The Themes of Revenge, Power of Lies and Reputation in “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller
Revenge can be taken in many different ways, such as fights, lies , arguments, etc. In Arthur Miller’s Crucible, the theme of revenge plays a major role. He based this book on the Salem Witch Trials which took place in the early 1950’s. All the characters were somehow related to the actual people during the Witch Trials. The book shows how different characters lie and fight their way to get the revenge they think their enemy deserves. The characters in this book use Satanic ideology to take revenge. They lie and accuse each other of witchcraft, which leads to them being hanged by the court. The book gives examples of reputation, power of lies but the most impactful is the theme of revenge.
Love can hurt people in many ways. It can lead people to commit dangerous acts in return for revenge. In the story crucible Abigail had a previous affair with John Proctor, who is now married to Elizabeth and still has feelings for him. Abigail is jealous of Elizabeth because she feels that she should be in place of her. Elizabeth is upset about this situation and can only think that “She is blackening my name in the village, She is telling lies about me!”. In order to take revenge and bring John back to her , she accuses Elizabeth of stabbing her in the abdomen . Abigail says that Elizabeth sent a spirit to commit the act . With all the fuss about Witchcraft going around Salem, distressed Ann Putnam, thinks that Rebecca Nurse is responsible for killing her children. She is jealous that Rebecca Nurse has many children and grandchildren and she caused the death of Ann’s children. She expresses her feelings to Rebecca by saying “You think it God’s work you should never lose a child, nor grand-child either, and I bury all but one? There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!’. She uses this quote to express the existence of the supernatural and use it to explain the events which have no answer to them. This creates a big impact on the village as the court believes her and she is hanged for committing the act of witchcraft. Ann’s husband; Thomas does not like the people in Salem, because of the fact that his brother – in – law was not elected as the minister of Salem. He uses this period of witch trials as his way to get revenge from the people and take the lands of people who were getting hanged. These characters use witchcraft and the devil to pervade the people who the characters want to take revenge from
Reputation is one of the other themes which is portrayed in the book. On the other hand, some characters are more worried about their own reputation such as Abigail and her uncle. Even though Abigail knows that she had attempted to commit witchcraft, she tells her friends Betty and Ruth not to say a word about it because it will ruin her reputation. When her Uncle asks Abigail about the dance they were performing around the fire , she lies and tells him that they were only dancing nothing more, but her uncle says “ You drank the blood Abby. You didn’t tell them that!”. This shows that both Abigail and her uncle care more about their reputation than being accused of witchcraft. Abigail’s uncle ; Parris who is also concerned about his reputation as to what people will think when they find out that the person who started all this fuss was his own niece. Even the reason to John Proctor’s death was because of the fact he cared so much about his reputation. He wanted his name more than his life. However the main reason which led him to this was that Abigail wanted to revenge from Proctor about how he had left her. So it was basically a domino effect from that point on.
The theme of lies is very common in the book. Most characters lie to get out of trouble or to get someone in trouble. Even though lies and deceit does not have a huge impact on the story, it is one of the reasons people want to take revenge.Sick Betty Parris thought that it was a good idea to act as she was sick so she could get away with the punishment she would have to face if anyone found out that she was on of the people who were dancing in the woods naked. She had gotten all the attention from the villagers and succeeded in removing the thought from other people’s head that she was one of the girls who participated in the dance around the fire. Abigail’s upset attitude causes a lot of problems in Salem. She deceits people by saying she saw the devil and creates false situations and tell the other girls to go along with it. Lying also turns people away from one another, Abigail did not only lie to the judges and girls but also to Proctor. Still having an affinity for him , Abigail thought that maybe lying about other people such as Elizabeth would lead to Proctor supporting her again . Through the power of lies and deceit, the characters work their way through to get the revenge their opponent deserves.
Even though the theme of reputation and power of lies plays a role in the story, it does not have such a big impact as the theme of revenge. They act as a spark to actually commit the act of revenge. Abigail had ruined her reputation through the power of lies and deceit. She did all this to take revenge from Elizabeth. Thomas Putnam was jealous that his brother-in-law was not chosen to be the minister so he decided to take the land from anyone who got hanged as revenge. All of these examples of revenge were caused through lies and deceit. People who worried about their reputation, lied to others to get their name such as Abigail who lied to her uncle about drinking blood during the dance. She did this so she her reputation won’t be ruined. To sum it all up, The theme of revenge was a more dominant aspect of The Crucible when compared to other themes such as the power of lies and reputation.
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The writer has made a commendable effort since the essay reflects very effective academic writing with strong arguments. The first paragraph is very strong since the writer has constructed a hook sentence, has briefly introduced the text, and strategically placed a concise yet informative thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph. This reflects critical analysis and a thorough understanding of the text. Word choice is very appropriate and the writer’s expression is clear. There are several problems in sentence construction including improper punctuation. The evidence presented is extensive and supports the arguments presented in the thesis statement well. However, organization needs to be improved. This can be done by the addition of subheadings and by making sure that each paragraph deals with only one point.
The Harmful Effects of Media Distortion and Lies About Muslims
Many have questioned the effects of television and other media related outlets to the perception of audiences whom view them. Certainly, it is known that heavy usages can equate to numerous problems both mental and physical in nature. Islamophobia is the extreme fear of Islam and Muslims alike, and began directly following the devastating events of 9/11. Although, this event is significant and without a doubt occurred, scapegoating is taking a vicious form in America and other countries as well. Misinterpretations of Muslims are being portrayed and are showcasing numerous negative effects. Theoretical framework to help guide this study would include the cultivation theory, which posits avid television viewers develop complete trust and loyalty to what they watch through the screen. This paper will showcase the effects of media, and the distortion and lies they create, which undoubtfully harm Muslims’ and other groups as well.
Media, historically has been most concerned with negative issues and stories. Viewers watch news and other mediated programs in order to gain understandings and concepts of the current position of worldly events. Since it has been in order, media has misused its powers in numerous ways. One of these would include the misconceptions of Muslims. The fear associated to this distinct group is referred to as Islamophobia. Although it is occurring at a national level, Americans are most affiliated with said phobia. Such distortions exaggerate real events in such a way that people are manipulated into a certain way of thinking. Events produced by 9/11 and ISIS attacks are what feed the media and enable such exploitations to persist (Saeed, 2007). Generally, cause and effect relationships have effects that also conclude from the projected effects. Media interpretations are the cause of Islamophobia and cultivation theory can help prove this.
Many people debate over when Islamophobia first surfaced. There was certainly some degree of fear prior to 9/11, although it was very minimal. However, after such events, the hate and discrimination blew up quickly and irrationally. These events changed the American way of life significantly, and will be remembered forever during history. Even during the Trump administration, deep discussion on boarders and Islam maintained popularized topics of hierarchy, and still do today (Poudret, 2016). Although the events of 9/11 gave proper reasoning to such fears, scapegoating Muslim’s is severely unjust. Under no circumstances should the actions of a few determine the characteristics and motives of an entire population. Since there are very few terroristic accounts imposed by Muslims, the media utilizes 9/11 and ISIS as their main points of focus.
On way in which, Islamophobia propaganda is utilized in media is within political dimensions. This was heavily utilized within this current presidential campaign as well as many previously. The Middle East was a highly popularized topic on both Hilary’s and Donald’s campaigns. These campaigns and debates were publicized on news stations, radio stations, and YouTube channels as well. Each candidate took their turns discussing the maneuvers to combat ISIS and implement strict border control. Although, most people are unaware of the negative effects of these perceptions showcased in presidential campaigns, several conclude (Furjimura,2016).
Fujimura (2016) claimed: “Many of my interviewees claimed that the media is playing a huge role of negatively affecting people’s perception on Muslims. When they were asked how the recent terrorism and the emergence of ISIS have influenced the way people view Islam and Muslim students, one interview participant said, “They have influenced people negatively, because of massive amounts of media attention that is focused on Muslim terrorists, people have started to rather subconsciously relate Muslims with terrorists” (Fujimura, p. 2, 2016). So not only does media cause Islamophobia, but the effects are felt by Muslims everywhere. One may question the capability of media to brainwash the minds and perceptions of millions of viewers, and the question to that can, to some degree, be explained by cultivation theory.
Cultivation theory was designed by George Gerbner during the mid-1960’s. In writing this theory posits that the more television one watches, the more likely they are to believe everything they see on said channels. These ideas surfaced when the effects of media were first being studied. Research on the effects of perception deemed highly significant after the development of television. High frequency viewers have extreme difficulties deciphering which parts of television and true and which ones are false, so they just believe everything being presented. Which seems easier to them. By doing so, however, these viewers have a much different world view, one more corrupt and violent in nature (Mass Communication Theory,2013).
High frequency watchers don’t comprehend why such programs would deceive them about the circumstance of the world, in this way following every story and not addressing anything by any stretch of the imagination. Being around likeminded individuals can only add to this problem as well. Since let be honest, numerous individuals take part in this kind of conduct, millions tune into news stations as a day by day schedule, and put stock in these legislative elements to decide reality for them. Such watchers are said to ‘develop’ their demeanors to the conviction that a world characterized by media, is a genuine portrayal of the real world. Numerous hazardous circumstances can emerge from conviction without factualized confirmation, as results have appeared in numerous zones. As opposed to adapting first handedly around an affair or mingling with people, these viewers will construct all elucidations and convictions in light of the exhibited data accessible on TV, radio, or modernized medias Not only are such frameworks of media unjustifiable, yet deceptive in nature (Mass Communication Theory,2013). These convictions and depictions consider the abusing of people that fall into adverse portrayals as normal.
As we can see cultivation theory clearly helps explain the context of Islamophobia, which mimics a cause and effect type relationship. As expressed over, 9/11 and ISIS are factual occasions and circumstances, be that as it may, these extremists, such as Osama Bin Laden, and ISIS members associated with slaughters and terroristic acts are not the slightest bit reflections of Islam. These people are characterized as radicals, they translate the Quran in impossible ways, so far passed the truth, and they are manipulative and will remain determined till the very end. Religious intentions are what they guarantee, yet the Quran never gives allowance over mass killings such as these. The word Islam means peace, and peace is a fundamental standard or norm for this religion. Through mutilation and untruthful embellishments, these governmental agencies have eventually brought a revolting picture of Islam.
