Spring 2014 – Flagler College Undergraduate Research http://flaglerresearchjournal.com Flagler College Undergraduate Research Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:24:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.5 Female Sportscasters: Still Battling the Same Barriers http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=149 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=149#respond Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:26:58 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=149 By Alex Holmes, Stephanie Spadea & Katherine Lutz

Abstract: Sports media has been a male dominated industry since its beginning. Over the years, women have been trying to break the barrier and cross over into sports reporting. Generalizations and stereotypes have categorized women into a group that has little knowledge of sports and is then questioned on its understanding of the sports industry. This warped perception of women in sports media can be attributed to the social identity theory, symbolic annihilation and a hegemonic masculine society.

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Focusing on the Future: A Relational Art Project with Fourth Grade Students http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=145 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=145#respond Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:22:37 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=145 By Emily Szymanski and Emily Gleeson

Our objective was to reach out to a low-income school in St. John’s county, seeking to get fourth grade students to think positively about their futures. We wanted to help them set goals, and more importantly, get to reflect on how the choices that they make now will affect them in the future.

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Creative Bias and Artistic Individuality in the Poetry of Phillis Wheatley http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=140 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=140#respond Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:13:23 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=140 By William Arbogast

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Deliberately Craving the Wrath of God in Puritan Society http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=135 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=135#respond Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:09:45 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=135 By Elizabeth Doolittle

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Michelangelo Achieves Perfect Balance of Secular and Non-Secular as His Career Progresses: From David to Risen Christ http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=131 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=131#respond Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:07:26 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=131 By Elizabeth Doolittle

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“Deathwards progressing to no death:” The Freudian Trauma Cycle in Keats’s “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” and The Fall of Hyperion http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=129 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=129#respond Mon, 14 Apr 2014 23:51:56 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=129 By Rebecca Short

“Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought/ As doth eternity” remarks John Keats’s speaker in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” as he contemplates the urn’s aesthetic implications (44-45). The comment illustrates art’s existence outside of mutability and its subsequent baffling effect upon human comprehension. This defiance of temporal understanding reflects Keats’s theory of negative capability, which he defines as a poetic state of lingering in “uncertainties, mysteries, [and] doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason” (Wu 1423). For Keats, negative capability allows a poet to transcend the structuring functions of the mind and enter the perpetually suspended realm of art; however, it is often accomplished through a traumatic moment of destabilization in which the poetic speaker realizes his mortality in the presence of an object of eternal beauty.

Psychoanalytically speaking, Keats’s engagement with the disjunction between speaker and artwork suggests the Freudian repetition compulsion as a means of overcoming this trauma. The engine at the heart of this compulsion is the death drive and Keats’s negative capability functions metaphysically as this instinct towards self-destruction; it requires the dissolution of the “irritable reaching” of the self and mind into an egoless space of “uncertainties, mysteries, [and] doubts.” By repeating the traumatic realization of mortality in poems such as “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” and The Fall of Hyperion, Keats hones his ability to enter the negatively capable realm of art and poetically suspend his death in verse; thus, he overcomes his mortality by attaining the static beauty of art in the form of poetry.

Before examining these poems, it is pertinent to discuss “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” which functions as Keats’s discourse upon the nature of art and its ideal state of negatively capable existence. “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness” begins the poem, and immediately Keats identifies art’s endurance outside of structured time (1). The urn’s “unravish’d” existence sexually implies that its decorative images have never been consummated and brought to a satisfying conclusion; rather, they exist in a state of suspension and uncertainty as to outcome. Keats echoes this suspended sexuality in stanza two where he remarks, “Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,/ Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;/ She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,/ For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair” (17-20). The lovers will never consummate their love since they are mere figures on an inanimate object; nevertheless, their love and beauty are perpetual and they will always be on the cusp of pleasure, never having to fear the aftermath of love. Art’s ability to capture this apex of human happiness makes it an eternally renewable source of pleasure. The speaker of “Grecian Urn” implies this when he describes the “happy melodist, unwearied,/ For ever piping songs forever new” (23-24). Frozen in time on the urn, the melodist’s music will be “forever new” because every viewer of the urn will imagine a different song issuing from his instrument. Keats is quick to praise the inert beauty of the Grecian urn yet he refers to it near the end of his poem as a “Cold Pastoral,” identifying it with a deathly plane of existence only underscored by its function as a vase which holds the ashes of the deceased (45). Indeed, it is the urn’s joyful independence from change and human passion that ironically makes it a portrayal of living death or stasis in which its immobile figures are always on the cusp(s) of consummative action. This ability to dwell in perpetual mystery as to outcome makes the urn negatively capable and free from the tension of “irritable grasping” to which the human condition is subjected.

The urn’s freedom from tension reflects the goal of the Freudian repetition compulsion and speaks to Freud’s theory of the death instinct. In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud asserts, “the dominating tendency in mental life…is the effort to reduce, to keep constant or to remove tension due to stimuli…” (96). This explanation of what he terms the Constancy Principle explains that individuals are inclined to repeat traumatic events so they may regain their psychological equilibrium and “master a powerful impression” (58). The repetition compulsion is marked though by self-destructive behaviors, motivated by what Freud identifies as the death instinct, or a desire to return to inorganic form. He further stipulates a personalized law to the death instinct, namely that “the organism wishes to die only in its own fashion” (63). Pamela Thurschwell explains the logic behind the death instinct and reinforces Freud’s assertion regarding a self-styled death: “Death is the ultimate release of tension; it promises the ultimate experience of stasis and complete calm. Reenacting unpleasurable experiences comes to seem like a rehearsal for one’s own death” (88). Thurschwell’s language here evokes the negatively capable condition of the Grecian urn and its static, technically dead existence. The urn therefore embodies not only Keats’s theory of negative capability, but the death drive’s objective as well. Indeed, repetition as a “rehearsal for one’s own death” suggests a creative nature to the death drive that allows one to refine and style their death into some form of perfected artwork. It indicates how negative capability, a metaphysical death drive, is the path the Keatsian speaker must travel if he desires to overcome the mortality-induced “tension” of his existence.

