Stem Cell Research

    The article the promise of stem cell research by Michael Bay and Matt Ford was published on the CNN as a CNN Future Summit Technology profile on April 20, 2006.  The article argues that stem cell research has the potential to transform the practice of medicine by bringing cure to a list of diseases that have been difficult to handle in the past. These include diabetes, heart attack and Alzheimers disease among others. The article therefore concludes that stem cell research should be explored.

    Bay and Ford (2006), present the article on the potential of stem cell research by first acknowledging that this is a controversial subject and at the same time appreciating that stem cell research has been cited to the promise of future medicine. This article gives the rationale behind stem cell treatment by citing the already well known bone marrow transplantation for cancer treatment. Bay and Ford indicate that, researchers in this field have used the idea of stem cell regeneration of bone marrow to research more on the topic. The authors of this article refer to a well known scientist Alan Colman who was involved in cloning Dolly the sheep. A further background of stem cell research is given by stating that stem cells are the precursors of all body organs. The argument is that these cells can develop to all the 220 cell-types that make up the human body and can also be used to regenerate worn out tissues. Their indefinite division is also pegged as one of their great potentials in being applicable in medicine.

    Basing their arguments on the above characteristics of stem cells, Bay and Ford (2006), goes ahead to illustrate some of the diseases that can be treated using stem cell research (both embryonic and adult stem cells). They quote Colmans argument that there is potential at least to alleviate suffering in diseases such as Alzheimers disease, cancer, heart disease, stroke as well as birth defects if not to treat these conditions fully. The article further explores the pros and cons of adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Among the greatest benefits of embryonic stem cells is cited as the ability to divide indefinitely but the ethics of obtaining them is questioned. The adult stem cells are presented as being preferred due to their closeness to the desired end product. As such, researchers call for the use of both cell types in medicine.

    To further assert that stem cell research is a potential solution in treating various diseases, Bay and Ford cite that it is possible to use the cells in regaining insulin production, replacing worn out cartilage, repairing hearts in myocardial infarction patients. An illustration of one individual who had heart repair using stem cells have been cited to add weight to the argument. A successful animal trial in the treatment of spinal injuries in mice has been cited thus giving hope for the same in humans. They also cite the use of autologous stem cells in London to treat nervous system injury. Another example of successful use of stem cells is given where it is cited as being able to correct eyesight. The article also explores the likely advancement in stem cell research by indicating a proposed fusion of human and rabbit cells to make embryos for stem cell research. 

    Conclusively, the article highlights several controversies and challenges in the filed of stem cell research. One challenge of the research is the harm that the cells present if they get introduced in the body and fail to stop dividing. Also cited are moral and ethical concerns of the topic more so in regard to embryonic stem cell research. Dishonesty among scientists in this field is also stated as one of the issues that is stirring more controversies. In spite of these, the article holds that there is more to gain from carrying out stem cell research than to never explore this filed.

Article analysis
    This article is a well evidence-based argument on the potential that stem cell research has in revolutionizing medicine. For instance, Bay and Fords argument that this topic is controversial is in line with the current trend of events. As Johnson and Williams (2006), present the issue as raising ethical debates on their CRS Report for Congress with major opposition coming from pro-life advocates and religious organization. Even with such an argument, the authors of this article go ahead to explain the potential of the cells by referring to a renown scientist Alan Colman. The papers argument on the ability of the stem cells to divide indefinitely and differentiate to almost all body cells is scientifically based as presented by Laughlin et al (2006) who also present stem cells as having the capacity to regenerate indefinitely.

    The strength of this argument also lies with the choice of Bay and Ford to illustrate the likelihood of stem cell-based cures by giving individual witnesses. For instance, the ability to repair heart tissue is given by providing an example of Ian Rosenberg who underwent the procedure in 2003 successfully. More evidence based argument is given by giving an example of Dorairajan Balasubramanian who is an eye practitioner who has used stem cells to repair eyes. It is therefore more convincing that even treatment of Alzheimers disease as well as Parkinsons disease is very possible. In fact in their report to Congress, Johnson and Williams (2006), cite treatment of these diseases as potential benefits of stem cell research. Johnson and Williams further assert that the adverse of chemotherapy in these diseases can highly be avoided using stem cells.

    The article also defends the argument for the successful use of stem cells by citing the successful use of autologous nose cells in repairing spinal cord. This successfully tackles the problem of organ or tissue rejection an argument that is also supported by Laughlin et al (2006). The ability to present this argument without leaning on one side of the research (i.e. adult stem cells versus embryonic stem cells) is also commendable as it helps in appreciating the benefits of the two cell types. This article is also presented with ethical and moral issues at hand as it concludes by highlighting these challenges.

    Despite the clear and concise presentation of this argument, Bay and Ford have not presented the likely harmful effects of the science of stem cell research. This paper therefore appears biased. It is for instance acknowledged that stem ell therapy is likely to lead to cancerous growth as there may be the problem of controlling cell proliferation (Johnson  Williams, 2006). In addition, the illustrations on the successful use of stem cell therapy are too few leaving room for doubt on whether to generalize these benefits. It would have been more convincing if Bay and Ford referred for instance two more than one example in every disease. The arguments of this article are also mainly based on opinions of Alan Colman whose main arguments are based on likelihood of the success of the research itself rather than actual outcomes. For instance, Colman thinks that Alzheimers patients may also benefit without further exploring how they may benefit (Bay  Matt, 2006).

    This article is however convincingly presenting stem cell research as having the potential to treat a variety of previously difficult to treat diseases. It is no doubt from the examples presented and the additional information presented in Johns and Williams (2006) and Laughlin et al (2006), that the future of modern medicine is to be reshaped.  It is agreeable from the article that both adult and embryonic stem cells ought to be studied in the cure of diseases as they complement one another. The great potential of stem cell research in alleviating human suffering is reasonable enough to agree to the research of stem cells. It is nevertheless acknowledgeable that this stand is bound to raise more ethical debates among the pro-life advocates and the religious fraternity. Taking this course is also likely to evoke the questions of ensuring that the research is not used maliciously including spreading it to cloning human beings. However, proper regulations can be formulated to deal with these challenges.

    Stem cell research is an ethical matter in medicine which holds the promise of alleviating human suffering. By taking this course, it is possible to cure diseases such as cancers, diabetes, spinal cord injury and Alzheimers disease. Even with such potential, ethical and moral issues must be considered.
1.  It has been said that travel is the best form of education. What did the hero Gilgamesh learn from his travels
    The travel of Gilgamesh started when he decided to become immortal and search Utnapishtim to gain the secret to immortality. During his quest, he found the secret plant that restore his youth and give him immortality, but instead of having the plant all to himself, he decided to share it with his people in Uruk.  By deciding to share the plant, Gilgamesh learned the value of love for his people.
    This also signifies that Gilgamesh can change for the better. The theme of change prevails throughout the story. It is especially evident when Enkidu appeared and became Gilgameshs friend.  Gilgamesh was a man of pride and great power, but after meeting Enkidu, he changed and showed a different personality. By meeting Enkidu, Gilgamesh learned to be compassionate, friendly, and unselfish.

2.  It has been said that travel is the best form of education. What did the hero Odysseus learn from his travels
    It took a number of years for Odysseus to travel back home to his wife in Ithaca. During those years, he faced many hardships and troubles along the way. Odysseus learned the valuable trait of perseverance and sacrifice. He did not give up on his struggle and mission to go back to his home. Another trait he learned, which is the most important thing of all, is humility. Odysseus, with his skill in leadership in war and shrewdness, was humbled by the power of the gods. He was no match for the power of Poseidon and so he endured years of hardships just to get home. Upon returning home, once again he showed humility by disguising and not revealing who he really was. Odysseus was a king of his island and a great leader to his men during the Trojan war. The lesson of humility truly showed Odysseus what it is like to live a life full of hardship. He changed and learned a lot of things upon his return home.

3.  Some authors want the works they compose to deliver a message to their audience. What was the message Homer wanted the Odyssey to deliver
    Homer wanted to convey a lot of sub-messages in the Odyssey, but the central theme that he wanted to show was coming home after a journey of hardships.  The return and redemption of the hero was the underlying message in Odyssey which suggests that every journey has to end. The hero will ultimately have redemption after undergoing a series of transformation that will change him into a better man. Another message was the initiation and transformation of a boy into a man. This was clearly shown by Telemachos, the son of Odysseus, who grew up without his father but still hoped for his return. 

4.  Some authors want the works they compose to deliver a message to their audience. What was the message Dante wanted the Inferno to deliver
    Dante wanted to show to the audience all the sins that man is capable of doing. In Inferno, Dante successfully categorized every sin man can commit, giving each sin a degree that befits its punishment. By showing the nine circles of hell and what the sinners are going through, Dante wanted the audience to look at themselves and examine the major sins they have committed. He wanted to show the consequences of sin and that every evil deed never goes unpunished. Dante depicted a terrifying hell with the sinners being subjected to the most horrifying and painful punishment. The message was clearly intended to terrify the audience so that they would repent and refrain from committing the deadliest sins.

Capital Punishment, In Cold Blood

...its of more importance to community that innocence should be protected, than it is that guilt should be punished were the words of John Adams when he was asked to defend Captain Preston and his eight soldiers after they had killed five disorderly colonists. The jury wanted to convict all the soldiers because it was not clear who exactly had shot the five. In his opinion, Adams thought it was not wise for the jury to convict even one innocent man it was better for all soldiers to be acquitted than to convict one who was innocent (Adams). There was however some sense in Adams statement since these soldiers were defending themselves from an angry mob that was armed with all kinds of objects to fight the soldiers. Therefore the only way to defend themselves was by fighting back. We were not told of the exact number of the colonists but they were not eight as the soldiers. Second there was no clear evidence as to who shot them and at the same time, eight people can not shoot five men there must have been at least three and at most seven who did not shot. Therefore it would have been very wrong to convict these soldiers who were innocent.

