Blogs

Introductory Blog (25 points)

In class on the first day, I asked you to think about and write down your opinion on the intersection of politics and literature (literature broadly defined: literary texts, films, TV shows…cultural products in general). Paste here, as a response to this prompt, what you wrote in class. Resist the urge to alter what you wrote, and remember that there are no right answers here. But we’ll use these initial reactions to chart, by the end of the semester, what we’ve learned. We’ll gauge any changes in our sense of whether and how literature can be political.

Concluding Blog (100 points)

While the introductory blog can be loose, hypothetical, and speculative, the concluding one should be reflective and much more fleshed out, and it is due the Monday of Finals Week (May 11). Think about what we’ve discussed in this class, and use your knowledge of how literature and politics interact in order to provide support for your opinions. Do you, at the end of the semester, think what you did at the beginning? Do you believe literature can be or should be or always is political? Do you believe it’s just entertainment? Does it depend on the kind of literature? Seek out your Introductory Blog, and respond to it with your Concluding Blog. Remember to use quotes and examples where it will help, and cite your sources.

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91 thoughts on “Blogs”

  1. After looking back at what I said about the relationship between politics and literature was, my opinion stays as is. I still believe that political beliefs and values are “hidden in out entertainment.” I still believe that literature can be and will be almost always political for a few reasons. First off this is a english class which is full of literature that we have read throughout the semester, and throughout it all, politics has been brought up whether we know it or not. A definition you gave us about politics early in the semester was: the assumptions or principles relating to or underlying any activity, theory, or attitude, esp. when concerned with questions of power and status in a society.
    In Germinal, the power of ones status rank in society played a huge roll in whether you lived freely or worked in extreme conditions. In chapter 2 pages 14-16 depict a family of higher status. Other examples I can think of from literature we read this semester would be Waiting for Godot and Pride and Prejudice were there was concern for the power of ones status rank, or the status rank of one would tell the reader a lot about the character. For the most part I believe that Politics affect the way literature is written, and is not all just for entertainment. I feel like it’s in literature so political values and beliefs can get their point out there in a less harmless approach. It’s like putting a hat on over a bad haircut. You try to cover it up, but someone knows whats going on.
    One last point to touch on, I believe literature is political because the writers of these literatures usually write to whats going on around them in the real world. They use a realism writing style that you talked about early in the year (PP Jan 31).

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  2. Literature is a great part of politics, though one might not make to connection. People can say and think things such as art, books, movies, music, and even video games are just a form of entertainment, though there is a bigger purpose behind every piece of work. There is message in almost every piece of work you look at. The people behind the work wants the audience to really take a good look at the world and question everything. Things such as literature can make people change the way they see things and make you think about everyday life. Literature can greatly affect people’s thoughts on politics and their view of the world. Literature and other things is a powerful tool someone can use in order to change the way people think. It is a good way to show people that they have the power to make change if they want change and to take action. The ideas that people write or illustrate can influence people in a major way. Like in the graphic novel V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, the character V states that “Ideas are bullet proof,” which is you can never destroy an idea because it is the most powerful thing we have.

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  3. I stand by what I said in the beginning of this semester which was that politics does play a part in our everyday literature. And the fact that every book we looked at this semester, even though they were written in different times and different parts of the world; they all still had a very strong political background. Some books like Germinal and V for Vendetta were easier to see and some like Waiting for Godot and Pride and Prejudice were more subtle, but there was always a piece of politics in the book somewhere. While writing my research paper I even found strong political views in a children’s movie and many other forms of literature I never notice before until I started to look. Politics are a part of our daily lives no matter where you are. Even if you don’t notice it all around you every day it still holds such importance to us that it shows up in every piece of literature. It could have been purposely meant or it could have been on accident but no matter what it is a huge factor in literature. When artists “smuggle” their own view into their literature it could very well be to inform or even direct their audience into the same set of views as them. Literature can empower people to act, like in Germinal, or it can enlighten people that doing nothing will lead to nothing, like in Waiting for Godot. Either way politics does play a very big part in all form of literature around the world.

