Mia Stout Final Essay

During the 2008 housing crisis families were forced out of their homes. In order to even get a house you needed to have good credit and a stable job to get a mortgage. When the investors wanted to make more profit the lenders had to loosen their “standards” on who could get a mortgage. This allowed lenders to give out sub-prime mortgages to “people with poor credit” and unverified income to borrow money. They trusted the bankers when buying their house; in return, they were forced to leave everything behind. All because of the new lenders’ “requirements”, and low-interest rates which drove up housing prices. So that means the subprime mortgages would have to default (when a debtor cannot meet debt payment) because the person wouldn’t be able to afford to pay the mortgage anymore. To get a better understanding of the 2008 housing crisis the novel The Big Short sheds so light on the issues. The Salomon brothers “took giant pools of home loans and carved up the payments made by homeowners into pieces, called tranches. The buyer of the first tranche was like the owner of the ground floor in a flood. The buyer of the second tranche – the second story of the skyscraper – took the next wave in payments. The investor in the top floor of the building received the lowest rate of interest but had the greatest assurance that his investment wouldn’t end” (pg 7, Lewis, M. The Big Short). This means that the bank sold the mortgage to a “third party”.

In Parable of the Sower, Lauren and her family lived inside a wall to protect them from the outside world. It was hard to make enough money to support everyone but her family managed to do it. With the world in shambles, the government spent its money on sending astronauts into outer space. “All that money wasted on another crazy space trip when so many people here on earth can’t afford water, food, or shelter” (pg 17). During this book, there is a huge financial crisis. Not a lot of people can afford the amenities to live. But here is the government not doing anything about the global crisis. “After all, politicians have been promising to return us to the glory, wealth, and order of the twentieth century” (pg 20). Ever since Lauren can remember politicians have been promising a return for civilization but, it yet has to happen. This is a great example of fraud. The government has claimed it wants to help the global communities but no action has been taken to help them. Money is a huge issue in communities behind the walls. If you want the police or even the fireman to come inside the walls it costs a fortune. “Most of our households couldn’t afford another big bill, anyway” (pg 32). It seems that not a single person can afford anything anymore. You have to scavenge for food and water if you aren’t lucky enough to grow your own food. This is a great example of a financial crisis because without food or water you’ll be dead in days. During this time people have to learn to protect themselves and their families inside and outside of the wall. The walls give them protection and hope that they can see another day but, it’s not always granted. “Someone shot Amy right through the metal gate” (pg 50). The wall is supposed to keep them safe but things keep happening near it. Things get thrown over the gate or left around it by the scavengers. This is toxic, some of the things they throw over are “ a maggoty dead animal, a bag of shit, even an occasional severed human limb or a dead child” (pg 50). It seems like these scavengers are trying to do anything to get these people disgusted enough to where they want them to leave their homes. These acts are also putting pressure on the community, they need to feel safe and secure and these vial acts aren’t doing that in fact it’s doing the opposite. “Our thieves paid us a visit last night” (pg 73). With everything that’s happening in the world, this is a huge global financial crisis. Everyone in the world, on the walls or out on the street is having a financial crisis. When it comes to Laurens’ area being robbed it seems to be liquidity. Somehow the robbers are getting easy access to jump over the wall to steal food for themselves. In this world, there is just a lot of corruption happening everywhere and there’s no way to stop it. 

