Throughout my life, when I have studied and learned about the history of this planet, I have heard many stories of mankind’s unsettling capacity for violence, cruelty, xenophobia, hatred, and greed. Too many times, I have read or learned about a historical event where humanity took these sins to their absolute worst levels. The Civil Rights Movement. The Holocaust. The American-Indian Massacres. The Era of American Slavery. All of these events left a nauseatingly long trail of ruined lives and dead innocents in their wake. These types of tragedies have happened far too often in human history. It’s easy for many of us to lose faith in our species, but at the end of the tunnel of tragedy is a light of hope. For even in the darkest eras of human history, humans have proven that while their capacity for evil is great, their capacity for good is even greater. I have learned about many instances where a select few people have risen up above base instinct and xenophobia so as to help others. For example, Martin Luther King was not only a fierce advocate for civil rights, but he did so without resorting to violence. He preached the ideals of fighting with words rather than bullets, and his followers behaved exactly as he pleaded for them to. Even when faced with overwhelming odds and constant threats from his enemies, he never once lashed out in rage.
Throughout my life, I have always believed that despite our flaws, humans have an unbelievably huge capacity for good. Learning about people like Martin Luther King and growing up surrounded by family and friends who accepted me for who I was helped to strengthen my belief that if me and my loved ones could accept and love each other unconditionally, then humanity has that potential as well. If you wish to see more modern examples of humankind’s capacity for good, then you needn’t look very far to find them. All around the United States, and the world at large, you will come across thousands of organizations dedicated to helping others, acting on the ideals of compassion. Philadelphia is the home city of Project HOME, a homelessness rehabilitation program that takes homeless people off the streets and provides them with housing, job opportunities and training, medical care, education, and all of a citizen’s basic necessities while teaching them to fend for themselves. Philadelphia is also home to the Saved Me Animal Shelter, an anti-euthanasia shelter that actually rescues other dogs and cats from pro-euthanasia shelters and keeps them safe and warm until they get adopted. These two selfless organizations help to fully cement Philadelphia’s reputation as the city of “brotherly love,” and I have had the honor of volunteering for both of them in the past. While at the animal shelter, I helped by folding laundry, cleaning windows, playing with the animals, washing the chalkboard, and scooping the litter boxes. At Project HOME, I worked at the medical clinic shredding old documents so as to make room for new patients. Even though my work at the clinic was clerical at most, I was confident that in one way or another, I was making quite an impact on the community and helping many homeless people to avoid getting sick, or worse. During my orientation day the beginning of my two-week volunteer session, I also got to hear from a formerly homeless man who told us how Project HOME helped him to become a productive member of society. Not only was I inspired by his story, but I also learned that when you look beneath all of the stigma and stereotypes, homeless people are really no different from what society considers “normal” people.
Not only have I had the honor of working for Project HOME and Saved Me Animal Shelter, but I have also helped make commitments to science and the understanding of Autism. You see, since Autism is such a mysterious and strange condition (which many people have even arrogantly labeled a mental disorder), people tend to be afraid of what it is and if it will harm people. Others even taunt and tease people with Autism because they believe that their victims are not as intelligent as people without Autism. Some parents actually refuse to give their children vaccinations because they see some non-existent connection between vaccinations and Autism. My volunteering to have X-Ray images taken of my brain and to do computer games for Autism research have helped to improve the scientific community’s knowledge of it and I am confident it will help to allay people’s fears of the harm Autism has the potential to cause. I foresee that in time, people will come to see people with Autism not as mentally defective or insane, but simply as regular people whose minds just work a little differently than others.
