October 1, 2013
Confinement in Society
In the poems by Thomas Lynch and John Ciadri and the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, we see characters that are suppressed and confined by society and their views on society. Each work varies in a slight sense. In “Liberty”, Thomas Lynch attempts to portray a man who refuses to be subjected to the suburban way of life. In “Suburban”, John Ciadri depicts a man who is subjected to the suburban way of life, making him less dominant. In Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” the “dominant” character, Montresor lets his anger blind him, therefor revealing his weakness. All of these works represent characters who are confronted with strong feelings and who are forced to act accordingly.
Thomas Lynch in his poem “Liberty” is trying to show his distaste for the suburban way of life. He says he chooses to do what he wants because of “gentility or envy” (Line 13). He does not want to be confined to the norms of society and wants to show that he does not have to be. Peeing wherever he wants is used a representation for all constraints of society. Lynch is also indirectly speaking about rebellion and how that gives you freedom. He discusses the tale of his ancestors who created freedom and lived how they wanted in the suburban life.
In “Suburban” by John Ciadri, the speaker is tired of conforming to the suburban lifestyle. The speaker portrays the amount of “fakeness” there is in relationships between those who live in the suburbs. Ciadri is on the edge of a breaking point, but decides “why lose out on organic gold for a wise crack?” (Line, 11). The speakers response to “your dog has just deposited – forgive me – a large repulsive object in my petunias” being: “yes, Mrs. Friar, I understand” is a perfect example of the speaker letting the suburbs take advantage of him and making him weak (Line 4 and Line 12). The suburbs took away his manhood, his ability to speak up. He does not want to cause trouble or an argument when in fact, Mrs. Friar was wrong and he knows she would never loose that argument. He shows this by saying:
and buried it till the glorious resurrection
when even these suburbs shall give up their dead.
Edgar Allen Poe’s, “The Cask of Amontillado” has an ironic ending that, similar to the other two works above, has one dominant character and one non-dominant. It seems as though Montresor is the dominant character until the end when Montresor was calling out “Fortunato” twice and there was no response. He then said, “my heart grew sick”. This represents how both characters are imprisoned and how it leads to their demise or unhappiness. Fortunato is blinded by his self-trusting nature of the relationship between him and Montresso, while Montresso is blinded by his motives and his anger.
This idea of conforming to others and losing your identity is an important quality to try to avoid when trying to become a confident, strong individual. I had the opportunity to volunteer this week at Patterson High School through the Refugee Youth Program. While there, I worked closely with two students, both whom spoke French. To them Baltimore was foreign and it was forcing them to create a new destiny or a new path. How both students took this new and safe opportunity varied. One girl was eager to learn and took advantage of what the school was forcing upon her. (By forcing I mean homework, tests, learning, etc.). She kept her own identity and showed this through her hair and her clothing and she did not let the ways of Baltimore completely overpower her like the speaker in “Suburban” let happen to him. She, like the speaker in “Liberty”, kept her identity while in another society. The second student was a boy who did not take advantage of the opportunity. He is letting his fear get in the way of his success, similar to how Montresso is letting his anger cloud his judgment.