Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Outcast or Rebels

Lauren Pope
Outcast or Rebels
Within the works; “Theology” by Paul Dunbar, “Tableau” by Countee Cullen, the first half of Frankenstein by Shelley, and the event about National Alliance on Mental Illness, all deal with people feeling unaccepted from societies norms.  The event and the short story Frankenstein deal with people feeling lonely, isolated, and lacking friendships. While the two poems “Theology” and “Tableau” portray characters that decide to make a change about that feeling they are left with. The works and event all deal with characters or real life people who feel lost in the world and need to make a difference by standing out to those around them to change things for the better.
            Mary Shelley’s short story Frankenstein portrays a character who isolates himself from society in order to make a scientific break through that will live past his lifetime.  By isolating himself he cuts off times from his friends, family, and those who care most about him.  Victor, the main character, suddenly realizes what he has done by cutting himself off from society and begins to feel lonely, isolated, and even obsessed with what he is working on. Victor feels that his scientific breakthrough in the study of anatomy and death and decay will make great changes in the world, but leaves him pondering the question of is it all really worth it to make a difference without his family by his side. Once Victor’s friend comes to study at his school he is reminded of how the company of another can really make a difference. Especially when Victor falls ill with a fever after the shock of his creation and Henry is there to take care of him.  Victor was lucky to have family that had unconditional love for him and were able to accept him after he had cut all ties for a long time. In the end Victor was able to find a solution to his feeling isolated, but along the way experienced some bumps in the road.
            The poem “Theology,” written by Paul Dunbar is a short 4-line poem that pokes fun at those who devout themselves to prayer and worship of God.  The first two lines of the poem convince the reader that the speaker is a religious man who believes in heaven and hell. Then within the next two lines he questions the thinking of most religions by saying “There is a hell, I'm quite as sure…” (Dunbar 3).  It is as if Dunbar believes that everyone who prays all the time believes that they won’t go to hell because they have gone their whole lives isolated from those bad things that would bring you to hell.  The poet himself is an African American whose parents escaped slavery, so in a way Dunbar talks about his neighbors as if they are people who should go to hell for the bad things they may say or do to Dunbar.  To stand up to the people of Dunbar’s society he creates this poem in acts of rebellion. Their constant negative comments and maybe even actions cause Dunbar to possible feel down about himself. By writing this poem he stands out to those around him and make known that he is not okay with it.
            “Tableau” by Countee Cullen defies the norms of the time it was written in by portraying two young children one African American and the other White, walking down the street arm in arm.  They both knew that doing this would cause an uproar within their neighborhood and in the poem Cullen writes how the neighbors where peering out of their blinds to see what was going on.  The two young boys know that they are not accepted by the social norms by being friends and both don’t care what other’s think about their friendship.  They may have started off being secretive about their friendship and now are ready to show their entire town their friendship.  Cullen compares their friendship to thunder and lightening in the way that both go together. These symbols can also spark the attention of those surrounding it, like the way that their friendship is in their town.  Their friendship is isolated from the acceptance of their family and neighbors, but the two characters know they are making a difference so they continue what they are doing.
            The event about the National Alliance on Mental Illness, spoke about real life people who have gone through the process of understanding how to deal with the illness they were diagnosed. The two people spoke about how they found out they had a mental illness, how they, their family members and friends dealt with their illness, and how they continue with this struggle everyday. This event could be related to the Frankenstein novel in the way that the people felt isolated and even considered suicide as an option. Luckily these people were able to find a way to live comfortably with their disease.
              “Theology” by Paul Dunbar, “Tableau” by Countee Cullen, the first half of Frankenstein by Shelley, and the event about National Alliance on Mental Illness seem to all have one common theme tying them together, people having trouble fitting in and being accepted by those around them. This fact does not keep them from trying to change these norms that everyone abides to. Although the characters may feel lost or different, it does not keep them from trying to prove themselves to society. 

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