Second Peer Review

Naomi Zaki – https://naomizaki.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/blog-post-2-reflective/comment-page-1/#comment-10

“Hi Naomi,
Wow, this is great! I feel like your writing really resonates with what a lot of us feel as we get older, and reflect on the people we used to be and how much we’ve changed since we were children. I think you’re quite right when you describe our vision as “tainted and narrowed” as we get older because we now care about what others think about us and their opinions and beliefs influence us in turn. What a wonderful job you’ve done, well done!! 🙂”

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Third Blog

TASK: Give a brief account (in your own words) of why Whitman referred to Abraham Lincoln as “O Captain! My Captain”.

American poet Walt Whitman referred to 16th US President Abraham Lincoln as his captain in his poem “O Captain! My Captain!” because of Whitman’s personal feelings toward the President. The American Civil War was an important event in Whitman’s life and it was during this time that Lincoln was President (hence why Lincoln is the “captain” in Whitman’s poem – he is the captain of the ship that is the United States of America). While initially indifferent to Lincoln, Whitman came to think differently to the President overtime and grew to greatly approve of him.

The poem was written after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 and Whitman uses the poem to eulogise and mourn him. He asks Lincoln, his captain, to “rise up and hear the bells,” in the second stanza to celebrate the end of the war and his admirable leadership throughout the war, “”for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills; for you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding; for you they call…”. The repetition of “for you” emphasises the deep love the people – and Whitman – had for Lincoln. The third stanza takes on a more somber and serious tone, as Whitman paints the picture of his captain lying dead with “his lips are pale and still” and with “no pulse nor will”. The rhyming couplets further drive this sadness home and makes the reader feel the people’s (and Whitman’s) loss deeper.

lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States. Image from: http://www.brandeis.edu/now/2017/February/lincoln-burt-qa.html

 

First Peer Review

Ngaire Ale – https://ngaireale1.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/appreciation-for-nature/comment-page-1/#comment-331

“Hi Ngaire,
I really like your post and totally agree with what you’re saying. I think you’re so right when you say that the Native Americans’ love and connection to the land stems from their deep spiritual relationship with it and the fact that they use it for everything and rely so heavily on it, whereas white people only see what they can invest in the land and what they can gain from it. I love how, at the end, you bring in what trees and water do for us and how the Native Americans’ connection with the land can definitely be used today and that it would be to our benefit if we took their approach to things. Wonderful work!! 🙂”

Second Blog

TASK: Can you say briefly (in around 250 words) how the thoughts and images of either Emerson or Thoreau (or both) have given you a clearer sense of what it is you are looking for in your own life? Maybe the sentence from Walden might be a catalyst for this: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. (Chapter 2 Where I Lived, and What I Lived For). Or maybe the sentences from Nature captures what you wish for: “I become a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am a particle of God.” (Chapter 1)

The thoughts and images of Emerson and Thoreau have given me a clearer sense of what I’d like in life as they desired a simpler world and, in turn, a simpler life. When Thoreau says, in Walden, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”, he’s saying that there is more to life than we think and he would like to see what else there is in the world before he dies. He’s saying that there is beauty, wealth and knowledge beyond what we traditionally think as beautiful, rich and knowledgeable and that is all to be found in nature and nature simplifies things for us and also puts everything into perspective. I think we could all use a bit of that in the midst of our busy 21st century lives!

The images of Emerson and the eyeball similarly echo Thoreau’s sentiments. When Emerson says, “I become a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal being circulate through me; I am a particle of God”, I think he means that when we take a step back from life as we know it, and all we think it means, we can actually learn so much more about the world and what it can offer us and teach us. We can learn more and enrich our lives if we disconnect ourselves from our conscious minds and be a particle of God and feel the world around us, through God’s eyes.

 

First Blog

TASK: Can we apply the Native American sense of the importance of nature to make our own lives more whole and meaningful?

I believe that, by applying the Native American sense of nature’s importance, we can make our lives more whole and meaningful. Many people believe in some sort of a higher power, whether it be God or some other deity, science or something more spiritual that transcends this world. The Native Americans believed in nature and that connection between them and the ground upon which they lived is something that was so deeply entrenched in their lives and made their lives so much better.

Most Indigenous people of any land, the Indigenous Australians included, have a very deep, special and unique connection to their land and believe that because it serves us so much, they should respect it utterly and completely in return and I can’t say I disagree with that. The land gave them everything they could ever need in life (food, water, fire, materials to make shelter) and, as a result of this, their lives were so much simpler and far less complicated. Our lives seem so muddied and confusing because of things like technology and how busy our lives tend to be, as well as today’s consumerism, and we often forget what it is to be human or what our relationships mean and we also forget to be grateful for what we have, instead of always taking for granted like we do.

Applying the Native American sense of the importance of nature can definitely make our lives more whole and meaningful.