Author Archives: jordan fitzgerald

Human Nature

I have found that we read, and I wrote, a lot on human nature, the state of nature, and man’s inherent tendencies to be good or bad… or neither. In thinking about what I believe is really true on this subject, I always end up thinking about it slightly more biologically than, say, Rousseau or Hobbes.

My first thought is usually that man’s primary objective must be to survive as a species. Man must survive and procreate. So therefor, we cannot be naturally evil. We cannot want to intentionally harm others and the human race. But then I debate that maybe our biological goal is less concerned with humans as a species and more concentrated on individual survival. Therefor, man would not inherently harm oneself and probably would not intend to act negatively towards others, unless their success as a human was at risk. So maybe it can be argued biologically that man is inherently competitive and filled with self interest for the purpose of survival. But I still generally chose to acknowledge man as inherently good with the intention of supporting mankind as a race.

I agree with most books we have read that man’s most innate tendency is that of self preservation. But, I guess the question to be answered is whether it is self preservation as an individual or self preservation as a member of a greater community… I don’t think there is an answer on the realities of human nature, but I do believe the only place we will find implications of an answer is in our biology.


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The Hunger Games

Writing my Hopkins essay, I found it evocative to look up dictionary definitions of seemingly important words. In reviewing one of Hopkins’ poems (I forget which one) I came across the word “quell.”  I looked it up, and the definition reads: “put an end to (a rebellion or other disorder), typically by the use of force,” “subdue or silence someone,” and “suppress (a feeling, especially an unpleasant one).” What does this make you think of?! Well if you’re a fan of fantasy fiction, like me (and Kat, I think – see below) it may have made you think of The Hunger Games and more specifically the Quarter Quell..?  

For those of you who don’t know – the Quarter Quell is a ‘special edition’ Games that happens every 25 years. In the second book of the series, the capital hosts the third Quarter Quell. The twist of this Quarter Quell is that there is no normal reaping, one male and one female victor (winners of past Games) from each district must compete. The ‘theme’ of the Quarter Quell is said to be randomly selected from a variety of options, but I believe this Quarter Quell was orchestrated to force Katniss back into the games as an attempt to dispel the inevitable rebellion. Katniss is the only female victor from district 12 so this concept works perfectly in favor (hah – get it) of the capitol’s agenda. After reading the definition of “quell,” I came to realize that the name of these quarterly games as the “Quarter Quell” foreshadows all that happens in Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Maybe this was evident to everyone else, but I thought this was crazy!

Shortly after this revelation, I saw the final movie of the series. The entire movie I kept thinking of what all these other titles and made up names infer. I think I can thank Arts One for that. Anyway, when I got home, I looked up a couple other definitions.

Firstly, Primrose is a flower known for being fragile and for its thin and short stem. They are also known for their reproductivity. Knowing this, might we have for seen Prim’s career as a doctor and even death? Alma is often the name of a deity associated with light and earth; “Coin” is defined as “A small piece of metal, usually flat and circular, authorized by a government for use as money” and “To devise.” Within these connotations and definitions could we have seen the death of Coin and the election of Alma?

I have read a lot of books but after this semester of analysis and close reading I have come to understand how much more depth there is in much writing – even in the Hunger Games. I think I will continue to see more meaning in most works of literature I read and in movies I watch.

PS. on another note – don’t you think the Hunger Games could be taught in an International Relations class?



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Found Poetry

In one of my most favorite classes I have ever taken, Environmental Literature, my teacher introduced me to the idea of “Found Poetry.” The idea of Found Poetry is to take quotes and phrases from a piece of prose and turn it into a poem. So, I wrote a poem found in A Discourse on Inequality that aligns on some fronts with Rousseau’s ideology and romantic nature. It reflects my favorite part of A Discourse on Inequality that I wish Rousseau had elaborated more on…


Rousseau – A Discourse on Inequality:

Found Poetry


Nature- Value Self


Our ills are of our own making,

Strengthen the power which Subdues –

sociable and a slave, he grows feeble.

His imagination paints no pictures;

his heart yearns for nothing.

Makes man in the end a tyrant over Himself –

man will not be born a man. Neither

foresight nor curiosity,

They speak of savage man,

they depict civilized man –

wear chains for the sake of imposing chains.

Once a people is accustomed

to Masters, it is no longer in a condition

to do without – not obliged to make

a Man a philosopher before we can make him

a Man.

But let us return to their foundation –

in Nature which Never lies.

Understanding owes much to the passions.

If we do not first have knowledge

of men themselves,

render ourselves incapable of knowing

Him. I would

have sought as my own country,

less fortunate or wise too late:

happy and peaceful commonwealth

of which the history was lost so to speak,

in the darkness of time. I would

have wished to Live and die free, that is to say,

subject to Law in such a way.

Such, Magnificent and Most Honoured Lords,

are the citizens – make your happiness endure

by the wisdom of using it well.

Wish not to live in a republic

newly founded, more dangerous

than the actions they report – exhibit

some love for the earthly city. What is more, this precious liberty

separate the original from that which is artificiality.

The activity of self-love contributes,

to the mutual preservation of the whole species.

It will be easy for others

to go down further the same path

– only after clearing away sand and dust,

where love is never seasonal,

for there is in freedom:

clash of passion, cry of nature.

Where there is no love, what would be the use of

beauty? Presages and guarantees

or a sincere and permanent reconciliation. No

Greater Felicity for Himself

than that of seeing You all happy.


-Jordan Fitzgerald



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Tempest Lecture: Book and Body

In lecture today, we were asked if Shakespeare is a master illusionist. The idea of Prospero and Shakespeare’s relationship was also questioned. Does Shakespeare use Prospero in Tempest as Plato uses Socrates in Republic? Through different lenses of interpretation one may argue either way. I do not believe Shakespeare speaks through Prospero as deliberately as Plato does through Socrates, but I do think that Shakespeare manipulates the character of Prospero to author Tempest.

Later in our lecture, Professor Mota, in reference to Greenaway’s art film, explained how Greenaway believes that “print and flesh are equally attractive” and that this directly relates to the relationship between book and body. He then proposed the idea that Prospero’s books give him life and that they give life to the story and life to the island.

I agree with this, because without Prospero’s books there would be no storyline and therefore no Tempest. I think that the play was in a way written by Prospero because he was responsible for everything. Because Tempest was in reality written by Shakespeare but it appears to be controlled and manipulatively written by Prospero, it is appropriate to assume Shakespeare speaks through Prospero to some degree. Here, Mota and Greenaway’s ideas offer an answer to previously asked questions and connect both the written play and film interpretation.


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