So, now that we see how these distortions are implemented in the minds of individuals, we now are faced with the question of why. Why do government agencies want people to fear Islam so much? The question to that is simply not black and white, however, a rational explanation can be guessed. Which is for money, because, let’s face it most corruption and manipulation is done for the sake of raising money. Although, such funds are not voluntarily given to the government, taxes are mandatory for such operations. According to Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2017): “Another 16 percent of the budget, or $605 billion, paid for defense and security-related international activities. The bulk of the spending in this category reflects the underlying costs of the Defense Department. The total also includes the cost of supporting operations in Afghanistan and other related activities, described as Overseas Contingency Operations in the budget, funding for which totaled $74 billion in 2016” (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, p. 1, 2017). This is the third largest dividend of American tax payer’s money (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2018). As described above, fear of Islam is created to help these expenditures. If the fear did not exist, many Americans would protest such expenses being taken from their checks. Although, there is no choice in the matter, less opposition would conclude if individuals feel there is a high need for some $74 billion to be spent.
Millions of Americans watch the news amid different times of the day. Americans, have various channels committed to such endeavors, which make a higher probability of enthusiastic (Gilliam & Iyengar,2000). watchers. These examples apportion indoctrinating and control of nationals. Which clarifies, why more individuals fear Islam in America, or moreso, why this nation is the most connected with Islamophobia, in spite of various others being included. One rule that makes America diverse in their Islamophobia contrasted with different nations like Britain, and Germany, is that they are not entirely centered around vocalization, rather execution also. Amid Trumps lead, he put a prohibition on numerous Middle Eastern nations, which affected numerous individuals. Such bans made it incomprehensible for understudies, families, and foreign nationals to enter once again into the United States. Numerous Muslims confront preference and manhandle from Americans while being in this nation. This is expected to be the medias distortions. Cultivation theory help clarifies why Islamophobia exists.
As we can conclude on such issues, media is certainly the cause of Islamophobia, however, other internalized reasons conclude as well. Cultivation theory provides theoretical framework and evidence for such claims. The more one watches the news or other mediated broadcasts, the more likely they are to fall into ‘cultivated attitudes’. Believing everything they see to be valid and of good intention would be the side effects of this. Media distortions is the cause and Islamophobia is the effect. However, more than just fear arises from such issues. This Islamophobia brings upon several rippling effects to those who endure its brutality (Muslims). The scapegoating of these individuals is unjust and should be stopped. No one should be blamed for the actions of a few extremists. That’s like blaming all Americans for the actions of one shooter. It isn’t logical and has no indication of rational reasoning. Every person should be held accountable for themselves only. Media wants you to think like them, and not think for yourself, which is why they are doing this. They are internally brainwashing you to show no opposition to military endeavors.
The Theme of Lie in “The Crucible”, a Play by Arthur Miller
Lies In The Crucible
It is a golden rule in our society that honesty is the best policy. Throughout childhood we are taught that in all situations, it is best to tell the truth. This rule of honesty in all circumstances is seldom followed for one reason or another. In the play, The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, there is a story about a town in Massachusetts called Salem during the era of the Witch Trials in the 1600s, where there are many characters that spiral out of control because of one lie that continues to grow. According to The Crucible, and many of my experiences in life, people lie for many reasons including the thirst for power and authority, jealousy, and the need to protect one’s self and others.
In the play, when some of the characters get a taste of power and authority, they abuse it and the whole town of Salem gets wrapped up in these lies. Abigail and Betty, two young girls in the town begin to get attention when they say they have come in contact with the devil. When they realize the “powers that be” in the town are believing everything they say, the two girls are exhilarated by this power they have and continue to lie about the “witches” they know about. ‘“I saw Goody Sibber with the Devil!’-Abigail, ‘I saw Alice Barrow with the Devil’-Betty, ‘I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil!’-Abigail” (Miller 48). The girls continue to accuse people of witchcraft because the unusual power and authority they have over the town excite them. Instead of being seen as ignorant children, people are trusting them, and listening to them. In my experience, I have found it is easy to lie in a situation such as this one. When I was younger, I had a neighborhood full of children younger than me. I remember a time when I was in charge and I wanted to go on a hike and none of the kids did. I abused my authority by telling all the kids that there was a treasure/prize at the end of the hike that they could all have so they would believe me and come on the hike. In this situation, I experienced the ability to abuse authority to get what I wanted. The girls in the novel also abused their power to get what they wanted, attention. This was a reason for me to lie in my experience and for Abigail and Betty to lie in theirs.
Throughout the book, there are characters that feel they have to lie to protect themselves or to protect others. In The Crucible, Elizabeth is being questioned at trial regarding why she and her husband had decided to fire Abigail. Elizabeth knows it is because Abigail and Her husband had an affair, but she lies to save her husband’s honor. “I came to think he fancied her. And so one night I lost my wits, I think, and put her out on the highroad.’-Elizabeth. ‘Then he did not turn from you.’-Danforth. ‘No, sir”’(113). Elizabeth is lying in this situation so that she can keep her husband’s honor safe. She is trying to protect him and believes that this is a good reason to lie. I have also experienced lying for the reason of protecting myself or someone else. A few years ago, my parents were upset because the lamp in my living room was broken. I knew my brother had knocked the lamp over but I lied and told them I did not know what had happened so my brother would not get in trouble. This lie was what I believed was right because I was protecting my brother as Elizabeth did for her husband in the novel. Both Elizabeth and I lied because of the need to protect someone we care about.
A third reason people lie as portrayed in, The Crucible, is out of jealousy and envy of another person. In the novel, Abigail is still in love with Proctor, Elizabeth’s wife, even after their affair is over. Therefore, Elizabeth believes that Abigail is jealous of her, and wants her to be killed. “Spoke or silent, a promise is surely made. And she may dote on it now-I am sure she does- and thinks to kill me, then to take my place” (Miller 61). Abigail is jealous because she wants to fill Elizabeth’s shoes as proctor’s wife, and with the power she has over the town, she wants to get rid of Elizabeth. Proctor also believes that Abigail’s lies are driven by her envy and her thirst for revenge, “We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! This warrant is vengeance! I’ll not give my wife to vengeance!” (77). Proctor believes that Abigail is also seeking revenge over Elizabeth and is envious of his wife. The lies Abigail tells are out of jealousy and envy and anger toward Elizabeth.
People lie for many different reasons. People lie out of fear of a punishment. People lie because they believe it is the best way to protect themselves or their family or friends. People also lie for personal gain and out of self interest. Throughout The Crucible, lies are continually spreading and growing and they turn this story and the entire time period into a time of strife and conflict. Honesty is considered the best policy in our society, but when placed in a situation of personal loss or gain individuals resort to lying. The lies build on each other and turn and twist until the individual finds himself or herself in a situation similar to the ending of The Crucible. A situation where lies become the norm, no one knows who to trust, and the whole community is in a state of chaos.
Why are Women Lying About Being Sexually Assaulted and Raped
There is a preconceived notion that women lie about being raped or sexually assaulted. Right smack between sexuality and gender is where the politics of rape cases lie. Teetering between the two, these cases are fraught with arguments over the controversy of many aspects. Consent, penetration, duration, and identification are all concepts of rape and sexual assault that have to be dealt with in a case. As if the act of assault and rape in and of themselves aren’t bad enough, victims have to go through the process in court to hope that they’re attacker will be prosecuted accordingly. However, because the idea of consent is nothing something easy to prove and clear cut, victims are vulnerable to a completely guilty defendant walking free. An aspect of rape and sexual assault cases that needs to be changed is the identification of the victim themself. A victim should have every right to completely conceal their identity to outside press, be excused from courtroom appearances, and above all else have as little to no contact with their attacker as possible. Obviously this poses issues in a variety of ways, which will be discussed. Because of our system of law, it is true that one is innocent until proven guilty. Yet with rape and assault, proof and evidence are not easy to have or provide. Women have to go through extensive and painful procedures to produce a rape kit. Also with the longevity of their cases, their attacker is still roaming free for months up until the final verdict is served. Until there are better precautions and rules set in place to protect these victims who are trying to pursue legal action against someone who physically violated them, these victims will still be victims no matter what verdict is served.
The most important fact to understand about rape and sexual assault is that it can happen to anyone. Men and women, children and the elderly, etc. And only 6% of accusations over a 10 year period were proven by a study to have been false allegations. (VAW) Rape and sexual assault are not something to take lightly, yet those who take their attacker to court end up exposing their identity only for their attacker to go free or in cases like Brock Turner, serve a measly 3 months while minorities serve life for drugs in prison. How is it that possession of marijuana is worth more in jail time than abusing and physically violating a human being? We have to ask if the court system is doing right by victims of rape and sexual assault and if not, why?
The Central Park Jogger case, exemplifies how horrendous a case of rape, sodomy, and assault can somehow end up with DNA evidence proving an attacker, yet they still walk free. Trisha Meili was a female jogger out in Central Park in April of 1989 when she was physically assaulted to the point she was left in a coma for 12 days. One of the most publicized cases of the 1980s, Trisha has confirmed in her 2003 memoir on the attack that she still experiences physiological after-effects of the attack such as memory loss. And while in 2002 a man by the name of Matias Reyes was found guilty of the attack through DNA evidence, because of the statute of limitation by the time he had confessed, Reyes was not prosecuted for Meili’s assault. A woman who was literally found 4 hours after her attack, tied up, gagged, and covered in mud and blood, did not get her due justice by a court of law. A woman who lost 80% of her blood due to 5 deep stab wounds, suffered from hypothermia, severe brain damage, and class 4 hemorrhagic shock had her name released just 2 days after her attack while she was still comatose. The cruel fascination we have for the accuser and victim and not of the accused needs to end.
Another case to also delve into is that of Patricia Bowman’s. A who would’ve kept her identity a secret had it not been outed by those at the Boston Globe and New York Times. The verdict for her case was not guilty. This came as a surprise to very little people after the judge disallowed testimony from 3 other women who also claimed her attacker had sexually assaulted them in the 1980s. Then the jury took a mere hour and 17 minutes to make their decisions, not asking for any testimony or asking the judge questions. With her attacker’s prominence as the nephew of JFK and a Kennedy himself and his family’s ability to call upon the best attorney money could buy with an immaculate track record, Bowman unfortunately did not stand much of a chance at trial. Her trial was a disaster as the defendant managed to instill reasonably doubt within the jury. And while unfortunate as it may be, Bowman was even shown to be distrusted because of a child born out of wedlock, previous use of cocaine, and 3 abortions she had had. All of this merged into case of at most a blemished reputation for Bowman’s attacker. Still a Doctor, still a Kennedy, he left the case with at most the inability to go back into a silent oblivion. Yet 3 women’s stories of sexual assault by him were never heard by the jury or the public. And Bowman, her identity given to the world without her consent, still receives mail on the case, yet no justice.
