Poetry Hour

My mom faxed me some poetry that I wrote when I was little boy – 10 or younger maybe? I’ve reproduced it here for your pleasure, with teacher comments in red below each poem.

Jason Carter

The marsh is blowing in the breeze
And I feel so much at ease.
As I sit on the dock,
And take off my socks,
And rest without looking at any clocks,
I have learned to relax
By watching the grass
What a great life this is at last!

This poem says so much. You’re lucky you have found a beautiful piece of this earth where you feel peace.

Jason Carter

Near the shore lived a man
He’d lay on the sand to get a tan.
The water would rise; the water would fall.
The man would stay there until nightfall.
He entered his house at night
Until the morning when the fish would bite.
The sun would rise in the east,
He would get on his knees and pray for a feast —
He’d bait his hook to get something to cook.
He’d fill his boat with all he could eat,
And leave the rest for some else to eat.

Good rhyming pattern

Jason Carter

The frog jumps
on all four feet.

It sits down
Overlooking the pond
On small webbed feet
It then jumps away

What a great picture

Jason Carter

A new life.

Very nice. The picture adds an interesting dimension.

A Boy
Jason Carter

A boy who has a toy
Feels great indeed!
His new racing car
Has great speed.
He’d race them down the track;
And beat them before they got back.
A boy with a toy has great joy!

Very true.

A History of China’s Economy

During my senior year at Cornell, I thought it would be a great idea to take an upper-level Econ course about the history of China’s economy. Let me just say that taking this course pass-fail was one of the best decisions I made that year.
This is a little dry, but give it a shot. It’s not as bad as some of the other crap I’ve put on this site,
and there’s a reasonable chance you might learn a little bit.

Jason Carter
Economics 469
December 4, 1997
Topic #2

During the period from 1984 to today, the development of the Chinese economy can be split into two different stages of reform: the new economic model and the socialist market economy. Although both types of reform sought to change the economic structure from planning to markets, the nature and success of the reforms that were implemented varies significantly between the two periods. In general, the reforms of the new economic model failed on many fronts because of difficulties with implementation. The socialist market economy turned these failures into successes through a more complete package of reform based on price rationalization and marketization.

The intent to develop the new economic model was expressed in the Chinese Communist Party document of 1984. The new program called for a wide range of reforms in the agricultural and industrial sectors. In the industrial sector, the state sought to implement similar reforms used in agricultural reform. In order to reduce the level of government control over industrial enterprises, the state allowed the enterprises to retain a greater amount of profit. During the new economic model, this took the form of the tax-for-profit system. This system eliminated firm profit remission to the state and focused on taxation instead. The state also sought to move from mandatory planning to guidance planning during this period. This change meant that the state would give the firms recommended output goals and encourage the firms to adhere to these goals by manipulating the price and tax levels.

Out of the 1989-1991 retrenchment period came another push for reform through the implementation of the socialist market economy. The most important aspect of this period of reform is that the markets are the primary means of resource allocation. The government no longer uses guidance planning or price manipulation to influence the economy. Through major reforms of the price and tax systems, the state lets the markets determine the price levels and establishes a level playing field for all enterprises.

One of the most striking differences between these two periods is the degree of success of price and tax reforms. During the new economic model, the government attempted to implement a wide range of reforms to reduce the state-s control over enterprises. These reforms failed to live up to their potential because the government did not simultaneously reform the price structure. During the socialist market economy, the government made a complete transition to market determination of prices, which enabled other reforms that depended on a rational price system to take effect (such as reform of tax system).

In the new economic model, a majority of the firms fall under the category of guidance planning, not the free market. The government attempted to control the activities of the firms by manipulating prices and taxes. Under the tax-for-profit scheme, the state attempted to move away from profit remittance towards a system of taxation in order to influence the actions of enterprise managers. However, this level of control was implemented without first reforming the price system. During the new economic model, the economy took the form of a dual-track system, with planned and market sectors, and different prices for each sector. This pricing system would cause huge variations in profit rates between firms. These differences in profit rates would result in some firms retaining a huge amount of profit while others would be left with zero profit. In order to decrease the amount of profit retained by certain firms, the state implemented an adjustment tax, which was more or less arbitrary and subject to negotiation. Therefore, the government’s goal to produce a level playing field had failed because the faulty price system created an arbitrary tax system.

During the socialist market economy reform, the government again attempted to reform the tax system. However, the government first set out to change the price system through full implementation of market determined prices. This helped eliminate the dual-track system, which used market prices for outside-plan production and state influenced prices for inside-plan production. The end of the dual-track system led to reforms in the tax system by eliminating wide variations in firm profitability. As a result, tax rates are applied more consistently between firms, and the degree of taxation is no longer subject to negotiation. This reform levels the playing field for all types of firms because taxes are applied evenly to all ownership systems.

