Write an original and compelling critical analytical essay on one of the following works:
The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (Links to an external site.)
The Big Lebowski by The Cohen Brothers (Links to an external site.)
Saga: Compendium 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Links to an external site.)
Running Head: “THE BIG LEBOWSKI” 1
“THE BIG LEBOWSKI” 5
“The Big Lebowski” Comment by Mickey Harrison: Original title needed
Comment by Mickey Harrison: Your paper is not in MLA format.
“The Big Lebowski” is a comedy that also involves a crime film produced and written by the Cohen brothers. The story revolves around the Lebowski family and their friends. Jeffery Lebowski, also known as “the Dude,” is the film’s main star, leading a boring lifestyle but is an excellent bowler. Due to mistaken identity, the Dude is assaulted by enforcers and later finds out that someone else has the same name. Bunny, the trophy wife of big Lebowski, is kidnapped, and he pays the Dude to take the ransom money from the kidnappers. However, the Dudes’ friend Walter employs a scheme to keep the ransom money to himself. The Dude works out the possible scenario as to why Bunny was kidnapped and why she faked it. The Dude later discovers that Bunny’s friends exploit the fact that Bunny traveled to exploit her husband. The film touches on mistaken identity, family, greediness, and violence, as discussed in this paper. Comment by Mickey Harrison: This is ALL summary. Omit. Comment by Mickey Harrison: You need a clear and concise argumentative thesis.
“The Big Lebowski” by the Cohen brothers vividly explains the aspect of mistaken identity in society. The Dude faces a case of mistaken identity in the film when he gets insults from thugs who ambush him in his house. The two enforces assault the Dude mistaking him for Jeffery Lebowski, “the big Lebowski” The aim of the two enforces is to obtain the money that Treehorn, a porn king, owes Bunny, the wife of Big Lebowski. They later discover that they have the wrong man and leave, but one enforcer urinates on his particular rug. Treehorn goons also ransack The Dude’s home in an attempt to find the money that has been promised by the other Jeffery Lebowski. As a mistaken identity case, The Dude faces a lot of challenges and problems intended for the rich Lebowski. Comment by Mickey Harrison: Okay, but this is not really analysis. Comment by Mickey Harrison: This is all summary. You are writing like a movie reviewer, not a critical thinker.
The Cohen brothers also pay attention to the aspect of family and relations in society. Family is the most basic unit of the community and plays a crucial role in society’s relationships. The family Lebowski is not the perfect family despite being one of the riches in the neighborhood. The Big Lebowski is a mean multibillionaire who even refuses to give The Dude a rag even after the later explains that his experience with two enforces. The film also mentions a daughter that is Maude, and a big Lebowskis’ wife, Bunny. Friendship and relations are also demonstrated in the movie. The Dude has two friends who help him with his mission of finding Bunny and the story behind her kidnapping. Bunny also has friends who conspire to use her kidnapped story to exploit money from her husband. In my opinion, these are part of the essential pieces that form an integral part of the film’s story. Comment by Mickey Harrison: Summary Comment by Mickey Harrison: NEVER use 1st person in academic writing.
The issue of greediness is prevalent throughout the “The Big Lebowski” film. The intense urge to keep something to yourself is evident in the entire, especially after the Bunny gets kidnapped. The rich Lebowski pays the Dude to find out who kidnapped his wife and also to deliver the ransom to the kidnappers. However, The Dude explains to his friends Walter and Donny that Bunny faked her kidnapping to get money. Walter then strategies on the way to keep the ransom money for himself and puts his laundry on a suitcase and uses it for exchange. The Dude later finds out that the big Lebowski withdrew the ransom money from the family’s private foundation and filled the original suitcase with phonebooks. The Big Lebowski does this so he can secure the money for himself as the fortune was left for Maude by her biological mother. Bunny’s friend also grabs the opportunity to get the Lebowski money by disguising themselves as kidnappers. All these instances, in my opinion, represent selfishness as part of the problems facing society. Comment by Mickey Harrison: Okay, this may be your may theme. Comment by Mickey Harrison: Never use 2nd person in Academic writing. Comment by Mickey Harrison: Summary Comment by Mickey Harrison: 1st person
“The Big Lebowski” by the Cohen brothers discusses violence and crime as another vice in society. At the beginning of the film, the Dude faces assault from two enforces in his home through a case of mistaken identity. The enforcers leave his house after urinating on his rug. Although the Bunny’s kidnapping state was a power move to exploit her husband for his money, it is a wrong move that depicts terrible morals in society. Three nihilists threaten the Dude to produce the ransom money is also a form of violence that occurs in society. Walter wrecks a brand new sports car assuming that it belongs to Larry, whose homework book was found in the Dude’s car after it was stolen. In retaliation, the owner destroys The Dude’s car. Another form of violence demonstrated in the film occurs when Treehorn goons ransack the house of the Dude. These instances show the various forms of violence that people and families face daily. Comment by Mickey Harrison: Again, okay, but you need a clear focus for your paper and exhaust the research for it. Comment by Mickey Harrison: All summary
“The Big Lebowski” is a crime and comedy film produced by the Cohen brothers. The story demonstrates the issue of mistaken identity, violence, family, and selfishness. This film captures problems and immoral behaviors that occur in the real world. For instance, the Dude gets assaulted in his house by two enforcers who mistake him for another same person with exact names. There are also different types of violence in the film, such as threats and wrecking other people’s cars. In my opinion, “the big Lebowski” is a great movie that people should watch to reduce and identify moral problems facing society. Comment by Mickey Harrison: You are selling your paper short without really making any real analysis. For example, I reviewed a student’s paper who’s thesis was: The Big Lebowski is a representation of the hypocrisy in American organized religion that condemns those that disagree with established authority. Now that student must take SEVERAL pages of analysis to examine scenes VERY closely to prove how the film actually proves the thesis.