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  4. At the beginning of this course I already subscribed to the idea that literature and politics where inherently related, the literary works we have read this semester have bolstered that idea even further. Politics, the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power. I think the last part of the previous sentence illustrates very well the how literature can be political. Politics can be something simple as two chimpanzees jockeying for the best spot in the ant hill, as soon as there is a position of power, authority, or privilege present politics will ensue. A perfect example of this is when Estragon and Vladimir in waiting for Godot have the dialogue about what vegetable they want. “Funny,” Estragon comments as he munches, “the more you eat, the worse it gets.” Vladimir quickly disagrees, adding that, for him, it’s “just the opposite.”. this is a very subtle and subdued way of illustrating the political power each one has in relation to the other. Showing how a trivial interaction about vegetables can have more profound meaning. The fact that there are political ideas and situations present in literature does not always guarantee that the end user, being the reader, experience will be overtly political. The reader must be mid full and open to be able to identify such content. While political notions can be slight they can also be the driving force behind the narrative. In germinal, the whole plot of the book was centered around the power struggle between the workers and the management. In this case the political tones are defiantly in the forefront of the identity of the book, and its job is to get you to relate to the struggles of the characters in the book. If attempting to shift or change your perspective, or train of thought is not political than I don’t know what is. Often times that is what the author of literary works is trying to do, get you to see a problem or idea from a very specific viewpoint.

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  5. I believe all texts can be analyzed with a political focus regardless of the intentions of the author. Sometimes this relationship is very obvious and woven into the plot of the Novel such as Germinal, We, or V for Vendetta. Within these texts we see clear distinctions in how characters, scenes, and authority represent certain social classes or ideologies. For example in Germinal, the miners of Le Voreux represent an exploited lower class who have spent generations under the heel of the upper classes who continue to take advantage them. In We and V for Vendetta, the reader is dropped into a dystopian societies and authoritarian regimes where citizens have no rights and the government controls and monitors every aspect of daily life. However, throughout this semester we have also read texts where themes and relationships to politics are not so apparent. This has made a huge impact on how I read and interpret texts; just because the plot may not immediately seem political does not necessarily mean the text has nothing political to say. For example in the novel Pride & Prejudice, and the play Waiting for Godot, these texts seem completely trivial. They mimic real life situations but seem to only involve dialogue or boring scenes where very little happens. But when we take a critical view of of Waiting for Godot we see slave and master relationships between Pozzo and Lucky, a dynamic that possibly reflects man’s relationship to capitalism. In Pride & Prejudice, the weight of the plot may revolve around conversations in drawing rooms, but we also see strategic methods of speaking which allow the characters to weave into upper class society. Though many modern texts, movies and forms of media may not intentionally comment or offer political criticism, I have learned through this class, that all texts in all forms have the potential to carry political meaning or commentary.

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  6. Looking back on my first response to the question does politics have a relationship with literature, I feel as though my stance still stands that literature does hold true to a political context and structure. I feel as though political views are and have been woven in to literature context throughout generations and different time periods throughout history. The text Germinal is a great example of a novel producing political attributes of the conditions and way of life of the working minor during the French revolution. Even the example read in class of V for Vendetta depicts the revolutionary actions of code name V, in the fictitious life that was illustrated in London. Perhaps the most unique novel which illustrated politics in its simplicity of one on one relationships and stature was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. That novel above all carried much political aspects that is seen in everyday life. The idea of game theory is absolutely illustrated in this novel and is absolutely political and relevant across history and time. Waiting for Godot was by for the most difficult piece of literature to understand the politics of it. But after dissecting the literature it was clear of the political views and attributes Beckett was conveying. This course has broadened my perspective of the relationship between politics and literature. Thank you for the opportunity to better understand this particular relationship and to better acquaint myself with different types of literature.