Another key difference between the two systems is the varying level of control of the central and local governments. During the tax-for-profit program of the new economic model, taxation authority and tax revenue were divided into central and local portions. Frequently, local governments would have complete control over tax collection and remit a certain amount to the central government. The main goal of this system was to provide incentives for the local governments to improve revenue collection and take a more active role in promoting firm profitability, and therefore increased tax revenue. In contrast to this system, the tax collection system during the socialist market economy is much more centralized, with the central government collecting a majority of the taxes. To accomplish this re-centralization, socialist market economy reformers have to provide incentives to the local government to relinquish their taxation authority. These incentives are often in the form of decreased interference by the central government and increased tax revenue due to a more efficient collection system.

Another key difference between the two reform periods is the level of importance of markets. During the new economic model, markets are only incorporated into certain segments of the economy. Enterprise managers were actually opposed to the reforms because they were used to the planned economy system. The new economic model is a period of transition from a planned system to a market system. As a result, the two economic systems often overlap and conflict with each other, as is the case with the dual-track system. This incomplete switch to a market economy is the main cause of the irrational price structure and arbitrary tax system. The goals of the new economic model failed to be realized because of these problems.

In contrast, the period of the socialist market economy is characterized by a complete switch to a market system. The government first allowed prices to be determined by the market, and as a consequence, reforms in the tax system and an overall leveling of the playing field took place.

The new economic model and socialist market economy reform periods both sought to decrease government intervention through a transition to a market economy. However, a partial transition combined with inadequate reforms of the price and tax structure caused the new economic model to fail and lead to economic retrenchment. The reform efforts of the socialist market economy were more successful because marketization and rationalization of the price system occurred before other reforms were undertaken.

Holy Thursday

The fun stuff’s over. Now we get into the real dreck.

Click here to read the first “Holy Thursday” poem
Click here to read the second “Holy Thursday” poem

Holy Thursday

In the poems “Holy Thursday,” by William Blake, one can see two completely different ideas. In the first poem, Blake tries to express an optimistic and hopeful image of innocent children singing to Christ on the day of ascension. The poem’s rhythm is playful and childish and effectively carries out Blake’s image. In contrast, the second poem is negative and pessimistic and it questions the nature or existence of a God. The children are rejected and abused by society and they are exactly the opposite of the children in the first poem.

In the first “Holy Thursday,” colorful children are marching into St Paul’s cathedral for the celebration of the ascension of Christ. From the footnote, one learns that these children are from the charity schools in London, meaning that they are very poor and probably don’t have a family. Despite their hardships, the children are still described in a joyful, harmonic way in the first stanza:

‘Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two & two, in red & blue & green;
Grey headed beadles walkd before with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames’ waters flow.

With an ABAB rhyming pattern, the poem starts with a bouncing, nursery rhyme quality. The children’s problems are not an issue; they are still cute, innocent, and alive, like a river. The beadles that must keep the kids in order are portrayed as old and lifeless men who have lost their childhood innocence. Even though these children are poor and homeless, they are showing hopefulness and optimism when they go to sing the Lord’s praises.

In the next stanza, the children are again portrayed as sweet and innocent, and there is no mention of the hardships they must face every other day in their life. There are a few different images that Blake gives the reader to express his idea that children are pure and free-flowing characters:

O what a multitude they seemd, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys & girls raising their innocent hands.

Here, the children are a beautiful and vital part of the London society. They are “flowers” that give pleasure to all men and women. Blake fails to mention that these children are a blight and burden to mankind. They are victims of a cruel and harsh world, and as a result, they reflect images of misery and poverty. However, in this stanza, the children are innocent lambs who have a “radiance all their own.” They are beautiful flowers and are pleasing to the entire world.

In the final stanza, the children are singing to the heavens with songs of joy. They are singing the praises of the Lord to heaven on this glorious day:

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among.
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor;
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

Here, the children are powerful and mighty and are capable of communicating with the heavens above. They believe that God truly loves them in spite of the fact that they are really the wretched of the earth. Even though they are penniless and homeless, the children raise their hands and sing their praise and thanks to Jesus.

In the second “Holy Thursday,” the tone of the poem changes completely. In this poem, Blake says that the children are poor and miserable in an otherwise prosperous environment. He concludes that God must not care about these children since they are forced to live under these conditions.

In the first stanza, the reader can obviously see the changes in tone. The lines aren’t long and cheerful with a silly, childish rhyme. These lines are blunt and to the point, and their meaning is very harsh:

Is this a holy thing to see,
In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reduced to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?

This procession into the cathedral has religious intentions, but the speaker wonders how holy it is to have so many pitiful and miserable children in a world that is so rich and prosperous. It doesn’t seem possible to him that these children are singing to the Lord out of pure happiness and thanksgiving:

Is that trembling cry a song?
Can it be a song of joy?
And so many children poor?
It is a land of poverty!

