October 2nd, 2013
Differences in Perception
In Thomas Lynch’s poem “Liberty” a man finds it liberating to urinate on his front lawn some nights, against the better judgment of his ex-wife. John Ciardi, who’s the main character of his own poem “Suburban”, removes dog feces from his neighbor’s petunias even while he is certain his dog was not responsible. Lastly, in Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado” the narrator deceives his adversary into a tomb beneath his house, where he traps him there as an act of revenge. All of these characters are going against what society might consider proper and appropriate, but they are doing so because of their own perceptions of the situation.
The speaker in “Liberty” claims he pisses on his lawn “as a form of freedom” and he gains “liberty from porcelain and plumbing” while his ex-wife may be clueless to this; to him it makes perfect sense. For the speaker it is an act of freedom, and a way to “pay homage” to the trees as he looks up and takes in all that is around him. To anyone simply passing by they would most likely see a crazy man peeing on his front porch, thinking he must be lost or confused. That may be society’s perception of the situation, but to the speaker it’s much more than that. He is not worried about what everyone may conclude, but simply doing what he feels is right. Those who do not know the story behind it will would have no way of understanding, but with a closer insight it doesn’t seem too crazy to crave some liberty from the “porcelain and plumbing.”
Perceptions always have two sides to the same story, this is exactly the case with the neighbors in “Suburban.” Mrs. Friar believes that Mr. Ciardi’s dog has left “a large repulsive object” in her flowers. Ciardi of course is positive this is not the case, knowing that his dog has been in Vermont with his son, but quickly gets over this fact and goes over to remove the invading object. This poem shows us how that even if you know something wasn’t even caused by you, there is still no harm in helping out a neighbor in need. Friar believes she received help because he was obliged to, however he did it out of the goodness of his own heart. It shouldn’t always matter who is responsible, but actually what is more important is who steps up to help.
Edgar Allen Poe’s story is by far the darkest of the three we read, as the main character believes he is due some revenge on Fortunato. From the beginning of the story we are not positive if a murder is actually going to occur, but through the use of foreshadowing the reader gets a real sense something bad is going to happen. The narrator states how “there were no attendants at home”, or in other words no witnesses to him and Fortunato. Additionally when Fortunato first begins to cough saying “I shall not die of a cough” he simply replies “True –true” knowing in fact what waits ahead. While we do not know what “thousand injuries” Fortunato has given the narrator, the punishment receives was most likely an extreme one. It is the narrators belief that it was justified, based on his perception of the situation.
When it comes to the community of Baltimore, from the viewpoint of an outside like myself, many different things shape my perception. From what I learn on the TV, to what the school tells me, to just living her for three years. The major thing I think my service this coming Friday will help to do is change whatever perception I have of Baltimore and the community her around Loyola. While we hear a lot about safety, and get countless emails of crimes happening nearby, that is by no means an accurate depiction of the people in this community. By experiencing it first hand I am guessing I will see some similarities to my own community. It all goes back to the moral from “Suburban” that no matter what the case, we should all help our neighbors when asked.