“On Seeing the Elgin Marbles” marks the advent of this tension that the Keatsian speaker is so desirous of nullifying and functions as the first step in Keats’s development into a negatively capable poet. The sonnet depicts a speaker disturbingly overwhelmed by the disjunction he perceives between the eternal beauty of the marbles and his mortality. He feels crippled by an “indescribable feud” (10) and “dizzy pain” that he can neither reduce nor remove (11). Indeed, the sonnet begins with the speaker’s awareness of his mortality inducing a spiritual feebleness: “My spirit is too weak— mortality/ Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,/ And each imagined pinnacle and steep/ Of Godlike hardship tells me I must die/ Like a sick eagle looking at the sky” (1-5). Knowledge of mortality is nauseatingly burdensome for the speaker; he compares it to “unwilling sleep,” an ambiguous description suggesting a complicated attitude towards death. We can read this line as sleep that undesirably and uncontrollably overwhelms the speaker or as sleep that refuses to come upon him. Either way, the speaker implies the marbles lead to a mental encounter with death. Indeed, the latter interpretation suggests the speaker desires his death in order to escape the “imagined pinnacle[s] and steep[s]” of life and “Godlike hardship” the marbles depict. In this instance then, we see a very basic, immature form of the death drive in which the Keatsian speaker wishes simply to evade the responsibility of living; he is sickened by the struggle to survive beside the disturbing proximity of death. Thus he aptly compares himself to a “sick eagle looking at the sky” to express the experience of being cripplingly eclipsed by the sublime. The eagle’s sickness mirrors the speaker’s own nauseated weakness and its intimidation at the sight of the sky’s expansiveness communicates the narrator’s own existential angst in the presence of eternality’s expansiveness. In this way the eagle’s inability to enjoy the sky’s heights becomes a symbol for the speaker’s own compromised grandeur. That is to say, the speaker’s devastating awareness of his mortality beside the eternal marbles compromises his ability to engage in an “imaginative flight” where he could indulge in their beauty. This is reinforced by a sober reflection upon how the exhibit “…mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude/ Wasting of old time—with a billowy main—/ a sun—a shadow of a magnitude” (12-14). Keats’s speaker is appalled by the “mingle[d]” co-existence of “Grecian grandeur” and “rude wasting” time and the juxtaposition in diction between both states establishes a clear tension between the superior nature of permanent beauty and the degenerate nature of corporeality. The speaker is so disturbed and offended by this image that even his language in the final two fragmentary lines becomes subjected to broken syntax, reflecting the “rude wasting” of time upon flesh and the fragmented condition of the marbles themselves.

“Elgin Marbles” marks an early attempt at the encounter between mortal and eternal artwork in Keats’s oeuvre and initiates what Brendan Corcoran identifies as an “awakening into an ungraspable intimacy with death, a perpetually suspended dying” (347). This idea of an “ungraspable intimacy” recalls us to the “shadow of a magnitude” found at the end of Keats’s sonnet and signals the major shift in consciousness that his speaker undergoes in “Elgin Marbles.” He is now “awakening” into an elusively infantile knowledge of his own transience. Despite this awakening, he has not reached Corcoran’s “perpetually suspended death.” Such a state implies the condition of the Grecian urn in its portrayal of a living death and proposes that the speaker has successfully channeled negative capability. This is hardly the case seeing as the speaker fails to resolve the gap between his mortality and the artwork’s eternality, as evidenced by the sonnet’s degenerated denouement. He also fails to overcome his spiritual malaise and take part in an imaginative flight, attempting instead throughout the sonnet to articulate his predicament; this “irritable reaching after fact and reason” contradicts negative capability. Keats’s speaker can apprehend the grandeur of the marbles, and he can intuitively grasp at their profound meaning, but his oppressive awareness of mortality and “rude wasting” compromises his ability to lose himself in them to explore their expansiveness and aesthetically channel his anguish.

This initial encounter or “awakening into an ungraspable intimacy with death” is a moment of trauma for Keats’s speaker. Freud states, “we describe as traumatic, any excitations from outside powerful enough to break through the protective shield [of the mind]” (57). It is more than evident that the “Elgin Marbles” speaker undergoes a traumatic breach in his consciousness when he experiences the exhibit: his spirit is crippled by an awareness of mortality, and the “shadow of a magnitude” surfaces as an intimidating and undefined force. Katey Castellano notes that for Keats, “…traumatic loss is destabilization, the ‘negative’ that engenders the ‘capability’” and in the context of “Elgin Marbles,” Keats has lost what can be construed to be a type of innocent ignorance of death’s imminence (33). In his famous letter to John Hamilton Reynolds, Keats describes his conception of life as a “large mansion of many apartments” and writes that “the first we step into we call the infant or thoughtless chamber, in which we remain as long as we do not think” (1423). “Elgin Marbles” portrays the Keatsian speaker’s emergence from this chamber with a profound consciousness of and “ungraspable intimacy” with death.

In the same letter, Keats describes the process of awakening into this knowledge and its subsequent activation of a psychic state greatly akin to negative capability. He discusses his conception of the second of life’s apartments, the “Chamber of Maiden Thought,” which functions as an initial state of innocence filled with “pleasant wonders” but that gradually awakens an individual’s sensibilities to the “‘misery and heartbreak’ of the world” (Wu 1423). Despite this traumatic realization, Keats implies that a profounder knowledge of life is gleaned through a metaphor describing “many doors” that are “set open…all leading to dark passages.” He describes these “dark passages” as lacking the “balance of good and evil,” existing in a “mist,” and as foisting the “burden of the mystery” upon those who enter. These characteristics are reminiscent of his definition of negative capability, a state which itself exists in “mysteries” and dissolves the structuring functions of the mind (such as those that delineate between “good” and “evil”). Accordingly, the Chamber of Maiden Thought reflects Castellano’s conception of “traumatic loss” as a means of engendering negative capability. This also explains why the speaker of “Elgin Marbles” fails to enter negative capability: his spiritual weakness leads to a rejection of the “imagined pinnacle[s]” of “Godlike hardship” that must be overcome in life, which is an implicit refusal to experience suffering. Indeed, J. Robert Barth writes, “…it is only when we feel ‘the burden of the Mystery’ that we may begin to explore the ‘dark passages’” (291). The “burden of the mystery” reflects the weight of mortality and knowledge of life’s suffering that overwhelms the “Elgin Marbles” speaker and leads him to reject the anguish of the human condition.