In reviewing these cases, there is something that has to come to terms. In rape and sexual cases, there will always be a hint of doubt. Because these cases are circumstantial and based off word of mouth, they can easily get swept under the rug and a rapist can go free. There needs to be change within the system to prevent rape and sexual assault and punish those who incur it on others. There needs to be a change to how we prosecute and handle these cases and a fix to make sure guilty people do not walk away scot free. The victim is called a victim for a reason, they have been assaulted and beaten and broken and physically and emotionally wounded. 93% of victims walk away with PTSD for the rest of their lives. They are also 10 times more likely to indulge in serious hard drugs and even 33% of them contemplate suicide. Rape and sexual assault are not accusations that any woman or man who is looking for justice takes lightly. And yet many do not get the due justice they so rightfully deserve.
These statistics show this is a legitimate problem that needs to be dealt with accordingly. With something so serious as rape and sexual assault, why are so many guilty parties walking free because of DNA evidence like Matias Reyes or only serving 3 months in jail like Brock Turner? There is a systematic result of courts being unable to prosecute these rapists because of the terms of court. A victim who cannot stay anonymous in their court case may not feel it’s worth trying. A victim who sees Brock Turner walk away practically scot free may feel it’s not worth their money and effort. A victim who pulls and researches previous cases of rape, only to find that if their abuser was caught selling marijuana would get a longer sentence than for their own rape can be put off from trying their case. And finally, a victim who cannot emotionally handle confessing about their rape until after the statute of limitations, is just plain out of luck.
There is something we can do to aid in rape and sexual assault cases. First and foremost, identity. Press should be barred from these cases to respect the privacy of the victim. Any press that outs the victim who did not want to be identified, should be prosecuted accordingly. Also the defendant should have a right to testify without their attacker present or to refuse to testify due to trauma from the event. Having respect for the victim and their emotions should be first and that is very rarely the case as is. If a victim is outed to the world, they can experience more emotional trauma than they already have. It is also important to comprehend that this is a human who has a life, who isn’t just defined by their rape case. But if this victim is identified, they may very well have this case hanging out their head and their reputation for the rest of their life. And no one, no one, should ever have their rape and sexual assault haunting them forever due to press or court errors.
Another aspect of rape and sexual assault cases to alter would be the statute of limitations. This seems to be a large reason why many guilty parties go unprosecuted and unnoticed. Rape is not a cut and dry action, it’s traumatic and stressful and emotional. How a victim handles their assault could take months, years, and most of the time the rest of their life to move on from. While a statute of limitations is in place for a reason, it definitely needs to be extended in some form in order to allow victims who can’t or don’t have the ability to speak up until later after their assault to still have a fair and due chance at justice.
Finally, most importantly, consent needs to be better defined. It is likely this is never possible and we as a race will never be able to completely and fairly define consent. This is what can make or break a case depending on the credibility established for the attacker or the victim. If the attacker is a perfect 4.0 GPA doctor and the victim is a hard drug user should make no difference. A victim is a victim no matter who they are. If any expensive and fancy lawyer can instill reasonable doubt in a jury, then we’re allowing any rich and well off rapist and attacker to do as they please while those below them pay the price with their emotions and their body. Consent is a fluid thing. It can be given or taken away, it can be cold cut and it can be unclear. The important thing to understand about consent though, is that the person who gives it knows if they’re consenting. A girl accusing an athlete of rape should not have to “prove” beyond a reasonable doubt that she consented at the time. Peer pressure, alcohol, drugs, and many more things can impede a person’s judgement. If a victim is sitting on the stand and saying plain and simple, I did not give my consent and it was rape, there shouldn’t be an argument. This is because we have to come to terms that we can apply the usual rules and laws of a case to consent. It will never be within our grasp to prove without a doubt, so instead we must bend the rules to respect others by creating a new way of prosecuting and using evidence in sexual assault and rape cases.
Overall, there is no way this system of injustices can ever be repaid and there is no way it can change overnight. But there is a distinct possibility to change the way we prosecute possible rapists and attackers and make sure we are serving justice to those guilty at the highest extent. The fact that today rapists and attackers can get off scot free due to lawyers, the statute of limitation, and many more loopholes, means that as a country we are not protecting the Americans who are assaulted every 2 minutes.
The Underlying Effects of a Concussion
Of the dozens of videos you watch every day, how many do you actually remember?  The goal of this PSA video is to be one that you would remember. A good PSA is strong, genuine, and powerful enough to leave an impression . To raise awareness and change people’s lives, there are three things that a PSA needs: creativity, a slogan, and a compelling purpose.
People misunderstand concussions. They believe that all people who develop concussions will have seizures or instantly blackout. People who get a concussion can recover quickly but it may take up to weeks, months, or even years with long term effects for full recovery . However this is a common myth, only 10% of most diagnosed concussions occur with a loss of consciousness . Those who are misinformed on this topic may not realize they have a concussion. Therefore the most important message in the PSA is that it might be there but you just can’t see it. And as a member of Northview High School’s HOSA club, I wish to prevent this misunderstanding in order to promote awareness and protect students who participate in sports. 
People who receive concussions often overlook or don’t notice the more subtle symptoms such as nausea or headaches. Just like the invisible message in the video can not be seen without the blacklight, concussions can not be “seen” or diagnosed without a doctor which is one of the steps I want the audience to acknowledge . Diagnosis is key to any medical condition. Without proper treatment from a doctor, concussions can result in serious brain injuries such as memory loss, concentration issues, and even to some extremes, physical disabilities, which can be permanent. Concussions can be and should be prevented by taking safety precautions before engaging in risky activities. Especially since every concussion injures the brain to some extent.
The ringing sound, blurred frames, and off-kilter shots also add to the audience’s understanding because they too are symptoms, especially the fact that the images become less focused, since symptoms can worsen without medical attention and the brain is sensitive to damage . Viewers can quickly notice the eerie aspects of the video and assume that something is wrong. We need to trust our gut immediately because it can one day save a life.
This is simply underestimated as a medical issue. This public announcement will inform people about a common injury, whether from sports or accidents in daily life, correctly and maybe save a life one day.  Hopefully this PSA was crafted in an interesting and memorable way so that viewers will be able to recall the symptoms when it’s needed. It encourages them to take initiative in protecting themselves since as mentioned before, every concussion injures the brain to some extent. So the best way to go is to be safe and remember that a concussion might be there, but you just can’t see it.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury which results from a bump blow or jolt to either the head or body causing the brain to move rapidly in the skull. A concussion affects normal brain function and can have severe and long-term health effects (McGannon, et al., 2013). In this regard, an individual should not ignore the slightest bump on the head as it can have serious long-term effects. The signs and symptoms of a concussion include headaches, nausea, fatigue, memory problems, confusion and sleep disturbances or even mood changes. Symptoms manifest right after the injury, but some are not recognized until later. It is estimated that 1.6 to 3.8 concussions occur each year in the US associated with sports and recreation.
Concussions in Football and Hockey since the 1990’s
Diehl (2010), asserts that the National Football League continues to have an increased number of retired players who have suffered concussions and developed memory and cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s, depression and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative brain disease associated with multiple head traumas.
In 1994, Paul Tagliabue the NFL commissioner created the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury committee. He also asserts that concussions are a part of the profession and as an occupational hazard. In the same year, Troy Aikman a Dallas quarterback took a knee to head an event that landed him in the hospital. In the same year, Chicago Bears Merrill Hoge retires due to multiple injuries on the head which result into not being able to recognize anyone. The NFL commissioner dismissed the reports on the media that concussions were increasing as mere assumptions. In 1995, Pellman experimented with Boomer Esiason’s return from a concussion by using an unproven system involving QB’s sitting before a computer screen and concentrating.
In 1997, The American Academy of Neurology published its guidelines recommending removal of players after having concussions, but NFL dismisses it.
In 1999, NFL issued millions in disability payments to retired players. In 2,000, research indicates 61% of former NFL players have had concussions. 49% of the players had numbness or tingling, 28% had neck or cervical spine arthritis, 31% had memory loss issues, and 16% could not dress while 11% could not feed themselves (Macciocchi, 2001). In 2012 NFL reported 261 concussions, 229 in 2013, 206 in 2014 and 271 in 2015. In 2016, the NFL and NFL Players’ Association implemented a new policy to enforce concussion protocol.
In Ice Hockey, total concussions are relatively small as compared to football. There is lower participation in the game at both high school and college level. Research indicates that since 1990 through to 2004, the rate of concussions in men who participated in the sport stood at 0.41 per 1000. Concussions in hockey players happen at 6.3% during practice and at 10.3% during the game. The relationship between age and shocks, however, remains unclear. Since 1995 to 1997, the concussion rate was higher in ice hockey players. Since 2006 to 2013, only 511 incidents were reported in 844 games (Iverson et al., 2001).
How the media portrays concussions in football compared to Ice hockey?
Slobounov and Sebastianelli (2014) cite that the concussion issues in sports have recently attracted considerable media coverage in the past few years. The media focused on professional football or Ice Hockey and such like high-speed games where there is full contact between powerful players. Despite there has been a dramatic improvement on how the media reports on the severity associated with serious brain injuries and concussions, more need to be done to improve the health of the players. It is of essence that the media reports on facts rather than sensationalizing issues that could lead to misinterpretation of such sports. Hockey and Football are the collision sports with the highest rate of concussions according to media reports. The discrepancy between reported cases and actual injuries are similar in football, which has the largest cases of concussions (Womble and Collins, 2016).
The American media leaves the impression that TBI and violence are part and parcel of hockey and cannot be avoided. In the past, the media focused on TBI only when star players were affected, however, there is a shift in focus since all players are included. In both Ice Hockey and Football, the media would in the past indicate that protective gear was a way to ensure player’s safety, but they now say that protective gear is part of the problem since it makes the players feel invulnerable invoking risk taking in them. The media has been blamed for fanning fear of the long-term effects associated with head injuries.
