In works by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Countee Cullen, and Mary Shelley, speakers express their curiosity of how life is portrayed. In Dunbar’s epigram “Theology,” the speaker speaks with wit to prove a point, in Cullen’s “Tableau,” the speaker paints a picture of hope for the reader, and in Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” the main character shows his curiosity about life by finding its secret. These works make me think of how Soccer Without Borders allows me to fulfill my curiosity of what the kids I work with are really about. Soccer Without Borders helps me gain more knowledge by opening up my eyes to what life can be like under many circumstances. In relation to this, these three authors use their own knowledge and curiosity to enlighten the minds of their readers.
In Dunbar’s “Theology,” the speaker presents his point of view based on theology by introducing the reader to the two very opposite places of Heaven and Hell. This epigram suggests the speaker is questioning the existence of these places and that his beliefs are just out of assumption. The speaker expresses his uncertainty of this when he says “the upward longing of my soul doth tell me so” (252). This line shows that he desires to go to heaven but his ‘upward longing’ is holding him back from fully believing so. The speaker truly has no sense of what heaven is if he believes his neighbors will be going to hell. The title ‘Theology’ contradicts what the speaker is trying to say because his thoughts hardly qualify as real theology. The speaker lacks full understanding of what these two places are and what they mean, but that is the point the author is trying to make. The author is trying to ask for the reader’s thoughts on these big ideas by reaching for our sense of curiosity.
In Cullen’s “Tableau,” she creates an image for the reader of two boys, both white and black, walking with their hands locked together. This image is meant to shock and question the readers by making this scene vivid and unusual for this time period. During this time period, the image of opposites is looked down upon and generally not accepted. The boys in the poem express their sense of curiosity by breaking these racial boundaries to see how people would react. The image Cullen creates in this poem also seems to fulfill her sense of curiosity as well. Social differences play a major part in this world and it is interesting to see what happens when those differences are linked together. The boys do not care what others think; they fulfill their happiness by carrying on their friendship with love.
In Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” the main character Victor Frankenstein enters the University of Ingolstadt seeking to study natural philosophy and chemistry. While studying there, his fields of study expand his curiosity to many extents in the fact that he is consumed by seeking knowledge. The fact that he is studying this particular field is very important because it leads him to wanting to know more about human consciousness and the existence of life. This field of study goes very in depth, leading to his desire of discovering the secret of life. Although he may not be happy with what he has created, Frankenstein’s curiosity leads him to discovering new things, which allows him to gain the knowledge he wanted all along.
When comparing these works with the volunteer program Soccer Without Borders, I think of how knowledge is power. Working with these students allows me to fulfill my own curiosity in ways I never thought I could. The students make me smile all afternoon and it always makes me reflect back on my own life and what it offers me. This volunteering experience allows me to see things from a different perspective, allowing my knowledge to grow and my curiosity to expand.