My literary diary BY ASIA MANZATO

General presentation: How literature reflects upon our nowadays existence? What are the main considerations most of the renowned authors mainly deal with in their masterpieces and how do they contribute to the story of human beings? These are some of the questions this diary is going to answer through the analyze of those important excerpts which I have considered particularly relevant in my literature studies, even if I will integrate them with my personal opinions and reflections to make all a little bit more intriguing and, I hope, interesting…

The word "literature"

The role of literature: But how come writing a log based on literature? For one simple reason: literature is the mirror of our society. It has the power to shine a light on a society's beliefs and practices. It forces readers to ask questions, start conversations and look for answers, even if one true answer doesn't really exist. The themes, characters and lessons in literature are ones that can all be compared to the people and events readers see in the real world. Literature then can also be a way for people to learn more about the past because it will provide a clear account of things that people can learn from those events.

Literature, rapresented from the red little man, connects past with future.

And now, let's talk about the different authors through some of their main masterpieces!

STEP ONE: Mary Shelley - "Frankenstein"

Here it is a short but very well made video in which two people, a writer and a biographer, introduce the important figure of Mary Shelley analyzing her personal life, her carrier and finally her biggest work "Frankenstein".

So, the most important aspect that we can infer from the viewing of this video is about the fact that Mary Shelley founded the science fiction and the way she built the charachters, as the entire novel too, was mainly affected by her personal life: the terrible relationship with her step-mother, the death of her mother, the feeling of being an out-cast, the pregnancy when she was only sixteen and her baby's death are only some of her misfortunes, which made this girl thinking she was a curst, dogged by death. For this reason she believed there was anything bad in giving life and this is what we find in her "Frankenstein".

Frankenstein is a gothic novel. Gothic novels focus on the mysterious or supernatural; take place in dark, often exotic, settings; and yield unease if not terror in their readers. Some literary critics also consider Frankenstein the first science fiction novel, which was based on Luigi Galvani's experiments with electricity because this Italian anatomist studied how this form of energy could bring dead people back to life. Mary Shelley knew about this sort of great studies and she took inspiraton from them in her writing. However, could she imagine that her novel would be still contemporary in the century we live nowadays? Personally, I do not think so! Yet, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, (this was her real name), with her masterpiece anticipated what electricity is doing also today, in the twentieth century: everyday in fact we are repeatedly bombarded by news concerning with discoveries in the field of technology and, of course, electricity. Then, "Frankenstein" is not to be considered a simple morbid novel, but a profetic story in which we as readers find the onset of scient fiction as well as of modern elements. this is a web page which I discovered to be very useful because there is the important in-depth analysis of the connection between the influence of Galvanism with the novel.

but...what is Frankenstein about?

Dr. Frankenstein is a brilliant scientist, who is obsessed with the idea of gaining control over life and death, refusing the limits of contemporary science. He carries out his research alone until he eventually succeeds in bringing to life a monster he has created out of the organs of dead men. However, even Frankenstein is frightened when he sees the fruit of his insane fantasy. The monster escapes from the laboratory and appears some time later in the Swiss Alps, where he is rejected by all the men that he encounters, not so much for his ugliness as for his clearly non-human features. His desire of communication with others is deeply frustrating and his anger towards all mankind builds up leading to a tragic climax in his killing of Frankenstein's best friend, his little brother and his wife. The monster takes refuge at the North Pole knowing that only there, in a place of total desolation he will kill no more. Dr Frankenstein follows him, intending to kill his creation but it is the doctor himself who is mortally wounded by the monster. He accuses Dr Frankenstein and the rest of mankind of lacking all compassion. The story ends with the monster being carried away on an ice raft in the Arctic sea.

What is somehow peculiar in this novel is its narrative structure. Mary Shelley seems to demonstrate to be a great writer also to this point: the lots of flashbacks developed during the all plot make the story more and more involving so much so the reader cannot stop carrying on through the pages of the book because he looks forward to know how will finish Frankenstein's story; but the ingredient that is, in my opinion, the more interesting one is the fact that Shelley created a novel which inside conteins two other different stories: a real "story within the story within the story". In this way here the readers find three different narrators: at first, Walton, who is the one who exchange letters with her sister, then dr. Frankenstein, who informs Walton, and finally the monster, who informs the doctor. Through this narrative technique the reader can have a multiple perspective of the story because there is three different points of view and he can decide in which he identifies himself. In this way the author wanted to make the narration more objective to involve intellectually the readers, and I truly believe she has succeeded in her intention, because he managed to create an entangling but powerful novel.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has been considered so fascinating that lots of film directors took inspiration from it for their works... Here there are two different video trailers of movies based on this story: the first is one of the most recent versions (producted one year ago) and the second is instead an older one (1994).

