One major point in Peter-Hans Kolvenbach’s speech “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education” is “to educate ’the whole person’ intellectually and professionally, psychologically, morally, and spiritually”(34). This is essentially the Jesuit mission and a key concept of this class. Service is a good way to connect with the world around because it involves being an active learner. I volunteered with an after school program when I was in high school and we helped under privileged middle school kids with their homework and did fun activities with them. I, also, was a member of Habitat for Humanity during high school and got to help build a house for a family that lost their home during hurricane Katrina. The family was so grateful and cried when we presented the finished house to them. I loved the experience and ever since then I have become more involved in helping others.
Although I would have liked to do service this semester, I did enjoy my experience during my first event. I went to Stephen Graham Jones event in the Program room and I honestly did not know what to expect. He is a fiction writer and read a couple of his short stories to us. There were a total of five stories but none of them were alike. He read stories about a guy who ate the bloody paper in his cereal after shaving, an old man watching his wife turn into an animal every night, a guy with crabs, what to do in case of a zombie attack, and a dad who accidentally cut of his left nipple. The stories were very random and I was pretty shocked about he topics he chose to write about, but nonetheless they were attention grabbing. He spoke in a poetic tone and all of the stories were jam-packed with detail. All of the stories had underlying metaphors and deep meanings that I could not understand at times which reminded me of poetry. His stories sounded like some form of poetry, and during the Q&A part of the speech he said, “I believe a writer need to be restricted in order to produce good writing.” Poetry is, also, restricted so it just confirmed my initial thoughts when I felt like he was speaking like he was reading poetry.
The three poems I read were “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, “Accident Mass. Ave” by Jill McDonough, and “Learning to Read” by Frances E.W. Harper. “Mending Wall” is about two men who keep rebuilding this wall between them every spring even though it is not literally needed because “He is all pine and I am apple orchard” (line 25). “Accident Mass. Ave” is about a lady and a man who get into a little fender-bender in Boston and because it is Boston the naturally get out the cars screaming profanity at each other, only to realize that there was no damage to either car. The two feel silly about the entire situation and the hug at the end of the poem. The final poem “Learning to Read” is about slaves learning how to read and how it was not allowed because it would make them too wise. Meanwhile, Chloe and two other slaves sneak and read. The poem is negative towards the Rebs at first but my the end the tone is positive.
I do not see a connection between Stephen Graham Jones and any of the readings. His stories sounded like poetry but as far as themes and motifs there were no similarities. However, all of the poems relate to the Kolvenbach speech in their own ways because they all relate to a type of educating that Jesuits want for their students. “Mending Wall” was a spiritual teaching because the wall was only there because it gave them a sense of neighborliness, service and bonding. “Accident Mass. Ave” was a moral teaching because it challenged the customs and norms of Boston by making the man and woman feel uncomfortable and over exaggerated when they realized the real damage of the cars. The final poem “Learning to Read” was an intellectual and, also, spiritual teaching because the slaves were becoming educated despite the rules they were given and spiritually because literacy allowed them to read the Bible and get spiritually closer to God.