The Quest For Unity
Many, who have posted on this blog, touch on the thread of unity that each author wove into their work. I too noticed this thread. However, each work has expressed slightly different variations of the theme of unity, and in each of those minuet differences we gain a glimpse into the purpose of the each author’s message.
In Peter- Hans Kolvenbach’s speech “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in America Jesuit Higher Education,” Kolvenbach expresses the importance of closing the, “rift” (pg.31) that has grown to separate people of “class, racial, and economic differences.”(pg.31) Kolvenbach’s desire for unity amongst all people is at the heart of what he defines as a Jesuit Education. In my own short experience at a Jesuit University I have noticed the application of Kolvenbach’s message. Across all disciplines I have begun to understand the value of my education in a more holistic way. As I apply my knowledge to help the real world, I obtain a more complete understanding of the subjects I’m studying
In the poem, “Mending Wall” Robert Frost’s use of magical realism allows him to express human’s desire of unity. The narrator of the poem states that the wall requires “ a spell to make them (stones) balance:/”(Line 16) Frost deliberately uses the technique of magical realism to help the reader understand that the wall, in the poem, is more of a mental barrier between the narrator and his neighbor rather than a physical one. In doing so Frost sets up the ending of the poem where the reader learns that a fictitious creature is destroying this wall. The narrator hesitantly likens the creature to, “’Elves’”(Line 36) which he latter changes to, “ not elves exactly.”(Line 36) The narrator’s ambiguous statement about the creature that destroys the wall is another example of Frost’s use of magical realism. In this instance Frost uses magical realism to show the reader that the wall will always fall down due to some type of mythical creature. Frost uses that mythical create as a symbol for human’s desire to be unified. In this poem Frost makes a statement that it is in human nature to destroy barriers dividing people if the result unites them as a group.
In Yusef Komunyaka’s poem, “Slam, Dunk, & Hook” the reader is offered a glimpse into a world that is united. In this case the world is located at a basketball court where anyone can join in the graceful game. Yusef’s use of majestic imagery enlightens the reader to new perspective of the game of basketball. Yusef describes the court as a, “ roundhouse/ Labyrinth our bodies/ Created, we could almost/ Last forever.”(Line 6-9) This nearly eternal world that Yusef creates is one in that does not discriminate, or allow division between its people. The world simply allows groups to explore life without fear of a figurative wall.
Unlike most of the other readings Judith Ortiz Cofer’s poem, “Common Ground” helps the reader appreciate the one event that unites all forms of life, death. Similarly to Witi Ihimaera’s book Whale Rider, Cofer’s main focus of the poem is to highlight the balance between life and death. The narrator of “Common Ground” is overwhelmed by the realities of aging. In the second stanza we see the narrator’s mothers, “nervous hands smoothing lines/ just appearing on (her) skin. /”(Lines 16-17) This gesture described by Cofer is more of a symbolic action. Through this action Cofer illustrates the insecurities that the narrator’s parents have with their own experience with aging. The narrator’s mothers attempt to cover up her daughter’s wrinkles shows the reader that it is an inevitable process. Digging deeper into to Cofer’s message illuminates that aging is inevitable. Cofer uses the simile, “ like arrows pointing downward/ to our common ground./” (Lines 18-19) The reader as a result can begin to understand how Cofer pictures death. Cofer’s interpretation of death as an event that helps to unify all people is a refreshing way to look at such a conventionally dark occasion.
In conclusion each piece in some way contributes to the same message. That is a message of unity amongst all people. What is worth noting is that no author sets out to achieve such an inspirational goal of unity. Which for one I find refreshing. The authors in their own unique way chew at the thought of what makes the world a divided place, and conversely what is it that could unite us all.