Monday, September 7, 2015

Strange Pilgrims



“17 Poisoned Englishmen”
            In “17 Poisoned Englishman”, a woman named Prudencia travels to Rome in an attempt to gain an audience with the Pope. During her stay in an Italian hotel, she comes across a group of Englishmen that she initially is almost disgusted by. However, after she explores Rome a bit more, Prudencia becomes disillusioned with the city that she once thought of as idyllic. She returns to the hotel and finds that all 17 Englishmen have died from being poisoned.
            The broken teacup that we drew was made as a visual representation of the deaths of the Englishmen. It is not only a straightforward symbol for their demise but also for Prudencia’s broken perception of the English.  As further illustrated by our 2 quotes, Prudencia, at first, makes generalizations about the British and cannot stomach their presence, but after experiencing Rome and seeing the men die, she mourns their loss. Our quotes were meant to deal with preconceptions and perception, two topics that we thought were very apparent in the story.

“The Saint”
            In “The Saint”, Margarito’s daughter dies, but when examining her body he realizes that her body is weightless and seems to have not decayed. He takes this as evidence of his daughter’s saintliness and dedicates his life to getting her canonized. In the process, however, he ironically ends up acting so selflessly that he seems to possess virtue worthy of a saint.
            Our image is a depiction of a saint, but the body is half man half woman, the female half representing the saint that Margarito wanted to be recognized, his daughter. The male half represents the saint that the audience and the narrator recognize, Margarito. The quotes on the left illustrate the virtue that Margarito possesses that demonstrates his saintliness. The quote on the right shows the irony of how Margarito’s quest for his daughter’s canonization resulted in the demonstration of his own saintly characteristics.

“Tramontana”
            In “Tramontana”, a Caribbean man sits in a bar in Barcelona while a storm known as the Tramontana approaches. The storm is rumored to make people go insane, and the man from the Caribbean seems to be familiar with it. A group of Swedes visiting Barcelona force the man from the Caribbean into a van and attempt to drive him towards the storm.  The man jumps out of the moving fan in a bid to avoid dying or losing his mind in the storm, but he ironically dies anyway.
            The drawing that our group made, along with the 2 quotes that accompanied it, was made to illustrate the inevitability of the Tramontana. It is a wind, and like death, you cannot run from wind.  The protagonist of the story, though he technically ‘avoids’ the tramontana, reinforces this point. The Tramontana, though he never reaches it, drives him mad as the mere idea of having to confront it causes him to jump out of a moving car, dying in the process.

Connection
            The link between the 3 stories is dark irony. In “Tramontana” and “17 Poisoned Englishmen”, it comes in the form of death. The man in “Tramontana” jumps out of a van to avoid the storm, ironically dying in the process. In “17 Poisoned Englishmen”, Prudencia finally develops sympathy for the Englishmen, but ironically, this only occurs once they have died. In “The Saint”, Margarito ironically develops saint-like qualities, but only by trying, to no avail, to canonize his daughter.


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