The NHL accused media of speculation and spreading fear rather than having scientific evidence (Niranjan and Lunsford, 2014). Further, the Commission denied media reports that concussions are likely to lead to CTE in the long run. The media has covered all players who have died in the NHL as being suspected of having CTE. The media has investigated all deaths of Ice hockey players by first assuming that they had brain related injuries, as a result of concussions they acquired from the field. It is no different with football players in the NFL. Despite numerous reports associating head injuries to brain damage, the NFL still denies the connection. The media reports about the players who are reluctant to report injuries for fear of missing play time. Such players do not realize the long term effects until they retire from the field.
Concussions in Ice hockey and football
Both football and hockey are physical contact sports that can have strenuous effects on the body. In respect to concussions or overall injuries, football appears to be affected than hockey. The American Sports data carried out research in 2006 that indicates that in every 100 participants of ice hockey 9.5 received concussions while the number doubled in football. Other determinants of injuries include the position of the players in both games. Defensemen and forwards in hockey are likely to sustain concussions since they spend a lot of time skating and in contact with others In football, however, goalkeepers are less liable to sustain injuries as compared to other players in touch with the opposition.
Concussions are similar in both sports with most of them resulting from T-bone hits or between the eyes. The hit rattles the brain’s center of gravity. Further, the run makes the mind to rock dangerously forward and backward such that it hits the skull. In younger players, the brain is flush with the bone making the effect less severe. What’s more, helmet to helmet hits can cause serious injuries. Bumps to the side of the head are far more serious since the spinning of the brain during a rotational concussion can lead to serious injuries. Experts assert that rotational forces result in breakage of nerve cells and fibers eventually causing a stretch in the blood vessels beyond their ability to stay intact. After a hit, the brain gradually accelerates releasing neurotransmitters which eventually become chaotic and useless. The cell fails to transmit nerve impulses since it’s impaired and not –functional.
Protocols for football and hockey athletes
Throughout history, considerable information has been accumulated regarding the psychological and physical attributes of high profile players. Based on the present information, desirable fitness profiles are laid out for elite players particularly in hockey, and the patterns are used to compare future players. The protocols are necessary to identify a player’s weaknesses, fitness and physical or physiological capability of a player. There is a model for sports injury prevention which follows a conceptual process. The model determines the extent of harm; it also determines the mechanism of particular injury that needs to be prevented, developing and implementing interventions as well as reassesses the injury incidence to determine whether the process was a success.
The NHL and NLF have come up with measures to prevent concussions likely to lead to brain damage in the future. They organizations have established concussion management protocols which entail baseline testing that requires all athletes to complete an Impact Neurocognitive as well as a Biodex balance system baseline test before they are cleared as first-year athletes. The test includes checking concussion history, cognitive assessment, and symptom evaluation.
The NHL and NFL have made significant strides in reducing the number of a concussion occurring in the field. While concussions cannot be eliminated, they can be reduced. In this regard, technological advancements in finding solutions have been adopted. The NFL, for instance, introduced protective gear and new helmets, therefore making profound changes progressively and quickly.
The newly introduced helmets have a cut out at the front meant to make it flex more but at the same time maintain an overall stiffness. Additionally, the thick padding that is behind the free space makes it move less, but just enough such that the player can take big hits. The impact from any side allows flex in the helmet such that it can dissipate the hit before the impact is felt on the head. Those are just a few of the features relating to new helmets and mouth guards intended to reduce injuries. It is worth noting that the new initiatives introduced before there are significant reduction and significance to the athletes.
Besides new improved attire, the league implemented two rule changes with an objective of augmenting athlete’s safety. Firstly, an offensive player intending to catch a ball that has already been intercepted will be ruled as defenseless, therefore, cannot be attacked in the neck area or head by the opposition as possession changes and a penalty will be enforced. Moreover, the league has issued certified players trainers who are located in sky boxes in every game the mandate to stop play at the touch of a button once they see a player exhibiting injury signs even if he sustained the injuries in previous games. What’s more, the NFL is liaising with Canadian football league to improve concussion treatment. NHL, on the other hand, recommends the use of standardized helmets to reduce incidents of skull injuries besides issuing proper training to determine head and neck injury. The NHL concussion protocol stipulates that players must get approval from the team doctor before returning to play. They are taken to a calm place to be evaluated; their memories, balance as well as general awareness are assessed.
However, the NHL and NFL need to do much more to reduce incidents of injury in the field. Firstly, there should be mandatory sit out periods for concussed players. Additionally, there should be independent doctors to examine the players. The NHL and NFL should ensure retired players are taken care of with proper remuneration as well as medical covers.
Evolving Technologies likely to prevent concussions
Lots of focus has been placed on developing technologies and equipment with an objective of preventing head injuries. Since 1990’s, helmets were designed to minimize head injury resulting in morbidity and mortality. Such helmets were nothing more of leather padding, therefore, were slowly replaced with metal helmets with plastic to reinforce protection. Although helmets can assist players to minimize the extent of the injury sustained, recent innovations such as the Q-collar made by Q-30 innovations utilizes a radical approach to determine the extent of injuries on a player (Fainaru-Wada and Fainaru, 2014). The device lightly clamps down a player’s jugular veins causing the brain to swell and fit more appropriately within the skull. The idea is to create a backfill in the brain such that the volume of blood increases. The device, therefore, assists in determining the actual number of hits a player sustains. Current technologies seem to concentrate on improving helmets by redesigning them such that they can displace the force of a blow or minimize the impact for the part of the face or head that takes the most hit.
NFL and NHL health care plan for players
Health and wellness entail much more than the emotional or physical well-being. It means having resources and support to ensure stability and productivity in all areas of life. Players need health care benefits as well as specialized treatment programs. What’s more financial assistance and career building are imperative. The NFL offers a comprehensive wellness program to its athletes (Webbe, 2011). The program involves providing free consultation on a medical issue for the players and their family.
Players are checked before games and have a health insurance package. Moreover, retired players have access to a neurological care program that provides access to comprehensive tests in six hospitals across the US. The players also have access to the spine treatment program across selected hospitals in the US. Moreover, they have a joint replacement program, prescription drug card program, priority access to assisted living as well as a vested inactive life insurance. NHL, on the other hand, provides medical cover for the players on a contractual base of seven years and beyond that if a player sustains injuries. Moreover, the league provides insurance to some players through a temporary total disability program where each team pays a premium according to the salaries of the five top paid players but it can administer the coverage in a manner it sees fit.
Effects of Concussions on NHL and NFL players
Concussions, as established earlier, have long become part of hockey and football. However, minimal concussions can be experienced through recommended precautionary measures combined with the recent technologies. It is imperative that players maintain their well-being for the sake of the game as well as their lives in the long haul. Concussions have led to a loss of talented athletes or long term irreversible injuries. Once a player sustains a head injury, the resulting effect is that he gets pulled out of the game, sometimes never to play again which is a costly affair to the team. Benefits packages offered to players who have had concussions can affect the associations negatively such that they may fail to have enough resources for the active players. Concussion issues have led to numerous lawsuits that are costly for both leagues (Robidoux, 2001).
Long-term effects of multiple concussions
Exposure to concussions can cause an individual player to have mild cognitive impairments (MCI’s), CTE as well as other adverse outcomes. Additionally, multiple concussions can lead to post-concussion syndrome (PCS) (Robidoux, 2001). As such, it is paramount that a player fully recovers from a single concussion rather than risking a subsequent concussion. Failure to adhere could lead to severe neurological damage. With such an understanding, managing concussions calls for comprehensive, specialized and state of the art methods.
The media has taken personal interest researching and reporting on concussions experienced in football, ice hockey, and all contact sports. Despite the growing awareness about the long-term effects of concussions from contact sports, calls by the media and the public to burn such sports may be premature. Collision sports expose individuals to neurological dangers, but they come with a host of benefits as well. The media has sensitized the public about the dangers linked to concussions prompting the NHL and NFL to take appropriate actions to reduce concussion rates. As such, one could argue that the media has played a significant role in saving the lives of individual players or highlighting their plight. Many athletes have received treatment and benefits due to media exposure.
The Different Lies of Kevin Trudeau
White-collar crimes are committed for the purpose of getting a financial gain. The crimes are most often times done through the internet, but can also be done in other ways as well. Kevin Trudeau used television as a way for him to advertise his book about weight loss, which was called The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You To Know About. The book made Kevin a millionaire when in reality the book was nothing, but lies. In the Kevin Trudeau case he was using television to advertise about his book that would guarantee you to lose weight. Kevin’s persuasiveness and good people skills were able for him to sell his products.
Kevin Trudeau has had a long history of trying to take advantage of others. Kevin has been in jail several previous times for other money crimes as well. Kevin Trudeau’s most recent white-collar crime included his book that was about weight loss. Trudeau was looked as a hero to those that purchased his book. Kevin made television appearances quite often where he would advertise his products. When Kevin was under investigation he would say that he didn’t have any money, when really he was putting money into separate accounts. Kevin had a mansion house in Chicago, a $230,000 dollar Bentley and lived in the 5th wealthiest country in the world. Kevin misleads customers into buying book and other products that he was advertising. Finally, a judge in a court in Chicago ordered him to pay back millions that he had stolen from customers. Kevin said he had no money and that it was all gone, but he was found in Switzerland wearing nice clothing and having an expensive watch on.
Kevin Trudeau was a selfish individual that used his advertising to take advantage of others. Although Kevin did this all on his own the only other suspects that could be involved or questioned would be those that he gave money too, which they than put into their accounts, such as his wife. With Kevin putting money into his wife account it eliminates the amount of attention and suspicious activities that Kevin might be up too. Unfortunately, the victims in this case were the innocent people that feel for Kevin and his products. Not only was he very persuasive, but also he had a way with selling his product to the audience. There should have been several red flags when Kevin had been previously arrested for money crimes in the past. Kevin had one product that was said to prevent cancer from ever occurring. If there were a pill to prevent cancer, it would be advertised throughout every single news station, not just through Kevin Trudeau.
Kevin case was discovered when Kevin was caught in advertising products that he was lying about. Kevin was previously on watch since he had been warned that he was not allowed to advertise products that did not have accurate proof to them. This all goes back to earlier in Kevin’s life when he had been in trouble for fraud and other money crimes as well.
The agency that conducted the Kevin Trudeau investigation was the FBI. They found Kevin and the activities that he was involved with. Not only was it the FBI, but a receiver was also sent to find and talk wit Kevin. Kevin was not in Chicago where everyone thought he would be, but was found in Switzerland the 5th richest country in the world, found wearing nice clothing and having nice personal belongings.