Keats’s letter regarding the Chamber of Maiden Thought finds a plot iteration in “Ode to a Nightingale,” which serves poetically as an intermediary stage in Keats’s maturation into a negatively capable poet. “Ode to a Nightingale” repeats an encounter between mortal speaker and eternal object of beauty and begins with the speaker reflecting upon his joy in hearing the nightingale’s song: “Tis not through envy of thine happy lot,/ But being too happy in thine happiness” (5-6). He becomes so captivated by the beauty of the song that he begins to have escapist fantasies in which he desires to: “Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget/ What thou among the leaves hast never known,/ The weariness, the fever, the fret” (21-23). The speaker’s intoxication is reminiscent of the intoxication experienced in the Chamber of Maiden Thought with its “pleasant wonders” that make one “think of delaying there forever in delight.” However, the nightingale is also the agent responsible for the “sharpening of one’s vision into the heart and nature of man.” In this case, the nightingale’s song heightens the speaker’s awareness of human suffering, its “fever” and “fret, something the eternal bird “hast never known.” Similar to his “Elgin Marbles” counterpart, the poet-narrator of “Nightingale” is tormented by the “rude/ wasting of old time” that his mortality signifies, especially when “mingled” with the grandeur of an object of eternal beauty (the nightingale). He naturally seeks escape from it through “easeful Death” (52). Despite this repeated death wish though, “Nightingale” departs from “Elgin Marbles.” As the speaker descends further into the sensuous rapture of the nightingale’s song, he remarks “I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,/ Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,/ But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet” (41-43). These three lines suggest an engagement with negative capability in that they describe a speaker lingering in the darkness of uncertainties and living death. He “guess[es]” at the flowers surrounding him; by definition, the word “guess” precludes definite judgment and therefore maintains a space for “uncertainties, mysteries, [and] doubts” to flourish. Walter Jackson Bate comments in his seminal essay on negative capability that “what is needed [for this state] is an imaginative openness of mind and heightened receptivity to reality in its full and diverse concreteness. This, however, involves negating one’s ego” (332). The Keatsian speaker achieves Bates’s “imaginative openness” in his willingness to rely upon mere conjecture about his environment and with his “heightened receptivity” to the “diverse” sensual experience surrounding him. We can also infer from the “embalmed darkness” of the previous lines that the poet-narrator has undergone some type of ego-negation and entered into a metaphysical living death where he exists only as a disembodied consciousness (332). In light of this experience, “Nightingale” ends with the speaker dazedly wondering “Was it a vision, or a waking dream?/ Fled is that music— do I wake or sleep” (79-80)? This continued lingering in “uncertainties” on the speaker’s part indicates that he has managed, although temporarily, to enter the “dark passages” of negative capability. Indeed, his use of a vision and dream states correspond to the “mist” that one enters when they have undergone the ritual experience of suffering in the Chamber of Maiden Thought, further situating the speaker within negative capability.

This quasi-negatively capable speaker reveals Keats’s refinement of his “death” and mastery over mortality. Mark Sandy notes that “the Keatsian self is forever in potential, wavering between ‘everything and nothing’, verging on self-discovery and self-invention through writing…” (215). The world of “Nightingale” reflects this “wavering” Keatsian self, especially in the last two lines of the poem. As readers, we cannot positively discern the speaker’s mental state by the end of the poem and there is no written return to a rational outlook to clarify the outcome of the speaker’s imaginative flight. Just as the Grecian urn “doth tease us out of thought,” the “Nightingale” speaker defies questions from the reader’s end because he dwells in perpetual mystery and potential regarding his mentality. He is in a suspended state, this state being the metaphysical one of negative capability. In this repeated cycle of the encounter between mortal speaker and eternal artwork, Keats has bridged, albeit flimsily, the gap between himself and a work of beauty through negative capability. His attempt is flimsy because although he enters into an imaginative flight (contrary to his “Elgin Marbles” counterpart) he “crashes” due to his inability once again to embrace the suffering of life. This is evidenced by his desire to escape the “fever” and “fret” of human existence through “easeful Death.” Again we see the recurrence of a very basic, immature form of the death drive in which the speaker desires physical death as a means of evading the responsibility of living. It is this repeated rejection of human affliction and its attendant death wish that estranges the speaker from his imaginative flight. “Forlorn!” he exclaims, “the very word is like a bell/ To toll me back from thee to my sole self” (71-72). The disembodied consciousness in “embalmed darkness” that the Keatsian speaker has been enjoying thus far is suddenly dissolved by the speaker’s remembrance of human isolation and a consequent return to his individuated ego (43). Nevertheless, we can credit him with achieving a transient version of negatively capable death since he transcends his physical identity into a self-effaced plane of metaphysical death (“embalmed darkness”) where the eternal beauty of the nightingale’s song resides.

We should note as well that in the same stanza as the speaker’s escapist desire for death are the lines: “Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—/ To thy high requiem become a sod” (59-60). This signals a shift in consciousness for Keats’s speaker because “at the point that he aspires to share the bird’s ‘ecstasy’ through the ‘rich’ experience of death, he realizes that death would instead cut him off irrevocably from the nightingale…” (Wilkes 60). If the speaker dies physically, he will escape life’s torment but he will also fail to bridge the gap between himself and eternality, thus failing to overcome the trauma of his mortality. Prior to this realization of physical death’s inadequacy, the speaker considers the “viewless wings of Poesy” (33) as a viable medium for joining the bird’s immortal song; however, he recognizes the drawback of this method as well: “though the dull brain perplexes and retards” (34). Nevertheless, the speaker’s consideration of poesy is crucial because it marks Keats’s acknowledgment of Sandy’s “self-invention” through artistic media, which will preserve him as an object of beauty if he can attain the negatively capable genius required to write it. Again, this ability to create in order to overcome mortality speaks to the idea of repeating trauma as a “rehearsal for one’s own death”; however, the Keatsian death is a metaphysical as opposed to physical one.

In both “Elgin Marbles” and “Ode to a Nightingale,” the Keatsian speaker has a passive experience of trauma. He merely reflects upon how images of eternal beauty impress him, and there is no action on his part aside from mental reflection. Freud writes that individuals repeat a traumatic event because they can master it “far more thoroughly, by being active than they could by merely experiencing it passively” (58). Although Keats is actively repeating poetic plots, his speakers are not necessarily acting. This passivity functions as the final barrier to be overcome in Keats’s mission to become a negatively capable poet.

