Showing 901 - 910 of 921 annotations tagged with the keyword "Suffering"

White-Jacket

Melville, Herman

Last Updated: Oct-17-1996

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Novel

Summary:

White-jacket is a sailor on the U.S. frigate Neversink. His nickname derives from a jacket stitched together from leftover scraps of rags. This jacket makes the other sailors superstitious and as the ship heads towards Antarctica his mess group kicks him out and he joins another group, serving under the much-liked petty officer, Jack Chase.

The journey is a dangerous one. A man falls overboard. There are constant floggings for the merest inkling of insurrection. All the crew members are forced to watch each flogging. A doctor stands by to stop the flogging if the victim's life is endangered, but he is so callous he doesn't stop a single one. The doctor also prescribes medications, but never attempts to change the conditions that cause the sailors' illnesses, like malnutrition and exposure.

When the ship lands in Rio de Janeiro, Dr. Cadwaller Cuticle boards. In order to show off to the ship's doctors, he amputates the healthy leg of a sailor, who is terribly frightened as the doctors discuss his impending fate in front of him. The man dies of shock. When the boat continues on its journey, White-jacket accidentally falls from the riggings. He barely escapes being speared when a ship-mate mistakes his jacket for a whale. He is fished out and sent up again to complete his task.

View full annotation

Of Experience

Montaigne, Michel de

Last Updated: Oct-17-1996
Annotated by:
Willms, Janice

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Essay

Summary:

In Montaigne's final essay he expounds upon the results of his long search for self knowledge via life experience. He uses disease, health, medicine and doctors as prime arenas for demonstration of what he has learned from living. On physicians: to be a "right" physician, one must have experienced every illness, accident or mishap one seeks to treat. On going to stool: to have a right bowel movement, one must have peace, quiet, punctuality and privacy to avoid unruliness of the belly. On treatment: "I hate remedies that are more troublesome than the disease itself." On the most preferable ailments: here the essayist writes of the advantages of stone: that is, the agony always ends, the disease does not portend death or worse, the sufferer spends more time feeling well than hurting, and it has political advantages for allowing a show of stoicism. And there is more.

View full annotation

Coats

Kenyon, Jane

Last Updated: Aug-13-1996
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This short (10 line) poem presents a simple scene. A man leaves the hospital, carrying a woman's coat. "Clearly she would not need it." The weather is mild for December, but the man has zipped his coat, "preparing / for irremediable cold."

View full annotation

The Grave of Keats

Mitchell, S. (Silas) Weir

Last Updated: May-01-1996
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poet stands in the Protestant Cemetery at Rome, beside the grave of John Keats, on which the epitaph is written: "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." The poet addresses the cemetery ("Fair little city of the pilgrim dead"), commenting on the beauty of the place and of its music: "Sing in the pure security of bliss." Yet, even this serene place cannot comfort the poet, who has inherited "the anguish of the doubt / Writ on this gravestone."

View full annotation

In Terror of Hospital Bills

Wright, James

Last Updated: Nov-08-1995
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The speaker is poor, homeless, and desperate. The place is Minnesota, the season winter. He cries out, "I am a full-blooded Sioux Indian." He is about to go hungry and "to leap barefoot through gas-fire veils of shame . . . . " Yet, the man acknowledges, "my life was never so precious / To me as now." He will learn anything, do anything, be anything, for the sake of his precious "secret, / My life."

View full annotation

Medicine

Walker, Alice

Last Updated: Nov-11-1994
Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

An adult tells a very simple story about her elderly grandparents. In the morning the speaker wakes the sleeping couple observing that Grandpa, who is ill and in pain, gains comfort from the old woman in bed beside him. In fact the grandmother IS medicine that "stops the pain" during the night, a medicine contained "in her unbraided hair." Grandma's act of crawling into bed with loosened hair sustains him; it is an act of compassion, of love and an oblique reference to conjugal union.

View full annotation

Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

For those considering a comprehensive overview of plague in Medieval Europe, Hirsch’s long poem is extremely useful. Comprised of thirty-five stanzas, it provides an historical account of devastation associated with the onset of plague in Venice in 1347. An inventory of behavioral responses to catastrophic disease illustrates that responses to AIDS frequently mimic irrational behaviors associated with earlier epidemics. There are references to hysteria, scapegoating, flagellants, illness symptoms, escape, desperate cures, and religious fervor.

View full annotation

A Palsied Girl Goes to the Beach

Hunt, Nan

Last Updated: Oct-27-1994
Annotated by:
Squier, Harriet

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

In this poem, a young woman with cerebral palsy must withstand the rude stares of children and the withdrawal of adults as they watch her walk to the beach. The narrator has never had a normal appearing body. She likens herself to objects in nature: mantises, crabs, coquinas. While these comparisons are not exactly flattering, they allow her to feel that she belongs in the world of nature. Only in the natural world are her jerky movements considered normal. Sitting on the beach she feels "inconsequential." Yet, the way her body is able to "stay the waves" and "more than stay-Resist," suggests that she is not inconsequential.

View full annotation

Up-Hill

Rossetti, Christina

Last Updated: Aug-08-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poem is an exchange of questions and answers that compares life to a journey. The journey is up-hill all the way, but at the end is an inn, a resting place, that cannot be missed and which has a room for everyone.

View full annotation

Cold Head, Cold Heart

Piercy, Marge

Last Updated: Aug-05-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This is a comic poem in which the narrator describes the experience of having a head cold.

View full annotation