The power of castes

Hi all,

For today’s presentation I wanted to focus on castes in the book. Throughout the whole book most of the characters suffer from their caste and the way the have to live because of it.  Chapra’s main goal is to escape his slave condition and become a general, or a king. I was a bit surprised how the lesson I got out of the book that is “all lives matter equally wether human or animal/ ‘Life is sacred wether or not it is human'” was so different than the way humans treated each other. Page 37 even the monk is surprised if not disgusted that a Pariah can have superpowers and can become godlike. Pariahs are considered “subhuman”, I wanted to know what you thought of the castes and of this contradiction within the book.


So for Vertigo, I want to talk about the image system of mirrors, as said in the lecture, there is a shift in Judy’s attitude when she looks at herself in the mirror. Is there any other passages that would indicate or confirm that the mirror represents the lack of liberty or the dependence to another character ?


Also, I’d like to talk about the opening scene, with the eye of the woman and the spirals that we see. It gives the audience from the first few minutes the idea of dizziness and uneasiness that the characters feel the whole movie. Who do you think the woman is ? is it a representation of the woman as the looker or the looked-at ? Could we associate her with any character or should it represent women in general? Is there any connection /link we can draw between the dizziness and women ?

vertigo_t vertigo@wdd2x vertigo03

Oppressed majority

Hi guys,
so on Wednesday during the talk I had with my group for the presentation I remembered this short film I saw 2 years ago about what the world would look like if men were the oppressed/ sexualized gender in society.
I’ll leave it to you to make your own idea and interpretation of it, wether you approve the message it sends or not. I just thought it was relevant to what we talked about, and it is just important, in my opinion, to always question things that are happening even if they aren’t as obvious or exaggerated as in this short.

Enjoy it’s only 10 mins long !

Oppressed Majority by Eleonord Pourriat

The Chilly Chamber

I have to admit I loved Angela Carter’s short stories, even if they almost all left me with reactions of disgust and surprise (I mean accidentally cutting your grandma’s hand off ?)
Anyway, those fairytales aren’t in my opinion a nice bed-time read, but I definitely enjoyed the gothic of it.
I want to focus on the significance of coldness and the North in the collection, as it is undoubtedly insisted on. When I was reading the stories, They are almost all set during a very snowy and cold winter, on the woods or in isolated places, this image did NOT appear to me :


But more like something like that :

Una_Cataloguestill or Hovarth_wolf How appealing is that ?

So I was wondering what effect the fact that it was cold, snowy, in the woods had on the reader and for the story. I came up with a couple of ideas as I read Snow White, The Werewolf, The Company of Wolves and the Courtship of Mr Lyon again.

First thing that came to my mind was how the winter brought darkness and despair in the character’s lives. Like why does it have to be winter ?

Well, I was thinking that obviously winter brings cold, which brings snow, which brings sickness, and sadness cause everything in the natural environment basically dies (flowers, animals go on an amazing weeks-long nap, and well where is the food ?). Life during Winter time is different than during Summer or Spring, which are the season of “re-birth”, when flowers start growing, animals come out, life starts again.

In the book, it appeared to me as if the characters’ behaviors were in a way justified by the extreme conditions they live in. Carter definitely suggests an equation like : Extreme living conditions = Extreme behaviors/killing your grandma, marrying a Lion, stealing a rose (perhaps?), going in the woods and giving a strange yet handsome man your basket WITH THE KNIFE IN IT. The first two sentences of “The Werewolf” describe that in a great manner : “It is a northern country; they have cold weather, they have cold hearts. Cold; tempest; wild beasts in the forest” (108). I don’t know how Canadians should take these sentences, but maybe they are hiding something behind their politeness… Joke aside, the way I understand the first sentence is that there is a direct correlation between the cold weather and the cold hearts, in fact cold hearts are the evident results of the cold weather. Is that why the witch in Snow White is obsessed with her heart ? In regard of sadness “there is a vast melancholy in the canticles of the wolves, melancholy infinite as the forest, endless as these long nights of winter and yet that ghastly sadness, that mourning for their own…” (The Company of Wolves 113). Is that sentence supposed to make us feel sad for the wolves or.. ?


