September, 2010Archive

Sep 25

example of a weekly reader responding to a poem:

“Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”
-Langston Hughes

The poem/quote above by Langston Hughes, an influential African American writer during the Harlem Renaissance, really caught my eye. For one, I find this quote to have no color. Although a majority of Langston Hughes’ work is centered around him as an African American male living in the 20s, I find that this piece can be viewed without color.

I like this quote because it can relate to anyone or anything that has faced a certain obstacle in life. Most of the time we address what obstacles we have faced, however, we do not address how we have faced them. Hughes suggest the luxurious life in comparison to  a crystal stair and then focuses on a main character who has suggested that this was not the life he had. When I think of crystal I think, smooth, shiny, pricey, fantastic, impressive, and beautiful. Hughes then uses a great deal of imagery where he compares the life of the character as staircase that is torn, ragged, and wooden. This staircase has tacks and in my mind came off as large and uncomfortable. As if it hurt to climb the case. I think the man making this comparison is seemingly similar to Lord Chesterfield’s letter to his son, in that this man is telling his son his potential goals he wants for him. He is letting his son know that even though the staircase is difficult to climb, it is always harder to turn back and give up cause he will just have more to climb. Hughes poses a huge universal virture of “never give up” in a different light.

I was intrigued because the man climbing this staircase talked about how ugly, how hard, how painful it was to climb this staircase, in yet as one analyzes the tone of the quote the man does not ever have any intention of stopping. The man finds that climbing the staircase is hard and it probably will never get any easier. However, this man leaves us with the message that to stop climbing the staircase would be more difficult than to keep on.

The same concept applies to life and our struggles. A person’s time on this earth can be an unimaginable course of struggle, however, through those struggles it can only do one good to move forward. Life can always get better and even if life does not improve for someone, someone can always improve their live for themselves.

It is crazy how a man can take the thought of two staircases, describe them in two different ways, and send me on such a tangent. However, I find true talent in an author’s ability to take the simple thing, and imply a complex thought. There are more Langston Hughes quotes below. Most of them are about life, happy and sad. Enjoy(:


Sep 25

I have been noticing that many of my peers seem ignorant of what is happening on a global standpoint. They seem to not be following the news on what is occurring with other countries and U.S. foreign relations. Well, I will enlighten those people on one issue we are having. As most people should know, North Korea and South Korea have always been tense with each other. Ever since the Korean War to today, they seem to have been engaging in incognito quarrels even at the military level across each other’s borders, with the North being the aggressors. This article is about the South Korean government warning the U.S. about a possible North Korean nuclear test. There are a few things I am not liking about this.

The first is: South Korea really needs to stop overreacting. Every single move that North Korea does, the South goes ballistic. A North Korean soldier throws a paper airplane, the South will call Obama directly on his cell phone. For God’s sake, calm down South Korea. You know too well that the North is only doing this to get under your skin and try to scare you. When you call the White House, it shows that your panties are in a bunch, clearly showing the North that their fear mongering tactics are effective. The sad thing is that the South has the military advantage over the North, technologically and strategically. Even if the North strikes, the U.S. will send heavy military aid. Nobody wants war but the South needs to be able to independently deal with their own problems for a change. It has been like this since the 1950’s.

Another thing I am not liking is the method that the Obama administration is using to deal with this problem. Over and over again, Obama continuously sends North Korea threats that it will be far more isolated than it already is. Recently, Obama is threatening them by saying that we will not send food to them. North Korea is a joke. All they have been doing for 50 years is threaten their Southern counterparts with missile testing. What I think is right is the three strikes you’re out method. At this point I think the U.S. should have moved up its troops stationed in South Korea near the North/South Border, also known as the 38th parallel. You fight fear with fear. If they launch missiles to scare us, we mobilize our troops and the troops of South Korea to scare them. This may seem aggressive but it is a good way to deal with villains that are all talk and no action.

The reason I look into these topics and am so concerned is because this can directly affect me in the future. I plan on joining the United States Marine Corps as an officer. The Marines have a reputation of  taking the brunt of many attacks and are extensively used for amphibious warfare. The Marines have also shown their valor in countless engagements both land based and amphibious in Korean War and history has a tendency of repeating itself. But it is not whether I will be taking part in dangerous assaults that worries me. It is the way the government and media will portray the conflict that worries me. Few people today know the justification of our current war on terror. Most of the public believes it is a waste of time and that our troops are being ordered to kill innocent civilians. The same happened with Vietnam and it should never happen again.  Before war, the people should know the full reasons for waging the war.


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