The Cultural Fear of Insanity. ~Cora

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”

~Albert Einstein

 

A cultural fear is something that society fears as a whole. Society does not know how to cope with something so they fear it. One of these cultural fears is the fear of insanity. Over time, the mentally insane have been dealt with in different ways. The insane have large effects of the people around them and themselves. They are usually sent away because society does not know how to control or deal with them, making them a cultural fear.

Two books that exhibit the mentally insane are; The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Turn of the Screw. In The Yellow Wallpaper a woman is in therapeutic isolation, because of a sickness she contracted, and being alone all the time eventually drove her mad. In The Turn of the Screw, a young governess goes insane and starts to see things, and eventually ends up killing one of the children she is taking care of.

Insane people have an effect on the people around them and themselves, and this is why it is a cultural fear. Society will not conform to them so they are taken out of normal society.

 

What the general populace thinks:

In the 17th and 18th centuries, mental patents were viewed as possessed by the devil, or that they were bewitched. The treatment of these people was far less than inadequate, and inhumane. They were often restrained with heavy ball and chain, or strength jackets. Treatment was usually therapeutic isolation, which was meant to calm the patents so they could collect their wits. The insane were generally places in prisons or asylums, which was almost the same thing in that time. After the asylum reform mental patients were treated much better. They practiced much safer forms of rehabilitation that did not cause harm to the patent.

What the scholarly think:

Early insanity treatment was inhumane and harsh. The mentally ill were put into prison-like hospitals and were often beaten into submission. They were poorly cared for and often went without clothes or food. They were crowded and the hospitals were extremely overpopulated. They were usually restrained in some way, with things like a ball and chain or a strength jacket. “Treatments” used were usually things like therapeutic isolation and sensory deprivation. After the reform of the asylums, led by Dorthea Dix, asylums in America had much better conditions, and asylums in England were starting to reform as well.

Insanity as seen in books:

The Yellow Wallpaper is written in the point of view of a woman who goes insane. She was placed in therapeutic rest by her husband, who was a doctor, because she had been sick and he wanted her to get better. She eventually went insane, according to her because of the hideous yellow wallpaper that was in her room, and started to rip all of the wallpaper off the wall. This shows that isolation actually made her go insane and that it was a bad treatment to practice on people who were insane, after reading this many people working in the insanity treatment business changed how they treated mental patents.

The Turn of the Screw was written to be a very ambiguous novel, and one of the ways to interpret it is that the governess had taken on too many roles, and as a result she went mad and accidentally killed on of the children in her care. Because of the stress she was under, she went crazy and started to see things, and she decided that her hallucinations were ghosts. While “protecting” the children she scares a little boy so bad that his heart stops and he dies. This shows one of the ways people went mad, by being under too much stress.

 

When someone is deemed insane or mad they are usually taken away to be treated. They have a great effect of the people around them, like in The Yellow Wallpaper, when the woman’s husband sees that she had gone insane he passes out from the shock and sadness. She herself does not care that she is insane, only that she can get out of the room with the yellow wallpaper. Her husband is upset at finding his wife insane, because he loves her and only wants the best for her. Society cannot tolerate people who are insane so they put them out of site. Asylums were often out of the public eye, partly to hide the terrible conditions, and partly to give the public peace of mind that they do not have to tolerate the insane being near them.

Conditions for the insane have improved greatly since the 18th century. They are still a cultural fear because society cannot, and will not tolerate them. People are afraid that the insane might upset the balance of society and culture and our way of life.

“Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage. ”

~ Ray Bradbury

Sources:

“26d. Prison and Asylum Reform.” Prison and Asylum Reform [ushistory.org]. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2012. <http://www.ushistory.org/us/26d.asp&gt;.

“History of the Organization and the Movement.” Mental Health America:. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2012. <http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectid=da2f000d-1372-4d20-c8882d19a97973aa&gt;.

Mental Health Ethics: The Human Context. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011. Print.

Scull, Andrew T. Madness: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford [England: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

Swartz, Leslie. Culture and Mental Health. Cape Town: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.

FInal project draft/ save-as-i-go Faye

What drives people to act the way they do? What rules of society drives their sub-conscience decisions everyday? Is it the way people around them act? What about the laws of their current location? Or could it be that people’s everyday actions, decisions, and interactions are affected by gender?

