Monday, December 13, 2010

Global Disaster

Veronique Saltos
Professor Wexler
Eng 495
13 December 2010
Global Disaster
When I think of the term Globalization I think of the cultures, economies, and the societies of many countries coming together and forming a super nation that strives to monopolize the world one day. In my view it is not a positive term and also not a good idea. As a result of globalization a country is at risk of losing its rich culture that the rest of the world recognizes it for. In Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed film, Slumdog Millionaire, there are numerous examples of how the film itself as a whole, and individual parts, may be seen as a commentary for globalization. The whole city of Mumbai, India went from being a city of filth and slums to a city of commerce and progress. Whether this was a western influence is not a concrete fact from viewing the movie but I do definitely feel that western influences lead to the changes in the city and in the two brothers, Jamal and Salim. Through further analyzing of the film and several of the characters, it is evident that globalization has played a big part in their lives.
From the very start of Jamal’s childhood he learned to have a hero as shown in the scene when a young Jamal jumps in a pool of excrement to get an autograph from a famous Indian actor. The idea of his hero represents western influence as the actor clearly was not dressed in cultural clothes but in traditional American style clothes. This idea made the man more attractive to the Indian audiences making them believe that western is better. Also, after Jamal escaped the child abusers he comes across several Americans as tourists in India and is able to easily take advantage of them for money. This can be viewed as commentary that citizens from the world’s super power are so easily fooled by people of third world countries because they have a romanticized view of it. People in the United States cannot fathom having to live in the conditions as many of the people in Mumbai have to everyday yet they still visit these cities as if to admire history that is slowly fading into their own.
The young children are exposed further to western ideas as they grow and the city re-invents itself. As children, the city was a slum and over time becomes a powerhouse of construction of tall buildings in the place of the old town. They experience their memories being lost because of the city’s need to keep up with western technology. As they grow older the city becomes a host for call centers around the world. This is when Jamal is introduced to “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”
He works serving drinks and at the connecting call center there is a T.V. in which the show is watched by the entire office and everyone stops to frantically dial and get their chance to go from rags to riches. This show is obviously an American show that gave one the hope that with trivial knowledge one could join the realm of the rich and forget their troubles. This romanticized American concept crept in to many countries who followed suit after the show was made in America. Globalization has made it possible for things from the west to be taken eastward and emulated. The big melting pot of American values is unfortunately what reigns supreme when another country attempts to merge with it. Once it is done, it cannot be reversed for Globalization is a forward moving juggernaut. As evident in the film, the people of Mumbai went crazy over the show giving it this reverence as if it represented something they just could not reach.
In conclusion, the term Globalization is known to refer to the transnational circulation of ideas, resulting in the acculturation of those nations. Slumdog Millionaire, by Danny Boyle, certainly exemplifies that in many ways. As Jamal and his bother Salim are left motherless, they turn to the city to raise them. Because of all the western acculturation going on in Mumbai at the time the children are left with less than a sense of their country and more with the sense of wanting to be like an American. Through the use of the show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” as a tool for acculturation the citizens of the town are infatuated with the idea that riches can come overnight and hard work isn’t as important as history has shown it as exemplified by Salim working for town gangsters for easy money. Whether or not Globalization is in fact negative, as I believe it to be, Slumdog Millionaire makes it hard to prove me wrong.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Short and Sweet

The Purse                                           


The red leather bag

waits for me at the counter

I love Marc Jacobs


I look at her and smile
the bittersweet feelings
the fights, the hugs, the tears

She's my hero for her bravery
I hate her for staying
She deserved more than that

One day I'll know why
my daughter will too look at me
and judge me while she smiles

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Peaceful Departure

A Peaceful Departure
Death always makes me think of ghosts and scary things. Never would I be able to associate the end of life with a calm and ironic tone. Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Because I could not stop for death”, is a prime example of a work that illustrates death as something other than gruesome and frightening.  Death is but a well-mannered man taking her to her final resting place. Instead of fearing the end of her life she calmly accepts it and rides off to eternity. Through imagery, personification, and irony Dickinson provides the reader with the sense that death is more than what it seems.
            Rather than taking the route of cursing death as many do, the poem sums up death as a gentle carriage ride to eternity.  She personifies death by giving it a male identity stating, “We slowly drove-He knew no haste”  (Dickinson line 5).  She is both literally and figuratively welcoming death as a suitor as she calmly accepts the fact that he stopped to get her and it is as if they are on a date rather than he taking her life. The speaker in the poem refers to death’s “kindness”. The speaker also says that he drives her “slowly”. It is as if death is expressing kindness and respect towards her. Also, if death is in fact the chivalrous suitor, then that would make Immortality their silent chaperon. In as much as there is personification present in regards to the character of death, there is also a great deal of symbolism in the final ride of her life.
            As the carriage takes her to die they pass many sights and these may very well be symbols in her life representing places she’s been and steps she’s retracing. The speaker goes from childhood to adulthood and finally to old age. Dickinson writes, “We passed the school, where children strove” indicating to the reader that the speaker is literally passing on as she drives along the road of life. After the children are passed she passes adulthood in the “gazing grain” as this represents her maturity. Finally, they pass the sun, or the sun passes them as the speaker puts it. This is the final symbol of crossing over as the sun is literally the warm light that shines on the earth and once that is gone all there is left is darkness and cold. Also, the speaker emphasizes the word “passed” using it repeatedly as if to make sure the reader recognizes the speaker is passing out of time and into an eternity.
Furthermore, she clearly compares a coffin to a home when she writes, “We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground” (Dickinson line 17). It has not only gotten cold after the sun has passed them but they have passed a sort of underground house which is obviously a coffin, an eternal home for cold, dead bodies. In her description of the tomb as a home she is illustrating comfort with a coffin rather than terror or fright. For some reason a coffin gives the speaker a sense of security just as a home does to any living person.
The last stanza of the poem has more abstract language and differs from the rest of the work. She has moved into death at that point and the imagery and symbolism is no longer tangible. She calmly surmises that the horse’s heads were towards eternity but was not sure of it. She has a rational calm view of life and the inevitability of death. In fact she seems to be so comfortable with her new life that looking back on it she states that it “feels shorter than a day” since she left (Dickinson line 22).
Moreover, throughout the poem there are symbols such as the sun, dewdrops, and the swelling of the ground that represent circles. These circles, or never ending objects, can very well represent life and the blurred lines of death. An eternity is forever and that is what she is depicting with these objects as orbs, a sort of circle of life model. The overall tone of the poem would have to be that of irony as death is a companion here rather than an entity to be feared. The theme that resonates with the reader is that death is not to be feared, as it is a natural part of the cycle of life.           
In conclusion, Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Because I could not stop for death” depicts death in a different way. Rather than be scared of her demise the speaker in the work accepts the end of her life and welcomes death as a suitor taking her on her final carriage ride. The speaker quaintly describes the passing of her life as actually passing sights on the road representing the stages of her life. Both death and the sun are personified giving them male identities. Her imagery: the children, the sun, the dew, and the swelling ground represent the circular motion of the life cycle. The ironic tone of the poem brings out the theme of death not being one to be feared but welcomed. In the end the speaker accepted death as an inevitability and perhaps it is because of this that she felt that hardly any time had passed since.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


All this poetry is making me pull my hair out! Don't know how much more I can take! Honestly, I do appreciate people like Yeats, Frost and Whitman because they give us an insight on what was important to the specific movement they belonged to and what they emphasized as essential. However, the density of it is a bit much for me at times. That's when I just sit back and realize that I need to appreciate it for what it is, not something it is not. These poets are all special in keeping the movement alive and pushing us to see beyond what's in front of us...