Thirty and a Half Minutes: A Tragedy

Note: I’m struggling to come up with material at the moment, so for this blog I have decided to publish a script I had written last year. My deepest apologies, and I will humbly accept any criticism you may have.

Synopsis

The play is set in modern day and time in a hospital. The character Fate loves to make Death miserable by having people die in the worst possible occasions. Death remembers it all. One day Fate chooses to kill a pregnant woman the day she is about to undergo labour, and chooses a doctor that had lost his wife to the same event years past. The Doctor reacts with solemnity and empathy, the nurse is completely baffled by this unfortunate chain of events, and attempts to keep the Husband from fearing the worst. Death cannot help only stands helpless and watches until the woman’s time runs out; then he comes terms with himself and decides that it is time to do his duty.

 

Character Profiles

 

Death (male):                       as a result of the lives he’s taken he is miserable always watching the happiest moments quickly followed by his reluctant and swift hand. Death is kind and compassionate but he is alone. Always delays taking lives to until he cannot avoid it any longer just so the people will have more of life left to enjoy.

 

Fate (male or female):         Sarcastic and rude, fate is indifferent to anything that happens, he thinks himself god, and mocks death and treats him as a servant. His desire to control and exert power, leads him to mock death’s misery. Determines who is to die, and who is happy or not. Claiming lives is like winning awards.

 

Doctor:           He is a man who does his job as best he can, though he’s seen too many patients die to refuse their deaths. He sees himself powerless to fate but exhausts himself trying to be the best he can for those that need him.

 

Husband:       he is the only one kept in the dark (outside the operating room) and that causes him to be scared and anxious worrying for his wife, he is optimistic as well, but terrified at the same time.

 

Wife:              She is the essential anchor of the play, it is what happens to her that affects nearly all the characters; ex, she gives the doctor some hope by having her child survive, and brings reality into the nurse’s life.

 

Nurse:            contrasts the doctor, she is young and optimistic (where most would consider foolish) always hopes for the best and believes she can cheat fate’s cruel hand. She respects the doctor, but wishes he would brighten up.

 (Opening monologues can be read from clipboards held by doctor and nurse) (Doctor and wife stand together, Nurse and Husband stand together opposite of doc and wife )

 

Doctor :          He seeks us all, our bitter or better end. Had you met him prior to our encounter your presence here would have been something impossible or extraordinary, perhaps you’ve cheated him before. However you know of him, you are aware of his profession and you know the names of some of the lives he has claimed. Of course we speak of death himself: cold, unfeeling, unforgiving, but most of all indiscriminate is our opinion of him.

 

Wife:                         But despite popular belief, Death is what makes life beautiful; the fact that it ends,there is no second chance, no relapse. Death is what compels us to live life to the fullest, so that in our final moments we may embrace him willingly with open arms, and in peace. However, there is one thing that we are ignorant of: Death is miserable, he loves life but is forced to take it away when it is the most beautiful.

 

Doctor:                     The crushed flower plant, the unfortunate duckling, the pet that had to be put down, and the one whom you never saw again.

 

Wife:              He has no one but himself, in his solitude he watches over you protecting you as long as he can, until he makes a mistake. When he lays his hand on those you love it is he who grieves the most. His heart is heavy, for he harbours the sadness and misery of the souls of the reluctant ones and the unfortunate ones.

 

Wife and Doctor:      For it is in his melancholy he seeks you in your final moments and wishes to reunite you with the ones you cherish, and gently carries your soul. And if you were to listen very carefully, he weeps for you, and in his sobs you can hear him apologize.

 

Husband:                  And yet there is another, much more cruel; the keeper of time, the mastermind of the art of taking life at its most beautiful. His/her name is Fate. s/he is the one who holds the mighty grip on Death, and all of us to an extent.

 

Nurse:                      Oh darling, do not confuse him/her with destiny, for s/he is nothing of the sort, in the duality s/he represents the darker half; the perversion and twistedness of sadism. S/he is what makes us believe death as cold, unfeeling, unforgiving, but most of all indiscriminate.

This is the darker soul, similar to the side of yourself that you do not reveal to others; the one that you continue to suppress. The jealousy, the bitterness, the pettiness, the resentment, and the cruelty.

 

Husband:       Misfortune is his/her title. His/Her ultimate goal is to bring about a miserable chain of events, so that S/he may be entertained. Prolonging the endless misery of Death, is a pleasantry to fate. Children often ask why is fate so cruel. The answer lies within our very souls.

 

Nurse:                      Mankind has an incredible ability to summon strength and power from the smallest semblance of hope; committing acts of selflessness and heroism out of good faith.

 

Husband and Nurse:            Fate waits patiently for the day where s/he breaks man; the day when his/her misery causes man to drop to his knees and suffer in his newfound squalor.

 

 

Fate:              Who should I pick today? (mockingly)

 

There’s a boy who might cross the street to see his mother later today, perhaps he shouldn’t?

Here is a man who has summoned the courage to propose, how about I make him terminally ill, maybe he’ll be due a few days before his wedding?

Here’s a girl that had just begun to realize her self-worth, maybe it would be too late?

Will you help me chose someone today, I’m rather indecisive at the moment.

 

Death:                      Stop it…Please just stop.

 

Fate:                         Humans may picture you as a skeleton, but you lack a spine. Why should I stop my job because you’re too cowardly to do your own? It would be a mockery of your existence.

 

Death:                      (out to audience) Of course you don’t understand do you? You sit here on your throne of bones, claiming lives like trophies, yet you’re indifferent to how much pain you cause, people curse us, they resent us because of what you enjoy, and on top of it all I have to do the dirty work. You haven’t stayed beside them up till their very last moments. When you kill someone, you murder a part of everyone else involved which will never know happiness again. My job is to take life, this is the sole purpose of my miserable existence, but why must you make me do so without mercy or respect?

 

Fate:                         You are weak. You need to realize I decide what happens, and in most cases, when it happens. My job is to regulate their lives, not their minds. If they feel grief or sadness it is not my doing, and not my intention. Emotions just follow. I can decide if a man will win the lottery or if he will lose all his money trying.

 

Death:                      (bitterly) Of all the empires in existence yours is the most horrific, dirt and skulls and bones. Go do your own bidding for once and witness for yourself how wonderful it feels.

