Sister Sister

 ” My sister and I (both in our 20s) have a tense relationship. She often misinterprets things I say as criticisms of her. My “Ready to go?” will be taken as a negative comment on the clothing or accessories she’s wearing. And frankly, her nonstop advice to me gets under my skin, too. I know there will come a day when we will get along peacefully as sisters. Until then, any ideas for keeping the meanness at bay?”

Dear Anonymous,

I know that you needed some advice and I’m here for you! You know I just wanted to start off by saying that I completely understand what the other anonymous person told you to do. But you know who’s not anonymous? ME. Juvenal himself, and I don’t want to hide my identity from you like that other person that attempted to give you advice before because I am real. I don’t want to come across as pompous but my advice is better because I am wiser. I know that the other person is telling you to go reconnect with your sister but honestly she should be trying to reconnect with you.  “There is no doubt that the only path to a peaceful life lies through goodness ” (Juvenal, 366). It seems like her constantly trying to give you advice is her attempt of being condescending and that’s not okay. You deserve an apology and you shouldn’t be worrying too much about her if she doesn’t seem to be worrying about you. You need a “sound mind in a sound body” (Juvenal, 358). And you can’t have a sound mind and body if you’re obsessing over your sister that doesn’t care for you.

 

-Mckensivius Pascallius (Mckensi Pascall) Team Aphrodite

Petals and Positive Spaces

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I visited my father in Long Island this weekend and stayed over for the night. I hadn’t been in my room in a while and when I entered I was shocked to see this photo of myself on the wall. This was photographed when I was seventeen and I framed it because the colors of it complimented the teal walls of my room. I didn’t notice at the time that I was playing with negative and positive space.

Studying Les Demoiselle d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso, made me realize just how much the background of the photo was interacting with the subject in the foreground. The pink and red petals are playing with each other while also melting onto my face with the liquid. I am laying in a pool of water with the petals being blown by a fan and swirling around the water canvas.  I didn’t make the connection until now. While Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is painted, this is photography. The subject material of Picasso’s work are some prostitute women in the nude. I created a more personal piece of myself and I am the only subject, multiplied and flipped upside down to further reiterate the idea of positive space becoming negative.

Interestingly, for this photo I came up with the idea after thinking about Aphrodite. I named this piece Aphrodite, and I wanted the red and the pink petals to symbolize love. I wanted the love of the petals to interact with me but I purposefully remained stoic so that I would not be affected by the love surrounding me. This is on film also and it just shows the petals swarming around my head but I am still, indicating that the force of love does not control me, but I can control love. The first time I learnt about Aphrodite was in my Classics class with Professor Yarrow. We learnt about the Homeric Hymn of Aphrodite, and how the the instruments and lyrics represented Aphrodite’s stories of love.

-Mckensi Pascall- Team Aphrodite

aphrodite

Connected Through Brooklyn College

Interviewees: Christopher Mcateer, Patrick Dempsey, Paloma Arias.

  • CM (Interview happened in person at the Student Centre Thursday afternoon) : Yes, my family lineage is Irish and Italian, but  I mostly identify myself as American. I learnt about those countries from what my family told me. I don’t really have a role model  or much stories that were told to me. I wish that I could tell you more but I’m not really that cultured, I just am. If I had to have a role model, the first that comes to mind is Barack Obama. He just overcame so many obstacles to become president and he really let people know that you can truly do anything in the world with any skin color.
  • PA (Facetimed her while I was at the Student Centre Thursday afternoon) : Yes I identify with Trinidad, like you. I learnt about the origins from growing up there. I always looked up to Papa Bois who was the king of the forest in Trinidadian stories. He would run around the forest and protect the trees and the animals there. He’d attack anyone that was trying to ruin the forest lands. I think it teaches the value of nature and how important it is to protect the area around us. Trinidad is just so dense with nature and forests so its symbolic that one of the prime folk law characters just wanted to take care of our land.
  • PD (Interview happened at the Roosevelt Ext Friday morning.) : I identify with my Irish roots. I learnt from my family, they take pride in being Irish. There’s really no one person that I heard about that I really looked up too. I wish I knew more about the culture itself besides just what my family has told me. One day I’d really like to go to Ireland to learn more on my own.

