Glass Puzzles


This photo is of Pablo Picasso’s 1911 “Pipe Rack and Still Life on a Table,” at the Metropolitan Museum. The painting is located in the “Modern and Contemporary Art” gallery, and is one of the early works that explored and redefined art. Dating back to the early half of the 1900s, many artists began to move away from the traditional techniques and features of academic art. The classical traditions of religious, historical, and mythological images were rigid. Therefore, artists like Picasso began experimenting with different ideas of style.

In this painting, Picasso begins to form what we call today cubism. Although the title and text label mentions that this painting is of a still life, it’s hard to distinguish. The simple lines and geometric shapes almost create a puzzle of broken glass fragments. The shapes overlap, but do not evoke a sense of depth or dimension. Despite the shadows of the shapes, the image is mostly viewed as two-dimensional. There is no particular subject to the image, besides the supposed pipe rack at the top left of the painting. Picasso also uses words in this painting to make reference to literature and his patron, something that is not used to express ideas in most artworks. Overall, the painting is taking the typical idea of still life paintings, and making it more abstract. There is no definite shape to be able to identify the still lifes, so the viewer’s  consciousness does not overpower their initial emotions. Instead, the viewers must interpret the painting without their preexisting connotations of the still life.


Vicky Lee, Team Hermes


Welcome to Manhattan



In the photo above is my friend Julia (on the left) and I at the foot of the Manhattan bridge. We’re sitting at a small steps at the bottom of the arch. We’re on the Manhattan side of the the bridge, and this photo shows an architectural piece that divides the incoming and outgoing traffic of the bridge. Similar to St. Peter’s square, the archway shares unique characteristics. In the photo, the sides of the arch has colonnades that extends outwards. The colonnades only contain two closely lined columns used as decoration, rather than the church’s incentive to direct traffic of pilgrims and carriages. The column’s simplistic and smooth unfluted shaft also follows the tuscan order that can be identified around St. Peter’s square. The colonnades that line either sides of the triumphal arch creates a wide semicircle shape. The shape can be compared to St. Peter’s square where people describe it to be the open arms of the church. In this case, the archway can be the welcoming arms for people coming into Manhattan. However, the entrance of the archway does not create the same sense of movement as to the piazza. St. Peter’s basilica’s columns display Baroque qualities of invoking movement in the way that the columns are unevenly spaced and are not freestanding. The colonnades of the archway are tightly lined, and are elevated so people are unable to interact with the architectural piece. Unless the steps are climbed, people are only able to approach the columns; Whereas, the columns of the piazza are much larger in scale and are spaced out for people to walk through. Another characteristic that both places share are the tops of the colonnades. It seems like fence-like structures that resemble crenellations of castles.

I met Julia (left of photo) in high school, and I found out that her grandmother chose her name. When her grandmother was pregnant with her father, her grandmother chose the name “Julia” if the baby was a girl. Instead, her grandmother named her father “Julio” when she found out he was a boy. Before hearing this story about Julia’s name, I thought that Julia was a common name in Hispanic culture. This story does support my speculations somewhat, and is related to what we have learned in class. The similarities of family names are passed down to different generations. I can relate this influential factor of naming choices to modern day culture, because I noticed that a lot of siblings share the same first letter of their names. For example, my cousins are named Ada, Anna, and Andy. I think that many parents find it easier to remember names if they match the first letters. Though the names “Julia” and “Julius” were separated according to gender, there was a similarity between the way a family names their relatives.

In relation to Julius Caesar, he has been described in Catullus’ poem where the poet questions “what is this but perverse generosity? Has he not achieved enough gluttony?” Catallus’ syntax interestingly juxtaposes the connotations of someone that is perverse and generous. Someone that is generous is seen as selfless and willing, whereas, perverse describes someone that is corrupted and improper. Thus, Catullus implies that Caesar’s actions may seem like they’re positively improving the community, however, his intentions may be corrupt and out of self interest. Cassius Dio also explores the same idea that Julius Caesar is not a respectable public figure by stating that “most men suspected him of being inflated with pride and hated him for his haughtiness” in his book. The quote creates the image that the public may interpret Caesar’s ego as a negative influence on his popularity and favorability towards his followers. I chose these quotes because both writers elaborate on a common theme that runs through history and culture. Leaders become examples of how their high self-esteem leads to their downfall, or hubris. This idea can be identified in how Julius Caesar was killed by his closest peers. In addition, current events display how celebrities, politicians, and fictional characters in movies are exploited by their own flaws.