 

You call me weak because I’m not like you, well you’ve never been up there, never seen their eyes moments before they recognize you… but there’s never hear you say you’re sorry for doing something you didn’t want, so they blame me.

 

Fate:                         Why does it concern you? You are death. Your responsibility is to end everything that lives.

 

Death:                      I am death and I do bring an end, but I only wish to end what needs to end. Their hearts beat, beat to live, they scream to live and you send me to silence them; silence perfectly beautiful hearts. I wish only to end life if only it has been lived.

 

Fate:              I have a present for you. There is a hospital… let me show you the way (change lights respective to hospital room, enter doctor, nurse, wife on bed, husband is waiting in the distance)

 

Death:                      What are you…

 

Fate:                         Why, it is my gift to you.

 

Death:                      (almost begging) No, stop, please. Stop, they don’t deserve this, please give them a few more years, (yelling) This is supposed to be the happiest day of their lives!

 

Fate:                         What they feel is not my fault.

 

Nurse :           (reads clipboard) Are you joking…Cardiomyopathy? Can we do a heart transplant?

we’ve got the means to keep the heart beating? Do something to keep her heart going? That could help her, couldn’t it? Emergency C-section? Artificial means to keep the nodes transmitting? We can save both of them can’t we?

 

Doctor:           I wish we could, but right now it’ll be impossible, the diagnosis came late and she’s

about to undergo labour, we would be risking two lives for the sake of one. I wish it were different, but under the current circumstances her heart won’t be able to handle it. And it we do it any other way, we risk the baby.

 

Nurse:                      I can’t believe it, you’re actually saying they’ll…die? They can’t, what are we going to tell the father…

 

Doctor:           (takes out locket from pocket, and then rubs wedding band) You should know, that, sometimes we don’t get what we want. I’ve been in this profession long enough to figure this out the hard way. Death is cruel you know; indiscriminate. In his world, all are truly equal.

 

Nurse:                      What are we going to do…

 

Doctor:           What we have to, at least one of them has to survive…

 

Nurse:                      There has to be a way, nothing has to end like this…

 

Doctor:           Welcome to reality my dear; I hope when you enlisted in this profession you anticipated the depths of sorrow it would take you to. This is just how everything is.

 

Nurse:                      How can you be so insensitive, about all this? She trusts you with her life and a baby!

 

Doctor:                     Someone else did too. Come we must not procrastinate, right now you’ve got to tell her husband, and I’ll tell her.

 

Wife:                         (Tired) I know, I know, just please promise me you’ll save the baby, even if you have to…

 

Doctor:           I’ll do what I can, you have my word. I’ll make sure the baby survives.

 

Wife:                         Thank you, thank you…

 

Scene 4

 

Nurse goes sees finds husband

 

Husband:       Oh thank goodness, am I a father yet!

 

Nurse:                      (lying) At this point everything is going according to plan, the doc doesn’t tell me  what’s going on half the time, he’s a focused man and all… but he’s one of the best this hospital has got, so your wife is in good hands.

 

Husband:                  (relieved) Thank you, so much, she’s been stressed over so much lately. I can’t blame her, going through so much just so we all can have a better chance at happiness. We were so excited to find out all those months ago, and I’m just grateful, so so very grateful that I’ll get to live my life with our kicking and screaming bundle of joy. I’m just so happy. I stayed up all night once and got a room ready at our home for the baby, I haven’t let my wife know any of the details so I could surprise her.

 

Nurse:                      (smiles) Your baby will be lucky to have such a loving and caring father guiding it, I’m glad to hear that… please don’t change, always be there for them.

 

Husband:       (beaming) Such as a proud father’s duty, I can’t wait till he or she’s older and I get to take them to school and back, or perhaps when I’m back here again because a certain someone wanted a sibling.

 

Nurse:                      (starting to choke on her words) I have to go now.

 

Husband:       (grabs her hands) Thank you so much, for giving my baby a chance at life.

 

Scene 5

 

Wife:                         Whatever you have to do, please save the baby, I’m ready

 

Doctor:           Believe me, I won’t let the same mistake happen again Miss, you’ve got my word.

 

Wife:                         Same mistake?

 

Death:                      No…not this, I remember

 

Freeze

 

Fate:                         Dear me, you remember? One would think that with millions dying everywhere by your hand you’d eventually forget.

 

Death:                      I remember them all, and they’re more to me than just trophies of power. I am with them at every stage of their lives, I love them and I try my best to protect them all that’s why I try my hardest not to catch them if they fall.

Resume

 

Doctor:           Yes. It was a few years ago… My wife and I were expecting, it was supposed to be the best day of our lives, I decided that it was best that I help her undergo the procedure; I was so excited so, very excited… But something–everything– went wrong, when the other staff saw her papers, we ran diagnostics and we found that her heart wasn’t capable of handling the stress, cardiomyopathy… I had to act fast, I had to to keep them alive. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I… I was too late. My wife…she, she died that day, giving childbirth because I couldn’t administer any of the proper procedures in my panic, and my son, my beautiful baby boy. She was glad to know that he had made it, at least until she closed her eyes. After that…my baby boy lived long enough only for his weak father to hold him for a few minutes.

 

Wife:                         I’m so sorry…I see why you’re so determined to not let this procedure fail. I trust you.

 

Doctor:           I wished I could’ve help them (looks at death)

 

Death:                      (unheard by everyone) I’m sorry. I wish I didn’t have to do it.

 

Wife:                         You can’t do anything for them now, they may have gone, but you still have another shot. Please help us

 

Doctor:           (breathy, tired, almost monotone) Alright

 

Doctor is now beginning the operation, Mother is dying, and giving birth

 

Death:                      Are you satisfied yet?

 

Fate:                         No, I’m hurt; won’t you stay just a bit longer? The best part hasn’t even commenced. You can see it can’t you, she’s got about 45 seconds left, and you’re going to have to you job now.

 

Death:                      You’re so right; it is time to do my job.

 

(Start countdown from 15s or 10 seconds and down stop when death steps to the bed)

 

(Wife is struggling, clinging on for life )

 

Nurse:                      What happened, she was stable a few moments ago, what’s going on!

 

Doctor:           The heart, it can’t handle much more, we’re losing her, no, no not again!

