Event Analysis #2
With my second experience with Zen meditation at hand, I was allowed to personally connect with myself and also relate to today’s readings of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe, Ode to American English by Barbara Hamby and Suburban by John Ciardi. Each of these readings are very different from each other, but I found that within each reading there is a message from either the speaker or the narrator about something of great importance to them. That is the connection that I made with my own experience with last weeks Zen meditation for this event analysis. I found that it’s important to hold onto something, even the little things, that make up each of us as individuals.
The dark setting of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe sets up the reader for a gloomy tale in which the narrator schemes to murder his friend, Fortunato. According to the narrator, Fortunato had insulted him in such a way that the narrator felt extremely offended and plotted to kill Fortunato as vengeance. The narrator’s pride is of great value to himself, when he felt threatened by Fortunato he felt the need to make him pay for his actions. In my Zen meditation, I found that reflecting upon the things that matter most to me, such as family and school, really gave me insight to everything that makes me who I am. In ways similar to the narrator of The Cask of Amontillado, if I ever felt that my family was being threatened, I would do everything in my power to help or save them. In this case, the narrator believed that Fortunato’s insult was a threat towards the narrator himself. Although his actions are not so agreeable with from my perspective, he still stood up for himself to protect what he values most.
In Ode to American English by Barbara Hamby, the speaker describes how much she missed the “Valley girl’s like-like stuttering”, hot dogs and even Sylvester the Cat. Being away in a foreign land for a while had made the speaker realize how much she missed the vernacular of where she grew up. It lacks the perfection of “Oxfordian accents”, but that’s what makes it so unique and close to the speakers heart. I found in my own reflection that there were things I also missed from being away from home for so long. Even just the little things, such as fall foliage and apple cider, are things that I miss from being down here that are significant reminders of where I come from. I shared the same longing for culture that the speaker herself also describes.
In John Ciardi’s Suburban, the speaker values their connection with the community and surrounding neighbors. The speaker’s neighbor found dog droppings in her petunias, believing that they belonged to the speaker’s dog. The speaker knows that their dog is currently up in Vermont with the speaker’s son, but doesn’t want to start any conflicts with any of the neighbors. The speaker therefore decides to avoid controversy and cleans up the dog droppings anyways. This was something that I admired about the speaker’s behavior, not only for just agreeing to clean up the droppings but because the speaker’s values were of far greater importance than an issue of whether or not their dog actually went to the bathroom in the petunias. Realizing the importance of values throughout my Zen experience has really helped me to define what my true values are in my life. These values help to define me as a person and I agree with the speaker that sometimes it’s just easier to give in to avoid ruining relationships or damaging anything that pertains to my values.