About Carly Janine

Writer, Activist, HHP/CMT/Yoga Instructor

The Two Mickey Wolfmanns

Carly Janine Gutierrez

Professor Craig Thompson

English 203

11/28/17

 

The Two Mickey Wolfmanns

In Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon follows the adventures of Doc as he tries to track down the elusive and mercurial Mickey Wolfmann, among other cases. A central figure, Mickey Wolfmann is a real estate developer who has a change of heart, or rather mind. He creates the Channel View Estates while at the top of his game, conning residents into moving into this atrocity that overlooks an ugly waterflow channel, and displacing the previous tenants of the neighborhood. Much like the mystical island of Lemuria, emerging from the sea, Mickey’s conscience breaks through and he has a change of heart. Mickey realizes that charging people for somewhere to live is wrong, and as a rebuttal he creates a newer, more beautiful property in the desert known as Arrepentimiento, which is Spanish for repentance. Mickey Wolfmann wants to atone for the pain he has caused by creating a sanctuary and charging no rent, and it is beautiful. Where Channel View Estates stands for capitalism, greed, and disconnection from the world around it, Arrepentimiento is the opposite. Representing free society, humanity, and connection, Arrepentimiento is a utopian dream. Not merely a housing development, it was to be its own entity, a city rising up naturally from the desert, supporting all those who would call it home. But Arrepentimiento was doomed, as was Mickey’s change of heart.

Wolfmann’s Channel View Estates is all about money. It does not blend into the environment, and has been called an eyesore and worse. When Doc inquires about Mickey Wolfmann’s whereabouts to his Aunt Reet, she responds, “…I’m told Mickey’s been spending time out at his latest assault on the environment – some chipboard horror known as Channel View Estates” (Pynchon, 8). The units in Channel View are definite, everything is laid out and completed, and rent is very expensive. This construction priced out the previous inhabitants of the neighborhood. Everything about the Channel View Estates reeks of capitalism and the void, a devotion to the mighty dollar and the physical items it can buy. The view isn’t even pretty. During a conversation with Crocker Fenway, Doc is told, “Sounds like you’ve been talking to His Holiness Mickey Wolfmann. You’ve been out to have a look at Channel View Estates? Some of us have moved heaven and earth, mostly earth, to keep that promise of urban blight from happening” (Pynchon, 347). Doc and Crocker Fenway both dislike the Channel View Estates, but for different reasons. Either way, it is a dark smear upon the neighborhood, garish, and without conscience.

Unlike the Channel View Estates, Arrepentimiento is built to be a free utopia. It blends into the landscape, a maze of “zomes” and rock. It is difficult to make out the individual units, and all the details surrounding the actual floorplans are hazy, fog-like, and obstructed. It isn’t a definite anything, more of a sprawling idea. As Doc and Tito arrive, “They came over a ridge, and there, down a long slope into a valley whose river might’ve vanished centuries ago, was Mickey Wolfmann’s dream, his penance for having once charged money for human shelter – Arrepentimiento” (Pynchon, 249). This dream of Wolfmann’s had some roots. At the Kismet, Fabian told Doc, “Mickey dated a lot of showgirls back in his day, loved the town, old Vegas dog from way back, built a house out by Red Rock. Also had this dream about putting up a whole city from scratch someday, out in the desert” (Pynchon, 240). Arrepentimiento was a genuine passion of Mickey Wolfmann’s, and the fact that it is now abandoned, incomplete, is sad. This awakening of Mickey Wolfmann’s was very important, a moment of clarity, a tremendous shift. Unfortunately, it was not to last. Much like Lemuria, Arrepentimiento is a utopia lost to the people.

Arrepentimiento and Lemuria are similar. Both represent an idea of utopia, equality, and commitment to humanity. Construction has ceased on Arrepentimiento, and Lemuria has been lost to the Pacific Ocean, perhaps forever. This shift shows an overall shift in the mindset of the citizens of the United States, and Southern California in particular. Even Doc is starting to change, realizing the amount of danger he is in. “Doc brought Denis along for, well maybe not muscle, but something like that, some kind of protection he hadn’t realized till lately he needed, a boost for his immunity against the shopping plazas of Southern California, for a desire not to desire, at least not what you found in the shopping malls” (Pynchon, 348). Not merely a bodyguard, Denis was a reminder to Doc to keep his perspective, to not fall prey to the desire to consume. Capitalism was beginning to crowd out the free-loving hippie lifestyle. No longer connecting, people were fragmenting, becoming sucked into their own worlds while believing they were staying informed. “He thought about Sortilege’s sunken continent, returning, surfacing this way in the lost heart of L.A., and wondered who’d notice it if it did. People in this town saw only what they’d all agreed to see, they believed what was on the tube or in the morning papers half of them read while they were driving to work on the freeway, and it was all their dream about being wised up, about the truth setting them free” (Pynchon, 315). A desire exists not to face reality, to disappear within their lives and agreed-upon perspectives, and to ignore the disappearance of such beautiful things as mythical utopias and hippie mindsets.

