You Can Let Go

By: Jaimie Bartlett

No other reading has struck me so deeply as, Cormac McCarthy’s, The Road. The raw emotions that come about when you are reading stem from a primal part of the brain. Every situation in this book is riddled with examples of parental investment and sacrifice. While reading these scenes, they hit very close to home reminding me of the close relationship I have with my own father. I could never imagine being in such a situation and having to make the choices that the boy’s father made for him within this novel. Each time I reading a section, I would have this gut feeling of heaviness and sorrow for the characters that almost made me want to just put down the book and never pick it up again.

In The Road, McCarthy paints the picture of a desolate, run down post-apocalyptic world that consists of two sides, the bad guys and the ones that “carry the light”, which includes the two main characters, a young boy and his father. In the novel, the author explains how both the man and his wife birthed the boy into this post-apocalyptic nightmare. In the shining example of parental investment, the boy’s mother chooses to end her own life so that the man and their son will have a better chance of survival. The rest of the text also illustrates parental investment but on the man’s side. Through the challenges and struggles that the two face while following “the road”, the novel illustrates the man’s goal to aid in the survival of his child. Their journey’s destination is to the south in search of warmer weather so that they can make it through the winters. Many nights and days they battle freezing temperatures, exhaustion, lack of food, hypothermia and the “bad guys” who have converted to cannibalism. These “bad guys” are known to kidnap, rape, enslave and eat the weak that they come across.

As the pair go about their travels they have to always be aware of the elements and anyone who they encounter. In some instances, they are forced to run for their lives even when they are very weak from not eating for days. When they are forced to run, the man takes the risk of being slowed down to put his son on his shoulders so that they both can get away from the danger that they faced. For example, on page 66 the man shoots the “bad guy” who is trying to hold the boy hostage and then “picked up the boy … and set him on his shoulders and set off … at a dead run”. There are also times when they come across other “good guys” but his father forces the decision to leave them behind to avoid risking their lives at the expense of another mouth to feed or body to protect. His goal is to keep his child safe and no one else no matter how much the boy pleads to take along the others that they come across. For example, he asks numerous times about a little boy that he thought he saw and if they could go back to help him. Also, around page 164 they run into an old man wondering down the road very slowly and even though the do give him some of their food, the man tells the boy that they can not take him with them by saying, “I know what the question is, the answer is no … [it’s] can we keep him? We can’t”.

When I was reading the directions for this assignment, I immediately thought of a song when I remembered the way that this book made me feel. “You Can Let Go”, by Crystal Shawanda is an absolutely beautiful song but it makes me so upset that many times I have had to turn it off when it came on the radio or my iPod.  It’s one of those songs that you listen to when you really need a good cry. The lyric starts off with the artist talking about her father teaching her to ride a bike. When she got the hang of it she tells him in the chorus of the song, “You can let go now, daddy, you can let go. Oh, I think, I’m ready to do this on my own. It’s still a little bit scary but I want you to know. I’ll be okay now, daddy, you can let go”. It goes on to apply the same theme for her wedding when he is holding her hand and giving her away. The last scenario talks about her father being in the hospital (and this is the part that really gets the tears rolling). The nurse tells her that he is only hanging on for her and she climbs into his bed and tells him that he can let go with the chorus of the song and it is such a gut wrenching lyric and musical combination that most of the time, I have to turn it off or switch the song.

To me, these two works hit the same nail on the head. They are two peas in a pod because of the feeling and mood that they deliver as well as the theme of the lyric, which exemplifies the immensity of the effects of parental investment. This is the time and energy invested by parents in the production of viable offspring (p. 156, The Literary Animal). In each work they give multiple examples of this. In The Road, McCarthy shows how the boy’s father takes every opportunity to teach him important skills and lessons. The author also shows, in many instances, how the man would choose his son’s survival over his own. In “You Can Let Go”, Shawanda explains that her father taught her many things and was there for the important moments in her life. Then, when it was her turn to take the lead, the roles reversed and she helped him to let go and end his suffering. By telling him to let go she is telling him that because of the things he taught her, that she would be ok without him.