All of these interviews were great. I noticed that people really had to search hard to find a role model. It didn’t come right off the bat, it was almost uncertain except for Paloma’s interview. The person that she looked up too however was not a real figure, he was a mythical Trinidadian creature. There was a variety of answers, Chris mentions Barack Obama which I thought was nice of him to mention a leader of the country, but I did feel like I had to really force an answer out of him. These stories are very different from what I read about Rome’s origins because no one really wanted to talk about the

“Why can’t we clasp hands, embrace each other, exchange some words, speak out, and tell the truth?”. This quote is taken from Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 1, ‘Aeneas meets his mother’. I chose this quote because it reminded me of the people that I interviewed. We are all friends and I liked the idea of embracing each other, exchanging some words and speaking out. I feel very connected to all of these people with similar and different backgrounds because we are all here at Brooklyn College together.

-Mckensi Pascall, Team Aphrodite.

Posted up in the Subway with Julius

me and julius lol

When they had begun to honour Julius Caesar (now Dictator), it was with the idea, of course, that he would be reasonable; but as they went on and saw that he was delighted with what they voted, — indeed he accepted all but a very few of their decrees, — different men at different times kept proposing various extravagant honours, some in a spirit of exaggerated flattery and others by way of ridicule.”

” At any rate, some actually ventured to suggest permitting him to have intercourse with as many women as he pleased, because even at this time, though fifty years old, he still had numerous mistresses. Others, and they were the majority, followed this course because they wished to make him envied and hated as quickly as possible, that he might the sooner perish.”

Both of these quotes are close and similar to each other and they symbolize Julius to me because they are also speaking about him from the perspective of the people that witnessed him rule. The impressions that were made about him are important because it was the reason for his downfall. I chose both of these passages because I thought that they gave me the best idea of what the public thought of Julius Caesar. They speak about how he’s envied, hated and addresses his numerous mistresses. It opens my eyes to see Julius Caesar as flawed because the opinions about him were so mixed.

The first passage also talks about how he was also flattered and honored. These two opposing views gave me a great, unbiased idea of Julius Caesar and I really appreciated that. I feel like I have a better idea of Caesar’s arrogance, and I could understand the frustration of the people. These two passages are similar because they are both talking about how people felt about Julius’ acts. They are different because the second seems to be talking more about rumors about him while the first is discussing the way people felt about the way that he ruled.

The image in my blog post is a photo of me and my best friend Julius. We were just at the subway heading to my apartment. I asked him where his name came from and what he knew about Julius Caesar. He said that he thinks that the name Julius comes from the month Jupiter and admitted to not knowing much about Julius Caesar. I think that his name is similar to Julius Caesar because of his parent’s Roman background. They are very ambitious and I feel like by giving their son a big name, they are subconsciously willing him to want to do great things.

This relates to my readings because Julius Caesar, although he had an unfortunate ending, accomplished a lot and is such an important figure in world history despite being called arrogant and having numerous people have negative opinions about him.

-Mckensi Pascall, Team Aphrodite

 

THE GREAT WAVE THAT SWALLOWED

 

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I moved to Long Island from Trinidad, and it was a good transition to move from the Caribbean to another island in New York because I could still enjoy some of the same things that I enjoyed in Trinidad, like going to the beach. One of my favorite beaches in Long Island is Smith Point Beach in Mastic. I loved that the waves were often rough and I loved playing in the sand because when I closed my eyes and just laid back in the sun, I could imagine that I was still on the beach in Trinidad.

 

Smith Point is a very unique beach and you need to walk down a long passage to get to the beach. On that passage, you will walk past a memorial. It took me two years to realize that it was a memorial because the first thing that I would notice was an image of a wave on the front and just some country flags. I was heading to the beach! I didn’t really think to stop and observe what the image and the flags meant.