For two weeks during the summer of 2016, I volunteered at Project HOME, a Philadelphia-based homeless advocacy organization that provides homeless people with food, housing, job training, medical care, and education. While my work was largely shredding old documents in the medical clinic, my experience working with Project HOME inspired me to do more to help combat homelessness in Philadelphia. Thus, I took it upon myself to dedicate my CAPSTONE project to supporting the organization. For two weeks in a row, on Wednesday after school hours, I had set up a clothing drive, wherein I had my fellow students bring in any new or gently used clothing for me to donate to the Project HOME boutique. I managed to get them to know about my clothing drive both by pasting flyers throughout the school and writing about it on facebook. In the end, I ended up donating more than a dozen bags of clothing to the boutique, both from my fellow students and from friends outside of school. While I worked on my clothing drive and frequently checked in with my CAPSTONE mentor, Margie Winters (who was the director of the two-week program I was working for last summer), I also did some research and learned many interesting (and very disturbing) facts about homelessness. For instance, I learned that in Philadelphia, an average middle-class worker has to work 81 hours a week at a minimum wage of $7.25 just to pay the rent for a single-bedroom apartment. I also learned that at a national level, 800,000 more children were in poverty in 2004 than in 2003, with 1.2 million more living without health insurance. This research helped me to realize just how horrible a problem homelessness is, and strengthened my conviction to lend the homeless a helping hand in any way I could. I realize that my clothing drive may be very small (and only works at a municipal level), but I am confident that every little act of kindness can help to end the problem of poverty once and for all.
"About Us." National Coalition for the Homeless. National Coalition for the Homeless, 2014. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <http://nationalhomeless.org/about-us/>.
The National Coalition for the Homeless is another organization that advocates for the rights of homeless people. This one is composed of currently or formerly homeless people, activists, and community service providers dedicated to ending the problem of homelessness. The "about us" section of their website will help me to demonstrate how people are working the solve the problem of homelessness at a national level, rather than simply in Philadelphia. It will also encourage them to donate to or support more than one organization that helps the homeless.
"Criminalization of Homelessness Increases in U.S. Cities." National Low Income Housing Coalition. November 21, 2016. Accessed February 01, 2017. http://nlihc.org/article/criminalization-homelessness-increases-us-cities.
This resource will help me to show my viewers just how horribly homeless people are stigmatized in the United States. It demonstrates how people in certain cities can be arrested for no reason other than that they are homeless and can't find food, clothes, or shelter. As a matter of fact, over 187 United States cities criminalize homelessness and the prevalence of laws that disenfranchise and criminalize the homeless have been increasing since 2006.
"Facts on Homelessness." Project HOME. Project HOME, 2016. Web. 31 Dec. 2016. <https://projecthome.org/about/facts-homelessness>.
This source will further help me to get some concrete, numerical information on homelessness in Philadelphia. It lists annual rates of homelessness in the city, the age groups of the homeless, and the primary causes of homelessness. My audience might not be able to grasp a complete national scope of homelessness, so this source will help them to get a good idea on how much Philadelphia is affected.
Gambrione, Andrew. "A New Space for Homeless Youth Quietly Opened in a Church Downtown." Washington City Paper. Washington City Paper, 8 Sept. 2016. Web. 31 Dec. 2016. <http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/housing-complex/article/20833081/a-new-space-for-homeless-youth-quietly-opened-in-a-church-downtown>.
This article is meant to show the light at the end of the tunnel of homelessness. In it, we are given information about a new space for homeless youth that has been opened in an old church in Washington D.C. This center for homeless people of all ages offers free meals, HIV testing, counseling referrals, recreational activities, and movies.
Groves, Martha. "VA Unveils Housing for 65 Homeless Veterans." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2015. Web. 31 Dec. 2016. <http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-veteran-housing-20150609-story.html>.
This semi-recent current events article will be meant to add a silver lining to the dark cloud of homelessness in America. While I'm trying to stress how big a problem poverty is in the United States, I don't want my project to be entirely doom-and-gloom. What better way to keep people's hopes alive than to inform them about an ingenious way of keeping homeless veterans happy, healthy, and comfortable?
Kneebone, Elizabeth, and Alan Berube. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2013. Print.
This is one of two books I ordered off of Amazon for my bibliography. In this book, we explore the conditions of suburban poverty, as well as diving into some statistics on American Poverty, the causes of poverty, and what solutions the American People have come up with to solve this problem.