At the end of The Road (pg. 278), the man tells his son that he will have to go without him. Alternating between the man and boy, the boy says, “I want to be with you”, “you can’t”, “I don’t know how to”, “yes you do” says the boy’s father. Even though in this scenario the boy does not think that he is ready for his father to go, his father knows that he has taught his son enough to find the “good guys” and he is able to go on without him. On every page in the novel the man is taking care of the boy and seeing that his needs are met first while always showing him how to do it for himself because he knows, as every parent does, that he will not be here forever to protect his child. Eventually, every child will have to use the tools that they have been taught to survive without their caregiver such as described in both, The Road and “You Can Let Go”.

Works Cited

McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Print.

Shawanda, Crystal. “You Can Let Go.” SongLyrics.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014.    <http://www.songlyrics.com/crystal-shawanda/you-can-let-go-lyrics/&gt;.

Shawanda, Crystal. You Can Let Go. N.d. YouTube. Web. 11 July 2014.   <http://youtu.be/RhoevrOkaow&gt;.

Wilson, David Sloan, and Jonathan Gottschall. The Literary Animal : Evolution And       The Nature Of Narrative. Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University Press, 2005.        eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 11 July 2014.

Phil Kreis steam shuffle

The song “I’ll make a man out of you” featured in the Disney movie Mulan, is a perfect song that can connect to “X-men: God loves, Man kills.” This song is about an Army training for war. It is for sure one of many songs that I know by heart because of the seriousness of the beat and universal relevance of the movie. Many people remember hundreds of songs by heart even if they are songs that you do not like; this is certainly not one of those. I believe this song will help me or anyone remember the content and meaning of “X-Men: God loves, man kills.” Music helps our help brains light up and this is the perfect way to end such a complex Literature course.

Just like this song in Mulan, this story had a major impact on the second X-Men movie, X2. Also just like this song, X-Men has stood the test of time. X-Men and the Mutants portray intolerance, prejudice and injustice, which at that time was shown through the Cold War; this song has to do with the Chinese upcoming battle with the Huns. The lyrics start off with “Let’s get down to business…” and along with the beat of the song, you can tell how serious the tone is which relates perfectly to the themes portrayed in X-Men. This song shows the main characters’ struggles they had prior to battle and how they overcame those struggles. X-Men is written in the view where the personal lives of the mains characters was the main focus. The Huns are clearly the villains in this song while the villain in X-Men was Reverend William Stryker. His hatred for the mutant kind came from an evangelical fervour that he was doing God’s work. This song certainly portrays the hatred towards the Huns and how determined they are to protect their country China.

Titanium

Kayleigh de Verteuil

ENG-2200

Literary Darwinism

7/10/14

 

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson is one of the comics of the very popular X-Men series. But there are some things that are contained in this book that people don’t even think about when they read it. In this comic, there are many evolutionary concepts present. Out of all of them, one in particular stood out to me the most. This concept is one that people have probably heard most about and know what it is without having to look it up. However, there is one problem.

The evolutionary concept of “survival of the fittest” is largely misconstrued among people today. Most people think this means that only the physically strong survive, but that is rather incorrect. Survival of the fittest means that those who are able to adapt to the environment they are a part of are better off. Just because someone is bigger and stronger than someone else does not mean that they are going to out live them.  This is a major theme in X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. The X-Men do whatever than can to survive and the fact that they can mutate helps them in that regard tremendously. It’s hard for the “muties” to live in a world where everyone is trying to hurt them. They haven’t done anything wrong but the Reverend is doing everything in his power to kill all of them.

I think the song “Titanium” by David Guetta is a good one to go with this idea because it relates to the mutants and how no matter what anyone says to them or does, they always make it through and are able to move on. The song says, “I’m criticized, but all your bullets ricochet, shoot me down, but I get up,” and this is exactly what the mutants do. If someone tries to hurt them, they just shake it off.