The Kevin Trudeau case was prosecuted in Chicago. The judge ordered Kevin to pay back millions of dollars that he had made off his book. Kevin refused to pay saying that he did not have any money so a Chicago judge gave him 10 years of jail. Chicago was also the location of one of the mansions that Kevin was living in during the time.
Kevin was ordered to pay back all the money that he had earned through his book. It was said that from the book alone that Kevin had made over 37 million dollars. When Kevin was forced to pay this back, but refused saying that he did not have any money left. All the money had been spent and given away. Kevin was given a total of 10 years of time in prison for refusing to pay back the money that he had stolen from people with this book that he was selling.
In a way theses crimes were all apart of Kevin Trudeau’s business. Kevin was a businessman that was involved with several different products that were sold to enhance someone physical features. When Kevin was under investigation and was questioned about all his personal belongings, he said that the company owned them. He said that his Bentley was a company car and so was the Chicago Mansion that Kevin was living in, this was all during a time when Kevin said that he did not have any money and was ordered by a judge to pay back the millions that he owed. Kevin had money, but tried lying by saying all theses products were owned by the company when really Kevin was paying for them himself with his money that he had hidden.
Prosecution occurred due to Kevin misleading people about the products that he was selling. His big seller was his book about weight loss, but Kevin had other products as well such as baldness cures, and even pills that could prevent from ever getting cancer. Prosecuting people such as Kevin can be difficult since they hid the money in other accounts that are owned and ran by other companies and family members. Kevin was using his wife and her savings accounts to store his money. Kevin, most likely has his money in other separate accounts as well. Everyone knows that Kevin made tons of money off his products that he was advertising; now the question becomes where is the money? With having this type of money its also tough to prosecute them since they are able to hire a top lawyer, which can settle a case down for them and fight against charges that are being charged against.
After looking at this case I can take away several different things. The first thing being is just cause something is being advertised on television does not mean that it is accurate. Kevin had no background information saying that all his products had been scientifically proven. Not only were his products fake, but he had also done jail previously for fraud, which should have been a sign to people that he is not trust worthy. I think another important thing that I learned in this case as well is those that participate in white-collar crimes often try hiding their money in other accounts. For example in this case Kevin was sentenced to ten years in jail for refusing to pay $37 million dollars back. Kevin says he does not have any of the money when realistically he has it somewhere whether its other accounts under certain peoples names or its hidden somewhere. Kevin like others that commit white-collar crimes only care about themselves. Kevin was so greedy in the large amounts of money that he was making he had no problem screwing people over to do so. All criminals that engage in theses type of crimes do not care for anyone, but themselves. The well being of their wealth out weighs everything else, and cause of that they are willing to go to extreme lengths to getting as much money as possible. One thing is for certain any that are involved with white-collar crimes do eventually get caught. They get caught due to the large amounts of money that they are stealing and how they are never satisfied with however much they might already have.
Success Does Not Lie in Education
The American Dream typically does not involve dropping out of college or high school, arriving into America as an immigrant, or being incredibly poor. However, individuals who have dropped out of college or high school, arrived in America as immigrants, or been incredibly poor, have been some of the most successful and important figures in America’s history. If icons like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk abandoned their ideas for the sake of the American Dream, which involves getting a college degree, being rich from the start, and being one-hundred percent American, companies like Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, PayPal, and SpaceX would not exist today. It would be hard for the Smiths to research the housing market in whatever trending neighborhood without a Windows operating system, or Mac operating system, and no search engine like Google. If Changez from The Reluctant Fundamentalist or Jeannette Walls in The Glass Castle were not limited by the idea of the American Dream, Changez might have stayed in America and found happiness, and Walls and her family would have found been more successful early on in their journey. The American Dream limits potential, because it convinces people success is black and white. Luckily, many icons did not allow themselves to buy into the idea of the American Dream. If Gates, Jobs, and Musk had decided to pursue what the dream defines as success instead of pursuing something unique and different, like they all once did, then America, and the world, would never have logically progressed.
Although it is a commonly-held belief that in order to achieve the type of success promised by the American Dream, one must earn a college degree, this is not always the case. On some occasions, college can even hinder people’s success by blinding them to other opportunities. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is worth billions. Bill Gates’s success did not have a basis in getting a college degree. Gates attended Harvard University, but to Gates, “Harvard was expendable” (Dalglish). In 1974, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen visited Gates at Harvard while Gates was a sophomore. During this visit, “Allen urged him to leave university so that they could form a partnership to develop software” (Dalglish). Allen believed that if he and Gates waited any longer, the two would lose the chance to enter the software industry in its infancy. Gates agreed and soon dropped out of the Ivy League university. To Gates, an education was never the most important thing. To Gates, technology was the most important thing. Even in high school, “Bill began cutting classes to hang out at all hours at his private school’s computer center” (Biography). In college, Gates still spent most of the time working in Harvard’s computer center. The duo went on to create Microsoft, which is now worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Gates was a billionaire at age 31. If Gates had not dropped out of college, there would be no Microsoft today. If there was no Microsoft today, chances are personal computers would not be where they currently are. In 1992, Microsoft’s MS-DOS computer operating-system was “used in 90 per cent of the personal computers in the world” (Dalglish). Today, the Windows operating-system is the most popular OS, and Microsoft has other products beyond operating-systems, such as Microsoft Office and Xbox. The American Dream tells a tale of success that revolves around many different factors, one of which is earning a college degree. However, Gates did not buy into this mantra. Instead, Gates believed that he could do without a higher education, and he was more than right. “Gates insists that he does not measure success in purely commercial terms” (Dalglish). For Bill Gates, success is having an intelligent peer tell him if an idea of his is a good one. Gates did not follow the path set out by the American Dream, and changed the world of technology because of it.
Coincidentally, Gates is not the only tech visionary whose success did not rely on a college education. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, dropped out of Reed College after only one semester. “After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it,” Jobs stated. “I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out” (Goodell). Along with not getting his degree, Jobs was also the opposite of the clean-cut business executive that people imagine when picturing a Fortune 500 company. Jobs tripped on LSD and smoked marijuana, all while wearing tattered jeans and practicing Buddhism. Jobs’ vision with Apple relied heavily on his unique personality, and his resistance to the norm. Ironically, even Bill Gates “was mystified that people wanted color computers” (Kahney 154). The American Dream does not usually come in the form of a man who trips on LSD while starting a business out of a garage. However, he changed technology, including the way it’s designed and how users interact with it. If Jobs had gone along with the stereotypical idea of the American Dream, he never would have become the visionary behind Apple. Jobs did what everyone else was not doing. In “The Steve Nobody Knows”, Goodell noted that “At a time when software was the model, he built hardware. At a time where everyone focused on the macro, he focused on the micro” (Goodell). Along with being a college drop-out and a hippy, his biological father is Syrian, and he is adopted. He partially grew up in Silicon Valley where “there were no stuffy traditions, no cultural baggage. You could be whatever or whoever you wanted to be” (Goodell). Despite all the ways Jobs was the opposite of the American Dream, he was worth more than $100 million when he was only 25. If Jobs had instead stayed in school, Apple would not exist. There would be no art to the design of technology. Also, cell phones would not be where they are today. Shortly after the iPhone’s launch in June 2006, Leander Kahney in Inside Steve’s Brain notes “the iPhone is already radically transforming the massive cell phone business, which pundits are saying has already divided into two eras: pre-iPhone and post-iPhone” (Kahney 3). If Jobs had not been alternative in his ways, there would be no unique vision that changed the way technology is created and how people use it, and teenage girls may not be able to update their Instagrams.
Along with mandating a college education, the American Dream, ironically, often fails to include immigrants. The American Dream typically involves a white family born and raised in the United States. However, one man who could shape American history is South African Elon Musk. Musk is the founder of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX. Musk is the “Steve Jobs of Heavy Industry” or the “Henry Ford of Rockets” (Junod). Musk’s primary goal is to go to Mars with SpaceX, which is pretty crazy, but not to Musk. Musk was born in South Africa, but moved to America after graduating high school. Despite not being born an American, “when he was a very young man, he gave up everything to become an American” (Junod). If Musk had believed that the story of the American Dream was reserved only for Americans, there would be no PayPal, Tesla, or SpaceX. PayPal has made it easier to buy goods online. Tesla has made electric vehicles popular and desirable. SpaceX could change the course of human history with its attempts at space travel and getting to Mars. All of this exists because of a man who emigrated to America. It is important to note how crucial the space program is to American pride. The space program, especially the Apollo 11 mission, is the peak of what Americans have achieved. Now, an immigrant man in America is working to surpass this peak. Musk is confronting the next big goal in the space program, one of America’s most important parts of history, and he is not even an American. Musk is the type of man who does not care about what is the norm, and in that way, he is very American. Typically, Americans appear to embrace conformity. However, the Americans who have led to America’s success have all ultimately embraced individualism slightly more. Europeans came to America for the sake of individualism. Musk is definitely no exception to this pattern of individualism among historical Americans. For example, the Tesla Model S has a volume control that goes to eleven. This minor detail sums up Musk, along with the $100 million of his own money he put into SpaceX and the numerous failed attempts with the rocket Falcon 1. Musk did not get where he is today by trying to appease any standards; he got where he is today through ignoring the common and striving towards the unimaginable. Musk’s attitude does not fit into the mediocre, no-risk style of the American Dream, especially as an immigrant man whose spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a goal that he may never reach. However, if he does, the effects of his work will be felt for centuries or more, and this effect could not exist if Musk believed that the American Dream was only for those born in America.
Although Elon Musk’s story is a real one, a similar reality can be found in fiction in The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. In the book, the protagonist Changez migrates to America from Pakistan to attend Princeton University, where he majors in finance. Changez leaves Pakistan to come to America for better opportunities. After attending Princeton, Changez joins Underwood Samson, a consultancy firm, as an analyst. Changez excels at Underwood Samson, but Changez’s life in America turns sour after the attacks in America on September 11, 2001. After these attacks, those who resembled the perpetrators faced great scrutiny, and Changez was no exception. The scrutiny Changez faces leads to Changez being fired from Underwood Samson, shunned by his superior, and an unfortunate return to Pakistan. However, the scrutiny is not what has led Changez to lose his life in America. Changez’s reaction to the scrutiny is what led to Changez to lose sight of what is important. To Changez, the American Dream is life or death. In response to the scrutiny, Changez negatively amplifies his identity as a Muslim, creating suspicion among his peers. Changez did not embrace his identity as a Muslim in an honest and pure way; instead, Changez was attempting to instigate an already troubled situation by pouring gasoline on a fire through instilling fear and paranoia with his appearance and erratic behavior. Changez believes that achieving the American Dream is the only way he will find success in America. However, unfortunately, the stereotypical American Dream does not involve a Middle Eastern man. Changez needs to realize that success is obtainable through other avenues beyond achieving the American Dream portrayed in the Hollywood movies he had watched back home in Pakistan. Changez limits himself and his potential by buying into this American Dream, convincing himself that the American Dream was the only way he could be happy and successful. If Changez realizes that there is more to success and happiness in America than what is portrayed by the common American Dream, then he could find true happiness and lasting success.