I very much concur with Adams that it is much better to leave a crime unpunished than to punish an innocent man. As much as justice must prevail, innocence has to be protected as well. Therefore punishment should be given appropriately after thorough investigation has been made. We all are aware that punishment is meant to correct crime thus punishing an innocent man is like punishing him for being innocent. Most of the times, people who are punished while innocent find themselves guilt of serving the punishment and will always look for means and ways of hitting back and in the end, they end up bringing more harm than good to the society. Thus innocence must at all times be protected for it to be preserved in the society.

Taking the example of the true happening of the killing of the Clutters that was documented by Truman Capote in the book, In Cold Blood, two people, a criminal and an innocent man are convicted of the murder and they both end up being sentenced to death. The book describes the brutal innocent murder of a famous and prosperous farmer, Herbert Clutter together with his wife and two children. Herbert was murdered on 15th November, 1959 in the morning. He lived in Holcomb in the outskirts of Kansas and had successfully established himself everyone in the town envied his way of life. He always gave hope to the hopeless and cared for the needy. His murderers were former prisoners who learnt from their friend, Floyd Wells, who had once worked in Clutters farm, that Herbert Clutter kept large amounts of cash in his safe at home. In reality, Clutter operated with checks, but not in cash, in all the transactions he made (Capote 18).

On hearing this, the murderers, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith planed how they would go and get the cash and escape to Mexico where they would start a new life. After successfully driving and locating the Clutters home Richard and Perry, armed with a knife and a gun, went straight to the house while the family was still asleep. They woke them up and started to demand for the money that was thought to be in the farmhouse. Having searched in vain and assured that there was nothing in the house, Perry became maddened and slit Clutters throat. He then gunshot him in the head and then rest of the family were also shot in the head starting with Kenyon, his son, Nancy, his daughter and finally the wife, Bonnie. Only two daughters remained of the family. Beverly and Eveanna were old enough then and were living in town (Capote 58).  

After the murder, the two escaped to Mexico and stayed there for some time until they had no cash to survive on. Meanwhile, investigations were underway and the authorities were almost giving up when Floyd who had learnt of the plan broke the news to the authorities. Perry and Richard are recognised by a policeman while they were going to Las Vegas and are arrested (Capote 214). Perry confessed to have killed only the two women Nancy and Bonnie, and claimed that Richard had killed the two men. Even though innocent, the court did not consider Richards appeal and both were criminalised and subjected to a death sentence. But before the death sentence was announced, the jury suspected them to be mad. Perry behaves in a way that the jury is not sure whether to consider him as a paranoid or not and whether his behavior is deserved death had he murdered the Clutters while insane (SparkNotes Editors). In the five-year appeal period, Richard tried to write letters to several organisations to plead for his innocence, while Perry starved himself. No organisation was even interested in listening to Richards story since they thought that he had cooked lies. Richard served in the jail for those five years and they were both finally hanged in the night of 14th April, 1965 even though he was innocent (Capote 273).

From this story we find that the jury did not have enough evidence as to who exactly committed the murder. It was clear that it was Perry who had killed all the four, being a close friend and one with whom they had planed the deal, Richard fell in the trap and there was no justice if so to say.  Justice in the sense that they did not conduct enough investigation and only relied on the information collected from unreliable sources thus the MNabhten rule was not efficient enough as Capote expected it to be (SparkNotes Editors). If they could settle on some false information confessed by Perry, the killer, why did they not choose to settle on the correct information that was given by Richard Through out the time these two were in prison, Richard kept on pleading for his innocence but there was no ear to listen to his cry. In the long run, we find him being given the same punishment that the murderer is given. There was no justice here.

Just like Adams puts it, Richards innocence was supposed to be protected by the law. It would not have mattered much if their killing was postponed until they were sure of the murderer. Since everyone should carry hisher own cross, Richard should not have carried Perrys cross, justice did not prevail here. It would have been better if they were both acquitted, since the claim on the ground was that there was no enough evidence. Though this would have meant that a crime had gone unpunished, it would have been much better than killing an innocent Richard. This contributed to the number of innocent deaths that occurred through Perry to be five instead of the initial four. If Perry had been acquitted it would have meant that only four innocent deaths occurred and one crime went unpunished. I therefore stand on the same ground with John Adams that it is better to leave one criminal to go unpunished than to have one innocent man being punished for a crime he has not committed (Adams).

However this should not be taken for granted by those who commit crimes in the hope that they can avoid punishment when they falsely confess that they are innocent or when there is no enough evidence testified against them. It has been the will of every country to ensure that its populace is protected. Therefore if there is no justice, then it means that such a country has failed to protect its people. If today your neighbour whom you have not been in good terms wakes up and writes a statement that you have broken into his house and stolen some amount of cash, yet you have not, the government will have failed to protect you if you are falsely convicted. At the same time, if a crime has truly been committed i.e. you surely broke into the house and stole the money, and there is evidence, then the government will have failed to protect your neighbour if this crime is not punished. Therefore for there to be fair and justice, both sides have to be protected as long as the right channels are followed.

If all crimes that did not have enough evidence were left unpunished then most people would committee crimes in places where they will be sure that no evidence would be available. Such was the case with Perry and Richard they made sure that no evidence was available by killing all the witnesses. Most people would use the same idea to harm many innocent members of the society. Thus it is good if all crime is punished appropriately. Even though it is worse to punish an innocent person, it is even worst not to punish a criminal who is not even sorry of his act. If one crime goes unpunished, two more crimes are committed in the same way and they will still go unpunished. This simple means that releasing a criminal without punishing himher is like asking himher to go commit other crimes and teach the potential criminals how to do the same without falling in the harsh hands of the government. Every crime must therefore be punished so as to discourage those potential criminals who may be tempted to commit some terrible crime.

Even as I support the idea that it is better for innocence to be protected than it is for guilt to be protected, it is also wise to ensure that all guilt is punished appropriately. This will not only ensure that the society is well protected but will also discourage unnecessary crimes being committed.

The Tragedy of Death of a Salesman

Based on the definition of tragedy as given by Aristotle, then the drama Death of a Salesman is definitely a tragedy.  Throughout this analysis, the reader will see how the Arthur Millers drama, Death of a Salesman fits into each of the six categories that Aristotle defines as being pertinent to the concept of a dramatic tragedy.  There are critics who do not believe that any type of modern drama can be defined as tragedy.  They believe that dramas written at the time and after Ibsen and the abandonment of romanticism lack many of the important parts that make a classic tragedy (Gassner 3).  This essay will show not only how Millers Death of a Salesman can be defined as a tragedy, but how those critics who no longer believe there is any tragic drama created have taken the concepts of Aristotle out of context, and that even Aristotle would acknowledge as much (Lee 237 Martin 98 Schipper 534).

The first thing one must do is to define Aristotles view of tragedy.  From the definitions then the reader can follow with the analysis of the drama against the definition.  Aristotle defines tragedy in the following 

Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play in the form of action, not of narrative through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions (Poetics 1.6). 

This was only the beginning of the definition (Martin 99).  He takes the above definition then categorizes the definition on six levels. It is within these six levels that the essay will show the drama Death of a Salesman to be a tragedy as based on the definition of Aristotle.

The first level of the definition is the plot of the drama (Martin 99 Poetics 1.7 Schipper 534).  For Aristotle this meant four things.  The first is that the plot must be whole with a beginning, a middle, and an end. In regards to Death of a Salesman, this factor is met (Poetics1.7). For Aristotle the dramatic tragedy must adhere to these and neither begins nor ends indiscriminately.  In this the drama begins with the main character Willy Loman admits to himself that he is at the end of his career.  He follows that acceptance with the realization that his family deserves better than he can provide, thereby resolving to commit suicide.  The end of the drama allows each of the secondary characters to give their understandings of the situation and the actions of Willy Loman, thereby giving not only Willy his last words, but those that the events have affected. 

The second level of the plot is the unity or completeness of the plot in which each event leads to the next event ending in the tragedy but must also incorporate fear or pity (Poetics 1.8). The drama, Death of a Salesman incorporates a bit of fear with a lot of pity.  The audience is given the idea that Willy Loman has tried to commit suicide before the current moment, which lend just a hint of fear that he may try again.  However, it is the emotion of pity as the audience watches Willy move between reality and memories feels and understand the best in relation to this character.

The third part of Aristotle plot division is the magnitude and order of the plot (Poetics 1.7).  Aristotle meant that the dramas length must be of a certain length so as not to rush to the climax, but that it must also be in the right tone and mood for the drama to be seen as tragic.  Death of a Salesman has a very defeated type of mood as well as the frame of mind that people do no live up to the expectations of others.  This mood gives the right feel.  The length of the drama is appropriate in that the audience not only sees the current life, but many of the events that have led to the character of Willy that is currently portrayed.

The last level of the plot is the concept of simple or complex plot (Poetics 1.10).  In a simple plot, the story should move forward but only a change in fortune takes place (Poetics 1.10). A complex, which best describes Death of a Salesman, is one that has reversal and the recognition as part of the story line (Poetics 1.10).  In the case of Millers drama, the reversal is the fact that Willy was never the successful salesman that he claimed to be to his family.  The recognition was his final acceptance that he would not live up to his own expectations, but he could die and give his family a better chance at life. 