The speaker finds it hard to believe that these children are actually singing out praises of the Lord. He sees them so unhappy and so poor, and yet they are thanking Jesus for all that he has done for them. The series of questions by the speaker in this stanza implies a tone of disbelief and amazement that heightens throughout the poem.

In the last two stanzas, the speaker offers an explanation as to why these children are so poor and pitiful:

And their sun does never shine,
And their fields are bleak & bare,
And their ways are fill’d with thorns;
It is eternal winter there.

For where-e’er the sun does shine,
And where-e’er the rain does fall,
Babe can never hunger there,
Nor poverty the mind appall.

The speaker believes that the life of the children is always dark, bleak, and bare. It will always be difficult, cold, and barren. He believes that the children are poor because they never have any sunshine or any rain. In other words, these kids don’t have the wonderful and plentiful eye of the Lord upon them. Blake believes that man could not decline into such a pitiful state if God is constantly watching over him. Throughout the ceremony, the children are praising God and all of His works. This praise now seems very ironic since these children are not under the watchful eye of the Lord.

In these two poems, William Blake expresses two totally different ideas. In the first poem, he portrays unfortunate children as blessings to society and shows their gratitude towards God for all that he has done. In the second poem, Blake shows the reader the image of wretched children praying to a God who does not care for them or their condition. These two examples show the different ideas that Blake had towards the nature of God.

A Virtuous Hippo

The writing here is not particularly funny or enlightening. What I do find interesting though is my use of words like “epistle” and “Laodiceans”. Very uncharacteristic for this stage of my writing career.

Click here to read “The Hippopotamus”

A Virtuous Hippo
Jason Carter
English 400-1

In T.S. Eliot’s “The Hippopotamus,” the reader can see Eliot’s contempt for the church and all of its corruption. He compared the church and its people with a lazy Hippopotamus. By the end of the poem, the Hippo is raised up to heaven with choirs of angels by its side while the church remains on earth amidst a dense fog. By using symbols, Eliot show the reader that even the lowliest creature on earth has more merit than the church with all of its corrupt leaders.

The epistle of the poem first expresses Eliot’s disgust with the apathy that the church exhibits. He makes it known from the very beginning that this poem is directed towards the church members who are indifferent and lazy, such as the Laodiceans. This group of people was described by St. John as “lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot.” Apparently, these people had no emotion towards religion, and Eliot wrote this poem to let them know what they can expect in the future.

In the first six lines of the poem, we are given the description of a hippopotamus. This Hippo is much like the human race because, like it, we are simply made out of “flesh and blood.” The image that we receive of the Hippo is of a fat, lazy, beast sleeping in the mud. This animal represents the lowest person in society, who is worthless in relation to the rest of the world. Eliot attempts to contrast this image with that of a solid church founded upon a rock. This comparison seems almost satirical when one considers that the rock in question is actually a human being. How stable is the church when it is built upon something that is often as worthless as an animal sleeping in some mud? Thus, we wonder how serious Eliot is with this comparison.

In the next two stanzas, Eliot continues to contrast the church with the hippo. Eliot goes on to say that the Hippopotamus often has problems collecting items necessary for survival because it does not take the proper steps essential for acquiring all that it needs. Here, we see that the Hippo is too lazy and unmotivated to better its position in life. Eliot contrasts this with the church, but once again, his comparisons seem to be deliberately wrong. He states that the church never needs to act in order to receive money from its members. At face value, this may appear to be good, but in actuality, the church is just as lazy and worthless as the Hippo. It does absolutely nothing to acquire money, and it does nothing for society in return. Unlike the Hippo, who can’t even take a mango from a tree, the church takes all that it can from society. Its outstretched arms are capable of collecting dues and contributions from members around the world.

In the last three stanzas of the poem, the reader can see that the Hippo has been taken into heaven with a lot of praise and glory despite its apathy and laziness:

I saw the ‘potamus take wing…
And quiring angels round him sing
The praise of God, in loud hosannas…
Among the saints he shall be seen
Performing on a harp of gold.
He shall be washed as white as snow,…

In spite of the Hippopotamus’ lack of ambition and worthlessness, God has forgiven him and has taken him into heaven. The Hippo is a symbol of the most inactive and lazy being on this planet, and yet, it makes it to heaven while the church must remain on earth. Eliot is showing the reader here his belief that the church is extremely corrupt; so bad that it does not deserve to enter heaven.

It is in this way that T. S. Eliot shows the reader his idea that the church is so awful that its leaders don’t even deserve to enter heaven. By comparing the church to a Hippopotamus, we can see that the church is even more unscrupulous than the lowest and most worthless creature on earth. If a hippopotamus-like person can make it into heaven but a church member cannot, we can see how wretched and sordid the church really is.

Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience
Jason Carter
English 400–1

In Percy Shelley’s “A Song: ’Men of England,’” one can see Shelly’s call for a revolution to reform the social injustice that is taking place all across England. The ideas expressed in this poem are very similar to those in Shelley’s “England in 1819.” Both poems attempt to convince the readers to rise up from their pitiful condition and overthrow the tyrants who are causing them so much grief.

In “’Men of England,’”, Shelley is addressing the working class of England; those who were farmers and who worked the land for their rich landowners. In the first three stanzas, he asks these men why they bother to work for tyrants and ungrateful lords:

Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear?…
Wherefore feed and clothe and save…
Those ungrateful drones who would
Drain your sweat–nay, drink your blood?

Shelley is asking them why they work so hard all of their lives to please lords who do not care for them; who would not hesitate to drain their sweat or drink their blood. He is asking the “worker bees of England” why they make weapons and chains that the landowners simply use to destroy all they have accomplished. Shelley is presenting an argument in support of a worker revolution, and he is listing all of the reasons for such a revolt in the beginning of this poem. England is in the midst of civil unrest and economic depression after the Napoleonic Wars, and Shelley hopes that this poem will inspire the middle class of England to rise up and change the social conditions of the time.

In the next three stanzas of the poem, Shelley asks the workers what they receive for all of their hard work, and he proposes a solution that might bring them out of their wretched state. He wants to know if these workers have “leisure, comfort, calm, shelter, food, or any love,” from their masters as a reward for all of their hard work. If thy don’t receive any good benefits from the job, then Shelley wants to know what they could possibly buy or receive from all of their pain and suffering.

Shelley then proceeds to show the men of England examples of how they are robbed of everything that they make for their lords:

The seed ye sow, another reaps;
The wealth ye find, another keeps;
The robes ye weave, another wears;
The arms ye forge, another bears.

Everything that these men make, someone else takes and uses it for their own benefit. In return, the workers get pain and fear, and Shelley is urging them with these examples to rise up and change their condition.

In the next stanza, Shelley begins to offer solutions to the problems of the working class. He tells everyone that whenever they make something or find something profitable, he tells them to keep it away from the tyrant, impostor, and idle lord. He wants everyone to hold on to what they have and not give it to those who are too lazy to work for it themselves. In the last line of the third stanza, Shelley tells the men to “Forge arms–in your defence to bear.” Here, he is calling for some sort of retaliation or attack against those who have made life miserable for others. Shelley is officially calling for a revolt against the aristocracy by the hordes of working english men across the land. The blue–collar crowd is tired of being treated like dirt and this poem is their anthem, their cause, and their motivation to fight the Euro–trash who are driving their lives into the ground. This was Shelley’s purpose from the beginning, to convince the average Joe that there is a perfectly good reason to start a revolution and fight those who treat you poorly.

In “England in 1819,” Shelley calls for another revolt against those who drain the life blood out of every working man and woman in society. He uses the same method as in the first poem to try and convince the working man that this the correct and necessary thing to do. Shelley presents the readers with images of the insane King leading his army against a group of peaceful protesters. He shows the people the image of a country that is dying because of aristocratic leeches who attack their own people and rob them of their freedom. By using powerful and meaningful adjectives, similes, and metaphors, Shelley convinces his people that the only solution is to start a revolution against those blind and insensitive despots who are dragging England through the mud and kicking the pathetic and wretched citizens into the ground:

From which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.

Shelley says that their only hope is to revive a “Phantom” that will come from nowhere and overthrow the insolent and life–depriving government. Only after this happens will the true glory of England and its working class shine above all the rest.

This is how Shelley uses his poetry to convince the people of England to rise above its government and to change the conditions that they live in. Through the use of powerful language and meaningful arguments, Shelley convinces them that it is the right thing to do.

Deceit and Deception

It’s getting pretty bad when the third word of the essay is misspelled. And it’s the name of the author, no less.

Deceit and Deception
Jason Carter
English 400-1

In William Shakespear’s Measure for Measure and Othello, one can see the effects of deceit and trickery on the characters and on their actions. In each play, people are tested by those who are not what they appear to be. If they can overcome these deceptions, their problems will be solved and there will be a happy ending. If not, then their problems will not be resolved and they will suffer a tragic ending.

