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post 40

Another really great class I took was for my first degree in Communicatons.  I took a public speaking class where we had to give 3 ten-minute persuasive speeches.  Writing a proper speech is very similiar to writing a paper.  One needs an introduction, transitions, facts, and a conclusion.  The biggest difference is when writing a speech, one does not want to use very formal language, the language one is taught to use when writing a paper.  You have to be relatable to your audience and speak in language they can understand and remember.  The best speech i gave for that class was why you should eat an apple every day.  I got an almost perfect score on this speech and was very proud of myself.

post 39

paper for 321

Virtue and Vice: How The Tempest and A Masque Presented at Ludlow Castle Represent Virtue and Vice as Dominating Factors Within Society

After reading The Tempest by William Shakespeare and A Masque Presented at Ludlow Castle by Milton, one can see the similarities between the two works in both style and in characterization.   Both works have similar female characters, Miranda and the Lady, that are defined by their sexual innocence and therefore need protection.  Both works also have outcasts, Caliban and Comus, who represent vice because they are non-human and want to obtain the virtue and innocence of the females from their respected works.   By looking at the relationship between virtue and vice within both works one can see that the characters, although different in some aspects, represent the same roles within each work.  Both Caliban and Comus wish to obtain sexual dominance over their female counterparts.  Miranda and the Lady’s virtue and chastity are not only characteristics that make them desired but it is also these same elements that protect them from being overtaken by the male “others” in the works and reliant upon their male relatives. 

The similarities between these two works can be seen in many different ways.  First, one can look at the styles that these works are written.  Although the play, “The Tempest itself in some ways resembles a masque, and Prospero stages what is in effect a masque, when in 4.1.118ff. he conjures up Iris, Ceres, and Juno in ‘a most majestic vision’”(Barnet 181).  The Tempest, although a play encompasses elements of a masque, while A Masque Presented at Ludlow Castle respectively has elements that challenge it’s classification as a masque. Comus “is described as a masque, though it is generally reckoned a pastoral play” (wikipedia.org).  Because both Comus and The Tempest hold elements that forgo the traditional elements found in plays and masques, the two are very similar to one another.  This is one reason why the two are so easy to compare and are often associated with each other.  Another reason is the characters.

By their physical characteristics, one can see the similarities between Comus and Caliban.  Both are non-human. Both of their mothers are infamous for disrupting the lives of men.  Comus is the son of Circe;

(Who knows not Circe

The daughter of the Sun? whose charmed cup

Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape,

And downward fell into a groveling swine) (Comus lines 50-53)

Circe is seen in The Odyssey.  She is the goddess of magic that transforms some of Odysseus’s men into pigs.  Her son, Comus shares his mother’s magic and witchery;

            Excels his mother at her mighty art,

            Off’ring to every weary traveler

            His orient liquor in a crystal glass

            To quench the drought of Phoebus, which as

            They taste…

            Soon as the porton works, their human cont’nance

            Th’ express resemblance of the gods, is changed

            Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear… (Comus lines 63-70)

Caliban also has a witch as a mother.  His mother is Sycorax, who was banished to the island due to the spells she was casting.

            This damned witch Sycorax

            For mischiefs manifold, and sorceries terrible

            To enter human hearing, from Argier,

            Thou know’st was banished…

            This blue-eyed hag was hither brought with child (The Tempest lines 263-269)

Due to their mothers, both Comus and Caliban are non-human, mystical creatures.  They both are seen as “outsiders” and “be identified with vice and matter” (Leininger 152). Because Comus and Caliban are not a part of “the educated and privileged” they can possess vice, and go after the virtue and chastity of both Miranda and The Lady in their respected works. 

            Miranda and The Lady represent virginity, chastity and virtue.  Both females need to be virgins in order to be protected and dominated. This virtue is what draws Comus and Caliban to them, and what allows them to be dominated within the works. In The Tempest, Caliban tells the audience how he desires Miranda.  When Prospero asks Caliban if he “didst seek to violate the honor of my child” (line 347), Caliban responses:

            O ho. O ho! Would’t had been done!

