The last time we met I mentioned I was struggling with an essay on Dorothy Sayer’s Gaudy Night. Here is a hint to my fellow college students; even when a professor says it’s okay to write in the first person, don’t do it! Not unless you are able to put yourself into the material and use quotes to back up your claims.
The question we were asked seemed simple enough. “Would you go to an all woman’s college in 1930’s England? I wrote a lengthy paper on why I would and talked about how my life would have changed if I had finished college at the appropriate age. My professor wrote that as much as he liked my story, this was not what he was looking for. I had one day to come up with a new 6 page rough draft! I came up with a paper titled “A Case for College” and wrote about three of the more successful characters found in the book and how college allowed them personal freedom. I got it back with a note that said, “I really like what you have written, but now please include something about the antagonist and compare her life to the others.
For those of you unfamiliar with Gaudy Night, it’s a crime novel set at a fictional Oxford women’s college. Annie, the antagonist works at the college but is suspicious of the many women living and working together. In her words they were “unnatural”. She takes a domestic job at the college after her husband who was a professor, commits suicide after being caught plagiarizing. She sets out to humiliate and destroy the female professors. She is the only uneducated employee who is bent on causing havoc, so I had to keep a very narrow focus on her and her motives. I must have pulled it off because I ended up with an A.
So Saturday I sat down to write a blog post about Stephen King’s Under the Dome. At first I thought my theme would be based on what I did not like about the book; I hated the ending! Then I thought I would write about what I did like. It is a look at how quickly an isolated society can break down. Like my paper, King’s focus is very narrow; he chooses to incase a small town under a dome and then watches as the inhabitants deal with their isolation. Some rise to the challenge of self-sufficiency, while others become power hunger and corrupt. It reminded me of Goldings’ Lord of the Flies. Like Lord of the Flies, King’s monster is found within. When handed power some individuals do terrible things and let manageable situations get out of hand. This is something we see in both books.
I didn’t write it Saturday because I made the mistake of turning on the TV. I got caught up in the George Zimmerman trial. I cleaned the house as I waited for the jury to find him guilty. When they found him innocent I was too sick to my stomach to write. Sunday was no better.
Agree or disagree with the verdict, what we can all take away from the outcome is that a man who in his limited power as captain of his neighborhood watch, was validated in his role in letting a manageable situation get out of hand. His narrow focus on Trayvon Martin and his assumed authority led to the death of the unarmed teen. Sadly it seems our society is saying it is okay to gun down someone rather than find a peaceful outcome. One of the jurors has now come out and said, “we think George is a good guy who did a bad thing”. Yah, I bet the kids in Lord of Flies were all good kids too, that is until they were isolated made captains of their island neighborhood.
I don’t know if it is a coincidence or if Professor Sparky Sweets picked Lord of Flies for this week’s lesson because of the trial, but here it is. A critical look at Lord of the Flies and what is says about society and violence. The summary gave me a good idea. For now on I will refer to George Zimmerman as Lord of the Flies.