In The Fall of Hyperion, the poet-narrator actively experiences the trauma of his mortality and successfully transitions into the negatively capable realm of immortality and art. The poem seems to begin where “Nightingale” left off: in a quasi-negatively capable landscape “ending in mist/ Of nothing…” (I.84-85). The speaker has matured though; his conception of poetry as the superior medium for attaining immortality becomes a crystallized belief: “…the fine spell of words alone can save” he asserts (9). With this conviction articulated, he proceeds to relate a dream that, in the words of RS White, also “seems to be an actualization of ‘the chamber of maiden thought,’ which the poet must leave for ‘dark passages’ of suffering…”(196). After the pleasant experience of drinking from a “cool vessel of transparent juice” (12), the poet-narrator falls into a “cloudy swoon” (55) and wakes to an abandoned land of “sunk realms” (68). He then describes his arrival upon an altar where a voice advises: “If thou canst not ascend/ These steps, die on that marble where thou art” (107-08). This ominous warning reminds us of the predicament the “Elgin Marbles” speaker faced: overcome or succumb to the “imagined pinnacle[s] and steep[s]” of life, “Godlike hardship,” and death the marbles represent. It also gives voice to the challenge one must face in the Chamber of Maiden Thought, which is that “of convincing ones nerves that the World is full of Misery and Heartbreak, Pain, Sickness and oppression” (1423). One may only continue into the “dark passages” if they accept life’s suffering. This is the precise point at which The Fall departs from “Elgin Marbles” because Keats’s speaker actively combats the incredible burden of his mortality to ascend the altar: “I strove hard to escape/ The numbness; strove to gain the lowest step… One minute before death, my iced foot touch’d/ The lowest stair; and as it touch’d life seem’d/ to pour in at the toes: I mounted up…” (127-28, 132-34). Ascending the altar is a strenuous task that nearly kills him until he touches the bottom step and is filled with life. The narrator is baffled by how he could be saved from physical death and the mysterious voice replies:
None can usurp this height…
But those to whom the miseries of the world
Are misery, and will not let them rest.
All else who find a haven in the world,
Where they may thoughtless sleep away their days
……………………………………………
Rot on the pavement where thou rotted’st half. (147-151, 153).

This monologue indicates that the Keatsian speaker has finally accepted that “melancholy is an inescapable aspect of all human experience…” (Wu 1393). He does not seek a “haven in the world” but faces the tragedy of the human condition squarely, recognizing misery as misery and nothing else. That this realm is a “height” implies it is Godly; ironically then, Keatsian immortality is marked by extreme anguish. Nonetheless, the speaker “usurps” it and his success in seizing this negatively capable realm indicates a complete overcoming of mortality through extreme acceptance of life’s, in all its forms, pain. The voice’s indictment of the spiritually weak who “thoughtless sleep away their days” recalls the “Elgin Marbles” speaker who felt his mortality like “unwilling sleep” and implicitly desired death to escape knowledge of it. However, at this final stage of development, Keats’s speaker has transcended physical death via his acceptance of suffering and achieved the metaphysical death of negative capability. This is confirmed by the speaker’s description of Moneta, the goddess behind the mysterious voice, and “the veils, that from her brow/ Hung pale, and curtain’d her in mysteries” (252-253). Moneta reigns over the “fane” the speaker has entered and her existence in “mysteries” aligns her (and collaterally, the fane) with negative capability (152). When the speaker sees her face, he describes it as pained “By an immortal sickness which kills not;/ It works a constant change, which happy death/ Can put no end to; deathwards progressing/ To no death was that visage…” (258-261). These descriptions mirror the condition of the Grecian urn. The paradox of Moneta’s “immortal sickness” parallels the living death of the urn and both portray a static condition of protean potential for outcome. Brendan Corcoran explains,

The lesson in Moneta’s face may re-emphasize the ‘borderline’ indistinction between life and death—in which there is a ‘constant change…progressing to no death’— signposting the way towards the process of ‘becoming’ without ever affirming its fruition, preferring instead to defer the moment of consummation and its responsibility to the reader. (220) Corcoran’s language here ascribes features of the Grecian urn to Moneta’s face. That it signals a process of “‘becoming’ without ever affirming its fruition” echoes the suspended lover’s affection. Moneta will never consummate her death just as the lovers will never consummate their love. This suspension in “uncertainties” reinforces Moneta’s existence in negative capability and indicates that the speaker’s compulsion to repeat the trauma of mortality has allowed him to “rehearse” his negatively capable death to perfection. He is implicitly an equal of Moneta because he can exist in the same misty space of suffering and constant “becoming.” We see this supported by Moneta’s decision to momentarily grant him the ability “To see as a God sees” and enter into a vision that depicts the deposed Titan Saturn’s suffering (304). Regarding negative capability, Walter Jackson Bate writes that knowledge “can direct and habituate the imagination to ideas other than that of our own identity” (339). In this context, the new-found knowledge of what it is to be a God, and what it is to suffer as an immortal, grants the speaker entrance into the “dark passages” of negative capability and expands his life-consciousness beyond his own narrow existence as a mortal human. His identity is not negated here so much as it is subsumed into a grander scheme of universal suffering that allows him, like Apollo in the first Hyperion fragment, to “die into life” and suspend this death in verse, solidifying it into a work of negatively capable art (III.130). In the final stanza, the speaker remarks, “Now in clear light I stood,/ Reliev’d from the dusk vale,” and although this indicates that he has exited the “dark passages” of Moneta’s vision, he still ultimately remains in the altar (II.49-50). That is to say, contrary to his “Nightingale” predecessor, the poet-narrator enters the negatively capable realm, in this instance where Moneta reigns, but never exits. Whatever post-alter destination he has is deferred by the fragmented ending of the poem and we as readers are denied a conclusive indication of poetic outcome. Keats’s speaker remains forever in the immortal “uncertainties,” embodied by the altar, of negative capability.

This negatively capable suspension in The Fall highlights an incredible role reversal on Keats’s part between viewer and art piece, reader and poet alike. Just as it is the Grecian urn viewer’s responsibility to imaginatively consummate the lovers’ affection or imagine the song the happy melodist is playing, so too is it the reader’s responsibility to imagine the Keatsian speaker’s destined ending. Keats tried numerous times to rework and restart The Fall and create a conclusive poem but never managed to locate a cohesive story thread. RS White describes how “the work gives the impression of a mind struggling with ideas towards a clarity which never quite reveals itself, and admittedly it is confusing if judged as a formal argument or narrative…” (198). Although these pitfalls fly in the face of logical reasoning, one cannot help but acknowledge that the “confusing” threads that impede a “formal argument” in The Fall force it to be a poem that itself (and its poet-narrator) remains in “uncertainties, mysteries, [and] doubts.” The Keatsian speaker’s suspension in the fragmented The Fall then grants him eternal life because there are endless possibilities and a “range of implication” as to his fate in Moneta’s temple (Bate 330). In this way, Keats becomes a type of Grecian urn and we as readers and the new viewers are “teased out of thought” because we are now viewing the eternity of the poet himself as he exists outside of linear telling in a constantly “becoming” state.

