Thursday, September 30, 2010

John Proctor- Hero or Stooge?

     Throughout Arthur Miller's The Crucible, John Proctor's actions are all influenced by his desire to protect his  honor. Proctor's clandestine affair with the young housemaid, Abigail, prevents him from testifying against his lover. If he would have revealed their inappropriate rapport, then her accusations against a plethora of the Salem townsfolk wouldn't have been as credible. However, John wished for his name and his status to remain unsullied within Salem. Yet at Mary Warren's hearing, he divulged that he now "knew her" in an attempt to expose Abigail's lies but he only dug himself into a deeper grave when Proctor's wife, Elizabeth, did not corroborate his story. He was incarcerated on an account of lechery and later on witchcraft.
     In the final Act, John is asked to sign a confession admitting to involvement with sorcery and he is also interrogated concerning the identities of other witches. During his examination, he resolutely mentions no names to add to the multitude of convicted Salem citizens, saying that he can only tell of his own sins. Then Proctor is asked to sign a confessional. He hesitantly agrees to the testimony but soon renounces, it earning him a noose on the gallows among seven other condemned "witches." John Proctor imagines how his signature will be etched into this document and destroys it because he would be ashamed to be remembered for abandoning his beliefs. By doing this, Proctor is redeemed from his stooge-like demeanor at the opening of The Crucible and transforms into a hero who stood for his companions while maintaining his ideals and honor.        

Thursday, September 23, 2010

God hates us? I don't think so

      The Puritan theologian, Jonathan Edwards, illustrates how he believes God views humans in a graphic excerpt from his Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Edwards explains how God can destroy any man with the extension of a finger or with a hand movement. According to the passage, the ruler of heaven and earth takes pleasure in inflicting his wrath upon his "sinful" subjects. He Jonathan claims that one sin in a person's name equates to God's eternal hate. The Puritans' harsh belief that one was predestined for damnation or salvation supports this portrayal of God in that a person's good deeds are irrelevant factors in deliverance to heaven.
     Christianity is based on the beliefs of redemption from sin and of the inconceivable love God and Christ have for humans. It is my opinion that God would never condemn his beloved creations to eternal agony and suffering as depicted in Jonathan Edwards sermon. He would allow sinners to redeem themselves through recollection, acceptance and forgiveness. Why would God allow us to sin if he wanted us to enter heaven? Are we really “ten thousand times so abominable in his eyes as the most hateful and venomous serpent is”? If God has such an enmity towards the human race, then why hasn't He dealt out with all of us? Jonathan's theory concerning certain damnation doesn't bear semblance to the "forgiving" God mentioned in the New Testament. Edwards's tactic appears to be to instill fear into its readers causing them to lead better lives and be free of Puritan restrictions.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I came up in the place and they was like "WHAT"?!

