Biblical Violence

Pages 223-228

These pages depict a scene where a man accused of thievery is stoned and then set ablaze. Elvis and Redemption watch from a nearby spot, yet another time where Elvis must sit by and watch the casual violence that pervades his home.

In this book, as with many of the other pieces that we have read this semester, it seems that every sentence is packed with a reference to an outside person, event, or location. It is nearly impossible to keep up with all of these. I read the small chapter once as merely an observation by Elvis, and a second time with the various references in play. The scenes are markedly different.

First Reading: As Elvis and Redemption sit in a restaurant or café of some sort, a man (inexplicably wearing a tire as a necklace) is expelled from a nearby market for being a thief, crying for God. The mob follows him. The man, Jeremiah, responds to the claims by asking a man, Peter, to vouch for him, to verify his story that Peter owed him money. Peter calls him a liar and throws a stone at him, which Elvis describes as “comically biblical, yet purely animal” (225). The man implores that his is not a thief, but is instead a carpenter. The crowd begins hurling stones at him. Elvis asks Redemption why this is happening. Redemption answers with a Bob Marley quotation about the nature of hungry men. Elvis overhears a conversation in which a pair speculates about Jeremiah’s true crime. One claims that he must have molested a child. When Jeremiah awakes, the crowd pours petrol over him and lights the tire on fire. Redemption calls this the necklace of fire, a term which Elvis feels sounds “so sensual it made him shudder” (228). He is then chased into the adjacent timber yard by the prodding of two men holding two long wooden planks.

References:

Jeremiah: Jeremiah was a prophet who suffered greatly as he attempted to spread the word of God. In lamentations he said “I have been hunted like a bird by those who were my enemies without cause; they flung me alive into the pit and cast stones on me; water closed over my head; I said, `I am lost.’” (Lamentations, 3:49-55)

Peter: Peter was one of Jesus’ apostles and revered saint.

Carpenter: Jesus himself was a carpenter.

Crying for God/molested a child: There are many examples of stoning in the Bible, the reasons for which are very varied but include blasphemy (showing contempt or lack of reverence for God) and sexual molestation.

Bob Marley: Bob Marley was an influential musician as well as Rastafarian, a religion that promoted the idea of Afrocentricsm.

Necklace of fire: Necklacing is a common lynching technic seen mostly in South Africa.

Two long wooden planks: Jesus was crucified on two long wooden planks.

 

Second reading: The people take the side of the established saint over the mistrusted prophet. They stone him for suspected sexual misconduct and blasphemous behavior. Redemption reflects on the nature of the African people and their place in the world. And next to all of the Biblical references is an example of human cruelty, lynching.


Indira Gandhi and the Indian Emergency

Indira Gandhi was the third Prime Minister of independent India, serving three terms from 1966 to 1984, non-consecutively. She was a political legacy, being the only child born of the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru. During her time in Parliament, Indira Gandhi was more liberal, leading the socialist-leaning politicians. For example, she strengthened Indian/Soviet relationships.

As Indian’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi took major steps towards developing India. She authorized the development of nuclear weapons. When the word spread about this development and tensions rose with neighboring countries, Indira Gandhi released a statement saying that nuclear development was for industrial and scientific purposes only. Gandhi also headed the Green Revolution. This was aimed at solving the problem of feeding the urban population as well as decreasing Indian dependence on the United States. During the Green Revolution, India turned to a country with an exportable product. It is said that Indira Gandhi and Richard Nixon were not too fond of each other either. Indira Gandhi also nationalized fourteen of the major banks of the time to encourage economic development. This step ended up being very successful, especially in rural areas. Indira Gandhi also declared a State of Emergency in 1975. She was assassinated by her own bodyguards on October 31st, 1984.

The Indian Emergency was a 21 month-long period from 1975 to 1977 that was requested by Indira Gandhi. The government of India cited the recent war with Pakistan, the drought, the oil crisis, and the continuing strikes and protests as “imminent danger to the security of India” and thus reasons for the declaration of a state of emergency. The State of Emergency granted Gandhi power to “rule by decree”. She employed the police forces across the country to place protestors under arrest. By the end of the Emergency, 140,00 were arrested with trial. All elections in the country were postponed. Gandhi and her political majority were able to rewrite laws with little opposition while Gandhi, as Prime Minister, was able to single-handedly bypass law-making procedures and issue “Ordinances” which stood as law during the Emergency. There were also coerced sterilizations to curb India’s rate of population growth.

Some supported the institution of the Emergency, such as Mother Teresa and prominent politicians around the world who stated that it was necessary to the economic survival of India was well. The people of India, did not support the suspension of their civil liberties. On the first day of the Emergency in the Bombay edition of The Times of India in the obituaries section, it read “D.E.M. O’Cracy beloved husband of T. Ruth, father of L.I. Bertie, brother of Faith, Hope, and Justica expired on June 26”.


From the Starting Line

“Hide the Christmas tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children do not see it till this evening, when it is dressed.” (1)

The play begins with an idle comment from the woman of the house to her maid. Or does it? Even from the first innocent line of “A Doll’s House”, concealing information from the family and the idea of keeping up appearances are shown as major themes of the play.

The line is said by Nora, our leading lady, our woman of the house, our actress of deceit. Nora is not only hiding and dressing Christmas trees, but herself as well. She submits to being called “lark” and “squirrel” in order to appease her husband and create no cause for suspicion. All throughout the play, Nora’s biggest concern is that of concealing the crime she committed in order to protect her family from financial destruction. And yet, as she confides in Mrs. Linde, “I too have something to proud and glad of…” but “no one in the world must know.” (10) Who does she strive so vehemently to hide this from? The family she sought to protect.

Nora would not have to do this if she was the man of the house. The man of the house could confide his under the table doings to his wife with no fear of her reaction. However, because of the woman’s sphere that existed at the time, Nora’s indiscretion carries not only legal ramifications but personal reputation ones for Torvald as well. He must never know lest he be faced with the shame of being unable to provide for his family.

Thus, Nora must hide. She must keep appearances up. She must dress and dance as if nothing is wrong in order to assail any suspicions. Nora must only come out “when she is dressed”.


So You’re New to Boston?

Take the green line

Yeah, the B line

Yes, all the way to Park Street

Why you trying to get to Harvard anyways?

We have everything we need

Here

It’s a city convenience

Everything you need

What more could you want?