Monday, October 3, 2011

The War Prayer

So "The War Prayer" wasn't a bad read at all. It chronicled a small church that had gathered to pray and send their boys to war. They were there showing their patriotism and support for America. A haggard looking old man walks in and whispers to the preacher, and then he tells the congregation that he is a messenger from God. He proceeds to say a prayer himself for these boys going off to war, and then he hobbles back down the aisle. Everyone in the church is confused and doesn't want to believe that he was a real messenger from God, so it is assumed that he is a lunatic.
Messenger from God?
So you know when you are reading something and you just have a picture of it in your head... Well for me I had a clear cut picture of my Grandma's tiny church in my head. This church maybe has a congregation of 100, and the average age is like 75. These people are so set in their ways. It's like pulling teeth to try to get them to believe something new, my grandma included. They will sing and praise the lord, but if you say anything that contradicts what their preacher has said or something that they have learned at a previous time, then you are wrong (and you might even be crazy). And is it bad hat I pictured the messenger as Dumbledore from Harry Potter? I'm not some huge, crazy Harry Potter fan, but I have read all of the books and seen the movies. "An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness." If that doesn't sound like Dumbledore, then I don't know what does.
One of the big themes that has been present throughout most of our reading is conformity. That is definitely present here. This group of people in the story are all showing their support for America. They are supporting the men and women going to war. That's what they are supposed to do. Conformity. Are they wrong to support these men and women? In  my opinion, absolutely not. Anyone who fights for my freedom and my country deserves my support. The messenger comes in and tells everyone who he is; they don't believe him. None of them do. Conformity. They are practicing Christians, and yet they don't believe a man who says he is a messenger from God.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


This selection is actually two short stories put together. These were enjoyable reading for me. They kept my attention the entire time... for once.
Short but sweet here's the scoop on these writings:
First story was about a war captain, Captain Ward, going to war to fight against the rebels who don't want to succumb to slavery. Mrs Ward. has to explain his absence to her son and they are inspired by his patriotism.
Second story was about a painter who comes home to his family and is barged in on by some kind of police who arrest him for being fugitive. He is taken to Georgia and sold into slavery.
This story is ironic because the first story is a wealthy white family who's patriarch goes to fight against the protagonist in the second story. While Captain Ward is praised and held in the highest standard by his friends and family, the painter is arrested for nothing other than the color of his skin. Stowe is using her writing to make a point here, just as she did with Uncle Tom's Cabin.
After some research, i found out that this was in response to the fugitive slave law. This law reqwuired that all fugitive slaves be brought back to their masters. It was conroversial because those who did manage to run away were always going to be in fear of being captured.


"Let your life be a counter friction to the machiene."

That quote stuck out to me from watching this video. Unlike reading, i enjoyed watching the video. ( although I'm more a fan of watching than reading). In my last blog, I stated that Thoreau needed to stand up and do something about it. He was just sitting in a chair writing. Silly me believed that this was not doing anything to change anything. I was wrong. By writing civil disobedience, thoreau inspired millions to stand up and do something, to be a counter friction to the machiene. I couple of the things that stuck out to me from the video were the segregation photos. Rosa Parks was seen a couple of times, the greensboro sit ins were featured, and Norman Rockwell's painting "The Problems we all live with" was also featured. Segregation was a big problem in American for so long. The fact that we have overcome (sortof) segregation is amazing. If those people had not taken a stand, then we might still be stuck back in the 1950's. Thinking about segregation triggered me to picture one of my favorite scenes from Remember the Titans... quite possibly my favorite movie. The scene where Coach Boone takes his team to the field where Gettysburg was fought is so powerful. He tells the boys that those men were fighting the same fight that they were during the time of Titans.
He says, If they don't come together on that ground then they will be destroyed. He doesn't care if they like each other, but they WILL respect each other. If everyone lived by that motto today, then the world would be a better place. It doesn't matter if you like someone, but do respect who they are and their beliefs. Whether or not you agree with them.

Civil Disobedience

Reading Thoreau for the second time, I found myself still not interested in what he had to say. In high school, my English teacher got so excited about the Trancendentalism unit, but many of the students did not share his enthusiasm. Many times transcendentalism is full of words and ideas; there are not many actions. Thoreau states his beliefs on government, mainly, in this selection. He feels that "the government which governs best governs least." To a point, I agree with him. One can find many faults with the government today. However, there are also tons of successes. Some of the faults: Although i have my own opinions on it, gay marraige. The fact that some states don't allow some people to get married just based on sexual orientation is wrong. I was raised in a small town and went to a small christian church. Some of the little old ladies would gasp if they heard me say that. I was raised to believe that marraige is between a man and a woman, and I still do believe that. Although, I don't think it is fair or just that gays are not allowed to be married in some states. A victory for the government- repealing Don't Ask Dont' Tell. For so long, gays were not allowed to openly serve in the military. our military numbers are dwindling each year, and the US wanted to turn people away based on sexual orientation. Wow. I feel that it is the right thing that it was lifted.
I loved Thoreau's point on living simply. The more simply he lives, the less he has to lose. So many Americans today live beyond their means... I wonder why everyone is in so much debt??? Maybe if we took a note from Thoreau we could live simpler and probably happier. If there weren't so many material things to focus on, then we could focus on each other and bettering our relationships.
I think that by writing this Thoreau thougth he could get a point across to the legislatures in the government. However, I still think if he wants something done about the government, then he needs to get up and take some action.