Vicky, Team Hermes

Breaking News! History is back! Better and modern!!!


In chapter seven, Our readings were about Julius Caesar. He was a Roman politician that played a huge part in the events that led to the rise of the Roman empire. He is seen as powerful military leader who did a lot for the Roman empire. In Live of Illustrious experts, it states that ” His authority was so great that Opimius took up arms against Gracchus, and Marius against Glaucia and Saturninus, because of Scaurus’ advice in private” this quote gives just one of the many examples discussed in the writing like him building Mulvian Bridge and his military sacrifices. People  really thought of him as Great leader for doing such great acts. They honored him until his true colors came out. But in another passage we see a different side. In Cassius Dio ( Book 44.7-20), we get to see more of Caesar or the hidden side of him. It states “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” this quote shows how he did not had much respect for women or his own wife. He had many mistresses for his own pleasure.  The fact that he treated used women like this shows that he is not as perfect as he seems. As we go on in the readings we truly see his selfish side. He took too much pride in himself and thought of himself more than a king. We see his self conceited side again when he rejects the king role, the offer that priests give him ” Caesar answered: “Jupiter alone is king of the Romans,” and sent the diadem to Jupiter on the Capitol; yet he was not angry, but caused it to be inscribed in the records that he had refused to accept the kingship when offered to him by the people through the consul” in this quote his response shows how he refuses the offer and calls himself better than a king. He did not care what people are offering him but instead declined for his selfish reasons. The readings in chapter seven clearly show both sides of Julius Caesar. It shows how no one is perfectly great. His flaws and his good actions are written perfectly for the audience. The readings both praise and show his evil side of the story. The different quotes given above show his different sides. The  image that I used is of this haircut called “Caesar’. It’s a selfie of me and my best friend. He has Caesar hairstyle which I recognized after doing my research on this type of hairstyle. It was introduced by Julius Caeser from who the name is derived. The Caesar haircut requires short hair, although your fringe can be long, and should be styled by bringing the hair forward. It was really popular in the 90s and is still used in modern era. This shows how our past is all around us. Our important figures names are even used in haircuts but we never really pay attention to it. This knows how powerful knowledge is and how important it is to be aware of our surroundings because the possibilities of finding new things are endless. Fizza saeed, Team Hermes

The Modern Day Struggles of Being Cupid

“Give Me Love” – Ed Sheeran (Music Video)

Screenshot_20171111-173758   Screenshot (74)


Red Line = Orthogonals.    Yellow line = Horizontal Line,    Green Dot = Vanishing Point

While listening to one of Ed Sheeran’s popular song, “Give Me Love,” I noticed that the song’s music video incorporates many elements from our Art and Classics course.

One incredible development during the Renaissance was Brunelleschi’s system of linear perspective. His formation of lines and diagonals enabled artists and architects to manipulate images into the illusion of reality. Space, shape, and size furthered Brunelleschi’s success of recreating life’s visual experiences into a still image. When looking from any individual’s eyes, our surroundings are examples of linear perspective itself.

In the screenshot above, there are qualities of linear perspective that can be identified with the understanding of how the objects and subjects of the video are seen. At a close observation, the overhead lights form orthogonal lines (red lines) of the image. The light beams move towards the middle of the photo, and direct the viewer’s eyes to the vanishing point (green dot) of the picture. The tunnel walls also acts as orthogonal lines. As the bricks of the walls move towards down the tunnel, the lines become more condensed, and create the illusion of space and depth. The light’s reflections and shadows also add a subtle sense of distance, because the light and shadows seem to merge together when approaching the vanishing point. The outline of the concrete ground also acts as an orthogonal line that points to the vanishing point. Though the horizon line (yellow line) is not obvious to the eye, it meets the middle of the image as the plane where it meets the viewer’s eye level. Touching back onto how the still image depicts distance, the figure in the foreground is proportionally smaller in scale due to the distance between the camera and the subject.

Screenshot_20171111-174127      Screenshot_20171111-173907

When directing your focus to the subject, the woman has a pair of cupid wings that is explored through the music video’s plot. The story unravels references to Aphrodite in which we have discussed in Classics class.

