Thursday, March 26, 2015

What is this Gentle Rapping at My Chamber Door?

Raven by Bekka Tor
The Raven by Fuacka
In Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem The Raven, the narrator - a fellow who has lost his love - nearly has a conniption fit because of  knocks at his door. He tries to convince himself it's nothing; the knocker is an unexpected guest. Showing up on his doorstep at an ungodly hour. In December. During a violent storm...

Actually, I would probably be just as freaked out.

However, the narrator's visitor is a talking raven. At first he finds it to be a welcome distraction from his ruminations. Then, as the bird sits on a bust of Pallas without stirring, the narrator becomes agitated again.  Despite the bird's stillness (or, rather, because of it) and lack of vocabulary, the speaker becomes increasingly distressed. He imagines that the bird is actually a demon. The poem ends with the narrator in miserable distress.

So, what changed that made the narrator run through almost all these emotions (sadness, fear, bemusement, sorrow, anger)? Nothing we can see.

The changes are all internal. They all happen inside the narrator!

Instead of looking at this bird as an opportunity (talking bird!) he looks at it as a portent of doom. Yes, yes. Ravens feed on carrion and are generally considered bad omens. But if the bird is an omen, the narrator has a choice: be afraid of what might come or use the warning as a way to change the future.

Shot by Brendon1000
What if the raven is there to illustrate what the speaker's life will be like if he continues to pine away over his dead love?

Or, perhaps he was there to let the narrator know that the birds are planning an uprising and he'd do well to stock up on seed and maybe plant a worm bed.

Maybe the raven's single word, nevermore, was not a warning, but a promise: nevermore would the narrator be alone. (Admittedly, this could also be considered a threat. But that's a different post.)

When Hitchcock's horrific vision of a world overrun by birds comes to be, humans will need to be able to find the positive side. While going to school or work might be a tad more treacherous, feathered headdresses will come back into fashion. There will be fewer insects. Recipes for black bird pie will be in vogue. Just imagine the culinary adventures!

Opportunity knocks all the time. A bad omen is a chance to get out of the way of the truck that's bearing down on you at seventy miles per hour.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Saturday Night Cabin Fever!

From The Boston Globe
As you may know, I am from New England. We are so over the storms. Snowpocalypse. Snowmageddon. Whatever you want to call it, we are so done. Some of us have lost power. Others, their water. Even a few, their lives. It's like The Day After Tomorrow out there.

We are all in danger of losing our minds, for a short time, to Cabin Fever.

Cabin Fever, the reaction a person or people may have when they are trapped in a small space for an extended period of time, happens to New Englanders every year. Many of us (notoriously hate the cold but are too stubborn to move,) spend an inordinate amount of time in our homes, huddled under the covers, sipping drinks that'll warm our insides. (Don't you try to tell me what to do Mother Nature!)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Darling, That Protest Was So Very Gauche!

As you may be aware, I live in the Boston area. Today, 15 January 2015, we had our very own protest!
Image from @NewsAroundDot

I'm sure it was very exciting. According to the Boston Globe, protesters successfully blocked both the north and south bound lanes of I-93 stopping traffic from going into the city from either direction. And it was for a good cause: black lives do matter.

Sadly, this was quite possibly the most ill conceived protest I have ever heard of.