During this crisis, there is a lot to worry about, your friends, family, loved ones, and yourself. It can be very difficult to stay together as a community, there is so much happening that can destroy a person’s perception on life. “We are coming apart. The community, the families, individual family members….We’re a rope, breaking, a single strand at a time” (pg 116). This global crisis is breaking down everyone’s spirits. When it comes to living in the walls you need money. Olivar is another walled-up town that needs to be bailed out by corporations. “A company called Kagimoto, Stamm, Frampton, and Company–KSF–has taken over the running of a small coastal city called Olivar” (pg 118). During the 2008  housing crisis banks needed to be saved by the U.S. government. The U.S. basically bailed them out of their money issues they were having and it seems that Olivar is getting the treatment. Later on in the book a big change occurred that turned everything upside down for everyone living in the walls. There was a break-in, someone smashed the front gate open, started burning houses down, and took everyone’s possession. “Last night, when I escaped from the neighborhood, it was burning. The houses, the trees, the people: Burning” (pg 151). Lauren’s house was destroyed by people wearing colors on their heads. “[B]ald people with painted heads, faces, and hands. Red faces; blue faces; green faces” (pg 154). Everyone’s possession are now gone because of the scavengers. Everyone in that community lost everything and some tragically lost their own lives. This comes back to the 2008 housing crisis, Octavia E. Butler wrote a story that shares information about a global financial crisis, housing crisis, foreclosure crisis, and subprime mortgage crisis. This can be compared to the housing market crash, everything that these families owned are gone. Their house, valuables, and even their own lives are all gone. Nothing can be restored and the only people they have to blame are the scavengers who can be related to Wall Street, everyone is just trying to survive. Accountability has been taken for some of the intruders but the rest stole what they could carry and left. This leaves Laurens’ community in corruption and they will not be able to come back from it.

At the beginning of this class, I didn’t understand what the 2008 housing crisis was. Now I understand it happened because of Wall Street and third-party bankers. Banks would give out mortgages to anyone that wanted one no matter what, even if they couldn’t afford it they were given one. If they couldn’t pay their mortgage the loan would default and be given back to the bank. The 2008 housing crisis affected many families in the United States. Many lost their homes because of careless businessmen wanting to make extra money. During the crisis, I was only about six years old at the time so I have no memory or recollection of this happening. Thankfully both my grandparents and parents weren’t severely affected by this. My grandparents still own the houses they built and my parents lived with them at the time so thankfully we weren’t affected either. We had trust as a family that if something were to happen we would be there for one another. It was like we were in our own bubble, we didn’t get touched during the housing crisis which was surprising, for other families though they weren’t so lucky. I think learning about the housing crisis before college would have been more beneficial for me because it is still hard to understand everything that went on behind those “closed doors” of Wall Street. It also doesn’t help that no one wants to take responsibility for their actions which to me is aggravating.  I believe that when it comes to buying a house in the housing market you should have some knowledge about what goes on and what you are expected to do. It could help you in the long run, also look at the fine print in the contracts you are signing it could have some “unspoken rules” that you might not know about. Change is inevitable it will happen anytime and anywhere so you need to be ready for it. Take precautions if you have to. Learning about this 2008 crisis was an eye-opener for me. I never expected something like this to happen. I cannot imagine being told to pack up my belongings and leaving all because of a bad investment. Learning to change is the best thing to do in this case. Learning can grow a great change in perspective and instead of thinking of the bad parts, focus on the good parts. Yes, you lost your house which is horrible but, you still have your family, everyone is in good health, and now moving forward will make you stronger than you ever thought you could be. In the end, never give up, push forward and you might just surprise yourself with how strong you can be.

Third Mini-Collaboration

Mia Stout, Mairead Wilsch, Annie Urig, India Roundtree, Myah Dombroski, Ryan Trebing

In the novel A Mercy, we begin with seeing a young girl in 1690 being expelled from her home. From the loss of his ship, a man named Jacob is seeking to not part with his losses. As a trade for this, D’Ortega trades the slave Jacob’s choice. Jacob wanted to take the healthy woman standing with her children, but D’Ortenga wouldn’t allow it. The woman offered up her daughter instead, which was likely to protect her and give her a better life than what she’d have had if she’d stayed. After this Florens, the young girl traded by her own mother was traumatized. And she is repeatedly faced with expulsion throughout the novel after this. No matter where she had finally felt safe or at home, she was forced out. This process is much like the 2008 Recession, where homeowners that could never afford houses, finally were able to purchase them. But, they were forced out of where they’d felt safe. The people of 2008 were expelled from their homes and faced many challenges after the crash, much like Florens was expelled from her home and faced many challenging experiences as a result of her expulsion. 