LaMarche, Pat. Left out in America: The State of Homelessness in the United States. Portland, Me.: UpalaPress, 2006. Print.
While the other book I ordered from Amazon explores statistics and causes of poverty, this book will serve as a way to connect me to those suffering the effects of homelessness. The author, Pat LaMarche, spent fourteen days exploring the United States and living in homeless shelters in order to connect with the homeless. This way, he was able to know exactly what types of problems homeless people face in different states.
Lombardo, Paul. "Social Origins of Eugenics." Social Origins of Eugenics. University of Virginia, 2014. Web. 29 Dec. 2016. <http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/html/eugenics/essay8text.html>.
In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, many regions of the United States began an unethical population control method through the use of eugenics. This was the theory that certain personality traits or physical taboos could be genetically passed down through the blood. 1914 was the year wherein geneticist Harry Laughlin proposed a law that forcibily sterilized the "socially inadequate." This basically meant that all of those who lived "outside" of the social order or on the fringes of society would be forced to have their ability to reproduce removed. The umbrella term "socially inadequate," included the homeless, orphans, mentally challenged people, insane people, physically handicapped people, and alcoholics. This article will come in handy because it will show readers just how much homeless people have been stigmatized and persecuted throughout history.
"Our History." Project HOME. National Healthcare for the Homeless Council, 2016. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <https://projecthome.org/about/our-history>.
This article is located on the website for Project HOME. In it, users can take a look at some of Project HOME's premier accomplishments from 1989 all to the way up until 2016. This source will come in handy because it will help me to demonstrate to my audience how old Project HOME is and how it has been helping to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
Scullion, Mary. "Commentary: In Philly, Memorial Pays Tribute to the Homeless." Philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 Dec. 2016. Web. 27 Dec. 2016. <http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20161221_Commentary__In_Philly__memorial_pays_tribute_to_the_homeless.html>.
My project is centered around Project HOME. Sister Mary Scullion was one of the principal founders of this non-profit homeless aid organization. I'm gathering research on homelessness and what we can do to help solve the problem, so who better to ask than the founder of Project HOME herself? As an added bonus, the first three paragraphs are about three formerly homeless people who Project HOME presumably helped get back on their feet. They would continue to help advocating for the homeless to the end of their days.
Scullion, Mary. "Commentary: Philly Nurtures Pope's Seeds of Justice and Mercy." Philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 27 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Dec. 2016. <http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20160927_Commentary__Philly_nurtures_pope_s_seeds_of_justice_and_mercy.html>.
In this article by Sister Mary Scullion, readers are given information about how Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia caused advances in homeless advocacy. The Holy Father is a well-known advocate for social justice and a firm believer in God's mercy. In honor of this visit, Project HOME helped raise more than $1.4 million to address the needs of the homeless. The U.S. Senate also introduced some new proposals to assist homeless or at-risk teenagers. This article is useful to me because it will help reassure my audience that despite all the problems homelessness entails, there is still hope for humanity.
Welcome one and all to Basic Human Decency, my comprehensive blog on advice, poetry, and media quotes on morality. Here you will find adice from both myself and other sources on how to be the kindest, most selfless, most special person you can be. My first piece was a rhyming poem on how I value Pope Francis as a modern-day idol and how I want to be as kind and humble as he is when I am an adult. Looking at news articles on all those kind things he has done for others, from kissing a man with a facial malformity to washing the feet of prisoners, inspired me to write this poem. You can view it here: http://basic-human-decencyblog.weebly.com.
Thank you all for talking to me. I hope you see the wisdom in my poem and follow its advice. Hopefully all of you will follow his example and go out there to make a difference in the world. Even if it is simply volunteering at an animal shelter or giving a little money to someone in need, remember that every act of compassion counts.
P.S. The link to my google doc can be found with this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15CbvTiNLJDd6tXFMUZ9AHtthzW37vtdaLkD2QV7H4NE/edit.
