The Apocalypse Through a New Lens

Kathleen McCarey

Beth McCoy

September 26, 2022

Essay 1

When first registering for a class called Black Apocalyptic Fiction, I was met with some hesitation. I am an anxious person, and I feared that possibly the subjects of the novels that were required in such a class would be too intense for me to handle. Having grown up in an era where my peers were obsessed with The Walking Dead or movies like Zombieland, the word “apocalyptic” always brings forth to mind images of half-dead creatures, bloody bodies, and eerie settings that work to make the audience uneasy. Of course, in my mind, anything apocalyptic had to fall into the category of horror. Despite my worry that this class was not for me, I pushed aside my hesitation and registered anyway. The course readings thus far, to my delight, are not ones that I would categorize as being in the horror genre. While American Desert does revolve around a character who is neither alive or dead, it is enough for my faint heart to handle. The works that I have completed in the class, Andrew Santana Kaplan’s “Notes Toward (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought” as well as Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed, have caused me to question my own understanding of what apocalyptic fiction truly is. The Santana Kaplan article and Butler’s Wild Seed have caused me to rethink and evaluate how I view and interpret apocalyptic fiction and what can be categorized as such.

Andrew Santana Kaplan’s work, “Notes Toward (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought”, provided me with a new level of understanding of the word “apocalypse” and its relation to Afro-Pessimism, an idea I was not at first familiar with. I found this article difficult to work through and I frequently had to reread and lookup words. I struggled through this article, read it again, and struggled a bit more. Luckily, class discussion the following day provided some relief when I heard my peers shared the same experience. The Santana Kaplan article left me trying to figure out numerous elements of the idea of the apocalypse. Before enrolling in Black Apocalyptic Fiction, my understanding of the word apocalypse was merely the end of the world. Santana Kaplan notes that despite how the word apocalypse is used interchangeably with the destruction of the world, the word itself means to “uncover” and how for the apostle, Paul, “apo-kalupsis names the unveiling of the messianic event and the passing figure of this world” (81). Santana Kaplan goes on to explain how the crucial element of the apocalypse is the revelation, “which shows that the world needs to end because it is cast in error” (81). While I worked through this article, I came to understand that the Afro-Pessimistic approach to the apocalypse revolved around the idea that in order for the effects of chattel slavery to be rectified, the world would need to end. The article also presented the idea of the “katechon”, or how Dr. McCoy explained it in class, the restraining force on the antichrist. This was yet another layer that developed my understanding of what exactly a class on Black Apocalyptic Fiction would entail and what relation the apocalypse had on the texts that would be discussed in class. The Andrew Santana Kaplan article granted me with starting blocks that I could use while growing my understanding of what exactly apocalyptic fiction looks like and its relation to the Black experience.

The article, “Notes Toward (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought”, was especially helpful in examining Octavia Butler’s novel, Wild Seed, through the lens of Black Apocalyptic Fiction and its relation to the apocalypse as a whole. The setting of Wild Seed, which is not a barren wasteland or zombie infested city, does not resemble my original understanding of an apocalyptic world. I was left to figure out how Anyanwu’s seventeenth-century village in Africa, and later nineteenth century America, could be seen as an apocalyptic world. However, my understanding of the apocalypse was flawed. A world that needed ending did not have to be the physical world, it could be an individual’s personal world, their life. I was constantly rethinking how I understood the apocalypse through my reading of Wild Seed. The character of Doro, a being able to inhabit bodies, as well as Anywanu, another character possessing powers who is not exactly human, provided me with a way to work through how an apocalypse could be individual. Doro’s creation story in itself is apocalyptic, having died and then being resurrected. Butler sets the scene by writing how “he was thirteen when the full agony of transition hit him” and how “his body had died, and for the first time, he had transferred to the living human body nearest him” (189). This human body was his mother’s. Doro ultimately killed every living person in his village, destroying the world he had grown up in. His body had died, his people had died, and the world in which he was so familiar with was now destroyed. To rectify the emotional damage he caused, Doro led the rest of his life building an army, a family, of people to surround himself with and to create his own world. However, Doro created this new world through the death and misery of others. Anywanu, unhappy with the killing of innocent people, acts as the driving force against Doro’s mission. When reading Wild Seed with the ideas presented in the Santana Kaplan article, Anyanwu would act as the katechon. Anywanu, however, faces her own apocalypse when her world ends as well. In the final scene of the novel, after Anywanu has finally agreed to spend her eternity with Doro, relinquishes the final piece of her identity before Doro: her name. Butler writes how “she became Emma Anyanwu. ‘It will give people something to call me that they can pronounce’” (298). In this moment, Anywanwu finally opens up to the possibility of a new life by allowing herself to connect with others, not shielding herself from the companionship of new individuals. Anyanwu strips away her protective walls and comes to be known by a European name as a way to set up roots in America and restart her life. If I read Wild Seed without reading the Santana Kaplan article prior, I would not have been able to explain how Wild Seed could fit into the genre of apocalyptic fiction. 