What makes Mary Shelley such a great writer in my opinion is also her choice of the themes to develop in this gothic novel. Chapter 5 has the main purpose of letting the readers know how the creation of the monster happened: in this important passage, though, the writer does not restrict herself only to the careful and therefore fearsome description of the new "human being" but she also throws the readers into the head of the character. In this way we share with the protagonist his thoughts and feelings and we are constantly confronted with this figure. Anyway, particular and surprising is how Mary renders the personality of Dr. Frankenstein in this chapter, when he discovers the result of his project and demonstrates to be very disappointed and "unable to endure the aspect of the being he had created" even if the idea of infusing life to an inanimate body has been his biggest desire for nearly two years.

Bizarre and controversial are the two main adjectives that may be considered suitable for this character, but are we not so sometimes? Let's just think about how many times has happened to us to make something we have ever desire to make, and then, only when we saw the result to be so regretful that we would like to go back in time not to make it again... Is this theme so dated then? I definitely do not think so. What does Dr. Frankenstein later do is then something impressive: he abandons his creature because he is afraid and wants not to take his own resposibilities. I must admit that I personally found this scene particularly intense and touching because by reading it I got a strong message connected to one of the problems our society still has: the one of the great number of the neglected minor. The just born creature, in fact, in the story has been left all alone because of the uncaring attitude of his creator, and this is what in real life in most of the cases unfortunately happened too... What a cruelty! I cannot understand how a person can be so savage to repudiate someone which is born in this and that therefore has the same rights to live. I ask myself lots and lots of times how can this be possible and I honestly believe I will never be able to answer this question...

Speaking of neglect, the following video is a really touching and powerful deposition of a young woman who was not supposed to born because her parents and in particular her mother did not want her to come to life. We don't really know the motivations her mother really had to arrive to consider and perform the abortion, so I personally believe I can not express an opinion about the choice of this mother; however, I cannot hide my enormous feeling of esteem and respect for this woman, who decided to speak to the world of his unusual experience.

BREATH-TAKING. Isn't it? Gianna's courage and moral strength is something extraordinary and really touching, for this I think not to be the only person who cannot do anything else but move every time I bump into this video.

Chapter 13, instead, is mainly focused on the education of the monster. In these lines, Mary Shelley tells how the creature has been instructed from the De Lacey family, composed of Felix, Agatha and their blind father; one day comes to the house a woman, Safie, and the family welcomes her and gives her lessons in French. It is in this way that he monster learns along with her. Even if the plot of this chapter could seem very easy to analyze, the messages that it includes are very important. Frankenstein, from the day of his birth is very hesitant on the relationship with the human being because from that moment he has got only negative experiences with them as for example the neglect from his creator and many others occasions in which the monster has been treated harshly from people who were afraid of his figure. In this family, though, he feels good. It is thanks to the education he manages to achieve, that a spiritual evolution occurs in the soul of the creature, who started asking himself questions about mankind's nature and therefore about himself, as a real baby would do. But if on one hand this kind of education he managed to achieve seems to reach his mind, on the other hand the monster understands that this is something which causes in him a sort of painful feeling ("sorrow only increased with knowledge...") because through the study of history he could understands that most of the greatest problems of life have been caused from the operation of human beings, the same who then have to face their own mistakes. And does not this still happen in our society?

Who is the real monster in this novel? The just created monster or his creator? And are human beings good or bad? Mary Shelley makes the reader reflect also upon this questions but she seems to give us also her personal opinion: nobody is only good or only bad; our society seems to have imposed a label to define goodness and malice, but this does not really exist. To this point, Frankenstein feels himself an outcast because he looks like different from the other people, and the reader himself at the beginning of the narration is usually persuaded on thinking about him as a horrible, wretch beast, while during the whole plot the perception of this character changes and becomes the opposite of the starting one. An unusual strategy used from the writer, who plays with the contraposition between good and bad/ victim and victimizer which seems to add to the story a mark of irony that once again makes the novel unique and exciting.

