Georg’s Death

In “The Judgement” the protagonist Georg is portrayed as someone who deeply cares about those around hi. He takes good care of his father, and he is very sensitive to his friend’s desperate situation in Russia. While taking care of him, Georg’s father tells Georg that he had secretly been writing to his friend for the 3 years that he was away, telling him everything happening in Georg’s life. He also accuses Georg of being a poor caretaker and trying to kill him. He sentences Georg to a “death by drowning”, which prompts Georg to kill himself. “With weakening grip he was still holding on when he spied between the rails a motor-bus coming which would easily cover the noise of his fall, called in a low voice ‘dear parents, I have always loved you all the same,’ and let himself drop” (Kafka 88). Georg’s father is clearly abusive, but do you think that it was his father’s harsh words alone that drove him to kill himself, or were there other factors to his death, like missing his dead mother or his long gone friend? If you think that Georg killed himself because of his father only, was it being he was afraid of him, thought that he was unappreciative of his care, or something else?

Futurist Manifestos

In “The Futurist Manifestos”, when explaining the futurist movement, it is clear they wanted everything to be original and rebellious compared to older works. They wanted to “glorify war” and “destroy”. Out of all the initial things said what do you think would be hard for people to go along with? And What might be the most controversial?

Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra – a Hectic Musical Embodiment of the early 20th Century

Schoenberg’s Five Pieces is a unique work that appears very busy, particularly in the first movement. Like many canvas art pieces in the 20 years prior to its creation, the Five Pieces for Orchestra is packed with so many incidental parts that even after several playthroughs it is hard to distinguish every one. The first movement starts out soft, but after less than a minute horns playing flat notes create a sense of alarm, soon to be joined by blaring clarinets and flutes. For a brief moment it seems reminiscent of a John Williams score from actions sequences we would see in films like Indiana Jones, including the plucking of strings and high woodwind notes which stand out in some of the incidental parts of his film scores. However, where Williams’ scores reflect action sequences, tension, dread and excitement, this score is slightly more vague. It moves so quickly to the next style and incidental part that it is hard to distinguish any pattern to the piece, which I believe is intentional.

Music tends to reflect the periods events, and at this time (1909), much was occurring in the world. Just 6 years prior the first powered aircraft flew for the first time, and the continuation of the industrial revolution created the opportunity for many more technological innovations. In transportation, larger railroad locomotives and ocean liners (Construction had already begun on the RMS Olympic, the Titanic’s predecessor, and it would be completed just two years after this piece was written), the mass production of automobiles had recently begun, and the world as a whole was becoming more connected as roads, the oceans, and skies became more packed with the newest innovations. It is this hectic new world that is conveyed through the first movement of this piece. Perhaps Schoenberg’s brief introduction with a soft tone is a way of romanticizing a world before the most recent, noisy, modern advances. Its influence can be seen in The Planets by Gustav Holst, who composed a movement meant to reflect war in Mars. With countries beginning to gear up for war in the form of various arms races across Europe, it could also be argued that both this bombastic section of Schoenberg’s piece and Holst’s work is a commentary on the more hostile world that has resulted from rapid technological advancement. The conclusion of low notes by woodwinds after the loud, brass-heavy portion still conveys this ominous tone but in a more veiled fashion, which is thought provoking and leads one to ask the following questions:

What could this more quiet section represent or convey in the context of the era?

To what extent can this piece, particularly its beginning, be traced to events of the period?

While symbolic, music, can also be directly influenced by current events of the time, so what specific events in Europe might have contributed to this piece’s fashion?

Empathy and Respect

Throughout Emmeline Pankhurst’s Speech from the Dock she tries to be respectful towards the men who would be reading this. “I do not want to say anything which may seem disrespectful to you, or in any way give you offense, but I do want to say that I wish, sir, that you could put yourself into the place of women for a moment before you decide upon this case .” (Pankhurst 470) There are many instances where Pankhurst tries to emphasize that men cannot comprehend how these women are feeling and she tries to make them feel empathetic towards their oppressed political rights. “I want you, if you can, as a man, to realize what it means to women like us. We are driven to do this, we are determined to go on with agitation, because we feel in honor bound.” (471) Do you think that Emmeline Pankhurst’s approach helps her cause and would be effective? Do you think it hurts her arguments? Why?

Male Jury

In Emmeline Pankhurst’s “Speech from the Dock”, she says that women should not be brought upon a jury of men for committing a crime that men cannot understand. She says, “women are brought up for certain crimes, crimes which men do not understand- I am thinking especially of infanticide- they are brought before a man judge, before a jury of men, who are called upon to decide whether some poor, hunted woman is guilty of murder or not” (470). This is a strong argument that is relevant even today, and Pankhurst makes a great argument that it is questionable how much merit a decision made by a jury of men on a crime which they do not understand, as Pankhurst puts it, really has. Do you think that Pankhurst would be satisfied by the jury of men becoming more educated on the crime before they show up in court, or do you think she wants them excluded from the case all together? Whichever point you think she is trying to make, do you agree with it?