            Thou didst prevent me; I had peopled else

            This isle with Calibans (lines 349-351)

Because Miranda is so pure and virtuous, she is vulnerable to Caliban’s sexual attacks. 

This purity and innocence also causes Miranda to be dependent on her father to protect her.  This dependence upon her father causes Miranda to become a slave herself.  Her virtue has to be protected or controlled at all costs, and this allows her father to control his daughter and her outcome.    Because she is so innocent and virtuous, she is put in a passive position to her father. When Miranda tries to intervene with her father on behalf of Ferdinand Prospero quickly reminds her of her role in his society.  He responds to his daughter as; “What! I say, My foot my tutor?”(Lines 469-470).  Lorie Jerrell Leininger interrupts this part of the play to mean that “Miranda is given to understand that she is the foot in the family organization of which Prospero is the head.  Hers not to reason why, hers but to follow directions” (Leininger 148).  Because Miranda is presented as a virtuous, innocent character, she is unable to make decisions of her own.  Her virginity and chastity, two virtues that are taught to be celebrated, cause her to be dominated by her father and lusted after by Caliban. 

Leininger also points out that “it was ‘only natural’ that the educated and privileged be identified with virtue and spirit…the tendency of allegory to link virtue with privilege and sin with misfortune, making particular power relationships appear inevitable, ‘natural’ and just within a changeless ‘divinely ordained hierarchical order”(Lininger 152).  Miranda has to be virtuous because she is human and educated.  Caliban has to obtain vice, because he is non-human.  Because of the chastity that is dependent upon Miranda, she is forced to be controlled by her father and chased after by Caliban.  Miranda’s chastity acts as the agent that allows Prospero to dominate over Caliban as well.  Prospero has to protect his daughter’s chastity and hence has to overpower Caliban in order to ensure that Miranda’s virginity is protected.  Miranda is not capable of protecting herself and therefore has to remain under her father’s control to ensure that her virginity, her virtue remains intact.   

            We see the roles of virtue and vice in A Masque Presented at Ludlow Castle as well.  The Lady, in this masque is also pure and virginal. She, like Miranda, belongs to the “educated and privileged” and therefore can be “identified with virtue and spirit”.  Her chastity, as well as her beauty are factors that draw Comus to her.  Comus, being non-human and therefore beholding vice, longs to take the virginity and innocence of the Lady.  Comus captures the lady and tries to offer her to drink from his enchanted glass;

Nay, lady, sit; if I but wave this wand,

Your nerves are all chained up in alabaster,

And you a statue, or as Daphne was,

Root-bound, that fled Apollo (Milton 659-662)

Comus, like Caliban wish to overtake the female human’s virtue with their vice.  Comus wishes that the Lady gives up her virtue, her virginity, to him and that they both can lead lives of vice.  Although the Lady knows that Comus is trying to convince her to give up her chastity; “To him that dares Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words against the sun-clad power of Chastity” (Milton 780-782) she is unable to rescue herself.  The Lady, like Miranda, is dependent upon others to protect her virginity and virtue. 

            The Lady needs to be rescued by her brothers.  The brothers are well aware of their role as protectors of their sister’s virtue.  They know that her virginity gives her and them privilege in the world and that this asset is something that is constantly in threat of being taken from the Lady.  William Kerrigan shows that “The Younger Brother fears that his sister may be in the ‘direful grasp’ of ‘Savage hunger’ or ‘Savage heat’ (357-358), vulnerable to rape” (Kerrigan 512).  This is yet another similarity to both the masque and the play The Tempest.  Both Miranda and the Lady are at risk of being rapped because they are innocent and virtuous by beast that are non-human and therefore possess vice. 