Reference Comment by Mickey Harrison: Incorrect MLA
The Big Lebowski by the Cohen Brothers
“The Big Lebowski”
Turner Classic Movies
18 December 2020
Of Life and Loss in the Harry Potter Series
Life is ever changing, and death is a part of life whether it is welcome or not. It comes in
all shapes and sizes; It can destroy or build, discourage or embolden, weaken or strengthen.
Sometimes it is the loss of something of value, or the death of a phase in one’s life. Sometimes
death itself eases the dying process with a visit from those we have loved and lost. No matter
how it occurs, there are many ways of coping and offering support. Support is also given to those
who choose death – whether it be to end one’s own suffering or as a sacrifice to end the suffering
of others. The notion of death and dying reveals that loss is unavoidable; however, it shapes
character, influences decisions, and defines one’s humanity.
Loss is most often associated with something valuable being taken away. It is not
something one would normally hope to experience. However, some losses are beneficial, and
some terrible losses give both good lessons and consequences as well as negative remnants. In
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry is just beginning to embark on the journey and
change of his life. He is now suddenly exposed to a world that he was shielded from for most of
his childhood. It is a fascinating change from his usual, least abnormal life that was forced upon
him by his magic-hating aunt and uncle. He will now start his adventures – his trials and
tribulations – which involve learning about how to continue developing despite suffering losses.
From an early age, Harry loses his parents. He must then grow up without that
comforting foundation and must find said security elsewhere. For the majority of his childhood,
he knew nothing of his parents. His aunt and uncle would not mention them, and if they did it
was not in a positive way (Rowling Philosopher’s Stone 58). It became obvious to readers that
these individuals are not polite folk and are not fond of the magical world that Harry was
originally born into. There are bitter feelings, and Harry was a convenient target for their
negativity. Fortunately, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, he receives a letter from Hagrid that will
change his life. Harry discovers he is a wizard (55) . This is a big plus on Harry, but just as it is a
good thing, it is also a loss. He begins to lose his lack of independence and ignorance. He also
loses his protection from the dangers he will inevitably face by living in a world where he is the
number one target of the most evil Dark Lord. This means he will have to be mature and
strategic from a young age. Harry will have to learn how to defend himself using powers that, up
until that year, he never even knew could exist. He will also be thrust into an environment where
he is immensely famous. He goes from being outright neglected to being looked and marveled at
by everyone. These are big changes and big losses. Harry loses his ignorance to the world that he
belongs in, but he also gains a new outlook on life and a fresh start.
Just as in Harry’s case, there are also other students who show development through loss.
Neville is first described as meek and awkward. He is shown as clumsy and somewhat
dimwitted: “[Neville] fell over on his way to the stool (….) Neville ran off still wearing [the
Sorting Hat] and had to jog back amid gales of laughter” (129). However, behind his not-so-
heroic exterior, he develops in character and finally brings out his real inner strength. He is
bullied throughout his time in school and even at home, and despite being sorted into Gryffindor
he appeared to lack certain Gryffindor traits such as bravery and boldness.
According to Jennifer S. Silk et. al. in their article ““You can do it!”: The role of parental
encouragement of bravery in child anxiety treatment,” it is very difficult for children in
unmotivating environments to develop thick skin. If they are not encouraged to improve
personally and are not given the chance to improve, they will most likely not do so. They write,
“For example, children who are more anxious may be less likely to elicit or generate
encouragement from their parents as a result of transactional processes” (Silk et. al.). At his
home, he was not given the means and situations to become stronger. He didn’t have a group of
friends to offer support. Eventually, he grows closer to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, who do give
him support (sometimes unknowingly). Neville later catches on to the trio’s plans of going out at
night to get to the Philosopher’s stone, and instead of not doing anything, he decides to confront
them. “‘I won’t let you do it,’ he said (…) ‘I’ll – I’ll fight you!'” (292). Neville experiences a now
growing loss of cowardice. He stands up against his own friends – people who have accepted
him when, his whole life, he was not seen as good enough. For all he knew, he was losing three
good friends that night. This does not deter him from doing what he thinks is the right thing to
do. As much as the trio wizened up at this point Neville did as well.
Ron, from the start of the series, displays evident signs of bravery. He may experience a
loss of dignity from his upbringing, having come from a poorer family seen as blood traitors
(115-116). He also happens to be the best friend of the boy who lived, which takes away the
spotlight from him. He may have shown signs of boldness and impulsiveness, but his true heart
and bravery shown when he was about to sacrifice himself for Harry’s sake. “‘That’s chess!’
