The Tragedy of Seamus Fera

hey all,

So this is my last official blog post for this term (I may do one farewell/happy Christmas one) but here we do.

This week we read two plays: The Tragedy of King Christophe by Césaire and Henri Christophe by Walcott. I will say off the bat that I was so happy to finally read something good once again. No offense to like Trouillot and Hobbes…well offense to Hobbes…but lately in Arts one (well since Butler) we’ve read quite unenthusiastic readings. I am sure that they are great for philosophers, but I ain’t that, hence I would rather run a marathon while on fire than read the remaining 200 pages of Hobbes.

Anywho, where was I? Yes….I enjoyed these readings for that fact, but as the lecturer said, they aren’t like great plays.

Walcott’s acts each began with Shakespearean quotes and it seemed to me that by doing so he shot himself in the foot. His writing is nowhere up to par with that of Shakespeare and to preface his own words with those of the master craftsman was just foolish.

I also noticed that Césaire had a quite Brechtian style to his writing; the wordiness and use of songs is very reminiscent of Caucasian Chalk Circle and other plays.

I found myself reading Césaire quicker (very much enjoyed the clown and the queen) but found myself enjoying Walcott more. I like the precision of his scenes and the simplicity of it all.

I will add more maybe, but that is all for now!




So now it’s been a day since I posted this and I thought it would be a good time to further my blog post. Here are some definitions.

Epic Theatre: A form of theatre made famous by Bertolt Brecht. It is a form of theatre which wants the audience to be aware that they are watching a play. The full definition, thanks to is:

“Dramatic form developed in Germany after World War I by Bertolt Brecht and others, intended to provoke rational thought rather than to create illusion. It presents loosely connected scenes often interrupted by direct addresses to the audience providing analysis, argument, or documentation. Brecht’s goal was to use alienating or distancing effects to block the emotional responses of the audience members and force them to think objectively about the play. Actors were instructed to keep a distance between themselves and the characters they portrayed and to emphasize external actions rather than emotions.”

Brecht also uses songs that narrate “to an extent” the inner thoughts of the characters. (here is a weird example ). These techniques were very prevalent in Césaire’s play. Hugonin sings all the time, commenting on what is happening with the others characters, even if it doesn’t make sense with the plot. At the same time, there was a grandiose quality to this text. It was very pageant like and at times the scenes seemed unrelated. The text made me think about what was happening, instead of just enjoying it.

If you look at the rhythm in which some of the characters speak, the style in which the play is written shifts.

The Queen, on page 41-42 speaks in a very heightened sense- almost on the brink of Greek Theatre like. Referencing herself and prophesying (in a sense) what is to come. I was very perplexed by this outburst…as well as the ending of the play. They seemed somewhat out of place and strange.

I found that Henri spoke either in this Greek Tragedy motif or in a shakespearean-esque style (to be discussed in my essay)

My favorite scene in this play was when Vastey visits the two noblewomen and the play turns into an almost Wilde comedy (think Importance of being Earnest)

I have yet to decide if this shift in style was a technique to intensify the play or just an amateur playwrights mistakes.

Now we go to Walcott, the polar opposite of his contemporary. I felt that this play was better and very modern in its approach to such a historical event. I sympathized much more with Henri Christophe in this one (perhaps it is because he was actually the lead, whereas in Césaire, it was a hodge podge)

In Walcott, I felt that all the “bullshit” and excessive fluff was stripped away leaving us with an exploration of the character’s psyche. I believe it also gave us a better view point into the story of the Haitian Revolution. Although the play took place over a larger time period (it seemed) the moments that were chosen to be dramatized, were done so in a precise manner to really highlight certain instances.

In the same vein, some of the more lengthy sections of the text turned into an almost poetic or song like rhythm.

I also found it interesting that there were no women in this play. I wonder why?


“How do I define History? Its’ just one fucking thing after another”

Hey friends,

I feel like the Blog hub is just of my random thoughts, so here is another one.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to the lecture tomorrow so I know that I am going to have missed so much, but I hope that what i have gotten from my reading, is good enough.

I want to start off by saying that when I saw this book for the first time, I was apprehensive and nervous that it would be a boring philosophical book that I would loath, but instead I found a very well laid out, and thought provoking book.

I have discovered that I enjoyed reading books about history, not fictitious but actually examining it. Last year I read The Rape of Nanjing and all I can say is that I was blown away by it.

My one criticism with this book was that the back teaser didn’t actually describe what the book was about. Although both the Alamo and the Holocaust were aspects of this book, it was Haiti that was the prime example so I felt that should’ve been touched on. But whatever.

I think for this blog I will post some of my favorite quotes and discuss.

1) One will not castigate long-dead writers for using the words of their time or for not sharing ideological views that we now take for granted. (82)

For the last few years I have been attempting to make this argument and finally Trouillot made it clear. Oftentimes, we try to bring the past into the present, but it doesn’t work. It may still be relevant, but we shouldn’t judge the writer based on our own ideals. Take Shakespeare and how people call him anti-Semitic because of his portrayal of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Sure it is awful how Shylock is made fun or and made to be the villain, but that was the time period in which he wrote. Everyone was like that.

