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Chivalry is Not Dead!

Thursday Verseday with Arlinda

While the author still remains anonymous, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of my favorite poems from the Medieval Ages. It is written in four parts, each of which offers pieces of a tale told from a mystical, chivalrous, and Celtic standpoint. Sir Gawain is portrayed as a knight who risks his life in an attempt to prove his chivalry to King Arthur. This poem is told as a story with twists and turns prompting the reader to keep reading.

At first, Sir Gawain consents to a duel with the Green Knight in the hopes of appearing chivalrous in the eyes of King Arthur and the other Knights of the Round Table. Sir Gawain believed he had killed the Green Knight by chopping off his head; after realizing the Green Knight had survived the fatal blow, Gawain is forced in the name of chivalry to promise the Green Knight he will search for him and allow the knight to deliver a fatal blow in return. While on his quest, Sir Gawain rests at the home of Lord Bertilak de Hautdesert where the Lord’s wife tries to seduce Sir Gawain and tempt him to betray the kind Lord Bertilak who has allowed Gawain to rest in his home.

It is only at the end of part four that Sir Gawain realizes that Lord Bertilak de Hautdesert is secretly also the Green Knight! Sir Gawain discovers that King Arthur’s sister Morgan le Fay cast a protection spell on the Green Knight and sent him to King Arthur’s home in the hopes of upsetting Arthur’s wife Guinevere. This is conveyed when the poem states, “she put this magic upon me to deprive you of your wits/ in hope Guinevere to hurt, that she in horror might die.” Sir Gawain prepares and hopes for the best as he faces his second duel with the Green Knight. Will Sir Gawain’s chivalry save him, or will his time at Lord Bertilak de Hautdesert’s home lead to his demise? It is revealed that Sir Gawain’s quest was all along a test, one in which you’ll have to read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to determine the rest!

 

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Lumberjanes: Girl Power to the Max

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #6)

One of the most important things in my life is the women’s empowerment group I go to every Tuesday. It’s a place where I can have a voice, and even more importantly, be heard. Looking back to my younger years, I didn’t really have many friends who were girls, I always seemed to gravitate towards males and so most of my friends were guys, but after the three years I’ve been in this women’s empowerment group, I’ve come to realize the importance of the female friendship and how liberating and awesome it can be to know and have women who have your back or can simply just talk about sensitive, lovey dovey stuff with. In short, girl power rocks, and we see that in Lumberjanes, a comic book written by Noelle Stevenson and Shannon  Watters.

In this fictional world, Noelle and Shannon have created a quintet of kick-butt girls who are really just models based on the real life friendships that girls have or need in their lives. The writers really stress the importance of friendship over everything else, which entails loyalty and trust, which is really befitting for these girls because they’re girl scouts. But putting the fact that they wear sashes and collect badges aside, underneath it all they’re just your regular teenage girls who like to tell scary stories, explore the woods, and appease mythological beasts with jewels and gold. Yup, just you’re ordinary, everyday gals. Seriously though, even with the mythological and magical elements of the story, Jo, Mal, Molly, Ripley, and April– the Lumberjanes– are all super relatable and realistic girls. These are the kind of characters who make it easy to find one that you identify with.

I think the thing that makes these girls so lovable is that they’re not perfect. Far from it really. They’re a little bit kooky, they’re messy, they mess up, they get jealous, they fight, they cry– they’re really human and it’s beautiful. If you haven’t already, I suggest picking this book up for yourself or handing it to a young girl that you care about because this book, although at times lighthearted and silly, is deeply thoughtful and at it’s heart a book about girls/women, for women/girls. Which is not to say if you’re a part of the male audience or another audience that this book would not touch you or make you laugh, because honestly, it’s a book for all ages and people. So, make your pledge today and join the troop– become a Lumberjane!