After reading “Notes Toward (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought” and Wild Seed, I am left trying to figure out how the other novels in this class will shape my understanding of what apocalyptic literature can look like. These texts have already equipped me with key terms and ideas that I will be able to transfer to my critical reading of the novels that follow. At this point in the class, I am curious to see if the rest of the fiction that I read in Black Apocalyptic Fiction will depict apocalyptic moments seen in Wild Seed or if I will be reunited with my original images of how I understood the apocalypse to look like. Regardless, I know that my definition of what I see as apocalyptic fiction will continue to mold and grow, leaving me with a drastically different interpretation than the one that I entered the class with.

From Apokalupsis to Apocalypse

Pre-class thoughts

When I scrolled through the course catalog trying to find a 300-level literature class to take, Black Apocalyptic Fiction immediately caught my eye. Maybe it was the fiction part of the course title that made me stop short in my search and click on the class. Or maybe it was the science-fiction and dystopian implications, I associate with the apocalypse. Or it could even just be the word Black. As a student of color, I find myself looking for representation and diversity within the classes I take. I prefer to read more relatable material––either in the sense of the authors or the characters. Material that I can truly immerse myself into because there is representation of my culture or cultures I have grown up around. So regardless of what initially caught my attention about Black Apocalyptic Fiction, I found myself immediately signing up for the class. The anticipation to get into the classroom, fueled by discussions, was palpable. I vaguely remember having a conversation with a friend about this class and one of the first things they asked was, “what is Black apocalyptic fiction?” I was taken aback by that question since I never contemplated what it might mean or entail. I just knew it was a class I had to take. Even after looking at the syllabus and acquiring all of the books, I still had a very small idea of what to expect that first day. And after attending the first period, I found that the answer to my friend’s question––that quickly became my own question––wouldn’t be answered in the first period or the second; it wouldn’t even be answered in the weeks to come because to understand the connection between apocalypse and this course, I must first understand the term apocalypse.

Apocalypse: The start and the continuation of…

I can’t possibly tell you where apocalypse comes from; when it was first used; what its origin is, but I can tell you its associations. In Biblical terms, the apocalypse is the destruction of the world. It is the end. But I am not a very Biblical person, so this wasn’t my first encounter with apocalypse/apocalypticism. I have always been rooted in media––television shows, movies, and books. When I think of apocalypse within the media, I naturally turn to zombies or a dystopian world. I think about how zombies are bringing about the end of the world for humans, but at the same time, I think about how a dystopian society is built through the near-apocalyptic circumstances of the world before. But with all of these terms and examples of an apocalypse, I still couldn’t fathom its meaning within the course. Would the books be about the end of a world? Would they point to a character/characters needing to escape from the destruction of everything? I don’t think I got a true grasp on the concept of apocalypse until after reading (and discussing) Andrew Santana Kaplan’s “Notes Toward (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought.” In this article, Kaplan defines the apocalypse as a revelation of why “the World needs to end [since] it is cast in error.” In other words, with the destruction of the world comes an understanding of how fallacious the world has become. How important it is that this world ends to make room for what one may consider a better world––or an improved way of living. But as we––the class––continued to discuss Kaplan’s ideas of apocalypse, it became clear that even that definition could be tweaked some more––especially when applying it to the course material. 

