Saturday, March 21, 2020

12 Years a Slave. Solomon Northup

12 Years a Slave. Solomon Northup Free Online Research Papers In 1841, criminals seduced a free black New Yorker named Solomon Northup into slave territory by the promise of a job. There, they illegally sold him as a slave. When he protested to the slave dealer that he was free, the dealer beat him. He would learn not to assert his freedom, but over the next twelve years he attempted to free himself on several occasions, all which failed until the last, successful effort. (1-40) Solomon Northup first tries to escape while on board a ship that was sailing to a New Orleans slave market. Solomon and his two new acquaintances Arthur and Robert, plan to take over the ship and sail north. Solomon, Arthur, and Robert were to hide under another smaller boat that was on deck and to carry out their plan at night. Solomon and Arthur were going to sneak into the captain’s cabin and steal the pistols while Robert stood guard outside the door with a club. Unfortunately, they were unable to carry out their plans because Robert fell ill, and died of smallpox within a few days. (44-46) Next, Solomon was helping to build a cotton press when John Tibeats, who did not like Solomon from past experiences, critiqued everything he did, even though it was right. John Tibeats grew very angry and approached Solomon with a hatchet swearing he will kill him with it. Solomon and John Tibeats struggled a while and eventually Solomon was able to take the hatchet away from him. Then John Tibeats again tried to attack him with a stick and again Solomon was able to take control of the situation. While he struggled with Tibeats, Solomon or â€Å"Platt† considered killing him but then decided that he would severely beaten or maybe even killed as well, because he would be found guilty in the courts. Platt decided to run away to his former master’s house, that of William Ford. While trying to escape, John Tibeats and a pack of dogs chased him all day through the woods and marshes as Solomon ran for his life. Northup finally lost his enemies when we crossed the swamp , because the dogs were no longer able to track his scent over the water. Slaves were not taught how to swim, but growing up a free man, Solomon Northup loved to swim, and that ability saved his life. After days of crossing the wilderness and the swamps, Solomon met a white man and a slave on the road, and received directions from them to William Ford’s plantation. Northup arrived to the Ford’s plantation and they took him in and protected him from John Tibeats, because Ford still owned part of Solomon. If Tibeats were to hurt or kill Northup, Ford would lose his property, Solomon, or his value could drop. A few days later Solomon was rented to Randal Eldret by William Ford to work for him. (98-113) A few weeks later, Solomon Northup attempted to escape by persuading a ship captain to let him hide on board his ship that was headed north. Northup’s ability to play the violin gave him the opportunity to travel to other places and make more money then most other slaves. When Solomon went to Centreville, which is a port city on the Mississippi River, he asked the captain of a steamer to allow him to hide within his freight and sail north with him, and would pay him everything he had. The captain pitied Solomon and wanted to help him, but it was too risky for the captain because if he were caught he could have been killed or put in jail for helping runaway slaves because they are some else’s property, so he denied Northup’s offer. (149-150) Finally, Solomon met his master’s, Edwin Epps, friend Samuel Bass and Solomon finally found someone he could trust and possibly help him escape. Samuel Bass opposed slavery and thought that no man should have the right to own another man because he thought it was morally wrong. Solomon eventually told Samuel Bass his true life story and Bass was appalled by it. He felt bad for Solomon because he disagreed with slavery, so he vowed to help him gain his freedom. Samuel Bass agreed to send letters to Saratoga, which is where Solomon’s family resided, but there was never a response to the letters. A few months later, Bass again was able to get into contact with Solomon and told him that he would be going to Saratoga on his way to Canada, his homeland. Solomon gave him the names of his family and friends and Bass told him he would again send letters for him. A few months after Samuel Bass sent out the letters, Solomon was working in the fields and was approached by two men in a carriage. Solomon realized who they were and knew they were there to grant him his freedom. After proving to the men, the sheriff and Henry Northup, that he was Solomon Northup and he was free, they granted him his freedom. (204-242) Solomon Northup was a free man but was never allowed to admit to it and feared running away because of the consequences. The first time Solomon argued that he was kidnapped and was free, he was almost beaten to death and threatened that if he ever again admitted to that, he would be beaten worse or even killed. That fear that was inflicted into him was the reason Northup never told anyone his real life story. Another reason Solomon never tried to escape north was because every white man in the South had the right to stop and ask him where his freedom papers were, and if he did not have any, then the white man had the