October 2, 2013
Free Yourself From Struggles
The works of Edgar Allen Poe, Thomas Lynch, and John Ciardi all focus on the ideas of becoming free and finding liberty based on past struggles or events that have once restricted freedom. This restriction can include societal or personal pressures. Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” explores the ideas of freedom as the narrator, Montresor, proceeds with a murder after being insulted by his “acquaintance.” Lynch’s “Liberty,” as indicated by the title, focuses on the liberty to protest against societal pressures and norms through the act of peeing on his front lawn. Similarly, Ciardi’s “Suburban” emphasizes the freedom to do certain activities, like cleaning up a dog’s fecal matter, in a satirical manner. All of these literary works relate to the Zen Meditation event. The main purpose of meditation is to be able to recognize your daily struggles and free yourself from what has been causing you stress. Thus, the aspect of freedom, especially freedom from personal issues or pressures, comes into play. Therefore, it is clear that all of the literary works by Poe, Lynch, and Ciardi, as well as the Zen Meditiation event, share a common idea of freedom and finding liberty from societal or personal pressures.
In Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor is seen as a character that not only seeks revenge, but also a sense of freedom. While he wants to “get back” at Fortunato for his rude remarks, Montresor also wants to be freed from his presence. As a result, Montresor sees it best to get rid of Fortunato completely. His plan is to take him down to the catacombs during the carnival in order to try wine, get him drunk enough, and cement him into one of the crypts. Through this very well thought out plan, it is clear that Montresor is seeking freedom from someone who has done him wrong. While the Masquerade Carnivale represents the freedom from social norms, the events happening in the catacombs just below represent Montresor’s freedom from his own personal issues. This is seen in the story when Montresor proceeds with the live entombment of Fortunato and he states, “For a brief moment I hesistated – I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied” (1065). This statement evidently portrays Montresor’s joyous and prideful attitude as he is killing Fortunato. The satisfaction expressed has brought him a sense of freedom as he has finally gotten his revenge. Therefore, through the pride and satisfaction that is expressed it is clear that Montresor has gained some sort of freedom from his personal issues based on the acts he committed.
Additionally, Lynch’s poem, “Liberty” focuses on the ideas of freedom from typical societal pressures as the speaker is seen peeing on his front lawn. This is not typically something that someone does, and is often looked down upon because it essentially breaks the rules of social norms. The speaker’s ability to break these rules represents his freedom from society and conformity. This is seen when he states, “Some nights I go out and piss on the front lawn as a form of freedom – liberty from porcelain and plumbing and the Great Beyond beyond the toilet and the sewage works” (1-4). The speaker directly expresses his freedom in his actions. He associates these actions with the idea of breaking the barrier of conformity that he experiences in the suburban life style of America. Overall, the actions taken by the speaker throughout this poem effectively illustrate the search for freedom from the pressures of society.
Similarly, Ciardi’s poem, “Suburban,” uses satire and humor in order to depict the common idea of finding freedom. While this poem doesn’t necessarily involve the speaker’s personal search for freedom, it represents the freedom that people have to do certain activities. By picking up fecal matter from a dog that is not his, he is representing the freedom that he has to do just that in an extremely satirical manner. He is depicting Mrs. Friar as the typical neighbor of the suburbs. She does not want other animals’ fecal matter on her property. He has the freedom; however, to do what he wants with the situation. This is illustrated in the poem when the speaker states, “I bore the turd across the line to my own petunias and buried it till the glorious resurrection when even these suburbs shall give up their dead” (18-21). Therefore, it is clear that even with the neighborly “restrictions” and “rules” of the suburbs, he has the freedom to do what he wants with the fecal matter that he is handling.
Finally, all of these literary works relate to the Zen Meditation event that I went to. While the event was very similar to the first meditation session I went to, we focused on the idea of freeing yourself from the harmful, worrisome, and stressful struggles that we experience on a daily basis. This mediation allows one to free themselves of the struggles they have been facing. Just like the characters and speakers in all three works, I was able to find a way to free myself from the struggles and stresses I was experiencing at the time. Therefore, the meditation offered me with a sense of freedom from the thoughts that were restricting my progression throughout the day, just as the short story and poems had also expressed.
Overall, the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Thomas Lynch, and John Ciardi, as well as the Zen Mediation, shared the common idea of freedom from struggles. This was clearly seen through Montresor’s freedom from Fortunato’s hurtful words, the speaker’s freedom from societal norms in “Liberty”, the speaker’s freedom from suburban neighborly lifestyle in “Suburban”, and my personal freedom from daily struggles through meditation exercises. Therefore, the common idea of freedom was effectively depicted throughout the literary works as well as my personal experiences with the meditation event.