In Othello, the reader can see examples of deceit and misconceptions that remain hidden until the very end. In this play, Iago plays with Othello’s emotions and convinces him that Desdemona is not being faithful to him. He tells Othello that Desdemona is secretly having an affair with Cassio and tries to make Othello believe that she is not a true wife. Iago is attempting to seek revenge against Othello because he was not chosen to be his lieutenant. Throughout the entire play, he hints to Othello that she might be seeing Cassio and that Cassio is not a loyal soldier. He tells Othello:

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.
III:3 191-193

Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;
Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure.
III:3 224-225

Iago plans to further convince Othello of Desdemona’s disloyalty by planting the handkerchief among Cassio’s belongings:

I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin
and let him find it…
The moor already changes with my poison.
Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisons
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But with a little act upon the blood
Burn like the mines of sulphur.
III:3 363, 367-371

Iago already sees his lies taking affect on Othello, but he plans to amplify Othello’s jealous feelings by stealing his handkerchief from Desdemona and giving it to Cassio. Othello is so blinded by Iago’s deception that he truly believes Desdemona is unfaithful, and he kills her in her sleep for her treachery. He is not able to see through Iago’s trickery, and, therefore, he really believes that Desdemona has been unfaithful to him. Only when Emilia reveals Iago’s lying and illusions does Othello understand his mistake. The conflict can be resolved only when the masks come off and the truth is finally revealed. If this revelation happens too late, the story will have a tragic ending.

The duke also deceives his people in Measure for Measure. In this play, the duke has gone to Poland and has left Angelo and Escalus in charge of the city. Actually, the duke disguises himself as a friar and walks among the streets listening to his people and their problems. He realizes that there are problems, but he doesn’t know how to solve them, and he is stepping back and trying to find a solution. Claudio has gotten Juliet pregnant and is going to marry her but is thrown in jail by Angelo. Isabella pleads for his release, which Angelo will grant if she will sleep with him. She refuses and goes to the duke in disguise and tells him her predicament.

The Duke doesn’t throw off his mask and pardon Claudio or punish Angelo. Instead, he forms a plan that will solve everyone’s problems and make most of the people happy. He tells Mariana to sleep with Angelo so that they will have to marry by the end of the play. Meanwhile, Lucio is insulting the duke in front of the “friar,” calling him “A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.” He believes that Angelo makes a much better duke, and he says this, unknowingly, to the duke in disguise. Lucio can’t recognize the duke beneath the friar’s costume, and he will pay for his words in the end.

By the end of the play, the duke returns, and Isabella begs for him to punish Angelo for his wickedness. Then the “friar” is asked to appear before the court to defend himself against Lucio’s claims that he had insulted the duke. At this point, Lucio removes the Duke’s disguise and realizes his mistake. The duke punishes Lucio to death for his words and pardons everyone else. He frees Claudio, makes Angelo and Mariana get married, and asks Isabella to be his wife. By putting on a disguise and separating himself, the duke solves everyone’s problems and gets rid of the bad in society.

This is how Shakespeare uses deception and disguises to develop a story. If the characters can’t see through the illusions to what is real, they will suffer. If the disguises are removed and the truth is exposed before it is too late, the problems will be solved and the characters will be happy.

Virtuous Men and Unscrupulous Women

I really enjoyed reading Le Morte d’Arthur in high school, but the poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” was something different, and not nearly as fun to read. There’s a 65% chance I didn’t actually read the poem before writing this paper, which might prove evident after reading this.

Click here to read “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”.

Virtuous Men and Unscrupulous Women
Jason Carter
English 400-1

In the poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, Gawain’s life can be paralleled to the lives Adam, Solomon, Samson, and David. Each of these men believed that they were loyal to God, but they were seduced by women who made their flaws apparent. The men then realized that they were not perfect, and their understanding made them better people and better prepared to enter heaven.

In the beginning, God created Adam, and Adam was faithful to God and all of His creations. According to the Anglo-Saxon belief, Adam had comitatus with God. God would create many animals and plants for Adam, and Adam would take care of these creations in return. It was a bond between God and his people. This relationship is similar to the one between King Arthur and his knights. The knights would be loyal to Arthur and protect him while Arthur would provide for his knights’ needs. The castle at Camelot, with its exquisite tapestries, silk curtains, and fine food, is the equivalent to the beautiful and abundant Garden of Eden.

However, God created woman, and she was tempted by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. Eve then seduced her husband and convinced him to eat the fruit as well. By doing this, Adam was no longer loyal to God, and they were banished out of the garden:

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto
the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree…
in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Genesis 3:17

Gawain was tempted in a similar way by the woman in the castle. For three days, she attempted to seduce Gawain, but he politely refused her requests. On the third day, she gave Gawain her green girdle so he would not be killed during his confrontation with the green knight. By accepting her gift, Gawain let his faith rest on the power of this girdle and not on the power of God and Mary. The green knight shows Gawain his fault, and Gawain realizes that he is not the perfect Christian. He also understands that many virtuous men have failed the test presented to them by other women:

But if a dullard should dote, deem it no wonder,
And through the wiles of a woman be wooed into sorrow,
For so was Adam by one, when the world began,
And Solomon by many more, and Samson the mighty
Delilah was his doom, and David thereafter
Was beguiled by Bathsheba, and bore much distress;


Gawain knows that, like himself, each of these men have failed the challenge presented by a woman, and he feels that his faults should be excused by the green knight and by God. It is at this point in the story that Gawain recognizes his faults and is elevated to a higher divine status.