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  7. I strongly believe now that literature can be used as a political tool, however I do not believe it is always political. I could see how one could see literature as always political, because every piece of literature is telling a story, and every story has some sort of motivation or message. However, because I think of political tools’ as a desire for change, I cannot confidently think every piece of literature is for greater change. Literature is an art, and should be engaging at the least if not entertaining. If there is nothing keeping the reader turning the next page, it is much closer to a manual than a piece of art. I think it is completely foolish for someone to think of any art form as just entertainment. Entertainment is much more a side effect than a goal of literature and art.
    In my introductory blog I stated, ” Literature did not exist until society; neither did politics. Both rose from the creation of society and are thus reactions to the order and growth of that society” (Block 2015). It seems that as long as there are people living together in a society and interacting with each other their will and should be literature and politics. I still think that literature is political, like in the beginning, but I am also much more aware of the ways that authors can make a piece political. Literary analysis in this course has opened me up to looking deeper into literature and reflect upon the way characters and the world of the novel are presented compared to our own. I think more creative literature, like Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett is uniquely more political than other styles because it makes you think. Absurdity and more abstract ideas in literature cause the reader to try and make sense of the world. I think making people question and compare, is a great way for literature to be political. It engages the reader, and makes them come up with their own ideas and solutions towards their own society. And if people think of things as individuals they are more likely to want to share their “unique” ideas with others, which can cause change.

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  8. I stand by my response from the beginning of the semester saying, liturature and politics go hand in hand. For the most part you can not have one without the other. Now, after reading the material required for this class, it is even more obvious to me that there is political propaganda sometimes buried within some of the text that is meant to inform the reader of different political aspects of history. there was a trend that was noticed in the readings that we were assigned such as V for Vendetta had political references to World War II. Although it was a fictional story, the authors brought in issues from our past that they were able to create a realistic suppressed society. I mentioned in the introductory blog, politics revolves around literature and I still think this is true because the novels that we read throughout the semester had points post political issues or ones that could be on its way if society continues that way that it is. Politics is all around us everywhere we go whether we see it or not or if we pick it up in reading for pleasure or for an assignment. Politics is very important to pay close attention to because if we don’t, history will repeat its self and if we want to continue to progress and make a better society for all of us to live in than it needs to be studied and must have our attention in order to make things better.

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  9. At the beginning of the year I thought that literature could be political, and now at the end of the year I have found that my original statement is correct in that literature is very political. I think that at first glance it might be easy to overlook literature as a political topic, however I think that analyzing different aspects of books in class made it easier to notice different political topics. One example of politics in literature that was brought up in class the play “Waiting for Godot”, and how nothing happening in the plot was actually highly political. The play brought up the idea that waiting for someone to save you and doing nothing ultimately will not help, while taking action in life is the only way to change anything. Literary analysis in class was also useful in determining subtle political messages brought up in books such as in Germinal. Little messages such as Father Ranvier being against the bourgeoisie, showed how the author wanted the audience to be on the side of the working class. These subtle political messages can be seen in books like Pride and Prejudice, where game theory is shown through the interaction between characters. Strategic conversations and thinking are apparent in certain characters like Mrs. Bennet who are trying to find husbands for her children in order to improve their lives financially. Charlotte Lucas is another example of strategic thinking in this novel as she marries Mr. Collins purely out of financial well- being, which shows inequality between genders during the time period of the novel. I feel that there are times were subtle political messages might be lost in literature, however I think that through careful literary analysis you can find political messages in almost all literature.