2) The Marseillaise was also a cry against ‘slavery’ (86)

This quote really made me think about our society and how we are all enslaved by something. Electronics, other people, ourselves. I know I am enslaved in trying to be the ‘best’ and outdoing others. I get so wrapped up in myself that i lose sight of what really matters. It also makes me think that the world will never allow us to escape the bonds of something – we will never be truly free!

3) Survivors carry history on themselves (149)

This quote is referencing the Holocaust (Shoah) and Slavery in America and instantly I thought of one of the most interesting dialogues in my favorite play The History Boys By Alan Bennet (P.S read it and be prepared to laugh, cry and die). They are having a discussion about whether the Holocaust should be taught in schools and how the extermination camps are now hosts to tourist groups and people taking group photos in front of the sleeping barracks and getting sodas next to the gas chambers and the jewish student, Posner says something along the lines that “You haven’t lost your family in it” For him, the Shoah is something very really and pertinent. He didn’t survive it, but the wounds of his family will always plague him. The teacher in response says

“But this is History. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don’t see it, and because we don’t see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past. And one of the historian’s jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be… even on the Holocaust.” 

As always, I have run out of things to discuss. I really enjoyed this book and it was very thought provoking. Looking forward to seeing what the essay topics are.

some great quotes about history to think of

1) Headmaster: There’s a vacancy in history.

Tom Irwin: [Thoughtfully] That’s very true.

Headmaster: In the school.

Tom Irwin: Ah.

2) Mrs. Lintott: History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket.

3)Mrs. Lintott: The smallest of incidents… the junction of a dizzying range of alternatives… any one of which could have had a different outcome.


The Remaking of Antigone- Jean Anouilh

Hey all,

So I know that no one else read this play, but I wanted to write a blog post anyways.

So I am almost done this weeks book Silencing the Past and I felt that seeing how I was this week, I needed to do something for myself. Since my house is being prepped for an open house, I have dug up some awesome old books (some even from the 1800s) anyhow, one of the books that i found was this compilation of 11 contemporary dramatic plays. Antigone by Jean Anouilh was one of them and since I had an hour bus ride to work, I thought I’d give it a spin.

The play opens with a one person chorus speaking about each of the characters. It almost seems as if the idea of “Antigone” is just a symbolism and how in every age this story is repeated- remodeled- if i may. When he describes Antigone, the Chorus states that “Another thing that she is thinking is this: she is going to die….She would much rather live than die…” which shows that perhaps Antigone isn’t this stoic character that  she seems to be in Sophocles’s play (115). He states in this opening monologue that “…your name is Antigone, there is only one part you can play;…” (115)

The interesting thing about this Chorus is that he acts almost like the inner monologue of the other characters. He also puts judgments on these characters, especially Creon.

An interesting part of this play is you get to see what happens between the “prologue” and the re-entrance of Antigone in Sophocles’ play.  We see a heart wrenching scene when she and Haemon share an intimate moment, before she gives him up (knowing she must die). Her almost goddess like state in the Greek tragedy is broken down in here early scenes with her Nurse. She admits that she is afraid of what is to come and that “you must keep me warm and safe, the way you used to do when I was little.” (119). In short Antigone is less of a hard ass and is likable in this rendition.

At the same time, Creon is also not so black and white. It is stated that before all this happened, he was content “collecting his manuscripts” (116) but felt like he had to take the power – it was the responsible thing to do. The best section of the play happens during the confrontation scene between Creon and Antigone. Creon states that he in fact likes Antigone and wants her to live for his son, but she is the stubborn one. He offers to allow her to live and kill the guards, but she states that if he does that, she will just go out again and do it again. She goes so far as to call herself “the queen” and spit in his face. This is very different from the distinguished and collected confrontation in the traditional play.

During our seminar, there was a large debate about the character Ismene, and whether she is a strong or weak character. In Jean Aouilh’s script. she begins as the ideal of beauty, and quickly does what people expect of her, but she is much more rational and she appears often in the beginning. As in Sophocles, she re-enters and declares that she wished to die too. Instead of rationalizing with Creon, she states that “if you [Antigone] die, I don’t want to live. I’ll do it alone tonight.” (132) Instead of being arrested, she escapes and it is assumed that she follows her sisters path because the chorus states that everyone, but the sentry, are dead. Although it takes her a little while, she eventually steps outside of what is right and does what is in her heart.

Instead of exiling himself, Creon solemnly exits towards a cabinet meeting, unable to properly mourn. He is the state, he does not get time to be the man.

I just want to share two quotes that I thought were incredible.

1) ” You have never seen inhuman forces at work? You will, tonight.” 

The Chorus acts almost like a MC.

