Sunday, October 27, 2013

Caught an Orb

{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252 {\fonttbl\f0\fnil\fcharset0 ArialMT;} {\colortbl;\red255\green255\blue255;\red0\green0\blue0;\red238\green240\blue242;} \deftab720 \pard\pardeftab720\sl320\partightenfactor0 \f0\fs24 \cf2 \cb3 \expnd0\expndtw0\kerning0 \outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 }

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Freud and Abuse of Young Gay Children (Final Essay)

Children are the defense and growth of our society; they hold the key to success and our future outcome. In the playground there are attitudes of all sorts: happy, sad, angry, cheerful, peaceful, violent, neglected, hurt, disturbed, and confused. After years of classing children below adults, they have finally come into limelight and have been allowed to give their opinions. As a matter of fact, children have become the aim for sales and industrialization. All the commercials, or almost all, target kids and what appeals to them- at least, what adults can convince kids to like. That’s why Disney is so successful. It feeds into the already placed likes of kids and mutates them into money cows. However, without digression, there continues to be a very vigorous sense of neglect towards children who appear to be different. How? Well, as an observant and official of a public school, as well as having attended public school, kids can be just as cruel as the people they learn it from: parents. An obese kid that cannot run as fast as the others becomes the object brutal scrutiny. The dirty kid who is ignored by his parents when it comes to hygiene and cannot afford better clothes can easily be, again, the mark of children and their playful words.

These acts, though, do not arise from the ground and into a child’s mind. Hatred, or dislike, is not something placed in food; it is bred into kids and as a defense mechanism, as Freud describes, children act out the repressed desire either in the home or at school. In this case, parents play a major and vital role in how children function socially, so if the parent is the offender against the child, for whatever reason (grades, hair, flailing of the hands, or homework), what other choice does the child have than to obey the providers of food, shelter and moral standing? The child takes what is learned at home and imprints it onto others. As seen in Alan Gurganus’ “Forced Use”, the father is the offending and repressing agent who forces his child into “the closet” via use of physical and mental abuse. It only takes one major blow for a child to understand that they are acting ‘incorrectly’ and if the behavior continues, the abuse will continue. So then without alternative, the narrator, after suffering abuse from his father for doing what he felt was natural with another boy, sheltered himself in a heteronormative lifestyle into his adulthood.

Working very close to children opens up the opportunity to observe how curious these minds can be and how even the smallest thing can arouse lament, like an eraser being confiscated. What the dad does to the narrator in “Forced Use” is confiscation of his child’s natural sexual attraction. Attraction, specifically sexual, is not something weaved into the child, like hatred; rather, sexuality and orientation are innate essences that evolve from crushes to confusion, and later, the liberation of those essences. It is the incarceration of these desires that help build the repeated event that Freud names in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” stating that “children repeat everything that has made a great impression on them in real life” (433). A traumatic event, such as the abuse of the narrator by his father for being homosexual, is enough for him, the narrator, to build a defense. It is in that defense that causes the narrator, in secret, to act out his yearning for men, repeatedly. Nonetheless, the damage has been done, for he marries a woman and produces offspring, which only enforces his father’s heavy hand over him and clouds his ability to remain faithful to his wife and children. His wish to be the free flowing homosexual is influenced by his contained self urging the beans to spill.

We, as humans, are able to overcome trauma, and have produced skill enough to accommodate that shock in a light that is forgetting; though not all cases are successful. If memory itself can lead to a pleasurable outcome from the initial loss of pleasure, then how does one manage to relate pleasure in adult life? These defense mechanisms that our brain creates are penetrable and it becomes evident in cases of abuse (sexual, physical, and mental) that the victim will act out on the introverted emotions. When a child experiences abuse from an adult, what are the chances of sexual repression and psychological setbacks occurring? According to Karla R. Clark, there is a 4.5% chance. She argues that when a child by nature acts out on desires, there is no room for trauma; however, if an adult, perhaps, a parent, abuses their child it opens up room for an entire lifetime of effects disrupting the functionality. Clark states that the event must be “1) sudden, unexpected or non normative; 2) exceeds the individual's perceived ability to meet its demands and 3) disrupts the individual's frame of reference” (Clark 27). The consequences that are aroused through abuse prove to be detrimental to the normal child development of the victim and may cause them to repeat the event of abuse, as seen in various cases of rape and physical mistreatment. In the event of the nameless narrator, he becomes aroused by the stranger beating and forcing him to perform fellatio, which was most likely implanted into the narrator’s state of arousal when “he [the father] saw me [the narrator] noticing his chest, admiring what the light did” (Gurganus, 570). The craving of being dominated and taken of advantage of, like the father did to him, is the exact reason why he becomes so submissive to the treatment of the stranger. He desires a father figure who will dominate him, by whatever means.