The power of this masterpiece is, in conclusion, the ability of entertaining the reader so much so the person identifies himself with the characters. Personally, in fact, lots of times during the reading of this novel I bumped into reflections which consisted on comparing my person with the figure of the two main protagonists. Would I, as the creator, abandoned the monster all alone just because it did not perfectly represent my starting project, or would I stayed by his side to help him growing up? And what I would do if I was the creature? Then I reflected also upon the idea of infusing life into an inanimate body... Is this a useful achievement in the field of technology or not? Would I use it to bring someone back to life? Well, I definitely do not see this as a great thing but, to the contrary, something fearsome because against nature. I believe we have been made from our Creator following some laws which are the ones of nature and for this reason I think nobody should ever change them too much. Yet, this is only my opinion...

STEP TWO: John Milton - "Paradise lost"

Who is John Milton and why is he an important figure in English literature? Here there is a short video in which are summarized the most relevant facts of his life and personality.

John Milton's main masterpiece is of course "Paradise lost", an epic, long narrative poem, divided into sections, written by John Milton. Over the course of 12 parts, called books, Paradise Lost tells the entire biblical story of the fall of mankind, from the rebellion of Satan to the temptation of Adam and Eve. It has been recognized as one of the greatest achievements in English literature for the greatness of his subject, but also for being considered one of the most famous uses of blank verse in English poetry, in which the term "blank verse" refers to a poem in iambic pentameter, which is a meter that uses five iambic feet per line.

satan's role in paradise lost

"Nothing can exceed the energy and magnificence of the character of Satan. It is a mistake to suppose that he could ever have been intended for the popular personification of evil." -Percy Shelley

The great English poet Percy Shelley, (Mary Shelley's husband), who idolized Milton, summarized the point well: the character of Satan in Milton's work is surely the most dynamic and complicated figure, but also the most intriguing, as far as I think that nearly every reader of the poem has found it difficult to avoid sympathizing with him at least to some degree, if not completely. Satan's personality in the poem is so relevant that in some occasions the reader could ask himself of whose side Milton was: Satan's or God's. However, the real important issue of this character is the fact that even if he represents evil, his one is a very seductive kind of evil which maybe appears to the eyes of the reader as even more dangerous: Satan does a great job of portraying God as a kind of tyrant who loves arbitrary power. The evil force definitely embodies the characteristics of the epic hero: leadership, bravery, shrewdness, ambition, pride and self-confidence: he represents the figure of the rebel against the authority (God).


Oratorical power is another virtue this character certainly has. Already in book 1 it is evident how Satan uses his great power of speech to control his followers and therefore to make his viewpoint clear to the reader. Here I am going to report some of the words of "Satan's speech" which the protagonist reports during his arrival in the new kingdom, Hell:

Resolved and brief, the protagonist-leader demonstrates here to be very proud and tries to convince his followers not to consider God superior than them, but at a same level; lines 254-255, the first two of the paragraph sound as a sort of provocation, which Satan addresses to his followers with the purpose of making them reflect upon what do Hell and Heaven mean, given that it is in our mind that we create our own Heaven or Hell. Why then being depressed for living in the bowls of the Earth, when they can here manage to reproduce their own Heaven? And the theme of not accepting someone's will is again remarked later, when the character declared that he would "better reign to Hell than serve in Heaven" to reinforced the belief that he cannot endure to be secondary to God, when this gave life to Satan.

Milton with this masterpiece therefore invites the reader to make a reflection about the importance of language in life: who is a great persuader usually manage to control the masses and make them convinced of the same his opinions. And what is peculiar is how this thinking is still present in our nowadays, especially in politics, where a successful speech will not only touch the audience emotionally, and possibly even change their minds, but it may also translate into electoral votes.

Here it is a short video in which this sort of "manipulating people through political speeches" in my opinion is very evident: Michelle Obama is having a speech to convince the American citizens to vote for the republican candidate Hillary Clinton in the just happened American Elections.

