Tag Archives: creative writing

SHORT ANALYSIS: The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

As considered to be one master of Gothic tale, Edgar Allan Poe and his “Cask of Amontillado” contains many of the standard elements of Gothecism. He was fascinated with the materials and devices of the Gothic novel, although he preferred to work in the short story form. He was a great admirer of Walpole, and of the American Gothic writer Charles Brockden Brown. In his works, when one of the protagonist is wrestling with  guilt, Poe sometimes doubles his character and then arranges for one self to murder the other by burying him alive. In repeatedly telling stories of murderous doubles, Poe was attempting to deal with his own demons, his own repressed guilt. Poe’s biographer, William Bittener, claimed that Montressor and Fortunato are two sides of the same man Edgar Allan Poe as he saw himself while drinking. The shadow figures emerge as a personification of the narrator’s hostile feelings and thoughts. In his criticism and his daily life, Poe himself is striking back at those forces in society or particularly individuals who might have wronged him. Poe had showed in his work that the monsters outside are nothing compared to the monsters we carry within us. “The Cask of Amontillado” reflects and shows some of the societal views of the late 1840’s. For one, alcoholism was very prevalent in that past society. So it wouldn’t be surprising to anyone that a story from this era would have a driving force such as that of alcoholism. In that era, it was generally okay for people to drink, more so than today. Secondly, gruesome deaths were very much a part everyday life for the 1840’s people. Everyday, many criminals were put to death by means of the guillotine. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” a grim death is the end of a man’s life and the end of the story.

The theme of revenge is a major theme in this story. It isn’t often that a revenge story of this nature comes into the hands of readers. “The Cask of Amontillado” is a very popular story, for many reasons. Even today, over 150 years after it was published, it is still being read. It was so eloquently written, and it has such vivid and detailed imagery. It caters to most people also, in that; it has elements to satisfy everyone’s taste in a good story. “The Cask of Amontillado” reflects a partial sector of society from the late 1840’s. It has elements of fear, especially the fear of death and the unknown. It illustrates some people’s way of thinking, such as the fact that some people don’t think before doing something. It also allows the reader to enter the mind of a murderer; not only to read what he is thinking, but also to understand what he is thinking. Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cast of Amontillado” shall forever live on in people’s hearts as a grisly tale of death, murder, and revenge.

 

Reference: Christopher Wanamaker 2011

 

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InBeatWIN: People of War by CJ Lopez (Bronze Medalist EMC Essay Writing Contest)

This is my entry to the 11th Founding Anniversary of Eastern Mindanao Command (Armed Forces of the Philippines) Essay Writing contest Category B open to all Youth aged 15 to 30. This creative non-fiction essay won 3rd place with a score of 96% judged by EMC heads and Mindanaon Davao-based writers/columnist.

It’s been an hour but I still can’t think of the best introduction to this essay. The goal is to make whoever reads this one feel the emotion and message that I want to impart. My mind is definitely in war; the thoughts are in chaos. One thing is for sure, I am neither reluctant nor afraid of expressing myself. War?, I have plenty to say about it. We always have that in our house. Change and development?, I always try to craft a better version of me from time to time. I have spoken to people about my advocacies; I’m a youth development advocate. I’m a person who targets the heart when he talks or persuades someone, a romanticist. Wait, I just realized, I’m taking this personal already. Okay, shall I begin? Of course yes.

Hell is what it feels like to be inside a battlefield. An adamant fact is that the world itself is a battleground and life and honor is what we protect and fight for, it may be ours or for the sake of what we believe and the people we value. I’ve watched one mind-opening movie entitled Hacksaw Ridge, a 2016 biographical war drama focuses on the World War II experiences of Desmond Doss. It triggered my thought about how agonizing it is to be in a war. Desmond is a Seventh Day Adventist and he pledged to never fire a gun in war that makes it difficult and different for how peculiar it is to face a battle weaponless. It is equal as saying that you want to die. Jump off to the ending, sorry for spoiling, he survived and saved a lot of lives. The film left me aversion of violence and chaos.