Snapped Ron. ‘You’ve got to make some sacrifices!'” (304). It is amazing how willingly these
children have faced death, But this moment really cuts it. Ron truly believed that this was his
end, but he was very graceful of his death. Ron looked at the chess piece and called forward his
own knight, knowing what fate awaited him. He truly cherishes Harry and Hermione’s
friendships, and he willingly went up to face his own demise for Harry’s sake. He is a good
friend and a brave character who shows courage and will face his fears. He willingly looked
death in the face when older and more powerful wizards could not.
Going back to Harry, by the end of the book, becomes more aware of the dangers that
this new world has to offer. He also gets glimpses into who his parents were. Upon looking into
the Mirror of Erised, he sees his smiling parents looking back at him. He begins to yearn for
them and spend hours immersed looking into said mirror (231). Harry is also aware that their
reflections are not real, but having to cope with the reality and their loss is difficult when he was
able to get a taste of what it could have been like. When having to give something up, sometimes
it can be so valuable that coping may be difficult. It is possible, damaging as it may be.
According to Ronald Paul Hill, it is possible for children who are not raised in stable homes to
find closures. But it is also common for them to dream of better lives, naturally. In his research
paper, “Homeless children: coping with material losses,” he observes what it is that children
want when faced with living situations similar to Harry’s.
Fortunately, attempts at self-restoration appear to be common among these
homeless children. They typically integrate quickly into the shelter environment,
make close friends with the other children, and develop parent-child relationships
with the sisters and volunteers. Further, the children often use fantasy to help
them cope with losses. In their dreams/reveries they conquer or are saved from
sources of terror in their make-believe surroundings, are reunited with lost but
cherished possessions, and acquire homes with their own rooms that contain items
under their direct control (Ronald Paul Hill).
Harry also displays behaviors similar to these children. Their fantasies are not grandiose; rather,
they are simple and longing. In Harry’s case, he has nightmares of losing his parents. Thus, he
imagines what it would be like had they not been killed, had he been a “normal” kid. This is a
kind of loss that leaves negative remnants behind. It is going to leave permanent wounds, but
having good friends and adult support can heal some of the pain. For example, Hagrid is a good
father substitute for Harry. He takes him out shopping, he buys Harry Hedwig, and he brings
Harry a cake. He fills in where his own father could not.
When having to face death and pain, it can be easy to curl into a ball or to run from the losses.
But sometimes, it is more beneficial to face the uncertainty because, deep inside, everyone has a
flower blossoming inside of them. For it to truly grow, it must be fed. Harry truly began to
blossom from everything he endured in his first year alone. Neville quickly went from being a
coward to confronting his closest friends. And Ron went to a chess duel knowing the
consequences can lead to his untimely demise. After experiencing a loss, an individual can either
learn from it or continue to go through it. Sometimes it is an unavoidable loss and cannot be
lived past, but it can give the sufferer a chance to become stronger from the event.
Death does not always mark the end of the life of someone or something; death can
symbolically mark the end of a phase and beginning of another. As such, death and dying has a
literal and figurative meaning that can describe the end of someone or something. From Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore explained to Harry, “’Phoenixes burst into flame
when it is time for them to die and are reborn from the ashes’” (Rowling 219). The phoenix is
symbolic in Greek and Roman mythology as being a creature that is able to be reborn. The
phoenix is also alike to Hinduism and Buddhism in that death is not the end and a perso-n is
reincarnated to begin a new cycle in attempts to obtain enlightenment. While Harry explains to
Ron about how the Basilisk kills, Harry tells Ron that “’the Basilisk kills people by looking at
them. But no one’s died – because no one looked it straight in the eye’” (Rowling 307).
Although all the victims saw the Basilisk indirectly, they were still petrified due to the Basilisk’s
gaze. The only person that actually died was Moaning Myrtle due to staring directly into the
eyes of the Basilisk. Petrification is similar to being in a vegetative state. Victims are seen to be
as stiff as stone. Victims are alive but are unconscious, with the state being similar to hospital
patients who are in a coma being kept alive on life support. This can be akin to living in a
perpetual hell. When Harry stabbed Tom Riddle’s diary with the Basilisk’s fangs, “There was a
long, dreadful, piercing scream. Ink spurted out of the dairy in torrents, streaming over Harry’s
hands, flooding the floor. Riddle was writhing and twisting, screaming and failing and then…
He had gone” (Rowling 340). This quote marks an important part in the eventual demise of
Voldemort as it destroys an unknown link to Voldemort’s power. Throughout Harry Potter and
the Chamber of Secrets, there are many different versions of death occurring; whether it be a loss
of life or a change in the individual’s life.
There are many real world examples of death not marking the end of life and marking the
beginning of the next phase of life. Buddhism, a religion considered to be the fourth largest in
the world, includes text regarding reincarnation. As stated by Buddha Dharma Education
Association & BuddhaNet, “The Buddha taught according to the mental and spiritual capacity of
each individual. For the simple village folks living during the time of the Buddha, the doctrine
of reincarnation was a powerful moral lesson” (BuddhaNet). Not only did reincarnation provide
good moral lessons, it was a means of understanding the unknowns of what happened after
death. For the simple village folks mentioned, this meant doing things that were morally right so
that they would not end up reincarnating into one of the many animals that their village ate.