right to take him to jail. If a runaway slave was ever found or returned to their master’s, the punishment was almost too harsh to survive. In addition to the fear of being severely punished, most slaves did not know the exact route to the North and to freedom. Solomon experienced both freedom and slavery, and two completely different worlds of them. Northup hated slavery and periodically expresses his negative attitude towards it. Northup describes his first ever beating to the burning pains and agonies of hell. (25) Solomon describes his master, Edwin Epps, coming home intoxicated and whipping slaves for fun and making them play instrument and dance after a hard days work. (136-138) Another incident occurred when Solomon was ordered to beat another slave, which he did at least forty times. Edwin Epps was still not satisfied, but Solomon disobeyed his master and threw down then whip. Edwin Epps picked up the whip and beat her until she no longer moved and was on the edge of dying. After Solomon witnessed the beating, he said â€Å"Thou devil, sooner or later, somewhere in the course of eternal justice, thou shalt answer for this sin!† (197) Not all white men felt the same way towards slavery as did most of Solomon Northupâ₠¬â„¢s masters. Some white men, from the North and South, disagreed with slavery and thought that all slaves should be set free because no man should have the right to own another man and wanted to help free them, like Samuel Bass. Other white men helped free slaves because they felt it was their responsibility toward a son or family member of his family’s former slave, like Henry Northup. Research Papers on 12 Years a Slave. Solomon NorthupCanaanite Influence on the Early Israelite Religion19 Century Society: A Deeply Divided EraComparison: Letter from Birmingham and CritoTwilight of the UAWCapital PunishmentThe Effects of Illegal ImmigrationBringing Democracy to AfricaThe Spring and AutumnArguments for Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS)Hip-Hop is Art

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Nile Crocodile Facts (Crocodylus niloticus)

Nile Crocodile Facts (Crocodylus niloticus) The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is a large freshwater African reptile. It is responsible for the most deaths from any animal as a predator preying on humans, yet crocodiles serve an important ecological function. The Nile crocodile eats carcasses that pollute water and controls predatory fish that could overeat smaller fish used as food by many other species. Fast Facts: Nile Crocodile Scientific Name: Crocodylus niloticusCommon Names: Nile crocodile, African crocodile, common crocodile, black crocodileBasic Animal Group: ReptileSize: 10-20 feetWeight: 300-1650 poundsLifespan: 50-60 yearsDiet: CarnivoreHabitat: Freshwater wetlands of sub-Saharan AfricaPopulation: 250,000Conservation Status: Least Concern Description The Nile crocodile is the second-largest reptile in the world after the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Nile crocodiles have thick, armored skin that is dark bronze with black stripes and spots on the back, greenish-yellow side stripes, and yellow scales on the belly. Crocodiles have four short legs, long tails, and elongated jaws with conical teeth. Their eyes, ears, and nostrils are on top of the head. Males are about 30% larger than females. Average size ranges between 10 and 20 feet in length and anywhere from 300 to 1,650 pounds in weight. A Nile crocodile may carry her young in her mouth or on her back. Gallo Images-Roger De La Harpe / Getty Images Habitat and Distribution The Nile crocodile is native to Africa. It lives in freshwater marshes, swamps, lakes, streams, and rivers of sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile basin, and Madagascar. It is an invasive species in Florida, but it is unknown whether the population is reproducing. Although it is a freshwater species, the Nile crocodile has salt glands and sometimes enters brackish and marine waters. Diet and Behavior Crocodiles are apex predators that hunt animals up to twice their size. Young crocodiles eat invertebrates and fish, while larger ones may take any animal. They also feed on carcasses, other crocodiles (including members of their own species), and sometimes fruit. Like other crocodilians, they ingest stones as gastroliths, which may help digest food or act as ballast. Crocodiles are ambush predators that wait for prey to come within range, lunge at the target, and sink their teeth into it to drag it into water to drown, die from sudden thrashing movements, or be torn apart with help from other crocodiles. At night, crocodiles may leave the water and ambush prey on land. The Nile crocodile spends most of the day partially exposed in shallow water or basking on land. Crocodiles may bask with open mouths to prevent overheating or as a threat display for other crocodiles. Reproduction and Offspring Nile crocodiles reach sexual maturity between 12 and 16 years of age, when males are about 10 feet 10 inches long and females are between 7 and 10 feet long. Mature males breed every year, while females only breed once every two to three years. Males attract females by making noises, slapping their snouts in water, and blowing water out through their noses. Males may battle other males for breeding rights. Females lay eggs a month or two after breeding. Nesting can