In the music video, the main subject is dressed with a pair of wings and holds a bow and arrow. The video’s plot reveals how she takes on the roll as a cupid and shoots others to fall in love with each other. The subject’s act as a cupid relates to Aphrodite’s abilities to cause people to fall in love due to her title of being the Goddess of Love and procreation. The video’s subject’s actions can be compared to the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite where William Blake Tyrrell translates that Aphrodite’s:

clothed in a dress more gleaming than bright fire. Like the moon, it shimmered around her soft breasts, a wonder to behold. She wore coiled bracelets and shining earrings, and beautiful necklaces were about her tender neck, beautiful, golden, glittering (86-90).

Aphrodite’s presence attracts and seduces those around her, and is reflected in Ed Sheeran’s song. In the homeric hymn, Aphrodite is known to be a elegant, lustful, beautiful, and graceful Goddess that is ineffable. Her powers become a strong influence over other people’s actions and emotions, which can overrule their thoughts and morals. The homeric hymn discusses the consequences of love, lies, and sex that Aphrodite is responsible for. However, most references to Aphrodite are usually the immaculate ideals of falling in love and being loved.

Similar to Ed Sheeran’s music video, the presence of the woman shows her duties as a cupid. She travels around the city and uses her power of love to counteract the dark and bleak night. Those alone begin to fall in love with the people around them, however, it juxtaposes the song’s lyrics. The cupid’s inner conflict and idea of love is enhanced by Sheeran’s song, and convey a more obvious result of love that the Homeric Hymn does not quite relate to modern love. Though the central theme of love is carried out by the woman with the white wings, her job as a cupid is not as fantastical as it seems. The subject of the video struggles with finding love herself, and has a inner conflict while she watches her actions help others fall in love. In the last scene of the video, it’s seen that she has stabbed herself with her cupid’s bow in attempt to make her fall in love. Ed Sheeran’s music video and the Homeric hymn portray a large difference in the society of today and the past. Sappho reveals the struggles of being in love, whereas, Ed Sheeran expresses the struggles of finding love.


Vicky Lee, Team Hermes



Lower East Side’s Crossroad

On the walls of the Delancey St/Essex St station is an enormous mosaic of a fish in a wave. The mosaic is composed of a vibrant array of blue, green, yellow, red, white, and purple stones. The colors compliment each other to create a depth in shadow and detail to the fish. The bright mosaic brings life into the daily routines of many New Yorkers. Though the fish is 2-dimensional and does not invoke any sense of movement, the waves of water that surround the fish imitates the crashing of waves and the upward movement of spraying water.

Similar to the Byzantine style buildings, such as the Justinian mosaic in St. Vitale, I also noticed how the mosaic is blended into the clean canvas of the white tiles around it. The colors The use of the mosaic and white tiles on the walls dematerialized the concrete material that can be seen at the bottom of the picture. The images are also unproportional and unrealistic as a method to emphasize certain characteristics. Unlike the Dome of the Rock, this mosaic uses figurative images of animals.

When taking account of the location of the station, I inferred that the mosaic must be referring to one of the most iconic and historical building of the neighborhood. The subway station lies beneath the Essex Street Market, the current market continues to house multiple vendors, grocers, butchers, and stores. The market thrived around the 1950s in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and served as a station that sold fresh produce and goods. The Lower East Side is also known for it’s cultural diversity and diffusion due to the prolific amount of immigrants that live in nearby tenements. In fact, the artist Ming Fay used the fish as a way to symbolize the “crossing” of the paths of people. The metaphor is used to compare the immigrants who have traveled across water to reach the city. The fish creates a subtle reminder of the neighborhood’s history, and representation of it’s importance to New York City.


Work Cited:

MTA. Accessed 7 November 2017.


Vicky Lee, Team Hermes

The Inequality After Apartheid

In this blogpost, I researched the topic of: Grachi “land reform” Africa. While researching, I came across the article “South Africa’s Land Reform Crisis: Eliminating the Legacy of Apartheid,” written by Bernadette Atuahene; who discusses the difficulties of redistributing land after the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994. Despite the decades that has passed since the end of the law set by the original European colonizers of Africa, “it was extremely difficult for the new regimes to redistribute the land fairly and efficiently” (121). The author highlights how the social status and economic status of many citizens have influenced in which land was divided after apartheid. Though there was the end of political separation between those of different races, there was still a large economic divide between the white and African residents. The effects of apartheid lingered in the form of the defined line between the wealthy and poor, in which inhibited the government to establish a system of fair land reform.


