Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Literary Analysis-Meghan Lawrence

     The works Mending Wall by Robert Frost, Slam, Dunk & Hook by Yusef Komunyakaa, Common Ground by Judith Ortiz Cofer, and The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education, are all very different, and at first glance seem completely unrelated to each other. However, after reading all of the pieces, I realized that in each of the writings, though all surround different subject matter, the speaker uses the first person to discuss or describe something they feel strongly connected to, even if inexplicably so.
     In Mending Wall, by Robert Frost, the speaker describes the ironic relationship he has with his neighbor, formed around the mutual construction of a separation device. The speaker and his neighbor are not in contact with each other, except for "at spring mending-time," when the two reunite over the wall which has been weakened over the year by unknown sources, presumably hunters. The speaker does not understand why this ritual continues, saying, "Before i built a wall I'd ask to know/ What I was walling in or walling out." The other man in the poem does not offer a reason for this practice either, insisting only that, "Good fences make good neighbors." Neither of the men in the poem give palpable reasons for the annual reconstruction of the wall, however they are somehow connected to both the process itself, and the fact that it brings them together, even if over a dividing line, and for a short period of time once a year. The wall is something both men feel connected to and despite their  not quite knowing why, the two seem to have no intention of ever ceasing the annual mending of the wall.
     In Komunyakaa's Slam, Dunk & Hook, the speaker again describes in the first person something that is evidently of huge importance to him. He describes mainly how the sport of basketball makes him feel, saying, "Created, we could almost/ Last forever, poised in midair." When playing this sport, the speaker feels an infinite empowerment of sorts. The sport serves also as an outlet for the team's emotions, which is made clear by the speaker's statement that, "When Sonny Boy's mama died/ He played nonstop all day, so hard/ Our backboard splintered." The speaker along with his teammates, obviously feels not just a love for, but an intense connection with the sport he plays. They feel wonderfully powerful when playing the sport, saying, "we knew we were/ Beautiful & dangerous." The sport is without a doubt something it seems the speaker could never part with because of his incredible connection to it.
     In the poem Common Ground, by Judith Ortiz Cofer, the speaker, again in the first person, tells the audience what she feels especially connected to, and how she feels this way. She relates her blood, bones, and flesh to her family and "the stuff of your origin." When she looks in the mirror, she sees her physical characteristics as those once belonging to her family members. For example, when she looks in the mirror, she sees her "grandmother's stern lips." The speaker feels strongly connected to her family through her aging physical appearance.
     In Peter Hans Kolvenbach's address, The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Eduation, he expresses his strong feelings for the new Jesuit commitment to faith and justice. He believes that the best case scenario for the betterment of the world is the coexistence of these two ideals. He let's the audience know he is dedicated to this new prospect when he admits, "This sort of justice requires an action-oriented commitment to the poor with a courageous personal option." Kolvenbach's passion for what he speaks about moves to enlighten people, and hopefully spur the same passion in them. He encourages people to "embrace human reality in order to help make the world a more fitting place for six billion of us to inhabit." He feels so confident about this subject that he addresses his audience with confidence and encouragement.

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