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Gaunt's curse upon Richard is of the most powerful kind because it strikes at the root of Richard's monarchical power by striking at the sole origin of that power, namely the "fair" succession of Richard from. Edward Hi's first-born son, Edward the "Black" Prince. Gaunt's speech reveals the extent to which the monarchical and familial are intertwined in the making of kings, hi Richard II the emphasis on kin and kinship rights is everywhere, saturating the text like the blood that threatens to turn the green fields of England red if these bonds and hierarchies are transgressed.
Phrases such as "my noble kinsman" and words such as kindred, kin, brother, father, uncle, son, cousin, wife take on the status of Homeric epithets, an integral aspect of identity. People are constantly addressed in terms of their kinship relationship to the speaker: "How fares our noble uncle Lancaster" 2.
The play feeds on the relationships between kin, combining and multiplying the permutations and correspondences between various family members. The degeneration of family and of the royal succession is dramatized in scenes that depict the perversion of natural bonds between members of the same family. The perversion and inversion of kinship relations in this play is clear from the very first. The irony of this last statement is that Bolingbroke, though only Richard's "father's brother's son," will indeed be his "kingdom's heir.
Kinship ties are a kind of inviolable armour. Mowbray cannot insult Bolingbroke in front of Richard without first "setting aside" his kinship "to my Liege," thrusting aside that talismanic blood that protects Richard's cousin. Henry's subsequent "disclaiming" of his kinship to the King seems a form of gallantry as well as a mark of independence and bravery. However, it can be seen in retrospect as an important moment in which Henry's blood relation to the monarch will be sacrificed to allow him to act in his own interests.
As we shall see, the web of both "kinship loyalties and subject loyalties, blood loyalty and political loyalty, creates situations in which men such as Gaunt and York are rendered impotent to act as. Richard's disclaiming of Henry, while it is meant to show kingly impartiality to all subjects, equal in the eyes of justice, shows rather how Richard is willing to sacrifice this blood relationship, a metaphoric denial that may have led him to spill his uncle's blood.
What emerges from this exchange, in which people strip themselves and each other of their "natural" relationships, is a world turned upside-down. Natural bonds are sacrificed and sacrificiable. The reference to the Biblical Abel, murdered by his brother Cain, becomes a powerful emblem of the strife brought on by those who have trespassed the sacred links between kin.
The play stages the degeneration of natural kinship bonds in an atmosphere of tyranny and political conspiracy. The discord of the state may be read against a background of conflicting kinship loyalties. The Duke of York, for instance, ponders his contradictory allegiances to his kinsmen, of whom one is the King:. Th' one is my Sovereign, whom both my oath. And duty bids defend: the other again. Is my kinsman, whom the King has wrong'd. Whom conscience, and my kindred bids to right 2. York's conundrum emerges out of his competing allegiances to his battling kin.
His initial statement that "Both are my kinsmen" already argues for a conflict in York. This division between two kinsmen is compounded by the additional allegiance York owes his King: "Th' one is my Sovereign. Yet, his duty to his cousin is also compounded by his duty as a subject who must speak up against a tyrannical sovereign.
York distinguishes his allegiances in specific terms: his feudal "oath" and "duty" compel him to defend his King; his "conscience" and his "kindred" the other members of his family weigh on the side of his nephew. York's position serves as a pathetic reminder of the insolubility of the problem of allegiance in this case. He is caught between two poles and in the centre of a problem he "cannot mend. Indeed, it is in highlighting the disruption of the natural order of kinship relations that the play shows the first signs of the disruption of "fair" succession.
Richard points out to Bolingbroke the way in which kindred relations would be strangely confused if Bolingbroke inherited the. The road to Richard's deposition is paved with the language and imagery of disorder and unnatural violence. Ross describes Bolingbroke, after Richard seizes his inheritance, as "Bereft and gelded of his patrimony" 2.
Most degenerate King! The degeneracy of the King is measured by Richard's treatment of his own "kin. York sees in this act of Richard's a very serious disruption in the social and political order, an order that is as natural in its sequence and succession as the steady march of "Time" itself:. Seek you to seize and gripe into your hands.
The royalties and rights of banished Hereford?
Is not Gaunt dead? And doth not Hereford live? Was not Gaunt just? And is not Harry true?
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Did not the one deserve to have an heir? Is not his heir a well-deserving son? Take Hereford's rights away, and take from Time. His charters and his customary rights;. Let not tomorrow then ensue today,. Be not thyself; for how art thou a king. But by. York confronts Richard with a series of examples of fair succession: inheritance, time, and finally, the succession of kings from their fathers. All are connected and equivalent. The "gelding" of Bolingbroke is seen as the same as not letting "tomorrow then ensue today.
Richard's "castration" of his cousin is echoed by the self-mutilation of York, who, in effect "gelds" himself in choosing to remain "neuter" in the midst of civil strife:. Well, well, I see the issue of these arms, I cannot mend it, I must needs confess, Because my power is weak, and all ill left: But if I could, by him that gave me life, I would attach you all, and make you stoop Unto the sovereign mercy of the King.