 

Fate:                         Do it

 

Death:                      You leave me no choice

 

Doctor:           No, stop! (looks at death)

 

Heart monitor stops

 

Death takes out a pocket watch and places it in the hand of the wife giving her around an thirty and a half minutes left to live.

 

Fate:                         You’ve just prolonged the inevitable fool, you’ve saved the child, but you can’t save her.

 

Doctor:           Why, why did you do this again, do you hate me that much monster, why did you take her! She was going to be a mother! (staring at death, but unaware he is facing back)

 

Cries of a baby are heard

 

Nurse:                      Doctor look!

 

Doctor:           (surprised) Oh, thank God.

 

Wife:                         Thank you Doctor

 

Doctor:           No, thank you, you’ve saved me. Congratulations Miss.

 

Nurse, we’ll need to check the baby now, take the baby to the room next door and I’ll be there shortly. I’ve got to congratulate a man into fatherhood.

 

Nurse:            We’ll be back shortly, you just rest here

 

Shift 7

 

Husband:       Doctor? Is everything alright?

 

Doctor (All):   I’ve come to congratulate you, you’re a father

 

Husband:       Thank you (embraces Doctor), can I see my wife now?

 

Doctor:           In a few minutes, she’s rather tired now, and I want to make sure you get to see your entire family

 

Husband:       Of course, my family, my wife and baby. Thank my stars. (Looks at Fate)

 

Fate:                         My my, you may just have done something worse than I could have imagined, tell me, what was the intent behind your procrastination?

 

Death:                      Her time was said to be over today, and that shall happen, but the child was unspoken for monster! This isn’t a game to me, I felt a heartbeat, small and fragile and I wasn’t going to take it away now. I gave her more time so the child could live, and the men wouldn’t take their lives. Am I wrong for possessing a soul?

 

Fate:                         You are not, you possess many. I hope you understand what you’ve done.

 

Death:                      I hope you understand why I did it.

 

Shift 8

All characters gather, Death and Fate are at the back, as are Nurse and Doctor, Husband and Wife are forward at the center of focus. Time to death for Wife is 5-3 minutes.

 

Nurse:                      Everything is set; you may enter now, this way. Oh and congratulations on fatherhood!

 

Husband:                  Fatherhood…

 

All:                  Fatherhood

 

Enters room

 

Wife:                         ( to baby) Look, it’s your papa

 

Husband:       Is it a boy or girl?

 

Wife:                         She’s so beautiful

 

Husband:       Let me see, oh you’re right, beautiful just like her mother

 

Wife:                         She’s going to have such an amazing father to take care of her, I’m so happy.

 

Husband:       She’s so squishy looking

 

Wife:                         I’m going to take that back (laughs) I love this

 

Husband:       That’s not nice

 

Wife                          I’m joking, you’re the most capable person I know.

 

Both take a moment to live in the moment mother kisses baby and husband

Death walks over and pays respects

 

Death:                      I’m so sorry.

 

Heart monitor gets louder and flat lines after a few seconds

 

Husband:       No, no no no why, hey wake up you’re sleeping right (to doctor) she’s just tired right? It’s all the drugs and the fatigue; yes she’s tired she’s just taking a rest, that’s it. Please wake up soon. She’s just resting, she’s just resting. I’ve got to tell you about the room I’ve made, and everything I’ve planned. And you’re going to be surprised, and I hope you love it

 

Nurse:                      She’s actually… oh my God. (to doctor) Is there anything we can do?

 

Husband takes baby and cries over bed

 

Death and Doctor:               I’m afraid not. I’m so sorry, her heart…

 

All Freeze except death

 

Death move forward

 

Death continues to walk quietly to center stage realizing he’s alone, Lights change to blue

 

All:                  All you do is bring misery

 

Death:            All I do is bring misery

 

All:                  You have served the villains of this world with utmost loyalty

Death:            I have served the villains of this world with utmost loyalty

 

All:                  Nobody will accept you

 

Death:            Nobody will accept me

 

All:                  We hate you

 

Death:            I love you

 

Wife gets up from bed and walks towards death, tapping his shoulder

 

Death:                      I’m sorry, there was nothing else I could have done, all I can seem to do is take life and bring misery. Hate and scorn me, I cannot blame you, I just wish that I…

 

Wife:                         (interrupts) Thank you

 

Death:                      Why would you thank me? I killed you, I’m the reason why your baby will never know her mother.

 

Wife:                         I wish I could live, but I’ll watch over her, and be with her every day. You let my baby live. (Takes out pocket watch,) You gave me this didn’t you, I saw you? You’re the reason why my baby gets to live life. I can’t thank you enough.

 

Embraces death

 

Death:                      No, thank you.

 

(blackout)

 

End.

 

“I think that one of these days… you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there.”

“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”

~J.D. Salinger

I always hated the Catcher in the Rye. I think the first time I read it I wondered how it could possibly be a book that was worthy of study in English literature, and I refused to let myself be shaped by it because I thought that becoming someone like Holden would deem me some sort of failure in the eyes of the man in the mirror. The I read it again before grade 11, and that’s when I had learned the valuable lessons that this book had in store. I still dislike the book though. However I’ve always wondered something about the book, of all the literary texts I have read, old and contemporary, why is Catcher always the one that remains the most relevant out of everything? Is it not incredible that teenage audiences find Catcher so relevant nearly 70 years after being published? Why has it not been rendered obsolete after having been put through decades of paradigm shifts and technologically advanced readers since its publication in 1951. And only recently I’ve come up with an explanation, so long as boys and girls are uncertain about their future and adulthood, so long will Holden Claulfield’s struggle exist. 

Looking back now to the time when I read the book I can truly say that I am inspired by this story, though it is simple and through it is rather somber for my liking. J.D. Salinger had offered me wisdom that I think will last my entire lifetime because what he wrote is so true and meaningful and I do believe that is has made me a better man; I have come to learn and appreciate all works of art, because above all art is an adventure of the mind, I have gained a sense of clarity and poise that I would otherwise still be searching for. It taught me to appreciate the beauty in life and actively be a part of that beauty, while never rejecting what’s corrupt in this world and working. 