Another important character of the novel is Adam. In book 8, in particular, he is represented as a just-created baby, who asks himself questions about the nature that surrounded him and about his creation in the world.

The power of this passage is in my opinion the fact that Adam's reflection sparks into the reader a sort of interior thinking process about his creation: in our life in fact there are moments when we ask usually our parents about our past, because we constantly in search of our roots. The fact is that we human beings were not born in void, so there are connections between the person we are now and the baby we have been in the past that we want to investigate increasingly with the evolution of our years.

Adam in these lines retraces all the steps a baby makes in his first days from the birth and he then concludes this thought saying that in life it is necessary to have gratitude for our creator because it is thanks to this that we live. Adam, in particular, dedicates this reflection to his "great Maker", who he considers God, because he does not know who his real parents are.


The power of Milton, in conclusion, seems to be his ability in telling a story, apparently absolutely unreal, in which instead there are lots of issues that every person could observe in his real life. The characters, as the story itself sticks in the reader's mind for the greatness of the reflections they minutely conceal behind a quite simple plot.

STEP THREE: Daniel Defoe - "Robinson Crusoe"

Daniel Defoe was born in 1660 in London, England. He became a merchant and participated in several failing businesses, facing bankruptcy and aggressive creditors. He was also a prolific political pamphleteer which landed him in prison for slander. Late in life he turned his pen to fiction and wrote Robinson Crusoe, one of the most widely read and influential novels of all time. Defoe died in 1731. English novelist, pamphleteer and journalist Daniel Defoe is best known for his novels "Robinson Crusoe" and "Moll Flanders".

But... What is Robinson crusoe about?

Here it is a short video, which summarizes very well the plot of the famous novel:

Based on the real experiences of the sailor Alexander Selkirk, Defoe's novel is very rich on details and descriptions because it has the main purpose of being read as real as possible from the reader; with the same aim, also the hero's behavior, his life and actions, the setting and all the references in the story seem to trace minutely the characteristics of 18th- century England and man. As the video has already mentioned, the novel is also full of religious references, as far as it can be read as a spiritual autobiography in which the protagonist finds comfort in the Bible and keeps a diary to record events in order to see God's will in them. The figure of God is in fact in Defoe represented as the prime cause of everything, even if man can shape his destiny through his actions: it is necessary then to apply a rational method to every situation not to make mistakes in choosing the best alternative to a possible solution.

In the second section of the novel, in particulary, the extract which concern with the narration of the shipwreck in the desert island, which is also the moment when Robinson starts to keep a journal, is very detailed in the description of the situation, as of the character's feelings too. Shared in different days, the narration of the events is described in chronological order and summarizes how the protagonist manages to overcome the obstacles he is faced with thanks to his physical and rational effort. Important and singular in this passage is also the role of nature, seen from the sailor as an enemy always prompt to make things worse than they already are.

Robinson Crusoe's shipwreck

Friday's meeting

Friday is a twenty-six-year-old Caribbean native, who Robinson rescued from a group of cannibals, who came to the island to perform their rites. His figure is largely described in chapter 14, when Robinson gives to the reader a perfect illustration of this "handsome fellow", emphasizing the positive details of this creature, comparing them to those characteristics of a slave. However, the sense of superiority Robinson feels towards this man is well visible already from the beginning of the passage and it will strengthen increasingly, when Friday, (this is the name Robinson decides to give him), demonstrates to feel inferior to his savior.

Very touching and meaningful is the scene in which Defoe describes the moment when Friday goes down in his knees and puts his head under Robinson's foot, in a strong act of submission. These are the words of the sailor:

" at last he lays his head flat upon the ground, close tp my foot, and sets my other foot upon his head, as he had done before; and after this, made all the signs to me of subjection, servitude, and submission imaginable..."

Friday does not obviously speak the language that Robinson knows and therefore has to make him understand that he is grateful to him through his body language: it is in this very occasion that Robinson decides to start teaching Friday the features of his own culture and mentality. The intention of the narrator on Robinson making this decision consists surely in wanting to let people know that he is a good Christian, who tries to help a man by teaching him, but actually Robinson's behavior does not seem to be so positive, because he is imposing his culture upon Friday, deciding for him without asking his own opinions, and not letting the savage living according to his people's traditions and customs.