After understanding the plot, one must consider Aristotles second category, which is character.  In this level, Aristotle meant that the main character or the tragic character will cause their own downfall (Poetics 2.13). In this sense, then Willy Loman is definitely a tragic hero. Instead of being honest with himself and other, he tells them how many of his clients like him and how well he is doing in sales.  When in reality, he is not well liked and is not doing that well (Schipper 535).  This is emphasized in the requiem of the drama when Linda asks Why didnt anybody come It would seem that she wanted to believe that he had the friends he told her, but she knew deep down that he was exaggerating.  Another example is when Biff states that his father had the wrong dreams and that he never knew who he was (Miller, Requiem). Willy knew what he was, but he was trying to be someone he was not.  He believed that he needed to be in sales to be a success, but in reality it was this ignoring of his true identity that allowed for Willy to make the resolution of suicide to take care of his family (Martin 100).  In this sense, then, Miller portrayed his main character in the way that Aristotle had defined. 

The third factor is the thought.  For Aristotle this meant that one can see what kind of things a man chooses or avoids (Poetics 1.7).  However, it also means the themes and rhetoric of the character (Poetics 2.19).  For Death of a Salesman one can see the first idea quiet easily.  Within the living memories of Willy Loman, the audience can see why he made certain decisions and what events led to outcomes that can only be understood in the current moment of the drama. In the second instance the theme of the play is understood in several ways, such as knowing who one is, or being true to yourself and your family.  Both of these themes are carried throughout the drama and thereby satisfy this third category of Aristotles definition. 

Diction follows thought in that it is the description of the use of words in a tragedy (Poetics 3.22).  In this sense, then the memories in which Willy interacts is the use of words that are incorporated and lend themselves to flow within the genre of tragedy.  They are not used in the normal everyday occurrence, but in flashbacks, and in mental breaks that Willy seems to have throughout the drama, up until he commits suicide. 

The song or melody of the drama is the fifth category, and to Aristotle it should be an integral part of the whole (Poetics 2.18).  For Death of a Salesman, Miller used the Requiem of the play as the chorus, in which it brings all the lose ends together and ties them up neatly, which also is part of the category of the plot in which the end is not concluded randomly (Martin 103.  The Requiem allows everyone to have their say and to express their feelings as to the life and final death of Willy Loman. 
The last category of the tragedy definition is the spectacle, which is not so much a part of the drama itself, but is a factor that is associated with the way in which the drama is portrayed on stage.  For Death of a Salesman this part of the spectacle could be understood by the set up of the stage, the fact that the kitchen is the central part of the house, and is also symbolizing the heart of the family.  The living room is not ever seen, but the bedrooms of the boys and Willy and Linda are included.  It is these main areas that are central to the lives of the characters especially Willy and the reasoning behind his decisions.  The other main scene is the hotel where Biff realizes that his father is having an affair for this scene is a major factor in Biffs life.  However, the spectacle is more than the stage set up either.  It also includes the actors and directors and the feeling that the actors and actresses portray in the drama during production.  As pertaining to Aristotles definition, the spectacle can not be met by the drama itself, but by the production company and is therefore not applicable to this discussion.

When taking into account the drama and the definition as explained by Aristotle it would seem that Arthur Miller definitely created a tragedy, but there are those who do not view it thus.  For example in the article The Possibilities and Perils of Modern Tragedy it is assumed that while the story line may be dynamic the language limps behind the action and limits its tragic resonance (Gassner 4).  It is also stated that the use of psychology, sociology and science to explain the moods and changes within the human disallows for the concept of tragedy to be part of the dramatic theater (Gassner 4-5).  These are but two of the many examples that are being used against the modern drama.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are critics that believe the drama to be a tragedy.  In fact, it has been assumed that Willy is a tragic victim in that he believes it is necessary to sacrifice his life in order to provide for his son (Martin 103).  Another fact is that many critics and even Aristotle do not defining the tragedy in terms of eternity, but in terms of his own time (Gassner 7 Lee 237).  The true sense of the tragedy is in the six categories that are apparent to tragedies and not to the specific types of tragedies written in a particular time frame.  Based on this Death of a Salesman is not only a tragedy, but one of the best written tragedies of the 20th Century and into the modern times.

A letter for the Youth of Future Generations

Dearest One,
    Time and again, it has been said, and readily proven that the future of a community, a country or the whole world lies in the hands of the young people of its generation. This is true in my time. I am living in a time where the world has no lack for young dreamers  young visionaries. There is a vibrant zeal and idealism in this age and the world picks up its pace and speed to match the cadence of the young. Dynamic, and full of vigor, the youth of today slowly shaped the community where we belong. It is a time of boundless energy. A time where life is a blur and the world seems to move at break-neck pace. The rush and liberation of being young and energetic has inflicted the whole world. There is not much time and there is a world out there. The boom in communications and technology is proof to this. The world has been reduced to one global community, where everyone is connected, at a touch of a button or the click of a pointer. Yes, dearest one. Perhaps you may laugh at my thoughts as something archaic or obsolete by your standards. I understand. Our dreams taking shape what today has become used to be a laughing matter, too, with our elders, then. They dismiss it as mere fascination and too much television, but now, we are at the helm. The future has come, and the future is here and now. Such is the norm of life. Dear one, if there is one lesson I want to impart is the value of hard work and striving hard to reach for our dreams. After all, the amazing breakthroughs we have did not simply come about just like that. We worked hard for our dreams. We spent countless days and nights securing a good quality education, and when we were sent out from school, we held in our hearts that consuming dream of proving our own selves and finding our places under the sun  securing our own niches. This, dearest one, is something that should not escape your notice, and should be firmly planted in your hearts. After all, the conveniences we have right now is only a step towards achieving greater ends  towards reaching out and embracing what we can, far reaching beyond the stars, space, and even cutting though the borders of time. We are the wave of the future. Much as you are for your own generation. Never forget though, that while dreaming, we still have to keep our feet planted on the ground, but let our imaginations and aspirations steer us to un-chartered and unexplored territories. We should never stop reaching for our dreams. As one song goes  Dont stop believing. Dearest one, the future is here and now. The future is in your hands. Guard it well and let it be what your dreams and ambitions shape the future to be. As a popular movie character said, and in ending this letter, too, I say to you. May the force be with you.

                                        Truly Yours

Exploration of the New World

1) What are the main motivations for Spain and France to colonize in the New World    There were three motivations for the Spanish and the French in colonizing the New World.  These can be summed up by the three Gs  Gold, Glory and God.  They colonized new lands for prestige as well as for the purpose of enriching themselves through the natural resources and being Catholic countries, an opportunity to win more souls to the Catholic faith in the light of the Protestant Reformation in Europe by spreading Catholicism in the lands they conquer which was why missionaries accompanied expeditions.

2) Who is the target audience for each of these accounts Who is the intended audience for each reading    De Vacas account was addressed primarily to the king of Spain.  This was primarily a report of what he experienced during his expedition where he described his ordeal in detail.

3) Who is the most trustworthy source out of the three explorers and explain why you made the choice that you did.

    Among the three, De Vacas account has more credibility.  He told it honestly like it was and he did not try to fabricate or use any rhetoric in describing his ordeal where he nearly perished.  He described how his attitude towards the natives and his compassion and sympathy to natives and how this contrasts to the attitudes of the other conquistadores who exploited them (De Vaca).
Though both are stories that exhibit elements of their centuries-old religious origins, and the culture of particular peoples the biblical story of Samson and the Navajo story of the Changing Woman do not seem to have much in common in the onset. One is a story of a judge of a people, while the other is the mother of another. When seen in their original religious and cultural contexts though, they do reveal two common values.

One value that is portrayed in both texts is that a man and a woman in a marriage, or their cultures equivalent of a marriage, should act as equals with each playing a set role. The way this was relayed though, were different in both texts. Samson was bullied by his first wife, and even by Delilah. These women did not respect his role as the man in the relationship and forced him to do things for their own benefits. In Christian texts, the wife is supposed to submit to her husband the women in Samsons life did not do this and so they met terrible consequences. The Changing Woman story shows this value quite differently, as the protagonist of the story is a woman. In some versions of the story she reasons out with Sun, the father of her children, that though he is steadfast and she ever-changing, they are still one and must be equals. For Navajos, men and women are equally vital to the tribe.

Another value is that one is the belief that ones birth and life are for a particular purpose. Changing woman and Samson were born to women who were in all accounts, infertile (though for Changing Woman, she was also born into a barren world). Samsons mother conceived him after an angel visited her, and the condition of his birth was that he was set aside by God for a specific purpose. Changing Woman was born into a barren world, to her parents who could not conceive she was a gift from Sun and her purpose on Earth was to give it new life. They even share a theme of rebirth as Samson was reborn with his lost strength, while Changing Woman is reborn into her youth every year. Both Samson and Changing Woman fulfilled what they were destined to do although their end results were complete opposites, with Samson many while Changing Woman was mother to many.

Racism in the Early Civil Rights Era

The book Invisible Man is written by Ralph Ellison who is an African-American and was born in Oklahoma. Invisible Man was the only book of authors lifetime that was published and won him National award. The book mainly covers and addresses the social and intellectual issues that were faced by the African- American during the time of segregation. The book had been a success to describe the differences between blacks and whites. The main constituent of the book is said to be the racial policies of Booker T. Washington. For the purpose of this paper, the chapter one of the book namely Battle Royal had been analyzed to understand the nature of problems which were faced by the African-Americans in the early twentieth century.