The idea of looking at a piece of literature or media based on gender is known as gender criticism. You use gender criticism to look at characters and wonder why they act and think the way they do because of their gender and the gender of the people around them. However, gender criticism can uncover some not-so-pleasant things about cultures, like cultural hauntings. Cultural hauntings are evil-spirited stories or happenings that apply to certain societies or groups because they themselves believe in the hauntings. They can be mental, like a town remembering a horrible accident that happened years ago, or it can by physical, like a structure or object that has a bad rememory. Rememory is a theory created by the author Toni Morrison, which can be summarized as such: Rememory is the association of certain feelings or emotions with an object or location. It is not the actual memories that occurred with the place or object. Gender criticism is like a lens used to see past the surface of a story to find the hauntings hidden within it.

Gender criticism can uncover things like sexism in a town, hysteria in women, or too much masculinity or femininity in general. Many pieces of literature can be gender-critiqued, and two such pieces are Empire Falls by Richard Russo and The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Empire Falls is a novel about a small town in Maine called Empire Falls and is focused on a small-restaurant owner, Max Roby. Max has recently gone through a divorce with his wife Janine, and is slowly working to repair his relationship with his daughter Tick. His restaurant gets shut down from too many health-code violations, and the repairs are through the roof, so now Max must decide if he will spend the money or pursue opening a new restaurant in a clean building.  The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story about a woman whose husband, a doctor named John, confines her to bed rest in a rented cottage in order for her to return to normal after getting constant headaches. He forbids her to any physical or social activities, including writing, and has his sister check in on her every so often. Unfortunately, the wallpaper  of the attic where the wife is kept begins to drive her insane-literally. She convinces herself there is a woman trapped behind the “bars” of the wallpaper, which in reality was just the pattern. In the end, she goes crazy and tries to tear down all the wallpaper while locking herself in the room so John cannot reach her.

My goal is to show that gender plays a huge role in the actions and thoughts of people not only media articles, but also in real life. Because of gender and the gender of others, people act in ways they have deemed “socially respectable,” even if they don’t realize it consciously. These roles have always been around, regardless of whether or not people have out-rightly noticed them, and have simply evolved to fit with the ever-changing time period.

Depending on where someone is looking from with gender criticism changes how you interpret and describe articles. Non-scholarly people think of gender criticism as a way to examine “how sexual identity influences the creation and reception of literary works.” Also, people think of it as a way to read/watch/listen to a piece of literature with a blend of gender-based views. Another way people call a distinction to gender criticism from more biased gender-views is by noting how gender-based critics are more constructionists than essentialists. Construction-ism is a view that states that most of the differences between men and women are not characteristics of the male and female sex (nature) but more of the masculine and feminine genders (nurture).

Scholars and people of a higher academic standing think of gender criticism not as much as a way to look at and describe a piece of literature, but as a way to look more at the time period and why roles of certain genders have become structured in the first place. For example, Gender Roles and Sexuality in Victorian Literature emphasizes the patriarchy of the Victorian Era and how feminism slowly grew from it and tried to overthrow it. The book is of the opinion that gender criticism is based on the idea of woman versus men in society, but also off the sexual desires of said characters. This is a strong parallel of what other scholarly books and texts believe, but unfortunately I do not have the book to cite and cannot recall its examples or information well enough to use it now.

Gender criticism is very present in the two pieces of literature I mentioned earlier, Empire Falls and The Yellow Wallpaper. Miles, the main character of Empire Falls is very non-dominant, so femininity takes its place over Miles, represented in his wife, daughter, and boss. All three women are dominant over him, on different levels of obviousness. His wife is very obvious, often dropping remarks about how clueless and unsure he is, just constantly insulting him without repercussions. This can be gender critiqued because she is fully taking on a feminine role and absolutely disregarding Miles. His daughter, Tick, is dominant in a much less obtrusive way. She controls him with a non-intended manipulation of being daddy’s little girl, which is where gender begins to show itself as a social guideline. And lastly, Mrs. Whiting, the boss, brings up the point of gender critique-ability when she manipulates Miles by using the restraint he runs for her. She makes sure he is on unsure ground by not letting him know exactly for sure if she will leave him the restaurant in her will. This is considered against the grain of a standard gender relationship because in a stereotypical modern view, the man would be the boss and even that a woman boss would not manipulate her male workers. Another notable gender role in Empire Falls is between Janine, Miles’s wife, and Tick. Tick mostly blames Janine for the divorce, so Janine cannot fulfill the standard motherly role. So much so that Tick often calls her mother harsh names, like a bit*h and Janine almost runs Tick over with her car on accident, which is very symbolic.