These are two different videos that pleasantly underline the relationship sovereign- subjugated representative of the two protagonists:

Friday, however, never appears to resist or resent his new servitude, and he may sincerely view it as appropriate compensation for having his life saved. But whatever Friday’s response may be, his servitude has become a symbol of imperialist oppression throughout the modern world.

STEP FOUR: Daniel Defoe - "Moll Flanders"

"Moll Flanders" is another of Daniel Defoe's most famous novels.

but... what is it about?

"The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and dies a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums": this is the original title of the novel. A long title like this is practically a novel itself, which is fitting, given that it covers all the major plot points. In fact, it seems like Defoe is using all the twists and turns of the plot as an enticement for readers to pick up the book in the first place.

This is totally different from the way books are marketed today, where the ending is always left off the back cover's blurb. But nevertheless, the title draws us in. We want to know how Moll managed to have so many adventures over the course of her life, even if we already know what those adventures are. All in all, this title has got it all. It practically shouts: "Readers! This book is moral, honest, exciting and scandalous all at once! How could you not want to read a book like that?"

Defoe presents his novel as a real story and he stages it therefore as the memoir of a person who, though fictional, is a composite of real people who experienced real events in Defoe's London, whereof he gives information about the customs of his time as well as insights into some social problems like crime and the provisions for poor orphans. Moll Flanders concerns itself above all with the practical, day-to-day exigencies of a woman who enjoys no long-standing social stability or financial security, allowing the accumulation of factual detail to stand as evidence for the writing's truthfulness, if not its literal truth. It is in this way that the story is a reflection of its time.

Singular and interesting is how in the book the protagonist's immoral actions have no real consequences, and the narrative tends to excuse her behavior by referring it to material necessity. The English novelist Edward Morgan Forster called the book "a masterpiece of characterization," and it is a testimony to the psychological nuance of her character, as well as to its liveliness, that we like Moll more than we censure her. Defoe in fact creates in Moll a character of limitless interest, in spite of her unconcealed ethical shortcomings. The book therefore seems to generate a conflict between an absolute Christian morality on the one hand and the conditional ethics of measurement and pragmatism that govern the business world, as well as the human struggle for survival, on the other.

Moll Flanders character has been taken into consideration as protagonist to lots of films: here it is a short trailer of one of the versions, produced in 1995.

STEP FIVE: William Blake - "Songs of innocence" and "Songs of experience"

Poet, artist, political freethinker and prophet, William Blake is one of the most complex and particular personality of the Romantic Age. In his two most famous works, Song of innocence and Songs of experience, in particular, he seems to describe very well what are his opinions in different fields of interest, infusing in his poems messages which are both deep in meaning and provocative without being too explicit: it is this kind of writing that makes the reader more involved and curious in what he is reading.

“Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.” -William Blake

One of the greatest items taken up by Blake in his masterpieces is certainly the one which concerns with "complementary opposites", that is well expressed in the quotation. The author did not consider the world in black or white color, how it is instead imposed by Christianity, he considered the fact that black needs white and white needs black. In this way, the dynamic relationship between contraries is the vision thanks to whom we, as human beings, can really appreciate the beauty of life, because by trying to negate one half of a contrary we solve nothing but only cause suffering. This vision, however, does not mean neutralizing the nature of contraries, but recognizing their respective characters and differences without needing to attach to them moral labels because this kind of behavior reflects the ignorance of human beings. The process whereby one half of a pair of contratries is labelled as inferior to the other half and consequently dismissed is what Blake calls "negation".

This dualistic view of life is well represented from the poet in his choice of writing the "Songs": innocence and experience would seem to be two different values, while actually Blake disclose us that they are always interlocked. In this way, innocence would seem to the be the more controlled, ignorant perception of the truth, usually own to a child, whereas experience breaks down Songs of Innocence and shows the real horror of the situation in which the artist lives. Inside the two collections there are lots of lyrical verses which are the contrary of the others in the parallel section: while in "Songs of innocence" the poem entitled "The chimney Sweeper" is narrated through the eyes of a child, the same poem in the "Songs of Experience" is lived from an adult figure. When the two songs are read together, they represent the world as it is envisioned by what Blake calls "Two contrary states of the human soul".