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  10. I still stand by what I wrote at the beginning of the semester. Authors cannot be truly separate from their works, and therefor their works will always have a political bias or message, whether people read it that way or not. In Waiting for Godot, for instance, we talked about the possibility that Samuel Beckett could not fathom how people could sit around and not act. So he wrote a play where that’s exactly what the characters do, and it is absurd and ridiculous. His own views leak through into his writing. He saw people who could wait around for others to act, and he thought that was absurd, and so that’s what he wrote. Or we could take Pride and Prejudice, which is often viewed as not a political novel but a romance. Jane Austen lived in a time that had very limited options for women. She saw the ways in which women were oppressed or given little choice, and she saw the ways in which monetary differences affected people. She wrote these sorts of messages into her novel. All books and art have political messages in them because all creators have lives and beliefs. The art cannot be fully separated from the creator. The question is not really whether political messages exist in books but whether people choose to read those messages.

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  11. In the beginning I thought literature could have an effect on politics and I still do believe that. I don’t think literature should always be political but it can have the potential to be what the author is influenced by when they write and what they want it to be. I think a lot of literature is intended to be entertainment but also political from time to time. I think it can depend on the type of literature that is written at the point in time and what kind of social issues are going on then, for example Germinal. In the book, Germinal, the coal miners never made enough money to do anything but feed themselves and their families. This reflects the poor treatment of the French coal miners in the 1860’s. This makes the book political as it tries to raise awareness of the harsh times. This would be an economical issue that I brought up in my introductory blog at the beginning of the semester. I believe that Émile Zola was trying to make a huge political point through her literature at the time. Literature will always be an influence on politics and vice versa.

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  12. If nothing else this class has made me more solid in my stance that literature can be political. In the beginning I always thought that a piece of writing can have political influence but what I have learned is the power of such writing.
    I understand now how writing can affect the ideals of a people to act for or against a political ideal. I see in the reading of the class a unyielding passion to try and make society better and I see that as the most political statement of all. Before I felt that literature had power but not as much as I realized. Zola I found to be extremely influential to the cause of the miners and workers of the lower class. I saw how he shaped the movement through his words; through a story. I saw how We challenged an entire regime to the point where they felt the need to silence him. It is empowering to see how literature can reveal so much to so many through a simple, or not so simple, tale.
    Through a story we are able to see a point of view so clearly. I see stories as a way of connecting lives together. To see the world through a person’s eyes and see it the way they do and use that new point of view to improve our society. I remember, Mr. Baker, you saying that a writer was tried for writing a story about a women committing adultery and it was found obscene because it was written in first person. I believe the people who wanted to convict knew very well what the power of literature was. By writing it in first person we are forced to connect to the character and understand her actions. A story can “take the blinders” from ones eyes and help them see the world in different ways that were thought forgotten or lost. Literature can challenge and shape ideas of the world in a way that I believe is not rivaled by any other force in the world.
    But this force is not without its flaws and evils. Stories and narratives are so powerful they can be used to manipulate too. But I think that is the power of literature. Anyone can connect to it in a million different ways with a million different ideas.
    I see that literature is a tool that can be used for a lot of things, good and evil, and that realization is both scary and exciting.

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  13. What I wrote in my introductory blog still stands true and relevant to what I believe now. Literature is very powerful. As exampled by Emile Zola, writing the right, or wrong, piece can mean exile and even death. There can only be one reasonable explanation for that. Literature has weight. When swung from one perspective to another, it carries as much momentum as the author allows it to and when it crashes, it forms a crater that encompasses all that its meant to. The results of meaningful literature, especially in the realm of social and political change, can spur revolutions. Pieces like the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and supreme examples of this. Other ways that literature can move society can be much more indirect. Works that portray dystopian worlds where authoritarian regimes rule and the individual is only a unit of the whole depict to us what could very well be our future if we aren’t careful. Furthermore literature can highlight inequalities and share the experience of people who suffered just to make it through life.
    I don’t think literature can be anything but political. If a story is being told, whether the writer likes it or not, it will hold the capacity to convey a message. Even senseless streams of thought can hold meaning. Such is the case in Waiting for Godot! All in all, literature is powerful, and everyone wields the power to create literature, so long as we heed the messages conveyed to us by those who have already harnessed it.