2. My film test uses the following criteria to see if it is non-biased.
- There is more than one named female character in the movie.
- At least one of the female characters is a strong, proud, brave, independent woman who isn't content with being a background prop.
- At least one of the female characters is someone who is every intelligent and doesn't exemplify the "women are intellectually inferior to men" cliche.
Reminiscing and Learning from the Past
Although I may not always indicate it, I have been through many experiences of my life that didn’t exactly go as smoothly as I expected them to. I have desired for many days to flow smoothly with no major problems to talk about, but circumstances partially beyond my control would prompt me to get extremely nervous and paranoid. Even when the circumstances could be seen as not very anxiety-worthy by other people, my mind would be clouded by thoughts of how my parents would react when I told them about what happened. The first time I remember being nervous and paranoid in school was the second time that I got a C grade on an assignment that I completed. After both of my parents had harshly scolded me for keeping the secret of getting a D grade for the first time in my curricular history (they believed I hadn’t done my best and rushed without even trying), I was deathly afraid that history was going to repeat itself and I would be harshly scolded again. This would have once again emotionally scarred me and driven me to the verge of crying uncontrollably. I was so nervous that my stomach was aching for the rest of the day at school, as I could hardly wait for the chance to finally get the issue off my chest. The good news is that not only did neither this experience nor others like it elicit no actual anger or disappointment from my parents (although they did wish that I could have done a little better), but they also helped me to prepare for future experiences of similar natures. In a way, I suppose the mistakes I have made in the past could be considered blessings in disguise, as they have helped me to grow and learn as a person and taught me how to handle situations of similar natures in a more rational and responsible way.
The main protagonist of the novel The Yellow Birds is a young U.S. Army Soldier named Private John Bartle. He is 21 years old, emotionally reserved, and ultimately scared of what may come his way during the First Iraq War. As the story progresses, we witness him going through one traumatic experience after another, each one seeming to be even more heinous than the last. While Bartle is obviously horribly emotionally scarred, he somehow manages to maintain a stoic front, or at least an apathetic one. This repression of his emotions is what ultimately leads to him lying about his friend Daniel Murphy’s death, as well as his post-traumatic stress. The silver lining to the cloudiness of his experiences is that he eventually put the past behind him and settled his debts, albeit too late, as he had already been sent to jail for lying about Murphy’s status, having claimed that he was missing in action instead of killed in action.
Even when in jail, the past comes back to haunt him, more specifically in the form of Murphy’s mother Ladonna, to whom Bartle promised to take good care of her son before being shipped overseas. This visit from Ladonna forces Bartle to try and reconcile his past and learn from it, as he feels guilt not only for failing to protect Murphy, but for making an empty promise to Ladonna. In fact, before being shipped out, his squad leader, Sergeant Sterling, actually called him out on how stupid that promise was retrospectively. As he so-eloquently put it, “Promises? Really? You’re making f***ing promises now?” It is hinted but not explicitly written that Sterling’s argument against making promises of a similar nature to Bartle’s promise is that when you’re going to war, there is no guarantee that one specific man will come back alive. So it stands to reason that it would be foolish to guarantee a safe return when you cannot foresee the future, least of all make someone immune to death and destruction. Somehow, despite my lack of war experience, I seem to find myself to be relatable to Private Bartle, at least to a certain degree.
While I may not have been to war or suffered from PTSD, I have admittedly been through peculiar experiences that prompted me to get them off my chest and talk to someone about them. The most important distinction between my experiences and Bartle’s experiences (apart from their different natures) is that while Bartle had to bottle up his emotions until the end of the novel, I have been known to get my problems off my chest almost immediately when I get the chance. This is because I believe in a philosophy akin to “honesty is the best policy.” While I may sound naive and simple to some of the more cynical readers of this essay, I truly believe that if you are honest with someone about your actions when you make a mistake, not only will they still love you but they will also try to understand and help you to learn from them. Although, to be fair, my honesty policy is more applicable to minor mistakes such as getting a failing grade on an assignment than it is to problems as serious as murder and sadism. Besides, I am not exactly a fan of the concept of bottling up my emotions for so long that my sanity starts deteriorating and I slowly start to become stoic and depressed. But then again, who is, am I right? You see, I prefer to get my problems off my chest sooner so that I can feel as though the weight on my shoulders and the aching pain in my stomach caused by my anxiety have disappeared, or at least eased off on me.