The identity that is stripped from the young narrator is placed deep inside of himself as he states “whatever’s in me that he [the father] hopes to get at – it’s too far gone already – you can’t lance that far in and have the person live” (570). When one loses identity, there comes a power struggle that keeps an individual from finding “communities that we identify with, support, and build connections, geographic and emotional, with each other.” Max Kirsch continues to describe that “Communities act to connect individuals with the social. They provide the avenues for human social reproduction and serve as the basis for mutual support. Moreover, communities can be sanctuaries for people needing to recover from oppression, and they can provide for collective strategies against those who attempt to destroy and to subjugate their members” (41). Without the community, or some kind of support that can get the narrator to understand that he was forced to believe that he must behave as society has constructed men to be, he will flounder and bring down with him his family. Unfortunately, the indentation left in the soul of the narrator by his father has severed him, perhaps for life, to construct a community without having an effect on his family. There are two routes he can take: 1) continue his secret life (which, ironically, should not be because his secret life already is his heterosexual life) and hurt only himself until it catches up to him, or 2) come to terms with his father’s desire to “cure” him and destroy the “it,” and reveal to his family the realest thing he knows and await the outcome of that.

No matter the case, the evidence is seen when the construction of society, and the rules that have been played by it, damages the life of another in order to maintain order in the structure that has stood for decades, it leads to an atrocious outcome which can only be controlled through the destruction of that societal creation. There is one question that still remains: where does this belief in morality derive from? What has helped mold our misconception about life? Religion, perhaps? Nonetheless, one must observe the effects that adults have on children and how greatly the absorb the smallest vile tyranny for, in the end, it might have the greatest and most damaging outcome that could have been avoided: unhappiness.

Clark, Karla R. “Season of Light/Season of Darkness: The Effects of Burrying and Remembering Traumatic Sexual Abuse on the Sense of Self.” Clinical Social Work Journal. Spring 21.1 (1993): 25-42

Freud, Sigmund. “Beyond the Pleasure Principle.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, Ma: Blackwell Publishing, 2004..

Kirsch, Max (2007). “Queer Theory, Late Capitalism, and Internalized Homophobia.” Journal of Homosexuality. 52:1. 19-45.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Middle East Through Orientalist Perspectives

It all started with this:

Then led to this:

I found the western perspective on such events:

and finally, one with Western doctrines:

Geraldine Heng in “A Great Way to Fly” mentions that Orientalism is “a Western discourse which the Eastern state rides in its flawless manipulation of a projected feminine image” (868). However, Edward Said argues that Orientalism is found in our Western viewpoints of Middle Eastern cultures that revolve around irrationality, alarming acts, unreliable leadership, anti-Western attacks, and untruthful beliefs. These notions about the east are created based on what we are taught about the East. I, primarily, want to focus on the accusation and stoning of women in the Middle East and how when we, as a Westernly indoctrinated society, react when we get the news that executions of these sort are still very much active. Said writes: "The hold these instruments have on the mind is increased by the institutions built around them. For every Orientalist, quite literally, there is a support system of staggering power, considering the ephemerality of the myths that Orientalism propagates. The system now culminates into the very institutions of the state. To write about the Arab Oriental world, therefore, is to write with the authority of a nation, and not with the affirmation of a strident ideology but with the unquestioning certainty of absolute truth backed by absolute force." He continues, "One would find this kind of procedure less objectionable as political propaganda--which is what it is, of course--were it not accompanied by sermons on the objectivity, the fairness, the impartiality of a real historian, the implication always being that Muslims and Arabs cannot be objective but that Orientalists. . .writing about Muslims are, by definition, by training, by the mere fact of their Westernness. This is the culmination of Orientalism as a dogma that not only degrades its subject matter but also blinds its practitioners." When we build our beliefs around such barriers, as a Western society we stereotypically assume that all who are Middle Eastern are similar in belief and standing (the same example of what happened right after the attack on 9/11).