From this, it can be seen that death has many different meanings.
Death can have many different interpretations. Death can be an analogy for ceasing
activities on various levels in the body whether it be the overall body or a specific vital organ.
As seen in the wizarding world one of the many tragic events to happen is when victims are
petrified to near death. According to Oxford Dictionary petrification is, “an organic object
which has been turned to stone” or “a state of such extreme fear that one is unable to move”
(Oxford). In real life, victims have had similar experience going through traumatic events
putting them into a coma or vegetative state. In addition to this, people can put themselves into
this state voluntarily for spiritual reasons. This can be seen with Buddhist monks who utilize
thukdam. As stated in the National Geographic article on how science is redefining life and
death, “thukdam is where the biological signs of life have ceased yet the body appears fresh and
intact for a week or more” (Henig). In both of these instances, the definition of living revolves
around having brain activity while death equating to the brain ceasing any activity. In addition
to brain activity, the article also mentions oxygen’s role on the grey border between life and
death, nothing that “[oxygen is] essential to life” (Henig). With this, the exact moment of death
is determined by absence of oxygen cycling through the body. Society’s interpretation of death
can be based on many factors whether it be religious or scientific.
Life and death is not always so clear cut. The boundary can be blurred by supernatural
experiences. As stated in the National Geographic article, “in the gray zone, death isn’t
necessarily permanent, life can be hard to define, and some people cross over that great divide
and return—sometimes describing in precise detail what they saw on the other side” (Henig).
This would be considered as “coming back from the dead” that many patients may have during a
near death experience. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, there are many ghosts that
defy the boundaries between life and death. One of these is Moaning Myrtle. She was one of
the many unfortunate victims of the Basilisk. However, she remains in the world of the living,
interacting with them on occasion. An example of this would be her conversation with Harry
about her death, “’Ooooh it was dreadful’, she said with relish. It happened right in here. I died
in this very cubical. I remember it so well. I’d hidden because Olive Hornby was teasing me
about my glasses. The door was locked, and I was crying, and then I heard somebody come in.
They said something funny, a different language, I think it must have been. Anyway, what really
got me was that it was a boy speaking. So I unlocked the door to tell him to go and use his own
toilet, and then… I died'” (Rowling 316). This is similar to many paranormal experiences that
people are said to have where the dead are interacting with the living. With the divider between
both worlds blurred, it can be seen that life and death can interact freely.
Death has many interpretations based on how and where it is viewed from. In the world
of Harry Potter, the dead are often times not truly gone but in the next stage of their life; all the
while interacting with the living in various ways. In the real world, we try to rationalize death in
various ways to define it and in essence try to find what death truly is. Death is not the end but
the beginning of spiritual journey to the unknown.
While it might be seemingly obvious that coping skills vary and are different per person
for the most part, it is interesting to take note of how loss and death are viewed on an individual
basis. What do we consider as a big loss? A small one? An altogether insignificant one that feels
significant at the moment? It really gives a nod to the character themselves how they deal with
losses and what they themselves view as losses. After all, coping over a small loss in the same
way one copes with a bigger one is unnatural. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,
Harry must further deal with his shortcomings in life and face the threat posed to him by
someone he considered a traitor and, ultimately, the reason that his parents were discovered by
Voldemort. But what about other characters as well? Do they experience losses? How do they
cope? What do they even believe is loss enough to show their hidden feelings for?
From the beginning of Prisoner of Azkaban, the Dursleys have Vernon’s sister, Marge,
over. It quickly becomes clear that she is worse than the Dursleys. For the sake of the topic of
death and loss, it would be well to pay attention to the way in which Marge deems the worth of
someone. “‘This one’s got a mean, runty look about him. You get that with dogs. I had Colonel
Fubster drown one last year. Ratty little thing it was. Weak. Underbred'” (Rowling Prisoner of
Azkaban 30). To her, loss is comparable to dogs. A person’s value is similar to that of a dog.
Harry is the runt, thus he is the least of value. His loss is not as valuable as Dudley’s in Marge’s
opinion and in her mind. However, in the world of magic that Harry truly belongs to, his death
and absence would be a colossal loss to the wizard community.
Marge’s personality is a very toxic one, and she takes the insults toward Harry too far. He
becomes fed up with the abuse and neglect in the house and decides to leave. “And next moment,
he was out in the dark, quiet street, heavy trunk behind him, Hedwig’s cage under his arm” (32).
Based on the research of Pauline J. McLoughlin, the background of homeless youths is often
based around stress or neglect. “Regardless of housing trajectories, young people’s accounts of
how they came to be ‘outside the parental home’ at an early age were especially centered on the
divorce or separation of parents, and stressful, alienating or unpredictable relationships within
parental home(s)” (McLoughlin). Much like today’s homeless, couch surfing youth, Harry no
longer wants to deal with the neglect he faces. He runs from home and even casts magic against
wizarding law, risking his future in the world where he finds acceptance.