One day, I finally walked into the memorial and I was heart-broken. The flags that were flying, represented the deaths of people that died in a plane crash right off the coast of Smith Point. On the front of a big, black carving of stone was an image of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai. The wave is placed on the front of the memorial to symbolize the plane crashing into the ocean and being swallowed by the waves. Had you been at Smith Point standing at the spot of the memorial on July 19th, 1996 at 8:31 pm, you would have seen the plane crash and burn directly in front of you. All 230 passengers on board died.

Their names are on the back of the stone with the Great Wave, appearing to be part of the ocean and permanently part of the Great Wave. The Great Wave is tweaked a bit to fit the memorial, like Mount Fuji is no longer part of the piece. It’s peaceful, I like the idea of them being a part of the ocean, it’s haunting and comforting at the same time. The big block was supposed to look like shards of the airplane that crashed. Whatever belongings were found were put under the wave in the memorial.  It gives a completely new meaning to the Great Wave for me, it gives it a different purpose. The wave is almost eery without it’s blue color, replaced by black on the memorial. It is a good sentiment and definitely a life-changing memorial.

-Mckensi Pascall, Team Aphrodite

SLAVES, REVOLT!

roman slave  I searched the term “Sicily Slave Rome Haiti” and was overwhelmed with the amount of options that I was presented with. The article that I found is titled, ” Slavery and Inhumanity: Keith Bradley’s Legacy on Slavery in the New Testament Studies.” I believe that the intended audience for this article are college students and scholars because of its dense language and research studies. It is written by J Albert Harrill from The Ohio State University in America.

The article addresses slavery and how it has changed throughout the years. He talks about the brutality of slavery in Rome and how it relates to slavery in more recent times. “By expanding Roman studies into the larger history of world slavery, Bradley corrects that methodological mistake. The world history of slavery reveals slave revolts to be extremely rare occurrences; only four outright slave wars are known: one in modern Haiti, two in ancient Sicily and one led by Spartacus in ancient Italy.” (Harrill,509)

The author address slave revolts throughout history by exploring the intensity and rarity of the biggest slave revolts and what caused them. He connects each of the terms and shows the revolts in relation to each other, focusing on the revolts in Sicily, Haiti and Rome.

“The animalization ofthe slave in Roman culture suggests Roman slavery to have been more brutal than other forms in world history, precisely because the Romans lacked a biological or racial ideology for their institution. Roman slavery did not involve justifications from nature or racial theory.” (Harrill, 511)  He discusses further why he thinks that Roman slavery was probably the worst slavery in the world, because it lacked racial justification and allowed for tyrants to treat slaves unfairly without any sense of justification.

“The overseas conquests not only supplied the capital to purchase large estates, but also the slave labour needed to introduce new methods of farming, designed to provide absentee landlords with an income from cash crops. The new methods gave rise to further problems in the shape of a series of slave revolts, most notable in Sicily (132 and 103-101). Furthermore, the property qualification for army service made the impoverished peasants ineligible for recruitment. The result was a manpower crisis, as well as growing social tension, which increasingly threatened political consensus.”( Roman Imperialism and Its Consequences.) This quote is taken from the Past in Present Tense Reading and it addresses slave labour in the Roman army. It explores the conditions that shaped the slave revolts relating to the previous article by Alber Harrill who says that the cause of slave revolts are very important because they are so rare, and explores the severity in which slaves were treated poorly.

Citations

Harrill, Albert. “Slavery and Inhumanity: Keith Bradley’s Legacy on Slavery in the New Testament Studies.” Biblical Interpretation 21-4-5 (2013) 506-514 

-Mckensi Pascall, Aphrodite.

Who can do Contrapposto Better? Hamilton or David?