I have come to realize that apocalypse––for the most part in this class––has a fluid definition; an ever-changing definition. One that is more abstract than concrete and can always be improved upon––can always be added to. Apocalypse might be an uncovering of something, but it isn’t just the end of the world because that implies that there is only one world––but who can say, especially when looking at the context of fictional reads, that there is only one world; that everything the characters know is all there is to know. So for all intents and purposes, an apocalypse has become the end of a world. Whether that is on a large scale or a more personal level, whether that be the actual destruction of life, or whether that be just the end of a way of living, I cannot say. That is what I am figuring out now, how the many definitions––the many differences––of apocalypse apply to the course materials we have read and the materials we have yet to even start.

Wild Seed’s Apocalypse?

When I first started Olivia Butler’s Wild Seed, I imagined that the characters would be on the verge of the end. That the world would be in chaos and dismay. That there would be shut down stores, people scavenging for survival, and panic thick in the air. But after reading the first few pages, I could tell that that wasn’t the case. I guess it was just easier to float toward this view of an apocalypse since it was the common depiction of apocalypses in media. Even after finishing Wild Seed, I spent a lot of time, trying to connect it to both Kaplan’s ideology of apocalypse and the multi–definition of apocalypse discussed in the class, and that is when I realized why an apocalypse can be the end of something even if it isn’t the end of the world. There are many small moments that take place in Wild Seed that can either be the build-up to the destruction of something or the actual destruction of something––but I find myself still trying to decipher between the two. 

Wild Seed presents me with many different examples of an apocalypse. Doro’s apocalypse––the end of his world––comes rather early in his life, but the reader isn’t made aware of that until towards the end of book two. While going through his transition, Doro accidentally killed his mother and father, along with most of his village. “He killed and killed and killed” until the Egyptians had “attacked the village,” but by that time, Doro had watched his uncontrollable power kill most of the people he had once loved––and even the ones he didn’t love but still considered his kinship. He had watched his world around him erupt in disorder and eventually he had watched it burn. While it wasn’t the end of everything known, it was the end of everything he had once known. It was the end of the way he had lived and the end of his family––his parents that shielded him from the whispers of the village. It was the destruction of his innocence––fueling his need to create settlements for people like him to not only come into their powers but to feel comfortable around their brethren––something he never felt. For Doro, this was an apocalypse because it concluded the life he once lived and began the next life. 

Unlike Doro, Anyanwu’s apocalypse spanned the entire book. I would say that when Doro coerces (threatens) Anywanyu into moving away from her home, her family, and the life she has known, it marks the beginning of the end for her. She is quickly taken away from the life she had built and lived in for more than three hundred years and plunged into a completely different environment. She watched as her beliefs and ideologies were twisted to fit the vision Doro had created. All of the “abominations” she had once considered beneath her she found herself bending to; she married Isaac even though she had called Doro her husband, she eventually took the form of both a white man and a white woman, and she even wore the body of a man and conceived children as such. All of these things she told Doro she would never do, she found herself doing the more she lived and the longer she was on the run from him. This is her apocalypse––the end of the way she once lived; the end of the way she once believed. Keeping in true fashion with Kaplan’s revelation during an apocalypse, Anyanwu is spurred into this ending and changes because she knows that she won’t survive in the world with Doro if she doesn’t adapt. She knows that even if she runs for the rest of her immortal life, she’d never truly be able to survive because Doro wouldn’t allow it. So in order to stay alive, she does the only thing she can, she allows the version of her from that village in Africa to die so that she can flourish in this new world.

I believe that Doro goes through another apocalypse at the end of Wild Seed because, for someone who has lived for several lifetimes, one apocalypse wouldn’t be enough. One destruction of your world, while possible, has to be improbable in some way since you’ve seen so many things die around you. In book three, Doro finds his humanity slowly returning in the love and respect that he develops for Anyanwu, so when she tells him that she plans on dying by suicide, he is left distraught. And for Doro, this is the second apocalypse. He had never cared for someone so much that he changes himself, but somehow he does for Anyanwu. As his world shatters around him, he realizes that if he wants to be a part of Anyanwu’s life, he has to change. He realizes that his breeding and killing would only lead to more loneliness––rather than the family he was striving for. He is then faced with either continuing the life he is leading or changing his mindset and his actions. Doro decides to proceed with the idea of destroying the person he once was, and becoming the person that Anyanwu expects him to be––he no longer kills his people, and while he “could ask her cooperation…he could no longer coerce her into giving it.” Doro changed again after the ruination of the world he had dreamt of. 