Our soldiers are offering their lives to protect our motherland. I can still recall myself as a child that I once dreamt of becoming a soldier. My friends would probably laugh at this. I cannot blame them for today, I’m 20, stiff and enervated. I lost it, gave up of that dream but never the way how I look up to our cavalrymen. The place where I live at is near the 30th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. It’s like I’m basically living together with them. I meet the armies in or out of their uniforms, see their smiles and positive outlook of life. But I am aware that those faces aren’t hiding the reality that they are people ready to die. Anytime a call for sacrifice will invite them to be in catastrophe. This havoc will test their ability to fight death, living their families the uncertainty of seeing them again alive.

The recent Marawi siege is a clear example of how we can delineate war as Gehenna. It’s the people inside the perimeter of bullet exchanges that feels the agony. As simply as we already can see ourselves in their situation; the personal stories of the people affected by the conflict melts our heart. Days of intense skirmishes, of fear and death, still in hope to achieve the unattainable peace. The people behind the attacks may have their reasons for fighting but these things aren’t eradicating the truth of selfishness. Selfish for it is not a fight for glory that really matters, this is TERRORISM. A lot are directly affected in this attack. Selfish for most of the pledged terrorist are from Marawi itself; born, educated, and grow up there. These people are removing any conscience that will block their detestable endeavor. Innocent lives are being killed; lives being sacrificed. The Philippine Army is trying it’s best to get back our land from this national traitors. We honor them that they’re living as to what we sing from our national anthem, “…ang mamatay ng dahil sa’yo”.  Nationalism is what we can learn from them, it is not just because it’s their duty. They entered the military with the choice of risking their precious lives.

In this tragic spectacle of the Philippines, it is sad that this kind of scene is becoming normal. The world faces multifaceted discords and some leads to violence and war. If we try to ponder the different sides of these battles, it will never be possible to think about progress and development. A world where places and the people should live harmoniously is not achievable considering the effects of whatever the cause of such desolate event. Anywhere in the Philippines can be the next Marawi. Internal conflicts in each locality must be addressed and resolved before it becomes a national issue. The government, authorities, and the people should be congruous. Our Army will be our partners to achieve the accord. National policies should be respected and each individual should be aware and reminded of their self and social responsibilities as a citizen of this country. Peace process between the government and rebels is being pushed through. Seeing NPA rebels surrender their weapons to the government is a sign that the efforts of our government and the AFP is working. The AFP leads the campaigns against extremism and other possible violent insurgency that not only the national aspect of security is affected but also the humanity as a whole.

I am still seeing a progressive Mindanao in the future. I won’t lose my hope to the place that molded me. One day, if not tomorrow, next month or the few years to come but slowly, progress and development will be reached. Our soldiers will no longer offer their lives to grim reaper. Civilians will live peacefully without the fear of any trouble that might welcome them anytime. Our native land will be in tranquility as it soars high and grow to become a progressive nation. In between the war is disorder and graves. I pray for all of this to stop.

I will end this essay with an untitled poem that I personally made to honor the men who are sacrificing their lives to our beloved country. May they be protected by the grace of God and our nation.

Today as I walked through the street of Rizal
I saw a man in his camouflage
As I come closer to him
I noticed his eyes so dim
Little do I know his story
His name and where he come from
What I know is his future
An uncertain one
He might be lucky as of today
But what I don’t know if he’ll still be.
So I gave him my best smile,
He smiled back brightly
I jokingly offered a salute
He laughed and returned the gesture
I thought,
This man has pledged his life
For me, my family and friends
I thought,
This man has pledged his life
For his wife, his children
I thought,
This man has pledged his life
For the nation’s victory and glory.

– End –


Featured Photo from PhilStar, Unicef: 50,000 kids affected by Marawi siege

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/06/01/1705639/unicef-50000-kids-affected-marawi-siege

 

Unasked Late Night Thoughts

by CJ Lopez

 

Midnight's passed and he's still awake
The tempting hours is testing
Hey! What keeps the soul burning?
Is it the mysteries of the late night ?
Maybe just a late late show in his little way
But do you mind what's with others mind?
Unfocused and enjoying the devils night
Is she right? 
She's paranoid, jealous 
And deep inside is asking
A lot of questions haunting
Would she trust someone who stays awake at night? 