The first chapter of the book introduces to the reality of the relationship between blacks and whites through the context of final words of the grandfather of protagonist. The grandfather shows an element of a moral and emotional ambiguity that confuses the protagonist in the novel about the type of the behavior that should be practiced by African-Americans with the Whiteman. Grandfather reveals that black people do not have a peaceful path to practice. Grandfather of the protagonist advises his family to form two identities. One of the identities should be of slave of white and doing whatever they want you to be while the second identity must be inside and full of bitterness against the imposed identities of being slaves (Ellison).

Such words by the grandfather confuses the protagonist because to him the racial policies of Booker T. Washington which included the agenda of peasant conservatism and moreover he represented the cause of enlightenment of blacks. The author Ralph Ellison describes that the protagonist kept the word of Booker T. Washingtons address in his mind and stepped ahead to practice positive behavior with whites (Chapman).

The chapter one introduces the brief context to the historical events with the introduction of the experiences of the narrator in the young age as a college boy. The narrator as a college boy had been made a point of shame by the whites in the novel because at his graduation, he gives a speech about the development of the race of African-American and he also adds quotes from Booker T. Washingtons address (Ellison).

The protagonists life changes after he made the speech. The unnamed protagonist of the novel is invited to read his speech in front of some of the important white men.  But before he would have reached to the white men to deliver his speech, protagonist faced a lot of discrimination of some of the young white men. The name of the chapter Battle Royal had been selected because the chapter tells the reader about the test, Battle Royal that every black had to give.  African Americans were treated like animals and were given lower standards at work and at educational institutions (Chapman). It was the battle royal that introduced protagonist to the social prejudice and injury that he had to suffer through all his life if he had to live in the country of full of whites (Ellison).

The story battle royal is not just a story that should be told for mere entertainment but it is a reality of the African-American who have undergone serious racial discrimination. Segregation was the era when African-American had to face a lot of troubles. There were no better business or work opportunities for the blacks. They were treated as the slaves of the whites. The narrator had clearly demonstrated the experiences of African-American through the context of the protagonist as he was forced to do task such as pummel his black class mates in the boxing ring with a blindfold. The protagonist was made a point of humiliation when he was delivering the speech in front of the white men. The behavior of the white men with the protagonist was no different than other African-Americans as they treated every Blackman with the same ironic attitude (Ellison).

White people behaved ironically with the African-Americans and did not provide them with the social equality. This account of the author could have been stated in the novel when the protagonist is awarded with a calfskin briefcase with a scholarship to the state college for black men. African-Americans were never gave the opportunities to become educationally strong and were always regarded as different beings with no social standards and respect. Moreover, there were no civil rights given to the African-Americans. There was no legal equality and representation given to the African-Americans. As a result to the ironic behavior of the white people, William Edward also came forward as a leader blacks to get away with the inequality injustice (Chapman)

Thus on the basis of analysis of the first chapter Battle Royal of the book Invisible Man it can be concluded that the racial discrimination faced by the African-Americans was on its extreme level. The story is a success in covering the racial and social issues faced by the African-Americans.

The Chrysanthemums

A.1.The chrysanthemums stand as symbols for the kind of life led by the protagonist of the story, Elisa. Elisa is a beautiful woman but her husband never appreciates her beauty or gives any importance to her feelings and desires. Similarly, the chrysanthemums are regarded as unimportant flowers by the society in spite of the fact they are beautiful and lovely. The chrysanthemums represent Eliza in the story and the way she is treated by her husband, Henry and the tinker. The chrysanthemums are not universal symbols it is only in the story that the author presents them as the symbols of neglect experienced by Eliza at the hands of her husband. Elisa is lonely, as her husband devotes more attention to his work than Elisa. So Elisa seeks comfort in her chrysanthemums, which she regards as good things. The chrysanthemums aid Elisa in overcoming her loneliness and also provide her with a sense of achievement. The other symbolic element in the story is the Salinas Valley the foggy atmosphere of the valley reflects the emotions and feelings of Elisa.

A.2. Elisa is a beautiful and intelligent woman who yearns for a passionate married life. But as her husband is more interested in his work than his wife, she is forced to lead a dull and boring life. Elisa tries to keep herself occupied by looking after her garden. She is proud of the chrysanthemums that she grows in her garden, for they are the biggest among all the chrysanthemums in her neighborhood. Elisas joy and pride regarding her chrysanthemums is perceptible when the wagon-rider asks her about her plants. Oh, those are chrysanthemums, giant whites and yellows. I raise them every year, bigger than anybody around here. (Steinbeck). Elisas mundane life is brightened up by her chrysanthemums. She gains pleasure

from the fact that her plant growing skills are appreciated by her husband. Elisa is contented when her husband says to her, Youve got a gift with things, Henry observed. Some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across. (Steinbeck). When Elisa realizes that the tinker has utilized her love for chrysanthemums to coax her to give him some pots to mend, she is disappointed immensely. Elisa feels that she is being trapped in a loveless marriage and always seeks a way to divert her mind from the discontent she is experiencing regarding her married life. 

A.3. Elisa cannot be held responsible for her troubles. It is Henry, Elisas husband who is the cause of Elisas troubles. He is so engrossed in his work that he fails to fulfill the emotional needs of his wife.  It is owing to the neglect of Henry that Elisa is compelled to face loneliness and unhappiness in her life.

A.4. Elisas and Henrys marriage can be termed as a loveless and unhappy marriage, for there is lack of affection and satisfaction between the spouses. The thinking and attitudes of Elisa and Henry are far different from each other. Although Henry appreciates her chrysanthemums, he suggests her to use her gift to grow apples. Youve got a gift with things, Henry observed. Some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across. I wish youd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big. (Steinbeck). This proves that Henrys happiness is concerned with monetary gains. He neither takes any efforts to fulfill the desires of his wife nor tries to understand the feelings of his wife. Owing to the negligent attitude of her husband, Elisa is frustrated with her married life.

Classic Short Stories The Lottery

A.1. I was not surprised by the ending of the story, as I got a hint to regarding the unexpected end of the story owing to the various signs presented in the story. It is while reading the fourth paragraph that I came to know about the tragic end of the story. The calmness of the villagers starts turning into fear and this is evident from the reaction of the villager when the stool is placed before them. The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool. (Jackson).  They fear to go near the stool, as the black box which contained the name of the winner is kept on it. Another sign is presented in the same paragraph when Mr. Summers asks the crowd for some help. The hesitation with which two men come forward to help Mr. Summers showed that the villagers were not excited about the Lottery.  The unusual behavior of the villagers points towards their lack of positive reaction or happiness about the so-called Lottery. Using the signs such as villagers unusual behavior, black color of the box and neglected state of the box, the nervousness with which the villagers open the folded papers, Jackson foreshadows the tragic ending of the story. But in beginning of the story, Jackson presents the image of the villagers chatting with each other and the children playing happily to lull us into thinking that this is just an ordinary story with an ordinary town.

A.2. The ritual that was observed by the villagers regarding the scapegoat is the person who won the lottery was stoned until heshe died. Tessie can be considered to be the scapegoat because she was one who had to meet a brutal death.  As Tessie won the paper with the black dot, she was declared as the winner of the lottery. On winning the lottery, the expressions of Tessie show that she thought herself as a victim. It is only at the end of the story that the reader comes to know

that Tessie was selected to be stoned to death by everyone in her village. Tessie ends up as the
scapegoat for a cruel ritual which was being carried on by the villagers for several years. Her desperate pleas are not heeded by the villagers, as they gather around her with stones in their hands. Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. (Jackson). In the name of ritual, Tessie is handed out a painful and tortuous death.

A.3. The names of major characters in the story also come across as signs which foretell the turn of events in the end. For example, there was Mr. Summers whose name represents the freshness and warmth of the morning of July 27th.  His name is symbolic of calmness and warmth, which is experienced on a pleasant summer day. In contrast to the name of Mr. Summers, his closest friend Mr. Graves has a name that signifies darkness and death this is the main theme of the story. This is an indication of what might happen at the end, and a hint for the readers to start thinking about the hidden meaning of the lottery. The next sign which foreshadows the tragic end of the story is the color and state of the box that was used in the lottery. The color of the box was black, which represents gloom, darkness and mystery. The state of box showed that it had been neglected from a long time. The black box grew shabbier each year by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained. (Jackson). In fact, the box had been used for more than seventy seven years, and the original color of the box had already grown fainter. Mr. Summer had tried to convince the villagers to renew the box, but the villagers never took this idea seriously. They seemed to hate talking about anything related to the Lottery.

Stress in the Family

    Despite the promise of an easier life, it cannot be denied that the advancements of todays time have also brought further stress in peoples lives. Stress has become part of the worlds reality as every of aspect of life is threatened by problems and daily pressures. Even family life also brings a certain amount of stress to everyone. Sometimes, stress from the family sphere becomes the main reason for a family to have either a united household or divided lives.

    The causes of family stress may be external or internal. For instance, financial problems, trouble at work or in school, and peer pressure are all external factors that may agitate a person and make his or her life stressful. When parents snap at their child or when children disobey their parents because of these external factors, this often leads to internal rift between family members, negatively affecting their communication and the quality of their relationship with each other. On the other hand, the internal causes of stress in the family could be the conflicts that arise between family members. Anything could be a source of conflict between family members it could be as petty as who gets to eat the best part of the chicken served at the dinner table, or as serious as a childs depression induced by the little amount of time that family members get to spend with each other because of the demands of their surroundings. Stress could also be caused by the constant bickering and arguing that occurs due to the failure of parents and children to take time to listen to each other.

    The real challenge lies on how people cope with the pressures of family life. According to an article published in Nibbles by the University of Illinois (2010),  families can... develop effective coping skills for handling stress  (Recognizing Symptoms section). Although stress and problems could not be totally avoided, they can be reduced and their effects can be controlled. The secrets to a peaceful and less stressful family life are open communication between all family members, prioritizing and allotting enough time for each other, and supporting every member of the family.

