Thursday, September 30, 2010
Racism is more than just slurs. Certain groups of people feel superior to other groups and treat them accordingly. I feel a prime example of a racist in today’s society would be Pastor Terry Jones. He threatened to burn the Koran if a controversial mosque was built near the 9/11 terror attacks. Mr. Jones is turning against a whole race for the actions of some Islamic people.
Racism, and people’s actions, is often in debate; however, it is very simple. Racism does not have to be just an action towards someone; it can be a simple profiling, usually in a negative light, of a whole group or race. When accusing a group at large, obviously, there are exceptions yet everyone in that group is accused, profiled, or “made fun of.” Racial slurs, whether it is a joke or not, is racism. An example of a racist today, is Don Imus. On national radio, Imus had said several racial slurs about a women’s basketball team.
Racism is considered one of those topics that several politicians around the world just can’t seem to stay out of. While we hear that just another community figure had professed a racial slur, it brings us to question what racism really is. These “racial slurs” are just half of the problem, racism is also when you separate or treat somebody badly for the sole reason of their skin color or ethnicity. Reverend Al Sharpton is a perfect example of this public racism towards white or Caucasian people. In 2004 he was quoted saying, “White people are the ones who enslaved the black people and quite frankly, they should pay for that in any way we can come up with. They’re the problem, and they tell us to leave, they should leave and we should take over.” These types of racist comments from an outstanding figure in the community are unacceptable and exemplify the textbook definition of bigotry.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Racism is much more than simply using racial slurs or making small jokes about a specific race. Racism is the discrimination of a certain group of people because of their culture or skin color. For someone to be a racist they must have a hatred or prejudice towards a specific culture. Many people today use racial slurs as a form of humor and do not realize the history connected to the word. These people are not racist they are simply unaware or uncaring about the possible offences that can be taken. True racists take their acts a step farther and often commit violent and discriminatory acts towards the people they see as different. One example of this today is Neo-Nazism. Neo-Nazism is a post World War 2 social movement seeking to revive Nazism all over the world. This group has organized reputation in many countries and their members are known to attack, harass, or even kill members of different races and religion. These white supremacists believe that they are the dominant race and all others are not equivalent. These people are examples of racists and not the people who may make a few inappropriate comments.
In short, racism is on the decline, but remains an unfortunate presence within society. It is not known how long it will take for such biases and ethnic borders to be torn down, if they do, but the intensity of racism has decreased significantly. Nevertheless, it may take lifetimes beyond our own for this issue, which had been prominent until half a century ago in the 1960s, for America to overcome long-standing prejudices and sins from past societies. One can only hope that this day may come sooner than later, but for now, racism is an issue that is far from solved.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The theme of pursuing life at all costs is clearly evident in the story The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Dr. Jekyll’s quest to prove his theory of man’s dual nature drove him to use himself as a test subject. He worked endlessly to create a potion that would prove his theory that every man had two sides to him. In Jekyll’s eyes every man had a good side and an evil side. By using himself as a test subject, the potion brought out Dr. Jekyll’s evil side, Mr. Hyde. As the story progresses Dr. Jekyll loses control of Mr. Hyde and eventually Mr. Hyde takes over completely. Dr. Jekyll losing his life to Mr. Hyde is the prime example to the theme pursuing life at all costs. From page 60 the following quote explains Dr. Lanyon describing Mr. Hyde transforming back into Dr. Jekyll:
“He put the glass to his lips and drank at one gulp. A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and held on, staring with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth… I thought a change- he seemed to swell- his face became suddenly black and the features seemed to melt and alter… like a man restored from death- there stood Henry Jekyll!”
