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In the following text  the distinct positions in reference to Grandmother’s task will be shown.

Louis Rougon is speechless since he “could not believe what he was hearing” (p.23., l.5) What is more, he makes fun of the the task while betting on a failure (p.41, l.16ff.). Another point to mention is that Louis and the fat man despise the black men as inferior and dumb and therefore they despise all they demanded, too (p. 45,l.26.ff.;p.45, l.31.f.).  Anyways, both, Louis Rougon and the fat man are amused of the situation since on the one hand there is a bet going and on the other hand because the blacks request kind of more rights (p.46, l.6f. ; p.46,l.31f.).

At first glance, Edny Guidry , the sheriff’s wife, seems not to take part in the decision or even does not to want to because she says that she’ll leave all that up to Mr. Wiggins and the sheriff (p.43,l.26.) but in the course of the story it becomes clear that Edny convinces her husband of Grant’s permission to visit Jefferson (p.47, l.17.f.)

The sheriff himself, Sam Guidry, is not impressed by such a proposal as he claims ” …I think the only thing you can do is just aggravate him, trying to put something in his head against his will. And I’d rather see a contented hog to go that chair than an aggravated hog. It would be better for everybody concerned. There ain’t a thing you can put in that skull that ain’t there already” (p.47, l.28ff.). Actually he supports the idea of the status quo since Sam Guidry agrees with Grant Wiggins not to have anything to do with it at all (p.47,l.14ff.).

Grant Wiggins does not like the idea, the grandmother has because he believes that he is unsuitable for that job (p.31,l.11ff.). Apart from that, the task gets on his nerves as he already has enough work to do (p.13, l.7f.; p.18, l.13f.).  Another aspect that stresses Grant Wiggin’s negative position towards Miss Emma’s task represents the fact that he is forced by his aunt Tante Loue and the disturbed and not mutual relationship between Loue and Grant (p.17, l. 6ff. ;p.34, l.25ff.). The direct speeches ” His nannan would like for me to visit him” (p. 46,l.2f.) and ” I would rather not have anything to do with it, sir. But that’s what she wants.” (p.47,l.11f.) are proofs for that.

In the novel ” A Lesson Before Dying”, Ernest J. Gaines puts focus on the drastic change of Jefferson’s life, a young black man after he is unfairly sentenced to death.

The story takes place near a plantation in Louisana in the late 1940s and surprisingly not in the prison yet. Other places where actions happen are Bayonne where Grant Wiggins, the first person narrator has his girlfriend and the court announcing the verdict.

Hereinafter, I will point out all the information I could find on Jefferson in the chapters 1 to 6. This will be structured according to the different perspectives.

Godmother

In the godmother’s opinion, Jefferson represents a significant part in her life. Though Miss Emma, as everyone, knows the verdict she is extremely shocked since she cares for his godson. This can be proven by seeing her immobility (p.7, l.9 ff.). Additionally, the compassion and the close relationship between the nannan and Jefferson is shown if one regards her depression while saying that her godson was described as a hog (p.15, l.8f.). Miss Emma is deeply hurt and moved not only by the verdict, so the fact of losing Jefferson (p. 21, l.15ff.) but also by the claim of raising a hog . ” They called my boy a hog, Mr. Henri,” Miss Emma said. ” I didn’t raise no hog, and i don’t want no hog to go set in that chair. I want a man to go set in that chair, Mr. Henri.”(p. 21. l.29ff.). This demonstrates that she wants Jefferson to acquire pride and dignity guaranteeing  him not to be a boy and a fool with a modicum of intelligence anymore but to be an example of a real man. On the one hand, regret can be noticed this way because it proves his lack of experience but on the other hand it depicts her love to Jefferson as it permits him an educational  progress. She cares for him and cannot stand the judicial decision : “Jefferson go’n need me, but I’m too old to be going up there.My heart w”nt take it…” (p. 21, l.34ff.).

Prosecutor

The prosecutor claims Jefferson to be an animal (p.10, l. 15.). Apart from that, in his point of view, Jefferson had the full intention of committing that crime(p.10,l.11ff.) so character traits of his are likely to be evil, bad , cold hearted and greedy.

My Personal View

I guess that Jefferson is an innocent, honest and normal boy because he is raised by godmother who told him to live a proper life and not to do any wrong (p.10, l.1f.). But I’m also of the opinion that he lacks education as he does not react in any kind in court.

Defence Lawyer

“Jefferson was innocent of all charges except being at the wrong place at the wrong time” (p.10, l.18f.). Furthermore, the defence lawyer associates him with nouns as hunger and plain stupidity (p.10, l.26). This simplemindedness is underlined as he says that Jefferson is rather a boy and a fool than a man with a modicum of intelligence and as he describes him as a slave acting on command, not knowing whether something is right or wrong (p.10,l.31ff. ; p.11,l.12.). As a consequence of that foolishness, according to the lawyer, Jefferson is not even capable of planning such a crime (p.11, l.6ff.). Not to forget that he represents the backbone for the family, playing the role of the reason to go on living (p.11, l.29ff.).