I’m just so happy to be able to use a Harry Potter picture

What (up Miley? ) about the snow and the whitness ? Carter insists soooooooo much about the snow and how white it is, making me think about its significance. Is she trying to build a relation between the snow and purity, innocence ? Comparisons are made between the female characters and snow as in The Courtship of Mr Lyon “this lovely girl, whose skin possesses that same, inner light so you would have thought she, too, was made all of snow […] the road is white and unmarked as a spilled bolt of bridal satin” (41), and in Snow Child, the child literally appears out of the snow, any hints ?

The woods in the stories certainly give this gothic environment of something vast, unknown, dangerous, with wild animals. Carter uses metaphors such as “the woods swallows you up” (84) like “jaws”.

So I don’t know, I’m throwing things at you guys that you can maybe answer or think about !


Knowing is Resisting (The Plague – Albert Camus)

While reading The Plague by Albert Camus, I came across this passage that made me think about our theme Seeing and Knowing. The Plague is a book written in 1947 about the contamination of the city Algier in Algeria. The more spread and possible interpretation of Camus’ text (considering the time it has been written) is the metaphor of the nazi’s occupation in Europe during the second world war. The Resistance groups (represented by the the sanitary groups fighting against the plague) and the fight against the occupation and the horror. In this passage, Camus talks about how the most important thing is not to be good or bad, but not to stay ignorant about the current issues.

Translation by Stuart Gilbert:  “However, it is not the narrator’s intention to ascribe to these sanitary groups more importance than their due. Doubtless today many of our fellow citizens are apt to yield to the temptation of exaggerating the services they rendered. But the narrator is inclined to think that by attributing overimportance to praiseworthy actions one may, by implication, be paying indirect but potent homage to the worse side of human nature. For this attitude implies that such actions shine out as rare exceptions, while callousness and apathy are the general rule. The narrator does not share that view. The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. The soul of the murderer is blind; and there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clear-sightedness.”

I thought it was very interesting to consider Camus’ view on ignorance and knowledge when we saw Rousseau’s and Sophocles’, who gave us a hard time deciding wether staying ignorant was better than knowing the truth sometimes or if staying ignorant and blind is better for oneself.

Camus’ view on Knowledge or at  least the opinion he gives his narrator (let’s not assume he puts himself in the shoes of the narrator) is pretty fixed. For him : “The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. The soul of the murderer is blind; and there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clear-sightedness.” Since the book’s interpretation mostly focuses on the European Resistance towards the Nazis, we can understand that he urges people to get knowledge and to not stay blind to such situations when something bad is obviously happening. It’s more about not ignoring an issue and taking a stand than doing good things in an ignorant way. He would even consider associate ignorance as a vice and knowledge or the “les ignorance”, maybe the interest to get information as a virtue.

I was going to proofread this post before posting it in case I made grammar mistakes or whatever, but after the awful events that happened in my country, in Paris, and in the world (Bagdad and Beirut), I just cannot wait to post it. When I read this passage I was thinking about Neo-socialism, but now all i can think about it terrorism. all the lives lost. all those dead bodies. and i couldn’t agree more with camus. we need to know. we need to inform ourselves. we need to be aware of what is going on in the world. and most importantly we must acknowledge that no human life is more important than another. I am so moved by what happened in paris because I am french, this is my capitale city, it represents my nation and some of my friends live there. but we should not forget and we/i still should be moved and disgusted by what is happening in the middle east. the attacks in paris are AWFUL and i just can’t believe it happened, but after reasoning myself and managing to calm down, i can’t stop thinking about all the dead bodies in Syria, all the people escaping war at THIS EXACT MOMENT, and we just stopped talking about it. we just don’t talk enough about it. and we do amalgams, we confuse those migrants with terrrorism, we confuse islam with terrorism and it is not okay. we need to be informed, we cannot stay ignorant about what is happening around us or we sadly, unconsciously let this happen. 

This post wasn’t supposed to be a rant about terrorism, France, or the civil war in Syria, but I started it a few days ago without being able to finish it and tonight I just cannot stop writing and thinking about how much it can relate to our theme and to the current events. 

All I wanna say to close this post is THANK YOU for acknowledging and supporting us, french people, you cannot imagine how much it means to me, us. BUT, Knowing is everything. Please do not stay ignorant to every thing that is happening everywhere else in the world. Please get knowledge and get informed, please support other people and other cultures. Please do not mix up religion and terrorism. As Camus said, it is not about being good are bad, it’s about not staying ignorant. Because all those terrorists, who killed hundreds of people around the world today, they were blind. Please do not stay blind. you don’t wanna be blind. 