The theme of pursuing life at all costs is also seen in a couple examples in the real world today. Athletes who take short cuts to superstardom through the use of performance enhancing drugs will go for records and fame and any cost required. By using these steroids, they risk physical damage to their bodies in addition to the permanent scarring on their reputations, the exclusion from hall of fames, record books and possibly a permanent ban from the game. Athletes such as Barry Bonds have gone risked everything for where they are now. Bonds doped for much of his career and despite holding the record for hitting the most home runs, many do not consider his record to be legitimate. He pursued life at all costs, and in this case, baseball supremacy by doping instead of relying on his natural talent.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
This obsession to pursue life at all costs was clearly portrayed in Frankenstein through the doctor’s creation of the monster. He risked his life as he knew it to create this monster, which eventually leads to show adverse side effects. Victor (Dr. Frankenstein) had gone into the solitude of his laboratory for extended periods of time, which also affected his relationship with Elizabeth. Victor says, “I will not lead you on, unguarded and ardent as I then was, to your destruction and infallible misery.” This quote shows that he will stop at nothing to create this new form of life, and protect it from destruction.
A person or a group of people that have an obsession about pursuing and maintaining life at all costs are anti-abortionists. This specific group of people protects unborn babies from being killed in the womb before birth, and this has turned into an obsession for many of them. They will protest at abortion counseling or clinics because of usually their religious beliefs. Some of them have gone to extreme’s to protect the life of the unborn, which creates the drive for them to maintain, pursue, and protect life at all costs.
Within The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, an infatuation with switching between Jekyll two lives is pursued at any cost. When Jekyll cannot return home because he is stuck as Hyde, he sends out a letter to Poole and his dear friend Lanyon to retrieve “with all its contents as they stand the fourth drawer from the top.” The content within the drawer was the salts and minerals needed to turn him back into Jekyll.
A similar person who pursued life at all cost was actually a graduate from Bergen, John Crowley. However, Crowley is immensely different from Jekyll because he pursued to keep his children alive.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Life Pursuit at all costs in Gothic Novels
In the novel, “Frankenstein,” by Mary Shelley the theme of pursuit of life at all costs is relevant throughout the novel. By having Victor Frankenstein and the monster endure equally extreme conditions Shelley is able to clearly portray this theme in her novel. For example, in the novel Victor Frankenstein devotes over 2 years of his life digging through graves and spending radical amounts of time trying to create life in his monster. Victor Frankenstein even becomes gravely ill from the extreme conditions he endured while creating the monster. Numerous times throughout the novel Victor Frankenstein falls extremely ill due to his treacherous endeavors such as falling ill in the Irish prison, becoming ill after his brother was killed, and immediately falling ill as his friend Henry Clerval comes to visit him at Ingolstadt. A quote from the novel that really envelops this theme of pursuing life at all costs is this by Victor Frankenstein, "I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I deprived myself of rest and health” (Shelley 43). By reading this quote from Victor the reader is able to analyze that victor gave up his rest and health from two years just to pursue the creation of life.
Moving forward, someone in today’s society that has this obsession of pursuing life could be Jack Lalane. Jack Lalane is an extremely old man that is in great shape. At age 60 he pulled 60 rowboats by himself for a long distance. This behavior of staying in almost superhuman strength for such a number of years could be considered an obsession of pursuing life.
The book, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, shows many characters pursue the theme, pursue life at all costs. Victor Frankenstein is a great example of this. He wanted to create a creature by combining human parts. During this time period, it was frowned upon to try to create such a thing but it never stopped Victor. By creating the monster, it ruined the closest things in Victor’s life. It disrupted the marriage of Victor and Elizabeth and killed his whole family. “… I am the cause of this – I murdered Justine, William, and Henry…” (Shelley 189). By pursing at all costs to create the monster, he ends up killing himself and his whole family.
Someone today who has a similar view on life is Brett Favre. He is 40 years old and is losing his talent if I'm honest. However, despite constant threats to retire and move on from football, he keeps coming back. It may be determination, but at his age and his past injuries, I consider it to be life at all costs for Brett Favre.
