I took a day before posting this in the efforts to try to collect my thoughts in order to display them here cohesively. First, I’d like to thank you all. After undoubtedly an emotion-filled Tuesday night, I was very comforted that this was my first class after the election results. I really believe this class has created a very safe, comforting atmosphere where people feel that they can honestly discuss their opinions without the fear of letting “too much” emotion show- and that is in part facilitated by Beth, but also everyone else in the room contributes to that. I’m sure this is a common thought, but thank you all for letting everyone react however they needed to.
Next, when we were reading in class I kept coming back to this, on page 7:
“Words that seemed at first to bless them; later to confound them; finally to announce that they had lost.”
In the context of the text, there isn’t too much I can do with this yet. I’m hoping (and I really believe Morrison will grant me this) to see what the words inscribed on the Oven are. I feel that it will be very important towards the content of the novel, but this related closely both with Dante and recent events in our country.
When we were reading Paradiso, something that I think the entire class picked up on was the fact that Dante himself admits that he cannot accurately tell his story. His memory is fallible, but there also are not words to describe these sights. What he has seen transcends language that we as readers would be able to understand. The inability to express thoughts, or sights, is a problem for everyone especially today.
When thinking about these lines simultaneously with today’s politics, it made me think of many people in minority groups, including but in no way limited to: racial minorities, women, LGBTQ people. The country has undergone a lot of progress, that much is certain. People were starting to gain the rights they deserved as people and while nothing was perfect, there was a lot of hope. Then, with this election cycle, many ways of thinking were presented that were perhaps “hidden” in America. Many thought we were past some of these ways of thinking, even though they had never really gone away. Many people were hurt and confused. That last piece “finally to announce that they had lost” was the hardest for me to read yesterday. There are too many people in our country who are disheartened, upset, scared. I wish there had been another sentence, one offering more positivity and hope. Unfortunately Morrison didn’t give us that; with this new era in American history we need to be the authors now.
For anyone who is looking for the words to describe their feelings the past few days, I’m unsure that they are all there. However, I implore that we keep trying the best we can. To use one of my favorite quotes from the most stereotypical English classroom movie ever (Dead Poets Society), “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” Now is not the time to shut down. Write, speak, and share your words and ideas