     Beverly Hills, a little sector of the United States’ best city: Chicago, has no semblance similar to the wealthy, celebrity-stocked, and affluent West Coast community in Los Angeles. My residence is tucked away in a niche on the Southwest side of Chicago. Beverly is a gentrified neighborhood composed mainly of Irish, Polish and German families which are entirely Catholic. It is littered with church after church and school after school filled with preppy football and volleyball athletes. .  Our only link to downtown and the more exciting Northside is the Metra train on which all working adults and commuting students ride.  The kids walked around in huge groups making pilgrimages from the playground to Starbucks, “the place to be” for kids twelve and thirteen. This is the quiet and cohesive town that our family moved to when I was young child.
     When my family moved in, I was four and my sister, Steph, was six. We were the cutest toddlers in the town but our happy grins were only a fa├žade for our true personalities. Like all little children, Steph and I had evil hidden agendas waiting to be hatched upon the unsuspicious neighbors. We would construct an oligarchy, with us the supreme rulers and with our neighbors’ children as the subjects.  The only problem that existed was a lack of followers. There was one kid on the whole block, which was the boundary of the realm due to our young ages. But Nora, the single child in the vicinity, was extremely gullible and therefore was a prime specimen for aiding us in expansion when our peripheries could broaden. 
     Soon, the block had another resident and luckily brought two twins with them. Natalie and Magda were younger than Stephanie and myself so we would be able to control them. Our clandestine regime incorporated the twins making us five strong. With a greater work force, our oligarchy could then build forts and such in our backyards for scheming. Our main goal was to commandeer our neighbors yard because it was a pivotal region for   maintaining stable control. 
     The neighbor, whose name shall not be mentioned, was a sour and unpleasant middle-aged women whose specific instructions were for the gang to go in her garden. This decree only made it more enticing to play in this forbidden forest. That is were the trouble begins. 
     Her lot was the most fantastic place to be at the time. It had bushes that we would weave in and out of, a swing for four, secret passageways by the garage and side of the house, vines to swing on, wood to build clubhouses with, a cat cemetery surrounded by blue bell flowers, platforms to jump off of and gigantic bees that we would battle for possession of the driveway when the lady wasn't home. But of course we would be surprised by her and be admonished for breaking her regulations. Multiple times, our parents would be confronted by her with orders to keep their children out but we never heeded her warnings. 
     As time passed and as we matured, the group soon annexed the parks under our rule so the gaze was turned away from that mystical garden to more achievable goals. However when Stephanie began eighth grade, she resigned from her position and took the twins with her. Nora and I continued the legacy gaining one or two territories but within a few years, our active involvement ceased. The little children reclaimed the playgrounds and the empire ended as all things must.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Introductions

      Most people would not be able to formulate one word that personifies their essence and life.  Many think, “How can a single word capture my complex, multi-layered life?”but then, there are those that perceive the ability to be second nature. For me, I am able to effortlessly condense my life thus far into one word: food.
    Food is the center of my universe. My interests and pastimes all derive from my affinity of salty, doughy, crunchy, sweet or mouth-watering food which arose through my parents’ influence. I come from a family of big-time eaters and without difficulty, my father and I can inhale an eighteen-inch pizza in less than twenty minutes. Even my petit sister, Steph, can pack a few avocado smoothies in. We claim that we were bred for eating and each time we sit down for a meal this proclamation is verified.
     At an extremely young age, my mother and father rapidly introduced me and my sister to different ethnic foods. Even in the womb, my sister and I had our “taste” of foreign delicacies. In fact, before each of our births, my mom sat down to a fiery and aromatic Devon Avenue Indian cuisine. The spices must have kicked in because Steph and I were out in the open the next day.
     The weekly visits to Chinatown, the late night Ethiopian food, and the small but hectic Korean Barbeque restaurants, among other worldly cuisines, caused my family’s desire to encounter hundreds of cultures through food. So approximately a year ago, we journeyed to Italy for three weeks to have our share of bella la cultura italiana (The beautiful Italian culture). We were captivated by Rome’s weathered ruins, Florence’s intensive and vast museums, Venice’s ornate churches and Amalfi’s clear blue sea. The splendor of Italy’s cities was no match for their unbelievable food. Throughout the trip, it seemed that we plainly killed time in between meals.
     Other introductions to the world’s innumerable tastes unearthed my buried interests. Soon I sought information concerning the nations behind the food. It advanced to a passion for geography and while studying countries, rivers and mountain ranges, I discovered the history tied to each one followed by its languages, its philosophies, and its religions. This culminated in the decree of my current life goal: traversing the globe and immersion in various foreign lifestyles.
     My exposure to multiple cultures via food enhances my abilities to relate to others and provides me with a valid basis for being open-minded. “You don’t know until you try”, my dad would say while coaxing me or my sister into tasting a dish, a phrase exemplifying the benefits of being unprejudiced. Life has countless relations to the restaurant table which would be unknown to me without my parents’ lessons. I pride myself in being a gastronome and a slight glutton because it brings us to the dinner table where the things that I enjoy most in the world: family and food. Food is not just for nourishment; it is a tool to amaze, to comfort, and to bring people together.  In Italy, the day revolves around meals and like me, they live to eat.