But since I cannot, be it known to you, I do remain as neuter. York admits that his "power is weak. Yet, he admits that he is impotent to make a difference, to change the "issue" of circumstances. York contrasts his own lack of power to "attach you all" to the virility of his father, "him that gave me life. York's impotence mirrors his brother Gaunt's passivity. Ah Gaunt! His blood was thine, that bed, that womb,.
That metal, that self-mould that fashion'd thee,. Made him a man: and though thou liv'st, and breath'st,. Yet art thou slain in him: thou dost consent. In some large measure to thy Father's death,. In that thou seest thy wretched brother die. The Duchess reverses the proverbial notion that the "sins of the fathers' will be visited upon their sons" by implying that the sins of the sons, specifically Gaunt's refusal to take vengeance on behalf of his brother's blood, will be visited upon his father as a retroactive parricide. By accusing Gaunt of a kind of passive fratricide, the Duchess accuses him also, in reversion, of parricide.
The Duchess raises the spectre of Edward III, the "father" and the "grandsire," the "root of a tree" and the source of the family blood:. Edward's seven sons whereof thyself art one. Were as seven vials of his sacred blood,. Or seven branches springing from one root:. One vial full of Edward's sacred blood,. One flourishing branch of his most royal root. Is crack'd, and all the precious liquor spilt. Is hack'd down, and his summer leaves all vaded.
By Envy's hand, and Murder's bloody axe 1. The image of the vial is seconded by the image of the branches, a form of substitution or synonymia, which in turn presents the reader with a fertile field of poetic possibilities such as that of both a glass "vial" and a "royal root" "crack'd" and its "precious liquor spilt. If we see the tree, rooted in Edward HI, as a genealogical one, than the "precious hquor spilt" could refer equally to blood as well as another "liquor," that of the inseminating fluid that travels through each branch and gives birth to the next. The Duchess's language foreshadows the "gelding" of Henry and the "neutering" of York.
Murder's "bloody axe" effectively cuts off the procreative power of the other sons, rendering their own lines weak, ineffectual and powerless. Exile, another kind of "cutting off," may as well be seen as another image of castration. Mowbray's complaint that the king, in exiling him, robs him of "his tongue's use" has overtones of his being turned into a kind of a eunuch:.
And now my tongue's use is to me no more. Than an unstringed viol or a harp,. Or like a cunning instrument cased up-. Or, being open, put into his hands. That knows no touch to tune the harmony I. Mowbray's description of his "tongue" bears comparison with early modem metaphors of genitals as an "instrument.
The whole description of Mowbray's exiled tongue is pervaded with sexual overtones, and thus with overtones of sterility, since in being banished for life, his "instrument" is "unstringed" and "cased up.
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Richard Us representation of the overturning of kinship bonds through the imagery of castration, fratricide and parricide is reinforced by the shadow of the king's own sexual "divorce" from the Queen. Shakespeare's decision to make Richard II's Queen, Isabella, a mature woman reflects the poet's desire to represent Richard's lack of an heir as symbolic of a larger disruption of the natural order of things represented in the conjunction between man and woman. Henry calls Bushy and Green the "caterpillars" of the state using an image frequent in the early modem period to describe corruption.
His accusations against them hints at their homosexual attachment to Richard, implying that these relations were part of the root cause for Richard's own failure to produce an heir:. You have misled a prince, a royal king,. A happy gentleman in blood and lineaments,. By you unhappied and disfigured clean. You have in manner with your sinful hours. Made divorce betwixt his queen and him,. Broke the possession of a royal bed. And stained the beauty of a fair queen's cheeks.
With tears drawn from her eyes by your foul wrongs. Henry's accusations bring the sexual into the realm of the political, finding the unnatural relations of the courtiers as a form of high treason against the state. Henry accuses Bushy and Green of "disfiguring" or "deforming" a prince, a king and a gentleman. The breaking of the possession of the royal bed may be seen as repeating the idea of the vials of blood broken by murder, another form of cutting through the branches that hold family and thus, monarchy together.
Henry, "gelded of his patrimony," describes his forests as being "felled. Shakespeare ends this play about unnatural succession with a scene of monstrous procreation. This scene in which Richard gives birth to "a generation of still-breeding thoughts" 5. So Green, thou art the midwife to my woe, And Bolingbroke my sorrow's dismal heir Now hath my soul brought forth her prodigy 2. Through this image of monstrous begetting, Shakespeare implies that it is the Queen's imagination that produces a prodigy named Bolingbroke.
Montaigne describes the dangerous power of the imagination and the way in which it is capable of altering and reshaping bodies and events. Montaigne begins his essay, "De la force de l'imagination" by quoting an anonymous Latin author: Fortis imaginatio. For Bushy, the Queen's fears are "nothing but conceit;" for the Queen, they are "nothing less. Richard is a man strongly affected by his imagination. His greatest weakness, his tragic flaw or his hubris, is his own leaping imagination.
He anticipates his downfall by imagining it even before it is the order of the day. His imaginative and vivid metaphors substitute for action in the play; Instead of conflict between himself and Bolingbroke, there is only Richard talking and quarrelling with himself. This internal conflict in the king may be seen as a symptom of the discord in England, a discord that is represented by a self-division, which, at its deepest level, affects even language itself, when character after character sets "the word itself against the word" 5.