This tumultuous shift shows up in other places in the book. Doc and Bigfoot have an interesting dynamic, always influencing each other in strange ways and crossing paths, with Doc representing the hippies and Bigfoot the straights. Doc and Shasta have an undefined relationship that ties into the idea of return, and coming home. The Golden Fang itself is so many things that it cannot be defined in any quantifiable way. Through it all, there is Mickey Wolfmann, used to leading and winning, becoming a pawn in the hands of the FBI and the Golden Fang and the mob, allowing himself to become murky and undefined, if only for a little while. He is even described in such a way, when Doc spies Wolfmann at the Kismet, “The blurred glimpse Doc got was of Mickey in a white suit, wearing much the same look he had in his portrait back at his house in the L.A. hills – that game try at appearing visionary – passing right to left, borne onward, stately, tranquilized, as if being ferried between worlds, or at least bound for a bulletproof car you’d never get to see in through the windows of.” (Pynchon, 243). He is “blurred” and it is a “glimpse” and he appears “tranquilized” so for all we know, this is barely Mickey Wolfmann as he is in reality, at all.

We first hear of Mickey Wolfmann at the beginning of the novel from Shasta, and then Doc calls his Aunt Reet for some background information. She spouts off, “Westside Hochdeutsch mafia, biggest of the big, construction, savings and loans, untaxed billions stashed under an Alp someplace, technically Jewish but wants to be a Nazi, becomes exercised often to the point of violence at those who forget to spell his name with two n’s. What’s he to you?” (Pynchon, 7). He sounds like a violent and unpredictable but powerful man. Surrounding himself with the Aryan Brotherhood and arms, he is protected like a king piece in chess. Mickey Wolfmann is at war with himself, locked in an inner battle between the hippies and the straights. While Wolfmann is back to his old self at the end of the novel, it’s possible that in the future there could be more growth from him. After his experiences at Chryskylodon and out in the desert, time with Shasta, time with the Golden Fang, seeds have been planted for Mickey Wolfmann to become a better man and use his money for good. As Boris relayed, “What Mickey said was, ‘I wish I could undo what I did, I know I can’t, but I bet I can make the money start to flow a different direction’” (Pynchon, 150). The idea has been planted that he is in control of the flow of money, and it can be used as he sees fit to influence the world in good ways. Perhaps a more responsible Mickey Wolfmann lies ahead. Doc and Bigfoot are discussing Mickey and his change of heart, and Doc is bemoaning the fact that he is back to his old self again. Bigfoot responds, “Well, maybe not, Sportello. What goes around may come around, but it never ends up exactly the same place, you ever notice? Like a record on a turntable, all it takes is one groove’s difference and the universe can be on into a whole ‘nother song” (Pynchon, 334). Mickey Wolfmann is a complicated man, fighting against who he is inside, and his creations reflect his inner turmoil.

 

 

 

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Anne Carroll Moore & the New York Public Library

Carly Janine

Professor Forney

LT100

11/16/17

 

Anne Carroll Moore & the New York Public Library
ACM01

Anne Carroll Moore and her work in the New York Public Library was groundbreaking. She brought literacy and literature to children in a public library setting by introducing children’s libraries to the New York Public Library System. Born in Limerick, Maine in 1871, Anne Carroll Moore was always opinionated and ambitious. As a child, she had seven older brothers and a horse named Pocahontas. Initially, Moore wanted to be a lawyer like her father, but following the untimely death of both her parents to influenza, and the loss of her sister-in-law, she dropped out of school to care for her brother’s children.

Eventually, “ACM” as she was called behind her back, was to find schooling at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Mary Wright Plummer was in charge of the librarian program at Pratt, and she implemented a children’s room at their library. In The New Yorker article, “The Lion and The Mouse,” Jill Lepore writes, “In 1896, Anne Carroll Moore was given the task of running…the Children’s Library of the Pratt Institute” (Lepore). Moore worked at the Pratt Library for 10 years, running their children’s library and learning about children and literacy before being hired on by the New York Public Library in 1906. ACM was appointed Superintendent of the Department of Work With Children and oversaw the creation and opening of the shiny new New York Public Library in 1911. “[ACM] not only oversaw the children’s programs at all the branch libraries but also planned the Central Children’s Room. [It] became a pint-sized paradise, with its pots of pansies and pussy willows and oak tables and coveted window seats, so low to the floor that even the shortest legs didn’t dangle” (Lepore). The level of thought and care that ACM put into planning the space for the children is self-evident. There were many factors that contributed to Moore’s ascension to greatness.

The time period when Moore lived was key to her success as a librarian. When she was growing up, libraries were beginning to spread like wildfire, but most of them still didn’t let in children. “Between 1881 and 1917, Andrew Carnegie underwrote the construction of more than sixteen hundred public libraries in the United States, buildings from which children were routinely turned away, because they needed to be protected from morally corrupting books, especially novels” (Lepore). But Moore worked hard to change all that. “In each of the library’s branches, Moore abolished age restrictions. Down came the “Silence” signs, up went framed prints of the work of children’s-book illustrators” (Lepore). She created a warm and welcoming environment for the children, and sought to have them feel comfortable and wanted. Unlike before, the space was geared toward enticing children to read, not shunning them from books.