This song is about being able to rise above the bad things that people say and do to you. Everyone has experienced something in their lives that has hurt them in some way, but they have learned to rise above and look for the best in things. This is what this song is about. It is saying that they can say and do whatever they want to me but it wont affect me in any way. If one takes the time to listen to the lyrics, it is actually kind of a powerful song.

Survival of the fittest really shows through in one particular scene in the comic. This scene is where the Purifiers find Kitty and they try to shoot her but she phases just in time and the bullets pass straight through her. Later on, Nightcrawler says, “If Kitty’s concentration had slipped even a little, she would have suffered a horrible death.” This goes to show that because the muties have certain powers to help them in situations like this, they are able to survive longer, because had this been a normal human being, Kitty would have been dead instantly.

The song also says “Cut me down, but it’s you who’ll have further to fall,” and the way that I interpret this is that if they try to take the muties out, they will only end up fighting back and harder. The Purifiers and the Reverend need to realize that they are only hurting themselves by going after the muties because the muties have powers that they don’t and they will only end up getting hurt, or worse.

Survival of the fittest is all about taking advantage of the resources you have and using them to your benefit. In this case, the resources that the muties have are their powers, and we see throughout the book that they are always using them to their advantage when they need to. The thing about them, though, is that they never use them for bad unless it’s self-defense. They only ever use it when it is needed. This is how they adapt. Sometimes it is hard for them because people are scared of them due to the fact that they look different. Some people see them as monsters, when in reality, they are more human than some of the actual humans out there. They have never used their abilities to benefit themselves while hurting someone else in the process, unless it was trying to save someone’s like from someone who was trying to harm them. They are the good guys and if anybody should suffer, it should be the people who are trying to hurt them for no good reason.

The muties are both lucky and unlucky. They are unlucky in the sense that they are being criticized for something that they cannot control but lucky that they are the way they are because it helps them to survive in so many ways. These guys can get through anything.

 

 

 

Claremont, Chris, and Brent Anderson. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.:

            Marvel, 2011. Print.

 

Guetta, David and Sia. 2011. Titanium. Nothing But The Beat.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cst7K_7jxYo

Never Alone

Hunter & Gatherer Poem

Many species have a social structure in which individuals form groups, it is something we as humans do without putting any thought into it. Group selection plays a huge part in our everyday lives because naturally flowing to our group of friends or those who share our beliefs makes us feel comfortable. In Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood group selection is a recurring theme because the population has suffered a huge bottleneck, and the main religious group called God’s Gardeners is the largest group in the novel. Atwood used religion and the gardener’s faith to show how even when things have gone completely out of control people will always find something to put their belief in. As an example Ren was alone for a long time and thought she was the only one left, but when she was reunited with Amanda and they joined a splinter group of Gardeners they were able to face evils bravely because they were not alone. My poem will be about knowing that no matter what occurs we are never alone because God is always watching us. This poem will give a sense of hope just as religion does for the characters in Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood.

 

Never Alone

-found poem by Jordan A. Bydume, excerpted from The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (2009). New York Print, pp. 1,5,6,13,14,54,89,90

 

When Adam first had breath of life

and knew God face to face

But then came greedy Spoilers

Twas once the finest garden

waterless flood destroyed

 

He must be dead by now

We must not waste hope

Beware of words

be careful what you say

 

He leaves no trails

Any day now 

he’ll appear from among the trees

In His sight 

we’ll always be

 

We cannot always trace his path 

but under his wings may we trust

God’s children always under his care

 

Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood. New York: Random House, 2009. Print.

Light in the Dark

Kayleigh de Verteuil

Literary Darwinism

7/10/14

Introduction

 

Evolution is something that is never ending. It occurs over a very long period of time and it is impossible for one to actually see the effects of it in their lifetime. This is a poem that is made up of phrases from “The Year of the Flood”. This book portrays the evolutionary concept of group selection very well. In this book, religion is what brings the Gardener group together. They show that having faith is one of the most important things in life. Having faith can help somebody who is going through a hard time and give them hope for something better. A lot of people rely on their faith in this life, and to them, without it, life has no meaning. This poem shows that even after all the darkness, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. This is how people who have faith see life. At the end of the day, we are blessed. Blessed to have everything we have, and blessed to wake up each and every day with something new to be thankful for.