Katey Castellano writes of Keats’s poetry that “…aesthetic outcomes come surprisingly and unexpectedly from fidelity to the traumatic event” (31). Indeed, Keats’s loyalty to the trauma of mortality throughout “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” and The Fall of Hyperion facilitates his development into a negatively capable poet able to attain the living death of the Grecian urn. From a Freudian perspective, Keats’s compulsion to repeat the encounter between mortal speaker and eternal artwork functions as his own “rehearsal” for death and mastery over mortality. Thus the aesthetic potential of negative capability, of suspending oneself in “uncertainties, mysteries, [and] doubts” serves as a metaphysical death drive that allows one to “usurp the height” of the Gods and never consummate the moment of death. John Keats has been dead nearly 200 years, but the immortal, suspended speaker he left behind endures as an eternally renewable source of pleasure.

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Keats, John. “Ode to a Nightingale.” Stillinger 279-281.
Sandy, Mark. “‘To See As A God Sees’: The Potential Übermensch In Keats’s Hyperion Fragments.” Romanticism: The Journal Of Romantic Culture And Criticism 4.2 (1998): 212-223. Print.
Stillinger, Jack. Introduction. John Keats Complete Poems. 1978. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2003. xiii-xxvii. Print.
Thurschwell, Pamela. Sigmund Freud [Electronic Resource] / Pamela Thurschwell. n.p.: London: Routledge, 2000., 2000. Print.
White, RS. John Keats: A Literary Life. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010. Print.
Wilkes, Joanne. “Keats’s Silent Historian: The ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’”. Sydney Studies in English 12 (1986):56-63. Print.
Wu, Duncan. Introduction to John Keats. Romanticism: An Anthology. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. 2012. 1384-96. Print.

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The Revolution of the Apocalyptic Myth http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=123 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=123#respond Mon, 14 Apr 2014 23:23:57 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=123 By Ashley M. Ryan

We lived in an electric world. We relied on it for everything. And then the power went out. Everything stopped working. We weren’t prepared. Fear and confusion led to panic. The lucky ones made it out of the cities. The government collapsed. Militias took over, controlling the food supply and stockpiling weapons. We still don’t know why the power went out. But we’re hopeful that someone will come and light the way (Opening lines to J.J Abrams’ Revolution).

Abstract
This paper critically examines J.J. Abrams’ post-apocalyptic television show Revolution from a mythic perspective. The television show’s plot displays a contrast between the traditional Christian apocalyptic myth and the new myth of the “human centered apocalypse.” The “human centered apocalypse” is a catastrophe that is manmade rather than God sent. This shift is seen in hegemonic struggle between those who believe in God and that He caused the apocalypse because humans “created an electronic Tower of Babel” and those who think that man created the apocalypse through his own devices. This power struggle between religious and non-religious views is a reflection of the increase in atheism/secular humanism in popular culture and the evolution of apocalyptic myth.

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Case Study: Transparency and Autonomy in Swine Flu Coverage http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=116 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=116#respond Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:22:44 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=116 By Stefani Hermann

Abstract: During the 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic, media coverage distorted information in order to alter public opinion creating an ethical dilemma between the transparency and autonomy of news sources. Through studies conducted in the UK and America it has been proven that the media coverage of Swine Flu affected public opinion by presenting information out of context. Kantian theory as well as the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics prove that the sensationalized news coverage was unethical, however no repercussions were taken to discourage such behavior by the media. Because of this event, the public must be wary of information they receive through the media and must also be responsible for researching current events in order to construct accurate beliefs. The purpose of this case study is to explore the impact of media coverage on public opinion surrounding the pandemic and explain the unethical actions of the media.

Throughout the communication discipline it is unarguable that transparency and autonomy are imperative for all ethical professionals especially those in public relations. However there is no clear line to determine how much of the truth needs to be exposed to the public or in what form. The ethical dilemma then lies in how much information should be released to the public and in what circumstances is it acceptable to frame information. In the case of the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic, constant media coverage led to a worldwide panic. By offering 24/7 coverage of the H1N1 pandemic, the media was able to create hysteria and exaggerate the impact of the virus out of context.
Kant’s attack on utilitarian theories makes his views on transparency and autonomy more relevant to modern society. Rather than thinking about the greatest good for the greatest amount of people, he focuses on moral duties that create a greater amount of good for the entire population rather than a pre-determined majority. His belief that good will is imperative to moral decisions remains persistent through all of his moral theories, as he puts good will above all else, even if it does not result in a pleasant outcome. Kant focuses on morality and the benefits of moral action despite harm to the decision maker making him the prime candidate to discuss the challenges faced when introduced to a moral dilemma concerning transparency and autonomy. Kant’s theory of the categorical imperative states that the public should not be used as a means to an end but rather as ends in and of themselves. In Kant’s opinion it is necessary to uphold moral duties in all situations regardless of possible effects. In the case of the 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic, media channels sensationalized their coverage in order to increase viewership and public interest. In doing so, news organizations traded transparency for profit and not only neglected Kantian theory, but also breached the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethical code.

The media coverage of the 2009 swine flu epidemic sensationalized the outbreak to make it seem more dangerous in the public eye. From the early signs of Swine Flu in America, ABC reported daily on Good Morning America. By bringing the attention to the public eye, news sources were setting the agenda. They wanted people to talk about Swine Flu, and so they reported.

Lisa Fletcher of Good Morning America reported that “Around the country, tens of thousands lined up for swine flu vaccines, hoping to get a shot before being shot out.” While slugs on the screen read “Swine Flu Emergency” and “Anxiety Grows over Vaccine.” Across the nation, Americans were waking up to see “anxiety”, “panic”, “emergency” and “widespread” on their morning news station. While viewing lines of Americans waiting to be vaccinated. The word choice used was created to attract attention however in doing so it was altering public perception of the virus. (Fletcher).