One of the more serious mistakes I had made in my life was when I was in sixth grade and we were taking SATs. I had just gotten back a graded assignment from math class which, once again, had received a C. I wanted to talk to my math teacher about it, but my homeroom teacher said that I had to wait until the SAT work period had ended. Unfortunately, I was so nervous that I wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I asked my SAT supervisor the same question and he gave me the answer I wanted. Of course my homeroom teacher found out about my manipulation and I had something new on my plate to confess to my parents. When I confessed my mistake of manipulating teachers in order to get the answer I desired, they were disappointed in me. They weren’t exactly horrified that I got another mediocre grade, as they were used to me getting the occasional C or D, they were really upset that I acted selfishly and dishonestly manipulated the teachers for my own personal gain. In order to make up for my crime of manipulating the teachers, I had to type up and send emails to each one expressing my apologetic sentiments and promising them that I would never do such a thing again.
Luckily for me, my punishment was temporary, as it was merely a suspension of my electronics privileges for the weekend. I managed to pull through that punishment by finding other recreational activities such as reading and pacing, as well as accepting that my punishment was more akin to a learning experience than to an act of sadism. I could see that my parents weren’t punishing me because they wanted me to lose my mind from a shortage of video gaming, but rather wanted me to learn from this experience so that I would never manipulate people like that again. Strangely enough, I actually felt some sense of enjoyment being suspended from video games for the weekend, as I recognized my punishment as a learning experience to reflect on. Besides that, I was able to keep myself occupied with other recreational activities, such as reading, pacing, watching a movie that Dad playfully forced me to watch, and eventually going out to dinner with my family on Sunday Night.
Humility, optimism, compassion, and progressiveness: These are all examples of the traits arguably desired in a modern religious leader. Argentine pontiff Pope Francis has more than proved that he has these desired traits. Time and time again, the new pontiff has been greeted by the people with thunderous applause and cheers of joy, and their admiration of him is justified by the way Francis has been running the Catholic Church and contributing to modern global issues. His progressive stance on issues of social justice such as divorce, climate change, and the treatment of the LGBT community, combined with his optimism, humility, and compassion, have earned him the adoration of the people and the respect of his fellow bishops. He is so different from other bishops and monarchs because, unlike stereotypical religious leaders , Pope Francis is actually, genuinely concerned for the needs of the unfortunate and downtrodden.
Pope Francis’ growing popularity has attracted the attention of admirers from every race, religion, and nation. His diverse collection of people who adore him was exhibited during his recent visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. One of the many people who Francis is popular with is a Liberian immigrant named Juwli Roberts-Karluah, who said that the new pontiff is “trying to bring us back together.” This means that even in a world torn apart by violence and pain, the Pope is confident that humans can come back together as one. Francis is also seen as sort of a messianic healer, especially by Leslie Herring. This woman dreams that her disabled daughter, Debianne, will learn to conquer her innate cerebral palsy and epilepsy when the Pope kisses her. The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia even traveled to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis. Sister Anna Grace Neenan demonstrated her profound knowledge of why he is so loveable, describing how people “see his goodness and are attracted to it, Catholic and non-Catholic, rich and poor.” This ultimately means that when people listen to his speeches or read about what he does for the world, they look up to him as a sort of Christ-like figure. Those of his admirers who aren’t Catholic admire him for his open-mindedness and fair treatment of people of other faiths and races.