And the quotes mentioned above are two that have particularly impacted me especially the latter. I was always told that I will be remembered after I die for what I did in my life, and I focused so much on what events would occur after I die that I forgot how to live life itself, because I don’t get to see what happens after I die, I rot and decompose; nothing will matter to me by that point. However while I am alive I can actively shape my destiny and the destiny of those around me for the better. When my eyes reached that point of the quote, “the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” I placed the book down. I wrote it down. And then I sat there thinking to myself, what would I live for and how would live. It was in that moment that I had learned a valuable lesson; that holding on to destiny that someone else has crafted for you is the instrument of your ultimate destruction, one can only embrace their destiny if they discover it for themselves. And I asked myself what I wanted. I am still tossing and turning over this idea in my head; when I become an adult what will I dedicate my life to? Will it be something that makes me eager to leap from my bed in the morning and go pursue said goal, for years until I die?

Now because of Salinger and Catcher I believe I have become a far wiser individual that I have been in the past. Rather then hearing things I have learned to listen, rather than seeing, I observe. I notice now that I act on a sense of rationality, I evaluate and determine outcomes and surprisingly I and correct, I see history repeating itself and consistently rant about it.

~Nilave

Polished personal: Secrets

What do these texts suggest to you about an individual’s capacity for self-sacrifice in the face of compelling circumstances? Support your ideals with references to one or more of the texts presented and to your previous knowledge and/or experience.

 

Day 27

 

Of course it never is easy hiding secrets, keeping them locked away is a dangerous game, and having them found can mean life or death in certain circumstances; especially of those secrets are living and breathing. Protecting these secrets is also risky business; to cover up one lie you must tell one hundred more. However sometimes it is worth the risk, letting your conscience dictate your actions rather than fear of death; especially when your fear of death may result in another’s untimely demise. Knowing that through your bold actions and risk taking you may be able to save the lives of a few innocents was enough to have some people follow the same path as me, hence we had all become a secret society; secrecy from the state and each other, we were alone yet we were many.

 

One night I was awoken by a terrible sound, first glass breaks from the shop across the street, then my heart, then the gruff shouting of a man orchestrated the rest of the event.

 

They had found one of us.

 

I was too afraid to look out the window, however the sounds of the event had done enough.

The pleading of a man and the crying of his son followed by their protectors, arguing and fighting with the soldiers in order to save them. Valiant but in vain. It all ended with two loud bangs, and the sound of a car driving away. The refugees had been taken. The next morning there were blood stains of the protectors on the cobblestones next to the the looted shop. It was an example of what was to come for each and every one of us. Hiding those who did not belong in this world; in their world.

 

My fear was immeasurable, my hand still shakes as I write this note, however my fear is absolutely nothing, it pales in comparison to how mortified these refugees must feel. It wasn’t only those protectors that those soldiers had killed that night. All who were awoken and aware of the event had also witnessed the assassination of trust; its screams and shouts for help were its last words. Trust’s blood is now spilled on cobblestones.

 

Day 29

 

I remember a more pleasant time in this life. I was able to freely run around the streets with my playmates and friends we were able to go as far as our mothers had said we could and had adventures that had lasted days and hours. Laughter had filled the air and the sun never felt warmer, when it rained we pretended that we were explorers, soaking wet with gaiety. The town itself, we lived like family, held festivals annually, and when a bride was wed to her groom, every individual was present at the event. We had lived as a community and family.  Those pleasant times are gone. It is rather sad to say that no one can afford to trust his best friend anymore, people who were playmates in their childhood are now strangers or enemies; for just a few more coins in his pocket and some extra food on his plate a man is willing to sell out his brother who happens to hide refugees. They had made vultures out of us, we were predators and victims; this was their plan. No man would associate with his neighbour anymore unless he wanted to know something about them.

 

My secret is that I hide I a boy and a small girl, he is nine years old, and she is four..

 

I had found them not too long ago. It has been since then that I have started recording these entries in this journal.They were fending for themselves when I happened to take them in.To be more specific I found the boy at the common marketplace stealing some bread and meat from a shopkeeper that happened to have his head turned. I saw the desperation in his eyes that day and felt the coldness he felt; I had never seen a child with the same look on the face as he did. However when I followed him later on that afternoon I found that he did not take the bread and meat for himself, he whispered into what was a basket and out came a girl. He did not eat.

 

He is not as happy as I was, he is not as cheerful, though that is justified; fleeing a nation that had killed his old way of life, only to flee to another seeking to kill him, and on top of it all, seeing to the security of this girl. Living on the streets with death waiting at every corner. He inspired me to take them both in my home, I felt that the boy deserved a better life than this, even if he would have to live confined to my basement. I promised him safety, and the possibility of a better life in the future.

 

Both the children’s presence is a grim reminder of the danger of their existence, one misstep and all of us land up as bloodstains on my front doorstep. As selfish as this is I always wonder why I place myself in jeopardy for the lives of two children I am not related to that could also be very well the death of me; logically speaking I am risking three lives, when by mere avoidance I could have guaranteed the security of my own. Perhaps it is just a kind and irrational part of every human heart, to aid those who need a hand to hold in the darkness. Yes, that’s it, it would be a small spark of defiance that every protector holds in their hearts and lives day by day as if a sword does not hand over their head with a loose thread. A spark that one day will ignite a fire to burn away all of our sorrows and out of the ashes bring back those days of sunshine and laughter.

 

Day 33

 

The girl and I get along well, perhaps he needed a father firgure, the boy still remains aloof and brooding. His innocence is dead, perhaps a stray bullet may have shot it. He does not sit to eat with us at mealtimes, instead he comes after the girl and I have left.

 

“Why do you do this?” Is a question the boy frequently asks me.

 

“Why  would you risk your life for me and her? Isn’t it easier just to live by yourself? Those men with the guns won’t be a threat to you then, the won’t hurt you, like they did to my family.”

 

Each time I cannot find the words. He’s correct in every way, I am risking more than myself by taking this gamble.

 

Why do I do this, it is against the law.

 

However I protect him because he has no other place to go; it is the right thing to do, I tell myself that I cannot sit idly by and watch as humans kill each other just because someone thinks that they should not belong. Our old way of life would not conceive such a notion, an orphan was welcome to any household that was capable of supporting them. By saving this boy I am potentially sacrificing a lot of things beyond myself and my security. By protecting him I protect what could be the last remnant piece of human kindness and compassion in this part of the world. I want him to be able to experience all that I had gone through when I was a child, even if that does not happen I want him to live life witnessing the world’s beauty. I wish to see him smile, just as the girl does when I bring them toys that I produce from my coat. I want him to live at peace knowing that a gun is not pointed at his head.  I know that I am directly disobeying the law, however that is better than directly disobeying one’s morals, if I do that then I let the state take over my identity. Perhaps it is an foolish notion, that I chose to save another only risking my own. Only time will tell. Of all the secrets I guard, Human kindness is the one I most viciously protect, and the welfare of this boy and girl depends on it.

