In the poems, “Suburban” by John Ciardi and “Liberty” by Thomas Lynch, the authors set the suburban lifestyle as a place to escape. Both the poems use humor to pass their message on but also use very different language and tone. The other reading, “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe is about a man getting revenge by trapping another man in the cellar of his house. In the poems, the entrapment is figurative but in the short story there is a literal meaning to being trapped. These thoughts came to me as I sat in mediation; I thought about my hometown, a suburb outside of New York City and wondered why these authors felt this way about suburbs. Then, my thoughts moved to the feeling of actually being trapped like Fortunato in “The Cask of Amontillado”. The horror of slowly watching myself be stuck in one place until my death. It made the suburbs look like paradise. Whether one is in a residential area where every house looks the same or chained up in a cellar, entrapment is unbearable.
The poem “Liberty” has the idea of escaping the suburbs in the title. The speaker wants liberty or freedom from the suburb that he is bound to. Instead of moving out of the suburbs, the speaker finds liberty in mini rebellions. The speaker talks about one of his rebellions in lines 1-2, “Some nights I go out and piss on the front lawn as a form of freedom.” The speaker does not want to use the toilet, the plumbing or anything else past the bathroom. His reasoning comes from the fact that the men in his family are, “fierce” who “made their water the old way” and does not want to lose that family tradition. There is nothing in the suburbs like the men in his family use to experience. The speaker is trapped in the dull lifestyle of the suburbs. This figurative feeling may not be as bad as being actually trapped but it can still be unbearable. The thought that the speaker must live here for an extended amount of time could be an awful thought. “Liberty” certainly emphasizes the want for freedom and the annoyance of entrapment.
In “Suburban”, the theme of entrapment is more disguised behind humor. The speaker gets a call from a neighbor saying the dog has relieved itself in the garden of this neighbor. The speaker thinks of a funny thought and then goes over to the neighbor’s garden to deal with the situation. The speaker has to deal with a high strung neighbor. From living in the suburbs my whole life, I know the worst situation to have is a bad neighbor. A bad neighbor can make you feel trapped in your own house. They can complain about lights, music, dogs, etc. Now, the neighbor in “Liberty” may not be so bad but the speaker does not show Mrs. Friar in a good light. The speaker has to be sarcastic in order to deal with her. Out of all the readings, Mr. Ciardi certainly has the best situation but Mrs. Friar sounds like a handful.
The last and most drastic form of entrapment is in the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado”. In this short story, a man named Montresor, the narrator, is insulted by a man named Fortunato. Out of revenge, Montresor decides to devise a plan to kill Fortunato. He brings him to his wine cellar and then chains Fortunato up behind a wall. This completely changes the idea of entrapment from the previous two readings. Fortunato is literally being trapped behind a wall for the rest of his life. It sets off a feeling of terror rather than boredom. I am sure Fortunato would love to stay in a suburb for the rest of his life than be chained up. The amount of time that Fortunato is going to be trapped is much less than the speaker in “Liberty” because Fortunato will die shortly soon after being trapped. On the other hand, the speaker in “Liberty” may live in the suburbs for another five to ten years. Obviously, the type of entrapment is probably the most unbearable but the other readings do create an unfavorable situation as well.
So in mediation on Monday, I was able to once again able to think. I decided to think about the readings and see what memories or thoughts they sparked. The first two readings brought me back to my hometown. Mainly, I thought of my neighbor who has been a best friend of mine since I was three. It also brought back playing sports in the street with all the kids on the block. I thought it was ironic that these poems were bringing back nice memories. Things went south when I put myself in the shoes of Fortunato. I tried to stay away from the absolute fear that would consume me if I were ever in that situation.All the readings deal with entrapment in one way or another. Some circumstances were a little more serious than others but they all had their own individual problems. “Liberty” by Thomas Lynch dealt with the boredom of the suburbs and the fear of losing the manly tradition rooted in the speaker’s family. “Suburban” by John Ciardi dealt more with a slightly demanding neighbor but was definitely the least serious situation. The most drastic situation was in “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, where a man was physically trapped behind a wall for the rest of his life. All the entrapments have their pros and cons but I think Fortunato was the biggest loser.