Similar to Gracchi’s ideas of land reform, the idealized ways of solving tensions between the slaves and Romans also lead to unprecedented problems. The South Africans argued that they are the natives of their land, and that “land must be returned to blacks in South Africa, no matter what the consequences are for the current owners and for political stability in the country” (122). The natives’ argument brings up racism and orientalism that dates back to the 18th century, and presents a debate whether the current white citizens of the country continue to have the right to their land. The strong historical and emotional ties of South Africa’s history of monarchy portray how the past continues to influence public’s perspective on ownership today.

The outrage of unfair land distribution by the South Africans connects to the Roman’s opinions on land reform in Appian, Civil Wars. According to the text, the land reforms of Gracchi meant that the rich Romans “collected in groups, and made lamentation, and accused the poor of appropriating the results of their tillage, their vineyards, and their dwellings… and were angry that they should be robbed of their share of the common property.” The Romans displayed their outrage to the government, because their personal property was being exploited and taken by the government without much consent. The public argued that they had the earned the rights to their land from military services, ancestors, or loans. The idea of who had the original rights to the land is presented in both Africa and Italy.


Atuahene’s article was originally published in Foreign Affairs, a magazine dedicated to print works about international and foreign policies on important current events. The article of the magazine is most likely directed towards an American audience with a high education background. The article focuses on the political and economic inequalities of South Africa, which may be intended to provide the audience in a more profound perspective on the issues; especially from an author that graduated from Yale Law School and worked in South Africa as an Fulbright Scholar. Atuahene’s education and work experience enables the audience to acknowledge that she is creditable to provide an unbiased apprehension on the subject matter.


Work Cited:

Atuahene, Bernadette. “South Africa’s Land Reform Crisis: Eliminating the Legacy of Apartheid.” Foreign Affairs 90.4 (2011): 121-29. Web.

“Bibliography.” Bernadette Atuahene, Accessed 4 November 2017.

“6: Roman Republic.”  Appian, Civil Wars. Accessed  November 2017.


Vicky Lee, Team Hermes

Team Hermes: Spartan and Aphrodite Research


Fariah Safa – Team Leader

Luisa Reynoso – Speaker

Vicky Lee – Recorder

Part 1:

Spartan Documentary

Our clip is 1:40- 2:00 from “Spartan Education – “300” (Fragment)

  1. This clip is similar to things we’ve discussed in class from the reading of Xenophon’s view on the Spartan Constitution. They are similar because they both speak of starving young boys and teaching them to fight in order to become stronger. In both this clip and the reading it mentions that “men punish a learner for not carrying out properly whatever he was taught to do” (Xenophon 2.8).
  2. We believe that someone would create this film in order to visualize the history that we’ve only read about. This clip brings an ancient society to life. 
  3. The target audience is anyone who is interested in Spartan society and their methods of education. 
  4. The value-laden language used is suspenseful. The narrator of this clip is building suspense by telling us the ways young men were treated in Sparta and what happens to them if they disobey. 
  5. The value-laden language tells us that the audience are most likely students or people who want to learn and so the creators use this value-laden language of suspense to capture the audiences attention and make this informative clip more interesting.
  6. The visuals of this clip are gruesome, graphic, and violent. These visuals can appeal to historians and anyone interesting in knowing what Sparta was really like. 
  7. The creators wanted their audience to be interested and shocked about how different Spartans raised their children in comparison to other ancient societies. 

Part 2:

Books on Aphrodite

  1. Acts of Love: Ancient Greek Poetry From Aphrodite’s GardenGeorge Economou; 2006; PA 4271.P3A24 2006; Vicky read Pg 3 – 13
  2. Helen of Troy : Goddess, Princess, WhoreBettany Hughes; 2005; BL820 .H45 H84 2005; Luisa read Pg 22 – 32
  3. Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses; Isabel Allende1998; PQ 8098.1.L54A6713 1998; Fariah read Pg 289 – 299
  4. Women and worship at Philippi : Diana/Artemis and Other Cults in the Early Christian Era; Valerie A. Abrahamsen; 1995; BL793 .P48 A27 1995
  5. The Laughter of Aphrodite: A Novel about Sappho of Lesbos; Peter Green; 1993; PR6057 .R348 L38 1993
  6. Athenian Myths and Institutions; Blake Tyrrell & Frieda S. Brown; 1991; BL793 .A76 T97 1991
  7. The Origin of the Gods; Richard Caldwell; 1981; BL 473.5.M66 1981
  8. Lost Goddesses of Early Greece; Charlene Spretnak; 1984; BL 782.S66 1984
  9. The Book of Goddesses and Heroines; Patricia Monaghan; 1989; BL 785.027 1989

Most relevant book:

Helen of Troy : Goddess, Princess, Whore


Alexander Who?