Anne Carroll Moore brought literature to children, and not just any books. She had a high standard and critical eye for new works, ensuring that the books were of good quality and engaging content. In “Moore Than Meets the Eye” published by the School Library Journal, Julie Cummins writes, “Moore’s name was associated with the standards of excellence she brought to children’s books–standards that laid the foundation for the newly emerging fields of children’s librarianship and children’s publishing” (Cummins). It was only natural that spending so much time among children’s literature that Moore would become a book critic. She had opinions and was unafraid of sharing them with the world. “From 1924 to 1930, Moore reviewed children’s books…[Moore] could be a tough critic, especially of books that violated her rules…but merely in bothering to regularly criticize children’s books Moore was ahead of everyone” (Lepore). Not only was she a critic, she was the first children’s book critic, ever. “The year 1918 also saw Moore join the staff of the Bookman, the chief American literary journal of the day. Moore wrote a regular column of criticism of children’s books, the first sustained criticism of its kind in any journal and the very first modern children’s book reviews” (Cummins). Unafraid of failure and undaunted by the times, Moore was truly a literary pioneer.

Inspiration

While ACM’s contributions to the literary world are unmistakably important, she also was in the right place, at the right time, and around the right people. She had inspiration coming from all directions. On the final pages of Miss Moore Thought Otherwise, Jan Pinborough lists some of her inspirations. “Anne Carroll Moore did not singlehandedly create the children’s library. A group of strong pioneering women librarians around the country also helped blaze the trail:

  • 1887, Minerva Sanders creates a children’s area in a public library in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
  • 1894, the Milwaukee librarian Lutie Stearns gave a speech calling for children of all ages to be allowed in libraries.
  • 1896, Pratt Institute, Mary Wright Plummer opened the first library room designed specifically for children and gave Miss Moore free rein to implement her ideas, including the first version of the famous library pledge.
  • 1904, Caroline M. Hewins, who had campaigned for free libraries, opened a children’s library room in Hartford, Connecticut.
  • 1914, the Brooklyn librarian Clara Hunt designed a branch library just for children” (Pinborough).

It is clear that without Mary Wright Plummer’s mentorship, that Anne Carroll Moore would never have achieved the level of success that she did. Plummer took ACM under her wing, and the ten years of experience working in the children’s room was vital to her securing her position at the New York Public Library.

Innovations

Opening up libraries to children was something new and innovative in the early 1900s, but Anne Carroll Moore took that idea several steps farther. “Much of what Moore did in [the children’s] room had never been done before, or half as well. She brought in storytellers and, in her first year, organized two hundred story hours (and ten times as many two years later). She compiled a list of twenty-five hundred standard titles in children’s literature. She won the right to grant borrowing privileges to children; by 1913, children’s books accounted for a third of all the volumes borrowed from New York’s branch libraries” (Lepore). The sheer amount of work undertaken by one person shows how dedicated and intelligent Moore was. She was always thinking of the children, first and foremost. “Miss Moore organized reading clubs and invited musicians, storytellers, and famous authors like Dr. Seuss to entertain the children” (Pinborough). The personal relationships that Anne Carroll Moore developed during her career as a librarian benefited the children of New York most of all. She wrote long letters to authors, illustrators, publishers, and when these people came through the city, they would inevitably stop by the library.

Not only did she create a space truly for children, that fit their sizes and tastes and interests, the way she appealed to them was unique, and the people she chose to serve them were, as well. “In 1924, [Moore] hired the African-American writer Nella Larsen to head the Children’s Room in Harlem” (Lepore). ACM also hired Pure Belpre, who was the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City. “Three writers whose books stemmed from their storytelling experiences as librarians at the New York Public Library during Moore’s time are Mary Gould Davis, Anna Cogswell Tyler, and Pura Belpre…[who] was also the first to record stories from her native land and was a pioneer in preserving its folklore” (Cummins). These tales of diversity do a lot to support the idea of Anne Carroll Moore being a forward-thinking and inclusive person. At a time when others were looking at race and ethnicity to divide, “[Moore] celebrated the holidays of immigrants (reading Irish poetry aloud, for instance, on St. Patrick’s Day) and stocked the shelves with books in French, German, Russian, and Swedish” (Lepore). Her focus was always on the children and their needs, what would make them more comfortable. “Often, Miss Moore would reach into her handbag and pull out a wooden doll named Nicholas Knickerbocker. Children who were just learning English felt less shy about talking when Nicholas was around” (Pinborough). The way she reached out to bring literacy to all children is something to be admired.

One important thing that the children gleaned from their library visits was a sense of responsibility and accountability. In addition to a ledger where children signed their name to check out books, Anne Carroll Moore also had them recite a pledge. “When I write my name in this book I promise to take good care of the books I use in the Library and at home, and to obey the rules of the Library” (Lepore). There were a lot of very poor families in New York in the early 1900s, and having the books to read and learn and grow from must have been an amazing new experience to many.

Perhaps ACM’s most famous innovation, among librarians, was her creation of the Four Respects. “First was respect for children. They were to be treated as individuals, not talked down to, and all their requests for books were to be considered seriously. Second was respect for children’s books themselves. They were to be well written, factually accurate, and sincere; and they were not to mix fantasy with reality. Third was respect for fellow workers. The children’s services staff was not to be considered as a separate (and lesser) entity, but rather as a vital part of the larger library. Cooperation among the departments was the key to success. Fourth was respect for the professional standing of children’s librarians. Their training and expertise in children’s books and reading merited recognition as a professional specialty” (Cummins). Moore recognized that everyone working together on equal footing, with the children on equal footing as well, would lead to a sustainable environment of learning.