Currently in today's world, I feel that Michael J. Fox is a prime example of someone who is "Pursuing Life at All Costs." Mr. Fox has had several operations to try to stop the progression of his multiple sclerosis. He is fighting for the approval of stem cell reseach. His overall cause is to prolong his life and others who suffer from MS. His pursuit is for the benefit of mankind.
The theme of the novel “life at all costs” is exemplified when Dr. Jekyll creates the potion that transforms in into Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll’s pursuit in the story is to find the dual nature in a man, a good side and an evil side. Dr. Jekyll was so determined to accomplish this pursuit he even experimented on himself by drinking the potion that would express the dual nature in him. This determination would exemplify the “life at all costs” theme. Jekyll was so driven that he made the misassumption that he could control Hyde and Jekyll on his own. But this would lead to his demise because he loses control of his transformation between Jekyll and Hyde. At the end of the story, when Utterson and Poole storm into Jekyll’s lab, they describe the scene as, “Right in the midst there lay the body of a man sorely contorted and still twitching. They drew near on tiptoe, turned it on its back and beheld the face of Edward Hyde." (Stevenson 54). So not only did he lose control of Jekyll and Hyde, but in the end was permanently cast as Mr. Hyde. The risk that Jekyll took resulted in his terrible demise.
In today’s society, terrorists follow the mentality the “life at all cost”. Terrorists believe that that the world mocks them and does not help them like they help each other. They also believe that we do not live the correct way, and because of that they feel they have to prove themselves by destroying landmarks of other countries and even blowing themselves up so that other people can be hurt. If you are willing to commit suicide so that you can prove a point you obviously using a “life at all costs” mentality. This mentality has lead to the many needed deaths of both terrorists and the people they affect with their actions. That is why this mentality id definitely not one to follow.
The Frankenstein as interpreted by Sang Lee.
In the novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, the young doctor, Victor Frankenstein, is so obsessed with his experiment that he cuts all his contacts with his family and friends for more than two years to create a life. "Two years passed in this manner, during which I paid no visit to Geneva, but was engaged, heart and soul, in the pursuit of some discoveries which I hoped to make" (Shelley 51). Even though, Victor reached his goal of making a creature out of a dead body and a brain, unfortunately Victor's careless decision was not worth it, since it caused a tragic disaster, killing more than 5 people: James Moritz, William Frankenstein, Elizabeth, and Henry, eventually himself, the creator "at a sacrifice of my family and friends" (Shelly 89). The consequence of Victor’s pursuing life at all costs was losing many of his beloved people and himself at the end. By the time Victor finally recognized that his obsession with creating a monster was wrong, it was too late, Victor could not do anything to undo his mistake.
Many Spanish and Chinese cross-borders and terrorists could be seen today as examples of the ones who are "pursuing life at all costs." Many people from Spain and China risk their lives to cross the borderlines to other countries, even though they are aware of the fact that they could get shot or imprisoned. Terrorists,most times as suicide bombs, are also perusing their lives at all costs to attack their enemy successfully. Just like Victor Frankenstein pursued his life at all costs in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, the cross-borders and terrorists too sacrifice to reach their goals. These people will ignore the risks they face to reach their dreams. Even though, some of them may achieve their goals, on the other hand, like Victor's case, their lives could be completely ruined.
|The next day, came the news that the murder had been overlooked, that the guilt of Hyde was patent to the world, and that the victim was a man high in public estimation. It was not only a crime, it had been a tragic folly. I think I was glad to know it; I think I was glad to have my better impulses thus buttressed and guarded by the terrors of the scaffold. Jekyll was now my city of refuge; let but Hyde peep out an instant, and the hands of all men would be raised to take and slay him|
Through this quote you can see how now Jekyll has to hide Hyde from everyone, which makes him further his research and experimentation in order to live.