Ling Ling Yeung, 18, friend, phone call

  1. Yes, he conquered some places in Europe.
  2. He was very smart and tactical, because he won a lot of wars. I know he had something related to Persia too.
  3. Global class in high school.


Ada Xie, 15, cousin, facebook

  1. Kind of, he was the King of Persia?
  2. He was known for being a great leader, thus the name “great.” He had something to do with Cleopatra and Egypt. I think he was from Greece, and traveled to Asia as well.
  3. Global class in High school.


Nicole Monegro, 18, friend, facebook

  1. I think he was a king or something.
  2. He took over a lot of places by winning wars, and he traveled around Turkey and Egypt. He was well known in europe. He was very famous as a leader.
  3. Global class in High School.


After conducting a short survey about Alexander the Great, I noticed that most of the answers were spoken with uncertainty. The answers I received were quite vague about Alexander the Great’s conquest through Persia and Europe. Alexander the Great’s name was familiar to many people, but the exact details were not remembered. Alexander’s leadership and travels were mentioned due to the many battles he won. I also learned that many people learned about Alexander the great in their Global History class in high school. The interviewees were in their freshman and sophomore years when learning about world history, and they state that it’s difficult to recall information from 2 or 3 ago.

The answers I received is similar to what I learned in class. According to Alexander Romance, Alexander the Great’s “[28]… personality very clearly indicated what the boy would be like.’ And in time he grew up and tried his wings at learning and at ruling… [30] And Alexander became learned in every matter and trained himself so well… it became clearly evident chat he was being taught by some divinity… it was clear that the victory was of his doing” (7). As described, Alexander the Great was seen to have been quick to learn and rule at a young age. He was very adamant about being able to reach his accomplishments independently. This strong mindset of his enabled Alexander to grow into a powerful leader in his later years as an adult. Alexander was able to conquer multiple cities with his army, and spark cultural diffusion through his Macedonian background. As seen in Egyptian sculptures, Alexander was able to influence art by incorporating Greek aesthetics to a person’s facial features or posture.


Vicky Lee, Team Hermes

Do we need professors like Socrates?

Image result for socrates

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are the greatest names of philosophy in Greece and they are also called the Athenian philosophers. Plato was a student of Socrates, and from Platos writings we get to know about Socrates and Plato’s student Aristotle. The trio laid fundamentals of western philosophy.  Plato wrote about Socrates, describing how he did not propose any specific knowledge or policy. He showed how argument, debate, and discussion could help men to understand difficult issues. Most of the issues he dealt with were only political on the surface. While his dialogue with Adeimantus talking about the nature of democracy, Socrates states that “many people would behave like women and children looking at embroidered objects and actually judge it to be the most beautiful” by that he basically means that people act like stupid humans to look at democracy as something beautiful. He was put on trial because he was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens. He was accused of corrupting the morals of youth, teaching them new tjings which was seen “bad” for the people of Athens He also failed to acknowledge the gods of the city. Which was the reason he was put on trial. He was famouse for his method and and Irony. Some people might see him as great professor, someone who comes up with new ideas and challenges society, someone who is brave enough to challenge the traditions and ideas. But others might see him as criminal who is trying to change youth minds, someone going against religious beliefs and not accept how the society is designed. He was put on trial and died by drinking the hemlock, a drink as his preferred death. The Painting of Socrates is named as the “Death of Socrates” by Jacques- Louis David. (1787). We saw this painting in our Art class and discussed how the art is used to show his power and his death.We looked at the lighting, color and clothes that contribute to show the meaning of the painting. Also the people around him showing the mood and importance of the situation and environment. All the factors discussed in art class about the way painting is designed clearly show the importance of Socrates and his importance to people around him. -Fizza Saeed ,Team Hermes