In 1918, an enduring endeavor was undertaken. Anne Carroll Moore collaborated with Franklin K. Mathiews from the Boy Scouts of America and Frederic Melcher, editor of Publishers Weekly, in Room 105, a famous meeting place within the New York Public Library. “As a result of the three Ms’ collaboration, Children’s Book Week was founded as an annual event in praise of books and reading” (Cummins). Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country, according to the Children’s Book Council. Now over a hundred years old, it is impossible to quantify how much impact this book week has had on the youth of America.

Controversy

In Anne Carroll Moore: A Biography, by Frances Clarke Sayers (who was Moore’s successor at the New York Public Library) Sayers says “There was no wavering. Once [Moore] had arrived at an opinion or fixed her goals of accomplishment, nothing could shake the strength of her belief in her own infallibility” (Sayers, 120). This was to come back to haunt her. Moore’s influence grew and grew throughout her 35-year career as a librarian and children’s book critic, until she tried to interfere with Stuart Little. “The end of Moore’s influence came when…she tried to block the publication of a book by E. B. White. Watching Moore stand in the way of “Stuart Little,” White’s editor, Ursula Nordstrom, remembered, was like watching a horse fall down, its spindly legs crumpling beneath its great weight” (Lepore). But what happened?

E.B White and Moore were friends and pen-pals; she had been encouraging him to write a children’s book via letters for years. In fact, “Moore had come to think of recruiting E. B. White to the world of juvenilia as her final triumph…”Stuart Little” was to be Anne Carroll Moore’s lasting legacy to children’s literature. In her mind, it was her book” (Lepore). This controlling aspect of her personality showed up in other areas of her life once she retired, as well. “[ACM] still showed up for meetings at the New York Public Library; she still ran those meetings, dismaying her successor, Frances Clarke Sayers, who tried switching meeting places, to no avail: “No matter where you held them, she was there.” (In an oral history conducted at U.C.L.A. in the nineteen-seventies, Sayers admitted that she found it all but impossible to stand up to Moore, who made her life “an absolute hell” by refusing to cede control: “She hung on to everything.”)” (Lepore). In America, working is akin to identity for many people. Perhaps the idea of giving up her career was too much for Anne Carroll Moore, and she simply could not let go.

Or perhaps, she was always overbearing. “A certain amount of anxiety was entailed in working under ACM” (Sayers, 128). It is embarrassing, that “To the Whites she sent a fourteen-page letter, predicting that the book would fail and that it would prove an embarrassment, and begging the author to reconsider its publication” (Lepore). Not only did Moore discourage E.B. White from publishing Stuart Little, once it was written, she completely blackballed it. “The real blow came when Frances Clarke Sayers, presumably acting on Moore’s orders, refused to buy “Stuart Little” for the library, sending a signal to children’s librarians across the country: “Not recommended for purchase by expert” (Lepore). Having Sayers refuse to purchase or recommend the book was a horrible blow, but ACM went even farther. “Moore, in her rage, fallen but still kicking, seems to have used her influence to shut “Stuart Little” out of the Newbery Medal, a prize awarded by a panel of librarians, including, that year, Frances Clarke Sayers” (Lepore). Of course, many millions of people have read Stuart Little, so how did that come to be? Teachers saved the book, and of course, their young students. “Anne Carroll Moore tried very hard to ensure that schools would ban “Stuart Little.” Some did. But some schoolteachers decided, instead, to teach the book” (Lepore). After several letter-writing campaigns, many teachers began teaching E.B. White’s mouse novel, and over time, it’s popularity outgrew any dissent.

Lasting Legacy

Anne Carroll Moore was at her best when she was encouraging children to read, and writers to write for them. The effect she had on her staff was amazing. Many of them went on to become “children’s book editors, authors, and illustrators” (Cummins). This mentorship of her staff was perhaps her best quality. Eventually, all careers must start to wind down.  “When Miss Moore turned seventy years old, it was time for her to retire. Some people thought she should sit quietly at home. But Miss Moore thought otherwise. Her friends at the library gave her a set of luggage-with a small green suitcase for Nicholas- and she traveled across the country, teaching more people how to make good libraries for children” (Pinborough). ACM was a tireless warrior, fiercely bringing literacy to children around the country.  “Her dedication to literary excellence and the legacy she left behind as the creator of children’s services at the library are unlikely to be surpassed” (Cummins). Anne Carroll Moore’s unique position of power within the literary community was legendary. Whatever else can be said of her, Anne Carroll Moore was a champion of literacy and that is her greatest legacy.

 

 

Works Cited

Cummins, Julie. “Moore Than Meets the Eye.” School Library Journal, vol. 45, no. 7, July 1999, p. 27. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.palomar.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lxh&AN=2082058&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Lepore, Jill. “The Lion and the Mouse.” New Yorker, vol. 84, no. 21, 21 July 2008, pp. 66-73. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.palomar.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lxh&AN=33250720&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Pinborough, Jan. Miss Moore Thought Otherwise. Houghton Mifflin, 2013.