His pain and anger toward the loss of his parents and toward the unfair and cruel
treatment he received at the Dursleys caused him to act in ways that are not in the norm for him.
His loss of a home leads to a future of uncertainty, one which he prefers over the situation he was
in before. He was willing to lose his place in Hogwarts, in wizarding society, in order to escape
the situation he was under. His actions prove how much he wanted his parents to live, how much
he had respect and love for them. He perceived their deaths as unjust, and since his family
treated his parents negatively even after death, he reacted more severely to them. And as much as
Harry resents their deaths, Marge is not saddened by it; she is actually inconvenienced and sees
their deaths as a good riddance. Their opposing viewpoints show the variability of coping
methods and portray how differently two people can see the same deaths.
On the ride to Hogwarts, Dementors are introduced. According to Remus Lupin, they are
creatures that “glory in decay and despair (…) get too near a dementor and every good feeling,
every happy memory, will be sucked out of you” (Rowling 197). Dementors symbolize
depression and human sadness. After the trio’s initial encounter with a dementor in the Hogwarts
train booth, Harry becomes more aware of the fact that the Dementors elicit stronger reactions
from him than from the others. His powerful reaction makes him more self-conscious of his
emotions. “‘Harry didn’t understand. He felt weak and shivery (…) but he also felt the beginnings
of shame. Why had he gone to pieces like that, when no one else had?'” (Rowling 91). Harry
feels shame at experiencing such emotional responses. He compares his reaction of his deepest
sadness and negative experiences to those of his friends. His past is far more toll-taking and
devastating. Ginny can come close to that from the experiences she endured the year prior, but
that is as close as she can get. Harry does not realize that his feelings are not abnormal, not a sign
of weakness. But because he compared his losses to those of others who did not experience them
the same way he did, he hides his feelings (or tries to).
Colin Murray Parkes, writer for British Medical Journal, published a study on the
concepts of loss and hiding certain losses because of shame. He writes, in his study “Facing
“Hidden losses arise when (…) the loss is associated with feelings of shame or
inadequacy (…) When a loss is very gradual or imperceptible, or the person has been
born with a disfigurement or disability of which they only gradually become aware, they
often succeed in ignoring or minimizing the implications of the loss.”
Harry tends to take in this form of coping. He is averse to showing his inner emotions. People
will often confuse his feelings or not understand how he feels and will not know how to
approach him with his problems. Harry feels the need to play the act of a strong person, which he
is. However, Lupin advises him not to be ashamed of how he feels.
When Harry actually looks into his memories for joy and confidence, he is finally able to
produce a Patronus. He might have experienced major losses in his time, but he also managed to
gain lasting bonds from friends that he made. Unlike Voldemort or Dementors, Harry is able to
experience love, which helps him cope during hard times. He witnesses several losses and deaths
in his time; all the same, he comes out stronger than before.
When one thinks of loss and death there are usually negative connotations that follow,
such as grief and bereavement, especially when this occurs in childhood. Though as hard as such
times are they can also result in a strong character change for the positive and better. This is also
more evident when the background and environment around the person is taken into account.
This level of harsh growth is demonstrated in J.K. Rowling’s magical Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire. Harry experiences this loss and death and though both are unpleasant in the cycle
of life, he tackles them knowing they are part of a cycle and challenges the threat they pose in his
new year at Hogwarts.
The key highlight that makes every kid’s day when he or she goes to school is getting
to see the friends they have made and grown used to that sort of company. But nothing can take
the cake more than when you think you will lose your friend when he says, “‘Yeah?’ said Ron,
and there was no trace of a grin, forced or otherwise, on his face now. ‘You want to get to bed,
Harry, I expect you’ll need to be up early tomorrow for a photo call or something’” (242). Ron is
expressing his disdain and hidden hate for the fact that his best friend got chosen as a Triwizard
Champion rather than him. But it is so much more than that as he feels even more insignificant
considering how the audience already knows how special Harry is at this juncture, and the
Triwizard Cup may have been his only chance, had he a chance, to shine as brightly as his
friend. This is the first big argument we see between the males and while Harry may have lost a
friend temporarily, it was not without reason since Ron lost confidence and feeling of importance
or equality. There is probably loss of trust as well as Ron is deeply offended that Harry would
not tell him how he managed to stick his name in the goblet of fire. Now, though the friendship
is still there it is in the process of dying, neither fully alive nor gone completely. And
retrospectively, “‘You’re doing a really good impression of it,’ Harry snapped” (242), is the
retort that Harry makes when Ron mentions that he is not stupid. Now the roles are flipped and
Harry is the one who feels like that trust is gone since his best friend will not believe him. Kids
of their age, in the teens, tend to not be so open about each feeling they experience – especially
painful ones. They try to be tough, swallow the desire to confide in someone and bury such
feelings beneath anger and dissociative habits. Kids this age when displaying this type of
behavior tend to take it less to heart and more in the moment which heightens the anger.