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  14. My opinion still stands, and may have even grown stronger. Politics play a huge role in literature. Every book that we have read this semester shows a huge political agenda. Some literature may not have anything to do with the prominent political issues of today, but it certainly shows issues that arose during the periods the authors were alive. Some literature like “Germinal” and “V for Vendetta” show solid references to the wars that were occurring during their times. “Germinal” is set in the era right after the French Revolution, and “V for Vendetta” continuously references WWII when Hitler was in power. The title “Germinal” is a bold statement in itself referring to the Revolutionary calendar.
    Other literature such as “We”, are a bit more far fetched as to a realistic world, but regardless it still has a very strong message of a unified government that nobody should revolt against. D-503 writes in his records, “Today I read in the State Gazette that two days from now there will be a Justice Gala in Cube Square. So that means that once again some number has interfered with the progress of the great State Machine, again something unforeseen, unaccounted for in advance, has gone ahead and happened,” (Zamyatin, 25). This quote demonstrates an outrageous level of politics; that the government needs to control every movement and thought that passes throughout a person’s body.
    Other novels, such as “Pride and Prejudice” don’t specifically reference governments and politics themselves, but more the social norms and controversial issues that are prominent during the time the novel was written. Each family acts very politically toward each other. One example is when Lady Catherine bursts into Elizabeth’s home and demands her not to marry Darcy because of her social class. The marriage between Darcy and Lady Catherine’s daughter has been set in stone for ages and can’t be disrupted because her family is too powerful and rich. In this novel even whom you love can turn into a political issue.
    The basis of literature is for our entertainment, but people’s personal agendas, problems, and relationships are all things that entertain us. All those things also have very strong political backgrounds. People like to hear about what is going on in their time, and what happened in the past, in other forms of text than just history books and the news. Literature gives us that outlet to tweak with and disagree with political issues in our world.

    Zamyatin, Yevgeny Ivanovich, and Clarence Brown. We. New York, NY, U.S.A.:Penguin, 1993. Print.

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  15. Concluding blog.
    This class has reinforced my opinion I stated in my introductory blog that literature, TV, and movies can be political. I have begun to analyse everything I read or watch for a political statement. I recently realized there is a political statement in the last several books of the Harry Potter series. I noticed that Voldemort’s desire to treat muggles at beneath magical people could be looked at as very similar to Hitler making the Germans think the Jewish people were beneath them. I hope I can stop myself from pointing these political statements out when I spot them because it may make people I am watching movies or TV shows with very annoyed by me. If that happens I am blaming this class for forcing me to analyse books in a political view. Although I am telling the truth about the analyzing everything part, I do not mind that I am doing that and the part where I would blame this class is a joke. I like this class (except the Pride and Prejudice part) and what we learned in this class.

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  16. I don’t know if I would say that I disagree with my original post. I would definitely say that I think differently now than I do now about the correlation between politics in literature. I would definitely say that almost every book written has some sort of political message or theme in it no matter how subtle that may be. I’m sure even Dr. Seuss had some sort of political message he was trying to get out. There were many elements in the books we read in class that were political and some of these themes actually were in multiple books. The social status element was in just about all of the books. In Waiting for Godot Pozzo and Lucky represented this with a master slave relationship. In We, there was everyone and there was the benefactor. In Pride and Prejudice there was Mr. Darcy who was higher on the social ladder than the Bennet family. In Germinal it is the workers against the owners of the mine. In V for Vendetta there are the government employees and the citizens. All of these represent the social hierarchy that exists in every society. There was also the principle of national unity in We and V for Vendetta which is one of the most noticeable political theme in these books. After reading these books, and analyzing every sentence with this mindset, I don’t think that I can read another book the same again.