– Kathryn Fornier

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Kitchen

The novel Kitchen, by award winning author Banana Yoshimoto, is her debut novel and also one of her most highly acclaimed works. Kitchen is a story which involves love, family, and food. This book is a quick read, but its definitely the type of book that has the unique quality of being re readable. I first read this book in high school, and since then have been a huge fan of it and its creator. The story is narrated, by the protagonist Mikage a young woman in her early twenties, who recently just lost her grandmother. She finds herself alone in the world, without any family, but ends up finding another. She ends up meeting Yuichi Tanabe, a college classmate and also a part time employee at a flower shop her grandmother would frequent to. He worries about Mikage’s condition after the loss of her grandmother, and him and his mother, Eriko, welcome her into their family. Mikage ends up finding solace within the kitchen, as she prepares meals for Eriko and Yuichi. Though the kitchen offers her some comfort, she still finds herself grieving and having negative thoughts.

 What makes this story even more special is that it’s about this family which isn’t the typical nuclear family. It’s made up of Mikage who isn’t blood related, and Eriko a transgendered father-to-mother of Yuichi. Though not the typical family that’s represented in most literary works, they are still a family nonetheless, as you see the way they treat each other and their dynamic within the home. Mikages first person narration allows us to see those around her through her eyes, and shows us what’s in her heart. The descriptions she gives us, allows our perspectives of the other characters to be similar to hers, causing us to have a closer relationship with the characters.

The novel Kitchen is filled with mysticism, relationships, love, and grief. The first person narration allows you to feel the emotions of the protagonist, and understand her experience and feelings more. Kitchen grabs your attention from beginning to end, with its characters, events, and details. It’s a book that can be read over and over again, and still be good every single time.

-Gabrielle O’Connor

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Summer Silence

CINÉMONDAYS WITH HARDIK

SUMMER INTERLUDE

Dir. Ingmar Bergman

(Sweden)

  1. Voice is the first thing they lose when their first love’s gone.
  2. It is always too late when they realize this: it is innate for the first to leave and make room for the second.

The first love always leaves, the voice leaves first. And when voices leave, you know what happens –– storms come. Is there recovery?


Ingmar Bergman understood that, I feel. His Summer Interlude meditates on these sounds that we discover and lose. Ballerina Marie faced the very same lessons that absorb all of us: first love’s coming and leaving.

She meets him:

“The ship that hooted in the distance, and other things too: the music and the moonlight, the silence and the anticipation, the blood whispering in our ears. A strange mood set in, almost like a melody. A new room opened up in our minds.”

She has lost him:

“The silence between us was immense as well.”


Is this just about silences and storms?

“Lucky is the one who will teach you.”

 

~ Hardik Yadav

 

 

 

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The Inferno and the Combatant

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Floetry Fridays with Nicole

This week’s poem is called “A Ballad of Hell” written by John Davidson, and was one of my personal favorites growing up in a horror-obsessed household…Thanks dad. Anyways, the themes of this poem are around betrayal, self-identity, but most importantly strength. A woman is led to believe that by committing a love-suicide she will be able to freely be with her lover, who is “forced” to wed his cousin. However, it turns out that while she keeps her side of the bargain, she wakes up in hell and is told by the Devil that he is not there and lied. She stays in hell in denial of her lover’s plot to be rid of her and only after what could be a millennium of waiting for him, she realizes that he will never come and that she deserves better. The inferno is not meant for her pitied and tricked soul, but instead she knows she should be in a place of light and marches up towards the gates of heaven.

This twisted, sad and somewhat scary poem deals with the everyday tales of people succumbing to tragic lives because of their inability to understand their self-worth. Many go seeking the darkness because of temptations that they cannot escape. The need to satisfy this craving of love that they believe is the only answer to happiness. However, that is not the case. This woman finally understood that she deserved better than to burn in hell for someone who did not care nor love her back, and that her misery will not be his win. Instead, she grew the strength to march OUT OF HELL itself and tell the tortured beings that she will not be another victim to burn alone in the depths of a place that has never defined her soul. Her resilience even in death, is something that is inspiring and should be emphasized during the realm of life.

This poem is the yin and yang of reality. That sometimes things do not end the way we hope and instead of sacrificing ourselves to the hell in our minds, we should instead always find truth in our pain and use that to fight back. To know our worth, to not let a grand mistake cost us an eternity of suffering for the maliciousness of others. That our fates are always in OUR hands, even when it would appear all else has failed. This woman deserved that “hoarse, half-human cheer” and we all do too. Below is the link for anyone who wants to read this poem for themselves and feel the power of this woman’s bravery.

http://www.bartleby.com/103/21.html