Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Literary Analysis (12 Sep 2012) - Chris Ridgely

        After reading the poems, "Mending Wall", "Slam, Dunk, & Hook" and "Common Ground" written by Robert Frost, Yusef Komunyakaa and Judith Ortiz Cofer as well as, "Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education" by Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach; there is an overarching theme of unity and community throughout each of the readings.
        The poem, "Mending Wall" displays Frost's idea's about how neighbors in a community should interact. He believes that to be able to come together as a community, there can be no boundaries between each being. His example being the fence between himself and his next door neighbor. The neighbor believes that the less he sees of everyone around him, the better they will get along, which in turn contradicts Frost's idea that to truly become neighborly, you must get to know all of your neighbors on a more personal level so that you may create that tight knit community. His neighbor's belief which he states twice in the poem is, "Good fences make good neighbors." This is a rather closed minded way of thinking which Frost tends to point out because you are essentially walling off the outside world. He makes a point that fences are only found where there are cows because that is all they will be useful for. He takes this as far as jokingly saying that he can assure that his apple trees will not eat the pines which reside underneath his neighbors pine trees. The neighbor's way of thinking also contradicts the Jesuit ideals of community and helping those in need. Here at Loyola, the student body is encouraged to help each other out in an interest to keep the Jesuit student body very close which is a Jesuit belief.
        The poem, "Slam, Dunk, & Hook" strengthens the idea of coming together by using basketball as their example of community. The beginning of the poem is used mainly to set up the idea that basketball is bringing each of the players closer together by creating the sense of unity through using a group to narrate the poem. Not once in the text is a single person narrating the story. It is always, "we", "us" and "our". Even the fact that it is a basketball team shows that it is a close community because with this team, they have been made brothers on the court. Later in the poem Sonny Boy's mother died but they continued to play their basketball harder than ever. They are using basketball as there community to help their friend through this hard time; taking his mind off of the pain of losing his mother. They are using basketball as their sanctuary, acting in harmony to the service of their faith, which in this case is basketball on the court. This is very similar to what Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach is saying in his writing of a Jesuit university, that students must come together to help each other to a common goal.
        In the short, "Common Ground" it is almost the culmination of what all of the experience and education will build into. Cofer states in the beginning of the text that as we live our lives, that as you age and become more wise, the origin of your wisdom starts to rise from your pores. She states that when she looks in the mirror, she now sees the stern lips of her grandmother, her fathers disdainful eyebrows and her mothers nervous hands smoothing away lines appearing on her skin. She is proving that after all those years of life and learning, the biggest influence on your life will be your family. The poem is titled "Common Ground" because the narrator is coming to terms with this fact and realizes that she is now in the same place as her mother, father and grandmother. This is the realization that her community of family, friends and educators has defined the person which she has become.
        This is all in line with the way Loyola and the Jesuit culture is designed to work. All as a single, unified community; working together as a team to enlighten and educate one another so that we may all be able to reach our own personal goals, as well as the goals that society has set out for us to accomplish as a whole.

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