Sayers, Frances Clark. Anne Carroll Moore: A Biography. Scribner, 1972.

Fall 2017

This semester is nearly over. We only have three weeks left after Thanksgiving this week! It has been very challenging for me, taking Intro to Library Services and English 203 at the same time, while working two jobs and watching my sweet daughter. I had to register for Spring 2018 last week, and I will be taking Spanish 2 (5 units) and a research literacy class (1 unit) for library tech.

I’ve been struggling with the idea of ceasing my library technician classes for awhile. I am really enjoying the program at Palomar, and I would like to finish it and take on an internship or two. But I also really want to focus on getting my credits for my English major so I can transfer to Cal State San Marcos without having to be at Palomar 3+ years first. Most librarians I’ve talked to seem to be of the mind that I don’t NEED the library technician certificate, but I DO need library experience. So basically, I would graduate faster if I just focus on my major and volunteer at libraries in my “free time” instead of the internship. I still think an internship would look good, so I’m not totally decided, but I do know I’m not taking 7 units of two different writing-heavy classes at the same time again!

There are still so many classes I have to take. Speech, Biology, American Indian Studies (instead of US History), Intermediate Algebra so I can take Statistics, some literature classes, some writing electives like Intro & Intermediate Creative Writing… When I start making the list I get stressed out and feel like I will never finish, so I try not to look at it. But I do need to meet with my counselor again and figure out exactly what all I have left.

I’m so happy I got A’s over the summer. I tanked my library services grade by turning in a bad report when I ran out of time a couple weeks ago. Time management can be so tough. I currently have a B in both my classes, but I want them to be A’s! It doesn’t help that my library professor is the chair of the department, AND my English professor is the director of the writing center. I wanted so badly to impress both of them, but I am just being average.

Over the summer, I was so nervous and stressed out that I told both my professors that I had bipolar disorder. I haven’t broken down and done that this semester, but it may have helped with my report snafu. I know there are mental health services on campus and I could get some kind of note that gives me longer deadlines, but I haven’t wanted to admit that I have a mental disorder. I should consider it, though.

I am going to start volunteering in my daughter’s classroom for Art Class, if the school approves me. I have to get a TB test next week, then fill out a form disclosing my misdemeanor and the reason for it. “Hi, I’m crazy, can I volunteer?” *sigh* My mother offered to pay the fee to expunge my record, which I need to do in order to pass a background check to work with teens/kids at a library. I can’t wait until I can stop explaining my mental breakdown to all sorts of officials, but that may never go away, expungement or not.

I’ve enjoyed both my classes this semester, but have felt particularly drawn to my English class. I guess it’s good that is what I am majoring in. But I also enjoy all the research and information from my Library Services class and have yet to change my mind about becoming a librarian, which is something people seem to keep expecting me to do. No way, man. I’m getting this BA in English/Creative Writing from Cal State San Marcos, then a Master’s of Library & Information Science from San Jose State University. It’s going to happen, assuming I can continue to feed myself and stay in California until I graduate.

I can already feel changes on the horizon. Something within me, restless in my heart, is stirring. I am finally at a time in my life when I can devote myself to school, and my kid, and it feels so good. Some days I long for a place to live, just me and her, where everything is clean and nice and food is on the table. I would love to be able to host people again. But would I be lonely? Perhaps, perhaps I would at that. My roommate and I have such a special relationship. We shall see what happens over the next six months!

Anyway, I thought you could use a break from my essay posts. Hoping to get some words down in my book next semester, since it’ll be the first one where I am NOT taking a writing-heavy class. I want to finish my sci-fi story, I want to finish my bipolar disorder book, I want to get going on publishing. I want it all, right now. But I guess in its own time will work.

The Tragedy of Miss Lucy

Carly Janine

Professor Craig Thompson

English 203

11/08/2017

 

The Tragedy of Miss Lucy

Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go touches on what it means to be human, how important ethical science is, and the concepts of acceptance and fate. He paints a dark picture of humanity and what happens in the lives of clones created for organ donation. Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth are essentially very lucky, very sheltered clones raised in the protected environment of Hailsham. They are given educations, distractions, and senses of purpose. Kathy is driving Tommy through the woods towards the end of the book, and Tommy breaks a long silence and says that he agrees with Miss Lucy, not Miss Emily. He’s talking about whether or not to shield the clones from their knowledge of their fate as they mature. Miss Lucy wants to tell the students everything and fully prepare them for their fates, dashing their dreams. Miss Emily wants to encourage their souls to grow, and keep them protected, safe, and happy until they are old enough to understand what is happening. While Miss Emily’s approach sounds beautiful, in reality it is the cruelest option. Allowing the students to dream of better lives, having jobs, families, when it is not a possibility, doesn’t serve them. Miss Lucy could have been more thoughtful with her big reveal to the students. She was frustrated and going against the grain of the administration of the school by speaking out to the students directly at all about their purpose. However, she was truly doing them a kindness by telling them about their organ donations, lack of options, and ultimate fates.