In the beginning, Gawain believed that he could remain loyal to Mary, and he was reminded of his loyalty by the pentangle on his shield, “a token of truth.” He also had the portrait of the Virgin on the inside of his shield, a constant reminder that he should not fear death as long as he remained faithful to Mary.

However, despite these reminders, Gawain allows himself to be seduced by the woman in the castle, and she convinces him that her green girdle will protect him from danger. By accepting the girdle from her, Gawain is admitting that he puts more faith in this belt than he does God or Mary. This is what makes him a faulty Christian.

When Gawain finally meets the green knight, the knight takes three shots at Gawain’s neck, which is similar to the three days he spent with the lady at the castle. At the third swing, the knight nicks Gawain on the neck, a wound that is equivalent to the girdle that wounded his faith. The points out that by receiving the girdle, Gawain has marred his faithfulness towards Mary and God. Gawain, realizing his mistake, rips the girdle off in great haste and says:

Behold there my falsehood, ill hap betide it! Your cut
taught me cowardice, care for my life, and coveting came

after, contrary both to largesse and loyalty belonging to knights.

Gawain now knows that he feared death and that this fear made him an imperfect Christian. He hopes, though, that since virtuous men like Adam, Solomon, Samuel, and David were also tricked by seductive women that his actions will be forgiven by God and the green knight. Gawain feels that it is very hard for a man to remain loyal to Mary when there are seductive and tempting women out there.

The knight, however, refuses to take the girdle back. Instead, he makes Gawain wear it forever so that he will be constantly reminded that he is not a perfect human being. Gawain must ride back to King Arthur’s court with a cut of shame across his neck and a symbol of humility around his waist. Now that he must wear this green girdle, the color of rebirth and renewal, he can become a better person and be more prepared to enter heaven. Now he will constantly be reminded by the girdle to be loyal to God, and he will be a better Christian. In fact, Arthur believes that this idea will make all of his knights faithful, and he makes each knight wear a green girdle to remind them of their loyalty to God and to Mary.

This is how the adventures of Adam, Solomon, Samuel, and David can be related to Gawain to show that throughout history, man has fallen under the spell of seductive women and have been prevented from being perfect Christians. When the men realize that they are not perfect, they become more divine and move a step closer to heaven.

Concerning Characters and Class

If I remember correctly, I read Great Expectations, but didn’t read Northanger Abbey. This essay is terrible, just like the other high school essays, but some of the phrasing in here is pretty funny. And notice in the last line the use of the phrase “only just barely.” This classic was uttered by my sophomore year English teacher, only to be cleverly brought back to life by me two years later.

Concerning Characters and Class
Jason Carter
English 400–1

A common theme in the past three novels is the importance of social status to the main characters. The two novels which clearly portray this idea are Great Expectations and Northanger Abbey. These two books show the reader the characters Pip and Catherine trying their hardest to escape the status of “Average Joe,” and their attempts to fit into a higher social class.

In Great Expectations, we see Pip, an orphaned child with a blacksmith father, trying to break free from his foster parents and attempt to put on airs and live the good life with the upper crust. His entire goal in life is to become a better, more educated and refined man so that he can leave the dirty working class and become more aristocratic. Pip gets his first glimpse at this new lifestyle after his first visit to Miss Havisham’s house. During his first visit, Pip falls in love with Estella, but she is very critical of how common he really is. She laughs at how ordinary he is dressed, and she makes Pip feel self conscious of what he looks like to other people. Pip feels that he must change his lifestyle if he is going to become a better person. He asks his friend Biddy to help secretly educate him and he goes over to Miss Havisham’s more frequently in hopes of absorbing their extravagant life.

When Pip finds out that someone is going to give him money on a regular basis, he knows that this is his chance to escape from the bucolic lifestyle of Joe, Mrs. Joe, and Biddy. He realizes that he can leave the house now and move to the big city where he can find a job and learn to be a man. Pip is quick to drop the ordinary blacksmith and family when he is faced with the opportunity of becoming a more refined gentleman in the city. This is important because Pip will eventually feel guilty for his actions and he will realize that he made a mistake in dumping his friends so quickly for money and a new life.

