As I look at the painting above, without even having to do any research, I know by the distinct style of splatter across the page that it must be a Jackson Pollock painting. His mind and artist’s hand work in incredibly complex ways to create a piece of art, and with the extravagant use of abstract dribbles and splatters of paint, Jackson Pollock has made himself a household name in the art community and has been for quite some time. The way in which he works is incredibly interesting, and that he has been able to get so intricate while standing over the canvas really helps for me to picture the way in which his mind must be working.
I’ve only been able to study art for two years, and I can already see the complexities behind this piece and many of the other pieces that Jackson Pollock has produced over the years that he has become popular. I’m not a huge fan of his style, because I find abstract art hard to really understand and work with, but I’m sure he has his reasons and how he’s been so successful.
A poem written by Nancy Sullivan about ‘Number 1’ (the piece pictured above), was a reaction of hers to the painting itself. She, too, shares my awed reaction to Jackson Pollock’s work and describes the art as ‘trickles and valleys of paint’. Just as I do not understand the way in which Pollock works, Sullivan states a question that I, too, find myself asking when I view his work. ‘How to realize his question / Let alone his answer?’. If you have no read this piece, I highly advise you to do so shortly after viewing Number 1 and see how you feel in relation to Nancy Sullivan’s observations.
An oxymoron is a form of paradox that combines a pair of contrary terms into a single expression. This combination usually serves the purpose of shocking the reader into awareness. Examples include “wise fool,” “sad joy,” and “eloquent silence.” During my reading in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, I’ve noticed a few oxymoron examples popping up within King Claudius’ dialogue. The first I noted happened to be the most obvious, “Have we, as ’twere with a defeated joy, / With an auspicious and dropping eye, / With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage.” (Act 1.ii.10-12)
As you may notice, there are several statements that contradict themselves that I have underlined for your easier viewing. The words ‘defeated’, ‘funeral’, and ‘dirge’ are all examples of mourning while ‘joy’, ‘mirth’, and ‘marriage’ would be seen by those who are encountering a joyous occasion. King Claudius (as you may or may not know) is extremely pleased with his position that has been taken over from the late King Hamlet. It’s almost as if he’s taunting young Hamlet with his speech.
A paradox, however, is a situation or action or feeling that appears to be contradictory but on inspection turns out to be true or at least to make sense. Following with my analyzing of Act 1.ii, I noticed a few paradoxes within Hamlet’s words from a quote that I’ve heard quite a few times now. “A little more than kin, a little less than kind.” (Act 1.ii.65) Hamlet’s uncle, King Claudius, has now married his mother and become something more to him than just kin. Now, he is his uncle-father while his mother become his aunt-mother. Now both of them are twice related to Hamlet, as he bitterly speaks of Claudius’ new position. Not only that, but he also makes the joke that “the funeral baked meats / Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.” (Act 1.ii.180-181).
As I have noticed on through, into my reading of Act 2, Hamlet is a master of words and quite the witty card when it comes to bitter humor in a manner such as this. He brings about many paradoxes in his humor, when applied with a bit of meaning to his words.
After browsing the titles on Netflix for what felt like an eternity this Saturday afternoon, I found myself stumbling upon a film I’d heard about from my father. Now, you see, this is a film that is very typical of my dad to watch; it contains action and a twisted ending that most aren’t expecting to hurt you. I didn’t go into this movie knowing what sort of things would happen, and I feel a little bit betrayed by the director and writer of this tale: he had my trust that nothing terrible would happen to Leon.
The movie title is Leon: The Professional. It is the story of a Hitman who lives near a little girl who is far too grown up in her own body, their first true encounter happening when the girl sits on the apartment staircase smoking a cigarette: she is twelve years old. Her father has gotten into some risky business and cheated the wrong man in an attempt to steal 10% of a dope share. In the end, Matilda (the girl) narrowly escapes being killed by the man who brutally wiped out her family thanks to Leon.
The character dynamics in this movie are some of my favorite, I have to say. Leon is an immigrant to the United States, living beneath the roof of an Italian man who smuggled him into the States and whose life belongs to him. He is illiterate, but learning, and his main profession is ‘Cleaning’, which we can assume means wiping the floor with anyone he’s told to kill. However, Leon’s one rule is “No women, no kids” that he reveals to a persistent Matilda. Stubborn and seemingly-fearless, this twelve-year-old girl wishes to be like Leon and learn how to take lives for a lump sum of cash if only to get back at the disgusting man who killed her little brother.
This unlikely duo is forced to move several times due to Matilda’s antics as a young girl with confusing thoughts in her mind or brazen actions, but Leon manages to stick with her until the very end despite her many flaws. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it is an emotional one that you wouldn’t expect out of an action film like this. It certainly touched my heart and I needed to take a mental stroll to relieve myself of what had just unfolded.
The last line is really what hits you, I think, as Matilda speaks to what Leon proclaimed to be his best friend; a house plant that he tended to.
“I think we’ll be okay here, Leon.”
My writing life not only exists outside of my schoolwork, but it often flourishes there when inspiration strikes and my favorite ball-point pen is forced and a mixture of cursive and standard handwriting is strewn across the page like spilled coffee. Words that litter my mind do not necessarily reach the page, as something is lost in the translation between my brain and my fingertips, but the soft classical renditions of my favorite songs playing in the background influence me and drive me further. The scent of coffee diffusing in my room and putting me entirely at ease can do nothing but fuel my inspiration and bring my mind to a focal point.
However, with my deep-seated insecurities, my literary work is often shown only to one person unless it’s ordered that I force my penmanship upon others for a class exercise such as this one. I would love to expand my writing life because when the pen stops or that last key is pressed, a feeling of satisfaction washes over me and I realize that I have done it. I have created something with my own hands that can convey emotion to others, and I desperately wish to be heard despite having nothing to say. I am an artist, and when I cannot create works of beauty with brush strokes, I know that my pen is by my side and cannot abandon me the way an artist’s muse can. Maybe that’s why I like to work in ink, because the stain of the paper is permanent despite the imperfections.
I am not a hero, marked for greatness by the scars of my past, but I can create people who are. Imperfections in characters, and imperfections in my own character inspire me to write works of fiction more often than not. I grew up reading fiction novels, much like any teenager this day in age with their Harry Potter and Eragon series making memorable marks on their childhood. Darren Shan was my favorite author in middle school and I think he personally fueled my morbid curiosity with the darker sides of fiction, and I would love nothing more than to expand my horizons and write like he does.