The takedown of the drug ring gave way to a peaceful spell, but last year the tide started to turn again. In a community like the Adams Houses, densely packed and secluded, the crews exert insidious influence. Hundreds of pages of court transcripts detail how petty drug feuds, undetected in their early stages by the police, spawned fear that touched everyday citizens — as well as the long-term investment required of the authorities to snare a two-time killer who kept moving drugs, even from a Rikers Island jail cell.
The first time Mr. Smalls tried to shoot Mr. White, on July 18, , he wounded a bystander in the Adams Houses, who identified Mr. Smalls as the gunman to a state grand jury. Soon, prosecutors said, Mr. Smalls paid or tried to pay the victim to forget; the man, confronted with his grand jury statements at a recent trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, said he could not identify the shooter. The second time Mr. White, on July 25, he missed again, but a year-old girl was in the lobby and witnessed part of the setup. When she was called to testify, Mr.
White into a project stairwell and kill him. During Mr. White and her mother attended Mr. Before Mr. Smalls was sentenced in August to 55 years in prison, a prosecutor, Joshua Naftalis, read a letter from Gola White. The blacktop playground in the Adams Houses looked different when Ms. White was a little girl. The police said they had been paying attention to a robbery crew there called Jack Boyz, and had arrested young men on theft and gun charges nearby in the days before Ms. But residents said they rarely saw officers patrolling for very long on foot. Officers make their rounds and check the roofs around 7 or 8 p.
After Ms. White was killed, almost no one played there; tenants said ghosts had moved in. Most days, around the time school lets out and young men start flashing wads of cash and getting antsy, patrol officers pull a car onto the walkway and stand outside the playground.
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Young men have complained about police harassment, but many tenants are thankful for the heavier presence. As a patrol officer in the 40th Precinct in the mids, Detective Caruso had played stickball with boys in the neighborhood, among them the dealer who was rolling blunts in the park that night. That camaraderie opened doors when he got the White case.
The dealer even invited Detective Caruso inside to speak with him and his mother. But he denied being the target. Another clue kept tugging at Detective Caruso. Surveillance footage at East nd Street, one of the seven towers in the complex, had caught the gunman stepping onto the elevator from the 12th floor before he rode down, paced in the lobby, put a bandanna over his face and, after a minute of peering out the back door, strode toward the playground.
But that lead took a puzzling turn when Detective Caruso, on a visit to the apartment of the drug dealer who the police were told was the target, discovered the young man who the caller said was the gunman hanging out there, too. But tips were sparse and hard to corroborate. Soon Detective Caruso was forced to divide his attention with other cases. Police officials said the department advises that cases is manageable for the entire year. Two residents of the Adams Houses said in interviews that they recognized the gunman from a surveillance image posted by the Police Department — the same man who was identified by the anonymous caller.
They said he was in a gang and sold drugs around the playground. But they said that day-to-day life in the project came with enough threats, including sexual assaults in the stairwells, and that they feared cooperating with the police could get them killed. One of them also said that when he once reported being threatened elsewhere in the city, officers said they did not believe him. They were unaware there was any reward at all for tips. Other residents, and some retired detectives, were skeptical that raising it would make a difference.
Some retired police officials said the White case looked especially neglected next to the investigation into the murder of Karina Vetrano later in the summer. The daughter of a retired city firefighter and neighbor of a police commander, Ms. Vetrano was raped and beaten during a jog through a park in Howard Beach, Queens. Her case was in the headlines almost every day for weeks, whereas Ms. Nerney, a retired year veteran of the Police Department and a former detective on the Major Case Squad.
And that irks me. Since the beginning of , there have been at least felony crimes in and around the Adams Houses, according to a city crime map. By comparison, the killing of Ms. Vetrano in Queens was one of three felony crimes recorded within 10 square blocks over the same period.
The Police Department pulled detectives from around the city to comb Ms. The playground at the Adams Houses had just the usual two-person crime scene team assisting the detectives. In an interview, the city councilman for that part of the Bronx, Rafael Salamanca Jr. He was distressed to hear about the experience of Ms.
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But your presence walking through here would make a big difference. The second grave was going to be hers. She put a down payment on a tombstone, and gave her children instructions for adding an icon of an open Bible next to her name when she died. White said. She often lies in bed awake past 3 a. She is cajoling city workers to help her move into other subsidized housing, among them the same official who had tried to get her a new apartment after her son was killed.
One apartment the official offered her then was too small; another was in a neighborhood where she said she had tense relationships. She cries when she wonders if she could have done more to protect her daughter. Her grandchildren no longer like being outside. A grandson, Tyshon, 5, heard a bang from workers taking down scaffolding after school and asked to go home. Another time, he dove under a play set when someone started lighting firecrackers. Her father showed her the Facebook page of a man he had heard committed the killing and asked if she recognized his face from the playground.
One afternoon in July, Mr. Jessiah had wanted a ponytail until she looked up at her sister.
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