The Strategy of Self-Restraint

In the 1908 “Speech from the Dock,” British suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst, states that her organization Women’s Social and Political Union is advocating for the right to equal representation under the law, and she believes that having the right to vote will lead to more representation for women. (Pankhurst, 470) For instance, when Pankhurst mentions why some women in her organization were arrested for handing out leaflets with the message “to rush the House of Commons” printed on them, she mentioned to a man questioning her, “Well, sir, that is all I have to say to you. We are here not because we are lawbreakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers. (Pankhurst, 472) This statement demonstrates that suffragettes, such as Pankhurst, advocated for women to have the right to make laws. For instance, she mentioned that women had to pay taxes but could not decide how they were spent. Also, she mentioned that women had to obey the laws but could not decide what laws should be enforced. Thus, women were forced to submit to laws and rules that they did not decide themselves. Therefore, women had to draw attention to their cause by protesting and causing “agitation.” However, Pankhurst made it clear that “agitation” was not used to create violence or break laws but was used to anger opponents. (Pankhurst, 471) As a result, “agitation” would cause opponents to enact violence against the suffragettes, and they would remain calm to prove that they were rational and not overly emotional. For instance, after Pankhurst is arrested, she mentions that her followers likely wanted to fight the police and cause chaos; however, they remained calm. Pankhurst stated, “They were very indignant, but our words have always been, “be patient, exercise self-restraint, show our so-called superiors that the criticism of women being hysterical is not true; use no violence, offer yourselves to the violence of others.” (Pankhurst, 472) In reality, the women purposely placed themselves in situations that would result in violence and opposition because they insisted on the right to vote in a patriarchal society in which women could not make decisions for themselves. Pankhurst’s statement demonstrates how women had to remain calm and collective even when facing violence to prove to men and all of society that they can be rational beings. Also, the women were able to make the violent perpetrators appear irrational instead. How does the self-restraint demonstrated by frustrated suffragettes reflect the patriarchal society they lived in? How could this strategy be effective for other social movements?

The Dangers of Doing What’s Right-11/17

In Zola’s J’accuse, he openly declares his support for Alfred Dreyfus and asserts that he is innocent. He also accuses the first and second court marshal of covering up the facts, and acquitting a man they knew to be guilty. In doing so, he acknowledges, “I am fully aware that my action comes under Articles 30 and 31 of the law 29 July 1881 on the press, which makes libel a punishable offense. I deliberately expose myself to that law.” (pg. 214)

Zola is publicly addressing the President, very publicly accusing the people running the trial, and aligning himself with a man who was convicted of spying for the enemy. He does this with the full knowledge of what laws he is violating, and that he will likely serve time for this. How does this help his argument? Does it make it more convincing? Why would he go to such lengths to help prove Dreyfus’s innocence, and Esterhazy’s guilt?

Making Progress as a Woman in a Man’s World

In Emmeline Pankhurst’s Speech From the Dock, she outlines the failures of the women’s movement in the past “we have tried every way. We have presented larger petitions than were ever presented for any other reform; we have succeeded in holding greater public meetings than men have ever had for any reform… we have faced hostile mobs at street corners… we have been misrepresented, we have been ridiculed, we have had contempt poured upon us” (471). One interesting thing to me was the equation between the past methods and acting traditionally feminine and the way that they are acting now with traditional masculinity; “we have tried to be womanly. We have tried to use feminine influence, and we have seen that it is of no use” (470). Pankhurst makes it clear that women have both been held to an impossibly high standard and that there was no way to create progress in the women’s movement quietly. Personally, I know that it wasn’t until the adoption of such militant tactics in the United States by younger suffragettes that we really made progress which ended with the passing of the 19th amendment. Do you see an alternative to the kind of strategy that Pankhurst alludes to throughout the document? Why or why not? 

Dreams

While reading and analyzing “The interpretation of Dreams” by Freud, I had trouble believing the accuracy. From personal experience, it is very hard to remember a dream, even if you wake up and immediately write it down. Let alone remember very specific details. The accuracy at which he remembers certain details such as words on a bottle, make me question the accuracy. He writes, “Not long before, when she was feeling unwell, my friend Otto had given her an injection of a preparation of propyl, propyls…..propionic acid…….trimethylamin (and I saw before me the formula for this printed out in heavy type)”. How can we truly know the accuracy of what he is saying? What kind of mental state do you think all this dream analysis had on Freud’s mental state? Analyzing every line of a dream like its AP English during the Great Gatsby unit has to take a toll after awhile. Also, mix in the cocaine and constant highs and lows, you’re probably going to have some wild dreams.

Dream Interpretation

In Sigmund Freud’s dream about Irma, he tries to blame her illness on Otto. When he is interpreting the dream, he says that this reflects a hidden desire to cast blame on other people in order to avoid responsibility. His interpretation is an explanation for the dream, but it is not fact. Not only does the dream depend on the individual dreaming it, but the interpretation depends on them too. In the end of his dream analogy, Freud says that everyone’s dreams are based on wish fulfillment, but this is just based off of the dreams that he has. “The dream represented a particular state of affairs as I should have wished it to be. Thus its content was a fulfillment of a wish at its motive was a wish.” (140). Do you think that the interpretation of someone’s dream should be left to that person alone, or can other people like Freud that did not experience the dream come up with a better formula for dreams? Does Freud’s interpretation of his dream make it more valuable than any other person’s since he was the one who dreamt it?