Said mentions that Orientalist thinking is a rejection of cultural constructions, and racial as well as religious prejudices. Orientalism becomes the removal of the differences between 'the West' and 'the Other'. If that is the case, then how does one accept and challenge the ideals that many Middle Eastern people follow (that, too, is Orientalism)? Said argues that rejection of Orientalist thinking does not entail a denial of the differences between 'the West' and 'the Orient,' but rather an evaluation of such differences in a more critical and objective fashion (our interpretations of the East). 'The Orient' cannot be studied in a non-Orientalist manner; it takes much more to analyze the Orient through Western lenses.

Heng, Geraldine. "A Great Way to Fly." Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, Ma: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 861-69.

Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon, 1978. Print.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Women in Art and Literature

“Before the woman writer can journey through the looking glass toward literary autonomy…she must come to terms with the images on the surface of the glass, with, that is, those mythic male artists have fastened over her human face both to lessen their dread of her “inconstancy” and by identifying her with “eternal types” they have themselves invented to possess her more thoroughly” (812). Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar in “The Madwoman in the Attic” discuss the liberation of the woman from art and literature by “killing” the “monster” that women have become (aesthetically) through male perspectives and lenses. Both feminist critics describe female writers as having been the “mysterious creature who resides behind the angel or monster image” (812). The article continues stating that women struggle to break away from “male designs” in order to become the ‘I’ in which a female is her own female and not that of a male’s construction. The woman writer, however, knows that she feels pain, confusion and that her image is a male construct that feeds the continued confines of society.
“The Madwoman in the Attic” describes that the woman who inhabits male dominance is altering her vision and self-development as an artist, or simply a woman, in order to maintain the “copy” of herself as opposed to creating her “individuality” (814). Sherry Ortner argues that women psychologically “ [seem] to stand at both the bottom and the top of the scale of human modes of relating” which, in turn, maintains “symbolic ambiguity” because the woman is denied autonomy and put into a “pen” where she is excluded from culture creating fear, love or loathing.

So, in order for women to stop being this:

The woman must first stop doing this to break away from the patriarchal normative, artistic, hegemonic and societal dominance. It is breaking away from the belief that woman is of gentle mood and spirit always and that she must be a sexualized goddess (men's construction of women) :

Gilbert, Sandra and Gubar, Susan. "The Madwoman in the Attic." Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, Ma: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 812-24.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Validity in Interpretations of Stories

Structuralism is still going on. It is a profound influence on literary criticism. It is current thinking in post structuralism, it follows drum-structuralism. Richter leaves out the symbol of the sign (the oval with the line through it). The nature of the sign and the role of difference in the sign. With structuralism we enter the era of high theory, as it is known in contemporary literature. It is deeply philosophical and doesn’t even begin in a literary standpoint. New historicism doesn’t begin in literature either. Structuralism pointed us to another linguistic place. Ontology: Study of being. The one we may hold is linked to realism. A realist believes there is an external reality outside of ourselves, independent and objective of our looking at it. Anti-structuralist. Structuralism is anti realistic. Epistemology: the study of knowledge. Empirical, empiricism—we gather knowledge through experience. Structuralists believe knowledge comes through language, not through experience. :
1) Psychology: independent selves, we use language for this, this can be called instrumentalism—it is likely our attitude towards language is something that we use as an instrument, we use language for certain purposes of communication, and thought. This is anti-structuralist: structuralists argue that language uses us, because language provides resources that just flow through us.
2) Linguistics: referentialist /referentialism, an attitude towards what language does for us. Language works because it refers to things, or classes of things in the real world. Structuralism: anti-referentialist –it’s not a thing or class of thing, but a mental entity. It has nothing to do with the real world. There are trees if our language system has a construct and system for it, but if our language system doesn’t, then we have no trees. Language does not get its meaning from referring to the real world. But it gets its meanings from language
3) Philosophy: the identity of things, and of identities. Indentitarinism. In structuralism, there are not things only differences. Like positive identities. The role of difference is very important in understanding this.