The Yellow Wallpaper is another piece of literature with gender roles that we studied in class. This book is set in a later time period, so the idea of a patriarch is more accepted and assumed in relationships. This idea is very present in the idea of the couple, John, the husband/doctor, and the unnamed wife, who is the absolute main character. Because of the gender stereotypes, the wife cannot resist when the husband orders her to bed rest in the attic-room of a cottage they are renting away from time. Bed rest might not seem like such a bad treatment option, but in those times it meant not leaving the house AT ALL, or in her case even the attic, and absolutely no contact with the outside world, including letters. Overtime, the main character begins to slowly lose mental control because of the lack of social interaction and because of the never-changing room she lives in. She begins to convince herself of something in the wallpaper that is trapped, and in the beginning, seems to realize what is happening to herself. The insanity comes on in small doses, and the woman tries to alert her husband to it. However, because he is so convinced he is smarter than a woman (even his ailing wife) he simply tells she “really is getting better” and needs an even stricter bed rest treatment. The main point of gender roles is that the husband is so blinded by the idea he is dominant and always right bears him unable to believe his prescribed treatment is making his wife worse, rather than better. In the end, the woman goes truly crazy and tears down all the wallpaper. The sad ending could have been avoided had the society not been set in such a patriarchal view point.

Gender roles are everywhere, all the time. Don’t worry, they aren’t scary, they are actually very…assisting. They set rules and guidelines that can be seen with gender criticism. Without the sub-conscience rules of gender criticism, the socially accepted and respected ways to act around member of the opposite and similar sex would be very blurred, almost non-existent. Just as the ways I pointed out in Empire Falls  and The Yellow Wallpaper, gender rules and roles can dominate a culture, for the better and worse. Gender criticism is a tool, and a lens to use in order to see these roles and rules and without it, we would still have those things, but we couldn’t recognize them enough to put them in words. However, many people go throughout their life without knowing said rules consciously, so don’t worry. Hopefully, this has shown you some insight into how much of a part gender plays into our day-to-day life, and that it can indeed be haunting.

Faye

Department of English. “Critical Approaches to Literature.” — CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LITERATURE —. Ole Miss University, 21 Aug. 1995. Web. 26 July 2012. <http://home.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/spring97/litcrit.html&gt;.

“GENDER CRITICISM.” N.p., n.d. Web. <http://faculty.mckendree.edu/brenda_boudreau/English%20290/gender_criticism.htm&gt;.

Parker, Christopher. Gender Roles and Sexuality in Victorian Literature. Aldershot, Hants., England: Scolar, 1995. Print.

Final Project: Cultural Haunting -Grace

“The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there’s no risk of accident for someone who’s dead.” –Albert Einstein

The fear of death is a cultural haunting-there’s no phantom, but it’s definitely something that haunts you. A cultural haunting is something that’s widespread, like loss, destruction, death, difference, etc. These things, though, each have no spirit involved with them; it’s the idea that haunts you, the idea that scares you. The fear of death is a cultural haunting because it’s a fear that is widespread and affects many people day in and day out, making them frightened of other things like sickness, boats, planes, or heights. To help prove this point, I will be using two fiction books with examples of this, Empire Falls and The Woman in BlackEmpire Falls is about a man, Miles Roby, who lives a seemingly normal life in the small town of Empire Falls, but there is loss around every corner. His mother died years and years ago, his daughter’s friend’s grandmother died, and there is the ever-present question of what will happen with all the properties of Francine Robideaux once she dies. In The Woman in Black, Arthur Kipps goes to a small village to settle the affairs of the late Mrs. Drablow. There, he sees ghosts. The woman in black is actually Mrs. Drablow herself and she kills kids whenever she is seen. So, that invites the fear of death to come in a lot, as Arthur is scared for his death and his own children’s death after the fact. The fear of death affects the world in many ways, and those ways will have light shed on them.