Francis’ relatability, friendly demeanor, and willingness to live like a working-class man, despite his position, has earned him the epithet of “The People’s Pope.” This is demonstrated by many of his lifestyle choices, even though it is traditional for Pope to live in the Vatican Palace. This may be because he wants to show everyone that he views himself as not above or below the common man, but equal to him. As a cardinal, Pope Francis had a habit of using public transportation to get around the Vatican City instead of being driven in an expensive car. He also lives in a small apartment instead of living in the lap of luxury in the palace. Plus, he appears to have taken up a sort of “servant leadership,” meaning that he believes the pontiff is meant to serve rather than be served. According to an article by pastor and writer Chris Nye, the reason for his status as a “servant leader” is to connect himself to the younger, “more cynical” generation-so he can break rules and traditions that “shouldn’t even exist.” Through this generous outlook on life, he is much more willing to provide financial, physical, and spiritual help to those most in need of it. He demonstrated this characteristic by washing the feet of young women in a prison, one of whom was a Serbian Muslim. Apparently, it is a break in papal tradition for a pope to be tending to the needs of women, let alone Muslim women.
Arguably the most admirable trait about Pope Francis is his attitude towards current events, not to mention his dauntless pursuit of goals that most churches are avoiding . And to top it off, he has reinstated the Vatican as a major player in international diplomacy. The Argentine pontiff’s views on life are described as, “accessible and concise.” Even though his quotes about life are simple and straight-forward they are also very profound. For example, he describes the Catholic Church as a “love story,” rather than an “institution.” He wants to attract more people to the Church but feels as though it should be more akin to an option for a new school. It is meant to welcome those who choose to attend with open arms rather than simply forcing outsiders to join (Nye). He has also taken a simple, but otherwise heartfelt, stance on war and violence, describing them as pure and simply, “madness; the suicide of humanity.” He uses social media and communication to spread his messages of peace and truth throughout the world, ideally ending the cultural wars on social justice issues including, but not limited to contraception, divorce, and the treatment of the LGBT community. He was also credited by both Cuba and the United States for helping to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two nations in the midst of tensions between them. Plus, he started an international campaign to prevent airstrikes in Syria, thus preventing more innocent casualties. Although these actions are all different, they were all inspired by Francis’ general desire to help people and make the world a much brighter place.
When asked, members of the Catholic Church might say that Pope Francis is doing nothing short of breaking Catholic traditions and giving them a bad name. Upon closer inspection, he is actually trying to help those less fortunate than himself. His willingness to work for peace and justice in the midst of overwhelming conflict, economic problems, the cynicism of the younger generation, and opposition against his progressive ways, makes Pope Francis a very compassionate man, as well as a courageous and outgoing one. The Argentine pontiff, dubbed “The People’s Pope,” by some, can be seen as an admirable role model and arguably the quintessence of a wise, just monarch and an agent for change. By spreading his message of love and peace via social media, combined with getting involved in politics, he has proven that even one voice can start a quest for peace and help to completely heal the world. This goal may seem outlandish, but due to his admirable qualities, belief in the human capacity for good, and willingness to share his sermons with the entire world, he is confident that others will soon follow in his footsteps and join him in his quest for world peace.
Dale, Maryclaire. “Pilgrims throng Philadelphia to see Pope Francis.” Public Opinion, Nation and World, Chambersburg Public Opinion. 26 September, 2015. Web. 6 October, 2015.
Nye, Chris “Why is the Pope so Popular?” The Relevant, The Relevant. 13 June, 2013. Web. 6 October, 2015. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/why-pope-so-popular
O’Loughlin, Michael. “Pope Francis is Wildly Popular. So What?” Crux, Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. 8 April, 2015. Web. 6 October 2015. http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2015/04/08/pope-francis-is-wildly-popular-so-what/
Throughout the course of their career in writing fairy tales, the Brothers Grimm have made it clear that no matter how hard they try, those with evil in their hearts will never win. Even when life does not appear to be as much of a bed of roses as some would think it ought to be, the tides will eventually turn and someone, or something, will come along and see to it that the evil ones receive their just and true rewards. This theme has occurred in a great majority of all fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers, especially in those about characters who perform a heroic deed in exchange for fortune and glory. Unfortunately for them, some of the villains would try to kill the true victors and reap the rewards of the protagonists. Fortunately, through some form of divine intervention, the antagonist’s wicked deeds always come back to haunt them and another (sometimes supporting) protagonist sees to it that justice is meted out and the villains receive the only rewards they truly deserve. According to an analysis of Grimm fairy tales from a book review website called shmoop.com, when the antagonists are punished, the punishment is almost as severe as the crime and therefore fits it. Most of the time, the punishment in question involves sentencing the antagonists to a horrifyingly gruesome death.