Lyotard, Jean-Fran├žois. "The Postmodern Condition." Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, Ma: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 355-62.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Proletariat and Bourgeoisie: The Exploitation of Workers

The working class. The ones who own nothing and wished they owned something. The proletariat people are these that cast the wishing. In an economic ladder, a company cannot possibly strive without wage-laborers willing to sacrifice themselves in order to make a living and feed this machine of living: the bourgeoisie own and the proletariats work for the bourgeoisie; the proletariat class sells their labor in order for a pension. Marxism, in a sense, sees the proletariat and bourgeoisie as polar positions, because the working class seeks higher wages while the capitalist prefer to keep the proletariat laboring for minimal wages. However, if there is a class, such as the petite bourgeoisie, who own and work their own businesses, where does that leave the polar opposites (proletariat and the bourgeoisie)? According to Marxist theory, the petite bourgeoisie will be ritually dominated by the bigger, heftier wolf, the bourgeoisie. In order to end the class distinction, Marxist theory argues that the proletariat class will grow weary of the bourgeoisie and up rise. It is in this act of defiance that the bourgeoisie will be overcome and will cease to exist, therefore, eliminating class. Exploitation suffered upon by the proletariat will mark the end of capitalism based on utilization by means of convenience. . Unfortunately, Marx decides once the up rise against the bourgeoisie has surfaced and our society has become classless that communism will take over (and we have seen the result of that: Cuba).

The cheap production of labor that the bourgeoisie employ through the misuse of the proletariat becomes property in expense to the laborer (the proletariat is tricked to produce material and work extra hard for very little pay in order for the bourgeoisie to have a reasonable sum of money). The increase in demand for production will further stress result for the same amount of pay and in time becomes the levy which gives out and results in attack by the proletariat. Nonetheless, until that happens, the bourgeoisie will continue to accumulate wealth for more effort from the working class but will not produce the same result for the working class producing that wealth. In the long run, those who work to produce wealth do not receive the full wealth created by their labor, and do not get to decide how the wealth is distributed, which, again, means the exploitation is a very strong way of mistreatment.

Marx, Karl. "Grundrisse." Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, Ma: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 650-52.

"The German Ideology." Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, Ma: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 653-58.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nike vs. Karl Marx

"Capital does not mean anything without wage-labor, value, money, price, etc." (651). Marxism is the belief that society is divided into two classes the workers, who don’t own anything and work, and the owners, who own just about everything and don’t work. It’s this exact kind of thinking that has inspired the Nike video, which clearly presents a massively wealthy company, Nike, who “unbeknownst” had a sweatshop that exploited people from poorer countries in order to have cheap labor. This is what Marx calls “alienation” and could possibly lead to the abolishment of class division. It becomes the social interpretation of how Marxism is understood, but according the video, production is the ceasing of this social interpretation because class division does not appear to be disappearing. Oppression of a certain group is part of the subordination of social class through the means of wage-labor.

The fruitful pleasures of life, which Marx describes as “simplest legal relations of individuals” (651), are the possessions that family and communities have the right of obtaining. However, with the use of capitalism, these fruits of labor are stripped from the individuals. He goes on to say that “the division of labor inside a nation leads at first to the separation of industrial and commercial from agricultural labor” (655); this separation leads to the end of conflict of interest. To come to an end of the different kind s of developmental ownership determines individuality in terms of material, instrument and the production of labor (owner of oneself). Where does this individuality lead? Marx says it is "a definite way into these definite social and political relations" (655) and the detachment between ruling class and working class in order to be blended into one (an organized society).

Marx, Karl. "Grundrisse." Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, Ma: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 650-52.

"The German Ideology." Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, Ma: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 653-58.