occur at any time of year, but tends to coincide with the dry season. The female digs a nest in the sand or soil several feet from the water and deposits between 25 and 80 eggs. The heat of the soil incubates the eggs and determines the sex of the offspring, with males only resulting from temperatures between 89 Â °F and 94 Â °F. The female guards the nest until the eggs hatch, which takes about 90 days. Near the end of the incubation period, the young make high-pitched chirps to alert the female to dig out the eggs. She may use her mouth to help her offspring hatch. After they have hatched, she may carry them in her mouth to water. While she guards her offspring for up to two years, they hunt their own food immediately after hatching. Despite her care, only about 10% of the eggs survive to hatching and 1% of hatchlings reach maturity. Mortality is high because the eggs and young are food for many other species. In captivity, Nile crocodiles live 50 to 60 years. They may have a potential lifespan of 70 to 100 years in the wild. A Nile crocodile has an egg tooth that it uses to help hatch from an egg. hphimagelibrary / Getty Images Conservation Status The Nile crocodile faced extinction in the 1960s. Today, the IUCN classifies the species conservation status as least concern. However, Nile crocodile numbers are decreasing. CITES lists the Nile crocodile under Appendix I (threatened with extinction) throughout most of its range. Researchers estimate 250,000 to 500,000 individuals live in the wild. Crocodiles are protected in part of their range and are raised in captivity. Threats The species faces multiple threats to its survival, including habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting for meat and leather, poaching, pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, and persecution. Invasive plant species also pose a threat, as they alter the temperature of crocodile nests and prevent eggs from hatching. Nile Crocodiles and Humans Crocodiles are farmed for their leather. In the wild, they have a reputation as man-eaters. The Nile crocodile together with the saltwater crocodile kills hundreds or sometimes thousands of people each year. Females with nests are aggressive, plus large adults hunt humans. Field biologists attribute the high number of attacks to a general lack of caution around crocodile-occupied areas. Studies indicate planned land management and public education could reduce human-crocodile conflict. Sources Crocodile Specialist Group 1996. Crocodylus niloticus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1996: e.T46590A11064465. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.1996.RLTS.T46590A11064465.enDunham, K. M.; Ghiurghi, A.; Cumbi, R. Urbano, F. Human–wildlife conflict in Mozambique: a national perspective, with emphasis on wildlife attacks on humans. Oryx. 44 (2): 185, 2010. doi:10.1017/S003060530999086XThorbjarnarson, J. Crocodile tears and skins: international trade, economic constraints, and limits to the sustainable use of crocodilians. Conservation Biology. 13 (3): 465–470, 1999. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1999.00011.xWallace, K. M. A. J. Leslie. Diet of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Journal of Herpetology. 42 (2): 361, 2008. doi:10.1670/07-1071.1Wood, Gerald. The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. Sterling Publishing Co Inc., 1983. ISBN 978-0-85112-235-9.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Effective Communications Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 words

Effective Communications - Essay Example All supplies of Tylenol were pulled directly off the shelves of every store in the United States. The cost to the company to accomplish this act was over $50 million dollars, yet Johnson and Johnson accomplished this with grace and humility and gained the respect of Americans in the process. After a period of time, Tylenol was replaced on store shelves complete with new, tamper-resistant packaging, telling the public loudly and clearly that the first priority of Johnson and Johnson is the safety of the public who purchased their products, thus keeping them in business. As the text states, because of the response to the incident and their overwhelming regard for human lives, Tylenol recovered an even larger share of the market and "gained credibility, public trust, and esteem." (Federal Register). Once Johnson and Johnson issued "Our Credo," they had public opinion firmly and positively on their side. Johnson and Johnson stated to consumers that their goal was to meet the needs of those who use their product, but to do so in a responsible way. They acknowledge that they have the right to make a fair profit, which, again, puts public opinion firmly in their corner. ... Another public might be considered the people such as doctors, nurses and the institutions of hospitals that regularly dispense Tylenol to their patients. This sector of the public had a grave responsibility in the face of the Tylenol tragedy, in that they had to make absolutely sure that none of the product that could possibly have been contaminated remained in their hospitals. A possible third public could be the press, who, in many cases become the most direct line to the general public. What the press is told and what they release to the general public is extremely important and akin to walking a tightrope. The internal