact with others. The speaker uses the ideas of heaven and hell to describe the two types of people in the world. Although the poem could be eye opening and a lesson the speaker uses it as a way to insult those around him. Dunbar writes, “There is a hell, I'm quite as sure; for pray If there were not, where would my neighbors go?” clearly showing the speakers disapproval of his neighbors. I feel that Dunbar is being ironic because although the speaker believes he will go to heaven his abhorrence of others is what might cause him to go to hell.
On the other hand writer Countee Cullen uses her poem “Tableau” as a symbol of acceptance. The beginning of the poem immediately shows the characters disregard for what is socially accepted but their bravery to stand up for what is right. Cullen portrays that although being accepting can be difficult it is often necessary to fight against oppression. The line, “Indignant that these two should dare In unison to walk.” shows that although the characters are being judged by those around them the do not wavier from accepting each other.
Likewise Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein uses the main characters to show disapproval of others just leads to violence and danger. In the novel Victor Frankenstein creates a monster and later disregards him because he is ugly. Through the first half of the novel we learn that the monster is actually a gentle kind person, but because of his looks is misjudged and never accepted. Although we do not know the ending of the novel it is safe to assume that Victor’s lack of acceptance will cause the monster lash out against other human beings.
Zen mediation is definitely very different from American culture. The past few weeks of meditation have shown me that it is imperative to accept different cultures and embrace what they have to offer. The authors of these works use their characters to show the importance of acceptance and personal reflection.