The ChimneySweeper - Songs of Experience
The chimney Sweeper - Songs of Innocence

Another of the items Blake deals with in his Songs is his interest in social and political problems of his time: in particular, in his poems he expresses his disease and suffering brought about by industrialization and he sympathized with the main victims of this economic process, such as children, prostitutes, as well as with the victims of oppression by institutions such as orphans and soldiers. In the poem "London" in "Songs of Experience" the author conveys very well the complaint of the harsh conditions in which people are obliged to live. This is a poem in which there is no hope, a poem rich of suffering and bitterness, feelings that Blake feels as a victim of industrialization. "Weakness", "woe", "cry" and "hapless sigh": these are the words that mainly remain in the mind of the reader after reading "London"; gloomy words which perfectly fit with the condition of submission to the authorities and to all the system which also nowadays make us those manacles which forge our mind. Is our nowadays reality so different from the one Blake tells us about? This is the question I bumped into while reading this poem, and to be honest, my personal opinion is that today, although maybe we have not the courage to admit it, we are still victims of a huge system which does not allow us to live as we would if we were less driven by those who have the power.

Surfing on the net I gained knowledge of the fact that the Irish rock band U2 has taken inspiration from William Blake to create one of his last albums. Bono (lead vocals and guitar) revealed that he is his favorite poet and for this reason he decides to entitle the 2011's album as Blake's work: "Songs of Innocence" . In addiction, in 2106 the band wanted to carry on this project with his next studio album, Songs of Experience, the follow-up to the other album. Although the record was mostly completed by the end of the year, according to the Edge, the band decided to delay a release to give them time to reflect on the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election and to reassess whether the album was still communicating what they wanted.

This is one of the songs which are in the album "Songs of Innocence": I found it very deep and quite alike what the themes of Blake's masterpiece are. In fact, it deals with strong feelings, hope and, somehow, a sensation of submittion towards something it cannot be done although the will of doing it.

STEP SIX: Jonathan Swift - "Gulliver's Travels"

Jonathan Swift is considered the greatest English writer of his time and one of the largest satirists ever existed. For his sake in using satire to describe the world, and in particolar human beings, he has been labelled alternatively as a misanthrope, a monster or a lover of mankind. However, what clearly emerges from his works is that he was seriously concerned with politics and, above all, society: he did not share the optimism of his age or the pride in England of his contemporaries.

"Gulliver's travels" is one of his most famous works. Written as an adventure novel, it a actually a cruel satire of human race and civilisation but it can be read also as a political allegory of Swift's time, as a parody of voyage literature or as a masterpiece of misanthropy and a reflection on the aberrations of human reason.

Reason is surely one of the main themes Swift deals with in this masterpiece: he believed that humans have an innate capacity for reason, which they fail to use either because they used it too intensively and therefore they make an error of judgement, or because they use it too less. To this point, he considered reason an instrument of our mind, that must be used properly.

Rationality ------> vs ------> Animality

It is interesting observing how Swift in his work laughs at the ignorance of humans while he, on the other hand, prefers supporting the animals' nature. For the author, humans are only people who, certain to controll the world, actually are the cause of its degeneration: they want progress but they are the first who, with their actions, delate the past examples because they are driven by their strong pride. And yet, this is what in my opinion also today happens. We humans presume to be the most intelligent, and therefore important specie in our planet, while we should reflect upon what we really are and wheter we are really worthy to be called like this. It is in this way that according to Swift in the animality of animals stays the real intelligence: they do not need to demonstrate the others what is their valueand therefore they do not also need to be "violent" with the others because of their will to prevail upon them.

Science is another item of "Gulliver's travels". Swift, however does not criticise the whole use of science, but the unproper one: in the passage entitled "The Academy of Lagado" is this theme very pronounced; the author here deals with a strange proposal made by scientists: to abolish the use of language and to use objects to lenghten the life of humans because words are only an instrument that corrodes ourselves.

Maybe this "experiment" carried on in this work could seem absurd and without a clear and usefull message, but actually it becomes allegorical of what science is all about: innovation is clearly progress, however, we should reflect wheter this progress ia always positive or not. In my opinion, as also Swift declares, too much science can destroy that thin border between innovation and devastation of those essential things which have always took part of life and therefore are fundamental for humans, and language is one of these things. I believe more in the fact that we should fight for improve our today way of life instead of persisting on finding out new realities if we are not sure of their good nature.