Despite how often success is gauged by monetary wealth, success can be found in other facets of life. In the non-fiction book The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Walls recounts the story of her childhood. Walls’ childhood was one riddled with poverty. She was born to Rex Walls and Rose Mary Walls. Rex’s employment history is incredibly unsteady, and Walls and her three siblings find themselves moving from place to place with their nomadic parents. Walls’ father has a dream of building a “glass castle”. This glass castle is symbolic of the amazing life Rex wishes to provide for his family, and the castle’s existence is influenced by the American Dream. For the castle to be built, Rex needs a stable job and consistent cash flow, along with land and stability within his family. However, Rex is never able to keep a steady job or a consistent source of income, making the glass castle nothing more than a fantasy and an eventual book title. Rex, and the rest of the family for a long time, believes that the key to happiness and success is through this castle. However, Rex fails to realize that happiness can be found in other parts of life, such as with his family. Rex’s obsession with this glass castle and his desire to be the perfect husband and father leads to drinking and repeated mistakes, which results in his children beginning to view him in a negative light. While so infatuated with what could be if he were to somehow build this fictitious castle, Rex fails to see the joy he already has in front of him. Rex’s fixation on the American Dream limits his ability to ever be truly happy, along with limiting his potential as a husband and father. If Rex was to take a look around him, he would see he has fortunes that surpass any sort of castle he could ever build, and he is already living dreams as a father and a husband.
Overall, the stereotypical American Dreams may have its merits for some, but the dream can also limit many. Through its strict path and promises of simplistic joy, the dream convinces people that happiness and success have no room for gray areas. The idea that if you accomplish Objective A and B you will live happily ever after is completely ignoring the fact that no two humans are the same. A higher education may be the right path for one individual, but it could also close doors for another. An American identity may be important to some, but placing that importance over progress and happiness is misguided and would ultimately lead to a loss in numerous advancements for America. While monetary wealth may be nice, there are more important things in life than owning a nice house with a two-car garage. If people develop tunnel vision over what they believe the American Dream will bring them, they will likely come out the other side finding themselves disappointed. Sometimes, it may be crucial for people to ignore the American Dream and pursue what is truly best for them. If Gates fell to the belief that he needed a college degree in order to be successful, personal computers would likely not exist. If Jobs never allowed his unique philosophy to come through, there would be no art in design and likely no smartphones. If Musk believed that he could not be successful in America because he is an immigrant, PayPal would not exist and we may never travel to Mars. If Changez were to realize that he can be both successful in America and a Muslim if he simply paid less attention to American Dream, he could find lasting happiness. If Rex Walls had spent less time obsessing over monetary wealth and the idea of being a perfect husband and father, he would have found happiness through his family. The American Dream, while it can make for a decent movie and story, can ultimately lead to many missed opportunities through its limiting of individuals.
Applying Freud’s Approach to the Brothers Karamazov
When reading a book as brilliant as The Brother’s Karamazov, one wonders where Dostoevsky’s inspiration came from. According to Sigmund Freud, the novel must not be studied as a fiction but as a science, that being psychology. It seems that the innermost thoughts of Dostoevsky were manifested in his characters. Dostoevsky, just like every other boy, experienced the Oedipal complex during his childhood. Freud says that at this stage in a boy’s life, he has the desire to kill his father in order to obtain his mother, but at the same time he admires and loves his father. Due to his father’s harsh disposition and his eventual murder, Dostoevsky was never able to get over his conflicting feelings of guilt. The protagonists in The Brothers Karamazov represent warring aspects of Dostoevsky’s psyche. It is an allegory in which Dostoevsky’s harshly sadistic superego, which inflicts all the feelings of guilt he felt about his father’s murder, is represented by Fyodor Pavlovich, his pleasure-driven id, which is his impulsive desire to kill his father, is represented by Smerdyakov, and his guilt-ridden ego is represented by the other three brothers, Dmitri, Ivan, and Alyosha.
Sigmund Freud identifies three major parts that make up the human psyche: the id, the ego, and the superego. In a healthy individual these three parts work in tandem with each other, creating a well functioning human being. The id, the most primal part of the psyche, strives only to satisfy immediate urges based on impulse. As an individual grows up and his brain develops, the ego forms. In his essay “The Ego and the Id,: Freud states that the ego is “the part of the id that has been modified by the direct influence of the external world” (630). It performs the vital function of controlling the id’s actions. If you imagine the id to be a free-flowing river, the ego acts as a dam that can open and close, allowing the river to flow or not to flow, depending on the greater needs of the individual in the circumstances that he finds himself in. A person for example may have the desire to kill someone, but because the ego identifies that a punishment may ensue as a result of this action, the ego stops the id from acting on its impulse. Last to develop, the superego operates as a psychological force examining, interpreting, and judging the thoughts and feelings of the ego. Like a parent towards his child, the superego praises or censures the ego’s actions. This represents Freud’s Perception System and its inner workings. When a person’s superego is perverted however, the other parts of the psyche become perverted as well. Freud explains the reason for these perversions in his essay “Dostoevsky and Parricide”: the Superego is the inheritor of the parental influence. If the father was hard, violent, or cruel, the superego takes over those attributes from him and forms abnormal relations between the ego and superego. The superego has become sadistic, and the ego becomes masochistic. A great need for punishment develops in the ego, and in part finds satisfaction in ill treatment by the superego. (104) Dostoevsky’s father was always very harsh on him, and since the superego inherits the characteristics of the parent, his superego became equally harsh on his ego. His father was “rather ill-tempered and distrustful, and brought up his children in the old orthodox fashion, in an atmosphere of fear and obedience” (Bondarenko). This severe, strict environment that Dostoevsky grew up being chastised in came to feel normal to him, and his psyche was not satiated unless he felt that his superego was castigating his ego. Dostoevsky’s masochistic desire was so great that he eventually came to the conclusion that the only path to inner peace is through suffering.
In The Brothers Karamazov, the brothers’ biological father, Fyodor Pavlovich, personifies Dostoevsky’s superego. In the court case it is brought up that Dmitri “as a child in his father’s house, might not such a man well have remembered for twenty-three years how he ran in his father’s back-yard, without boots on his feet and with his little trousers hanging by one button” (Dostoevsky 742). Fyodor Pavlovich is a brutally cruel character that distorts and perverts his children, representing the perversion of the ego. Just as the superego does to the ego, Fyodor becomes both the source of condemnation toward his children’s innate desires, including any of their lust-filled, murderous and Oedipal impulses, as well as the inspiration for their guilt. Growing up next to an orphanage for abandoned infants, Dostoevsky must have been exposed early on to harsh truths about his life, perverting his superego’s moral even further. While Dostoevsky’s superego was morphed based on this orphanage and the rest of his unfortunate surrounding world, Fyodor abandoned his children, bestowing upon them only his own warped morals. Fyodor and Dostoevsky share many qualities in their lifestyle. Dostoevsky had serious gambling problems, and was married twice, while Fyodor acts as a spendthrift, practically shoving his money at Grushenka and having two unsuccessful marriages. Both of them exhibit a corrupted moral code shown in their similar life choices. Dostoevsky parallels Smerdyakov’s life with his own. In terms of Dostoevsky’s psyche, Smerdyakov takes the role of our author’s id. The id is the part of the psyche that works to satisfy basic urges, and demands the immediate gratification of desires. Dostoevsky wanted to kill his father, but aspects about reality such as fear and guilt held him back from doing this. Smerdyakov murders his father, satisfying the impulses of Dostoevsky’s id. In Dostoevsky’s life, the murder of his father by an unknown man drove him to become epileptic. “It is a dangerous thing when one’s wishes actually come true” (Freud 105), and when Dostoevsky got what he wished for, he immediately blamed himself.
Many people have accused Dostoevsky of not being a real epileptic; among them was Sigmund Freud, who stated in his essay “Dostoevsky and Parricide”: “Dostoevsky referred to himself as an epileptic, but it is highly probable that this so-called epilepsy was only a symptom of his neurosis and must accordingly be classified as hystero-epilepsy- that is, a severe hysteria” (101). Freud believed that Dostoevsky’s epilepsy was actually a psychological problem, working hand in hand with his neurosis, due to the repression of his id’s desires. Similarly, Smerdyakov faked an epilepsy to be able to get away with the murder he committed. Smerdyakov has now become a clear way of Dostoevsky finally fulfilling his id’s wishes, even if it is in story form. It is almost as if Dostoevsky had an elaborate plan in mind for murdering his father, and reenacted it in Smerdyakov. He must have given Smerdyakov his own trait of epilepsy in order to further associate himself with the character, more fully realizing his own id through the character’s actions. When Dostoevsky’s father was murdered, it was rumored to be by one of his own serfs, just as Smerdyakov acts almost as a serf to his own father. Making their relationship even more strained, Smerdyakov is the illegitimate son of Fyodor, and must service his other three sons. Ultimately, Smerdyakov’s death represents Dostoevsky’s own ongoing fear of death, for according to Freud he went through a process where: “One has wished another person dead and now one is this other person and is dead oneself” (102). Even though Smerdyakov isn’t shown as the hero in the book, Dostoevsky greatly sympathizes with the villain. The reason for this can be seen as Smerdyakov represents Dostoevsky’s impulse to murder, or id, and he is justifying his own thoughts of committing parricide through illustrating the substantial amount that Fyodor Pavlovich, or in reality Dostoevsky’s Father, mistreats his children. Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov culminates his lifelong obsession with parricide, which created a strong impact on the author’s psyche. In “Dostoevsky and Parricide,” Sigmund Freud explains parricide as “the principal and primal crime of humanity as well as of the individual. It is in any case the main source of guilt” (103). He believes that every human being will inevitably share continuous guilt for society’s primal crime, even if they are not directly responsible. As a group, society will then try to disavow it’s guilt. Dostoevsky is taking society’s guilt for murdering his father all on himself. Just like the primal brothers found redemption in obeying their dead father by avoiding the women in their tribe, Dostoevsky tried to find redemption in suffering with epilepsy. Since his father punished him so often, punishing himself seemed like the best way to obey his father’s wishes.