 

Light in the Dark

 

In the night, (5)

They’re afraid. (5)

Listen for the sound of their fear. (5)

It was dangerous, (4)

A moment she never forgot. (43)

 

Leave no trails, (6)

For if you are clutched, (21)

Or even touched, (21)

You too will drown. (21)

 

In the early morning, (3)

The sun rises in the east. (3)

Swept away by the waterless flood, (91)

On the wings of God’s dark angels. (91)

 

Don’t cry. (23)

I’m lucky. (4)

I’m really very lucky. (4)

 

 

 

Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood. New York: Random House, 2009. Print.

 

Natural Instincts

“Music exists in every culture, and infants have excellent musical abilities that cannot be explained by learning. Mothers everywhere sing to their infants because babies understand it. Music seems to be part of our biological heritage.” So says Dr. Weinberger of the University of California (Dess). With this in mind we can understand how necessary it is for music to be all around us.

Some say we listen to music at least a couple of hours a day (according to my radio host). With music being everywhere, songs come and go as they are needed. We can use them if we’re in a bad mood by listening to sad songs like Last Kiss by Pearl Jam or Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers that potentially might cheer us up by showing us that we are not alone. If we’re angry, one can slip into a more heavy style and play Metallica to expiate our rage and calm down.  In both situations music helps us explain and manipulate who we are and how we feel.

Have you ever turned on music when you were feeling blue? I know when I need to unwind I turn to music. It allows me to escape my present reality and go somewhere further. Runners and other athletes use music to pump themselves up, allowing them to go that extra mile. We can even stretch the influence of music further and call it a unifying and divisive force.

Some melodies bind people together. For example, the National Anthem of the United States of America brings many people to tears. Any place it is played, it is customary for people to remove their caps and place their hands over their hearts. Military personnel will salute for the entirety of the song. Yet music can also divide groups, such as in the rap genre. For example, there is a deep chasm separating those who love Eminem and those who love the Insane Clown Posse.

Even though music has these diverse influences, can it also illuminate other scenarios in the world?

Certain traits or instincts of human beings, or Homo sapiens, are easily found in music and literature. Using a literary Darwinism perspective we are going to look at the fight or flight instinct, in terms of facing death, and the overarching reproductive instinct it helps support.

The reproductive instinct compels us to try to pass on our genes to the next generation.  It is so engrained in our species that women actually appear to have a narrow window where they are driven to reproduce. The song Biological Time Bomb by Christine Lavin can even remind one of that limited time. “Do you hear something ticking? I do…. It’s inside me it’s inside you. A biological time bomb.” (Lavin). She very casually reminds us that women need to reproduce as soon as possible. Lavin continues to remind us of the ticking “you can barely hear it when you’re twenty. But when you’re thirty, it’s plenty louder. Your mother warned you. But you had to doubt her. I got plenty of time mom!”

We can compare this human instinct to the perfect human creations in Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood.   In her tale, the perfect humans can smell when someone is ready to procreate. In fact, their penises actually turn blue to show that they are ready. “ “We wished her to choose which four of us she would copulate with,” says the main one. “Perhaps the woman with you will choose. She smells very blue!”  “ (Atwood 493). This quote clearly shows the connection between Atwood and Lavin. Lavin states that there is a biological time bomb and the perfect humans only want to procreate with the woman who is of optimal childbearing age and at the optimal moment. This would then allow for the continuation of genes and species.