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  17. I stand by what I originally said that literature can play a huge role in politics. It not only influences but it can be a driving force behind real change. For example in, “V for Vendetta”, you can clearly see that this graphic novel has had a profound effect on people. The mask of Guy Fawkes popularized by this work is the symbol of the hacker group anonymous and has become one for fighting injustice and oppression. This is one symbol of many that has had a clear and lasting effect on the type of political change that has changed not only people but nations. Literature can be the spark that is needed; it can open the eyes of people to look at what problems a society might have. Literature is not just a tool of entertainment; I continue to believe that it can be used for any purpose. That purpose may be just comedy or satire but it can also be used for both good and bad.

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  18. My belief that political ideas are present in literature holds even more after this class. Whether or not it is meant to be, I believe that literature can always be perceived as a political message. The spectrum of entertainment and literature are equally as broad; therefore, they often intertwine. The type of literature only modifies the method of interpretation, not so much the message or ideas. As I said in the intro blog, the relationship between literature and politics remains an art because it can be expressed and interpreted based on the audience.

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  19. At the beginning of the semester I wrote about how politics influence media, which then in turn encourages more awareness and influences activism. I stand by this opinion, however literature doesn’t encourage activism to the extent that it should. Many people (myself included) love politically-charged novels and movies about revolution, and are much more passive when “the real thing” happens. Raising awareness about issues isn’t enough. If we see something going on in our world that we don’t think is right, we must fulfill V’s will and take control of what is going on in our society, rather than idly handing our power away. Literature has all the potential in the world to serve as inspiration or even instructions when it comes to getting involved politically and taking a stand, the issue is that people usually don’t choose to take advantage of this particular medium to the extent that we should. Instead, we are content quoting Evey Hammond’s spiel about letting our power get taken from us as we continually hand it over. And ironically enough, as I go on this rant I am perpetuating this cycle of passiveness.

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  20. In my introductory blog, I stated that I believe there is a relationship between activism and literature. Based on what we have discussed in class, I can say with certainty that politics definitely influence literature. Take Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice for example; the entire novel is structured around the premise of women’s lack of rights and social rank promoting inequality. Germinal was a realistic representative of the conditions of French miners living conditions in the 1800’s. These two novels are examples of literature that was influenced by political issues of their times. In contrast, I’d like to state how one novel we read actually influenced politics in a very obvious way: V for Vendetta’s Guy Fawkes mask has become the face of the “hacktivist” group Anonymous. Not to mention the influence the Bible has had on politics over the centuries; not that the Bible was a piece of literature that we read, but biblical or Christian references had been made in many of the texts, such as Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Collins), Germinal (two priests and references to God being dead), Waiting for Godot, and V for Vendetta. I maintain my original statement that I believe literature can influence and be influenced by politics. I do not, however, believe that this is always the case. I’ve read books recently by Stephen King or Tolkien for example that seemed to have nothing to do with politics and are simply for entertainment purposes. However, there are politics within the fiction of the texts, so perhaps I cannot truly say that they are not political. I imagine, on some level, every book contains political elements, as every author, whether conscious of it or not, has been influenced by politics. I do believe that it would be interesting if someone could provide me with a piece of literature in which I could not, after taking this class, find political substance in.

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  21. At the beginning of the semester I had stated that there was a relationship between literature and politics. Now at the end of the semester there is no doubt in my mind that literature and politics do have a relationship. I do not think that literature is always just for entertainment. I also believe that it does not matter what type of literature it is, I believe that there is some relationship between politics hidden somewhere. For example, this semester we read various books like; Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Zamyatin’s We, Zola’s Germinal, the graphic novel V for Vendetta, and the book that personally impacted me the most Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot impacted me the most because it was a play about two men doing nothing. This impacted me because once you start analyzing the play, it has many hidden themes one of them which was a political theme. For instance, Godot sent a young boy to give a message to Vladimir and Estragon whom were waiting for Godot. This meant that there was some type of hierarchy because he had money. Also there was some sort of institution because Godot had to consult with friends, books and bank accounts. Estragon and Vladimir were waiting for a higher power to save them. After reading this play and analyzing how we did in class this semester there is no doubt in my mind that our everyday literature interacts with politics.