Seeking a deferral of their donations, Tommy and Kathy go find Madame in her home, long after graduation and the Cottages. At this meeting, Madame and Miss Emily are both present, and they give their reasons for sheltering the students. Madame doesn’t truly view the clones as human, and admits fault, when she says, “Poor creatures. What did we do to you? With all our schemes and plans?” (Ishiguro, 254). She had been listening to their story and theory about the Gallery, before presenting Miss Emily. When Miss Emily comes forward, she presents with her general misplaced positivity, “As for myself, whatever the disappointments, I don’t feel so badly about it. I think what we achieved merits some respect” (Ishiguro, 256). She goes on to tell them that the true reason for the Gallery was, in fact, to prove that the clones had souls at all. Hailsham itself was one giant experiment, created to show society that clones had souls, deserved compassion, and should be treated humanely, so long as they ultimately fulfilled their purpose. But society did not want to know. With the closing of Hailsham, thus ended hope for the likes of Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy.

After they confront Madame and Miss Emily, Tommy mentions, in reference to his bouts of anger growing up, “Maybe I did know, somewhere deep down. Something the rest of you didn’t” (Ishiguro, 274). Tommy isn’t certain that he believes he had always known, but in a way, all of the students knew from hints and rumors growing up, what would eventually become of them. This nebulous knowledge hung over their heads, and in Miss Lucy’s perfect system, this never would have happened. Under Miss Lucy’s guidance, the clones would have full knowledge of the entire process from the time they are young children. Hailsham administration could have allowed Miss Lucy to teach classes, preparing them for their true purpose, while continuing to nurture their minds and souls. On-site therapy to deal with the knowledge of what humanity has done would have been helpful. Ultimately, with the proper education, the students would grow to be well-rounded adults.

While Miss Lucy was not overly successful in her attempt to educate the students, her talk did stick and resonate with Tommy and Kathy. It is while overhearing two students talk about becoming actors that Miss Lucy snaps, telling all the students gathered around her about their fate and the fact that none of their dreams will come true. The students are fifteen years old when Miss Lucy says to them in the pavilion, “Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you was created to do” (Ishiguro,81). While they all remembered the incident, they also allowed it to pass, become foggy, and ultimately took no action in terms of self-preservation because of it. This is because she was forced to inform them in a hurried, under-the-table sort of way. Had the administration allowed Miss Lucy to educate the students properly, they would have been better prepared for the lives set out for them, and perhaps been able to change their fates.

A rebellion is exactly the sort of thing that Hailsham would have wanted to avoid, and do avoid, by scaring the young students away from the forest. “There were all kinds of horrible stories about the woods” (Ishiguro, 50). These stories kept them from exploring, keeping them blissfully unaware of the brevity of their lives. Although it takes some time for the clones to accept their fate, the flights of fancy, such as looking for “possibles”, and having “dream jobs,” “dream futures,” never lasted. The three main characters handled the knowledge of their ultimate purpose very differently. Ruth always had to believe in something, have drama, attention. Tommy struggled with his anger and lack of creativity, often howling into the void. Kathy dreamed of having a baby, but of the three, seemed the most suited to accepting her fate as a carer. Tommy believes it is because she has not yet been called up for her first organ donation herself. As the narrator, unreliable though she may be, Kathy truly depicts the humanity of the clones.

Of the three main characters, Ruth would have fared the worst under Miss Lucy’s system, mostly due to the fact that she thrives on belief, stories, drama, and attention. Knowing early on that none of these things would ultimately help or save her may have broken Ruth. But perhaps not, it is possible that with therapy and a strong curriculum, Miss Lucy could have gotten through to Ruth, and she could have become self-aware much earlier on, and given Kathy and Tommy the opportunity to be together, have many more years of love. Ruth comes to regret her meddling, near the end of her life, and she says to Kathy, “The main thing is, I kept you and Tommy apart…That was the worst thing I did” (Ishiguro, 232). Ruth goes on to urge Kathy and Tommy to seek a deferral from Madame on the basis of true love. She truly changes.

Tommy seemed to struggle the most out of the trio, having such problems with his anger growing up that he is bullied mercilessly through his younger years. Something was always lurking in his subconscious, telling him that nothing he did would ever be good enough to save him from his fate, and that it wasn’t even worth trying. Had Tommy been fully educated early on, his anger could possibly have dissipated, replaced instead with knowledge and acceptance that comes to him much later. He would have wasted much less time with Ruth and made certain that Kathy was his main focus for what years they could have together. Tommy says to Kathy, “You and me, right from the start, even when we were little, we were always trying to find things out. Remember, Kath, all those secret talks we used to have?” (Ishiguro, 284). A great tragedy of Tommy’s life is that he gets to spend so little time with Kathy before he completes.

Kathy herself seemed to be the strongest and most stable of the main characters. She longed for a baby, although she knew she could not get pregnant. She loves Tommy from afar, and they stay in touch as much as they can through the years. Kathy is loyal and doesn’t really speak up for herself, allowing Ruth to manipulate her over and over again throughout their youth. Once she becomes a carer, she is very good at it and is able to advocate for her patients without issue. However, being a carer is a tiring and lonely life. Kathy spends her life waiting to be called up for organ donation, and never is, though by the end of the novel she is, perhaps soon, to be called up to a center and then have a carer herself. Kathy creates a fantasy of seeing Tommy approach in a field when she drives to Norfolk, after he dies. It is telling of her nature that even when her friends are gone, she still obediently continues to drive to work, to be where she was “supposed to be” (Ishiguro, 288). Had Kathy been given a more thorough understanding of her ultimate fate, perhaps she could have gotten out from under Ruth’s power a bit, and seen earlier on that what she had with Tommy was the most precious thing in her life.