This then brings us to the fight or flight instinct.  The fight or flight instinct is quite interesting in that it is a survival instinct. It has served our ancestors over the years by protecting them from predators, including other humans. Fighting and winning is an obviously good result (unless, of course, it was a Pyrrhic victory).  But even fleeing allowed others to survive and have enough fitness to have offspring. But is it time for this instinct to be forgotten? Is it so imperative in our world today that we still have this fight or flight instinct? Or should we take on a new approach and accept death as just part of the circle of life and energy?  For example, in Atwood’s book, the character Toby experiences a moment where this instinct takes over “Yet each flower, each twig, each pebble, shines as though illuminated from within, as once before, on her first day in the Garden. It’s the stress, it’s the adrenalin, it’s a chemical effect: she knows this well enough. But why is it built in? she thinks. Why are we designed to see the world as supremely beautiful just as we’re about to be snuffed?” (Atwood 498).  According to the group Blue Oyster Cult, this instinct may have outlived its time.

In their song, The Reaper, Blue Oyster Cult argues quite powerfully that we shouldn’t be afraid of death. “Seasons don’t fear the reaper. Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain. We can be like they are. Come on baby. Don’t fear the reaper.”. So maybe we should consider this new tactic instead of fighting or fleeing. Would it be better to understand our place in the world and our place in the cycle of life and energy? I think that in our cosseted world of today, we are no longer in immediate need of this fight or flight instinct. However, if we were to ever revert to a less advanced era, or if something were to terribly wrong on our luxury safari, it would be a crucial trait.

So, music and literature can evolve over time, explaining, illustrating, and even questioning human instinct and behavior.  Despite this evolution, and acknowledging that music and literature can have some effect on behavior, it also seems clear that the arts do not affect our instincts.  Whether these instincts may ultimately evolve is the subject for another time.

 

Works Cited

 

Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood: A Novel. New York: Nan A.

Talese/Doubleday, 2009. Print.

 

Blue Oyster Cult. Don’t Fear the Reaper. Columbia, 1976. Vinyl.

 

Christine Lavin. Biological Time Bomb. Philo, 1987. CD.

 

Dess, Nancy. “Music on the Mind.” . Psychology Today, 1 Sept. 2000. Web. 10 Jan.

2014. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200008/music-the-mind&gt;.

Animal

The life of mutant is not an easy one. We discover this through Claremont and Anderson’s X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills as we experience the lives of mutants and their struggle in society. They are treated as animals, but only because of the irrational fear of humans brought on by Reverend Stryker. His group called the Purifiers is a cult bent on the extinction of mutants, as they are deemed dangerous. As we explore the comic, we begin to see how similar the mutants are compared to humans. They feel hate, love, anger, stress, sadness, and all the other emotions that we have come accustomed to. The extraordinary thing about these mutants is that they show no ill will towards humans such as Night Crawler. Although Magneto is not necessarily on the same page of Professor Charles Xavier’s ideals, he still wants peace within the world. This story shows just how irrational our fears can be when we turn a blind eye to the facts. There needs to be some sort of co-existence between the mutants and humans as we begin to realize this near the end of the comic. People at the sermon understand just how wrongly suited Stryker is for humanity’s purpose and turn against him. The humans realize that the mutants want peace and stability just as much as they do. If anything, humans are just as much as animals as the mutants are. What makes us human is our character and how we live our lives. The song “Animal I Have Become” by Three Days Grace is a perfect example of the struggles that mutants face everyday of their existence.

 

There are a few parts of Three Days Grace’s “Animal I Have Become” that really hit the dot in relation to mutants. The first line “I can’t escape this hell, so many times I’ve tried” directly coincides to Chapter 1 after the team finishes watching the debate between Professor Xavier and Reverend Stryker. Colossus explains the irrational argument of mutants being feared as he says “To think us evil, simply because we exist? It is madness” (Ch. 1). Another excerpt from the song is the line “so many times I’ve lied” explains how mutants must be kept in the dark at all times to escape persecution. We see this during Stryker’s sermon as even one of the Senators is experiencing excruciating headaches, which were only meant to harm mutants (Ch. 4). Lastly, the chorus of the song strikes true when it says “So what if you can see the darkest side of me? No one will ever change this animal I have become”. It basically states that these were the cards dealt, and there should be no shame in a animalistic manner, if that what everyone is to think of the person. Cyclops arguing with Stryker is in relation to those previous lines when he says “You’re a lucky man. Thanks to you- Mutants live in fear every day of our lives, and sometimes, those lives are very short. Less than a week ago, two children in Connecticut were murdered, Stryker- Condemned solely for an accident of birth” (Ch. 4). As we come to re-see the values and virtues of humans and mutants, the song and comic both exemplify our need to co-exist. Animal or not.