    Being part of a family is not easy. Just like any other role we play in life, there are responsibilities we have to do and adjustments we have to make for the relationship to work. The best strategy to conquer the considerable stress in family life is to believe that the things we do are all for the people we have known the longest and love the most all throughout our existence our family.

Regulating Aversion

Undoubtedly, Wendy Brown has fully explored the notions behind the words tolerance and equality wherein Brown perceived utter discrepancy particularly in the way these words have been applied to two different groups struggling to find their rightful identities in society. In an attempt to demonstrate these discrepancies especially with the existing conditions of women, Brown focuses on investigating how tolerance was applied to the Jews. In this case, Brown asked why was the Jewish Question often framed as a matter of tolerance in the 18th and 19th century Europe while Woman Question emerged through the language of subordination and equality (49). 

    Brown traced the subjective notion of tolerance and equality in the way higher authorities such as the government impute meanings. Citing two examples namely the vice presidential candidacy of Geraldine Ferraro which was heralded as a triumph of equality and the nomination of an orthodox Jew, Joseph Lieberman for the same position as a triumph of tolerance, Brown depicted a sharp distinction between the meaning applied to these words, one that is highly politicized identity and the other being considered as a privilege. The politicization of identity was depicted by the recent controversy in France where President Sarkozy prohibited Muslim women from wearing their traditional Burka. While the president justified his action on the basis of equality calling the wearing of Burka as a symbol of shame and humiliation, it was viewed as a culture of political intolerance because such action undermines the religious significance of such traditional costume.

    The issue therefore behind Browns argument on tolerance and equality is concern on gender in which she depicted the negative meaning imputed to these words because of political objective. In the case of the Jewish race, being ostracized, demean and subjugated, their continued existence and flourishing during the early nineteen hundred can be viewed as tolerance, That is, they can exist with out government intervention or disruption or any disturbance. Whereas, tolerance was never applied to women despite they vehemently pursued their rights towards achieving similar treatment.

Celebrating Diversity in Walt Whitmans Song of Myself

    In his poem  Song of Myself,  Walt Whitman envisages a concept of an interconnection between man (and woman), God, and nature as all part of the same essence. When he speaks of himself, he is speaking not of the individual man but the individual as part of the larger world. In the poem Whitman inclusively describes plants, animals, men and women, African Americans, Native Americans, and people of all religious faiths as belonging to his idea of self. Whitman is not doing so to illustrate his own personal acceptance but to instead demonstrate that stripped of all the distinctions of race, religion, even reality itself in the way we view nature and the cosmos, that for all the diversity of life on the planet and beyond we are all connected in our similarities.

    Titled as though a confession of self-identity, Whitman attempts to show the profundity of life and how the different forms of life crisscross one another to form almost a consolidation of their diversities. In many ways, as opposed to a song of self, this poem is a celebration of life itself. Connecting himself first to the earth, Whitman establishes his place as simply another relation to Nature,  every atom of my blood, formd from this soil, this air  (Part 2). He is a continuation of the cycle of human life and reproduction,  Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same  (2). Born of the same stuff as a tree or the air itself, human life has evolved and reproduced generations upon generations to produce him. As a human being, Whitman refuses to set himself apart from the rest of life on the planet, categorizing and arranging hierarchies based on importance, instead in his own existence he envisions  a breed of life  (3). This is life without stripped of politics, race, religion, genus, species, and the most fundamental understanding of how human beings distinguish themselves from the world around them and from one another.

    The questioning of a human beings basic understanding of hisher relationship to the world around them is shown best in Whitmans attention to the question of God. The idea of God is conventionally the idea of life itself, Whitman does not disagree with this sentiment. However, he does not distinguish God from any other form of life but like nature and man, it is a continuum of a living force and idea, not to be deified above man or nature. As Whitman explains,  I know that the hand of God is in the promise of my own, And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, And that all men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers  (5). In placing God side by side with his idea of human brotherhood, Whitman is attempting to show that to show a kinship and worship of God when failing to acknowledge your relation to humanity is a hypocrisy. To embrace one form of life is to embrace all forms of life.

    Whitman illustrates this particularly well throughout the poem, as he intercepts his philosophical musings to shows scenes of life. Like the concepts of man, Nature and God that he is attempting to pull together, these short snippets of life are diverse, such as a suicide who  sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom  and  the impassive stones (9). Sometimes banal and other times, as with the brief description of the suicide, graphic, Whitman is attempting to paint a picture and not simply sing a song of life. Life is not a pretty nor always pleasant state of being, however, in a state of being we should have cause for celebration since we are interacting in a great wheel of experience.

    As important as the interconnection of man to other forms of life in Whitmans poem, is the connection of man to his fellow man. Neither religion, race, or belief can destroy the bond of life. However, it cant be said that it was for lacking of trying. At several points in the text, Whitman addresses the issue both directly and indirectly. Whitman envisions himself a slave, a Native American pushed off their land, and the religiously persecuted. In Whitmans philosophy, a crime against a human is a crime against not simply humanity but nature itself, as each instance of cruelty merely reproduces another. It too has become a part of the cycle,  The disdain and calmness of martyrs,  The mother of old, condemnd for a witch, burnt with dry wood, her children gazing on, The hounded slave that flags in the race   All these I feel or am  (33). To limit Whitmans observations on equality to race or gender would be in some ways to lessen the overall strength of his argument. Every living this is life embodied, to devalue one is to devalue an important part of the scope of life. However, though we are all part of life, I think Whitman does make the distinction between the different types of people persecuted within society to show that if we cannot protect and accept one another first than we wont ever be able to achieve the enlightened sense of belonging to the whole environment.

    I find it interesting that in speaking of equality of life, Whitman neither condemns religion for its role in upholding inequality in some instances or treats any particular religion with excessive reverence. His message stays a clear track of tolerance that crosses smoothly across the usually uneven terrain of religion. Of the old-time religions, he embraces them as they were in the past, as a natural progression and adaptive tool of mans changing life,  Taking them all for what they are worth  and not a cent more. Admitting they were alive and did the work of their days  (41). There is the feeling that he feels the same way of the Gods of Christianity or other modern religions, serving a purpose for their time and place. However, and some would likely say blasphemously, Whitman does not see the need for an evolution of faith that is limited to unseen Gods. He sees divinity in the lives of others,  Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself, bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see. Discovering as much or more in a framer framing a house  (41). To limit the power of giving life to an unseen force, when so much creation obviously takes shape around us in the physical world, is to undermine the nature of man

    It is difficult to concentrate Whitmans thesis for this poem into a single, short, and concise sentence. To simply state the it is a celebration of life is to ignore the undertones of life that Whitman takes such pains to show in detail. It would ignore the interconnectedness of God, man, and nature as part of an equally powerful cycle of life. This poem is a song of self in the manner in which Whitman sees and feels himself in the world around him. It is equally about accepting that same world into yourself as an integral part of understanding the boundaries of life, equality, and humanity at its most basic level. That he so beautifully uses examples of science, religion, and social observations shows how these very concepts that attempt to compartmentalize life, are in themselves one and the same. Whitman does not use these concepts against themselves but merely expands beyond the normal limits of examining how they function. He is attempting to take what has been separated by human history and combine it together, accepting all as part of himself,  of these one and all I weave the song of myself  (15).

Motherhood and Beauty in Toni Morrisons The Bluest Eye

Implicit in her desire was racial self-loathing. And twenty years later I was still wondering about how one learns that. (Morrison, 1998, p. 210).
    In the afterword to her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison shares the story of a real-life incident that partially inspired her moving narrative (Morrison, 1998, p. 209). In elementary school, Morrison had known a dark-skinned, Black girl who had shared with her the secret knowledge that she longed to have blue eyes. Shocked, Morrison had held onto this painful childhood memory and eventually decided to explore it through her work.  The Bluest Eye is a kind of exploration or literary quest to find out the answer to the question, What would make a child become so replete with racially charged self-hatred that she couldnt see her own beauty   And, the novel dares to ask the question, What is beauty, anyway  Instead of a concrete, unchangeable concept, Morrisons novel presents the idea of beauty as an ever-shifting, dynamic and subjective thing - one whose definition has been heavily corrupted by societal factors, particularly race, which have nothing to do with any true measure of beauty.   But, most thought-provoking of all, perhaps, is the extent to which the maternal influence impacts a childs definition of beauty.  This essay will address Morrisons handling of the elusive concept of beauty in The Bluest Eye, particularly as it relates to the relationship between Pecola Breedlove and her mother, Pauline.    

    While much critical focus is paid the to role that society at large plays in shaping Pecolas belief that she ugly, not nearly as much attention to what (or who)  may be the most significant influence on Pecolas  thoughts and beliefs  her mother, Pauline.  When examining The Bluest Eye in the context of many of Morrisons later works, its interesting to note how frequently she explores the nature of the mother-child relationship, especially that of mother and daughter.  In fact, her much-celebrated work, Beloved, is built around this theme,  exploring the darker side of the complex mother-daughter dynamic.  The title character in that work, Sethe, kills her baby daughter, Beloved, in an effort to spare her from suffering that she perceives to be worse than death.  The rest of the story outlines the intense pain of both mother and child, when the supernatural presence of the baby punishes the mother for her murder with a magic that Sethe describes as No more powerful than the way I loved her. (Morrison, 1991, p. 5). Clearly, for Morrison, mother love is an intense and profoundly complex thing, one that has the ability to both create and destroy.  In The Bluest Eye, the darker aspect of mother love appears once again, the side which demonstrates how destructive it can be to a young girls spirit and sense of self worth and, ultimately,  her belief in her own value and beauty.

