Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Throughout all of these works the poems deal with interpretations. That is to say that there may be miscommunications within them or different views between them. In a very obvious way “America” and “Ode to an American English” present contrasting views about America and American society. One could argue that the speaker in “America” is simply being overly cynical or that the speaker in “Ode to an American English” is being overly na├»ve. Despite their different view points they are commenting on the same place. They have gathered distinctive interpretations about the same culture and people.

Although neither Hamby’s nor Hoagland’s poems have a rhyme scheme they have a beat that makes them reminiscent of classic rap music. Through the use of a poem both authors were able to sound contemporary, and in that way appeal to a younger audience, while nonetheless dealing with relatively timeless issues. While Hoagland’s “RadioShacks” and Hamby’s “Cheetoes” may not last forever, the concepts and ideals they deal with will at least last longer than the time it takes for a new snack food to take the stage. In this way both pieces act as a message to those who will read it.

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” deals with interpretations more subtly than the aforementioned poems. It is highly unlikely that Fortunato perceived his offensive to be as severe as the narrator interpreted it. Through this lack of communication Fortunato is condemned to death by the narrator. They were both present at the same scene and they both drew from it different conclusions. The piece was ironic in that despite their different interpretations on the original offense they hold similar interpretations of wine. In this way Poe is able to juxtapose perceived differences with differences between humans as individuals.

Just as Poe’s piece dealt with misinterpretation amongst people, so did Browning’s poem. The speaker in, “My Last Duchess” does not look highly on his previous wife because of her actions and his interpretations of them. Had the Duchess perceived them similarly she likely would not have carried on as she did. Again this unfortunate lack of communication resulted in another death. While Browning’s poem does follow a rhyme scheme his poem flows as if it were a narrative. The length of the piece and the completeness of thought within the poem contribute to this.

In my experience with community service and volunteering the myths that exist about people who are materially poor are based on interpretation and miscommunication. Society, as a whole, views this population to be entirely composed of criminals. The general stereotypes that follow are that you are in danger when around them and that somehow they’ve wished this upon themselves. However, I believe this to be simply interpretation and miscommunication as the poems demonstrated. After working with people and getting to know them their humanity is plainly obvious. Who would wish poverty upon themselves? If there are as many opportunities as there theoretically are to remove yourself from this class, then why do more people not take advantage of them? Part of service is working with other volunteers. As it is always harder to identify change within yourself, I have noticed the change in my peers. Instead of being afraid of or intimidated by the population they are tutoring my peers look forward to their service. As you begin to truly walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and in turn view the world through their eyes misinterpretations and miscommunications melt away to a certain extent because you are able to understand.

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