public would be the employees and stockholders of Johnson and Johnson. The employees were put into a difficult situation in that if public opinion, fickle as it is, had gone the "other" direction; the employees of Johnson and Johnson could well have borne the brunt of public righteous indignation. It would have become rather non-politic to answer the question "Where do you work," because the employees would have been guilty by association. The stockholders, another faction of the internal public would have been seen as equally "guilty," and it is likely that rumors would have abounded concerning the culpability of the stockholders in the aftermath of tragedy. The external public, on the other hand, I would see as the consumer of Johnson and Johnson products. I'm sure every mother and father in America experienced a sense of panic and horror when they learned of the cyanide laced Tylenol capsules, thinking it could have been their child or another parents' child that fell victim to the capsules. It was

Monday, February 3, 2020

Explore the ways in which late antique or medieval Christian thought Essay

Explore the ways in which late antique or medieval Christian thought (i.e. St. Thomas Aquinas) compares and contrasts with Greek philosophy (i.e. Plato and Aris - Essay Example Let us try to see what these similarities and contrasts were between them on example of the role that was played by the dichotomy that separated the world into opposing realms, such as ideas and matter in the Greek philosophy, and spirit and flesh or faith and reason in the Christian thought. In general, for the formation of the Christian thought probably the most important was its early period when this presently dominant religion was searching to define itself. The Romans widely propagated Greek culture and in this way Christianity found itself in the Greco-Roman society amidst pronounced philosophical and religious confrontation. It was integration of competing philosophies and of the rich Hellenistic philosophical heritage into the Christian world view that served as a winning strategy for the Christian religion. Before the first statements regarding the general doctrine of the church were made in the 4th century, philosophical theology was becoming more important than direct revelation in determining the essential Christian doctrines. At the same time, not all of the early church scholars had the same view on the available heritage of secular knowledge, which was mainly Greek. For instance, Tertullian in 2nd century treated the secular knowledge as unnecessary in co mparison to scriptures, but his coeval Clement of Alexandria defended the usefulness of the Greek secular heritage, and of philosophy in general, as a proper addition to the gospel. In the 3rd century Origen of Alexandria went even further and claimed that there actually was a philosophical school that through reason confirmed the gospel. For Origen this school was represented by the philosophy of Neoplatonists - the further development of Platonic philosophy initiated by Plotinus - with its views on the essence of God and divine relation to the world and man. In the end, this position of Origen prevailed and thus Neoplatonism assumed the role of the basic philosophical theory that to

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Life Styles Inventory (LSI) Assignment

Life Styles Inventory (LSI) Assignment Behavior Styles Life Styles Inventory (LSI): Self Description â€Å"The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.† Dwight D. Eisenhower Introduction: Thinking and Behavior The Life Styles Inventory (LSI) identifies the essential thoughts and stimulus that guide individuals behavior. Often referred to as personal styles, management styles and leadership styles, these signify the essence of an individuals effectiveness. The quality of my thinking and behavior contributes greatly to my work performance. Fortunately, I have the power to change ineffective thinking and behavior, the kind that can paralyze an individuals effectiveness. But first I need to know if what I’m doing now is supporting from quality performance. The scoring reveals where I have talent, where I can grow, and where I may be able to develop even stronger skills by simply shifting behaviors that could be holding me back (limiting style). Personal Thinking Styles: Based on the Life Styles Inventory results, my primary personal thinking style is self-actualization. Self-actualization in life is very important to make sure you are pleased with your inner self and behaviors. This goes back to morals and how you were raised. Self-actualization allows me to always be pleased and happy with the decisions I make in life. As a professional, making decisions that I will be happy with is essential. You may not always be pleased with decisions that others make, but I believe it’s important to please self when it involves making personal decisions. My back-up style is achievement. Achievement is setting goals at work and in my personal life. You must be determined, focused, goal-oriented and dedicated to talks given. For example, pursuing a Master’s degree is a personal goal I’m striving to accomplish for self-satisfaction, not for others satisfaction. The style that I think might be working against me to reduce your effectiveness is the perfectionist style. IT can be limiting because nothing is perfect and you