    Pecolas mother, Pauline, holds deeply toxic ideas about beauty, ideas which ultimately boil down to this - White is pretty and Black is not. Its hard to dismiss just how much of an impact a mothers beliefs might have had on her 11 year old girl.  Just from a child-development standpoint, the core of young childs ideas and belief systems are significantly shaped by her initial contact with the world  -  her primary caregiver (Healey, 1987, p.8) . And,  the ideas about beauty which Pecola clearly inherits from her mother, Pauline, are so deeply flawed as to become spiritually contaminating.  In fact, Morrison says of Paulines ideas of physical beauty, that they were Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thoughta well-spring from which she would draw the most destructive emotions (Morrison, 1988, p.122). Paulines tainted,  internalized definition of beauty is one she has learned from her obsessive viewing of Hollywood films (Gibson, 1989, p.20), and which clearly promote  a definition of beauty consistent with a socially constructed (Sugiharti, 2007, p.1) White beauty ideal.  In a pivotal scene, Morrison shares the inner workings of Paulines mind. She writes, I member one time I went to see Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. I fixed my hair up like Id seen in a magazine.  A  part on the side, with one little curl on my forehead.  It looked just like her.  Well, almost just like.  (Morrison, 1998, p.123).  Knowing how much Paulines concept and measure of beauty comes from a White Hollywood standard is a key to understanding her reaction when she gives birth to Pecola and thinks her baby looks like a black ball of hair (Morrison 1998, p.124). Pauline, who has decided she will love her baby anyway, clearly makes a fateful aesthetic judgment upon Pecolas entry into the world, one which ultimately has dire consequences for her daughters sense of worth. After first seeing her baby daughter, Pauline muses,  But I knowed she was ugly. Head full of pretty hair, but Lord she was ugly. (Morrison, 1998, p.126). 

    Children are highly sensitive and much more intuitive than adults often acknowledge.  It defies logic that, even if she never actually heard the words come from her mothers mouth, Pecola wouldnt have somehow felt and understood that her mother believed she was ugly. It might have been a look her mother gave her, or a song her mother sang or, perhaps the dolls she chose her child to play with.  Later, when Pecola starts to get information from the outside world implying that she is ugly,  this information only confirms something she has already learned from her mother. The taunts from other children and White beauty ideals she may see in magazines and on television merely validate the message she has already internalized from the overt and covert messages Pauline sends.

    When the new girl in town, Maureen, arrives at school sporting long, straight-ish hair and light skin, she clearly embodies the  White beauty norm. Pecola and her classmates witness the preferential  treatment  of Maureen.  Morrison writes

She enchanted the entire school. When teachers called on her, they smiled encouragingly. Black boys didnt trip her in the halls white boys didnt stone her, white girls didnt suck their teeth when she was assigned to their work partners black girls stepped aside when she wanted to use the sink in the girls toilets, and their eyes genuflected under sliding lids (Morrison, 1998, p. 74).

    Such incidents would have not only confirmed to Pecola that she wasnt perceived as beautiful, they would also have taught her another important lesson  that the definition of beauty also meant value and worth.  So, it wasnt just that Pecola believed that she was ugly which was harmful, it was more so the idea that being ugly meant a person wasnt valuable or loved.  And, if we double back, for a moment, to reexamine the influence Paulines beliefs may have on Pecola, and we accept that Pecola intuitively knows her mother believes she is ugly, then she would also believe that her mother doesnt value her. Indeed, she would have to believe her mother doesnt love her.  Beyond the hurtful rejection from society and her school mates, one can only imagine what a devastating effect the lack of belief in a mothers love would have on a child.
    Other details in Morrisons narrative hint at the connection between a childs sense of self-worth and the beliefs of adults and authority figures.  At one point, Claudia, a school friend and neighbor of Pecolas, reveals the pain of similar experiences.  It is particularly revealing when Claudia thinks, Dolls we could destroy, but we could not destroy the honey voices of parents and aunts(Morrison, 1998, p. 57). Even more heartbreaking and informative, Claudia notices that black women, presumably some of these same mothers and aunts, openly favor little White girls, validate their beauty.  Referring to little white girls, Claudia wonders, What make people look at them and say, Awwwww, but not at me The eye slide of black women as they approached them on the street, and the possessive gentleness of their touch as they handled them (Morrison, 1998, p.15). What makes these passages so remarkable is that they point to the messages that are coming, not from society in general, but specifically from the adult black women. And further, that the adult black women mentioned were not only judging little black girls to be less beautiful than their white counterparts, but also less loveable.  Claudias experience, as hurtful though it may be, only give a hint to the pain that Pecola must have internalized getting these same messages from her mother.  Like the anonymous black women of Claudias passage, Pauline was explicitly teaching Pecola, through her behavior, that she valued and loved little white girls more than her own daughter.   We see this most clearly, in a heart-breaking scene which occurs at Paulines place of work (she works as a domestic for a wealthy White family).  After a pan of freshly-baked cobbler drops to the floor, its piping hot juices burning Pecolas legs, we wait for Pauline to exhibit motherly concern. But, instead of coming to her childs aid, Mrs. Breedlove yanked her up by the arm, slapped her again, and in a voice thin with anger, abused Pecola directly (Morrison, 1998, p.109). Moments later, the little White girl (a blonde, spoiled child of the wealthy White family Pauline works for) bursts into crocodile tears.  This time, Paulines reaction shows the loving, motherly concern the reader wants so badly for Pecola.  Pauline caresses the white child, hushes her and consoles her with sweet whispers and the honey in her words. (Morrison, 1998, p.109). It is a striking contrast to the treatment Pecola has received at her mothers hands and the fact that it all occurs directly in front of Pecola reinforces the assumption that this child must feel very unloved and make the connection between the lack of love and her physical appearance know that she is not loved.   

    There is no happy ending for Pecola. And, the  fact that society  perceives her and treats her as less than beautiful, though  deeply hurtful, may ultimately be subordinate to the fact that her own mother also believes her to be unattractive and, by extension, less valuable and less loveable than others. But, what is most curious with a close reading of the text, is how little is actually said about Pecolas actual physical appearance. The few details that are shared, in an objective sense, dont really lead the contemporary reader to an assessment of Pecola lacking any true physical attractiveness.  Ultimately, an understanding begins to emerge - that Pecolas physical appearance (i.e. whether she is beautiful or ugly)  is irrelevant.  It is merely a Rorschach Test (Exner, 1980) upon which all the characters in Morrisons The Bluest Eye play out their own aesthetic neuroses which have been shaped by so many layers of complex and interwoven factors from their own personal histories.


The literary movement taking place from the 1880s to 1900s was called Naturalism. Naturalism utilized realism in entirety and suggested that social conditions, inheritance, and surroundings had an unavoidable strength in determining human characters. It was portrayed as a literary progression that seemed to copy the day to day reality out of our lives, in contrast other movements such as Romanticism or Surrealism, in which characters might have received an extremely figurative, impractical, or even paranormal treatment. Naturalism stemmed out from Realism, a significant literary movement which commenced in the in middle of the nineteenth century in France and elsewhere. Naturalistic writers got their influences from Charles Darwins Theory of Evolution. They believed that ones inheritance and environment shape ones character. Whereas realism looks forward to only describing central characters as they actually are, naturalism also steps ahead in determining logically the fundamental forces (e.g. the setting or inheritance) empowering the actions of its characters. (Pizer, 1984) Naturalistic works uncovered the dark realities of life, including racism, sex, poverty, discrimination, ailment, prostitution, and dirt. As a result, naturalistic writers were often said to be too blunt. Naturalist literature and Realistic literature share one thing in common and that is their attention to social conditions.

Stephen Crane is probably the first naturalistic American writer. Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind is one of Stephen Cranes poem about war and its consequences. In twenty-six lines, the theme of the poem carefully draws attention to the beloveds of the soldiers who lost their lives in the war fields in the middle of the disorder and commotion. The blank verse used by Crane is well matched to the topic of war because it lacks the pleasant patterns rhyme and portrays the real and natural pictures of the war. This poem uses anaphora to impact the theme into the readers mind. Towards the middle and end of the poem, Crane moves more towards realism with his writing. And field where a thousand corpses lie(Crane  Jacob 22). Stephen Cranes interpretations of life are seen to be his own thoughts about life and these matches the naturalistic train of thought.

In the story Maggie by Stephen Crane, Maggie is used as a central character to depict the treacherous results that one has to confront when heshe violates the norms of the society and takes over prostitution as a profession, breaking the social boundaries set upon them since birth. People like Maggie are rear in the world that she lives in and according to Crane she blossomed in a mud puddle. She grew to be a most rare and wonderful production of a tenement district, a pretty girl. (Crane, 16) Cranes views of the poor allow him to create his characters as shells absent of conscious thought, leaving them susceptible to the ills of their environment. In Cranes short stories, he depicts the reality of life for the poor. Crane sees the poor as sub human and gives them no voice in his pieces. They are absent of inner lives. Crane, in his absence of a real knowledge of how the poor felt, is unable to put their thoughts into words.