Pale Blue Light

Personal response to texts

Prompt: what do these texts suggest to you about an individual’s response to the constraints of convention or circumstance?

 

Responding to picture

 

(this was a personal response I had done cold after school last Thursday, unfortunately I do not have the image, but it was a girl sitting in the dark on a wooden floor)

 

Pale Blue Light

I was supposedly sleeping soundly and peacefully; however peace only comes to those who’ve resolved their personal issues and triumphed over their demons. I could not sleep. No, I decided to sit there in the dark and wonder why the world was the way it was and why people are the way they are. In my mind I think of a rather famous quote:

 

‘’Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”

I begin to wonder, why exactly are we like this, why is it that some people are more gifted than others just by nature, why do some people have to work day and night and slave just to achieve a standard that someone else was born with.

 

It was not too long ago when it was confirmed that I was one of those people, I was born with some sort of learning disability, which when thought about makes quite a lot of sense; I was not particularly talented at anything, everything that I became decent at was all due to me spending five hours trying to understand the simplest things. I heard the words from the psychiatrist to my parents “there definitely is a learning disability in your child.” I had expected those words, I knew there was definitely something wrong with me, why I never understood anything that was taught in my classes, in conversations I always had to ask for clarification at every point, just so I wouldn’t have to look like a fool in front of everyone listening. Of course it did not have a positive impact on me, as much as anyone else; it had shattered a major aspect of my worldview. I had perceived as every individual born as a blank slate; equal. Born with the potential you create for yourself, the same slate you chose to write whatever you wish, which will in time serve to show you what one amounts to in their life. Some people are born great, and other must  achieve greatness to compensate. In that statement I belong to the latter. There is nothing great about me. I lack in every major area any normal person is expected to be decent in, all I have done is compensate, compensate in ways others could not imagine. Basic communication skills  Just so it seems that I can keep up.

 

Sitting there in my darkness I shed two tears, one hit my foot, the other hit the wooden floor. It generally is not a good feeling to know as a fact that you are not and never will be as good as those you are around. Possibly the only optimistic thing one can say in my situation is that I am able to take failure better than most; however this is only due to the fact that with my abilities failure is almost a guarantee.

 

Sitting there in what was fading darkness I notice something. The pale blue light of the moon; as it shone through the window I noticed that out of the two tears I had shed, the one that had landed in the floor without breaking tension was reflecting the light that had come through the window. A small crystal ball was the resulting effect. Getting up from where I had sat I had gazed out the window and seen a beautiful moon.The sight was sad, however had beauty in it. The moon is in shroud of the sun, it only appears every so often, and when it does almost all who are available to witness it, are sound asleep. I saw then that the sun has the company of all, in its greatness it gives people warmth and comfort and a bright light. The moon could never be like the sun, as it tries to show itself during the day it is veiled by the sun’s brightness. The only place the moon does revel is in the quiet night. In the absence of the sun the moon does its absolute best to show the world a light, to show the world that there is always something there for them in even in their darkest moments, that a light will shine on them.The pale blue light the moon cast on me that night was not representative of sadness of what I could not do and what I severely lacked in. The colour blue also means a haven exists; a place where I could shine  and prove my worth.

 

I then remembered the rest of what that psychiatrist had said to me and my family.

 

“Even though there is a learning disability in your child, please know that whatever she is achieving at this state in her life is beyond what others with the same problem could have done. The fact that she even gets the results she gets shows her dedication and ability to adapt. She works day and night regularly and religiously for her activities and school, she is able to compete with students and others who do not have the same problem. Where she lacks in her basic reading skills she makes up for in her dedication and determination to get through a book and understand it. Where she lacks for physical strength in rugby, she makes up for speed and agility. In fact her having this disability has only resulted in your daughter becoming more intuitive and seeking out other ways to achieve goals. She is a talented young woman and needs to learn and bring herself out of her own darkness.”

 

The moon, even though it looks sad, it keeps on shining the same blue light and keeps on being the sight certain people wait for at night. I back away from the window and turn on a light, if I am to be living with this learning problem for the remainder of my life, then I shouldn’t be wasting any more time; This is a clear sign that I need to work until I achieve greatness, or it is thrust upon me.

 

Wuthering Heights? more like Bothering Heights

I always thought that I could not possibly dislike a book more than The Catcher in the Rye. However my tendency to be wrong about things is as certain as sunrise. Then I learned that Emily Bronte proved me to be a fool about a few days ago. At least appreciated I Catcher, I understood the book and empathized with it greatly, relating to Holden’s struggles and thoughts. Wuthering Heights, however, left me such an impression that I refuse to call it even that anymore. No. You shall hear me call it Bothering Heights, the reason being that the book had bothered me so much that I physically could not spend more than a half hour on it and give myself a break, and I never relax. I do not yet appreciate this book. This lack of appreciation for this book, on my part upsets me though; I do not think that I have the right opinion about it. Truth be told I don’t understand Wuthering Heights. I’ve heard of this book long before I read it, when I was about seven years old, and my mother was telling me that she had first read it and fell in love with it at my age. Since then every discussion I have with my mother regarding a book, or English literature in general, has always boiled down into her talking about Wuthering Heights, and just how amazing it is, and sometimes she dare say that it was better than some of Shakespeare’s work.

I do not share this opinion.