Wild Seed, from my interpretation, is wrought with examples of apocalypticism in different ways. While it doesn’t demonstrate apocalypse in the traditional sense, it does demonstrate the uncovering that Kaplan talks about in his article and it showcases the end of something––the end of worlds for people, even as the world continues to exist. From this, I have learned that the end isn’t interchangeable with death, though it can be synonymous in the terms of an apocalypse. With that being said, I look forward to figuring out how an apocalypse plays a role in the other books. We have started reading American Desert by Percival Everett and in that book, I have already started to notice the implications of apocalypticism, but not in the same manner as it was presented in Wild Seed. Because if there is one thing this class has taught me so far, it is that my definition and interpretation of the term apocalypse are evolving every day. It is changing in every context and with each book we read in the class. So while I can’t answer the initial question of what apocalypse has to do with this class at this very moment, I am able to understand the different indications and presentations within books. I am also beginning to understand how to interpret and connect Kaplan’s ideas with the ideas presented in the materials being read.

Aviana, Kenzie, Faith, Abbie, Ally, Janiqua, Mairead

King Lear by William Shakespeare, is a play about how the bad faith of others leads to tragedy in the end. Two of the main concepts demonstrated within King Lear are liquidity and swapping. Based on the Investopedia definition, liquidity is a concept in which something can be converted or transferred without losing its value. The term swapping describes the act of exchanging one thing for another.  Both terms are closely related to expulsion, which is to be denied membership in an organization or to be forced out of one’s home or situation. In King Lear, there is a trend of liquidity and swapping between many characters. It is usually coupled with acts of fraud in an attempt to gain money, status, or love, which ultimately ends in someone’s expulsion.    

The play begins with Lear seeking to give up his land and divide it between his daughters. While this exchange has to do with swapping, it also applies to liquidity. He states, “With my two daughters’ dowers digest the third” (Shakespeare 15). King Lear is stating that his two daughters will receive the land and dowry that was originally supposed to go to Cordelia. Both the land and love that belonged to Cordelia were easily transferred to Lear’s other daughters Goneril and Regan; the fluidity of such shows how liquid dowries are, as the value does not change. After not meeting her father’s expectations of love, everything Cordelia had was swapped, and with no land or love left she is expelled from her kingdom and family. As Lear declares, “nothing will come of nothing” (Shakespeare 13). Nothing shall be received without first something being given. When Cordelia does not act as Lear wishes, she loses everything and receives nothing. Her sisters received everything after embellishing their love for Lear. They knew that if they didn’t embellish their words, then they wouldn’t receive the King’s inheritance since Cordelia was his favorite daughter. They had to commit fraud for their own personal gain.

Due to King Lear’s consistent swapping of trust and love between his daughters, he gets himself thrown out of his kingdom and status. After being turned away by Goneril and Regan, Goneril claims, “‘Tis his own blame hath put himself from rest, And he must needs taste his folly” (Shakespeare 119). After swapping his love between the two daughters, Goneril and Regan turn on Lear, casting him out when he comes to them. The liquidity in which Lear placed his love led to his daughters swapping their love for scorn in turn. The daughters’ love for Lear is fluid, just as his love for them was. In each example where liquidity and swapping took place, it eventually led to someone’s expulsion. 

This is not the only instance of familial swapping in King Lear. Similarly, between Cordelia and her sisters, the status within the family between Edgar and Edmund gets swapped. Edmund came into the world expelled as he was born from wedlock, while Edgar was the legitimate son. In Edmund’s first soliloquy he declares, “Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land. Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund” (Shakespeare 29). In an attempt to take back a status he was never given, Edmund schemes and commits fraud against his brother to show him in a villainous light to their father. After fooling both his father and Edgar, Edmund gains the inheritance and status he always wanted. Edgar is expelled, leaving all the trust and love from their father transferred to Edmund. Once again, we see how love and inheritance are liquid – easily transferable with no value change. In the end, we see that no matter someone’s status, expulsion can happen to anyone. 