Miss Lucy’s system would have better served the students, better prepared them for life as clones, and left them overall happier and more well-adjusted than being in the dark. Had Miss Lucy had some support, it is possible that she could have helped to change the way Hailsham operated. This was a big threat to Miss Emily’s philosophy and approach with the clones. Ultimately, Miss Lucy never had the chance to change the lives of the students at all and that is the biggest tragedy of Never Let Me Go.

Deckard and The Toad

Carly Janine

Professor Craig Thompson

English 203

10/18/2017

 

Deckard and The Toad

 

In Philip K. Dick’s dystopian novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? the question is posed on what it means to be human versus what it means to be an android. Where humans have the capacity for empathy, androids do not. It is this primary difference that truly separate the humans from the androids. Rick Deckard is a particularly unempathetic human for most of the novel, referring to his Sidney’s guide regularly on how many androids he needs to retire to get what animal. He is more concerned with having a living animal to care for as a status symbol than he is with the lives of the androids he retires on a regular basis. However, at the end of the novel, and after a very long day, Deckard retreats to the wastelands of Oregon and has a spiritual experience, during which he finds a toad. After his trials and tribulations in retiring the Nexus-6 androids and having an affair with Rachael Rosen, who then decides to kill his new goat in a most grotesque fashion, Deckard begins to see that the lines between the human and android are perhaps blurred, and that these technological creatures have their own emotions and drives and perhaps deserve life, such as it is offered to them. By the time Deckard discovers the toad is electric at the end of the novel, he has developed a sense of empathy toward androids and other electric creatures. This character evolution of Deckard’s is the primary catalyst in his reluctance to continue to retire androids. Deckard begins to accept that perhaps these beings have their own lives and fates, and questions his role in their demise, making him then more human.

The novel begins with the introduction of Rick Deckard and his wife, Iran. They are having a fight and using their mood organs, which are devices that stimulate or suppress the thalamus, offering a variety of moods to choose from in different combinations. Iran says, “My first reaction consisted of being grateful that we could afford a Penfield mood organ. But then I realized how unhealthy it was, sensing the absence of life, not just in this building but everywhere, and not reacting – do you see? I guess you don’t” (Dick, 5). She refers to Deckard’s insensitivity, and the way he can just ignore the impossibilities of life and go to work every day. Iran actually schedules herself for depressive moods, and in general seems far more in tune with the oppressive world than does Deckard. Iran also refers to the lack of population, as most humans have emigrated away from Earth. This crushingly lonely world does not seem to have any effect on Deckard, but the fact that he has an electric sheep instead of a living one really does. At the outset, all that motivates Deckard is money and status.

It would be unfair to say that Deckard had never contemplated his actions, but he considered androids to be lone killers. “Rick liked to think of them that way; it made his job palatable. In retiring – i.e., killing – an andy, he did not violate the rule of life laid down by Mercer. ‘You shall kill only the killers,’ Mercer had told them the year empathy boxes first appeared on Earth” (Dick, 30). By viewing androids as cold killers, it was easier for Deckard to do his job. Wilbur Mercer is the central figure in Mercerism, which is seemingly a theology of sorts, that allows for empathetic connection to other humans. By using a device called an empathy box, only humans can upload their consciousness into this shared experience. Within the experience, the old man, Mercer, toils up a hill while being attacked by mysterious forces. Other interesting things can happen within the realm of the empathy box, bringing the remaining humans closer together and reminding them of their shared humanity.

With a clear conscience, Deckard heads in to work to get down to the business of administering the Voigt-Kampff empathy-measuring test to Rachael Rosen, and continuing his hunt for the Nexus-6 androids on his list. As he attempts to administer the test to the opera singer Luba Luft, she calls an android police officer to come take Deckard in. It is at this mysterious, fake police station (full of androids) that Deckard first encounters another bounty hunter by the name of Phil Resch. It is Resch that actually retires both his superior Garland, and Luba Luft. Resch acts as a foil for Deckard, and is symbolic of the changes he is going through. Resch differs from Deckard in that he is ready to kill with any excuse, without hesitation. There is a lot of speculation as to whether Resch is human or android himself. Eventually he is proven human, and he owns a squirrel named Buffy, however, he lacks a certain amount of empathy. It is easy for Resch to kill, where for Deckard all the criteria must be met in order for him to retire androids. Deckard buys a copy of an art print for Luba Luft shortly before she is retired, and states upon her death that he is getting out of the business, after claiming the bounty, of course. On Phil Resch, Deckard ruminates, “You’re a good bounty hunter, Rick realized. Your attitude proves it. But am I? Suddenly for the first time in his life, he had begun to wonder” (Dick, 133). This self-examination is new, and Deckard is really starting to struggle with his work.