One of the popular questions about this fear of death is what causes it exactly. Many people believe it’s the unknown qualities about death itself. Questions popping up about the unknown aspects include: ‘Is it painful? What happens after we’re gone? Will I remember this? Will I be the same?’ We’re just so afraid of facing what things we don’t know about-it’s sort of a human instinct, in a way. We always ask questions of what we don’t know, and expect answers, but we never get any concerning death-no one has survived it to answer said questions, obviously.  This fear also puts delays in our lives. We delay writing our wills, buying life insurance, and many others that point to the fact that we will, one day, die. Another reason we’re so scared is that we fear that we will not be finished with what we need done before we die. There are supposed ways to get rid of this fear, though. Think about it when you’re completely healthy, meditate on it, and just accept that death will always happen-it’s a part of life.

It’s also thought that we ‘chose’ to scare ourselves from death. I say this because when we tell stories, we often add in macabre deaths in to make it more interesting. The media also adds to this-making mild deaths in literature into gory ones that we could go our whole lives without seeing in the movies. Also, the threats from people add in to our fear. We have nuclear threats, threats of war, actual war, and threats in our neighborhood we don’t even realize. We hear stuff on the news everyday about how there was a shooting, a car accident, a murder, or a suicide. All these things, all these stories, contribute to our fear of death. When someone close to us dies, which we also fear from these reasons, there’s usually a mourning process we go through. Step one is that you have to accept the reality of the loss, step two: work through the pain, step three: adjust to life without the loved one, step four: moving on, and step five: rebuilding things challenged by the loss (faith, religion, other relationships, etc.). The fear of death is a thing we see every day, even in common every day fears.

The Woman in Black and Empire Falls both show the fear of death in them. In The Woman in Black, the townspeople are scared for their children’s lives. They’ve heard the legends that every time the woman in black is seen, a child dies. So, whenever someone goes to the Eel Marsh House, they get scared, not for their own lives, but the lives of the children as they might commit suicide in some odd way. Arthur also is scared for his life, the dog’s life, his son’s life, Keckwick’s life, and his wife’s life throughout the book. His life was threatened by the hauntings. The dog almost drowned. His son was killed by the woman in black. He thought that the phantom of a carriage and horse drowning, taking the lives of the driver and a child, was Keckwick. Arthur’s wife was seriously injured and ended up dying. So, he was fearful of death many times-and not just his own death, either. In Empire Falls, the fear of death also comes up, albeit not as often. Miles Roby, as a boy, was scared of his mom dying when it appeared that way, and she did die. The principal was afraid that John Voss’s grandmother (also his guardian), was dead and John was living by himself. Although they were not scared for their own lives, they were scared of death all the same.

Obviously, the fear of death is very common. There is no real ghost, so this makes it a cultural haunting. The idea of it frightens us-haunts us-so much that we can’t bear to face it. Now, you may be wondering what to do with this fear of death haunting you. There really is nothing to do but simply face it, you know you’re going to die, everyone does, so why be scared of it? You know you won’t be the only one, everyone dies. No worries, everyone will experience the same thing-don’t let it haunt you.

“I’m not afraid of death.  It’s the stake one puts up in order to play the game of life.”  ~Jean Giraudoux,Amphitryon, 1929

Sources:

Hanson, Robin. “Fear of Death and Muddled Thinking – It Is So Much.” Fear of Death and Muddled Thinking – It Is So Much. N.p., Aug. 2005. Web. 25 July 2012.

Templeton, Traci. “Whydo We Fear Death?” Fears of Death and Dying. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2012. <http://www.mesacc.edu/dept/d46/psy/dev/Spring02/death/fear.html&gt;.

Stearns, Peter N. American Fear: The Causes and Consequences of High Anxiety. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Strack, Stephen, and Herman Feifel. Death and the Quest for Meaning: Essays in Honor of Herman Feifel. Northvale, NJ: J. Aronson, 1997. Print.

“Quotes and Sayings about Death.” Quotes and Sayings about Death. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2012. <http://www.quotegarden.com/death.html&gt;.

Haunted Songs with Hidden Meanings- Faye

Have you ever stopped and looked deeper into songs to study their lyrics? Have you ever asked yourself, “What is this song really talking about? What is the songwriter going through or trying to tell me through this song?” So many songs have been written and people enjoy them and sing along without really knowing what they are talking about. Just like the YMCA by Village People and Hotel California by the Eagles.