Anger of course though is a powerful outlet and means of ventilation, while also not assuming
that person does not feel anything remotely close to grief, stated in,
Losses are so painful and frightening that many young children – able to endure
strong emotions for only brief periods – alternately approach and avoid their
feelings so as not to be overwhelmed. Because these emotions may be expressed
as angry outbursts or misbehavior, rather than as sadness, they may not be
recognized as grief-related. (Institute)
It states that grief is displayed second to something like anger and misbehaving. But in reality
not everybody is willing to be so open with the fact that they are in a state of grieving. Some are
shy and reserved, some believe they are weak for it; and so those who believe in such an idea
will most likely turn to a more aggressive and violent approach. Calling out for help and leaning
on others becomes an alienated concept while pushing away becomes second nature to the
Though life is full of adversities and grief overcoming them becomes second nature and
one grows stronger with each passing event of such kind. Bully activist Ally Del Monte shares a
video blog about her bullying experience with one of her viewers replying the video with,
“Continue to be strong and brave and stand up for yourself and others who are being bullied”
(Marcela Rojas). Ally faced bullied since her second grade time and it led to a suicidal attempt at
the age of thirteen many years later as this abuse never ceased. She refused to accept that she
needed help and ran away, thinking being sold out as a snitch would make it worse rather than
better. However it was with the suicide attempt that her mother got her therapy and help, as well
as monitoring online usage since a good portion was cyber bullying. She has since talked many
out of suicidal thought and helps them realize they can be brave and make it through this as it
does get better. Though one is bullying and one is death, as seen here, “And then, before Harry’s
mind had accepted what he was seeing, before he could feel anything but numb disbelief, he felt
himself being pulled to his feet.”(537) Harry is stuck in the graveyard here after watching Cedric
Diggory fall dead on the floor and even though he is getting caught up in the ongoing mess, he
cannot deny what is before his eyes. It is obvious to the audience this event is very displeasing
but he does not turn or run away from it. He accepts it and chooses to face the upcoming
challenges with a strong head. In order to beat loss and overcome the challenges that follow, you
must be willing to tackle them on head first and keep moving forward as that is where real
character is developed.
Although dying and death are everyday occurrences, muggles and wizards alike struggle
with this concept of their mortality on earth and the mortality of the ones they love. During the
final Triwizard challenge, Harry experiences a traumatic event. He and Cedric are caught in the
wrong place at the wrong time, resulting in Voldemort murdering Cedric. As Harry looks back to
see Cedric’s lifeless body, he will never be the same. Michelle Palmer, author of Understanding
and Supporting Grieving Adolescents and Young Adults, discusses how adolescents of different
stages of growth need different forms of support during the time in which they process their loss.
Palmer states, “individual personality traits, including emotional reactivity/intensity, resilience,
adaptive functioning… grieving style… cause of death, time since the death, and relationship to
the deceased person, also impact the grief process”. After seeing such a gruesome death of …
is a clear
Elizabeth L. Angeli
Professor Patricia Sullivan
12 February 2012
Toward a Recovery of Nineteenth Century Farming Handbooks
While researching texts written about nineteenth century farming, I found a few
authors who published books about the literature of nineteenth century farming,
particularly agricultural journals, newspapers, pamphlets, and brochures. These authors
often placed the farming literature they were studying into an historical context by
discussing the important events in agriculture of the year in which the literature was
published (see Demaree, for example). However, while these authors discuss journals,
newspapers, pamphlets, and brochures, I could not find much discussion about another
important source of farming knowledge: farming handbooks. My goal in this paper is to
bring this source into the agricultural literature discussion by connecting three
agricultural handbooks from the nineteenth century with nineteenth century agricultural
To achieve this goal, I have organized my paper into four main sections, two of
which have sub-sections. In the first section, I provide an account of three important
events in nineteenth century agricultural history: population and technological changes,
the distribution of scientific new knowledge, and farming’s influence on education. In the
second section, I discuss three nineteenth century farming handbooks in
connection with the important events described in the first section. I end my paper
space any part
begin on page
1 and end on
next to the
in the header
so that it
the date of
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spaced in 12-
font. Dates in
written in this
title is not
Blue boxes contain
directions for writing
and citing in MLA
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of MLA style
the rest of
title, e.g., in
The headings used here follow a three-
level system to break the text into
smaller sections. The different levels
help organize the paper and maintain
consistency in the paper’s organization.
You may come up with your own
headings as long as they are consistent.
with a third section that offers research questions that could be answered in future
versions of this paper and conclude with a fourth section that discusses the importance of
expanding this particular project. I also include an appendix after the Works Cited that
contains images of the three handbooks I examined. Before I can begin the examination
of the three handbooks, however, I need to provide an historical context in which the
books were written, and it is to this that I now turn.
The nineteenth century saw many changes to daily American life with an increase in
population, improved methods of transportation, developments in technology, and the
rise in the importance of science. These events impacted all aspects of nineteenth century
American life (most significantly, those involved in slavery and the Civil War).
However, one part of American life was affected that is quite often taken for granted: the
life of the American farmer.