Indivisible, with liberty and justice not for all

In The New York Times article, “Joe Biden: Reclaiming America’s Values,” Joe Biden discusses the necessary improvements that society should make in order to unite USA. Biden begins the article with, “while the United States is far from perfect, we have never given up the struggle to grow closer to the ideals in our founding documents.” This statement acknowledges the United States’s flaws in society, yet, the country continues to reach it’s original aspirations of equal freedom. Throughout the article, Biden elaborates on his perspective of the recent politics that had shaken Americans in the past week. In a time period where stereotypes, assumptions, and racism take hold of mindsets, Biden attempts to push away the preconceived thoughts that has been reinforced by Trump’s language. Unlike the President, Biden delinates the importance of being a country that strives to reach aspirations as well as others. The ideal society would defend the principles of a democratic country — diversity, tolerance, and inclusivity. The former Vice President points out Trump’s negative language, in which does not represent the values of the whole country. Trump’s stance on DACA, neo-Nazis, and illiberalism was implied to have pushed the United States further from future progression. The recent growth of tension, hate, and violence, such as the events in Charlottesville, Va., portrays the lack of values in present society.


To fight against the lash of hate, Biden states that “you cannot define Americans by what they look like, where they come from, whom they love or how they worship.” This conclusion of the article summarizes Joe Biden’s beliefs in which the country is not a certain skin color, culture, and language. Instead, it is the combination of a multitude of people. It’s diversity in beliefs and values is what defines the United States. I agree with Biden, and believe that I live in the same society. There is a wide variety of qualities that make up American culture. History has shown the influences of events and trends that has shaped the society we live in today. There is no single explanation that answers the question of, “what is American society?” because the only constant is change. This is also similar to Plato’s, Republic, in which Socrates compares an individual to it’s society. “Socrates: …let’s first find out what sort of thing justice is in cities, and afterward look for it in the individual, to see if the larger entity is similar in form to the smaller one,” agrees that a single person does not mirror the whole of it’s population (Plato. 2.369a). By looking at a wide range of experiences, philosophies, and values, it gives a wider representation of everyone.


Vicky Lee, Team Hermes

Biden, Joe. “Joe Biden: Reclaiming America’s Values.” The New York Times, 14 Sept. 2017. Accessed 16 Sept. 2017.


With the large amount of contemporary social issues in today’s world, it was to be expected that J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, would place similar issues in her story. The setting for Harry Potter takes place in our own realm including two different worlds, the wizarding world and the muggle world. The term muggle refers to the normal humans who are unable to perform magic. Some see the muggles’ inability to perform magic to be an inferior trait and, therefore, see them as lower than the witches and wizards. This setting enables the creator to make villains who torment and, in some cases, kill innocent muggles. The contemporary social issue in the story is discrimination. The muggles are seen as unimportant and even ‘dirt’ to some of the witches and wizards who are typically portrayed as evil. Some of the witches and wizards go as far as calling magic-users who have a muggle parent ‘mudbloods’. A similar theme arises in Euripides’ play when Jason abandons Medea, his wife whom he has children with, for another woman. When Medea gets upset Jason states that she is just being overemotional and that all women are the same. He then states that the world would be trouble free without women. Because of her sex, Medea is being discriminated against, and treated as if she has little value. These themes of discrimination are shown in both of the readings and form the main plot in creating and shaping the stories.


In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows there is a scene in which Voldemort, and those who follow him possessing the dark mark, laugh after killing a fellow witch. They take pleasure in killing her simply because she studied muggles and believed that they are equal to magic users. There is another scene where Harry, Hermione, and Ron enter the Ministry of Magic and see a huge sculpture of wizards standing over Muggles who are being crushed at the bottom.

Barbaric Taunts from the Lunchroom

In The New York Times article, “School Lunch Without Shame,” the Editorial Board discusses the new policy of free lunch for New York City’s public schools. The city’s lunch program has provided free or reduced lunch fees for those who come from low-income families. However, an additional 200,000 children can receive free lunch. This includes families that forget to fill out reduced-lunch forms, and those who had to pay previous lunch fees.

This new policy has also helped the initiative to stop the “barbaric policies under which children are openly humiliated when their parents cannot pay lunch bills” (The Editorial Board). The past lunch-fee policy has brought a form of social and financial scrutiny onto other children. Social setting in schools shifted for those who faced shame on having to bring their own lunch to school, and those who ate nothing in school. Their differences came from their families financial backgrounds and the food they ate.