I really enjoy spending my time inside of parks, what I’ve had the opportunity to notice more are the statues that are scattered all over them. I have seen so many different types of statues, but the most common ones have taken influence from ancient Greek and Roman societies. From using marble to the similarity in form.

While I was in Central Park, I saw this statue of Alexander Hamilton. The first thing that I noticed was his stance, I immediately shouted “Contrapposto!!” and my friends looked at me with confusion. I was thinking about Michelangelo’s David and how striking the similarities are between the two sculptures. I read the plaque near it and saw that it was designed by Carl Conrads in 1880. It is the first ever outside sculpture of Alexander Hamilton, and it is larger than life. I wish that I could see Michelangelo’s David in person and next to this statue of Alexander Hamilton because even with images, the similarities are striking. One of the main differences is the fact that Hamilton is clothed, which shows a difference in cultural ideals.

David is shown as a hero, and Alexander Hamilton is definitely an American hero for all that he has accomplished. They both symbolize the importance of the person and you can see it in their stance, their posture and the size of the statues. Everything about it just feels powerful. They use the same material of marble and the detail in each are great, especially in the faces. I loved seeing how the clothes was created, as opposed to David’s bare skin. Both have a hand bent but Alezander’s posture with his hands feels more powerful and poetic.

-Mckensi Pascall, Aphrodite.

Taking a Roam Through Washington Square Park

 

arches

 

constantine

 

 

 

 

 

Washington Sqaure Park is my favorite park in New York City. It’s filled with so much art, musicians, dancers, scholars, painters and just people going about their everyday lives. I love to walk with my tapestry and just sit on the grass on a warm day and just feel the mist that comes from the middle of the fountain, just soaking up the culture and the beauty of it all.

I’ve always known that the arch was there, but for the first time, I really noticed the arch. It was standing so tall and beautiful surrounded by the silhouettes of the building behind it and I was able to see Rome, thinking about the Arch

of Constantine and how long it took for the Roman empire to spread. And here it was, the remnants of the history of Rome, staring me right in the face in the middle of New York City.

I’ve learnt so much about Rome through my Art History class and now I can look at different elements of design and see the history and the importance. It made me think about why this was there, and why was the symbol of Washington Square Park, dedicated to George Washington and the start of America, such a powerful Roman structure? George Washington’s figure is etched into the marble of the arch. I liked the choice of using marble instead of concrete like the Arch of Constantine because it gives it a more modern feel. My guess is that it’s used to show the power of America at the start and its expansion, like the expansion of Rome and the dominance that Constantine displayed over Rome’s counterparts.

-Mckensi Pascall, Aphrodite.

 

Fasces in Manhattan

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This is a photo of a Roman coin on the side of Citi Bank. Roman currency is important because it was made out of precious materials and depicted powerful images. This is placed on the walls of Citi Bank to show the power of the Romans and also connect an ancient form of money to the modern currency. Placing coins on a bank subconsciously makes you think of money and it is a good advertising strategy that is used by Citi Bank.

Greece in the Borough

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I took this photo in front of Borough Hall in Brooklyn. I saw the columns and I immediately thought about Greek architecture. There were six columns at the front of the hall and the column design specifically reminds me of the Parthenon in Greece especially because of the even number of columns going across the building. The first and most notable difference for me was the fact that Borough Hall is not open, like the Parthenon. You can see straight through the sides of the Parthenon while Borough Hall was extremely closed off and private. It has a different function as well, the Borough Hall is used . It is described as a Greek Revival styled building. It is Brooklyn’s oldest public building, built between 1846 and 1851. It was once a city hall, a jail and a courthouse. It is now where the Borough President’s Administrative Offices are and serves as a public space and backdrop for film shoots and press conferences. The courtroom also serves as the set for some scenes in ‘Law and Order.’

The Parthenon however, was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena and was used for worshiping purposes. These buildings are both historical monuments and both needed to be renovated at one point due to damages. They are both in doric order with pediments at the top. Borough Hall took its influences from the Parthenon and Ancient Greece and it is absolutely noticeable.