In 1849, Dostoevsky wrote a letter to his brother stating “to be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed and not to falter – this is what life is, herein lies its task” (Toutonghi). This letter illustrates how Dostoevsky battled with the ability to be happy through all his guilt. The Brothers Karamazov oozes with evidence of Dostoevsky’s personal struggle, particularly seen in the court trial. The prestigious Fetyukovich, defending Dmitri’s innocence in the trial, defined the lines of what it really means to be a father: Gentleman of the jury, what is a father, a real father, what does this great word mean, what terribly great idea is contained in this appellation? We have just indicated something of what a true father ought to be. In the present case the father, the late Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, in no way fitted the idea of a father that has just spoken to our hearts. That is calamity. Yes indeed, some fathers are calamity. (Dostoevsky 742) Fetyukovich is claiming that in no way can this case be investigating a parricide, for Fyodor does not fit the social standards of what a father should be. Based on Fetyukovich’s speech, Dostoevsky must agree that an unfit father should not be deemed a father at all, however, based on Dmitri’s guilty sentence at the end of the novel, he also recognizes that society thinks in a more simplistic manner; if a man is biologically you’re father, you do not have the right to have contempt for him.
In the tract Civilization and its Discontents, Freud claims that “society is the source of all guilt and suffering” (735). Society creates values and moral upon which to “civilize” its people, and along with these comes shame, disgust, and “unpleasure”. This is certainly true in Dmitri’s case, and Dostoevsky’s. It’s a very nauseating feeling to hate your own parent, but when they haven’t treated you as their child, why should you fulfill the responsibility of being a loving one? After the murder of Dostoevsky’s father, these issues left him hopelessly sick. His own father was never kind or caring towards him, so when his death occurred, Dostoevsky lashed out at himself for never being a loving son. But the most twisted part of all of this is that Dostoevsky sincerely enjoyed it, he found pleasure in making his ego feel guilt. His life became an enigma in which he had to make himself suffer to be happy, while this took away his rights at being a morally righteous human being. This is when the writers own deep-seated masochism really kicked in.
Completing Freud’s psychological triumvirate is the ego, represented by the other three brothers, Ivan, Dmitri, and Alyosha. The guilty part of the conscience is always found in the ego, so Dostoevsky’s ego is represented in the guilty characters. These brothers all have in common that their father was inhumane to them all their lives, causing them to desire suffering. They had virtually no respect left for Fyodor Pavlovich, and at times even wanted him dead. Although none of them actually acted upon it, Ivan and Dmitri both held themselves morally responsible for what happened. Dmitri, having feelings of abhorrence for his father fueled by the rivalry over a women, Grushenka, screamed to the heavens just days before the murder: “If I haven’t killed him I’ll come again and kill him. You can’t protect him” (Dostoevsky 139). Dmitri’s lust to kill his father over his love for a woman shows a classic case of Freud’s Oedipal Complex. Ivan feels equally at fault because he knowingly ran away from his responsibilities of stopping the parricide, or even looking after his family when he could sense something was wrong. After his father’s death, Ivan soon falls very sick from an overly guilty conscience, just as what happened to Dostoevsky. These two brothers represent Dostoevsky’s terribly guilty ego in both of those aspects, wanting the parricide due to the Oedipal Complex, and not doing anything to stop it. The masochistic part of Dostoevsky’s ego is shown specifically in the character of Dmitri. He is the only one of the brothers who actually ends up being condemned, in court, for the murder. His punishment is to be sent off to Siberia. This can be compared back to Dostoevsky because he was sent to Siberia on the basis of something he did not do. Dostoevsky firmly accepted his punishment, “as a substitute for the punishment he deserved for his sin against his real father” (Freud 106). Dmitri was prepared to suffer in Siberia as well for similar reasons, claiming, “It’s for that babe I am going to Siberia now. I am not a murderer, but I must go to Siberia” (Dostoevsky 612). The “babe” that Dmitri is referring to is the whole of the innocent children in Russia who have suffered for the sins of mankind. Dmitri is therefore going to Siberia as a means of taking up the burden of society’s guilt, just as Dostoevsky did. Dostoevsky’s ego stopped him from acting out the murder of his father, as it made him realize, according to Freud’s Oedipal complex, that he cannot commit parricide because his father is stronger than him, and he would be castrated for trying. Similarly, Dmitri’s ego stopped him from murdering his father as he stood below his window with a weapon. Dmitri described that he wanted to kill his father, but some transient force held him back. This was obviously not the heaven’s saving him, but the ego doing its job.
Even the hero in this novel, Alyosha, feels guilt for not allowing himself to be more aware of his family’s fatal situation. He deals with his guilt in a more spiritual and religious way, as he has all his life. Alyosha suffers from an unresolved Oedipal complex just like Dostoevsky. The power of the Oedipal complex, and the importance of the relationship between mother and son come into play when Fyodor tells Alyosha about the demeaning things that he did to his mother. As Fyodor was in the midst of telling Alyosha about how she was a severe ‘shrieker’, Alyosha fell on the floor in a seizure like form, crying in hysterics. Since Alyosha never got to properly go through the whole process of the Oedipal Complex, he is stuck in a stage of anxiety. Hearing these things about his mother, who he never got the chance to love, made him feel unbearably sad and guilty, and caused him to react with shrieks similar to hers. There is an apparent significance in the way Dostoevsky portrays Alyosha as a character angelic beyond what is plausible for a human being; he had a son named Alyosha, who died at the age of three from what seemed to be epilepsy. Alyosha is now even more so Dostoevsky’s ego because his character is a representation of Dostoevsky’s guilt over his son dying from an illness that he allegedly inherited from him, as well as his grief over the death. Making Alyosha this heavenly character is a statement that his son is living on in the heavens, as well as letting a bit of his grief spill out onto the pages of The Brothers Karamazov, using his novel as “writing therapy”. It is a convoluted situation to develop moral masochism. When you’re displeasure induces pleasure, as it did for Dostoevsky and the brothers in the novel, a perversion has very obviously surfaced. A quote from Dostoevsky’s novel draws straight back to masochism: “See, I’ve grown terribly fond of my own misery these past five years” (349). Dostoevsky’s sadness had led him to almost feel safe, just being sad. It gives him a sense that he’s back home again. The real truth in the Brother’s Karamazov does not lie in its plot line, but in the underlying psychology and it’s connection to Dostoevsky’s life. The situations that Fyodor, Smerdyakov, and the other three brothers are put into fit snuggly into our author’s life, and each of their personalities corresponds with a different aspect of our author’s psyche.
Dostoevsky was a man who unfortunately never recovered from the original struggles of the Oedipal Complex, due to the early perversions of his mind caused by his father’s death, and harshness during the time in which he was alive. His father perverted his superego making it sadistic, which then also perverted his ego, making it masochistic. His superego is conclusively represented by the fatherly figure Fyodor, the id by the murderer Smerdyakov, and his ego by the guilt-ridden sons Ivan, Alyosha, and Dmitri. It is only reasonable to assume that Dostoevsky chose to put his characters so close in relation to himself because he needed to confess all the warring feelings that he internalized in himself for years, and that he wanted to create a fantasy in which his darkest wishes were fulfilled. The internalized feelings consist of an obsession over parricide, which has stayed with Dostoevsky since the murder of his father. This obsession stands out clearly in the pages of the book, as a large part of it is filled with the characters struggling with their strained relationship with their father and their guilt over his murder. Dostoevsky mirrors these strains to his personal struggles with his own guilt and responsibility for his father’s murder, and identifying what a father even is. Dostoevsky feels that a father has to be loving in order to be considered a father, but his moral codes obviously contradict those of society’s laws. The taboo of hating ones parents in addition to society having guilt over its primal crime all the more fuel Dostoevsky’s pangs of conscience. Perhaps the honesty of this book, in which Dostoevsky represents himself as he is instead of idealizing himself, is why it draws so many people in and changes the way they think after reading it.
Bondarenko, Aleksandr. “Fyodor Dostoevsky – Russiapedia Literature Prominent Russians.” Get Russianalized – Russiapedia. TV-Novosti, 2005. Web. 12 Jan. 2012. . Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts with Epilogue. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. San Francisco: North Point, 1990. Print. Freud, Sigmund. “Civilization and Its Discontents Part III.” Civilization and Its Discontents. New York: W.W. Norton, 1962. 735-42. Print. —. “Dostoevsky and Parricide.” The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Ed. James Strachey. London: Hogarth, 1962. 98-111. Print. —. “The Ego and the Id.” The Freud Reader. Ed. Peter Gay. New York: W.W. Norton, 1989. 629-58. Print. Toutonghi, Pauls. “Fyodor Dostoevsky (Dostoyevsky) | Biography |.” Fyodor Dostoevsky (Dostoyevsky) | The Brothers Karamazov. N.p., 2010. Web. 13 Jan. 2012. .
The Cheating Bastard in the Sun Also Rises
Set in post-WWI-era Europe among a seemingly rich and careless group of English and American expatriates, The Sun Also Rises was Ernest Hemingway’s debut full-length novel. It is interesting that he chose to narrate the novel in the first person considering the fact that his previous work, mainly in short fiction, was written primarily in the third person. A third-person perspective allows and even encourages a cool, detached, reportorial style. The first-person perspective, on the other hand, is a much more personally emotional, subjective approach to storytelling. So it is a real feat that Hemingway’s narrator in The Sun Also Rises, Jacob Barnes, is able to successfully sustain an attitude of ostensible nonchalance and world-weariness in the face of the intense personal anguish that he is slowly revealed to be experiencing.
Barnes manages to convey his supposed detachment through a matter-of-fact tone; vocabulary that is literally ambiguous and stripped-down, though apparently precise in the world of the initiated characters; and a palpable effort to shroud any emotion. Yet, there remain windows into Barnes’s inner workings, into the main tensions of an otherwise superficial and untroubled tale. His treatment of the character Robert Cohn reveals the subtle way in which Barnes’s narrative techniques, such as oblique dialogical suggestion and displacement of feelings onto other characters, allow for his emotions to emerge from generally dry, emotionless prose.