 

Claremont, Chris, and Brent Anderson. “X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills.” 2nd ed. New York: Marvel Comics, 2014. Print.

 

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqds0B_meys

 

Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/threedaysgrace/animalihavebecome.html

 

Intolerance of Men

The question of what it means to be human is a rather profound one. Have these mutants ruined the world as we know it? Or has it been the purifiers’ job of doing so? Appearance cannot be the judge of character as this is what the main point of X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills seems to relish. Just as we are tolerant of other cultures and beliefs, so must we be tolerant in all of our differences.

 

-Found Poem by David Hyman, excerpted from X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, by Brent Anderson, Chris Claremont (2014) New York: Marvel. Second Edition. Print. Chapters: 1, 2, 4, & Epilogue

 

The humans fight, but only fear drives them.

The mutants fight, but only for freedom.

 

There is no answer to such hatred.

This hate exists as anything else in the world.

 

The humans have false trust in the Reverend.

For his own selfish needs drives his ways.

 

Foolish enough to believe they are evil.

But they do not act in such anger towards those.

 

The purifiers believe in their cause

Just as a blind man believes there are colors.

 

A sermon driven by one man, a misleading man.

To hurt those whom have done no wrong.

 

The reverend will take no exceptions, no good will.

He’ll strike condemned followers to what they fear most.

 

What defines human? What does it mean to be human?

To be a generous being who holds no bitterness.

 

The humans awaken to a revelation of understanding.

Striking the Stryker before the worst can turn real.

 

A lonesome dream it may only appear to seem.

With believers that dream may turn true in time.

Year of the Flood Steam Shuffle

Music is a key influence that has been imbedded into cultures all around the world and relate to emotions, dreams, and feelings that people have every day. Even in the most technology-ridden cultures, music and story come to light. This has been relevant for hundreds even thousands of years. Every day we hear music, whether it is on the radio, a jingle, or the humming of people around us. Music is so intertwined into the culture we have today that it is almost impossible to not hear some type of music each day. When reading “The Year of the Flood” by Margaret Atwood, I thought that I would have an extremely tough time trying to relate this story to a song that I listen to today. Then a few days ago, the song “A Country boy can survive” by Hank Williams Jr. Came onto my iPod on shuffle mode and it was perfect. His lyrics talk about living off the land and having friends from places other than your home. I thought this would be the perfects song to help me relate the evolutionary theme of Pleistocene instincts. Pleistocene instincts are the ability to survive off of the land by using just what you have on you, and not relying on technology or anything remotely modern to survive. The song lyrics state, I live back in the woods, you see a woman and the kids, and the dogs and me. I got a shotgun rifle and a 4 wheel drive. And a country boy can survive. These lyrics made me think back to the beginning of the book when Toby is alone on the rooftop with her rife, and had to shoot the animal going into the garden. The books states, “She squeezes off a round. Misses. Then tries again.” (18). I thought this was a perfect overlap between the song and the book because the two concepts are almost identical. Although using a shotgun is not so much using Pleistocene instincts, I thought the connection between the song and book was something that I had to share.

The lyrics also state, “the interest is up and the stock markets down, and you only get mugged if you go down town.” This made me think of the Pleebrat gangs and the gardeners being afraid of being mugged. “We were supposed to glean in groups, so we could defend ourselves against the pleebrat street gangs. (70) This concept of going down town and worrying about gang abuse was a key connection between the song and the book. When Relying on Pleistocene instincts, you have to try and avoid potential dangers. I believe the muggings in both the book and song were a good lyric to relay this concept.

