In literary works by Poe, Roethke, and Yamada the character and speakers experience the cruelty of the world differently. In each of the situations the speakers and characters are presented with, they create their own happiness. Even though the reader may perceive the literary works as negative, they reveal a type of reflective happiness discovered in each setting. Each of the readings present a joy uncovered beneath a certain cruelty.
In “My Papa’s Waltz” can be a deceptive poem. Primarily the reader is overcome with the violent imagery from the abusive relationship between the father and son. For example, “We romped until the kitchen pans slid from the kitchen shelf” and “The hand that held my wrist” translate to an unforgiving image. But the reality of the relationship is that the boy actually loves and admires his father. Roethke inserts clues such as; “But I hung on like death” and “Still clinging to your shirt”. He finds this particular joy in the cruelty he endures because he feels close to his father through their interaction and endures the harm.
In Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”, the main character swears vengeance on his friend Fortunato because of all the wrong that he has done to him. The dark tale of how one friend destroys another evokes the emotion of betrayal and antipathy. Behind the malicious plot to kill someone who was once an ally is the joy that the narrator finds when his task is complete. This is a disturbing truth but the reality is that narrator feels sick at the end of the poem but in the end feels complete that he was acquired the vengeance he sought.
In Yamada’s poem the speaker gives detail of their experience once after being released from camp. The tone of the poem reveals the disappointment of what the speaker experiences in the real world. The poem is depressing because after the grand liberation the speaker is only let down by the discrimination they undergo. It is hard to see the joy in the poem but it is possible that underneath the cruelty of the poem, the hidden or yet obvious joy is that the prisoner is free.
During my time at Tunbridge Charter School I have been able to immerse myself in Mrs. Hazel’s fifth grade class. The children are unique and vibrant with curiosity. In connection with the readings, it is so beautiful to see how children find so much joy in the little things in such a challenging world. The kids are faced with different types of challenges but most of them embrace each new idea with a smile and an innocent vivacity. There is much destruction and cruelty around them in their neighborhoods but they are concentrated on the joy learning and interacting with each other brings them.
My connection with one of the students has had the most memorable impact on me since I started service learning. He is polite and eager but yet is faced with the challenge of being at a first grade reading level while in a fifth grade classroom. I was told that he would be reading aloud to me during silent reading time. Tuesday his teacher Mrs. Hazel approached me and told me that she believes I’ve really been helping her student. Everytime I come into the class he seems eager to see me and is excited about the time we share together. He points out different parts of a story that he thinks is funny or interesting. Although Malik is faced with difficulty of being behind his peers he is fearless and ready to learn. He finds joy in the time we spend together and I believe he is improving on his reading skills as well. I feel blessed to be able to encourage him to understand literature and enjoy his journey relating to learning.