In addiction, the proposal of replacement of language can be also read as a provocation on the humans' attitude on trying always to attach labels on things. In this way, Swift addresses us a proposal in which he invites us to reflect upon the names we give to things because most of the times they are the result of the importance we give to them. This sort of reflection, anyway, has been carried on also from another great poet of the English literature: the English playwright William Shakespeare, who deals with this item in the balcony scene. Here the author made the two characters Romeo and Juliett have a dialog about the fact that a word is actually nothing but a contract humans stipulate between one another.

It is to say that most of the times, however, we tend to put labels not necessary only to things, but especially to people, above all because we consider ourselves better than others for some particular reasons... This is a great and powerful video about this negative kind of attitude with names humans always have towards their similar:

STEP SEVEN: Jonathan Swift - "A modest proposal"

"A modest proposal" is the another great masterpiece of Jonathan Swift.

The cover of the proposal

The full title of Swift's pamphlet is "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to their Parents, or the Country, and for Making them Beneficial to the Publick." The tract is an ironically conceived attempt to "find out a fair, cheap, and easy Method" for converting the starving children of Ireland into "sound and useful members of the Commonwealth." Across the country poor children, predominantly Catholics, are living in squalor because their families are too poor to keep them fed and clothed. In this way, also in this case Swift uses irony to denounce a serious problem of his time, which deals with the gap between the life conditions of the rich in contrast with the ones of poor people. In this pamphlet, the autor suggestion is to fatten up these undernourished children and feed them to Ireland's rich land-owners. Children of the poor could be sold into a meat market at the age of one, he argues, thus combating overpopulation and unemployment.

Apparentely absurd and ridiculos, also this proposal is instead a real exhortation to wake up and to operate in front of this unaccetable situation. The cannibalism becomes methaphore of the attitude of human beings of turning a blind eye to poverty and children dieing for it. And in this, Swift demonstrates to be as contemporary as possible, today, in a world where there is people who earn billions of money doing almost nothing, while, on the other side of the same country there are people who cannot allow to have enough food to feed their children. But the most sad thing in all this is the fact that although we, in the twenty first century, see every day this cruel reality, we do nothing to make things change once for all because we think that it is not something which really concerns us... then we should ask ourselves a question: "What if those children would be my children?" and I am sure that things would certainly improve.

This is a beautiful video which shows and explain the terrible condition in which poor children nowadays live in our planet:

However, the CHANGE needs lots of COURAGE and only the ones who want to RISK would be able to SUCCEED...

What is "love" for me?

What is love?

This is how the great Jamaican singer Bob Marley explains what is love for him… I found these words touching and wonderful, I completely agree with him and I think he could not have found more suitable words to speak about an issue which is not so easy to speak about… I consider Bob Marley to be not only one of the greatest singer of all times, but also a fantastic poet, who used the power of language in a way which is somehow extraordinary.