Imagine you were one of the persons present at the event described. As  a the Southerner where the events described are rather common, write a diary entry about what you’ve witnessed, describing your thoughts and emotions .

Dear Diary,

Today, a savage day as any other passed by. I do not want to keep on tolerating this but the vicious circle does not permit any solution. Again,  an Afro-American was tortured wrathly and his death was praised by the whites, everywhere. Nowhere, neither on the streets nor at home one could escape this vicious process of mutilation. Exposed to really everyone, the wracked parts of the body represented an attraction for those white monsters. The streets shimmered red since the bloody body was dragged along many streets, for many many miles. Like animals, the hundreds of whites crowded around the corpse in order to transform their anger and furiousness in aggressive, bloody and murderous actions. To smell the odor of blood, to witness the lynching, to see the people hung on trees like strange fruits, terrifiyng. The bloody fruits of white misbehaviour. Though this inconceivable operation is done in daily routine, I am shivering, if I even think about that intolerance, injustice and indifference.  Each and every very breath of the blacks must be filled with suffering and fear of being victimised in the same cruel and inhuman manner. It must be hell to live in anguish and oppression. Not only disgrace on the whites but also humiliation of the blacks take place. It is just a matter of immaturity that in our society, the peoples and races are not considered as equal. Convinced of the white supremacy, they suppress unrightfully the egal blacks. Why are the whites so keen on being superior? They are not. Not in any kind. Not in any case, it is reasonable that discrimination overwhelms fairness. It is of tremendous importance to distinguish the right from the wrong and this is obviously not yet achieved, a pitty. If they just could put themself in the place of the blacks ! They would alter, I suppose. Enlightment must revolt in the people’s mind. The happenings of the presence violate ethical values! Happiness and peaceful  coexistence will never be achieved as a purpose if equality is not provided.  I feel so sorry for the actions of my fellow men but I do not have the power to set against everyone else. En enormous pressure is put on me. If I buck the system, the same sake that I am profoundedly afraid of, would befall me. Sadly, I lack for courage. On the one hand, the wrongs arouse compassion but on the other hand, my hands are tied. I am really grieved.

Bye xoxo

Strange Fruit

Find adjectives that describe emotions people who have been present at the events in the song might have had.

positive: amazed, surprised, astonished, impressed, mobile, impassioned, fascinated, stunned, speechless, excited, keen, enthusiastic, spirited, inspired,  encouraged, patriotisitc, proud, strengthened, delighted, touched

negative: amazed, surprised, astonished, impressed, mobile , impassioned, stunned, speechless, excited, shocked, shattered, shaken, humiliated, mortified, discouraged, sad, stifling, empty, weakened, touched

indifferent: immobile, meaningless, apathetic, uncaring, cool, detached, impervious,  negligent, incurious

neutral: immobile, meaningless, apathetic, uncaring, cool, detached, impervious,  negligent, incurious

disgusted: nauseated, grossed out, distasteful, cloyed, detested, abhorred, execrated, scunnered, loathed, touched, mobile, outraged

frightened: scared, anguished, painfull, sad, grievous, cruel, dolorous, anxious, tmid, worried, intimidated, nervous, shy, mobile, touched

confused: surprised, amazed, astonished, inconscient, irritated, adle, bedlam, muddled, touched, perplexed, distracted

aggressive: violent, touched, raged, mad, furious, angry, enraged, wrathy, combative, abrasive

Hope for the Future

Of Mr Booker T. Washington

(published 1903) W.E.B. DuBois

In the followoing essay I will compare Booker T. Washington’s ideas about the future of coloured people with those of W.E.B. DuBois in”Of Mr Booker T. Washington” written from W.E.B. DuBois and published in 1903 in order to reckon the similarities and distinctions.

Both, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois are abolitionists that means they oppose slavery and want to abolish that suppressive system. They aim education for the blacks but each in a different extent as Washington purposes the more industrial education for the “inferior” men to achieve more wealthiness for the South and conciliation (ll21f.), while DuBois intends to cultivate them in the same way as they do with the whites, so the target is higher education.  The opinions differ if one considers the aspect of equality since DuBois demands human and political rights for everyone whether black or white. Thus, he wants to get rid of the distinction between races and put those  “inferior” on the same level as the ” superior” in society. But contrary to that, Washington states his interest in blacks to give up the fight for their rights because it would have contraproductive effects on economy and it would confront his way of thinking about the ” skilled worker”. He requests the abandonment of “political power, the insistence on civil rights and higher eductaion of the Negro Youth” (ll.20f.).

