If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
And leave the yellow bark dust
On your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
You could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to you hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler’s wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
—your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers…

When we swam once
I touched you in the water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
you climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter’s wife, the lime burner’s daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume

and knew

what good is it
to be the lime burner’s daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in the act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
Peeler’s wife. Smell me.

After having loved we lie close together
and at the same time with distance between us
like two sailing ships that enjoy so intensely
their own lines in the dank water they divide
that their hulls
are almost splitting from sheer delight
while racing out in the blue
under sails which the night wind fills
with flowerscented air and moonlight
— without one of them ever tryingto outsail the other
and without the distance between them
lessening or growing at all.

But there are other nights, where we drift
like two brightly illuminated luxury liners
lying side by side
with the engines shut off under a strange constellation
and without a single passenger on board.
On each deck a violin orchestra is playing
in honor of the luminous waves.
And the sea is full of old tired ships
which we have sunk in our attempt to reach each other.

TOPIC #5 

How could something as simple as a conch shell ever be used to symbolize something as complex as government? Throughout William Golding’s renowned Lord of the Flies, objects are used to represent the novels’ reoccurring theme of power. The two most prominent symbols are the conch shell and the sow’s head. They are used to illustrate the driving forces of power, how they contrast, and how they correlate with one another. There are two major forces of power in society: government and fear. 

 The conch shell is one of the first symbols to present itself in the novel. It is used to represent government and democracy. When the boys first arrive on the desolate island, the conch is used to call meetings where they collectively form rules and make decisions. Initially, the “toy of voting [is] almost as pleasing as the conch” (Golding 22). This affirms that the boys are eager to work together. In this stage of the novel the power is vested and exercised by the boys. The conch also represents equality of rights and privileges. When someone is holding the conch “he won’t be interrupted” (Golding 33). Once this is established, Jack cries excitedly that “[they will] have rules! Lots of rules!” (Golding 33). It is in this way that the conch maintains civility amongst the boys in the beginning. However, things grow grim as the story progresses and as the conch is voided of it’s validity. In turn, the boys succumb to the fear of The Beastie. 

The other symbol, by which the novel takes it’s name, presents itself in the form of a sow’s decapitated head on a stick. This symbol, The Lord of the Flies, is the physical manifestation of the fear and inherent evil within the boys, who represent humanity as a whole. The fear the boys experience, though irrational, is enough to compel them to create boundaries on the island that restrict whole regions. In the most famous scene, The Lord of the Flies reveals to Simon the foolishness of “thinking the Beast [is] something you [can] hunt and kill” (Golding 143). Taunting him further, the Beast asks Simon rhetorically if “[Simon] knew… [That the Beast is part of Simon,] [the Beast is] the reason why things are what they are” (Golding 143). This surreal experience is a revelation to Simon, the Christ figure of the novel, that the reason why Jack and his tribe have resorted to savagery is a result of human nature. The sow’s head exemplifies the power of evil, and how it impairs mankind. 

 The conch and the pig’s head are two brilliantly written symbols used to make up the immovable foundation of Lord of the Flies. Though the ideas they represent are polar in similarity, it is how they come together that is significant. The novel provides insight into how government is necessary for a society to function, and the fragility of the balance. 

 

 

PS. Sorry this is so late. Will be willing to do supplementary essays to compensate (also because I need more practice). 

“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.
I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography — to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.”

-Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

I believe that in chapter 8 (a wicked awesome chapter, might I add), Simon is experiencing spiritual insight in the midst of a mental breakdown. I think it’s pretty clear that Simon, along with all the rest of the boys on the island, have experienced some serious trauma. This alone would be enough to drive anyone to their breaking point, which is precisely what occurs with Simon. To make matters worse, he is faced with the decapitated head of a pig on a stick. This incident causes him to have a delusion, but an insightful delusion. It is insinuated numerous times throughout the novel that Simon plays the holy figure of the novel, and chapter 8 confirms this when it is revealed to him through the Lord of the Flies that the Beast is none other than the boys themselves. This revelation is too articulate to be merely the result of a breakdown, but it’s level of absurdity does increase the credibility of one. So there you go. That is my answer. Just as ambiguous as the previous post.

Is there a heart of darkness in all of us? This is a tough question.To be honest I really can’t say. Sure, I could take the easy way out and use Hitler or Stalin or any other serial killing madman as an example of why we do, but that wouldn’t be a particularly strong argument. Men such as those aforementioned were exceptionally calloused and psychologically unhinged, which not everyone is. From the opposite side of the spectrum, I could use the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mendela as an example, but that wouldn’t be fair either. I don’t have a concrete opinion on this because I’m not familiar with the psyche of every person who’s ever lived. I’m not even sure if Golding believed it. Neither Ralph nor Piggy nor Simon succumb to savagery, and the twins only do out of fear. I do believe that society is necessary for a community to function, but I don’t believe that it is the only thing holding us back from doing evil- that, we decide on our own. 

EXCERPTS FROM A SPEECH BY WILLIAM GOLDING

A Psychoanalytic View of Destructiveness.     

    Before the second world war I believed in the perfectibility of social men; that a correct structure of society would produce goodwill; and that therefore you could remove all social ills by a reorganization of society. It is possible that today I believe something of the same again but after the war I did not because I was unable to. I had discovered what one man could do to another. I am not talking about one man killing another with a gun, or dropping a bomb on him or blowing him up, or torpedoing him. I am thinking of the vileness beyond all words that went on, year after year, in the totalitarian states. It is bad enough to say that so many Jews were exterminated in this way and that, so many people liquidated—lovely, elegant word—but there were things done during that period from which I still have to avert my mind less I should be physically sick. They were not done by the headhunters of New Guinea, or by some primitive tribe in the Amazon. They were done skillfully, coldly, byeducated mendoctorslawyers, by men with a tradition of civilization behind them, to men of their own kind. I do not want to elaborate this. I would like to pass on but I must say that anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey, must have been blind- or wrong in the head.

It seems to me that man’s capacity for greed, his innate cruelty and selfishness was being hidden. I believed then that man was sick—not exceptional man, but average man. I believed that the condition of man was to be a morally diseased creation and the best job I could do at the time, was to trace the connection between his diseased nature and the international mess he gets himself into.

Man is a fallen being. He is gripped by original sin. I looked around me for some convenient form in which this thesis might be worked out, and found it in the play of children. I was well situated for this since at the time I was teaching them. Moreover, I am a son, brother and father. I have lived for many years with small boys, and understand and know them with awful precision. I decided to take the literary convention of boys on an island, only make them real boys instead of paper cutouts with no life in them and try to show how the shape of the society they evolved would be conditioned by their diseased, theirfallen nature.

One of our faults is to believe that all evil is somewhere else and inherent in another nation. My book was to say: You think that now the war is over and an evil thing destroyed, you are safe because you are naturally kind and decent. But I know why the thing rose in Germany. I know it could happen in any country. It could happen here.

So the boys try to construct a civilization on the island- but it breaks down in blood and terror because the boys are suffering from the terrible disease of being human. The only enemy of man is inside himself.

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