Population and Technological Changes. One of the biggest changes, as seen in
nineteenth century America’s census reports, is the dramatic increase in population. The
1820 census reported that over 10 million people were living in America; of those 10
million, over 2 million were engaged in agriculture. Ten years prior to that, the 1810
census reported over 7 million people were living in the states; there was no category for
people engaged in agriculture. In this ten-year time span, then, agriculture experienced
significant improvements and changes that enhanced its importance in American life.
One of these improvements was the developments of canals and steamboats,
which allowed farmers to “sell what has previously been unsalable [sic]” and resulted in a
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(I, we, us,
“substantial increase in [a farmer’s] ability to earn income” (Danhof 5). This
improvement allowed the relations between the rural and urban populations to strengthen,
resulting in an increase in trade. The urban population (defined as having over 2,500
inhabitants) in the northern states increased rapidly after 1820.1 This increase
accompanied the decrease in rural populations, as farmers who “preferred trade,
transportation, or ‘tinkering’” to the tasks of tending to crops and animals found great
opportunities in the city (Danhof 7). Trade and transportation thus began to influence
farming life significantly. Before 1820, the rural community accounted for eighty percent
of consumption of farmers’ goods (Hurt 127). With the improvements in transportation,
twenty-five percent of farmers’ products were sold for commercial gain, and by 1825,
farming “became a business rather than a way of life” (128). This business required
farmers to specialize their production and caused most farmers to give “less attention to
the production of surplus commodities like wheat, tobacco, pork, or beef” (128). The
increase in specialization encouraged some farmers to turn to technology to increase their
production and capitalize on commercial markets (172).
The technology farmers used around 1820 was developed from three main
sources: Europe, coastal Native American tribes in America, and domestic modifications
made from the first two sources’ technologies. Through time, technology improved, and
while some farmers clung to their time-tested technologies, others were eager to find
alternatives to these technologies. These farmers often turned to current developments in
Great Britain and received word of their technological improvements through firsthand
knowledge by talking with immigrants and travelers. Farmers also began planning and
conducting experiments, and although they lacked a truly scientific approach, these
flow of the
in experiments to obtain results and learn from the results.2 Agricultural organizations
were then formed to “encourage . . . experimentation, hear reports, observe results, and
exchange critical comments” (Danhof 53). Thus, new knowledge was transmitted orally
from farmer to farmer, immigrant to farmer, and traveler to farmer, which could result in
the miscommunication of this new scientific knowledge. Therefore, developments were
made for knowledge to be transmitted and recorded in a more permanent, credible way:
The Distribution of New Knowledge. Before 1820 and prior to the new knowledge
farmers were creating, farmers who wanted print information about agriculture had their
choice of agricultural almanacs and even local newspapers to receive information
(Danhof 54). After 1820, however, agricultural writing took more forms than almanacs
and newspapers. From 1820 to 1870, agricultural periodicals were responsible for
spreading new knowledge among farmers. In his published dissertation The American
Agricultural Press 1819-1860, Albert Lowther Demaree presents a “description of the
general content of [agricultural journals]” (xi). These journals began in 1819 and were
written for farmers, with topics devoted to “farming, stock raising, [and] horticulture”
(12). The suggested “birthdate” of American agricultural journalism is April 2, 1819
when John S. Skinner published his periodical American Farmer in Baltimore. Demaree
writes that Skinner’s periodical was the “first continuous, successful agricultural
periodical in the United States” and “served as a model for hundreds of journals that
succeeded it” (19). In the midst of the development of the journal, farmers began writing
handbooks. Not much has been written on the handbooks’ history, aside from the fact that
C.M. Saxton & Co. in New York was the major handbook publisher. Despite the lack of
and it tells
ends with a
and a brief
information about handbooks, and as can be seen in my discussion below, these
handbooks played a significant role in distributing knowledge among farmers and in
educating young farmers, as I now discuss.
Farming’s Influence on Education. One result of the newly circulating print information
was the “need for acquiring scientific information upon which could be based a rational
technology” that could “be substituted for the current diverse, empirical practices”
(Danhof 69). In his 1825 book Nature and Reason Harmonized in the Practice of
Husbandry, John Lorain begins his first chapter by stating that “[v]ery erroneous theories
have been propagated” resulting in faulty farming methods (1). His words here create a
framework for the rest of his book, as he offers his readers narratives of his own trials and
errors and even dismisses foreign, time-tested techniques farmers had held on to: “The
knowledge we have of that very ancient and numerous nation the Chinese, as well as the
very located habits and costumes of this very singular people, is in itself insufficient to
teach us . . .” (75). His book captures the call and need for scientific experiments to
develop new knowledge meant to be used in/on/with American soil, which reflects some
farmers’ thinking of the day.
By the 1860s, the need for this knowledge was strong enough to affect education.