What do you know about Alexander the Great? “He was great.”

Interviewees: Christopher Mcateer. 20. Boyfriend. My home.

  Kevin Pascall. 46. Father. My home

Cheri-ann Pascall. 48. Mother. Phone call, she’s in Trinidad.

Do you know who Alexander the Great was?

Christopher: “Yes.”

Kevin: “Yes”

Cheri-ann: “Kinda”

What do you know about him?

Christopher: ” I know that he died while he was partying. He died in present day, Iraq. He was rich.  And he was the leader of Greece. Was it Greece?”

Kevin: “He went to war with the Romans.”

Cheri-ann: “I know that he was great. He lead an army which means that he had a high status.

Where did you learn about him? 

Christopher: “In my Western Civilization class at college.”

Kevin: “I’m not sure.”

Cheri-ann: “Somewhere on television.”

All of the answers that I received were very similar because everyone had a certainty about hearing about Alexander the Great. No one thought that the name was unfamiliar and all the geographic location that Alexander was associated with. Everyone was not exactly sure about what Alexander really did and who he was in history, they just has a basic idea of him because his name is mentioned frequently. Everyone also heard about Alexander the Great from many different places, whether it was taught in class or mentioned on a television show. A lot of facts seemed uncertain and weren’t always correct.

Christopher learnt about Alexander in his Western Civilization class which shows how important he is to our world and history. I like that my mother is in the Caribbean and the tales of Alexander the Great has still reached her anyway. Even though no one could really tell me a lot about Alexander, I still think it’s cool that they all had a general idea.

It’s similar to what I learnt in class because we explored the route that Alexander took and the lands that he conquered. “In wealth, he could outweigh all other kings, so much comes daily to his rich store from every direction.” (Idyll,15) The reading talks about how rich Alexander was and it seemed to be a fact that everyone knows about him. In class we also talked about the horns on the Alexander coin and no one seemed to really understand what I was talking about when I tried to talk to my family about it so there is still a huge amount that most people don’t know about Alexander the Great. No one really understands why he was important.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECONSTRUCTING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BLACK.

“As Gates writes, he was taking an institution like slavery, which had seemed to many so inevitable, and leading people to perceive it as arbitrary. He was creating a new ideal of a just society and a fully alive black citizen, and therefore making current reality look different in the light of that ideal.” (Brooks)

David Brooks in this New York Times article writes about how a photograph can change the perception of a prejudiced view on anything because a photo is a statement that you’re forced to see, a point that is undeniably made and cannot be interrupted because once you see it you can never consciously erase that image. He speaks about Frederick Douglas being the most photographed American of the 19th century, with George Custer and Abraham Lincoln with the second highest numbers. Frederick Douglas strategically took all of these photos to challenge the perception of black people during this time, he wanted to change the view of a man being made a slave, to a slave being made a man, his own words. The author speaks about an ideal society from Frederick Douglas’ perspective; in an ideal society, black people will not be viewed as the stereotypes that Douglas challenged, inferior, unlettered, comic and dependent, stereotypes that swarm over black people’s heads to this day. An ideal society is a just society. 

The world still is corrupted by stereotypes of black people, but it is being challenged every day, and black people are breaking the molds in which they are placed. The author speaks about “African American models in places where our culture assumes whiteness — in the Garden of Eden, in Vermeer’s , ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring.’ ”(Brooks) These images challenge the cultural norm and Brooks still believes that our current society is lacking the ideals of a world without these stereotypes because they still exist. I do not live in an ideal society, and I agree that for our world to be better we must overcome stereotypes. I still appreciate getting the chance to combat stereotypes that are placed on me, as a model it’s always liberating to take photographs that stand for something and influence some sort of change. I feel like Plato would disagree with me because I believe in justice and the equal treatment of people while Plato believes that being just is made up by society and religion to keep people pure. He says “to do injustice is naturally good and to suffer injustice bad.”(Plato) I don’t believe that all injustice is naturally good, such as the injustice of unequal and unfair treatment of people.

