Estella, Pip and Miss Havisham: Three Dickens characters that can all eat a whole big bag of dicks.

Estella, Miss Havisham and Pip can all rot in hell. Yes, you read that correctly. Here’s why:

  1. Estella was a walking, talking nightmare of a woman designed and created to break hearts without remorse. Not cool, Miss Havisham, not cool….but it probably explains her choice of a husband.
  2. Miss Havisham had her heart broken and lived out her days in a filthy wedding dress amidst a spider covered and mouse eaten wedding feast without a working clock in that nightmare she called a home and raised Estella in. Had your heart broke, did ya’? It happens. You suck it up and drive on in life, not spending your days wallowing in misery and creating a monster to exact your revenge upon the male species.
  3.  Pip, you poor, ignorant bastard. Stupid enough to think that by suffering, he will find happiness not realizing that it was already at hand. He should’ve stayed in the forge and married Biddy, who was an obvious choice for a good wife. She was educated, sweet and loved Pip, but no……go for the cold, callous and jaw-droppingly rude girl. Smart choice, numb-nuts.

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Crime and Punishment in the Victorian era.

I wasn’t surprised in the least by what I read about crime and punishment in the Victorian era because it was brutal, pandered to the public at large’s interest and designed to keep up an appearance of non-existent poverty. After all, this was the same society (of which we’re a reflection of) who would rather read about or see “justice” brought about through a harsh manner rather than take the time to deal with the actual problem or reform a broken system. The part that really infuriated me was the use of prison ships. The fact that their societal “problems” were simply locked up and shipped off didn’t solve anything, it simply made them disappear from their own backyards. Granted, some were hardened criminals and did horrendous things that probably deserved worse than being dropped off in Australia, but there were families that were torn apart due to unfair sentences to petty crimes committed out of necessity. Unfortunately, this practice continues today due to mandatory sentences regardless of circumstance.

 

Dickens’ childhood: Pip immortalized.

From what I read, I see a number of influences of Dickens’past emerge in Pip. First, his own experience of dealing with a debtor’s jail most certainly influenced some of his writing. It might have been the encounters he had with the prisoners or the fact that he saw he his father as a good man, with good intentions, who was a prisoner himself. Next, it was him finding himself working long hours in a “blacking factory”. Pip wanted to be more than a blacksmith and resented the forge despite Joe being a joy to be around. He thought becoming a gentleman would free him of those socioeconomic chains that bound him. Dickens, according to the article, resented the fact that his mother insisted he continue life in the factory after their release. This most likely drove him to become the writer he was and to ensure he never returned to such inhumane conditions again.

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The Fields of Athenry: A song about the prison ships.

Paddy Reilly’s Traditional version

The Dropkick Murphys’ version

Here’s two links to the song “The Fields of Athenry”. The first is the traditional version performed by Paddy Reilly and the second (my fave!) is by the Dropkick Murphys. The song is about an Irishman who stole food to feed his family and is awaiting to be taken away on the Hulk ships Ms. Vance lectured on last Thursday. Both videos have the lyrics and I hope you enjoy them.

Victorian Transportation: Here’s your milk, bro!

The Victorians had a stunning achievement in their bid to modernize and shape their means of travel. With railways connecting every major hub, they were able to deliver goods and services in an unprecedented manner. Rural farmers and agriculturalists were able to deliver fresh goods via their trains. Likewise, this rail system, along with their nautical advancements, allowed and encouraged people to travel. Whether for holiday, personal exploration or business, these advancements made it all possible. Just as the railroads in America expanded these endeavors, so did the Victorian modes of travel. Even today, if you choose to fly somewhere you can pay for better seating and accommodations instead of a lower fare to be placed near the bathroom with some kid kicking your chair on your flight from Atlanta to Denver.

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Midterms and Me: A Tale of a Man totally freaked out.

I’m going to break away from my usual paragraph style and tackle these questions one by one by noting what I loved, hated, and was indifferent to.

How was it?

Interesting. I’ve never taken an exam where the questions were unable to be prepared for through memorization, multiple choice, etc. which completely broke the mold of any test taken in a “traditional manner”. I loved it. Education methods are outdated and simply “parroting” what you heard during lectures serves no real measure as to what you’ve learned.

Was it scary?

Yes, but only to a point. It was more exciting to see what the exams held in store for us rather then fear of the unknown.Likewise, I did hate not being able to “prepare” in a traditional manner, but this is what I hoped for in my college experience; a new and refreshing way to challenge the norms that have become outdated in our education system.

Liberating?

Absolutely. It encouraged free thought and one’s opinion along with the requirement of being able to connect what we’ve learned from the Victorian era to our modern day society.

So different that it freaked me out?

Yes. I was a little freaked out by the fact that we had such liberty to answer the questions in a manner that gave us freedom of expression where there was no right or wrong, but relied entirely upon critical thinking.

Was it a successful experiment?

Yes and no. I say yes because it challenged us to draw a correlation between what we’ve learned and connect it to a modern day thought. I was pretty indifferent to the format that it was presented in, but I do wish (but understand why we didn’t) that we could’ve dug a little deeper into the underlying themes of the readings we did.

Would you like for your final to be set up similarly?

Absolutely. I loved having to think and base our answers on what we’ve learned, but I will say that critical thinking requires time and a time limit can inhibit one’s ability to coherently explain their response.

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HUM 101: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways….

It’s a toss up on what has been my favorite part of what we’ve studied so far. Reading The Scandal in Bohemia was great and I loved exploring what I believe was Holmes’ one true love along with the clues within the story that lead me to that conclusion. As great as that was, how about that Jack the Ripper presentation? At the expense of being labeled narcissistic, I loved researching and presenting on the subject. There were/ are so many twists and turns, theories to his motive, suspects, etc that I was completely sucked into the subject and still am. I’ve even subjected my poor wife and son to watching anything on Netflix that is Ripper related.What’s worse is that I pause the program to educate them on the canonical five, the reasons other murders are suspected as being committed by him, but lack the sufficient evidence to link them to him along other facts I learned.

I know the assignment was to write 175 words on what I loved and why I loved it, but quite frankly, I can’t narrow it down. This has been the most unique class that I’ve ever taken and what transpires always leaves me wanting more. I can’t be the only one that reads something, draws a parallel to another idea and wants to discuss it with someone. If you fall into that category too, hit me up on this blog. There’s been numerous times where I’ve had an idea about something we’ve covered then heard other interpretations during class and it gets the mind racing. On more than one occasion, I’ve walked away from the classroom with another idea and no one to share it with, so I’m glad we have these blogs that allow us to exchange ideas and offer up new incite past our designated class time as it prevents “L’esprit de l’escalier”. Cheers.

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