Then the lyrics also state, “We grow good ole tomatoes and homemade wine, a country boy can survive.” This is what really made me think of Pleistocene instincts and having to rely off the land for survival just like the gardeners do. On page 11 of Year of the flood, it read, “by covering such barren rooftops with greenery we are doing our small part in the redemption of gods creation from the decay and sterility that lies around us, and feeding ourselves with unpolluted food into the bargain. (11) These Pleistocene instincts in the lyrics and book made the biggest connection for me between the song and the text. The whole book focuses mostly on the Gardeners and how they live off the land and create their own food using Pleistocene instincts. The song also in a way relates to that as well. It does this by portraying the life of country folk in how they rely on the land around them in order to survive without using the technology we have today we have come to know and love.

            The concept of using Pleistocene instincts to survive is a major evolutionary concept that has allowed Humans to overcome the obstacles we face when trying to survive. Both the Book “The Year of the Flood” by Margaret Atwood and the song “A country boy can survive” by Hank Williams Jr display the use of Pleistocene instincts when telling their stories. They have intertwining stories in a way that allows a reader or listener to compare them to each other. The use of Pleistocene instincts is key to survival, and is an evolutionary theme that can be related throughout both.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cQNkIrg-Tk&feature=kp

Margaret Atwood, “The Year of the Flood”.

American Kids

The song I have chosen to connect to the book The Year of the Flood is American kid by Kenny Chesney. I chose this song, because not only is Kenny Chesney “the man” but its an amazing song, and after many painstaking seconds thinking of a more suitable lyric I thought what the hell, why not. In my opinion, The Year of the flood connects to this song through adaptation.

Toby, one of the main characters in the book is trapped in a spa during a time of despair. In the beginning of the story Toby lives a normal life, with her mother and father. This all would soon change. The world is completely in shambles. Big corporations run everything, the land is a wasteland, and to top it off animals are being genetically joined together. Luckily for Toby there is a little food, but most importantly she is safe. Toby is able to survive through her previous knowledge of being a gardener. She is able to adapt to the new situation he is thrown in and still perseveres, for if she didn’t she would surely be dead. The song American kid by Kenny Chesney reminds me of this scenario, because it is solely about a normal kid living his life. Unfortunately for Toby her life kind of stinks, but she is still pushing through. In the song the one of the lines is “a little messed up but we’re all alright” This is a great way to put it. Yes the situation isn’t the best, but she is alive, and out of all the places to be stranded a spa isn’t such a bad gig. Even after terrible events such as her father taking his life, and her mother dying of an illness, she still pushes on trying to better her life. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Toby is able to clear her identity to get out of serious debt, and even able to escape a rapist. One of the saving grace’s for Tobey is when she joins the Gardeners.

Not only is Toby adapting to the surroundings, but the corporations are as well. The corporations see this time to produce more power for themselves by telling people they must use there medicine, or lethal injections to help with their imperfections. In this story there are two social classes. There are people that live in corporate compounds, and then there are people that live in pleabands. Pleabands is the slums where the poor people live. The corporations also use brutal violence in order to keep the world in place. Throughout the book, no governments are mentioned, and it appears that everything is run by the corporations. This is in part due to the fact that the corporations are in control of corpsecorps, which is basically an evil police force. The Corpsecorps acts only in the interest of the corporations and nothing else. Toby is able to see how the corporate punishments are only beneficial to some people while doing incredible harm to others. Through her eyes we gain an understanding of how evil the corporations are.

This all relates to adaptation, because the corporations see an opportunity to be in full control through wealth and power. Relating back to the song American kid, one of the lines goes “ blowing that smoke on Saturday night” This coincides with the corporations, because it displays the kids wrong doing in life. The kids know that it is wrong however, they are doing whatever they want regardless of the consequences. The corporations are doing the same thing. There actions are wrong and evil, however they still do them regardless. Granted this song is a little lit hearted compared to the evil and destruction caused by the corporations, but it still portrays the common knowledge that people are all going to do bad things even harmless kids.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHN9kwnT7ug — Link to lyrics of the song.