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  22. I have always thought that literature and the arts had a role in politics. But I never really fathomed that it could be seen in a book such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice but after reading it I can see the gender inequalities. I feel as though most of these novels that we read in class deal with power struggles and inequalities. In Germinal the terribly underfed workers had no idea about who they should even rebel against which shows just how far away they are from high class society or an even scarier notion that the rich cannot be touched. I stand by my first blog in that literature has a big part on politics and society but not everything has to be political.

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  23. In conclusion of this class we are asked weather or not politics and activism play a role in what is created in a literary sense. In short I do feel authors such as Zola, Austen, Perkins, Moore, Woolf bring to the tables their agendas. As such we all have agendas. For example, I as a Social Work major am choosing the sub field of Child Welfare. When asked why by my family and colleagues I have chosen this career field I reply that I experienced a little hardship coming from a broken home, and have seen the cruelty towards children in Third World country’s. This essentially suggests I have an agenda. When asked why I am a feminist I reply, “that I was raised by a very loving mother and grandmother for a time because of the absence of my biological father; my mother worked multiple jobs and in spite of her being exhausted she always had enough time to devote to loving and nurturing my sister and I.” She worked in a sexist environment, held a broken home together and is still tough as nails. Thus I believe women, if they so choose, should be able to have it all, and have it all with equality. We all have agendas. Zola’s agenda may have been to slap the faces of the French aristocracy, and the governments that chose to bend in their favor. Gillman, Woolf, Butler, Steinam all write to suit their agendas of equality with respect to their feminist beliefs in a world where equality is still not shown to women, especially in the facet of earnings. I can go further still and suggest Michael Cameron, writer and director of Avatar, wrote and directed this film as a shout out to his environmental stance. You could even suggest Dr. Seuss wrote his silly children’s books such as “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” as a response to parents to allow their children to be creative and to be silly. Conveniently Clint Eastwood produced “Sniper” as a possible way to ramp up pro-American sentiment. Ask yourself this question, “Why do we look at veterans of these current occupations as heroes considering they have “chosen” to go to war, and are choosing to kill for their beliefs if necessary, yet Vietnam Veterans, in most cases, were “forced” to go to war and consequently many were spit on when returning home to a hostile environment in the midst of several reform movements. Movies such as “Sniper,” “Black Hawk Down, “Zero-Dark-Thirty,” and even “Captain Phillips,” all leave the American audience with a feeling of euphoric patriotism. All these leave you with the feeling that America is doing the right thing, and that we should all support it without question. Are books, such as the ones we read this semester politically driven ? Are the movies I have mentioned politically driven? You’re damn right they are. They are driven by the authors belief and desire to persuade you to take a side, and if they have encouraged you to take stock in what they have created then they have accomplished what they set out to do, they have fulfilled their own agendas.
    Paul P. McConnell

    p.s.
    I hope I have not offended any veterans. I am a veteran myself. I merely ask you to think about what it is you truly believe in, and then to advocate for it passionately.

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  24. In the beginning of the semester, I believed that politics had an impact on literature. They share a relationship that is constantly affecting each other. However, I never stated how much of an impact it had. Taking this class and reading the material we were assigned, I now know that politics has a tremendous impact on literature. Most of written literature was influenced and is based on actual world history events and describes the time era in them. We can see the influence WWII had in the novel V for Vendetta and the gender inequalities in Pride and Prejudice. I strongly believe that literature is a very powerful tool and it reminds us of the history and how the readers can avoid making the same mistakes or how to improve on something. Literature should not always be directed towards political, but I believe in order to make people react and reflect it needs to be directed.