have to have a backup plan in case obstacles occur. Being a perfectionist can waste time and money when it comes to the workplace. In some cases perfection is needed. When pharmacists prescribe medication to patients they need to strive to provide the perfect medication for the problem because if they don’t things could go wrong with the patient. There are times where perfection is needed and others when you’re just wasting precious money and time. Impact On Management Style: With the high achieving style being the second high rated style on my inventory list, it has a major impact on my management style. A high achievement style indicates I set goals and is enthusiastic about working towards difficult but realistic goals. In pursuit of goals and achieving high quality results, I’m likely to follow a well-developed plan that has been considered in depth. I carefully examine my options before deciding on a plan of action. To adequately isolate these behaviors or ways of thinking and emphasize strengths, it is essential to understand their impact on quality of performance. As a manager I will have a positive effect on my employees. Being that the poser style is on the bottom of my totem pole, I believe that the humanistic and encouraging style will set well with the employees and contribute to a person’s level of satisfaction proficiency at accomplishing tasks. Having the ability to work effectively with people develop healthy relationships is a important in management. Genesis of Personal Styles Since I’m able to remember, I was taught to be your own person. I was taught to always be the leader and not the follower when it comes to personal decisions. It’s very important to not always want to be a leader and never want to follow in the workplace. My mother and father instilled in me to set goals and achieve those goals no matter how long it took to accomplish what you have set for yourself. As a child in the schooldays, I remember bringing home all the books that I had (Math, Science, Language, etc.). If I didn’t have homework in a subject, I had to read the next chapter for the next day. I thank my parents for instilling in me how important knowledge is. I continue to keep that with me after graduating from high school, second year college, four year college and now striving for my Master’s. I can truly say that continuing my education is a major part of my life. Because of my parents teaching, I’m good. Being in the church was another gre at thing that happened to me. A person’s environment can have a major impact on their life. Conclusion and Reflection The underlying thoughts and motivations that guide an individual’s behavior, that is personal styles, management styles and leadership styles, represent the essence of an individuals effectiveness. Research has shown that the styles measured by the LSI are related to a number of indicators of effectiveness and success, including leadership effectiveness, management effectiveness, problem solving effectiveness, quality of interpersonal relations, organizational level, individual health and well being, and organizational culture. I can use what I learn to initiate positive changes in how I think and act according to the changes that increase my personal and professional effectiveness. The LSI can be used to create change through: (1) identifying the unique thinking patterns that characterize your current behavior (2) understanding which of your thinking patterns are effective, which aren’t and why (3) deciding which thinking and behavior patterns you want to change (4) defining optimal ways of thinking and approaching your work, such as, setting targeted improvement goals and creating a precise approach to convey on change.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Assess How Martin Gaite Takes on the Task of Confronting Recent History Both Aesthetically and Ethically in El Cuarto de Atras.

Assess how Martin Gaite takes on the task of confronting recent history both aesthetically and ethically in El cuarto de atras. El cuarto de atras is Carmen Martin Gaite’s first post-Franco novel. Encompassing two very distinct genres, it is a fantastical novel, whilst in the same framework, a realist memoir of a woman growing up in post-war Spain. Through the use of the fantastic mode, the author approaches the real social history of the Civil War and post war period.This essay, will explore how Martin Gaite confronts this recent history, illustrating the hostile political environment of her youth and the anxiety it engendered. Through aesthetic techniques, particularly the fantastic mode, the novel facilitates a recollection of memories, which for many, were tarred with pain and anger. What we discover is that Martin Gaite’s intended purpose for her novel is not direct criticism of the fascist regime, but rather she aims to capture the collective memory of a generatio n, a memory which is often difficult to yield.To begin, it necessary to understand Martin Gaite’s decision to write her novel in this way, by gaining a sense of the climate of opinion which prevailed among the leading writers at the end of Franco’s rule, the time when Martin Gaite wrote El cuarto de atras. One of her contemporaries, the influential Juan Goytisolo, published an essay in 1967, which criticises the insipid realistic literature that was written in post-war Spain. He warns that Spanish novelists seem to have