MLA CITATIONS 

Brooks, David. “How Artists Change the World.” The New York Times. August 2nd, 2016. New York State Newspapers. Accessed September, 18th 2017. http://go.galegroup.com.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=T004&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchResultsType=SingleTab&searchType=BasicSearchForm&currentPosition=10&docId=GALE%7CA459692876&docType=Column&sort=DA-SORT&contentSegment=&prodId=SPN.SP01&contentSet=GALE%7CA459692876&searchId=R5&userGroupName=nysl_me_brookcol&inPS=true&authCount=1&u=nysl_me_brookcol

Plato. “How to Defend Justice.”

!EPAR !EPAR !EPAR BARBARIAN!

” A woman left unconscious after a ‘barbaric’ late night sexual assault in Ipswich town centre, which has reopened the debate over police patrols.”- (Evening Star)

“According to the complaint registered against Tamber for this barbaric act, he did not allow nurses to enter the check-up room before asking the woman to remove her clothes.” (Free Press Journal)

“!Epar !Epar !Epar” is an anagram for “Rape! Rape! Rape!” and I didn’t want to title my blog that, but I wanted the idea of “!Epar !Epar !Epar” to sound like “Bar! Bar! Bar!” and signify the act of a barbarian, because it is my opinion that rape is committed by no one other than a barbarian, in the modern sense of the word.

These two quotes are taken from two separate  newspaper publications regarding the rape of two women, (both twenty and twenty-one) in different countries. The former quote from the Evening Star talks about a young woman who was raped and whose body was discarded in a car park on September 3rd in Ipswich, Suffolk UK.  The act was done anonymously and no one was charged or held responsible for the incident; it was not the first time and it will not be the last time something like this will happen.

The second quote talks about a woman that was raped by Patrik Tambe, a Thane doctor in Mumbai. She went for an appointment, where he instructed her to take her clothes off, and then proceeded to touch her inappropriately and eventually rape her. He threatened her to stay quiet and after he released her she reported the crime to authorities. Tambe was arrested and his crimes were made public, the girl he raped being scarred for life after entrusting someone to make sure that she felt physically better,  only to have him do the unthinkable and make her feel worse than she’s probably ever felt in her life.

Rapist are being treated as the ‘Other’ with probable cause in both of these articles. The act of rape is referred to as ‘barbaric’ so that we distance ourselves from the deed and notion of such a crime. The target for both of these articles are  the local community, its purpose is for them to come together and understand how atrocious such an act can be. It is supposed to draw empathy from the audience, the first one in particular because the rapist was never found. It was intended to alarm the public that someone this savage has not been caught and hopefully motivate the people to join the police and keep the area safe, especially for young females. This article is not supposed to make you feel safe and comfortable, but rather inspire you to band together for the good of the community. The target audience is supposed to feel a sense of togetherness and strife for what is right.

The term ‘barbarian’ is different from the way we learnt about it in class because it transcends the difference in language; it now explores the difference in person and the difference between man and beast, humanity and heinous. The term ‘barbaric’ now reduces a man or woman to less than human, having commit something that made them be viewed as a pariah of society. It’s similar to what we learnt in class because like the ancient folk, I no longer want to listen to anything a man like this would want to say because I refuse to understand him. Everything he says now may as well be “bar bar bar” because when I think of a rapist all I can think about is the fact that they raped someone, everything they say becomes “rape rape rape” and I personally refuse to look at any other contents of their character because as a young woman myself, it is despicable to me that a man can do that to someone.

“Croesus, son of Alyattes, by birth a Lydian- was the first of the barbarians who had dealings with the Greeks.” (Herodotus) In Herodotus’ Histories, the term “barbarian” is mentioned quite a lot. The term is much more loosely used and usually is not always referring to someone of lower human quality, but just someone that was not Greek or Roman; they are the ‘Other’, someone that is different and does not speak the same language. Herodotus is referring to Croesus, a Lydian king, as a barbarian so the term had nothing to do with poverty and lowliness. The articles are so different from Herodotus Histories’ because of what they are referring to as barbaric, something truly awful, while Herodotus’ Histories do not use the term in regards to any heinous actions.