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  25. At the beginning of this class, I believed that there literary works that had political context within them, and tried to make a statement on an issue in society. Now I believe that politics influence almost all literary works, and in fact most art in general. Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice is a great example of this. The reader would not expect that this book with a romantic comedy feel would be a political statement on gender roles and equality in the time that it was written. The environment that a person is brought up in influences their works. The problems that they face, or hold close to them can be seen in what they create. Literature is a tool that has had great impact in human thought and ideas throughout history, and will continue to do so in the future.

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  26. At the beginning of the semester I stated that politics were embedded in literature. I still believe this, however, I am now able to see how politics effect everything, not just literature. Politics are everywhere; from the clothes we wear to the music we listen to. I have always had a hard time seeing politics in anything, this class has broadened my perception. I guarantee I still won’t be able to pick up a novel and see every political connotation, or realize every time the author is alluding to something more within a passage. However, now when I am reading a book, and I come across something that doesn’t seem quite right, I will take a moment and try to understand what it is that the author is trying to voice. Political literature definitely has a deeper meaning, and a work lacking political allusions might seem a bit empty to me now. But I don’t know that every work should be political. Maybe some forms of entertainment should be just that. It is up to the author or writer really. If one has something they want to say, they will use an avenue to say it. All literature is political to some degree, the authors bias could be the reason for this, or it might even be unintentional. One cannot escape politics, it is everywhere. Even in our interactions with each other, hence game theory. After this class I do believe it to be a good idea to maneuver this world with your political eyes and ears on. I feel this is the best way to protect yourself and what is important to you.

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  27. I think literature can be view as a strong subject which is connected with ideas of permanent and universal interest and the other hand its develop with essential features such as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. For example, before taking this class I never though the politics and literature was connected; likewise now I can agree the literature and politics shares something in common in their structure. Based on the novels that we have read in class we have analyzed themes that has to deal with politics and social criticism. One of the books the reveals this idea of politics is Germinal by Zola, these book reveals the importance of justice and labor. Zola states, “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest” (Zola 69). As we known in the noble of Germinal Zola is trying to convince the audience the workers should be treated equally; and the society should try to make a great change about labor and worker’s right. And the way he argues about labor, corruption and revolution in the noble makes the structure of the book as political and social criticism. Furthermore, Samuel Beckett nobles and play can be an example of politics in literature. One of his book the analyses themes about politics are the play Waiting for Godot. And this noble we see the theme of religion and capitalist. For example, political interpretations also abound, with many comparing the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky to that of a capitalist to his laborer. A Marxist reading of the second act commonly presents Pozzo as “blind to what is happening around him” and Lucky as “mute to protest his treatment”. Beckett states, “I can’t go on like this; we’ll hang ourselves tomorrow (pause) Unless Godot comes” (Beckett, 84). In this quote we can interpret as an idea of religion because Godot may represent God in the whole play which makes the characters to not do anything to help themselves on the situation they are living. And the other hand, Jane Austen can be also be represent a great figure of literature, because in her novel of Pride and Prejudice there is connections about politics and social problems. Austen states, “my reasons for marrying are, first that I think it a right thing for every clergymen in easy circumstances (like myself) to set the example of matrimony in his parish….” (Austen, 81). This modifies the idea of marriage and also represents the idea of courage on some of the characters. An example of this would be when Elizabeth reject Mr. Collins proposal and also we see the Lizzy has different perspective view of marriage than the other characters. Therefore, since I took this class I have learned so many things about literature and how politics influence so much on the structure of literature; and the other hand I enjoy so much reading these novels because it change my perspective of reading. I am more interesting reading books about literature the reveals politics structure such as V for Vendetta, Germinal and We; I am glad I took these class.

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  28. Before taking this class I assumed an author could easily purposely make something in literature be political. However, after taking this class I’ve come to realize that sometimes political beliefs can find their ways into literature without the author intending it to. For example, I wrote my paper on “The Martian Chronicles” which beforehand I did not believe was political in any way. After taking this class I feel I have more of an appreciation of how politics can affect literature.

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Associate Professor of Literature :: Yale-NUS College

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