Image & Argument
In class we’ll use the boards to come up with visual images and designs, accompanied with lines of argument. Here are some examples from previous literature classes:
Hamlet (Shakespeare) — the death of Ophelia
Queen Gertrude: There is a willow grows aslant a brook, / That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream; / There with fantastic garlands did she come / Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples / That liberal shepherds give a grosser name, / But our cold [chaste] maids do dead men's fingers call them: / There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds / Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke; / When down her weedy trophies and herself / Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide; / And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up: / Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes; / As one incapable [unaware] of her own distress, / Or like a creature native and indued / Unto that element: but long it could not be / Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, / Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay / To muddy death. (Hamlet 4.7)
The Year of Living Dangerously (Christopher Koch, 1978) — a novel about poverty, wealth, loyalty, and Indonesian politics in 1965
From the novel: As [Hamilton] lay sinking towards sleep ... Betjak bells floated up from the Car Park seven floors below ... he was often calmly unaware of their true natures, intensities, and needs, floating and dissolving around him.
“Sonnet 116” (Shakespeare) & “Black Star” (Radiohead, 1995) — on love that’s eternal & on love that isn’t
“Sonnet 116”: Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments. Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, / Or bends with the remover to remove: / O no; it is an ever-fixed mark, / That looks on tempests,* and is never shaken; / It is the star to every wandering bark,* / Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. / Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks / Within his bending sickle's compass come; / Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, / But bears it out even to the edge of doom.* / If this be error and upon me proved, / I never writ, nor no man ever loved. /// *tempests = storms bark = ship edge of doom = Day of Judgment Chorus from “Black Star”: Blame it on the black star / Blame it on the falling sky / Blame it on the satellite that beams me home
The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov, 1967) — in which the Devil’s descent on Soviet Moscow is juxtaposed with Pilate’s decision to execute Christ in Jerusalem
From the novel: “In order to be in control, you have to have a definite plan for at least a reasonable period of time. So how, may I ask, can man be in control if he can't even draw up a plan for a ridiculously short period of time, say, a thousand years, and is, moreover, unable to ensure his own safety for even the next day?” […] “The brick is neither here nor there,” interrupted the stranger in an imposing fashion, “it never merely falls on someone's head from out of nowhere. In your case, I can assure you that a brick poses no threat whatsoever. You will die another kind of death."
The cat, covered in dust and standing on its hind legs, bowed to Margarita. Round its neck it was now wearing a made-up white bow tie on an elastic band, with a pair of ladies’ mother-of-pearl binoculars hanging on a cord. It had also gilded its whiskers.
“Long Road Out of Eden” (The Eagles, 2007) — about the gap between ideals and realities in the wake of the Iraq War
From the song: Weavin' down the American highway / Through the litter and the wreckage and the cultural junk / Bloated with entitlement, loaded on propaganda / Now we're drivin' dazed and drunk // Been down the road to Damascus, the road to Mandalay / Met the ghost of Caesar on the Appian way / He said, "It's hard to stop this bingein' once you get a taste / But the road to empire is a bloody stupid waste // Behold the bitten apple, the power of the tools / But all the knowledge in the world is of no use to fools / And it's a long road out of Eden
“Brain Damage” & “Eclipse” (Pink Floyd, 1973) — about insanity
From the songs: The lunatic is on the grass …. And if the dam breaks open many years too soon, / And if there is no room upon the hill, / And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too, / I'll see you on the dark side of the moon. … The lunatic is in my head … And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, / I'll see you on the dark side of the moon. … And all that is now / And all that is gone / And all that's to come / And everything under the sun is in tune / But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
“Paint It Black” (Rolling Stones, 1966) & “Black” (Pearl Jam, 1991) — about losing love
From “Paint It Black”: I see a red door and I want it painted black / No colours anymore I want them to turn black / I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes / I have to turn my head until my darkness goes - From “Black”: Sheets of empty canvas / Untouched sheets of clay / Were laid spread out before me / As her body once did / All five horizons / Revolved around her soul / As the earth to the sun … Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin / Round my head / I'm spinning / Oh, I'm spinning / How quick the sun can, drop away
“The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” (Sir Walter Raleigh, 1600) & “The Girl from Ermita” (Goh Poh Seng, 1979) — about refusing to be seduced and seduction for money
From “The Nymph’s Reply”: Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of Roses, / Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies / Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten: / In folly ripe, in reason rotten. // Thy belt of straw and Ivy buds, / The Coral clasps and amber studs, / All these in me no means can move / To come to thee and be thy love. // But could youth last, and love still breed, / Had joys no date, nor age no need, / Then these delights my mind might move / To live with thee, and be thy love. From “The Girl from Ermita”: Yes, at night I can be your sweet mango, / but comes the dawn, / I’ll be as sour as a calamansi. […] Come, lie down with me, / I will be your true love, / for only a hundred pesos.
“Anthem for Doomed Youth” & “Dulce et Decorum Est” — two poems by Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) about the propaganda, horror, and sadness of war
From “Dulce et Decorum Est” (1917-18): In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. // If in some smothering dreams you too could pace / Behind the wagon that we flung him in, / And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, / His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; / If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood / Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, / Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud / Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -- / My friend, you would not tell with such high zest / To children ardent for some desperate glory, / The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est / Pro patria mori.* /// * From the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”
“Anthem for Doomed Youth” (1917): What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? / Only the monstrous anger of the guns. / Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle / Can patter out their hasty orisons. / No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; / Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, - / The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; / And bugles calling for them from sad shires. // What candles may be held to speed them all? / Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes / Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes. / The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall; / Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, / And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
“Sonnet 130” (Shakespeare) & “Bright Star” (Keats, 1820) — about being in love
“Sonnet 130”: My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; / Coral is far more red than her lips' red; / If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;* / If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. / I have seen roses damasked,* red and white, / But no such roses see I in her cheeks; / And in some perfumes is there more delight / Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. / I love to hear her speak, yet well I know / That music hath a far more pleasing sound; / I grant I never saw a goddess go; / My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: / And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare / As any she belied with false compare.* /// dun = dark or dusky; damasked = velvety pink or light red; As ... compare ~ As anybody who lied about her by making a false comparison
“Bright Star”: Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art-- / Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night / And watching, with eternal lids apart, / Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,* / The moving waters at their priestlike task / Of pure ablution* round earth’s human shores, / Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask / Of snow upon the mountains and the moors -- / No -- yet still steadfast, still unchangeable, / Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast, / To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, / Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, / Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, / And so live ever -- or else swoon to death. /// Eremite = hermit; ablution = ritual cleansing
“And I Will War” (Byron, Don Juan, 1823) & “Fight Song” (Marilyn Manson, 2000) — about fighting for what one believes in
From Don Juan (Canto IX, XXIV): And I will war, at least in words (and -- should / My chance so happen -- deeds), with all who war / With Thought; -- and of Thought's foes by far most rude, / Tyrants and sycophants have been and are. / I know not who may conquer: if I could / Have such a prescience, it should be no bar / To this my plain, sworn, downright detestation / Of every despotism in every nation. From “Fight Song”: You'll never grow up to be a big rock star / Celebrated victim of your fame / They'll just cut our wrists like cheap coupons / And say that death was on sale today // The death of one is a tragedy / The death of millions is just a statistic