As ABC said Good Morning with a frightening coverage of the Swine Flu, they sent Americans to sleep with the same mindset. On ABC’s Nightline, Martin Bashir interviewed a doctor on the matter, however, the same persistence of panicked diction arose. The spread of the virus was “mysterious” and “confusing.” Dr. Tim Johnston warned the public of the symptoms of Swine flu including “a high fever, headache, body wide aching muscles, a feeling of terrible fatigue, possibly nausea and vomiting, possibly coughing and lung symptoms” and stated “when you have those symptoms, you obviously need to call your doctor or go to an emergency room.” This advice would send Americans darting to the emergency room at the slightest inkling of a cough or upset stomach. Bahsir even made a point to ask him, “Are we not in danger of creating a panic here? If you’re like exaggerating the potential dangers?” The fact that Bashir noted the potential of creating public panic, he did so. After all there is nothing that panics people more than the idea of a panic (Bashir).

According to a telephone survey published in the British Medical Journal concerning public perception of the Swine Flu in England, Scotland and Whales, 4.9% of the 997 people surveyed were practicing avoidance behaviors, including avoiding public events, avoiding public transit, staying home from work, and removing children from school. 24.2% of those surveyed believed that wearing a facemask in public was necessary to avoid contracting Swine Flu.

Minority groups were found to be four times more likely to practice avoidance behaviors than non-minorities. The survey also found that 80% of people felt that they were at risk of contracting swine flu and 75% believed the information they received through news media was clear (Rubin).

Yet British news source, The Guardian reported that Britons were less likely than Americans to take precautionary measures to avoid contraction of the virus. After a survey of 5 countries (England, America, Japan, Argentina, and Mexico) conducted by the Harvard School of Medicine The Guardian, reported only 27% of Britons said they were more likely to cover coughs or use tissues in light of the Swine Flu Pandemic compared to 61% of Americans. This shows the difference in perception that could be linked to media content. Lead researcher Dr. Gillian Steel Fisher, said “The wide variations between countries in our study shows that in the event of another serious outbreak of infectious disease, public perceptions have to be taken into account.” If Britons possess a different public perception than Americans, is it due to the content of the media messages they are exposed to? (The Guardian Oct.2009).

The Harvard School of Medicine surveyed perception of the Swine Flu among American businesses. Of the 1,057 businesses surveyed, 84% believed that the Swine flu would hurt their business and only 1/3 believed they would be able to operate their businesses in the case of an outbreak. The uncertainty for business owners was derived from the media content they consumed regarding Swine Flu (Gavish, Sept. 2009).

These surveys of public perception show the great impact of news coverage on the public. The question does not lie in whether or not the media altered public perception of the Swine Flu, but rather in whether the molding of public opinion was ethical. Before a verdict can be made it is important to have philosophic groundwork as a cornerstone for an argument. Kant discusses transparency and autonomy in a manner that is most relevant to modern society and in turn most applicable in this case.

According to Kant’s theory of a priori in the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, he discusses the importance of disclosing the whole truth regardless of situation. “We have to admit that morality’s law applies so widely that it holds merely for men but for all rational beings as such…absolute necessity and therefore unconditionally and without exceptions” (Kant 15). This applies to transparency in the fact that it urges people that it is their moral duty to enforce truthfulness at all times, regardless of whether or not it will be beneficial to them. Kant continues to discuss reason is the sole source of moral thinking and through this mean we are able to establish a moral law within society, “there is no genuine supreme principle of morality that doesn’t rest on pure reason alone independently of all possible experience” (16). Because of this, Kant believes that morality is completely objective and regardless of the situation, should be held as a high priority. The experience and situation does not matter to Kant, moral duty should always be the deciding factor in any ethical conflict.

Unlike utilitarian philosophy, Kant rejects the opinion of the majority and accepts reason as the sole factor in decision making. “Which would you prefer—pure rational knowledge of morality, separated from all experience and bringing with it a metaphysic of morals, or popular practical philosophy? It is easy to guess on which side the majority would stand!”(16). While it is difficult to separate personal experiences from moral decision making, Kant stands strong behind the use of reason to define morality. In regards to transparency this relates in the fact that it is never acceptable to justify a decision based on the situation. Instead reason should be used to make a decision that fulfills moral obligations.

As far as autonomy goes, Kant notes the importance of free will over imitation even in the Christian belief. . “Some have said that the moral life consists in ‘imitating Christ’, but imitation has no place in moral matters” (15). Kant uses this logic to emphasize the importance of autonomy and demonstrate that even in the case of religion, reason should overcome all. By using Biblical references, Kant is further extending his theories of morality to be truly universal and always objective. Imitation thus limits autonomy and should instead be used as a guide, or proof that a moral life can be led, rather than a set of unbreakable laws that should be followed simply because someone else has followed them before.

According to Kant’s categorical imperative, the people should never be used as means to an end, but rather as ends themselves. In Sibylle Rolf’s analysis of Kant, he relates this theory to historical references as well as the holy trinity in which the focus is on the end result, and it is understood that people are not to be used to achieve a goal but rather incorporated so that they achieve the same benefit from the process. This illustrates Kant’s idea of autonomy because by not taking advantage of others in order to achieve a goal, it encourages autonomy among all (Rolf 594).

In Kant’s work, The Metaphysics of Morals, he defines free will and autonomy in objective terms. “In so far as the activity is accompanied with the consciousness of the power of the action to produce the object, it forms an act of choice; if this consciousness is not conjoined with it, the activity is called a wish” (Kant 3). Because of this, according to Kant, the difference between free will and an unwilling action is consciousness. Thus reiterating Kant’s emphasis on reason as it pertains to both morality and free will.

In Kantian philosophy, the most important factor in determining a moral dilemma is reason. In an issue of transparency, Kant believes that it is always moral and necessary to be honest no matter the situation. In Kant’s belief, morality is never subjective and it is therefore the moral obligation of those involved to use reason to make the most moral decision. As far as autonomy goes, Kant also believes that reason is the most important factor.

As a public service, the media was expected to inform the people of Swine Flu for the sake of health and safety, however the framing of the information altered perception. Startling music played on news programs and images of travelers wearing protective face masks appeared on broadcasts and in print (Mahajan). The lack of transparency used the public as means to an end. By altering public perception of the Swine Flu Pandemic, news sources increased viewership as audiences were eager to find out new advancements in the story.

It was not just the mass public that fell victim to the Swine Flu scare. An epidemic has the ability to upset manufacturing, agriculture, and the economy as a whole. Agriculture was at risk from fear of contaminated pork. Fear of virus created a fear of crowds which could hinder sports, shopping, and entertainment industries, and travel and tourism were at risk from restrictions on international travel. Together the impacts on these industries had the potential to bring down the already struggling American economy (Bogoslaw).