While analyzing King Lear, we managed to make text-to-world connections to real-life examples in another film. In King Lear, many definitions overlap each other and have significant meanings. Different definitions have different meanings depending on the context. Even if a book is from a different time, we can still find importance and relevance in its stories and the messages it teaches today. It was interesting to note how we see the same concepts illustrated in King Lear, a fictional work, can also be played out in real life as in the film, The Old Man and the Storm. An example of liquidity seen in The Old Man and the Storm is when the government tried to steal the residents’ property after the hurricane destroyed their homes and physically expelled them from their neighborhoods.  We also found it interesting to see how Shakespeare could have many connections to financial topics, and it made us wonder if other texts that do not directly discuss these topics can connect to them.

Mia, India, Lucky, Nina, Armaan

Liquidity is the efficiency or ease with which an asset or security can be converted into ready cash without affecting its market price (Investopedia). In Act, I Scene I an example of liquidity is King Lear expelling Cordelia because her love wasn’t good enough for him to take his land. “Thou hast her, France; let her be thine; for we have no such daughter, nor shall ever see that face of hers again. Therefore, begone without our grace, our love, our benison.” Another example of liquidity was the expelling of Kent when he spoke up about disapproving of the liquidation of King Lear’s kingdom and the expulsion of his daughter Cordelia.

Swapping can be trading; you give to get another thing. In Act, I Scene IV an example of swapping is when King Lear decides to continually swap out his daughters. “Let it be so. I have another daughter, who I am sure is kind and comfortable. When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails she’ll flay thy wolfish visage.” Another example is Edmund’s swapping of trust between Edgar and his father by asserting that his brother is untrustworthy. The definition of liquid can be referred to as flowing freely like water/ having the properties of a liquid; being neither solid nor gaseous (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). An example of this would be in Act I Scene IV when King Lear is kicked out of Goneril’s house into a thunderstorm. Endowment takes the form of a liquid as it can be given and taken away very freely.

Throughout the play King Lear there are many examples that can be found for liquidity, liquid, and swapping. The ones we used were just examples of what can be found in the text. We have a few questions that we could use to explore our future texts. Where there is liquidity in future texts, will expulsion be a natural consequence? In King Lear, it seems that liquidity and expulsion are a cause and effect of one another, so will this be the same concept in other texts. Will there be any other concepts to look for in future texts? How might those interact with each other, swapping, liquidity, and expulsion?  Swapping, liquidity, and expulsion were the main concepts during this text, and it would be nice to have a fresh perspective on different concepts that we learned about. For example, liquidity, swapping, and expulsion were the main concepts, we want to know if there will be new concepts for a different perspective.

Andre Bianchi, Ava McCann, Hailey Bernet, Riley Griffin

With a new perspective on the definitions of the terms “liquidity”, “swapping”, and “expulsion” from King Lear, one can further delve into the ideas of the expulsion and housing crisis of 2008. When discussing these terms in regards to their rigid definition, many may solely relate them to issues involving finances.Throughout the play, King Lear allows the reader insight into a new mindset surrounding these terms.

In act one, scene one, the reader is first introduced to the idea of liquidity, defined by Investopedia as the concept that “an asset or security can be converted into ready cash without affecting its market price”. In the play, this is portrayed when King Lear told his daughters he had divided his land and planned on distributing it among the three of them: “Know that we have divided In three our kingdom, and ’tis our fast intent To shake all cares and business from our age, Conferring them on younger strengths, [while we Unburdened crawl toward death. Our son of Cornwall And you, our no less loving son of Albany, We have this hour a constant will to publish Our daughters’ several dowers, that future strife May be prevented now]” (lines 39-48). This quote explains how liquidity is demonstrated in Shakespeare’s King Lear through the distribution of the king’s land among his daughters to maintain the crown. Following the King’s decision to distribute his liquidity, he expects in exchange, his daughters professions of love in order for them to gain this land: “Which of you shall we say doth love us most, “That we our largest bounty may extend Where nature doth with merit challenge” (lines 56-58). This quote depicts the action of swapping, defined by Investopedia as “The exchange of cash flows between two parties.” In the play, Lear’s daughter’s exchange flattery in return for his land. When King Lear’s favorite daughter Cordelia opposes this system, she is accordingly banished from Lear’s Kingdom. This act introduces the use of expulsion as a plot point. Cordelia’s unwillingness to participate in the exchange of “land for flattery”, demonstrates the virtue she holds true to in King Lear