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.” -Bob Marley

I consider myself a girl with a strong personality, quite determined and secure of who I am and what kind of life I would like to live: I always try to do the best in every single thing I do and I always try to choose the best option. It is in this way that I consider myself as a very ambitious person. It is also for this reason, maybe, that my tastes are quite challenging in quite all the fields and, as it is normal, not everybody seems to share all my choices. In love, in particular, I am certainly very demanding. It is not so simple to explain what love is for me, but I will try to manage to do it. First, I do not believe me to be a very passionate or romantic girl, with this, I am not saying that I do not like sentimental books or films or whatsoever, yet, already when I was younger and my schoolmates asked me to choose about playing football with the guys or dressing up as brides with the girls I surely did not hesitate to choose the first alternative. Loving someone for me does not necessary mean to be “mushy”; quite the contrary, I find this behavior false and exaggerate, not spontaneous and real; I mean, I think that everyone would really appreciate to receive a love-letter one day, and I would be very touched to receive it too, but if this kind of romantic gestures would become too many, then I would consider it appearance, and I think I would not really appreciate it. In this way, I think that in love romanticism is really pleasant, in as much as it is not fiction. Then, I do not believe at all at sentences as “You are the love of my life” or “You and me will stay together forever!”: yes, maybe I am a little bit crazy, but if my partner would say me these kind of things, honestly, I would not be so overjoyed. The point is quite the word “forever” and promises in wider terms: I do not have a good relationship with promises and I definitely do not trust in “forever”. I mean, are we sure about the future? No. Can we then make promises about something we are not sure of? It is impossible. Why then making this kind of absurd reveals of love if we do not know anything about tomorrow? I agree with the saying “Anything is forever”, especially when it concerns with love: I would prefer a partner who every day demonstrate me to be the only woman he wants by waking up every morning beside me in the bed, rather than a partner who says me things which he, first, is not sure to keep. Another feature that in my opinion there must be in love it is confidence in the partner. Personally, I think this is the most difficult trait to have, because for me it is not easy to trust people. I always try not to disclose all my feelings, worries and thoughts to other people, not to run the risk to be wounded from them; Love, however means sharing everything with the partner in order to be stronger together. What is another necessary ingredient for love? A good part of laughs and fun. I think without these elements love would be boring, and therefore would easily dissolve. Patience and lot of desire of share our own life with another person are also important as far as there must be respect and honesty. A person who loves must be also courageous and enterprising, must have self-confidence and last but not least, must have lot of self-respect. Finally, I do not believe that love is only the relationship two partners have, I think instead that love stays in every relation in which two people feel great feelings for one another. Love must exist between two friends, two classmates, two people who rarely date themselves but also between an animal and a person, a parent and a child, a man and a thing… Love to me is that kind of powerful feeling which ties two people together until they will die, is that sort of “forever” that needs no “forever” said.

This is a song, which to me represents very well what does the word “love” mean. The lyrics to the song represents a long-distance relationship and it is inspired by Sheeran's own experience:

I decided to write a letter to the person I considered to be my love: she is my mum.

Dear Mum,

This is the first time I write you a letter and I am sure I will not able to say everything what I would like to say you because, as you already know, I am not so good at expressing my feelings. Well, today I decided to write in this sheet of paper some of the things which I have never said to you and that also today I cannot manage to do. First, thanks mum. Yes, I know this is something I unfortunately do not say you so often and for this reason I feel ashamed: thanks for everything you do for me every single day, thanks for all the patience you have with me when I am stubborn and I do not want to hear you and thanks for being here, always beside me. You are the stronger woman I have never known and also the most beautiful: your kind of beauty, however, does not limit itself to a physical characteristic, quite the opposite, it reflects upon all your traits. Your strong personality, your courage on dealing with everything and everyone and the magnificent work you do every day are the three features of you I consider the most beautiful. You are not that kind of women, who likes to appear, you like better make appear the ones you love; and you are neither that kind of people who would never give away something for someone else. Mum, you are the person who I trust the most, you are the best friend that every girl should have: the one with who you can tell everything, the one always ready to give advices and to help. Lots of times I bumped into thinking about how it would if I would have not you and the only reasonable answer I managed to give myself is that I would not be the person I am. I cannot imagine a life without you, you are too important for me and I will never thank you enough for all what you do for me every day. When I was a child, I thought that you were a sort of super heroin, from that times it has passed lot of times, however, today I still think you are so: one day, mum, I want you to say me how you managed to become the mother you are, I want to know all your secrets, do not forget not even one of those, because I am honored to be your daughter, and in the future I want my children to think at your mother the way I think at you. There are lots of things that I would still say to you, other billions of reasons why I want to thank you and why I think you are not an ordinary mum, but the mum, however, I summarize the all with this: I love you, I am proud of you and you deserve everything which is beautiful in life, because you are beautiful: I hope with all of me that you one day will be proud of me too. Finally, I want to make you a promise. You know I completely dislike them, but this is an important one and I cannot do without making it. I promise you that when you will become older I will stay by your side as well as you did with me, and I will do the same with dad too; me and my brother Andrea will do it until it would be necessary, so do not worry about anything mum, continue to be as strong as you have ever been, because you will never be alone, as I know I will never be, too.

Love you mum,

Your little daughter Asia.

Asia Manzato, 4^ D LIN

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