As a conclusion, one can outline that both, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B.  DuBois image the future of coloured people as freer than in that days but  the difference is in the extent of freedom and equality since Booker T. Washington puts the focus on economy and own interest, he prefered the more limiting version of rights for the blacks whilst W.E.B.  asks for non-restrictioning rights if they are based on race-thinking.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Describe Frederick’s mistress and the way she changes.

Hereinafter, the development of the mistress’ character in the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” written by Frederick Douglass, will be depicted.

In the beginning the misstress treated everyone equally and supported the ones in need for instance the starving people. What is more, she instructed Frederick Douglass to write and to read though the society was split up into the whites and the blacks and the education of the latter was not only forbidden but also persecuted and punished hard. Therefore, the mistress’ character traits are outlined as kind, pious & warm ( l.4,  l.19). She radiated a lamb-like attitude with heavenly qualities and a lack of the wicked (l.23,l.8,ll.19f.). After the master’s instruction, this can be seen in the process of change as the mistress did not succeed in an immediate alteration but in a change step-by-step (ll.8f.)  Following the transformation of the mistress’ ethical values, her character traits turned out to be the contrary as before. Now her heart turned to stone and the lamb-like disposition changed to tiger-like fierceness (ll.24f.). In accordance with her husband, she victimized the slave and even become more violent than Mr Hugh and conducted surveillance and suspicion because she now shared the opinion that education and slavery wre incompatible with each other (ll.36f.,ll.32).

The Slave Auction

– Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

The sale began—young girls were there,
Defenseless in their wretchedness,
Whose stifled sobs of deep despair
Revealed their anguish and distress.
And mothers stood, with streaming eyes,
And saw their dearest children sold;
Unheeded rose their bitter cries,
While tyrants bartered them for gold.
And woman, with her love and truth—
For these in sable forms may dwell—
Gazed on the husband of her youth,
With anguish none may paint or tell.
And men, whose sole crime was their hue,
The impress of their Maker’s hand,
And frail and shrinking children too,
Were gathered in that mournful band.
Ye who have laid your loved to rest,
And wept above their lifeless clay,
Know not the anguish of that breast,
Whose loved are rudely torn away.
Ye may not know how desolate
Are bosoms rudely forced to part,
And how a dull and heavy weight
Will press the life-drops from the heart.

Poem Analysis

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s poem ” The Slave Auction”  treats the cruel and inhuman process of slave trade from the perspective of the victims. Hereinafter, I will analyse the rhetorical devices in order to highlight their role in conveying the poet’s message to the target group.

To begin with, the poem’s form shall be analysed. It is composed of 24 verses with the end rhyme and the matching rhyme scheme is the alternate rhyme whilst the foot is represented by the iamb.  Considering those facts, all these have the effect of regularity and continuousness, showing that slave auctions are already a part of everyday life. The number of words with negative connotations dominates so the choice of words also conveys the author’s negative opinion towards slave trade.

The poem is not divided into stanzas but one can differ it, if one regards the content/change in structure as from line 17 on, the speaker uses with ‘ Ye’ the direct address while before, only subjective descriptions can be seen.

In the verses 5, 9 and 10, an anaphora and a parallelism is to find which stresses the anguish and the innocence of the black men who are concerned. The verse 10 is also an instance for a paradoxon since not only nowadays but actually ever valid, the skin colour can not be deemed as an offence in court.

And mothers stood with streaming eyes, (l.5)

And woman, with her love and truth- (l.9)

And men, whose sole crime was their hue, (l.10)

It has to be added that the author uses figurative language in the whole couse of the poem for instance in the lines from 17 to 18 or from 23 to 24.  This language is facilitating the conveyance of emotions drastically since it uses metaphorical comparisons.

Ye who have laid your loved to rest, (l.17)
And wept above their lifeless clay, (l.18)
And how a dull and heavy weight (l.23)
Will press the life-drops from the heart. (l.24)
Apart from that, the repetition of certain words as ‘anguish’ in the lines 4,12 and 19 creates an impression of an oppressive atmosphere.
What is more, there are alliterations for instance in line 3 causing the consequence of underlining the grievous misery, the victims are in. So does the assonance in the preceding line 2.
Whose stifled sobs of deep despair (l.3)
Defenseless in their wretchedness, (l.2)
As a result of all these rhetorical devices and their effects, a gloomy mood is created. This feeling is supported especially by the figurative language and concludes with the close correspondence between the content and the form as both convey the sorrowfulness of  “The Slave Auction”.

A Soul in Chains

-Frederick Douglass

The text ” A Soul in Chains” an excerpt of ” A Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass” written by Frederick Douglass in 1845, deals with his everyday life as a slave in America.