Works Cited

 Free Press Journal. India. FPJ Web Desk. “Thane Crime: Doctor Asks Woman to Remove Clothes, Rapes Her” August 21, 2017. Lexis Nexis. Newspaper. September, 13th 2017. http://www-lexisnexis-com.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T26488317531&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T26488317536&cisb=22_T26488317535&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&selRCNodeID=163&nodeStateId=29243001en_US56E8257609904D94976F126743B5E1E9,1&docsInCategory=12&csi=404871&docNo=4

Evening Star. PR Script Managers. “Woman Left Unconscious in Brutal Sex Attack.” September 4, 2017. Lexis Nexis. Newspaper. September 13th 2017.  http://www-lexisnexis-com.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T26488317531&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T26488317536&cisb=22_T26488317535&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&selRCNodeID=163&nodeStateId=29243001en_US56E8257609904D94976F126743B5E1E9,1&docsInCategory=12&csi=304101&docNo=2

Herodotus Histories’.  

 

 

 

 

“Then, Everything Changed When the Fire Nation Attacked. You will Learn Respect, and Suffering Will be Your Teacher.”

 

Television Show: Avatar, The Last Airbender

Season and Episode: Season 1, Episode 12 “The Storm”

Character Focus: Prince Zuko, his father, Fire Lord Ozai and his sister, Princess Azula.

In Relation To: Medea.

Show Description: This is an animation televised on the Nickelodeon Network based around a fictional world where the planet is divided into four nations, each with special earth aligning abilities. It is divided between the Fire Nation, the Water Nation, the Earth Nation and the Air Nation, all with people that are given special ‘bending’ abilities allowing them to control the elements of their alignment. The Avatar can control all elements. The Fire Nation believes that they should be in complete control and they decide to try to wipe out and take control of every other nation because they believe that they are superior. The show focuses on the protagonist, the Young Avatar, Aang and his journey to save the world with his friends along with the parallel story of Prince Zuko, the young teenager that tries to defeat the Avatar because his father has convinced him that it’s the only way to restore his honor, after her banishes him.

Episode Description: In this particular episode of the first season, “The Storm”, there is a terrible storm that has hit and it is a pivotal episode because this storm triggers flashbacks for both Aang and Zuko, both enemies from the beginning with parallel stories of abandonment and  purpose. Aang’s flashbacks make him feel guilty about running away and neglecting the responsibilities of being an Avatar for one hundred years, causing the Fire Nation to start and win the war; while Zuko’s flashbacks are of his father punishing him for speaking out against his grandfather in the father’s room and presence. He punishes Zuko by forcing a father and son duel, Zuko refuses to fight and Ozai permanently scorches and scars his eyes with fire and banishes him from the kingdom.

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” has always had underlying themes of war scattered throughout every episode and every setting that the characters ever dwell in. It’s in the dialogue, the setting and also laced heavily in flashbacks. One character in this episode says, “I guess I might have just imagined the last one hundred years of wars and suffering.” This particular episode was an episode that dealt with a lot of flashbacks, so the audience got to peer into the dynamics of the start of the war, and the people that controlled the war, not just the people on the receiving end. Looking at the dynamic of the Fire Nation, it is very similar to European Imperialism and it is showed in the imagery and setting throughout the entire show, like a divided a world in the title sequence and the Fire Nation flag hanging over other nations as a sign of conquer. They both deal with a world power wanting to dominate weaker nations to benefit off of them and remain the most powerful. It shows how a need for a resource can turn into greed at any moment and that when a little taste of victory is won, it is very easy for a nation to become power hungry.

