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The Violence of The Queen of Spades

The Violence of Plath’s Daddy

“Daddy” is probably Plath’s most famous poem. The critic George Steiner has said that, “It is a poem by which future generations will seek to know us.” He has also called it, “the Guernica of modern poetry.” The violence of its imagery and tone, the references to concentration camps, torture and fascism certainly evoke Picasso’s most celebrated painting.

Plath claimed that in this poem she was adopting the persona of a girl with an Electra complex whose father had been a fascist, but while the poem is not completely autobiographical, it contains several obvious references to her own life. For example, here she refers to the picture of her father:

“You stand at the blackboard, daddy,

In the picture I have of you”

This is a direct image of the actual photograph the Plaths possessed of Otto in front of his blackboard at the University. Similarly, the “man in black with a Meinkampf look” and the “vampire” who “drank my blood” for “seven years” is a reference to her perception of Hughes to whom she had been married for seven years when t…

The Struggle in My Name is Asher Lev and Naked Lunch

The Struggle in My Name is Asher Lev and Naked Lunch

Though most of the experiences and actions revealed in William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch directly contradict philosophies believed by the Jewish faith, there is a definite connection between My Name is Asher Lev and Naked Lunch. This connection lies is the narrators’ artistic roles in society. Both Lev and Burroughs stray from the surrealistic aspect of their mediums: art and writing, respectively, and portray life as they see that it really is. There is no embellishing on either of their parts nor is there any glorification to the events happening around them.

William S. Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch as a conclusion to his fifteen-year addiction to opiates, mainly heroin and morphine. In his “tell all” story of himself as a junkie, he never tries to lie about any of the events that took place during this time and he never augments anything in order to make for a better story. Burroughs clearly depicted the distraught and dillusional life that he once led including his experiences with almost every drug possible and his encounters with sexual relations and situations that went against the status quo of the time (as it still does now). Burroughs’ role as in artist in society, however, was that he was one of the people that clearly showed why the life of a drug addict was not as glorifying and “cool” as people falsely make it out to be. The phases of drug addiction are able to be clearly seen throughout the novel since Naked Lunch was a book written before, during, and after his drug rehabilitation.

Just as Burroughs reveals the drug underground as it really is, Asher Lev is an artist of reality. His talent for art was recognized early in his life, but it was some years later that his view of the world became more apparent. He was neither a pessimist nor was his an optimist, but his drawing capture a little of both realms. He drew what he felt: what he saw as reality in his mind. More often in the book, however, do we see Asher’s pessimistic views on the world come out because of the events that are going on in his life. “I don’t like the world, Mama. It’s not pretty. I won’t draw it pretty.” (52) Just like Burroughs, Asher does not think about what would be acceptable to those who view his works, or the beliefs of his religion, or if what he is drawing may be considered wrong; he just draws what he truly feels at the time.

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