John Nicholson anticipated this effect in 1820 in the “Experiments” section of his book
The Farmer’s Assistant; Being a Digest of All That Relates to Agriculture and the
Conducting of Rural Affairs; Alphabetically Arranged and Adapted for the United States:
Perhaps it would be well, if some institution were devised, and supported at the
expense of the State, which would be so organized as would tend most effectually
to produce a due degree of emulation among Farmers, by rewards and honorary
distinctions conferred by those who, by their successful experimental efforts and
improvements, should render themselves duly entitled to them.3 (92)
lack . . .”,
begin on a
half an inch
Part of Nicholson’s hope was realized in 1837 when Michigan established their state
university, specifying that “agriculture was to be an integral part of the curriculum”
(Danhof 71). Not much was accomplished, however, much to the dissatisfaction of
farmers, and in 1855, the state authorized a new college to be “devoted to agriculture and
to be independent of the university” (Danhof 71). The government became more involved
in the creation of agricultural universities in 1862 when President Lincoln passed the
Morrill Land Grant College Act, which begins with this phrase: “AN ACT Donating
Public Lands to the several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for the
Benefit of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts [sic].” The first agricultural colleges formed
under the act suffered from a lack of trained teachers and “an insufficient base of
knowledge,” and critics claimed that the new colleges did not meet the needs of farmers
Congress addressed these problems with the then newly formed United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA and Morrill Act worked together to form
“. . . State experiment stations and extension services . . . [that] added [to]
. . . localized research and education . . .” (Baker et al. 415). The USDA added to the
scientific and educational areas of the agricultural field in other ways by including
research as one of the organization’s “foundation stone” (367) and by including these
(1) [C]ollecting, arranging, and publishing statistical and other useful
agricultural information; (2) introducing valuable plants and animals; (3)
answering inquiries of farmers regarding agriculture; (4) testing agricultural
implements; (5) conducting chemical analyses of soils, grains, fruits, plants,
vegetables, and manures; (6) establishing a professorship of botany and
entomology; and (7) establishing an agricultural library and museum. (Baker et
mark if the
If a source
has three or
These objectives were a response to farmers’ needs at the time, mainly to the need for
experiments, printed distribution of new farming knowledge, and education. Isaac
Newton, the first Commissioner of Agriculture, ensured these objectives would be
realized by stressing research and education with the ultimate goal of helping farmers
improve their operations (Hurt 190).
Before the USDA assisted in the circulation of knowledge, however, farmers
wrote about their own farming methods. This brings me to my next section in which I
examine three handbooks written by farmers and connect my observations of the texts
with the discussion of agricultural history I have presented above.
Note: Sections of this paper have been omitted to shorten the length of the paper
From examining Drown’s, Allen’s, and Crozier and Henderson’s handbooks in light of
nineteenth century agricultural history, I can say that science and education seem to have
had a strong influence on how and why these handbooks were written. The authors’ ethos
is created by how they align themselves as farmers with science and education either by
supporting or by criticizing them. Regardless of their stance, the authors needed to create
an ethos to gain an audience, and they did this by including tables of information,
illustrations of animals and buildings, reasons for educational reform, and pieces of
advice to young farmers in their texts. It would be interesting to see if other farming
handbooks of the same century also convey a similar ethos concerning science and
education in agriculture. Recovering more handbooks in this way could lead to a better,
more complete understanding of farming education, science’s role in farming and
education, and perhaps even an understanding of the rhetoric of farming handbooks in the
what you have
this is a
1. Danhof includes “Delaware, Maryland, all states north of the Potomac and
Ohio rivers, Missouri, and states to its north” when referring to the northern states (11).
2. For the purposes of this paper, “science” is defined as it was in nineteenth
century agriculture: conducting experiments and engaging in research.
3. Please note that any direct quotes from the nineteenth century texts are written
in their original form, which may contain grammar mistakes according to twenty-first
century grammar rules.
begin on a
Center the title “Notes,”
using 12-point Times
New Roman font.
Allen, R.L. The American Farm Book; or Compend of American Agriculture; Being a
Practical Treatise on Soils, Manures, Draining, Irrigation, Grasses, Grain,
Roots, Fruits, Cotton, Tobacco, Sugar Cane, Rice, and Every Staple Product of
the United States with the Best Methods of Planting, Cultivating, and Preparation
for Market. Saxton, 1849.
Baker, Gladys L., et al. Century of Service: The First 100 Years of the United States
Department of Agriculture. [Federal Government], 1996.
Danhof, Clarence H. Change in Agriculture: The Northern United States, 1820-1870.
Harvard UP, 1969.
Demaree, Albert Lowther. The American Agricultural Press 1819-1860. Columbia UP,
Drown, William and Solomon Drown. Compendium of Agriculture or the Farmer’s
Guide, in the Most Essential Parts of Husbandry and Gardening; Compiled from
the Best American and European Publications, and the Unwritten Opinions of
Experienced Cultivators. Field, 1824.
“Historical Census Browser.” University of Virginia Library, 2007,
www.mapserver.lib.virginia.edu/. Accessed 6 Dec. 2008.
Hurt, R. Douglas. American Agriculture: A Brief History. Iowa State UP, 1994.
Lorain, John. Nature and Reason Harmonized in the Practice of Husbandry. Carey,1825.
“Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862.” Prairie View A&M, 2003. www.pvamu.edu/
history/. Accessed 6 Dec. 2008.
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Nicholson, John. The Farmer’s Assistant; Being a Digest of All That Relates to
Agriculture and the Conducting of Rural Affairs; Alphabetically Arranged and
Adapted for the United States. Warner, 1820.