And while so many American industries were at risk of loss from the Swine Flu scare, the media, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries were provided the opportunity to thrive. People were lining up to receive vaccinations and tests. Emergency rooms were filled with patients some with the virus, others fearing that they contracted the virus. The increased traffic to hospitals allowed the virus to spread quickly and further heighten the panic.

Pharmaceutical companies such as the Swiss company Roche, creator of Tamiflu were able to thrive as well. Tamiflu was prescribed to patients who had contracted Swine Flu, a medication which was never proven to treat the virus, yet received over $1billion in revenue due to the scare (Mahajan). Undoubtedly Roche was not opposed to the mass hysteria, as it allowed the company to thrive.

According to Kantian theory, the media coverage of the H1N1 outbreak was unethical. In Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals he discusses the importance of morality in all situations. According to Kant, truthfulness should be used “unconditionally and without exceptions” (Kant 15). Kant believes that morality is very objective and therefore any unethical decision cannot be justified.

When the media does not provide trustworthy information to the public it is not fulfilling its purpose. According to the SPJ code of ethics, news content should “make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material… do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.” Yet statistics published concerning the swine flu were taken out of context compared to yearly seasonal flus.

According to the CDC reports, the 2009 H1N1 virus caused between 63,000 and 153,000 hospitalizations media coverage shared these statistics with the public however what they did not mention was the fact that nearly 200,000 Americans are hospitalized with seasonal flus annually. News sources took information concerning the Swine Flu out of context and in turn used the people to create a hysteria.

This not only goes against Kant’s categorical imperative, but it also is a prime example of distorting the truth. Kant believes truthfulness is always necessary even if it results in negative consequences. Yet news coverage surrounding Swine Flu went against both the philosophical ideas of Kant, and the SPJ code of ethics. At the time, the distorted truth was not addressed for its manipulative qualities.

While news sources often set through their content, it is exceptionally deceptive when they collectively distort information in order to sway public opinion. In this case, the media limited the autonomy of the public by not acting autonomously. According to Rolf’s analysis of Kant, when people act autonomously and do not take advantage of others to achieve their own goals, it encourages autonomy among all (Rolf 594). Because news sources did not act autonomously and as a collective group used the public to accomplish their goals, they limited the autonomy of the public and caused them to feel uncertainty and panic about the virus.

While the media sought to create a panic, Medical Ethics Advisor gave advice to calm the public. “People, if they feel nervous about something, it’s better if you give [them] something concrete to do, and one of those things you can do is wash your hands more frequently than you normally.” President Obama even attempted to calm the public by suggesting also that Americans wash their hands frequently and cover their coughs in order to prevent contraction of the virus. Together the Medical Ethics Advisor and the government were attempting to reduce the panic and provide the public with essential information for the promotion of health and safety (Ethics and the H1N1 Flu).

Yet news sources continued to distort facts and statistics creating a hysteria. Swine flu was viewed as the largest scale pandemic since the black plague, while in reality it was not more dangerous than any other seasonal flu. Kantian theory would view this as an unethical solution to an ethical dilemma. Had the media covered the flu honestly and in context to other illnesses, it would not have created such a panic. News sources should have compared their statistics to past years in order to provide the public with proper context to what was going on. By not doing so they were forcing the public to panic.

Kant believes that autonomy is necessary to living a moral life and without reason we are unable to execute our free will. We cannot merely imitate the lives of others or even deities but should use them as evidence that moral actions are possible. However we should not forget Kant’s theory of the categorical imperative where he discusses the necessity to not treat others as means to an end. This theory helps to not only emphasize our own autonomy, but encourage the autonomy of others as we are told to not use them as agents to achieve our own goals. Between the conflict of transparency and autonomy in Kantian theory it is imperative to recognize the importance of reason in all ethical dilemmas, as it is what makes our decisions most ethical.

In modern society it is imperative for us as an audience to do research. The 2009 Swine Flu hysteria proves that when the public is not properly informed they are at the will of the media and are simply pawns to a preset agenda. While Kantian theory shows that the use of the public as means to an end is unethical, it is not enough to ensure that the media is not taking advantage of a captive audience. It is then up to the public to see the distortion of truth and fact check to put information into the proper context. While ethical philosophies and professional codes of ethics are in place, it is not enough to ensure that organizations and individuals will act ethically. In an ideal world, Kant’s determination to be truthful and ethical in all situations would be a universal goal. Everyone would abide by a common moral duty.

But the world is not perfect. Agendas are set and news organizations are profit driven. We cannot expect ethical decisions to be made around us, so we must seek the whole truth on our own and not succumb to the pre-packaged opinions created by the media.

Works Cited
Bogoslaw, D. (2009). Swine Flu: An Investor’s Overview. Businessweek Online, 4.
Britons least likely to take swine flu hygiene precautions, survey finds. (2009, October 05). The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/oct/05/swine-flu-pandemic hygiene-precautions
Collignon, P. (2009, May25). Take a Deep Breath, Swine Flus Not That Bad. Crikey. Retrieved from http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/05/25/take-a-deep-breath-swine-flus-not-that-bad/.
Ethics and the H1N1 flu: A wake-up call for policy makers? (Cover story). (2009). Medical Ethics Advisor, 25(6), 61-64.

FLETCHER, L. (2009). SWINE FLU EMERGENCY. Good Morning America (ABC), 1.
Gavish , E. (2009, September 09). Harvard school of public health: Swine flu (h1n1) epidemic would harm 2/3 of u.s. businesses . NY Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/money/harvard-school-public-health-swine-flu-h1n1-epidemic-harm-2-3-u-s-businesses-article-1.403042
Kant, I. (2002). Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Kant, I (1991). The metaphysics of morals. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Mahajan, R., & Kapoor, V. (2009). Pan(dem)ic Flu. JK Science, 11(4), 165-166.
ROLF, S. (2012). HUMANITY AS AN OBJECT OF RESPECT: IMMANUEL KANT’S ANTHROPOLOGICAL APPROACH AND THE FOUNDATION FOR MORALITY. Heythrop Journal, 53(4), 594-605. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2265.2009.00559.x
Rubin. (2009). Public perceptions, anxiety, and behaviour change in relation to the swine flu outbreak: cross sectional telephone survey. British Medical Journal , 2009(339), b2691. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2714687/
TIM JOHNSON, D. (2009). SWINE FLU. Nightline (ABC), 1.

