Sunday, October 23, 2016

Social interaction and knowledge

            Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Tableau by Countee Cullen, and Theology by Paul Laurence Dunbar examines the relationship between knowledge and social experiences. In the beginning of Frankenstein Walton describes his longing for friendship, which is why he turns to the stranger, Victor Frankenstein, who ends up narrating the rest of the novel. This connects to later in the novel when the monster is looking for friendship and shows the parallel to man and monster. The theme of knowledge is also explored throughout the novel and how the desire for knowledge can be problematic. This can be demonstrated through Victor’s experience when he leaves his family and goes to Geneva to attend the university at Ingolstadt. While he is there he get extremely invested in his studies of science and completely immerses himself in it. By doing this, he has very little social interaction with his family or any other friends or people at the university. This is a problem because it makes him grow increasingly lonely. Victor becomes unhealthily obsessed with the creation of his monster. This pushes him further into loneliness and isolation from social interactions.
Cullen also talks about social problems and interactions. Her poem speaks about oppression and the separation between whites and blacks. She also expresses her hope that the two groups will one day be joined together as equals. She does this by using symbolism to talk about how the unity of thunder and lightening coming together are like the blacks and whites peacefully living together.
            In Theology it is slightly harder to see how social interaction is connected to this in such a short amount, however, I think that he is talking about how a person has their own freedom to do what they want with their lives. Of course, social interaction is an extremely important part of anyone’s life. I felt that in the last line when he was talking about where his neighbor would go, he was talking about how people need to work together and come together to not go to hell.

All three of these pieces can be connected to my service at Tunbridge because social life is a huge part of the school experience for these kids.  For many of them, it is hard to tell if they know how to properly interact and socialize without being disruptive because they are still in first grade. However, the kids do a very good job of trying to balance their lives in a tough area, school, and social life, at least from what I can see. Last week I was working on reading with one girl and she was very good at reading, one of the best that I’ve seen in the class. Then she started telling me about how she has a book that is 135 pages and she reads it when he waits for her dad after school. I was very impressed by this girl and I figured that she would be someone that was only into reading and gaining knowledge, much like Victor in Frankenstein. I soon realized that this was not the case. We went outside for recess and she was playing with all the other kids. This girl clearly is finding a way to have a successful balance in her life with school and social life, and she is doing so in first grade. This to me was something that is very important and impressive since many people can not even do so by high school or college.

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