lost the ability to smile, despite belonging to a literary tradition that can draw on Cervantes and Larra.Goytisolo claims that, preoccupied with fighting Franco with words, he and his contemporaries have failed to serve either their cause or the wider interests of literature itself. In his essay, he writes: Digamoslo con claridad: las generaciones venideras nos pediran cuentas, sin duda, de nuestra actual conducta civica, pero no tomaran a esta en cons ideracion si, paralelamente a nuestra responsabilidad moral de ciudadanos, no manifestamos nuestra responsabilidad artistica como escritores.No basta, en efecto, reclamar la libertad: tenemos que probarla desde ahora con la autenticidad y responsabilidad de nuestras obras (Wood 2012: 48). Martin Gaite acknowledged and responded to this need for a new form of literature that did not rely solely on politics and realism. On November 23, 1975, the day that Franco died, she set out to write El cuarto de atras. Her novel would focus on two main literary goals; Firstly, to write a social history of the post-war era and secondly to write a fantastic novel.The novel is narrated by a woman called ‘C’, similar to Martin Gaite herself, who tells the story of an unexpected visit by a mysterious man, in the middle of the night. He has come to interview her. During their night-long conversation, the interviewer encourages the narrator in her recollection of her past. During the course of the conversation, the two protagonists notice that in the corner of the room, there is a pile of papers, which continues to grow. At the end of the novel, we learn that this stack of pages comprises the novel itself, even entitled ‘El cuarto de atras’.Their conversation has produced a novel. This powerful metafictional image of the written manuscript of the novel appearing within the novel itself creates a sense of participation amongst her readers. In the final pages, when the protagonist picks up the manuscript, we suddenly become aware of the novel we hold in our hands, and see it now as a mere artefact, the product of the conversation to which we have been aesthetically participating. The mystery behind this metafiction helps in establishing the ‘fantastic’ genre of the novel.Todorov gives a three-part definition of the fantastic genre, all three met in El cuarto de atras, ‘the reader considers the fictional world as real, the reader and the n arrator share a hesitation over whether or not what they perceive derives from commonly-held definitions of reality, and no allegorical interpretation of the unexplainable is advanced’ (Brown 1987: 41). Throughout the novel, the narrator mentions Todorov and quotes several times from his works. The narrator literally stumbles over Todorov’s book at the very start of the novel and later on, she spills water on the book, in doing so, making it more real.She even comes across a note she made when finishing reading the book, promising that one day ‘voy a escribir una novela fantastica’ (p 27). By the end of the novel, when she picks up the manuscript entitled ‘El cuarto de atras’, we realise that this is in fact, the fantastic novel which she promised she would write. The following description constructed by Todorov himself indicates why Martin Gaite decided to use the fantastic mode in her novel: ‘The supernatural thereby becomes a symbol o f language, just as the figures of rhetoric do, and the figure is, as we have seen, the purest form of literality’ (Brown 1987: 153).As well as heightening the creativity of her realist memoirs, Martin Gaite depends on the fantastic genre to uncover certain truths, which lie in hidden memories. Explaining, ‘cuando se traspasa esa frontera entre lo que estas convencido de que es verdad y lo que ya sabes si es verdad o mentira, puede ser posible todo’[1], it is apparent that in using the fantastic, mixing reality with mystery, she makes possible the difficult task of confronting painful, distressing memories experienced during the Civil war in Spain. The fantastic genre of El cuarto de atras is actually determined by the interviewer, the â€Å"man in the black hat†.The mystery of this nocturnal visitor remains unresolved and we finish the novel not knowing if his visit was real or dreamt-up by the narrator. From his very arrival, a fantastic apparition mater ialises, with the huge cockroach on the stairway, whose eyes, she will later note, exactly resemble his. ‘With its monstrous appearance [†¦ ] the insect summons the reader to anticipate the unknown. While the insect is described in detail, the man whose entry follows is not’ (Brown 1987: 151). The absent description of this character is one of several unresolved ambiguities of the novel, taking us in to the territory of the fantastic.It is in this territory and through her conversation with this ghostly character, that the narrator is able to recall her memories. The narrator realises that her difficulty in writing the memoir was due to the fact that she wanted to recapture more than just facts, ‘lo que yo queria rescatar era algo mas inaprensible, eran las miguitas, no las piedrecitas blancas’ (p. 120). With the image of white pebbles and breadcrumbs, a symbol from Perrault’s stories, we learn that she grasps how the truth about history, identi ty and collective memory, is made up of fragments, like pieces of a puzzle.Acting as her conscience, the interviewer certifies this in saying ‘tendria que aprender a escribir como habla’ (p. 120). This reflects Martin Gaite’s view that historical narrative does not suffice if and when constructing a novel which successfully approaches such a painful past. For the narrator, rather than assisting her, facts and historical data have acted as an obstacle. Martin Gaite creates a fantastic memoir, with dimensions of both reality and mystery, allowing the readers to find some form of escapism in her novel. As Robert C.Spires notes, the fantastic ‘frees both writer and reader from a one-dimensional, cause and effect, view of existence’ (1984:120). This creative release, which Martin Gaite seeks in her employment of the fantastic, hints at Spain’s sudden release from the Franco regime. In a further metafictional reference, the narrator explains how, si nce her childhood, she has experienced a form of escape through literature and fantasy. In her composition, as a child, of a novel revolving around a mythical island called Bergai, she demonstrates her desire to escape the strict silence of the regime.By declaring her own search for freedom through literature, Martin Gaite hopes that her novel will encourage the freeing of unspoken memories that her own generation has been hiding. The very title of the novel and the plurality of it’s meaning, indicates Martin Gaite’s desire to liberate memories. The narrator recalls how, ‘El cuarto de atras’ was the place where she used to play as a child, enjoying its freedom to develop her creative imagination. With the war, ‘el cuarto de atras’ begins to be appropriated by adults to store ‘articulos de primera necesidad’ (p. 157).The narrator explains, ‘hasta que dejamos de tener cuarto para jugar, porque los articulos de primera necesida d desplazaron y arrinconaron nuestra infancia, el juego y la subsistencia coexistieron en una convivencia agria de olores incompatibles’ (p. 160). ‘Politics seemed to be part of the adult world and the changes brought about by war seemed like rules for an unexplained new game’ (O’leary and Ribeiro de Menezes 2008:114). Her description reveals her imagination, yet at the same time, serves to depict the ways in which the war impeded on such basic aspects of everyday life.Through her innocence as a child, she does not politically criticise the war, but instead, discusses its inconveniences on her life as she grew up. The plurality of meaning that surrounds ‘El cuarto de atras’ surfaces in a further description of this space: ‘me lo imagino tambien como un desvan del cerebro [†¦ ] separado [†¦ ] por una cortina que solo se descorre de vez en cuando; los recuerdos que pueden darnos alguna sorpresa viven agazapados en el cuarto de at ras, siempre salen de alli, y solo cuando quieren, no sirve hostigarlos† (p. 83).In the novel, the task of pulling back the curtain is undertaken by the interviewer, as it can be perceived that his role is to help the narrator reveal hidden memories. This task of confronting past experiences is not an easy one, as it can un-surface deep fear and anger. ‘It must be remembered that government repression was a formalised expression of the psychological mechanisms adopted by a people whose horror had to be assuaged’ (Brown 1987:162). In establishing the mode of the fantastic, Martin Gaite pulls back the curtain on past realities, and in doing so, captures collective memory.The novel gives a realistic account of life as a child growing up in Spain in 1930’s and 40’s. The narrator points out that Franco came to power when she was only nine years old and she speaks openly about the effects the Civil War had on her. She recalls personal experiences such as h er uncle’s murder because he was a Socialist and the imprisonment of her friend’s parents because they were ‘Rojos’. Her recollections originate from her perception of them as a child, for example, trips to the bomb shelter are just another game.This innocence and political ignorance of her childhood memories help Martin Gaite to steer away from the blame game and political motives, giving instead, an account of what she experienced and how she perceived things as a child. The compelling image which most effectively achieves this is that of Franco’s daughter. The narrator remembers envying her but also feeling sorry for her. We see her sympathising with Carmencita’s grief as a daughter during the dictator’s funeral. Stating that ‘en mi casa, no eran franquistas’, we learn that the narrator is subtle when probed on Franco himself.Although critique on his leadership is inevitable, she avoids using her novel to directly attac k Franco, but rather to give an account of the effect of his dominance on society. As she watches Carmencita Franco at her father’s funeral, the narrator thinks about what they have in common and realises that they share the same collective memory as women who grew up in a patriarchal society. The novel explores the importance of the ‘Seccion Femenina’ and of romantic fiction to her generation of women. Martin Gaite offers the reader an insight, often overlooked in history books, into the ideological inculcation of women during the Franco period’ (O’Leary and Ribeiro de Menezes 2008: 115). She explains, Todas las arengas que monitores y camaradas nos lanzaban en aquellos locales inhospitos, mezcla de hangar y de cine de pueblo, donde cumpli a reganadientes el Servicio Social, cosiendo dobladillos, haciendo gimnasia y