The YMCA was a huge hit when it first came out in 1978 and was on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in November and went up to the number two spot by January. Most people don’t look into this song because they are so distracted by the fun jingle, easy-to-learn words, upbeat rhythm, and catchy melody. However, if one such person did look into it they would be quite surprised by all the different ways to interpret it. Some people say that it hinted at the idea of the Y.M.C.A.’s being places for homosexual people to meet and get to know each other. Others agree that it’s just a fun song that is still constantly played at baseball games as a crowd favorite. I, however, looked a little bit more closely at the actual story going on behind the tunes. It’s about a young, poor boy who is new in town and is hanging out on the streets because he doesn’t know anyone and is approached by an older man who tries to give guidance. He tells the young boy about the YMCA, or the Young Mens Christian Association, where he can go when he is short on cash, needs somewhere to stay the night, and needs something to eat and cannot supply himself. The song ends with the old man telling the boy to not be ashamed that he used to be in the same place where the boy is and is now happy and successful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS9OO0S5w2k   Here is a link to the music video if you want to check it out but watch out! The tune will be stuck in your head for a while.

Another song that has a deeper meaning is Hotel California by the Eagles which can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF-Rgon9H2E  This song on the surface is about a Man walking down the road at night when he arrives at a small motel and a woman greets him at the door. As she leads him through the hallway, he thinks he hears voices through the walls and he believes he is in either heaven or hell. He goes on to describe the girl as beautiful with boys falling at her feet but that she denies each one. He describes how they dance in the courtyard and how they are either trying to remember or forget something. Later he describes a scene where all the hotel guests are gathered for a feast in a reflective room and the girl says, “We are all prisoners here of our own device,” and how even with their combined force the guests are unable to kill a beast in the room. The song ends with a quote from the doorman, “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.” I think that this song really does hold a powerful message even though some people believe it is a song just born of a reaction to an illegal substance. While the idea of the boys actually being high at the time they wrote is unknown, it is possible because of the narrator not knowing where he was or if he was alive a the time and also that he was hearing voices. Either way, I find the song to be very symbolic of the struggles people have with themselves, of being unable to defeat their fears no matter how hard they try to and  in the end being unable to run and escape them when they have no other choice. This really shows through  in the last two lines when the doorman tells the man that maybe you can run and hide from your fears for a little while, but you can never really be free of them.

Overall, these two songs are extremely different when it comes to the surface level. One is happy and bouncy and fun while the other is much more solemn and slow. It is really interesting how people are able to mask (or not mask) their fears and worries in so many different ways.

Faye

Also sorry if the website links aren’t working as they should- I’m not sure what is going on there but if you would like to see the videos just copy and paste the website url.

Haunted Songs by Cora

Haunted things are, many times, fears shared by a community. It could be fears of death, or fear of guilt or regret. One thing that can portray these fears is music. Wether its the lyrics or the song, or just a haunting tune, these songs portray our fears in society.

One song that is “haunted” is “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. It is basically a reminder that we are mortal, and can die, and even thought we work all of our lives to make ourselves “immortal” through our legacy, all we are is something that lives and dies, “All we are is dust in the wind”. One of the fears in society is that everybody can die and another fear is not being remembered after we are gone. So the song is haunted, in that it reminds us that we can die and be forgotten.

Another song that is haunting to us is “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane. The song is most likely about drugs and regret, but some people say it is about Vietnam and the drafts. “One pill makes you larger” stating that protesting the war would make you a bigger person, “one pill makes you small” refers to the opposite, meaning that you are taking part in the war. The ending line “Feed your head, feed your head” is about gaining knowledge and the line about logic falling sloppy dead refers to all the men dying in the war. This deals with the fears of mortality and the fear of not being knowledgeable or the fear of being uneducated.

Another haunted song, “Alonzo the Brave and Fair Angeline” is about adultery and loosing a love, one of the larger fears of society is being forgotten or being guilty, and they are playing a big part in the song. The ballad is basically a song about a man who goes off to war and the girl he is courting says that if she is unfaithful while he is away, or if he dies and she forgets him and takes another, his ghost is to appear at her wedding and claim her as his bride and then taking her to the grave with him. Well the man dies at war and the girl takes another, at her wedding the ghost of Alonzo shows up and drags her away to the grave with him. This shows the fear of being forgotten and the fear of mortality, for not living on throughout legacy.