In the 2008 housing crisis, people were expelled from their homes just like Florens from A Mercy. Even though she can read both print and pressure just like the victims of the 2008 crisis that didn’t stop Wall Street (in Florens case anywhere she lived) from being kicked out of their homes. When it comes to the homeowners their “protection” from the world was stolen from right underneath them. Whereas Florens had a different kind of protection. ”Let me show you my letter” (pg 131). The one thing that gave Florens legal protection was her letter. The homeowner’s protection was the contract that they signed when buying a house but that was ripped from them after Wall Street claimed it was their “misfortune”. Wall Street continuously blamed homeowners for their expulsion but in reality, it was the companies that were managing the home who were at fault. This links to A Mercy when the blacksmith aggressively blamed Florens for the incident with Malaik. One person that holds power and money in A Mercy is D’Ortega. He is the replica of Wall Street. He’s the reason that Florens was expelled from her first home. Florens’ interpretation skills and her expulsion can be compared to the fact that during the 2008 Housing Crisis, the home expulsions never stopped for anyone’s literacy or viewpoint on the situation. Just as Florens’ intellect and insight never saved her from being expelled, the intellect and insight of those who were expelled from jobs or homes in 2008 didn’t prevent the expulsion itself. 

A Mercy is full of examples of Florens interpreting and reading, both literally and figuratively. We learn early on in the book that Florens was taught to read and write by Reverend Father. “Once every seven days we learn to read and write… He has two books and a slate. We have sticks to draw through sand, pebbles to shape words on smooth flat rock.” (Page 6). This shows us early on that being able to read and write is important to Florens’ character. Another literal example of Florens reading is on page 131 when Florens is one of only two people in the room able to read the letter from her Mistress. “Everyone including Daughter Jane who rises from her bed stares at the markings upside down and it is clear only the man is lettered.” At the end of the book, we get a final example of Florens being able to read and write when she writes her story down in one of the rooms of Jacob’s house. “If you are live or ever you heal you will have to bend down to read my telling… I stop telling only when the lamp burns down.” (185). In addition to reading actual words, there are many instances of Florens interpreting situations and the world around her. Throughout the story her narration interprets others’ feelings and thoughts, portraying to the reader the type of environment and emotions she is facing. “A woman comes to me and says stand up. I do and she takes my cloak from my shoulders. Then my wooden shoes. She walks away. Reverend Father turns a pale red color when he returns and learns what happens…Finally, he takes rags, strips of sailcloth lying about, and wraps my feet. Now I am knowing that, unlike Senhor, priests are unloved here. A sailor spits into the sea when Reverend Father asks him for help. Reverend Father is the only kind man I ever see.”(8) This indicates how Florens is interpreting her surroundings and feels a sense of resentment by the people in the town when she and the Reverend arrive, she then “reads” the people they interact with. A common trend of Florens point of view is these examples of sharing other people’s reactions and emotions used as a form of protection after being expelled by her mother but soon changes once she is expelled by the Blacksmith. Once being expelled by the two people she trusted most, a minha mãe and the Blacksmith, we see a change in the narration where she breaks down the wall of protection. “My face absent in blue water you find only to crush it? Now I am living the dying inside. No. Not again. Not ever. Feathers lifting, I unfold. The claws scratch and scratch until the hammer is in my hand”(167). It is wise to say that after the Blacksmiths’ expulsion a change occurred in Florens, she realized that she deserved more than the treatment she has received thus far and almost has this sense of empowerment over her, promising herself that she will not be expelled again. The farm also notices this change in her, concerned for the girl they see walking up the road when returning from the Blacksmith’s home. “Strangest was Florens. The docile creature they knew had turned feral. When they saw her stomping down the road two days after the smithy had visited Mistress’ sickbed and gone, they were slow to recognize her as a living person” (171-72). This character shift may have come as a surprise, but after interpreting the stories of others, it is a nice change of pace to read more about her growth. 

