Understanding Literature 101.16
2 October 2013
In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” John Ciardi’s “Suburban,” Thomas Lynch’s “Liberty,” and the meditation class I partook in on Monday night, all involve the common theme of pride. Specifically, Poe demonstrates how Montresor’s obsession with his pride comes between his friendship with Fortunato and eventually leads to murder. Ciardi demonstrates the insignificance of proving himself correct and swallowing his pride because he does not care what his neighbor thinks of him (or his dog). Lynch doesn’t care what others think of him and will “piss on the front lawn/ as a force of freedom,” establishing a strong sense of self-pride. Dr. Davis’ Zen meditation class also lets you focus on yourself without the interference of others. This enables you to build a stronger sense of self.
Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” explains how a person can be so obsessed with their own pride that it drives them to ghastly circumstances. Montresor’s extreme interpretation of Fortunato’s comment created a monster inside of him that caused him to murder his friend. The incredible sense of pride and superiority that he feels produced this inhumanly action. Poe writes of Montresor’s harsh thoughts: “I must not only punish, but punish with impunity.” Fortunato had insulted Montresor, and instead of taking it all in stride, or lightheartedly, it drove him to unimaginable circumstances. More interestingly, he doesn’t even feel ashamed by committing this horrific crime—even after fifty years.
In “Suburban,” John Ciardi’s personality shines through. It is understood that his high self-assurance and pride enables him to take the blame for things that aren’t his. To take guilt for something that you can prove easily is not your fault is a major deal. This shows how comfortable he is with himself that he does not need to prove anything to anyone. Ciardi explains that “My dog, as it happened,/ was in Vermont with my son who had gone fishing.” Yet even so, “I went with a spade” over to Mrs. Friar’s home.
Thomas Lynch’s “Liberty” explains the concept of pride as well. In this case, Lynch clarifies his strong pride and self-confidence because he doesn’t conform to society. He explains that “some nights I go out and piss on the front lawn” and he does so without any problem. He does not care what others think of him, which clarifies how relaxed he is with himself. There is no need to justify his actions to anyone and he knows that.
The meditation class I partook in this week also required self-actualization. This week consisted of the longest time I had meditated (ever) and I also joined in on the chanting portion for the first time. In all honesty it was a bit of a struggle. I am not used to sitting still for a long period of time—if anytime at all! It caused me to look in to myself and actually instilled a large amount of self-confidence. I was determined to complete the task to the best of my ability. Even though I usually shy away from such activities, it required me to step out of my comfort zone and establish a sense of self in that new environment.
Overall the two poems, short story and the Zen meditation class, all consisted on a central aspect of pride. Pride can cause a person to do negative things, but also grants many positive features as well.