The effects of imperialism still exist strongly within the world today, and now the goal is to subtly maintain power in the world. America has rose as a nation and unfortunately to stay on the top of the world, the requirements are to maintain some control over the rest of the world, whether it be military bases, territories or the media. As someone that grew up on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago, I always watched American television. It was what was shown in nearly every household in my country, even American news would talk priority over the news of my own country. American media circulates the world and I think that shows a very subtle bit of power that is injected into multiple countries so that the world, whether consciously or subconsciously, engages and submits to American culture, standards and social norms.

Besides the global issues, the ideas of domestic violence has always been a struggle that society has had to deal with as a whole. Each nation throughout time has had to deal with the problems of domestic violence within the individual home and the problems of abuse, neglect and revenge. There’s often been so many instances where parents have taken out their stress and feelings of anger on children, minds that aren’t fully develop enough yet to deal with the wrath of an angry parent.

In ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender” in this specific scene that I am focusing on, Prince Zuko has spoken out to his grandpa in his father’s war room.  Prince Zuko’s father is the son of the fascist man that started the war with the other nations. I would even go so far as to comparing Fire Lord Sozin, (Zuko’s grandfather) to Hitler, it would not be surprised if the attitude of that character was modeled after any fascist ruler. In the war room, Fire Lord Sozin was speaking about using an entire faction of new soldiers in his troops as a decoy to distract an enemy while the more experienced soldiers snuck in from the rear. Prince Zuko spoke out against his grandfather and said that to sacrifice all of the new soldiers on the front lines without their knowledge is an act of betrayal. It was true what he said, and it showed that Zuko, even as a kid, understood empathy, a very important characteristic of his, extremely important to his growth in the show. Zuko’s grandfather and father were disrespected and so his father challenged him to a fight where Zuko refused to fight the man that created him. Before burning Zuko’s eye, his father says, “You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher.” It’s something that even my father says to me now, the idea of learning from experiences that you’re told will be painful. But not everyone experiences life the same way, and suffering is not always the teacher, nor does it mean that it’s the parents job to inflict suffering on a child just because they were taught harshly by their reality.

The troubles that must come mentally with being a fascist ruler is grand, and to take that out on your son is terrible. Ozai permanently scarred Zuko’s eye and banished him from the kingdom, sending him on what he thought was an impossible mission, awaiting his failure. While this happens, Zuko’s sister, Azula watches on with a sick smile on her face, stifling a laugh. Similarly, Medea has taken out her vengeance with her husband on her kids. After committing the act of murder on multiple people around her, she has finally indulged in the ultimate act of revenge, killing her own children. Like Azula, Medea has no sense of remorse or human feelings of regret and empathy.

Children are developing seeds that need to be nourished and filled with vitamins, not hatred. Children are not born with feelings of animosity in their hearts and are so symbolic of innocence. Her act of killing them extended beyond revenge, it turned into self-hatred, like Zuko’s father let his own cruelty poison his child.  She let the hate turn her heart so cold that she could not see the beauty in her own products, only the side of them that she didn’t want to see and the pain that she knew it would cause their father. Madea, like Ozai, did not care about the outcome of the child. She did not care about their futures, or the fact that they were kids. No matter what, a parent should never take out their anger on a child, especially if the situation that caused the anger was not directly inflicted by that child, whether that be in fiction or modern day. Children now still deal with the issues of a parent’s misdirected anger and it’s the leading cause of child depression and child abuse. It can cause much more harm to a child because their brains cannot fully make sense of things, only the idea of hatred that they’ve put onto themselves. They begin to blame themselves for the way that their parent has treated them. Their ideas of love become warped and they’ve lost a sense of their innocence because it is robbed by a selfish adult that has experienced hardship and decides to inflict that hardship on a child and possibly ruin a portion of that child’s life, or his/her life forever.

 

#Medea #TheLastAirbender #CLAS2 #TEAMAPHRODITE #Longlongagoandfarfaraway #Elsewhere #Euripides #Euripides’Medea