Florens is forcibly expelled repeatedly even though she is one of the rare slaves who has been taught to read and write. First, she was expelled by her mother, and the main memory she remembers from this experience is her mother “holding the little boy’s hand.” (8) At the Widow Ealing home, where she eats and tells the widow and her daughter Jane of her errand, the townspeople come to judge Judy’s innocence, Florens is seen by the group and thought to be evil. “This has happened twice before. The first time it is me peeking around my mother’s dress hoping for her hand that is only for the little boy. The second time it is a pointing, screaming little girl hiding behind her mother and clinging to her skirts. Both times are full of danger and I am expelled.” When going to find the Blacksmith so that he can help save Rebekka’s life, the protection letter Mistress Rebekka Vaark has written for her does not give her safe passage as it is taken from her at Widow Ealing’s home. Expelled from the protection the letter gave her, exposed to the world, and traveling to find the Blacksmith, she travels on. Once she gets to the Blacksmith’s home she sees a young boy, Malaik, who is being taken care of by the Blacksmith.  She thinks, “ I worry as the boy sleeps closer to you. How you offer and he owns your finger. As if he is your future. Not me.” (136) She is asked to stay and care for Malaik while the Blacksmith is gone. She scares Malaik, who hides and screams, as she tries to grab him to calm him down she accidentally breaks his arm. The Blacksmith returns and sees the incident. She tries to explain that she is not trying to harm him, but the Blacksmith will not hear her words. She says, “I am trying to stop him. That is why I pulled his arm” (139).  The Blacksmith immediately expels her as she realizes he has chosen the boy.  “I am lost because your shout is not my name. Not me. Malaik. You shout Malaik.” The Blacksmith tells her, “ you are a slave”.  Your head is empty and your body is wild. (141) As she is being expelled he states, “Own yourself woman, and leave us be.” (141). The Blacksmith is above Florens in status even though they are both people of color, and feels close to him but can’t build a real connection because of that as he will still see her as below him, this shows expulsion from a community/support system. “Nothing but wilderness.  No constraint. No mind.” (166). This indicates it is often found easier to push her away than to keep her, despite how much she’s helping. She isn’t a nice, quiet, polite lady, and so she often gets expelled because of this. All of the examples of expulsion are not directly Floren’s fault, even though the people expelling her want her to feel that it is. While by the end of the novel she shares her story through wood carvings in one of the house’s rooms, hoping for the Blacksmith to read it, while the reader never finds out if he does. 

In conclusion, A Mercy shows that interpretation is only a part of survival. Although Florens is an incredibly talented observer, and it is an integral part of her personality, she continues to be expelled; by her mother, Rebekka, by the Blacksmith, and by Widow and Daughter Jane. This book serves the purpose of proving that some things will happen, despite fighting against them. This can also tie back to the 2008 crisis, and the fact that victims of the housing and job crisis continued to be expelled, despite their knowledge of the situation. However, interpretation is still important. Florens is not only able to interpret the world around her, but also interpret herself, and her own worth, which brings her own perception of herself down. “Something precious is leaving me. I am a thing apart. With the letter, I belong and am lawful. Without it, I am a weak calf abandon by the herd, a turtle without shell, a minion with no telltale signs but a darkness I am born with, outside, yes, but inside as well and the inside dark is small, feathered, and toothy.” (135). It is made clear throughout the book that Florens is not responsible for her own expulsion, a theme which carries through both A Mercy and the 2008 crisis. Florens is representative of the world around her at the time the book takes place. She is not valued as much as she should be, and for this reason is subject to more danger than those with more power, like Jacob or Rebekka. Similar to this, victims of the 2008 crisis were at the hands of bigger corporations and Wall Street. The “puppet masters” of the 2008 housing crisis blamed said victims rather than taking accountability for their actions. “They look at you and forget about me”(135). Although this is said in A Mercy when Daughter Jane feels relief that Florens takes the attention off of her accusation of being a demon, we can relate it to how Wall Street blamed their poverty-stricken customers and communities of color as a way to take the heat off themselves and avoid the consequences they may face.  Both Florens and the victims of the 2008 crisis show that expulsion is often not at the fault of the expelled. 

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.