Through the study of a unique system of land being exchanged for public flattery, and the harsh consequences to those who oppose such a system, Shakespeare’s King Lear offers a new understanding of the three terms, liquidity, swapping, and expulsion. A more emotionally charged understanding is heavily contrasted from the plain, technical definitions of these terms. This is important because one is now able to better grasp the ideas of the 2008 expulsion and housing crisis with a different mindset after seeing how similar terminology is used in King Lear. When given the raw definitions of these terms in the original mindset, one is strictly focusing on how these definitions are applied in a financial sense, whereas King Lear opens the door for the idea that this terminology is also able to have that emotional connection. Understanding this makes it so that one can learn about the 2008 expulsion and housing crisis with an emotional perspective, and uncover the human connection to assets that many people lost.

Group Collaboration ENGL 111

Giovanni Cicoria-Timm

Annie Urig

Isabelle Hoff

Ryan Trebing

Myah Dombroski

Throughout the course of King Lear by William Shakespeare, we see the terms liquid, liquidity, and swapping interact with the concept of expulsion. According to the Oxford dictionary, liquid refers to a “substance that flows freely but is of constant volume, having a consistency like that of water or oil”, while liquidity is, “the ease of how quickly an asset can be converted into another asset.” The term swapping also plays a huge role in the topic around expulsion and this is defined by Investopedia as, “ a derivative contract through which two parties exchange the cash flows or liabilities from two different financial instruments, normally involving cash flow such as a loan or bond.” 

One way we see the term “liquid” being present within King Lear is when Goneril and Regan were expressing the love they had for their father. Despite their true feelings, they conformed to what they knew their father would like to hear in order to get what they wanted, which seemed very liquid. They went on about how much they loved their father to ensure they would receive their share of their father’s land and power, despite their true feelings they had for their father. King Lear’s youngest daughter, Cordelia, however, was not liquid in her response to his request of unconditional love. Once she announced her love would not be as great as her sisters, we witnessed the liquidity of King Lear himself. As he was hoping for flattery and love, he was offended to receive the truth from his favorite daughter. The liquidity of King Lear’s power is present when he says, “With my two daughters’ dowers digest the third. Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her”(page 15, 144-145). This quote says a lot about Lear and both the liquidity of the love and power he has for each of his daughters, that if they betray him then they will no longer receive any dowry. The love Lear has for his daughters appears to be conditional. If anyone contradicts his beliefs, he will no longer love or accept them. The expulsion of both his daughter, Cordelia, and his servant, the Earl of Kent, can be seen as a result of them bruising Lear’s ego. Being “liquid”, as Goneril and Regan were, this allowed them to avoid being expelled by their father’s liquidity of power. 

Swapping is evident in King Lear in how Lear passes his land between different people based on who he’s decided at that moment his favorite is. He swaps back and forth between who is getting his assets, the kingdom, and never stays with a solid decision. This interacts with expulsion because Cordelia is banished, or expelled, from the kingdom while Lear keeps making different decisions. As Lear says, “Thou hast her, France. Let her be thine, for we have no such daughter, nor shall ever see that face of hers again. Therefore begone without our grace, our love, our benison” (page 25, lines 304-308). Because Lear is swapping his assets, those around him are having their lives changed as they wait for him to make a final decision. By giving his daughter to the King of France, he also swapped his love from Cordelia to his other daughters. King Lear says Cordelia is no longer his daughter and that she betrayed him, which results in him expelling her from both his family and his kingdom. King Lear at its core is a piece about loyalty, fraud, and trust. By studying these themes through the lens of liquid/liquidity, swapping, and expulsion, we as readers are able to more deeply understand not only the practice of analyzing a text, but also lessons which apply to real life. In regards to what question this exercise brings up, there’s the question of, “How will these themes present themselves in other works?” Going forward it will be interesting to see what contributes to someone’s loyalty and how the terms liquid, liquidity, and swapping are affected by how loyal someone is. This is important because there will always be themes or morals to look for in reading; practicing on King Lear gives us a look into how and why we do this exercise, so that we have the context for when we try it in the future.