To the outside world, Jake Barnes is hard and unfeeling. He is jaded and disillusioned and from the second sentence of the novel he wants the reader to understand his detachment. He opens the narrative by explaining that “Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton” (11), but he goes on to make it explicit that he, Barnes, is not “very much impressed by that as a boxing title” (11). From these simple opening lines, it is apparent that beneath the straightforward aesthetic and veil of emotional distance and sneering indifference lies an inherent contradiction. If Barnes is not at all impressed by such an accomplishment of Cohn’s, then why begin a novel by saying so? He tries to justify it by saying that “it meant a lot to Cohn” (11), but evidently it was something that stuck with Barnes as well.
Still, Barnes’s treatment of Cohn is most significantly defined by what he doesn’t tell the reader about his Jewish friend. Even on that same first page, Barnes almost off-handedly lets it be known that he “never met any one of [Cohn’s] class who remembered him” (11). And, like everything else in the novel, the reader first takes it at face value; it begins to characterize Cohn in a less than ideal light. But what Barnes very purposefully doesn’t express is how many people he knows who graduated from Princeton with Cohn. Or, even if he knows dozens, if the reader is supposed to believe that he asked them all about Cohn and his boxing title.
That sort of palpable concern about something as trite as the life of Robert Cohn would not seem to be an action consistent with the character of Jake Barnes. What it is really showing is that Barnes does not give misinformation. He is not an unreliable narrator. He just gives selective information that reflects his attitude and is often driven by his absented emotions. We, as attentive readers, begin to feel what Jake feels, even if he fails to tell us directly what those feelings are and instead relies on pure and simple facts to deliver his narrative.
It is Barnes himself who makes the reader aware of the need to read between his lines. First, there is the moment on the second page when he is questioning the validity of Cohn’s boxing history. Barnes says, quite frankly, “I mistrust all frank and simple people, especially when their stories hold together” (12). Frank and simple are two words that seem to be quite appropriate adjectives for Barnes’s own storytelling mode. So this sentence would seem to imply either that his story shouldn’t hold together or that he isn’t trustworthy. In both instances, it suggests to the reader that there is more to be gleaned from the tale than is immediately visible, effectively indicating Hemingway’s famous “iceberg” approach to fiction.
The subtleties of the narrative structure are again highlighted a few chapters later when Barnes says, in one particularly striking moment, that he is unsure about the accuracy of the portrait that he has given of Cohn or, in his typically laconic and vague way, that he somehow feels that he has “not shown Robert Cohn clearly” (52). This admission is seductive and makes the reader feel as if he or she had been brought deeper into the confidence of the narrator, Barnes. Nevertheless, the dozen or so sentences that follow that admittance do not exactly put Cohn in a new light. In fact, they tend to reinforce the image that Barnes had been formulating since the first page — the image of a malleable, weak-minded, unassuming man, though someone who he could still “rather [like]” (15). The new attempt to more “clearly” portray Cohn is little more than reiteration and serves only to confirm Harvey Stone’s assessment of him one page earlier as “a case of arrested development” (51). Barnes more or less echoes this sentiment in his ensuing description of Cohn by emphasizing first the attractiveness of Cohn’s physically fit body and then juxtaposing it with his “funny sort of undergraduate quality” (52).
Yet, that moment of direct, mildly critical description of Cohn on page 52 is an atypical one to show up after the first chapter. The moment with Harvey Stone is a much more characteristic one for Jake Barnes’s narrative style. It is clear to the reader that Barnes sees and understands Cohn essentially the same way for the entirety of the story, but the attitude toward him moves from general acquiescence to rather forceful and spiteful rejection. Barnes manages this shift in characterization artfully and in such a way that he never has to directly tell the reader that he has grown to despise his rather dopey companion. He does this, like with Stone, by letting other people show their increasing contempt or dislike of Cohn for him.
It seems as though every character in the book hates Cohn, especially as the story progresses and the group of friends distills, and it’s a wonder that Cohn sticks around to bother them. Barnes’s attitude toward him begins to change when he realizes that he has fallen in love with Brett. It is then that he describes Cohn’s lady friend, Frances, heckling Cohn on page 56. Barnes, at this point, has yet to develop real animosity toward him, and he claims to “not know how people could say such terrible things to Robert Cohn” (56). But Barnes loses any semblance of kindness toward Cohn when he learns of his affair with Brett. He loses his cool so much that he uncharacteristically calls Cohn a “lying bastard” (107) when discussing it with Bill, the friend who joined him in Spain. From that point on, Cohn is the subject of extreme derision from every angle. Bill says Cohn “makes him sick” (108); Mike, Brett’s fiancé, calls him a “steer” (146); and even Brett, who tends to be more sympathetic toward Cohn, admits that he has been behaving “quite badly” (147).
By constantly showing Cohn in a bad light through the words of the other characters, Barnes is able to make the reader feel his deep dislike of the man — a dislike that grows slowly after Cohn sleeps with Brett — without needing to abandon his objective, journalistic style. We, the readers, get the facts, and the fact is, as Barnes says to Brett, that Cohn’s steer-like presence has “been damned hard on Mike” (185). What Jake Barnes doesn’t need to say is that Cohn’s presence has been damned hard on him, too.
Flying of Destiny: a Look at the Echoes in the Duchess of Malfi
The main themes of “The Duchess of Malfi” are expertly demonstrated by Webster throughout many of the play’s intriguing scenes and dialogues. One particular instance occurs in the famous echo scene (5.3.1-55) between Antonio and Delio. As they are discussing the nature of fate in the lives of men, their words are met with a ghostly echo, presumably the voice of the Duchess’ from beyond the grave. The echo, a definitively gothic element, is important in exploring the limitations of death and the power of fate as themes in this classic tragic tale.
The idea of female power and its limitations is uniquely crafted by Webster in the character of The Duchess. In life, she is depicted as a definite figure of female heroism and a bold and fearless woman of power. Due to the many stigmas surrounding her behavior as a female, the Duchess is consequently met with scorn and is faced with limitations upon her power to make decisions. These hindrances, however, often do not deter her from giving up her independence or bold spirit. The famous line “I am Duchess of Malfi still” (4.2.134) relays the power, duty, and above all, heroism the Duchess possesses even at the brink of death.
The echo scene marks a complete shift in the Duchess’s possession of power. Here, the Duchess is still able to communicate and suggest ideas to her husband, but she is unable to physically ensure that they are accomplished. Death represents the definitive limitation against the Duchess. In life, most of her power was relayed not only through her voice and words, but by her body as well. Naturally, her physical beauty had played a role in her successes in dealing with others. Antonio earlier states that, “Whilst she speaks, She throws upon a man so sweet a look, that it were able to raise one to a galliard” (1.1.189-191) — meaning that she could sway a man with just one look. It is clear that her possession of physical beauty played a large part in how well she was able to influence others, and it seems to have been a key advantage in her sense of female power. In the echo scene, death has left her at a loss for her most powerful asset in persuasion—her body.
In this scene, the spirit of the Duchess expresses itself through the mysterious echoing that follows Antonio and Delio’s words: “A thing of sorrow” (5.3.23), “Do not” (5.3.29), and “Be mindful of thy safety” (5.3.32) are all cautions the Duchess desperately attempts to relay to Antonio. Importantly, the spirit of the Duchess does not repeat each line that is spoken — as a true echo would — but rather only highlights those words dealing with death, sorrow and fate. Due to the Duchess’s lack of physical presence, her warnings are ultimately unsuccessful in gaining the serious attention of these two men. Antonio instead seems to spurn the ghostly advice of his wife by dismissing it as nothing more than a natural occurrence.
These echoes also serve to craftily explore the ambiguity regarding the nature of fate and how much influence our decisions have over our own lives. While standing in the ruins of an ancient abbey, Antonio regards that “all things have their end: Churches and cities, which have disease like to men, Must have like death that we have.” (5.3.17-19). He is reflecting on the idea that men have no true influence over their own fates nor the fate of what is around them. As the phrase goes, often the best laid plans of men go awry. After Antonio makes this statement, the echo presents its first interjection, repeating his line about death. Delio comments that the echo has “caught” Antonio, an interesting insinuation that he is helpless not only to his fate but to these ominous warnings as well. This introduces the notion that there is a higher power among the characters in the ruins, one that could possibly be in control of Antonio’s own future.
Ignoring the advice of his companion and that of the ghostly echoes, Antonio asserts his belief that one cannot outrun one’s own fate. As Delio reminds Antonio to “be mindful of thy safety” (5.3.31), Antonio replies that he is ambivalent towards caution. He is compelled to be careful; however, he also realizes that treading along the path of life softly does not ensure that you can do so safely. “You’ll find it impossible/To fly your fate” (5.3.33-34), he proclaims. Here, the Duchess interjects with an alarming echo that disagrees with Antonio’s opinion: “O fly your fate” (5.3.35), the echo calls in an almost pleading manner. It is clear the Duchess is also very concerned for the safety of Antonio, and believes he must attempt to escape his fate.
To her credit, the Duchess does manage to get Delio on her side. He tells Antonio that the echo seems to be giving good advice, and that perhaps Antonio should dodge his fate. However, Antonio dismisses the echo as a mere “dead thing” (5.3.39) and holds fast in his idea to face whatever the future holds for him. Antonio clearly believes that men have no true power over the events that occur in their lives, and often their attempts to change it prove for the worst: “Though in our miseries Fortune have a part, Yet in our noble suff’rings she hath none. Contempt of pain—that we may call our own.” (5.3.54-56). Antonio decides to face his future head-on by remaining at the castle, rather than flee the country and risk living in a “mockery and abuse of life” (5.3.47).
The echo scene of Act V clearly raises the question of how much influence one man can have over his own life. It also raises the question as to whether or not these characters can truly outrun their fates. Webster presents both sides of the argument: Delio and the Duchess’ echoes are clearly in agreement as they both believe Antonio can escape his foreboding death by running away, while Antonio maintains that fate will play out the way it wishes, irregardless of any man’s attempts to flee it. He would much rather prefer to stand up to his fate than fly from it. In this case, fate does win over as most of the characters, Antonio included, are eventually brutally murdered. This echo scene thus serves as Webster’s masterful attempt at exploring the limitations of death and the nature of fate in the lives of humans. The prevailing role of fate is most beautifully captured by Bosola in his final musings at the closing of the play: “We are merely the stars’ tennis balls, struck and banded/Which way please them.” (5.4.54-55).