When Pip finally gets to London and finds a job there, he becomes ashamed of his previous life on the farm with the blacksmith. He avoids going to see Joe and Biddy, and when Joe finally comes to the city, Pip is embarrassed and uncomfortable the entire time. He is still loyal to Estella, and he wants to impress her with his new lifestyle, but he can’t do this if an old and poor blacksmith comes to visit him. Pip proves to the reader here that he has sold out his friends in exchange for a new life. Pip’s new attitude proves to us that acquiring money and becoming a more distinguished person does not necessarily mean that you become a better person.

By the end of the book, Pip realizes that his new life is not worth it. He realizes that Estella is psycho and just wants to destroy men. He recognizes that he has ditched his real friends, and he knows now that the real honorable people in this world aren’t necessarily regal, rich, and smart. He sees that people like Joe and Biddy are happy, and they will always be there for him and to help him when he is in need.

In Northanger Abbey, we see another young person who would like to leave her surroundings in order to become a better person with a higher social class. Catherine Morland is a homely country girl with no class. When her parents see her one day, they think she might actually be becoming a pretty girl. When we first see her, Catherine is washed up and there is no hope for her, no chance of her becoming a proper lady.

The Allen’s see a glimmer of hope in Catherine’s eye and they haul her off to Bath to meet men and perhaps a future husband. The Allen’s realized that every girl must make such a pilgrimage if they are to become ladies. Catherine is hopeless when we see her, but the Allen’s inject a little hope into her pitiful and wretched life. So Catherine is shipped off in hopes of teaching her a little culture and hooking her up with some men. Catherine, Isabella, and Mrs. Allen go to all the great, big balls in town, and they meet all sorts of fabulous gents. Catherine meets Mr. Tilney one night, and she falls in love with his charming personality and distinguished and refined manners and attitude and prestigious class. It is during this time that Catherine gets all tied up with Thorpe but she feels obligated to do things with the Tilney’s as well. She is very concerned with offending people, and she will do anything to please everyone. This shows us that she is still an honorable person even though she gaining some class and a position in life. She is not becoming a snotty, snooty, little snob just because she someone special and is superior to some others surrounding her. Catherine is different from Pip because she is not letting her power corrupt her good character traits. She is not deserting those who mean something to her, and, therefore, her transformation into a quality person is beneficial and a good thing.

In these two novels, the main characters leave their common and simple lives in order to become more distinguished people. The results of this transformation affects their personalities in different ways and it makes these two similar people only just barely turn out to be different in the end.

An Ode to Convatec

Sadly, I had no hand in writing this. But it is beautiful nevertheless. A brief message from the author:

Well, here it is. The epic poem, which I could have gone on for stanzas and stanzas more, but decided for your sake to cut short. It’s for us, the co–ops of fall 96. Written solely on time where I should have been doing work. I thought it only appropriate. Enjoy.

My Friends

ConvaTec, ConvaTec, I think I shall
Never find a more fiendish pal.
You pay me well to sit and stare
Oft at naught but thin air
My friends have died and I have too
All of this, because of you.

Erin Blair, with golden hair
Disillusion was your fare
Mark and Bruce and yes Dave, too
All had fallen just for you
Happy and gay and without complaint
You were the picture of a saint
But then the drought and the despair
“I looked for work, and found none there.”
If that day had not arrived
Would Erin still be alive?

Jason Carter
the grand old martyr
In the crypt he made his home
Trapped by fate, like a gnome
His head he’d said was stolen away
Inside a box, they let it stay
They let him out, he thought they might
Into the hot room, for one full night
At a screen would he stare
I’m afraid, we lost him there.

Julie Chu we knew you well
Banana lover, friend and pal.
Tack text! tack text! I heard her say
No more tack tests! she would pray
A house of tack tests did she build
With dead flies was it filled.
Water uptake made her boil
The warden made her a good foil
Still I think and still I wonder
What could pull her asunder.

Eugene Chung, no one knew
What to think or make of you
Bored as hell and loud as thunder
Solace in books was his wonder
On and on he’d read and read
Korean, Math, or some new creed
Complacency he finally took
I tried and tried but couldn’t look

David Wasserman, tall as heaven,
at least to us, not five foot seven
In PPA did he sit
In PPA he did his s––t
Clean, Extrude, Snap on and off
Manual labor was in his trough
A bunny suit, a flange, an air tester, too
It’s so sad, he died so soon

So I sit and wait to die
I fear my time has near drawn nigh
No more freight train, no more fear
No more ConvaFood out my rear.
Away, away to a better place,
Not let my mind go to waste
Atrophy, atrophy was their cry
We’ll escape, come with me fly

ConvaTec, ConvaTec, I think I shall
Never find a more fiendish pal.
The mind you took, away from us
Shall return to lowly dust
Raise the standard, hoist the flag
But my oh my, there’s just one snag
Summer comes and we’re here again
So I guess there’s just one end.