Edith Wharton was another popular American writer of the Naturalist movement. She is known for her detailed depiction of life among citizens of New York who belong to the elite class. (Lee, 2007) A very common theme of Whartons story Roman Fever is social determinism With envy and jealousy among the characters as depicted in words such as Alida Slades awfully brilliant but not as brilliant as she thinks, decides Mrs. Ansley (Wharton, 1119). This is also evident from the very first sentence in the introduction of the story where the two women are introduced with the words ripe but well-cared-for middle age (Wharton 1116). It is clearly seen from this line that stereotypes are at issue. The story is about two year long friends, Mrs. Ansley and Mrs. Slade, who have actually grown up together and one day they are defied by the fact that they dont know much about each other. This clearly justifies that Naturalist literature and Realistic literature share one thing in common and that is their attention to social conditions and relationships.

Short Story Comparison The Tell-Tale Heart and The Birthmark

    In comparing Poes 1843 short story The Tell-Tale Heart with Hawthornes 1843 short story The Birthmark, it is clear that both of the themes center on the idea of physical imperfection being a mark of moral shortcoming.  In Poes story, it is an older man who suffers the scorn and eventually murder, or attempted murder, committed by a younger man.  In Hawthornes story, it is a young wife Georgiana who endures the extreme disapproval and also murder committed by her own husband Aylmer.  The older man and Georgiana share a common flaw, a physical imperfection, the older man having a glazed eye and Georgiana having a birthmark, and it is this imperfection and the reaction of hatred and disgust by the counterpart which serves to initiate horrible strife and death.  Both the younger man and Aylmer become increasingly annoyed by the slight physical imperfections of their counterparts, and eventually their obsession with the presence of this small evil brings about the complete downfall of all of the characters.  Between the frenzied narration of The Tell-Tale Heart and the flawed experimentation of The Birthmark, the obsession for perfection in a world of imperfection is illuminated by the question of morality in changing something outside of our human inquisition.

The Tell-Tale Heart
    In Poes story, one of the two main characters, a younger man who perhaps is a boarder in the home of the older man or maybe even his son, is struck by what he considers to be a hideous physical defect, the pale blue and filmy eye of the older man.  The ugliness of the older mans eye becomes a wild obsession of the younger man, and eventually, he cannot bear to be in its presence.  In what could be termed as a manic or psychotic state, the younger man decides to take the life of the older man, to exterminate both him and his imperfection.  Over the course of a week, the younger man becomes increasingly insane and his murderous tendencies mount, as he plots the death of his host.  The younger man cannot stand to be in the presence of the older mans eye, which he describes as being like that of a vulture whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold.  By ridding himself completely of the older man, he would be ridding himself of having to remain in the presence of the evil he sees in the older man, exterminating the cold emptiness of the eye.  However, even after the murder, the younger man is tormented by the horrible beating of the hideous heart of the older man, as is pulses beneath the floorboards.

The Birthmark
In Hawthornes story, the wife Georgiana is the target of her husband Aylmers distaste, as he becomes increasingly repulsed by his wifes birthmark.  In a concerted effort to remove her blemish, Aylmer decides that a medical procedure is the only option, and he convinces Georgiana to succumb to a risky experiment, taking a tonic to purge her of bodily imperfection.  Aylmer is obviously completely disgusted by the birthmark on his wifes hand, and his cannot remain in her presence without being revolted by her.  The obsession with his wifes mark of evil is so great that Aylmer would rather risk the sacrifice the life of his wife than to be forced to gaze upon her marred skin.  Georgiana agrees to undergo the medical procedure in an effort to please her husband, yet the tonic proves to be too strong for her and she is poisoned to death.  At the end of the story, Georgiana shares some words of wisdom from her deathbed when she tells her husband that he has aimed loftily yet rejected the best the earth could offer.  Although the small scourge of sin was present upon her, Aylmer rejects the complete personhood of his wife in his effort to purge her.

Victim Comparison
    In comparing the characters of the older man and Georgiana, it is evident that both of them are innocent of personal wrongdoing.  Physical deformations are present, albeit miniscule in comparison to their total selves.  It is rather likely that the older man and Georgiana had no personal influence upon their own physical imperfections.  In the case of the older man, perhaps it was simply age or disease which influenced the glaze of his eye, as he could have been suffering from cataracts.  In the case of Georgiana, it is probable that there was a slight disruption of her fetal development in the womb, due to actions of her mother, which caused her to be born with the mark upon her skin.  It is certainly possible that neither the older man nor Georgiana are responsible for their physical flaws, yet they are placed in the position of being guilty due to the odd behavior of their counterparts.  By taking a positive view of the victims, it is safe to say that the older man and Georgina are wrongly tormented and assaulted by their aggressors, and they suffer to death due to the maniacal perspectives of the murderers.

Aggressor Comparison
    In comparing the characters of younger man and Aylmer, it is obvious that they are touched by a kind of deranged obsessive compulsive impulse in wanting to erase imperfection from their environments.  In the effort to purge their surroundings, they ended up killing their loved ones.  This extreme effort to secure perfection and rid themselves of sin left no room for earthliness, for human error and weakness.  They would both rather lead lives of complete perfection than lives where amounts of imperfection are tolerable.  The younger man sees the sin in the eye of the older man and exudes a severe reaction of enraged sinfulness, where he himself takes on his own gruesome mortal sin and his own extreme imperfection in the act of murder.  Similarly, Aylmer sees the sin in the birthmark of Georgiana and reacts with repulsed sinfulness, where he himself also takes on his own horrible mortal sin and his own severe imperfection in the act of murder.  In the attempts of both men to purge themselves of sin, they invite even greater sin into their lives.

    Both of these short stories deal with the theme of the interplay between imperfection and perfection, between sin and goodness.  In the end, it is obvious that both dramas are tragic in the sense that the characters most in search of perfection become the most severely flawed characters, while the characters with minor flaws become tragic heroes, sacrificed by the moral shortcomings of their counterparts.  The older man and Georgiana become the symbols for righteousness and tolerance, while the younger man and Aylmer become the symbols for sinfulness and intolerance.  Georgianas final remarks remain very poignant, in that while it is good to set ones sights on moral perfection, it can often be dangerous to try to force away the physical and moral sins of the world in order to the gain complete perfection of heaven.  Keeping strong on the path of goodness and righteousness and remaining morally upright is different from placing energy in attempting to eradicate evil.  Very often, one only attains the good by remaining focused on the good.

Go tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

    James Baldwin starts his novel with John, the main character of the story, entering his fourteenth year and realizing that he should do something that his father expects him to do. From the time that he is aware, he had been told that he should become a preacher and serve the Lord. Confused of what his father wants, he realizes on his birthday whether he wants to satisfy other (his desire) or to become a man of church. He recollects some incidents from his childhood and state the impression on his mind of being a man of God and the visitation he made to the Temple of the Fire Baptized at Harlem every Sunday. The author expresses the feelings of a child rendered into an elegant adult observation without stripping them raw of truth. The resulting effect of wanting to forgive is nonetheless very effective and a sign of rejection of Johns independence of mind from the knowledge that he already had.

    The major principles of the novel are search for identity and quest for love. It can be noticed that all of the characters commit mistake and are paid for it at the end. In terms of its mood, it traces the growth of John from childhood to adolescence and exposes the spiritual predicament faced by all the characters that influence him. This can be seen when John experiences a crisis identity. His father expects him to become a preacher without even consulting John. The word fire mentioned in the novel with the author anger at racism, religion and broken communities. Consequently, at one point of the story, John fears that he might go too far and said I can climb back up. If its wrong, I can always climb back up (Baldwin, 1953). Thus, this novel can be better understood not only about a story of a black boys growing up in poverty and racism but also a human misery who does not understand. A story that is powerful works from beginning to end and give a new language to American experience.

Seeking the Truth Despite the Pain As Depicted in Anita Sherves The Pilots Wife, and Alice Sebolds The Lovely Bones

Pain has always been an eternal feeling, thought, idea and concept. It has long been part of humanity that even how grave the emotional struggles it causes men are, it still remains an inescapable reality and as inevitable as pain is the sought for truth. Over the years, great minds have tried explicating what the truth is, in relation to the common objective of deciphering why it appears so significant in humanity. And as what most of their studies found, truth, just like pain is an irreversible part of humanity. These two ideals have been typical subjects in literature as well. Their universality actually made it easy for a lot of authors to create stories that would allow people to see the reflections of their perspective about pain and truth in those works. One of the most common situations which these two ideals create is the dilemma of searching for the truth through pain. This, as well, is another universal feat people go through in their lifetime. This is a very typical and inescapable situation. People would always seek what is true. As the saying goes, the truth sets people free. It frees people from doubts and confusions, as well as from their fears and anxieties. However in their sought of truth, there often comes pain. And in facing this feat, different people appear to have varying ways of coping with the dilemma. Does knowing the truth serve a sufficient purpose and reason for going through pain And is the pain worth it in peoples sought of what is true These questions were addressed in Anita Sherves The Pilots Wife, and in Alice Sebolds The Lovely Bones. These are stories of people who sought truth and had to go through the most painful of experiences. Thus, this discussion shall focus on delineating the relevance of pain in peoples sought of truth. Apart from this, this discussion shall also differentiate the characters ways of dealing with pain in their quest for the most important truths in their lives.

The Pilots Wife
The Pilots Wife by Anita Sherve is a captivating depiction of a tragic news which knocked on a wifes door one tranquil evening. Kathryns Lyons life was always at its best despite the some occasional dilemmas. At one point of her life, he grew contented of having a humble yet pretty home, a good daughter, and a good yet always-away husband, who is a pilot. She was having the time of her life, until the bad news eventually knocked on her door one fine evening. Her husband died in a crash. Just like what is expected to be observed from any other wife who just knew her husband tragically died in an accident, Kathryns heart terribly got crushed after hearing the sad news. However, despite the frequent stabs of pain due to the loss of her husband, Kathryn was able to move on. However, in the process, she realized the urge to know more about the incident and some seemingly secret things about her departed spouse. It is at this point where the struggle between pain and a persons quest for truth becomes observable. In this situation, the value of truth is on Kathryns wanting to find closure. She wanted to know everything about her husbands death as she wanted to stop from thinking and imagining things that have recurrently put her in a state or paranoia. However in the process, she goes through some of the most painful discoveries. At this point, a terrible emotional struggle enveloped Kathryn. The author specifically notes, She was, she thought, like a woman after a divorce looking at a wedding dress. Could the dress no longer be cherished if the marriage itself had disintegrated (Shreve 231).