Similar to Herodotus’ Excerpts, he described how ‘barbarians’ were looked down upon based on a person’s differences. In 1.4, Herodotus states how the Greek viewed Asia as the place “with all the various tribes of barbarians that inhabit it, is regarded by the Persians as their own; but Europe and the Greek race they look on as distinct and separate” (Herodotus). The Greek’s described themselves as “distinct,” in other words, unique, compared to the ordinariness of others (Herodotus). The Asians were also “regarded” as Persians, which delineates how European countries tend to claim others under their superior status (Herodotus). This conveys how the European countries saw themselves to be the ideal form of civilization. It can be inferred that the “tribes of barbarians” had culture and languages that were unworthy to be claimed as their own, and had to be grouped together with the Persians in order to have an identity (Herodotus). Thus, putting down every other ethnic group below the European’s status. In comparison to Herodotus, the school bullies can be reflected as the Greeks — who taunted other children, because they had different financial statuses that deemed them unworthy to afford school lunch.

The term ‘barbaric’ in this article refers to the previous New York City policy that held lunch fees in the public school system, and the ones who wrote and voted in favor of the policy over a decade ago. ‘Barbaric’ typically has the negative connotations of someone that is cruel and savage-like. These ideas may be implied that the policy supporters of lunch-fees are cruel for depriving free lunch for children who are ineligible in the program. Those affected with this new policy mainly includes the audience, parents of children who are in NYC public schools. They are now relieved from having to budget their finances to make sure their children are well fed in schools. This new policy can also open up social understanding and unity with families all over the city who have struggled with lunch-fees in the past.

The Editorial Board. “School Lunch Without Shame.” The New York Times 8 Sept. 2017. Web. 9 Sept. 2017.

Vicky, Team Hermes

Disposable Women and Unfaithful Husbands


    In this scene, the main character in Call The Midwife, a young midwife named Jenny, is going on a home visit to a local woman named Pearl. Pearl is an impoverished young mother with a few young children. She has recently suffered a late-term miscarriage because of an STD, which she contracted from her husband and his infidelities. When Jenny asks Pearl how she’s coping, she replies in a mournful voice “You can’t win them all” and asks if she can have her milk dried up. She insists on making Jenny a cup of tea as she “has to keep going.” She takes out a china teacup, the only one in her cupboard, and tells Jenny her grandmother left it to her. Jenny goes to sit down, and Pearl warns her not to sit on that chair, as her youngest son had peed on it. Pearl comments to Jenny, who comes from a middle-class upbringing, that she must think poorly of the local women. Jenny replies “As a matter of fact, I think you’re all heroines.” Pearl smiles and tears up, then turns on the radio and looks out the window.

    Call The Midwife takes place in the poverty-stricken East End of London in 1957, and many of the show’s plot lines revolve around misogyny and inequality in the home. At the beginning of the episode, a heavily pregnant Pearl was seen in a verbal argument that turned physical with her husband’s mistress, who was also pregnant.  To someone who doesn’t understand poverty or just how dependent women were on their husbands in the 1950s, Pearl may seem like a bad or irresponsible mother—but she had little choice other than to attempt to scare off her husband’s mistresses, as she and her children quite literally would have starved without him. The fact that she was refusing to rest after the immense emotional and physical trauma that comes with a late-term miscarriage is a testament to the amount of responsibility that was put on women to care for their children, as well as how little responsibility was put on men, who could and often did walk out their families with little or no consequence.

    The woman, Pearl, in the scene in Call The Midwife, and the antihero in the eponymous play Medea, both face similar challenges caused by social issues of their times, despite their stories taking place thousands of years apart. Both Pearl and Medea’s husband’s cheat on them, as they live in societies and periods of time that view women as disposable, and infidelity as men’s right. The most striking similarity in the challenges the two women face is the burden of childcare, which is a burden that they as women must carry alone. Although Medea’s sons have a nurse that cares for them as well, when King Creon banishes her from Corinth, her sons are banished as well. Medea is left with little time and very few options to find a new place for her and her sons to live, as she earned herself many enemies while helping Jason obtain the Golden Fleece. Meanwhile, her husband, Jason, with his newfound status betrothed to the princess, does not even think to help his wife and children find a new and safe place to live.

-Maggie, Team Hermes