 

Image:  Carlos Martz / Flickr

i

by CJ Lopez

It is anguish inside the moment I saw it
A bad taste in one's mouth thinking about what caused this
Too much for an overflowing river in an unwanted rainy season
A late bloomer of consciousness, where is it when I need it?
It's too late now
I've decided my fate
I lost it
The battle of hearts
Unequipped, unprepared
Who has to blame?


moonday

by CJ Lopez

Let's all take time to appreciate the moon.
Today's Monday and the universe is sparkling above us.
Only few are lucky to have been blessed with the scene.
A magnificent look of what life is.
This life is our galaxy.
Some shines like a star,
A planet of possibilities maybe.
Some are just like the moon,
Who can't illuminate by himself.
Who can't bring light as always to many.
But what makes it special,
Is its wonders and mysteries.

The Road Taken

by CJ Lopez

Two roads diverged in a wood
 One is the path of many,
 The other is uncertain.
 They say life is worth risking,
 And the heart is our choice.
 I stood there thinking.
 What will be the right choice?
 The way of people who are sure
 Or the way that still needs to discover.
 I neglected the many.
 I took the road of nowhere.
 The path that challenges my capacity,
 To know what's beyond my world.
 The road where mysteries are to be unfold.
 The road where brave souls go.
 Two roads diverged in a wood.
 I took the one less traveled by,
 Now I'm lost.

On the Road

On the road I stopped and see,
A family who shares so glee.
The image of moment I stare,
They were so fine, so fair.

How nice it is, a family of care.
A family of joy, a family who share.
The old people’s responsibility,
Are seen done in reality.

I bid farewell to the scene.
A perfect portrait kin.
On the road I walked alone,
To face the world my own.

The Skylight Room by O. Henry

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

220px-william_sydney_porterBorn William Sidney Porter, this master of short stories is much better known   under his pen name “O. Henry.” He was born September 11, 1862 in N. Carolina. He has become a symbol to represent a recognizable species of short story writing. He wrote nearly three hundred stories. Most of O. Henry` s were translated into foreign languages. His stories are very American in language. And one of the most popular and famous story is “The Skylight Room”

PLOT SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

Introduction of the rooms and Miss Leeson, without a choice, buys the “skylight room” with money she can afford.

RISING ACTION

Meets Billy Jackson the Star and fellow lodgers

CLIMAX

Job becomes scarce so Miss Leeson goes  to her room without food, and dying from starvation

FALLING ACTION

Fellow lodgers finds her in her room and call an ambulance.

RESOLUTION

In typical O. Henry fashion, we get the surprise ending – gets treatment from  a doctor named William Jackson.

SETTING

New York City  probably in early 1990s.

CHARACTERS

  • Ms. Leeson
  • Mrs. Parker
  • Mr. Hoover
  • Ms. Longnecker
  • Mr. Skidder
  • Clara
  • William Jackson

POINT of VIEW

Third person

CONFLICT

  • MAN Vs. CIRCUMSTANCES (Dominant)
  • MAN Vs. SOCIETY

SYMBOLISM

  • Billy Jackson – her hopes and dreams
  • The skylight room – a metaphor of her life

THEME

The reality of life and our hopes

“No matter what situation you are in, you should always have an optimistic heart”

 

VOCABULARY

  • Lambrequin- a short piece of decorative jewelry hanging above a door.
  • Smite – strike with a firm blow
  • Cicerone- a tour guide, esp. one who explains antiquities
  • Contemptuous- showing contempt
  • Roguish- characteristic of a dishonest and unprincipled person
  • Tocsin- an alarm bell or signal
  • Cabalistic- referring to meanings of esoteric and mythical interpretations
  • Whimsical- playfully quaint or fanciful
  • Implacable- unstopable
  • Corpulence- the state of being fat

 

 

Bothered Heart

by CJ Lopez

Midnight thoughts of our memories,
The nights that we've been together.
Out of the blue alone,
I'm missing you.

My gypsy mind brought my heart
to an uncertain place to wander.
The escaping endeavor of oneself,
but back by your sweet gestures.

Unstable sense, tries to bring back
the old I that ones stand.
Here I am, I shout  for harmony
Clear what's inside, clear my heart.