Would our society be better if most of us were altruistic (did things genuinely for the benefit of others) or egoistic (put our own needs and wants first)? And further, what about our own well-being? What's the best way to live your own life? University has challenged my personal values immensely. I've had to figure… Continue reading writing || altruism or egoism: the merits of selfishness in an idealist’s world
My high school philosophy class once touched briefly upon a paradox whose name I don't remember but whose topic intrigued me. The question was: are we the same person all our lives? Is "Ioana" (that's me!) a consistently defined entity? You might instinctively shout yes, because after all, you've got memories that belong to you… Continue reading writing || know yourself
In Blood Wedding, Federico Garcia Lorca constructs an environment that is heavily weighed down by cultural expectations. As both a playwright and an accomplished theatre director, Lorca’s command of dialogue, musical drama, and stage direction is used with purpose to create this tense, eerie atmosphere. In particular, the play’s recurring intra-textual Lullaby piece gives audiences an insight into its cultural setting by mirroring the language and symbolism its characters later employ in describing their feelings of suffocation and tension. It depicts an ancient struggle – one that is still relevant enough to be passed on through the generations. And in it, we see the juxtaposition of carnal flesh and blood with inanimate trees and rivers, both symbols that serve as metaphors for the forces at odds in the play.
There’s a very good reason the most widely published books in history were works of fiction, chronicling the tales of ordinary men locked in an often fatal battle with a fellow man or a supernatural monster. Fiction captures the nuances of those ideas and imbues them in an ageless magic that enables them to last through centuries of change. Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Miller’s Death of a Salesman were written hundreds of years apart, but man’s struggle for power over his own life remains constant.
Not all works of literature use para-textual features in the same way – or even at all – but Maya Angelou’s prologue in her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, is a feature of the text which should not be overlooked, for it sets the stage for her to share her immensely difficult but powerful personal story. The piece’s title, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, is an allegory referring to her realization of the beauty and meaning held back by the cage created by her physical, psychological, and interpersonal circumstances. Knowing this to be the central tension in Angelou’s life, and therefore her autobiography, the prologue presents itself to readers with a dual purpose.
I think a lot (often introspectively, like how I'm perceived and what I'm doing and how it's looking and why I'm doing it), and this is one thing I've been thinking about lately. Hope you enjoy and hopefully it helps you a bit too!
The ultimate coming-of-age story that doesn’t shy away from even the more difficult topics, Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is immensely honest and vulnerable. Her experience being sent from mother and father to grandmother several times throughout her life is a situation not all readers can identify with. However, the truths she shares about family, love and self-identity through these experiences are universal. By chapter 33, both Maya and her brother Bailey have become adolescents, and their trials and tribulations are representative of those which many other adolescents face. In fact, Maya’s account of Bailey’s fight with their Mother illustrates several truths all readers can relate to when it comes to conflict between a parent and child. In particular, her use of descriptive language characteristic of a fencing match provides a lens through which to understand her mother’s and brother’s conflict, and thus the plight of our own youthful turbulent relationships with our parents.