My criticism of the book begins with the story itself; no it is not a love story, at least not one anyone would expect, it is an obsession story. The word ‘love’ is greatly misunderstood in in this story, the certain characters claim they love others; however their actions would beg to differ. Rather the word ‘obsession’ fits the story much better. Heathcliff is said to be in love with Catherine and vice-versa, however their relationship is unlike any, many readers have experienced in either their own lives, or the lives of characters in stories they’ve read. Most love stories have let the relationships between lovers develop on an intimate level where plot progression and character development happen on a significant level, such as Macbeth’s relationship with his wife. Heathcliff and Catherine do not get a happy ending, which is typical in certain love stories; however, their story’s pitiful ending is a result of both their immaturity and the fact that they were not able to live true to themselves. The concept of love is greatly misunderstood in Wuthering Heights, though I’m no expert, I’m entirely certain that that the story is more of an ‘obsession’ story rather than a ‘love’ story. Heathcliff’s obsession with Catherine and Catherine’s obsession with herself are what causes their love to generally be as cute as the reality of Donald Trump being a US president. Heathcliff’s obsession with Catherine causes him to live a miserable life of a man who is not satisfied with anything; he consistently works towards fruitless goals, always achieving them, only to sink deeper into misery every time he acts to restore his happiness. It is almost like a cruel truth of fate, that he can have anything that he works for, but will never have the one thing that he desires the most; Catherine. The result of his useless strife is seen in his rather cruel demeanor. Catherine’s obsession with herself causes her to always drift towards the course of action that best benefits her; though this may sound reasonable, it isn’t. Her selfishness causes her to forsake Heathcliff, the man she supposedly loves, for Edgar because he has more materialistic things to offer; he will make her rise up in the social status. Though both routes in her life held merit, the one she chose had an unpleasant outcome. Catherine’s actions may indicate that she did not love Heathcliff or Edgar; by choosing the wealthier man, and the man with a better position in the social hierarchy she shows readers that she loves money and status. A true love story should allow characters to grow and develop with each other in a cohesive manner; where intimate development ties in within the progression of the plot itself, and makes for a beautiful story, even if tragedy is the final outcome.

Of course understanding the story itself is another issue, understanding who’s actually telling the story is the primary concern. While reading the book I could not understand who was narrating, was it Lockwood? Nelly? The author? The issue with the book here, or at least my copy, is that the quotation marks at certain essential points are missing; there is a lack of italics when characters read out letters or texts, and dialogue exchange is also confusing. Of course this was also the same case with Frankenstein; each narrator had their own section of the book to present; however, in Frankenstein each narrator had read their own section with their own voice, it was easy to identify the narrator by looking at the perspective the story was being told, whom it was being told to, and the tone the narrator chosen to present his part of the tale. I did not see this in Wuthering Heights. The only time I knew who was speaking for sure was whenever Joseph had something to say, and that is only due to his broken English, that too reading his English with dyslexia is like pulling teeth.

Though one thing is to admire about the book is Emily Bronte’s use of symbols, the entire book is filled with symbols used to convey the tone and mood the story undertakes, even the setting itself serves as a symbol. It is the first thing I appreciate about Wuthering Heights. Looking at the symbols and analyzing them had made reading the book that much more tolerable and interesting, as well as insightful; that I respect. Though I do greatly dislike Wuthering Heights, more so than Catcher, I know that I will likely read it again, as I probably do have the wrong opinion about it. It was interesting to read a book that typically doesn’t suit my taste, as I’m more into adventure, mystery, psychological, schemes, and fiction. I still do not understand Wuthering Heights, or why it still wins over the praise of readers even today, however I intend to find out some other day.

Negotiations, Gratitude, and Learning

Note: In the process of submitting this, I ran into quite a bit of problems actually, long story short; edublogs lied to me when they saved my draft and lied to me telling me that my blog was published. I spend a good 15 minutes panicking because I discovered this 40 minutes before midnight. However because of my vast knowledge in tech support (I know literally nothing about computers) I somehow was able to get this back, please let me know in the comments if something is jumbled up because a lot of this was copy-and-pasting back and forth from Word to WordPress.

 

Anyways.

 

 

I had a discussion with one of my teachers about literature and how it influences an individual. My take on it was to understand the text and to feel the emotions meant to felt and to completely embrace it. This teacher had said something rather interesting, something which I had failed to see in the past year; she said literature is a negotiation. A negotiation of the text and story with the reader’s feelings, emotions, intellect, intuition and imagination. literature is not something that you should have to cross the entire world to find out, because if that were the case, illiteracy would be more common than the amount of times Lucas and do something characteristically idiotic and Areeb shooting judgmental and disapproving glances at us. I was taught that you must meet with the text at a certain place in the world you share with the characters and the story in order to fully understand it.

The production of Richard III had this sort of impact on me. Reading and studying the play had only provided me with the knowledge I was able to acquire with the best of my ability. I was traveling the world searching for answers and the epiphany that I was chasing. Little did I know it was chasing me as well. Sitting in the theater had given me a chance to see Haysam Kadri’s Production of Richard III to finally catch up to me. It was an interesting experience , to see something that I’ve been trying to understand for so long finally unravel itself literally in front of my eyes, there’s nothing quite like it. However while watching I noticed things, noticed things that I typically wouldn’t see in the play, or my imagination for that matter; the set. Everything from the actors’ performance (I had found Queen Margret’s character rather terrifying), to the deformity of the set itself to parallel the, to parallel and suit the production.

The throne in particular had been a rather interesting, it seemed to me, to be the most deformed thing on set aside from Richard himself. When many people imagine a throne, a great and big lavish chair, made of gold radiating supremacy and majesty comes to mind for most people. However the throne in Director Ron Jenkins’ adaptation of Richard III had none of that present, to me the throne looked uncomfortable and unpleasant and I often wondered while watching, why people would risk so much for the skeleton of a seat called the throne. Compared to other thrones it wasn’t lavish or grand it radiated deformity and death, it brought those very things upon the story as well; the struggle for power is depicted as the struggle for England’s most uncomfortable chair. However in all the darkness and death this throne brought upon, in all the deformity and bareness it radiated, was it not fit for a king of equal deformity, who is devoid of good conscience? Seeing this throne physically and watching it influence and twist the characters it showed me something I didn’t imagine before while reading the text; that all the characters were fighting for the very thing that represents deformed power and evil, ultimately to die trying because they are not worthy of the throne’s deformity as Richard is.