The monster created by Dr.Frankenstein pursued life at all costs."I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit" (Shelley 73). He wanted to live and love. The monster was shunned by society for his appearance. He did not have any family either. The monster went from place to place trying to find love but he was always turned down because of the way he looked. The only person to talk to him without freaking out immediately was a blind man. This monster killed many in hope that his maker, Dr. Frankenstein, would make him a companion. He took the lives of others to pursue his own. You can tell he pursued life at all costs because he died at the end of the story trying to pursue life.
Someone today with a similar obsession is Barry Bonds. He pursued the home run record set by Hank Aaron at all costs. He took steroids which is an illegal substance and has been banned by not only the MLB but it is not legal for any person in the United States to take. He risked getting caught cheating(which he did) and one day having extreme liver problems to try and become the player to hit the most home runs ever in baseball history.
A staple of most, if not all, Gothic literary works is the common theme of obsession of life, to the point where a character resorts to great extremes in order to acquire a highly desired goal. Perhaps one of the most prominent instances of this common Gothic element is Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel Dracula. Throughout the tale, the titular antagonist struggles through a plethora of hurdles to fulfill his never-ending thirst for blood, by any cost whatsoever, As put by one of the books primary protagonists, Dr. Van Helsing:
“’... the nosferatu do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger; and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil… he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages; he have still the aid of necromancy… without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best”’ (Stoker 253-254)
This simple fact sets the stage for the entire novel and its struggle, from his introduction in the tale in Transylvania, to his acts of terror in England, to the resolution of the novel with Dracula’s demise – all a result of his obsessive and unquenchable lust for sustenance for life. To remain alive, the monster has to feed on blood, and in doing so, is obsessed with maintaining a food supply so he may live for centuries more. Now, while Count Dracula went to great lengths to maintain his century-old quest for immortality, the end result was futile – however, the risk of chancing success in England was well worth the effort. Had the vampire succeeded in his campaign for immortality, he would have prospered in the densely-populated metropolis of London. Though the end was less than satisfactory for Dracula, his attempt to relocate to England was not a worth-while venture
Like Dracula, there are individuals today that express a similar lust for life – a hunger for life that brings out the darker side of human beings. A prime example of such devotion for life was the actor Christopher Reeve, who became paralyzed following a horse riding accident. From 1995 on to his death in late 2004, Reeve was an activist for the disabled and paralyzed. Perhaps one of the most controversial acts Reeve took to get closer towards recovering was lobbying for increased funding towards embryonic stem cell research. He would continue fighting for stem cell research until the very end of his life. While not nearly as malevolent or extreme as the urge to acquire life found in Dracula, the late actor’s life after paralysis sheds some light on the obsession for life seen throughout the Gothic genre.
Dr. Jekyll’s obsession with creating the potion is pursued at all costs. He is so obsessed with exploring the dual nature of human beings, that he creates the potion at the cost of his own life. Dr. Jekyll goes out of his way to create his potion, and to create Mr. Hyde. The creation of Mr. Hyde ultimately destroyed Dr. Jekyll’s life because Mr. Hyde was a complete monster "He had now seen the full deformity of that creature that shared with him some of the phenomena of consciousness, and was co-heir with him to death: and beyond those links of community, which in themselves made the most poignant part of his distress, he thought of Hyde, for all his energy of life, as of something not only hellish but inorganic." (Stevenson 84). He went around killing important people and committing other atrocities, and Dr. Jekyll himself had no control over these actions. This shows how Dr. Jekyll pursued his goal at all costs, putting his life on the line. In the end, even without the potion, Dr. Jekyll was turning into Mr. Hyde involuntarily and eventually will become Hyde permanently.
In today’s society, athletes who take performance enhancing drugs, such as steroids, pursue life at all costs. Athletes who take steroids and other performance enhancing drugs don’t realize how much they are risking. One recent case was Brian Cushing. Cushing didn’t realize how much this could destroy his reputation. Not only does it destroy his reputation, it is also bad for your health. In the end, steroids are going to affect his body in a negative way, which is how he pursues his goals to be a superior football player at all costs.