The slaves are not accepted as legal citizens of the USA but as property. That is the reason why slaveholders are not restricted in any matter in behaving towards those because there is no protection by law. Slaves are hold in most of the cases on plantations or farms in groups of dozens to hundreds. In this period of slavery, each  adult is given a certain extent of food and clothing which border nothing. Neither privileges, nor liberties for example of education but violence and subordination define life.  In general, torture plays a siginficant role in daily routine since it is used to treat troublesome labourers and to demonstrate the superior’s power. At labour, the obedient slaves have to work hard and are often punished by savage, severe and vicious overseers. Despite that, they must work on 6 of 7 days in all weathers with just 1 day of leisure and with a lack of sleep due to the fact that apart from the job on the field, slaves run a houshold, too, for instance mending, cooking, preparing the field for the next day et cetera.  As a consequence, slaves are broken in body, soul and spirit.

Let us fake a war for distracting others and not to let the electors be influenced by my sex scandal. Is it impossible? It is not. Wag the Dog, a black comedy film by Barry Levinson from 1997 whose content sticks to Larry Beinhart’s novel American Hero, makes the spectators conscient about what media manipulation may lead to.

– “We cannot afford war.”(Winifred Ames alias Anne Heche )

– “But we can have the appearance of war.”( Stanley Motss alias Dustin Hoffman )

This excerpt of a dialogue between Ames (Anne Heche ) and Motss (Dustin Hoffman) shows the ruthless means being used in order to reach the purpose. In America, the presidential election is to hold in eleven days and a sexual allusion endangers the current’s canditature. Therefore, the Hollywood producer Conrad Brean ( Robert de Niro ) is hired and the ” War ” with Albania takes place. Significant efforts are made for the Americans to believe what is not really going on which succeeds, suprisingly. Manipulation on national level happens.

Benefiting from Dustin Hoffman’s and Robert de Niro’s and Anne Heche’s skills which are conveying/emphasizing absolutely well the partly total opposite characters, an identification with the previous is obvious. Apart from that, the camera mouvements and the music play also roles of importance since they are means of underlining certain attitudes and atmospheres. Within the film, the credibility is assured on the one hand by the actors, the technical elements and on the other hand the increase of tension, the use of (astroturfing- ) propaganda and the progress of the plot.

What is more, it is particulately apparent, that parts of the hoax are exaggerated and full of suspicion for instance the immediate songs that followed the information. Others like the plane-crush-scene are not shown in detail or more unrealistic decreasing the tension and the credibility.

Concluding from those positive and negative aspects, Wag the Dog is reccommendable and worth to see as it  is highlighting media manipulation, its causes and consequences in a great extent.

Alien Contact

Alien Contact

Micheal Crichton

The extract ” Alien Contact ” from Micheal Crichton’s novel ” Sphere ” deals with the psychologist Norman Johnson, having a conference with the US government in order to conscript a report  about how to handle a possible contact with extraterrestrial life.

1. Describe the attitude of members of the US government towards the possibility of alien contact.

3. a) According to the text, what role would the media play in the event of alien contact ?

b) Explain the importance of ” media moments ” ( ll. 15-16 ) for politicians in democratic countries.

1. The attitude of the members of the US government towards the possibility of alien contact is gloomy and serious.  The quote ” Norman was continually surprised at the level of the officials he was told to meet with. One Senior Undersecretary of State… ” ( ll. 1-2 ) shows the seriousness of that topic of alien contact. They attempt to calm themselves with speculations about a ” multimeg nuclear device ” which would kill the aliens. Those assumptions are based on ” Law of physics” but it still leaves space for sceptism. The questions, Norman is asked cannot be answered surely, what means there is a certain degree of not only insecurity but also doubt. At least, the members of the US government worry about the reactions of the public. As seen in Orson Welles’ ” War of the Worlds ” in 1938, “People had been terrified. ” (l.45) and it is unreasonable to expose the public to that mass panic. That is the reason why one is supposed to relieve them when it is said that ” We don’t want to start a panic ” (l.33). though that proposition cannot be absolutely confirmed.

3. a) In the event of the alien contact, the media plays a role of importance. The media represents the device of conveying information to a wide audience. Much power and responsibility is awarded to it. Therefore, it needs much time and consideration which allows the people to seek for a proper amount and kind of information for the target group and which causes neither trouble nor panic. In order to achieve this purpose, this is done in the present extract.

3. b ) The ” media moments ” are of enormous significance for politicians in democratic countries. As said before, information can be spread fast, in the political fraction reforms, proposals or advertisements for parties are likely. This makes a transparent policy in democratic countries possible. Apart from that the citizen has the right to vote and due to this, even more significance is distributed to media and its role for politicians in democratic countries.