Another thing I found to be particularly was the old Queen Margret. Reading, acting and studying the play I always thought of her as just a bitter old woman without power now that her husband is dead. That she may have been the voice of caution that all ignored; dismissing her because of her status. I was taken back by her portrayal. I was almost scared, first thinking her to be death itself emerging from the black curtains (in the play of course, I only fear what I see in the mirror in the morning). Every thing about Queen Margret was rather spooky, from the way she dressed, and her stage presence sent chills down to my bones. Her presence was more like that of a witch or the third fate that cuts the string of life in Greek Mythology. Her entrance was quiet and went unnoticed, and took all by surprise. Her presence seemed to inspire fear into the minds and hearts of the characters. One of her entrances in particular was especially chilling. Richard had gotten up from the throne to speak with the other characters, Queen Margret appears instances later and sits on the throne, at fist I hadn’t noticed her, I seemed to have my focus only on the dialogue when I see Margret stroking her doll and observing the characters interact as if she were to decide when was appropriate time to cut their strings. What hit me then was that the throne suited her best of all people, she sat comfortably on the throne, silently observing the chaos unfold, she sat and predicted everything that would happen, she possessed the most haunting power of any character in the play. Seeing the production greatly changed my perspective of the old queen, I saw her as insignificant and unnecessary when I was left to my own devices, however the performance had completely changed my take on her character. She had become the character I had taken most interest in.  Her role was witch-like, and in their dying moments the characters always had referred to Margret as the one who had sealed their fate.    
I don’t think I have much more to say about the production other than that, the fact that The Shakespeare Company had given me greater insight into the play that I could’ve hoped to achieve on my own. Eternal thanks and infinite gratitude are what I owe to Haysam Kadri and the crew working there. The love and effort poured into this production, I believe, has greatly shaped not only my own, but many other’s perspectives on Shakespeare as well; the costumes are quite amazing, I would love to wear them in public (my fashion sense is spicy), the acting was phenomenal, Stage and set completely suited the tone and mood of the play. Mostly though, I’m glad to have seen this adaptation of the play because it completely changed my view of the play, expanding it to something much larger.

Once again, My eternal thanks for having able to see this play acted out in front of me. It is always a pleasure and privilege to see Shakespearean plays by The Shakespeare company.

 

Water, Alcohol, and a PrettyWhite Dress

Very literally the bathroom can be taken for a chamber which purity (water) flows through the taps and faucets. We are often shown by williams that this very chamber of purity is most occupied by a rather odd presence of Blanche Dubois. When she bathes it is an attempt at cleansing herself, her soul, of her past, her very dirty, unclean, and impure past. The whole purpose of the bathing scenes is to present the audience of Blanche’s attempts to essentially reconcile her past conflicts with the predicament of reality and her present circumstances. The very action of bathing in reality is to clean the body of whatever dirt accumulated over the course of the day. However the dirt accumulated by Blanche Dubois is not physical, it is an internal dirt where such a physical thing like water cannot possible cleanse. The very illusion she presents herself with is one of redemption, such that can be obtained by soaking herself in this chamber of purity and drowning her past in it ans emerging a “brand new human being”. The false reality implanted by her paranoia is what has preserved her sanity for so long ans it was the same notion that that had kept her illusory charm intact. As well, in a bath it is when the individual steps into the bathwater that it no longer become fresh and clean, instead like the dirty body it becomes unclean and impure soaked through and through by the same dirt we are trying to wash off. With the presentation of this false reality and bling optimism, Blanche has completely rendered herself oblivious to the fact that she in fact is not sitting in a tub of purity, but rather she is soaking herself willingly in her own filth. In the filth of her past which she attempts to wash off.

Alcohol.

Whiskey.

Drinks.

Drunkard.

Dunk.

With these words come very impure and sinful connotation. Blanche, despite her hygienic habits is undoubtedly very unclean in a moral sense. She drinks alcohol like many of us drink water, she drink impurity itself from a bottle. The alcohol she consumed is not something that is easily washed away by the endless flow of water throught the faucets and pipes of the Kowalski residence. When Blanche bathes, the water washes off, the purity washes off. When she drinks, her body accepts the alcohol, her soul is impregnated with alcohol; it does not wash off, but rather it flows through her veins and through her entire body, having its effect. By drinking all this alcohol Blanche in inadvertently bathing her soul in alcohol, but the moment the illusion is at stake there is a great fear expressed.  There is a certain level of implicit acceptance created by Williams with his choice of characterization for Blanche. By having her regularly drink regularly and the genuine pleasure there is an internal acceptance, where Blanche accepts her impure and aged physique and by consuming more impurity for pleasure. Then having her express alarm when her “pretty white dress” is stained represents Blanche’s fear for the loss of her fifty percent illusory charm; that feigned youthful charm to which Mitch falls for. Seen throughout the play Blanche’s panic is triggered only when her illusion is threatened, it is this illusion that provides her with the incentive to continue on flirting and desire for intimacies. The soul bathes in impurity where the illusion is Virgo herself.

Tennessee Williams creates this internal conflict of illusion versus reality that eventually tears Blanche apart: the fear of loosing a comforting lie, which in its place will come the truth reality.  Blanche’s entire sanity is built around these comforting lies which she has indoctrinated herself to believe that she is still in possession of teenage energy, beauty, and desirability.

 

Very literally the bathroom can be taken for a chamber which purity (water) flows through the taps and faucets. We are often shown by williams that this very chamber of purity is most occupied by a rather odd presence of Blanche Dubois. When she bathes it is an attempt at cleansing herself, her soul, of her past, her very dirty, unclean, and impure past. The whole purpose of the bathing scenes is to present the audience of Blanche’s attempts to essentially reconcile her past conflicts with the predicament of reality and her present circumstances. The very action of bathing in reality is to clean the body of whatever dirt accumulated over the course of the day. However the dirt accumulated by Blanche Dubois is not physical, it is an internal dirt where such a physical thing like water cannot possible cleanse. The very illusion she presents herself with is one of redemption, such that can be obtained by soaking herself in this chamber of purity and drowning her past in it ans emerging a “brand new human being”. The false reality implanted by her paranoia is what has preserved her sanity for so long ans it was the same notion that that had kept her illusory charm intact. As well, in a bath it is when the individual steps into the bathwater that it no longer become fresh and clean, instead like the dirty body it becomes unclean and impure soaked through and through by the same dirt we are trying to wash off. With the presentation of this false reality and bling optimism, Blanche has completely rendered herself oblivious to the fact that she in fact is not sitting in a tub of purity, but rather she is soaking herself willingly in her own filth. In the filth of her past which she attempts to wash off.

Alcohol.

Whiskey.

Drinks.

Drunkard.

Dunk.