Le plus fort n’est jamais assez fort pour être toujours le maître

“The strongest is never strong enough to be always the master” – Rousseau

Rousseau’s Discourses on Inequality is an attempt to find the origin of inequality in society. Rousseau talks about the rich, the poor, the strong and the weak. I want to focus on what he calls the “Law of the Strongest”.

“It therefore seems to me certain that governments did not originate in arbitrary power, which is only the final stage of the corruption of governments, and which brings them back in the end to the very law of the strongest which they were first introduced to remedy, even if they had begun this way, such power being in its nature illegitimate, could not serve as the basis for rights in society, nor consequently for the inequality instituted in society.” (Rousseau 128) I want to consider this sentence and try to understand what Rousseau truly means by the illegitimate nature of the right of the strongest. Rousseau considers the law of the strongest as something that does not exist since as soon as the force starts to weaken no right remains. To him no lasting power can be established from strength and force. However even if he mentions that no governments actually rise from the law of the strongest, everything he states about the origin of governments could be interpreted as such. He says that there is a “perpetual conflict between the right of the strongest and the right of the first occupant which ended only in fights and murders.” The conflict then conducts the “rich man” (could possibly be seen as the strongest because of his wealth ?) to “conceive … the most cunning project that ever entered the human mind” that is to say, a unity of people under instituted laws, and rules, in the end a government (120-121). Indeed, I think it is important not only to consider the strongest the person with the best physical abilities but also the cunning one using his own ability for his advantage.  If the strongest can be the smartest or the richest, wouldn’t the governments be first established by the strongest ? In the Social Contract, Rousseau states that “the strongest is never strong enough to be always the master unless he transforms strength into right, and obedience into duty.” It would make sense in this argument as well, as before governments were established the rich/strong/smart one understood that “force could take away from them what force alone had acquired without having any reason for complaint”. In this respect, the rich/strong/smart ones have to establish something that would legitimize their power and possessions in order to keep them (121). If they manage to legitimize their strength as being what’s needed for the good of ALL people and mostly for their own good, and make their strength into a right that everyone else as to respect then only they would transform people’s obedience into duty. When Rousseau talks about the illegitimate nature of the Law of the strongest, is he suggesting that it is illegitimate because it is not natural or because it results in inequalities ?


Hobbes – The Leviathan, a tyrant ?

Hobbes defines every word he is using, which kinda annoys me and makes me lose track of his main argument, but I still try to find a way to focus and to understand his point. The Leviathan is one man (or group of men/women), ruling the state, maintaining its peace and liberating the people from the state of nature. In chapter XVII, Hobbes insists on the fact that the ruler has a full power, many rights, and cannot be overthrown by the people.
It surely sounds tyrannical.  I am wondering what would stop the Leviathan to establish a commonwealth by acquisition, benefit from the rights reserved to him and act for his own sake instead of the people’s? Men are naturally evil, Hobbes says, the ruler gets all the power and the rights, can use fear and censorship to maintain peace. What happens when he decides not to follow his role but uses all the rights for himself?
Indeed Hobbes states that the man is naturally evil, in the state of nature, fear controls the human beings, who fight each other for their own survival. How does Hobbes think men should respect their agreement with the sovereign if they are naturally seeking Honour, dignity, envy and don’t trusting each other? The ruler should keep his people “in awe and direct their actions to the common benefit”, has every right to use censorship, “to be judge of the opinions and doctrines”, “to do whatsoever he shall think is necessary to be done, when peace and security are lost, for the recovery of the same” (Chap. XVIII {8}).
Since fear is what leads them to fight and not trust each other, how would controlling them with fear do any good? The people cannot even find a new ruler without my permission (Chap. XVIII {3}).
Moreover, I found it paradoxical that Hobbes would authorize and promote censorship, when he can be a victim of it.
Oh Hobbes, you confuse me.

Introducing myself

Hi there!

I’m Eloane, I’m from France and I just moved to Canada to start uni. I arrived almost a month ago, on the 13th, and attended JumpStart, which was an amazing way to make friends and to settle in.

I am very excited about this new life, new place, all those new people I’m meeting everyday.

ArtsOne will be challenging for me as english is not my first language but I’m very excited to improve my writing skills.