One very prominent example of these types of villains appears in a long adventure tale known as The Two Brothers. The Grimm Brothers most likely use the concept of wicked people never winning to set an example of what happens when a wicked deed is performed. That way, the readers will know the consequences of indecent actions and will be discouraged from repeating them. It is possible that the Grimm Brothers also use this concept to give the readers much more faith in humanity and to encourage them to adopt a more optimistic outlook on life. If the Grimm Brothers allowed the antagonists to triumph in any way, the readers would develop a pessimistic outlook on life and would lose all faith in the human capacity to do good and accomplish great things. This method by the Brothers Grimm has been based off of, copied, and repeated by a great variety of authors throughout the entire history of literature. The following essay will explore the theme of evil never winning in The Two Brothers and the readers may get a sense that every deed they accomplish, benevolent or malicious, will always come back to them in one way or another.
In the The Two Brothers, the Brothers Grimm narrate the story of two huntsman, each with different wild animals as pets. They decide to go their separate ways and eventually reunite. One of the huntsman comes to a kingdom draped in black shrouds, as the princess is scheduled to be sacrificed to a seven-headed dragon. With the help of his animals, he slays the dragon and his future as king is assured. Unfortunately, a cowardly marshal to the king conspires to take the throne for himself, so he kills the huntsman in his sleep and coerces the princess into telling her father that he slew the dragon. What the treacherous official does not count on is that, through divine intervention (in this case, a rare medicinal root fetched by the wild pets), the huntsman returns from death to claim his prize.
This story by the Grimm Brothers use a type of villain prominent in many of their fairy tales; one who cheats and lies in order to get what he desires, no matter the cost. The text explained that due to the marshal being, “wicked and godless he took his sword, cut off the huntsman’s head, and seized the maiden in his arms, and carried her down the hill. Then he drew his sword, and threatened to kill her if she did not obey him, and so compelled that she promised it.” This trademark scene shows the main antagonist attempting to reap the stolen rewards of the fallen protagonist, believing that he is currently untouchable and his liquidity has been assured by his wicked deeds. Nevertheless, the Grimm Brothers let no evil deed go unpunished, so after the huntsman is revived, he comes to the king’s court to test and expose the marshal for the cowardly fraud he truly is. When the dragon’s seven heads are presented to the king, each of its tongues missing, the marshal claims “Dragons have no tongues.” The huntsman, on the other hand, presents the tongues to the king and matches each one with the corresponding head. He also tells the marshal that “Liars ought to have no tongues.” This quote was an obvious viewpoint exhibited by the Grimm Brothers’ viewpoints on those who lie, cheat, steal, and deceive decent members of society. After the king sees that the huntsman is the true victor, he betrothes his daughter to him, as they had planned when the huntsman first rescued her from the dragon. The deceptive marshal, on the other hand, is found guilty of conspiracy and high treason to the crown. He is therefore sentenced to be “torn to pieces by four bulls.” This is a punishment befitting of the crime, according to the Grimm Brothers. Fortunately for the huntsman, as he is married to the princess, he becomes the future king and officially “named him his viceroy over the whole kingdom.”
Works Cited for Analytical Essay:
Grimm, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales. New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 2009. Print.
“Grimms’ Fairy Tales Summary.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, 2015. Web. 15 January 2015. http://www.shmoop.com/grimms-fairy-tales/summary.html