With these words come very impure and sinful connotation. Blanche, despite her hygienic habits is undoubtedly very unclean in a moral sense. She drinks alcohol like many of us drink water, she drink impurity itself from a bottle. The alcohol she consumed is not something that is easily washed away by the endless flow of water throught the faucets and pipes of the Kowalski residence. When Blanche bathes, the water washes off, the purity washes off. When she drinks, her body accepts the alcohol, her soul is impregnated with alcohol; it does not wash off, but rather it flows through her veins and through her entire body, having its effect. By drinking all this alcohol Blanche in inadvertently bathing her soul in alcohol, but the moment the illusion is at stake there is a great fear expressed.  There is a certain level of implicit acceptance created by Williams with his choice of characterization for Blanche. By having her regularly drink regularly and the genuine pleasure there is an internal acceptance, where Blanche accepts her impure and aged physique and by consuming more impurity for pleasure. Then having her express alarm when her “pretty white dress” is stained represents Blanche’s fear for the loss of her fifty percent illusory charm; that feigned youthful charm to which Mitch falls for. Seen throughout the play Blanche’s panic is triggered only when her illusion is threatened, it is this illusion that provides her with the incentive to continue on flirting and desire for intimacies. The soul bathes in impurity where the illusion is Virgo herself.

Tennessee Williams creates this internal conflict of illusion versus reality that eventually tears Blanche apart: the fear of loosing a comforting lie, which in its place will come the truth reality.  Blanche’s entire sanity is built around these comforting lies which she has indoctrinated herself to believe that she is still in possession of teenage energy, beauty, and desirability.

 

We are the Clones

I want to tell a story. The following is a short story I had written as a tribute to my favorite TV show as a child; Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This show had had a tremendous impact on my life and worldview, every episode was filled with a moral lesson as well as the relevant internal conflict we face in our lives. We all have in our childhoods something we attach ourselves to, this was what I had attached myself to, it is a piece of my heart; a piece of my soul to which I want to share with the world.

We are the Clones

I was just another clone, waiting for my turn to be slaughtered in a war I was forced to fight in. To them I was expendable just like the rest of my brothers; had one of us had been killed there were over ten thousand ready to replace us. We were simple mindless soldiers; biologically engineered to obey direct orders and ask no questions, even at the cost of our own lives. I was brought into existence by the very cause that tries to kill me every day, this war. To them I had no worth, I was only created fight and die, but none of us had thought of it that way, we always believed there was a special place for us clones. We were complete mirrors of each other. Even though we all had the same face, we all saw something different in each other. We saw in each other a fire that could not be extinguished, a will that made us the perfect team, the perfect army but most importantly the perfect family.

This war had torn the galaxy apart. In a desperate attempt to unify the galaxy, a legislation had been passed; a legislation that had brought us into existence. Our enemy had also amassed an army. One made of cold metal and mechanical hearts. The droids, merciless enforcers of the enemy’s army were programed to kill and cause pain to the innocent. They were an army without spirit or compassion, just programed to kill and cause pain to others. We on the contrary were men of valour; always stepping up to face real danger. Never once had any of us backed down from a fight, never once had we ever given up on anything despite our predetermined fate from the moment we are “born” from our growth cambers. There is no guarantee of survival for any soldier, no guarantee of safety either; but we fight knowing we are making a difference in peoples’ lives. We fight knowing we bring freedom to those that had theirs stolen. We fight knowing that we could be fighting for the last time, but that thought is drowned when we know we fight knowing that we making a difference in other’s lives. Our creators and commissioners may not see it, but what we fight for is peace, and justice. We clones had always the spirit to fight; we will always fight until the last man. None of us would go down in vain; none of us would die a meaningless death.

Engineered to be or not, we all had different personalities, at times shocking personalities. All of us were told we were taught how to control our fear, think decisively and endure the unendurable; absolutely nothing had ever prepared for the moment when we face death on the battle field. A substantial number of my brothers had enjoyed watching the enemy fall by their hand; it was sick, but justifiable, they had all watched their brothers die and felt the need to exact their vengeance. I for one, I never had the stomach to watch my troops, my brothers, get shot with bolts of hot laser. At the end of every battle I always failed to see personal victory, a victory for us clones, just us clones; I always pitied the new recruits, such bright enthusiastic soldiers turned colder than ice just after their first battle, after their first loss. I had always admired our perseverance, despite seeing our brothers die in front of us, and no guarantee that we would live after the next encounter with our enemy had never stopped us from giving up.

We always understood each other’s feelings, always helped each other through the most difficult times. We are in fact not mindless duplicates of each other, we are brothers, we are family, and that’s what they don’t see. Between all of us there had been a strong, unbreakable bond present, regardless if we had met or not. Though we all had thought of ourselves to be different we had always felt a deep connection with one another. Never once had we ever forgotten the importance of family, the importance of brotherhood. We had always fought as one, were the perfect team. I will always love my brothers and will never turn by back on them. We are not beings of the same mentality; we are beings of the same heart and blood.

This I Believe…

” One day you’ll leave this world behind so live a life you will remember”~Avicii

I believe in destiny and dreams. I believe that the preeminent force has left us with the gift of life to do so whatever we wish with. I believe that we are left to decide our own fate and forge our own path and follow it to where it may take us. That we do not have to burden ourselves down with weight of a false dogma on our backs. That we do not have to live up to some image of conformity, to win over a false feeling of satisfaction. I believe that our freedom of life and dreaming is something that nobody has the right to rule, but our hearts and our desires. That we do not have to fear our dreams, of what others will think of them. For our dreams are the heart’s desire, and what the heart wants, it gets.

“What if a child dreamed of becoming other than what society had intended? What if a child had aspires to become something greater?”~ Jor El, Man of Steel.

I believe what makes life beautiful is that it does not last. That it is short, but in this short life of ours we can make a mark; we can change the world and inspire others to follow their dreams. The fire in our hearts, the core of our willpower, the need to be remembered for the lives we lived after we die. We will stumble and we will fall because we are human and therefore we are not perfect. We are nothing but dreamers searching for nothing but greatness and a place on the universe. We will fail but we will recover and learn, then we will succeed and fulfill our destiny. Life is a game. Destiny is the game master. And we? we are just players of this game. The Prize? that is the beautiful mystery of this game, we do not know what the prize is. It allures us, for we do not know what when it will happen, or what it will feel like. All we do know is that it is possible, that we have a chance to embrace greatness. This I believe in.

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