2) “Only the guards are left, and none of this matters to them. It’s no skin off their noses. They go on playing cards.”

If you get a chance, read this play. It really changed my perception of the whole myth. The play itself is just beautiful.



Seamus has lost his filter


Since I have already gotten this rap of being slightly too honest and such, I am going to do something that I said I wasn’t going to…RANT!

I am at my wits end right now. I am just done at getting mediocre marks for putting in actual effort, showing up ON TIME to all the lectures and seminar and getting good comments in Tutorial. I hope i’m not the only one in this boat. 

I really want to full on ranting Seamus mode, but I won’t (please talk individually for that) but I am just like so over this whole pushing oneself. At the end of the day, all any of us REALLY care about is getting good grades and being successful, sorry to burst the bubbles of any of the UBC staff that think we care about expanding ourselves….

This is a rut rant. My feelings will change.

edited addition

after sitting on this for a day and re readign it, I noticed that I came off a bit…how to put it nicely…Awful. I Sound like a prima dona. stuck up, attention needing child (Veruca Salt)

I think I speak for many Arts One Students (and UBCers in general) when I say that I am use to being the top of my class (or in the top 5) and so to come to a place where all of these similar people are congested and to FEEL so insignificant is hard.I am missing the days of getting 120% for an essay.

I do think that Arts One was the best choice for me, cause not only have i met some awesome people, but there is the added bonus of getting all my requirements done. I guess for me, knowing that I desperately want to get into the BFA, it is hard to not focus on that.

Hopefully the next month and term will be better.





I don’t hate ALL Philosophy

So apparently I am getting a bit of a wrap of hating philosophy. And although Hobbes just insulted me to the very core, it isn’t ALL philosophy, just him.

Rousseau on the other hand, I thought was fantastic.His points were clear, it was evident what he was discussing and he wrote well. He used imagery, symbolism, examples, metaphors. he wrote to attract an audience. I found myself highlighting quotes and really diving deep into the text.

I know he was quite a few years after Hobbes, but the writing quality was so much higher.

His personal life was also so scandalous and epic that I was drawn into his writing by that alone.

Therefore, in conclusion, Ergo, Hence…I don’t have all philosophy

Guess who.


Hello my Blog followers,

I don’t think you exist, but w/e….I am fine talking to myself.

I don’t really have anything in particular to blog about so this will be an unepic stream of thought.

Thinking about it, I have nothing to write about that is appropriate for someone my age…It is halloween after all.

Everyone be safe, eat a lot of candy and have a great night!


I hate Hobbes (pt 2)

I still want to write “That is all” and let it go, but I don’t think I would be allowed to, so I will now attempt to formulate some sort of stream of thought.

I thought Crawford did a great lecture. It clarified things and he was able to (somewhat) pinpoint what  Hobbes was trying to say. But I am sorry, HE IS NOT GOD. The very thought of him “recreating” the bible makes me cringe (and yes I am catholic, but not super devout) He is just some old, sad, british, fart who had a few ideas and seemed to be slightly OCD/ADHD (not insulting anyone who is actually that) You know people have deep rooted issues when they try and knock down all of the built bases of society….JUST STFU Hobbes.

Another issue I took with “Leviathan” is the awesome title it has and the fail of a book inside of it. The word Leviathan is so power, it just rolls off the tongue and I think of an epic tale not some boring dissertation about government….So in a sense, it does fool the reader into getting the book (nice marketing Hobbes)

Also, what is up with all of the god damn definitions. On one hand it was nice reading them cause they were quick and filled up a huge potion of the pages but i didn’t sign up for Arts One and paid a grand to read an encyclopedia.

I can’t write any more because even thinking about the book is making me mad. I try and have an open mind, but really, I don’t. I dislike philosophy thoroughly!!!!!!!! (sorry Christina) Sometimes you have too just enjoy things and not over analyse things or else your life ends awfully.\

Cause we all want to know why they are all naked.

Ok so first off I will say I know this isn’t my week to blog but since I am stuck doing one about Hobbes so Imma do this one too.

If I didn’t make it clear during the lecture I want everyone to know that I LOVED THIS READING. I thought it was clearly the best choice so far…sorry Judith…and really kept me involved in the story.

I also felt like i kinda bossed the lecture cause I finally was able to speak my opinion without inferring a sexual relationship between myself and pastries. I found it interesting when someone said that they found part 1 harder than part 2, whereas I had a complete opposite reaction. I found the section with Margarita slightly boring and not gripping whereas “book 1” was just spectacular.

My favorite element was the Pontius part and I wish that had been extended slightly, but c’est la vie! also i was hoping that Hopeless was going to be a larger character.

Now to the nakedness…even I will be WTF…maybe my thought about the women representing Eve (thus Woland needing them was right) – I may be a genius there! but still it made no sense, it was sorta objectifying woman and was shock for the sake of shock..although Natasha was beast!

That’s all imma say…

Hobbes is next..stay tuned for a rant