~Cora

‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and ‘The Only Exception’…Haunted Songs? -Grace

These songs seem very light, correct? Well, as long as you didn’t look into the lyrics anyway! Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People is a very good song, but with dark lyrics. The Only Exception seems like an average song as well, but when the lyrics are interpreted, it doesn’t seem as nice.

In Pumped Up Kicks, when it says ‘Robert’s got a quick hand’, that’s referring to him being good at shooting a gun. He also says that he’s looking around the room. This is probably moments before his dad comes in, and then it goes on to say ‘he won’t tell you his plan’, referring to the fact he’s about to shoot his dad, or someone else, because when you’re looking around the room and not telling anyone your plan, you’ve obviously got something bad on your mind. Then the song says he’s got a rolled-up cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth, probably indicating that he’s getting high. Also, when it says he found a gun in a box of ‘fun’ things, most interpretations say that it’s referring to drugs. And then, the song goes on to say ‘he’s comin’ for you, yeah he’s comin’ for you,’ indicating that this crazy killer is going to come after you!

The chorus, when it says ‘all the other kids with the pumped up kicks’ is saying that all the ‘popular’ kids, you know, the ones with the expensive shoes and clothes better watch out, because he’s going to come and shoot them(better run, better run, outrun my gun…better run better run, faster than my bullet).

You may infer that the dad gets drunk after work when the song says that ‘Daddy works a long day, and he’s comin’ home late, yeah he’s comin’ home late.’ This refers to the dad, after  a long day of work, going out to a bar and getting drunk. You can get abuse out of the song when it says ‘and he’s bringin’ me a surprise’, referring to a beating, or some other type of abuse.  The dinner on ice part could refer to that dinner is made, but had to be put in the fridge so it didn’t spoil, or numerous other things. When it says ‘I’ve waited for a long time’, that could refer to he’s been waiting for the moment to kill these people for quite a while now. The part where it says that “the sleight of my hand is now a quick-pull trigger” could refer to the fact that this Robert guy has been practicing shooting his gun. Then, it says that he reasons with his cigarette and says ‘your hair’s on fire, you must have lost your wits, yeah’, referring to the fact that this guy is most likely high.

The song then just repeats the chorus, telling the popular kids that they better run. So-the song. Haunted or not? Yes, it is haunted. Haunted by the fact that this kid is kind of an outcast, abused by his dad, and now he’s going  crazy, getting high, then going off to kill people. Definitely haunted.

Link to video with lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oLzX0RPquk

The Only Exception is about a girl who saw her parents get divorced, and it’s now changed her view on love. It says that ‘When I was younger, I saw my daddy cry and curse at the wind, he broke his own heart and I watched as he tried to reassemble it’, saying that he had caused many fights with his wife and it tore their marriage apart. It then goes on to say that her mother swore she’d never let herself forget what had happened that day and made her daughter promise to never fall in love if it doesn’t exist, which the girl did. So, this basically made the girl think that love doesn’t really exist

She then sings the chorus, repeating the saying ‘but you, are, the only exception’, saying that she found a guy that is helping her get past this. But then, she goes on to say that maybe love doesn’t exist, and that everyone has to find ways to make it through the rest of their lives completely alone, so she’s still haunted by her parents’ lost love, and feels that she can’t love anyone/love doesn’t exist, period. She then goes on to say that she’s always lived life without love, kept away from it, because she thought it didn’t exist and she was content with loneliness, up until that moment, because she thought that non-existent love wasn’t worth the risk.

The chorus then comes on again and says that this person, is, once again, the only exception to her feelings  about love not existing. She says that she has a tight grip on reality-probably referring to the fact that she ‘knows’ love doesn’t exist. Then the song goes ‘But I can’t let go of what’s in front of me here’, saying that she wants to believe love exists, that she’s trying to believe this. Then, she says ‘I know you’re leaving in the morning when you wake up/leave me with some kind of proof it’s not a dream, oh’ , this says that she believes that this guy, who’s the only exception for her, will leave her in the morning before she even wakes up, and she wants proof that she wasn’t dreaming this guy, that what she was feeling is real. It then repeats the chorus twice, and then adds on ‘And I’m on my way to believing/Oh, and I’m on my way to believing’, saying that she’s really close to finally believing that love does exist, that it’s not just some made-up thing. Now, is this song haunted or not? Yes, this song is haunted by her parents’ divorce, it’s made her believe that love doesn’t exist, and she’ll never truly experience it.