            Both Miranda and the Lady are a part of the privileged educated class and therefore are allowed to be presented as virtuous.  This virtue is linked to their chastity and virginity. These agents allow not only Miranda and The Lady to be dominated and controlled by their male relations but it also allows Comus and Caliban to be dominated.  Comus and Caliban have to be non-human, mythical creatures because they hold vice and the readers need to be able to maintain a separation between themselves and these characters.  By making Comus and Caliban non-human there is no way of associating oneself with them and hence associating oneself with vice.  This similarity, as well as the set up of both works makes them ideal works to look at hand in hand.  Both The Tempest and A Masque Presented at Ludlow Castle are similar in both style and characterization.  Both works cross the boundaries of typical plays and masques.  Both works also show the relationship between virtue and vice with their female characters and the villains.  Both works show how virtue allows the male characters to dominate and maintain control in both fictional worlds.   If virtue is what frees Miranda and The Lady from Comus and Caliban, what trait will free them from their male relations? 

Works Cited


Barnet, Sylvan. “The Tempest on Stage and Screen.” Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. New York: Signet Classics, 1998. 180-190.

Kerrigan, William. “The Root-Bound Lad in Comus.” Milton. Milton’s Selected Poetry and Prose. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011. 507-523.

Leininger, Lorie Jerrell. “The Miranda Trap.” Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. New York: Signet Classics, 1998. 146-155.

Milton. Milton’s Selected Poetyr and Prose. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011.

Shakespear, William. The Tempest. New York: Signet Classics, 1998.

“wikepedia.org.” wikepedia.org. 27 May 2011 <www.wikepedia.org>.

post 38

Favorite paper

The favorite paper that I have written in Queens college was a paper where I compared the characters of Jane Austin’s Mansfield Park with characters from The Wizard of Oz.  It was in my Victorian Novels class.  While reading the text, I kept associating characters from the novel with Characters from the book.  I decided to take a chance and write a paper comparing the different characters.  My teacher not only gave me an A on the paper but she wrote that this was the most original paper she had ever read.  I wasn’t sure if my decision was going to be a wise one, but I took a gamble and the reward paid off. 

            When I was at Hofstra, one of the best papers I wrote was a paper on Madam Defarge title “Hell have no fury like a woman scorned”.  This paper was one that I really enjoyed writing.  The novel A Tale of Two Cities was a novel that I was really glad I read.  I read the whole novel and felt a sense of accomplishment afterwards.  These are two of the many papers I have written during my career as a student that stand out the most to me in my memory.

post 37

Just did a unit lesson for my education class. I had to come up with a calendar for at least 3 weeks of lessons.  My unit came out to 23 days.  The theme of my unit is The depiction of women in literature throughout history.  I have the students read, Cinderella and Snow White by the Grimm Brothers.  Then they read poems with the same names by Anne Sexton and they look at the song lyrics from Sara Barielles called “Fairytale”.  Then the students look at chapters from a book which depicts how women lived in America during the Victorian times.  The main chapter the students focus on is the chapter that concentrates on dating and marriage during this time period.  Then the students read the frame story of 1001 Arabian nights.  Then they look at The Wife of Bath’s tale from the Canterbury tales.  Then the main text we concentrate on in the unit is the novella Maggie” A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crain.  The unit ends with the students reading diary entries from a work that has hundreds of women write a log of one day of their lives.  I think all these works are good works for the unit.  They show how women are depicted in different times and in different regions.  The students will see how some stereotypes of women are rooted back hundreds of years. The unit lesson project also consisted of activities the students will partake in as well as assignments.

post 36

Worse English class I took in Queens college was my Global Literature class.  I was hoping to be exposed to an array of novels from different parts of the globe. I was disappointed.  We read poems that I had already learned in my Poetry class.  We then read Heart of Darkness, which I did like.  We read The Sound and Fury, which I already read on my own.  We read a work by Juno Diaz which was good, but it took place in the United States.  The worse book that was assigned for us in this class was the President’s autobiography.  I didn’t read or buy this book.  I thought it was a pretty obvious way of our liberal teacher trying to have us read this book which was not really appropriate in a Global Literature class.  I understand that literature allows us to experience things outside our comfort zone and outside what we may experience in our daily lives, but this was just too much for me.  I come from a very conservative family and they were not happy to have their daughter have to pay to read this book.  I was really hoping that I get to experience works from different parts of the globe, Latin America, Spain, Asia and Africa.  I did get to experience works like that in this class so I was grateful that my senior seminar picks up where my Global Lit class didn’t.