Hear me future co–ops, heed my words,
Rita and Alan, they know the lords
Guard your heart, and guard your mind
Then happiness you might find

As for you my friends with me,
We’ll make it through, you and me.
We’ll make it I say,
We’ll make it, they’ll see…

The Bacon Park Yardage Book

The last month of senior year at The Savannah Country Day School is spent outside of class on an independent study project. Students are expected to do an internship in the field that they plan to pursue in college. For the ambitious (and foolish), this means supervised internships at hospitals and law firms. My friend and I had a better idea; we would spend our month on the local golf course playing golf and creating a yardage book. The idea was actually based on a pretty good business idea. The book would cost very little to produce and we had authorization to sell it in the pro shop. In the end, we succumbed to “senioritis” and only created nine nicely drawn holes that never made it to the masses. I don’t know what happened to those drawings, but I do have our final report, included below with my comments in red.

Bacon Park Yardage Book
Jason A. Carter
May 25th, 1994

The purpose of our Independent Study Project was to create an effective yardage book for Bacon Park Golf Course. This book would include an accurate drawing of each hole with distances from sprinkler heads and key landmarks, such as trees, bunkers, and water hazards. We anticipate that this book will make it easier for all golfers to understand the layout of the course and give them the correct yardage on every hole.

Okay, we start off pretty well here. Some of the holes at Bacon Park definitely require some yardage clarification.

In preparation for this project, we contacted several civil engineering firms in Savannah in hopes of renting a laser to measure the distances on the course. The firm Thomas and Hutton allowed us to use their sonic distance finder, which proved to be effective for distances over water. The school’s maintenance staff allowed us to use the wheel that marks off the football fields to measure long range distances not covered by the laser.

For the record, it was a two–piece ultrasonic device. Not sure why there’s mention of a laser. I think, at this late stage, we were doing anything we could to make this project seem more technical than it really was.

In order to make the process of finding these distances more efficient, we split the procedure into two different parts. First, we walked each hole and made a map showing where each sprinkler was located, and we measured the width and depth of every green and tee box. Then, on a separate day, all of the distances were measured with the laser and wheel. After all of this was accomplished, accurate drawings were made of each hole, and all yardages were filled in. These drawings will then be reduced on a copying machine and arranged so the book will be small and compact, yet easy to read and understand. Even though we were not supervised while on the course, Mark Geistweite, General Manager of Bacon Park, assisted us by making sure the course wasn’t too crowded for us. Under the advisement of Alan Begrowicz and Wayne Aaron, our progress was monitored, and we were able to work in a timely fashion.

Read between the lines here: this month–long assignment was completed in two days! Amazingly, no one questioned what we did the other 28.

We found in the past month that working on this book has been very different from any other type of project or job. Rather than working under constant and strict orders, we were allowed a few creative liberties. For instance, we had total control over the book and its design. There were no regulations or requirements to dictate how we would produce the book, so we were free to create something that we thought would look good and be effective. The staff at Bacon Park was also very considerate and cooperative when our presence was anything but a convenience.

I find our perceptions back then to be quite humerous now. I, for one, had not performed an honest day’s work at the time of writing this, but I had no trouble imagining the “regulations” and “constant and strict orders” that awaited me after high school. How do you like the self–depricating jab at the end there?

When we came up with the idea to create a yardage book, we believed that it would not be a very hard or long task to accomplish. When it came time to measure the course, we found that it would be more difficult than expected, due to the number of golfers on the course. We also discovered that water hazards and bunkers made measurement of the holes much more difficult. Finding a convenient time to design the book also presented a problem that we had not considered. What wasn’t finished in the afternoon had to be done late into the night. When all of these factors were combined, we realized that the entire project would take much longer than we expected. The idea started out simple, but it became much more complicated, and we realized that we would not be able to finish all that we had set out to accomplish in such a short amount of time. Overall, working on this yardage book has been very enjoyable and interesting. Being avid golfers, we were intrigued and excited by our discoveries and results, and we look forward to finally producing the finished product.

Uh oh. Start the backpeddling. We worked on this for only two days, and yet it still was more difficult than expected. We even had to work late into the night to get all of this done. As I recall, it actually was a relatively easy night spent over some beers and a sketch pad.

If someone were to follow in our footsteps, we recommend that the project be cut from 27 to 18 holes. Through our experiences, we found that much more time is needed to create an acceptable product that will serve its purpose. The project would be accomplished much faster and easier if there was a third person who could assist in the designing of the course.

I’m not sure where the 18 hole recommendation came from. We only managed to finish nine holes in one month

Overall, we feel that working with Bacon Park has been a very enjoyable arrangement and we look forward to producing a product that will be worth all our efforts.

This wraps it up nicely, I think. Playing golf every day for a month certainly was an enjoyable arrangement. And I thought the finished product was pretty sharp too. Too bad we didn’t follow through with it – it would have been nice to have some additional beer money for the summer.