The kind of pain Kathryn went through was a very familiar kind. It is safe to assume that the readers of this work will easily relate to such kind of depiction. However the depth of and extent of pain would appear inconceivable as Kathryn utters, Its like a train rolling over me...A train that doesnt stop (293). Obviously, the pain of losing her husband deeply crushed Kathryns soul. However, it also appears that Kathryn was determined to know the truth about her husbands tragic death no matter what as it shows, sometimes, she thought, courage was simply a matter of putting one foot in front of another and not stopping (207).

In this story, the importance of truth can be understood in realizing the importance of closure in ones life. Some things are indeed meant to be closed and ended. However in the Kathryns situation, she still had to go through some painful discoveries as she sought truth. But apparently, as strong as her will to carry on is her will to face whatever it takes just to find closure in her painful loss of a partner. The depiction of pain in this story is very familiar. It seems understandable that Kathryn was ready to face pain, since readers know that every wife will be willing to face such kind of pain so as to solve the mysteries of their husbands death as well. And as it appears, the weight of truth in this story really prevails over pain. Sherve succeeded in portraying a reality that indeed, in some situations, a need for closure and truth will certainly be stronger than the fear of pain.

The Lovely Bones
Just like in the previously discussed story, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold also deals with peoples quest for the truth while having to go through the defying feat of pain. This story tells the tale of a young girl, Susie, who has been raped and murdered. The tragedy was  not as simple as that as the murderer even cut off Susies vulnerable body into pieces and hid them into the most undisclosed places only he knows. And just like the tragedy portrayed in the first story, Susies death has been very difficult and painful for her family to bear and accept. But just like Kathryns need for closure to her mourning for her husbands death, Susies family who initially could not accept what happened to her, also found the urge to close and finish their suffering by learning all the facts about their beloved, Susies death. Just like in Sherves story, this work by Sebold circles around the universal emotion of pain by the loss of a loved one. It is very easy to understand the characters pains as people know that losing a loved one is one of the most painful things there are in the world. The agony of forcing ones self to accept such a painful reality was very evident as Sebold describes Susies fathers agony. Sebold notes,

Last night it had been my father who had finally said it, Shes never coming home. A clear and easy piece of truth that everyone who had ever known me had accepted. But he needed to say it, and she needed to hear him say it (Sebold 289).

This passage clearly describes the kind of pain Susies family had to go through so as to overcome their longing. However, as it appears, the pain was not on Susies family alone, Susie, herself suffered from the pain of not having any clue of her death, as she wandered the earth as a lost soul. Susie would utter, Had my brother really seen me somehow, or he was he merely a little boy telling beautiful lies (95). She would say this as she wanders and looks after her family, as she carries the desperation to let them know she is always watching and protecting them. Apparently, the kind of pain portrayed in this story was equally unimaginable as the first one. However, it was also apparent that each character held a strong conviction and belief that they had to overcome the pain in order to know the truth about Susies death and eventually accept and overcome the tragedy. And evidently, all they needed was indeed some hints as to what really happened to Susies body, as well as the defeat of her murderer. Susie even notes an interesting revelation How to commit the perfect murder was an old game in heaven. I always chose the icicle the weapon melts away (195). She said this as she watched her murderer died as a huge icicle fell on him. This also presents how pure and merciful Susies soul really was, for even in revenge, she never wanted to cause to much pain. Eventually, as Susies soul came to a peace, her family also meets with peace as they finally learn everything about her death, after all the struggles and painful discoveries they had to face. Evidently, this story also depicts the reality that the need for truth will always be weigh more than the fear for pain. It presents the reality that people will always be ready to face pain  so as to eventually achieve piece. The best passage which could exemplify this would be Susies realization, as her own pain of longing for closure comes to an end

These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence the connections - sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent - that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life. (320)

Thus, after being able to analyze both Sherve and Sebolds depiction of death and the quest for truth, it appears the lost of a loved one is indeed the most painful experience any person can go through. But aside from this, the quest for truth regarding their loved ones tragic death also appears very agonizing. But the most interesting realization in these stories is that, pain is but a transition. It is indeed a transition every person had to go through in their quest for truth and peace. And this claim has been clearly depicted in these two captivating works.

Nothing Can Stay Valuing Life

  On a Fair May, 2008 - My Aunt Peep is what I can call a cool aunt. She relates to our generations trappings but gives you wise and colorful advices. She taught me how to sing nursery rhymes, listen to Rock n Roll music and jazz, stories and poems.

  Today while we sit and wait at the airports lobby we talk about something fragile that she treads to the conversation carefully. I clutch the brass urn carefully like it was alive as she asked, How do you feel

  Im sad. Right after it happened I didnt have the appetite to eat and I felt like drowning in a pool of nauseating loneliness. But I need to move on and be strong for Bear, I told her. She nods in understanding and makes our chit chat lighter.

  Catch-up conversations and a box of pizza killed us time until my flights boarding screen starts flashing. Aunt Peep hugs me tightly and said You are so strong my baby. I dont know how you do it with everything that happened to you. But you are strong. I wouldnt know what to do if it was me.  You are strong yourself Auntie. You just have to be optimistic I said in a comforting voice and a smile. See, you never run out of smiles. You always find something to be happy about. She chuckled and with that I wave goodbye and prepare myself to face Bear.
Night makes the city beautiful with its thousand tiny lights twinkling from the street lamps and houses on the ground. The cold breeze is welcoming after the hot humid day with Aunt Peep. I head to the carousel where the baggages are slowly circulated in a winding trail. I sight my big red luggage and heave it to my trolley, carefully placing the bag and the brass urn into place before I stroll out into clusters of waiting crowd. I skim the faces of parents, siblings, lovers and friends, finding the face I am quite anxious see. My eyes stops at the features of a man who didnt fit the image my mind kept the last I saw him.

  Bear is now thin, with sunken cheeks, frail arms and pale skin. Dark circles under his eyes let me know hes had sleepless nights.  Are you okay I ask. Im fine. How are you he replied with an embrace.  I think I can be okay now were together I said as I breathe in his scent that comforts me. I show him the brass urn, locking my eyes to his so he can see how sorry I am. He touches the cold, heavy cube reverently and smiled at me. I know that he is hurting but he knows better than to lose his show of strength. It wont be good for me or for him. Mom is waiting for us in the van and your mom is here too. As we walk to where my mom is waiting, I remember that conversation the three of us had together in her room. I was sitting on the bed and Bear was standing at my side watching my mom paced back and forth in panic and anger.  You didnt even tell me and that makes me look stupid because it was Jeff who told me that youre pregnant Your dad will be very angry, he wont accept this. You have to let it go. The last statement she made surprised me and Bear. I wont do what youre asking of me. The babys 4 months already I said in a scared voice. I dont care, youre letting it go she said and left the room.

  I cringe at the memory as mom leaped up to greet me as soon as she saw us. Hi baby, I miss you she said. I smile back and talk normally with her, brushing for awhile the indifference of what she wanted me to do five months ago. After all she is still my mother and I always knew how feeble is. I also never mentioned to her how hypocrite she sounds when asking me about Cred.

  Dinner with my in-laws and my mother went by pretty fast. They hug and gave me and Bear sympathetic pats until it is time to say goodnight.

  Our bedroom is freshly cleaned. Bear made sure to have it ready and comfortable so I can rest knowing that its been just five days since I gave birth. He sits on top of the sheets and browsed through Creds picture album that my dad lovingly putted together.

  He looks exactly like me he said with pride. Yes, but he got his complexion from me you know I said smugly. Well okay if you insist he retorted after sticking his tongue out at me. It made me laugh. Its the first time I did again for days but it didnt last.

  Im sorry Bear. If only I took care of myself better when I knew I was pregnant he wouldnt have gotten sick. If only I didnt take those headache pills, maybe he would be perfectly healthy. Im really sorry I didnt realize how valuable he is until I gave birth to him. He only lived for an hour because his lungs were too small, he cant breathe properly. I said crying again and being filled with guilt.

  You have to stop blaming yourself. You were only scared because youre not prepared. Im at fault too because I didnt hold back. But what matters is you decided to keep him and give him a chance even though we know there was something wrong with him. You didnt believe your mom and you had the courage to face your dad Bear said. I always knew that he is wise for our age.

  But I feel like Im a bad person, like Im not worthy to live anymore. I said with remorse.
  You have to live for yourself, for me, your dad and the people who care about you. Remember what your dad said, maybe Cred wanted to give you a chance to finish school before and find a good career path before settling in with a family he comforted.

 I take a deep breath in and try to believe what he said. We will always be here to keep his memory. Thats what we can do for our loved ones who pass away, keep their memory. 

  Bear pats my head as I lie on his chest, lulling me to sleep. As I try to visit dreamland, I stare at the gold brass urn where Creds ashes are kept. I remember a poem Aunt Peep taught me, Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Natures first green is gold,Her hardest hue to hold.Her early leafs a flowerBut only so an hour.Then leaf subsides to leaf.So Eden sank to grief,So dawn goes down to day.Nothing gold can stay.