Link to video with lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwzM0Mghmlg

In conclusion, these songs are very similar. Yes, they’re about different things, but they both have dark pasts behind them. Pumped Up Kicks has an implied past of the protagonist in the song suffering abuse and bullying in his younger years and he just isn’t able to take it anymore. The Only Exception has a past of the girl seeing her parents go through a divorce and getting that image stuck in her head so much that she now believes love doesn’t, never has, and never will exist. So, although the pasts are very different in the songs, they both have sad pasts implied in the lyrics.

–Grace(:

A Gender- Based look at The Turn of the Screw by Henry James; Faye

“The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James is an extremely ambiguous book. It is very unclear, and in the end you never learn exactly what is haunting the main character, whether it is her mind going crazy and playing tricks on her or if she is actually being watched and haunted by two ghosts. There are many different ways to look at this book, and many different ways to interpret it. One way to do so is to look at the story through the eyes of a gender critic.

Gender criticism is looking at a character in a story and asking why they act the way they do based on that character’s gender and the gender stereotypes of that time period. One modern example of a gender stereotype is that only girls wear skirts. Also, gender criticism is looking at why those stereotypes are there in the first place and how it helps to set the scene of the novel or book. However, a gender critic has to remember that their viewpoint is not static or based on one gender-based view. A gender critic cannot judge a book well if s/he is only looking at it through the eyes of only a feminist or only a masculine point of view. The critic must be more open, and look through the piece with an equal blend of each view.

In” The Turn of the Screw”, the main character of the unnamed governess takes on several different gender roles. She has a maternal role, a paternal role, and a childlike role. She is maternal in her caring of the children, Flora and Miles, her two charges from the Bly estate. She is has a paternal role because of the way she looks over the whole house because of the lack of upkeep by the master of the house, Griffin, and also because throughout the story she believes she is protecting the house against the ghosts of two old employees. An example of her willingness to do this is on page 51, where she states, “…I should serve as an expiatory victim and guard the tranquillity of the rest of the household.” The reader can clearly see here that the governess has accepted the fact that it is now up to her to protect the house.  She is also, however, in a childlike role because of the way Mrs. Grose, the highest-ranked housekeeper, is required to comfort her when the governess loses her mind to the overall stress of all her jobs and seeing ghosts around and in the house. She also is very motherly to the two children of the house, Miles and Flora. Flora is a six-year-old girl and Miles is an eight year old boy. One way she looks after the children is by being supportive and understanding of Miles,  who was recently expelled from school. It is unclear exactly why he was expelled, but Mrs. Grose’s theory  is that he stated he was homosexual and completed an action that was thought of as corrupting the other children. Mrs. Grose, however, also has more than just a motherly role. She acts as a paternal figure to the workers under her, and also takes on a paternal role when the governess is unable to watch over the rest of the house and she must do it herself.  Another role for Mrs. Grose is to be the Angel in the House. This is a term applies to the Victorian Era, when the best women were the ones who rarely left the house and cooked and cleaned and looked after the children. Mrs. Grose is an Angel in the House because she is the one adult in the house who actually keeps her sanity and raises the children because the governess is unable.  One of the lessons Henry James is trying to teach is that, like in “The Woman in Black”, when a person leaves their role bad things will happen.

Gender criticism is a very interesting way to look at media articles. It bases a review off the way the characters interact and react with one another because of their roles in the house and the gender stereotypes of their time period. In “The Turn of the Screw”, the unnamed governess took on too many roles and eventually had a mental breakdown. The housekeeper, Mrs. Grose, almost couldn’t cope with so many roles she suddenly had sprung upon her. And Miles, the young, 10-year-old boy died because of so many problems that aroused with him. Overall, I personally didn’t like the book because I found it very boring and slow to read, but when I was analyzing the book I found it to be a lot more engaging and interesting

Faye