Paul Dunbar’s epigram starts out with a serious conversation about faith and the afterlife but concludes with a sense of humor that pokes fun at the question of heaven and hell which in turn changes the tone of the epigram. The tone set in Countee Cullen’s Tableau is contradictory to the humor at the end of Paul Dunabar’s epigram, it is a serious topic about racial harmony and how the youth may perhaps have a better understanding of what it means to love everyone for who they are. Both of these tie into the first half of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein which deals with the question of Victors morals when he creates this monster and his inability to accept the monster for who he is simply due to appearance.
“If there were not, where would my neighbors go?” Paul Dunbar suggests that when dealing with the question of the afterlife, one only thinks of themselves. Everyone else is deemed as unmoral and will not make it to heaven. Dunbar suggest that people only think that they themselves are moral and no one else’s morals compare to theirs. Every person believes that they should be in the front of the line at heavens gates. This ties into Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein when questioning Victor morals and his choice to create this monster. Victor may see himself as moral but fails to understand the horrific deed he has done in attempting to play god by creating life itself, and then going on to despise his own creation of life.
“Oblivious to look and word, They pass, and see no wonder”, Countee Cullen paints a harmonious society in which the color of one’s skin has no meaning. The two people in Cullen’s poem are young and are not affected by the issue of race despite societies opinions which is stunned by “The black boy and the white, Locked arm in arm they cross the way.” Cullen implies that this is what the natural behavior of humans should be towards each other when dealing with each other’s differences, which is best depicted through the young age of the children. This poem ties into Shelly’s Frankenstein in the way that Victor rejects his own creation solely because of its appearance. Victor is unable to accept what his monster looks like on the outside and in turn causes this “monster” to truly become what it is by murdering several people and destroying everything Victor values in his life.
The theme of these three works of literature tie into the event I attended on Wednesday evening at the chapel. This was my second time attending a prayer service at the chapel. Like the previous, this service was a scripture based meditation. While I am not a religious person, I was able to get something out of the meditation. This was only my second religious event I have ever attended so while I was not able to follow all of the scripture, I do think the readings we did this week for class tied into an aspect of the service. Question of our own morals, and harmony amongst all people tied into this Wednesday evening service. The meditation itself also had me questioning my own morals and the theme of Dunbar’s book that suggest that perhaps we aren’t as moral as we think we are and that there is always room for moral improvement. I’m glad I was able to benefit from this experience and attended another religious event on campus.