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Paper Money and the American Dream: Benjamin Franklin’s Rise to Public Fame http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=111 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=111#respond Mon, 07 Apr 2014 15:55:35 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=111 By James Hastings

The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin follows one of America’s most influential thinkers as he creates his own success. Throughout the entirety of part one, Franklin displays countless examples of personal virtue as well as the progression of his public identity. Most everyone would agree that Franklin’s life depicts one of the most successful individuals in American history, attributing the cause of his success to hard work, outstanding moral character, and adequate education. Though all of these elements contribute heavily to his success, the increase in printing of paper currency that minimizes the necessity of credit in the new American economy is commonly overlooked in Franklin’s story, even though it plays a big part in establishing his public prosperity. While Franklin’s private success is largely attributed to his personal virtue, his story illustrates the strength of the public economic system in the United States in order to provide an image of the American dream based on both private diligence and a public system that rewards hard work.

Franklin proves the superiority of increasing paper currency by giving tangible examples of public progress. Early on in the passage, he points out that all of Philadelphia benefits from the creation of more paper currency, stating, “the first small sum struck in 1723 had done much good by increasing the trade, employment, and number of inhabitants in the providence” (Franklin 49). These tangible signs of economic growth continually increase each other in a cyclical manner. Unlike credit, paper currency delivers rewards instantly, making trade and employment more efficient practices. If a “small sum” of paper currency could yield “much good” publicly, then the system has potential to expand the economy when applied to a large scale. A good public system gives the individual more control over his own destiny, as seen in Franklin’s personal life. Moreover, diminishing credit in Philadelphia’s economy also reduces debt, allowing individuals to prosper on their own terms.

Through Franklin’s avoidance of debt, we find that not all symbolic value is equal. While ten dollars borrowed is numerically equal to ten dollars earned, credit is much less efficient in completing a transaction because it complicates the ownership of property agreed upon in the exchange. Removing credit removes such ambiguity of ownership in a more direct, efficient process. Franklin stresses the importance of avoiding credit when he states, “thus being esteem’d an industrious, thriving young man, and paying duly for what I bought, the merchants who imported stationary solicited my custom” (Franklin 49). Franklin gains public recognition for his diligent work, which adds to his prosperity. He sets an example to avoid debt by “paying duly” instead of relying on credit to satisfy his needs. By working hard and avoiding debt, Franklin gains an advantage over his competitors.

Franklin shows a fundamental problem with the credit system as it creates too large a wealth disparity between the rich and poor, which is solved by printing more currency. Both credit and paper money contain symbolic value, but credit proves to be less effective in growing the American economy. Franklin illustrates this through the shortcomings of his competitor: “In the mean time, Keimer’s credit and business declining daily, he was at last forc’d to sell his printing-house to satisfy his creditors. He went to Barbados, and there lived some years in very poor circumstances” (Franklin 51). Unlike Franklin, Keimer places trust in the credit system that eventually leads to his demise. While at the mercy of creditors, he has less control over his own destiny, as he needs to “satisfy his creditors.” Franklin works under a system that minimizes the necessity of credit, allowing him to keep his business operational and generate income.

Private diligence eventually brings Franklin to the public sphere of government, furthering his self-made success in the American system. This is not an instant occurrence, but comes after gradual reinforcement made possible by paper currency. After gaining recognition for his skill in print, Franklin becomes entrusted with “the printing of the laws and votes of that government, which continu’d in my hands as long as I follow’d the business” (Franklin 50). This is just a small step in Franklins journey to public esteem, but proves to be very useful in the long run by giving him experience in the field of lawmaking. It is important to note that he mixes the language of law and business here, as it shows the necessary connection of the two in the American system. To establish an economy in which the individual’s private work determines success, the governing body needs people like Franklin who understand the benefits of the American Dream.

A paycheck offers instantaneous gratification for hard work, which is why the increase in paper currency is instrumental to Franklin’s success. He demonstrates the importance of small accomplishments adding up to grand success when stating, “small things appear great to those in small circumstances; and these to me, were really great advantages, as they were great encouragements” (Franklin 50). Modest increments of tangible success encourage Franklin to continue in his diligent work. Without the mass production of paper currency, this phenomenon would be much less significant. The word “circumstances” highlights the flexibility of paper currency as opposed to credit, in that credit is unable to adapt to new circumstances in the way money can.

As Franklin progresses through his professional career, he shows the importance of private virtue in a public figure. He states, “I began gradually to pay off the debt I was under for the printing house. In order to secure my credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be in reality industrious and frugal, but to avoid all appearances to the contrary” (Franklin 50). This statement stresses the importance of integrity for a public figure. The best way to appear virtuous is to really be virtuous according to Franklin. In terms of the American Dream, Franklin shows that private hard work pays off in ones public image. Though it is possible to take a shortcut to public esteem by deception of character, it is not as reliable as establishing true private virtue. By avoiding debt and establishing private virtue, he demonstrates the path to public success in this new American economy.

Along with providing an exemplary model of an American businessman, Franklin also exhibits the antithesis of American prosperity through David Henry. Franklin describes Henry, “he was very proud, dress’d like a gentleman, liv’d expensively, took much diversion and pleasure abroad, ran in debt, and neglected his business” (Franklin 51). Franklin reveals his bias toward this man when he calls him a rival, which raises questions about the validity of his description of Henry. However, Franklin is not trying to accurately describe the true character of Henry, but instead aims to depict the antithesis of American values through a single person. Henry embodies what Franklin believes to be fatal vices in the American economy–pride and extravagance. Regardless of Franklin’s bias, Henry represents the pre-American idea of success created by the British. Franklin is able to reinforce his status of American prosperity by juxtaposing two different symbolic models of business: one that values pride while accumulating debt and one that practices private virtue and frugality.

Through his private practices, Franklin’s story illustrates a public paradigm for the American dream that is the product of American economic thought. The definition of success Franklin embodies has authority because it has been proven to work in the American economy. Moreover, it will go on to epitomize the grand concept of the American Dream. Franklin’s prestige is not only the result of his private virtue and immaculate work ethic, but depends on an economic system that rewards such elements. Without more paper currency, Franklin would not have been able to accomplish what he did. When “there was a cry from the people for more paper money,” Franklin took the opportunity to fulfill their wishes (Franklin 49). What results is more than just private success, but also the establishment of a national identity that defines American values still today.

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Analyzing the Diversity of Fish and Crabs in the GTMNERR http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=96 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=96#respond Mon, 07 Apr 2014 15:32:31 +0000 http://flaglerresearchjournal.com/?p=96 By Austin O’Connor and Charles Adams

Because of the threats that climate change and humans have on estuaries, continuous monitoring of these ecosystems is needed.

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