post 35

The book that made me want to become an English major was Catcher in the Rye.  I was working in the city, taking the LIRR into work everyday.  I hated my job and really wanted to find something else.  In college the first time I graduated I never enjoyed reading.  I was so excited when I graduated that I would never have to pick up another book again for the rest of my life.  But I needed something to do on the train and decided to read this book, becasue I never had to read it in high school.  Well I finished the book in two days.  I fell in love with this book.  All I wanted was to talk about this book and discuss this book.  I actually missed being in a classroom and having to discuss readings with other people.  I decided then, after reading this novel that if I ever went back to school that I would study literature and English.  And that is what I am doing.

post 34

Ohh where to do my observations next semester?  I just rated twenty schools where I could do my observations next semester.  I hope I get my first or second choice, but there are no guarantees.  I hope that I can do my observations in the middle school for the fall semester and then stay at the same school or school district and just move up to the high school in spring.  I am happy to be getting to the end again, but very nervous because teachers are getting fired left and right.  I am very concerned to graduate next May, with two B.A’s and then not get a job.  What is frustrating is that in order to be able to teach in New York, you have to take 3 state certification tests.  But just because you pass in New York, doesn’t mean you can teach in any state.  So for me to apply out of state I have to re-take the tests again for each state.  This is expensive and stressful.  I can always teach outside the country, but I would want to teach in Europe and unless you are an European citizen, you will not really get hired. You can work off the books but this is sketchy and you always face the risk of being sent back to the United States.  I hope things turn around or that I am one of the lucky and rare people that actually get a teaching job next year.

post 33

In one of the schools I’m doing observations in this semester, the 10th grade students are reading this book called The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Alexi Sherman.  This book tells the story of a young Indian named Junior living on a reservation.  This book tells how Junior is harassed by white people and by Indians living on the reservation when he begins attending a “white” school.  It seemed like a younger version of Ceremony.  It was really interesting to see the students reading works that reflect what they can be reading in college.  The story had many of the same themes and ideas.  The book talks about bullying and struggling to fit in as well as discrimination.  These themes are all present in Ceremony.  The teacher was really surprised to learn that I, in college, was reading a book with similar themes and context.  I think students are given more an opportunity to read books that are not from the Canon.  I think that students should get a mixture of both canon texts and books from other parts of the region that are not considered Canon worthy.  Ceremony, or The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian being perfect examples.

post 32

A really great class I took at Hofstra was a class called Naturalism.  We read novellas and short stories by Stephen Crain, we read Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser,  McTeague  by Frank Norris and Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck.  We also got to watch most of the original movies based on these works of fiction.  We watched The Red Badge of Courage, Greed and Of Mice and Men.  This was a really interesting class for me and the professor was so passionate in what she was teaching, that we wanted to go to class everyday to hear her talk about the works.  She loved showing us movies and clips from different media during this time.  It was one of my favorite classes that I have taken in college.  I hope to leave a lasting impression on my students like this professor left on me.

post 31

I think it is interesting to see how Indians are depicted in popular Media. Most children play cowboys and Indians when they are young.  The lost boys in Peter Pan dress up like Indians.  They are represented as something that is wild.  Many westerns are based upon protecting the lands from Indians.  I think it is important for people to read works like Ceremony to see how Indians really are.  They all do not smoke tobacco; they all do not work on a casino.  Many of the Indian reservations are in total states of dismay.  I think of the Save by the Bell episode when Zack has to do a report on his ancestry and finds an old photograph of an Indian.  At first he takes his assignment as a joke but then is forced to speak with an old Indian chief.  Once Zack learns about the hardships of his ancestors he learns to respect himself, his heritage, and Native Americans.  We always read about the hardships of African Americans and slavery, and I think that sometimes this causes the hardships of Native Americans to be pushed aside.  Native Americans should be respected.  In Hofstra I had to do take a performance class and we had to select pieces to perform from a book on Native American short stories and prose, written by Native Americans.  It was a great resource for the class and introduced me to many texts that I wouldn’t have found on my own.

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