jugando al baloncesto, se encaminaban, en definitiva, al mismo objetivo: a que aceptasemos con alegria y orgullo [†¦] nuestra con dicion de mujeres fuertes, complemento y espejo del varon. p. 85) This description has been structured in such a way as to sarcastically signify what was expected on women during the regime. She is able to look back with humour on the expectations of the society she grew up in. As Brown suggests, ‘Luckily, she learned at an early age that the sentiments of the Fascists ruling party were not those of her own family, and that there was a dichotomy between what was thought at home and what was valued outside’ (Brown 1987: 158).Martin Gaite discretely ignored the inhibitions to freedom imposed by the Government’s restrictions and with the support of her mother, she attended university, surpassing the limited, narrow parameters of women’s lives. However, it is apparent that she was in fact influenced by the social tendencies of the time. Through her references to Hollywood stars such as Garbo, and her vision of the interviewer as the hero of a romantic novel, w e discover that her thoughts and behaviour are influenced by romantic literature and Hollywood glamour.The fantasy of each of these became a reality and something these women were expected to aspire towards as a sort of model of behaviour. Sharing such memories with her reader, providing an insight into the social customs of recent history, collective memory is captured. The narrator explains her difficulty in writing her memoirs because her memories of the war and post-war years are disordered and confused. She describes the post war period as ‘un panorama tan ancho y tan revuelto, como una habitacion donde cada cosa esta en su sitio precisamente al haberse salido de su sitio’ (p. 93).Her desire to write these memoirs arises when she is watching Franco’s funeral. As she watches the funeral procession, she summarises what she recalled of Franco’s dominance in the society she grew up in, ‘Franco pescando truchas, Franco en el Pazo de Mieras, Franco en los sellos, Franco en el NO-DO’ (p. 119). The image of Franco was everywhere. As she watches his funeral, the narrator states ‘el tiempo se desbloqueaba’ (p. 119). ‘Franco’s death set time in motion again, as well as language, thus allowing the author to explore the recent past and personal history (O’Leary and Ribeiro 2008:113).The disorder of time and space, in El cuarto de atras, brings forth a revelation in ethically confronting recent history, establishing a contrast with the imposed order of the regime whose end has inspired this fantastic memoir. As a final point, attention should be drawn to the tension that Martin Gaite creates in her depiction of life in Franco’s Spain. This tension lies between her description of the stasis of life under Franco and the life that she managed to live. During this ‘frozen’ time period, the narrator succeeds in becoming both a novelist and a mother.Despite the limitations, obligatio ns and deprivation of the dictatorship, she recalls how her childhood and adolescence were happy. The juxtaposition between stasis and dynamism is most brilliantly described in her comparison of the Franco dictatorship with that of the game ‘escondite ingles’. Under the threatening eye of the dictatorship, people stood still and froze but behind the back of the regime, when and where they had the opportunity, they strove to run their lives as they pleased. In using a popular childhood game to highlight uch tension, her readers are able to return to their past, focusing not on their pain and anger, but rather on the rhythm of life during this period. To conclude, Martin Gaite’s novel, succeeds in offering a new style of writing when confronting recent history. The complex interaction between reality and fantasy, produces a creative and gripping memoir which attempts to capture the collective memory of a generation. In recalling her memories as a child and depictin g the role expected of women, Martin Gaite provides us with an insight of what it was like to experience life under Franco.El cuarto de atras succeeds as a work that enables us to lift the curtain on painful memories that have been hidden away by so many. The recovery of this memory is a difficult task, but by taking us into the world of the fantastic, these memories can find a path to escape. Bibliography Martin Gaite, Carmen. 2009. El cuarto de atras, (Madrid: Libros del Tiempo, Ediciones Siruela). Adrian M. Garcia, 2000. Silence in the Novels of Carmen Martin Gaite (New York: Peter Lang). Lipman Brown, Jo. 1987. Secrets from the Back Room: the Fiction of Carmen Martin Gaite’ (Valencia: University of Mississippi Press).O’Leary and Ribeiro de Menezes, 2008. A Companion to Carmen Martin Gaite (Woodbridge: Tamesis). Robert C. Spires, 1984. Beyond the Metafictional Mode – Directions in the Modern Spanish Novel (Lexington: Kentucky University Press, 1984). Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic – A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre trans. Richard Howard (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1975). Wood, Gareth J. 2012. Javier Marias’s Debt to translation (Oxford: Oxford University Press). ———————– [1] Martin Gaite, quoted in Gazarian Gautier ‘Conversacion con Carmen Martin Gaite en Nueva York’, 11.

Friday, January 10, 2020

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