As Deckard began to question his place within the world, he surprises his wife by showing up with a newly-purchased goat. He tells her of his newfound empathy toward androids, and together they give thanks by fusing with Mercer via their empathy boxes. Shortly thereafter, he calls Rachael Rosen to get her help and they immediately have an affair at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Rachael reveals that she knows he will be unable to continue to hunt androids after being with her, as she has seen it in all the other bounty hunters she had been with, aside from Phil Resch. Perhaps to prove her wrong, Deckard goes on to retire the remaining Nexus-6 units that same evening. Perhaps unused to being wrong, or from some sense of jealousy, Rachael retaliates by throwing Deckard’s poor new goat right off of his roof.

Both humans and androids enjoy watching Buster Friendly. He is a TV personality and he acts as a foil for Mercer. Where Mercerism is all about empathy, compassion, and connection, the message of Buster Friendly is one of isolation and despair. Humans feel ultimately good, or at least affected, by fusing with Mercer and enjoying their shared experience. Towards the end of the novel, Buster Friendly is discovered to be an android, and he shockingly reveals that Wilbur Mercer is actually a human named Al Jarry, and that the images seen within the empathy boxes are all filmed and staged. Mercerism is a fake, and so is Buster Friendly, but Mercer is real. He appears to both Isidore and Deckard, offering advice and bringing gifts. This theme of being both real and not-real appears throughout the novel and culminates with the finding of the “real” toad. Deckard is so excited to have found a real animal out in the wastelands, while being permanently fused with Mercer. He toils up a hill, as Mercer does, and is even struck by an errant stone. The toad is sacred to Mercer, and believed to be extinct. Deckard is so excited, he puts the toad in a box and takes it straight home to his wife. Iran is the one that discovers the control panel that shows the toad to be electrical. While disappointed, Deckard says that he would prefer to know. Deckard then says to Iran, “The spider Mercer gave the chickenhead, Isidore; it probably was artificial, too. But it doesn’t matter. The electric things have their lives, too. Paltry as those lives are” (Dick, 222). This shows that he believes the toad to be a gift from Mercer, and also just how far he has shifted from being a cold-hearted android-hunter to a softer, more compassionate and empathetic version of himself. In this world, the androids and humans are both living on borrowed time. If Deckard can evolve so much in one day, perhaps there is hope for humanity, and for them to coexist with androids.

Eradicate the Incarceration of Persons with Mental Disabilities

Carly Janine

Professor Glenda Snell

English 100

8/14/2017

Eradicate the Incarceration of Persons with Mental Disabilities

“Prisons were never intended as facilities for the mentally ill, yet that is one of their primary roles today.” – Sasha Abramsky

In 2013, I was reported missing. In the midst of a mental breakdown, I had fled town, driving northward until my truck broke down in San Leandro, in Northern California. I had thrown away my cellular phone. I had no way to get ahold of anyone and very little money. At that point in time, I had no idea that I suffered from a mental disorder. All I knew was that I had started hearing voices, became very paranoid, and thought I was some sort of a government conspiracy whistleblower. It was terrifying and confusing, and after a week of roaming the streets, I had deteriorated to the point where everyone I encountered thought I was homeless. I attempted to rent an RV with a fake name, and when the rental place refused, I drove off their lot inside a stolen one anyway. I was trying to get to Half Moon Bay, where a friend’s mother lived, thinking I might be able to track her down somehow without a phone. Of course, I soon had a “parade” of police cars following me, with their sirens blaring and lights flashing. I was arrested and charged with three felonies, though one was immediately dropped (evading a peace officer), I still had two to deal with, but first, I went to jail.

The first night in the San Mateo County jail, they tried to put me in with the general population. I completely freaked out, and eventually they began to realize that I wasn’t on drugs (I was repeatedly asked if I was on meth) but that there was something seriously wrong. I was transferred back to medical, my clothes and bed were taken away.  I was put into this large, Velcro outfit that I couldn’t harm myself with, and I was put on suicide watch. (I realize now that I was so lucky that someone recognized my symptoms and they were able to get a psychiatrist in to interview me in the middle of the night.) I was immediately put on lithium and given a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder Type 1. After a few days in a solitary room on medication, I was transferred into a shared rooming facility in the medical wing. When it seemed likely that I wasn’t going to harm myself or anyone else, I was moved back into general population. I spent two weeks in jail before my mental faculties stabilized to the point where I realized I could bail myself out. The whole experience was supremely confusing, embarrassing, cost me my job and many friends. And I was one of the lucky ones. My family managed to get me a $7,000 lawyer.  I received a plea deal based on a psychiatrist interview shortly after I was released, and plead no contest to a misdemeanor of joyriding. I truly believe that had I simply signed the papers in jail for the public defender that I would have been sentenced and would have spent far longer than two weeks in San Mateo County.

My experience is far from unique. Jamie Fellner, of the Human Rights Watch, wrote that the Treatment Advocacy Center recently estimated there were 356,000 persons with mental illness behind bars. Incarceration makes mental illness worse, and prisons are unprepared to deal with the mentally ill and mental healthcare crisis.  While in jail, every day, I would stand in line for pill call with easily 1/3 of the population.  Solutions are needed in order to properly process and care for the mentally ill within the prison system.

There has been a lack of adequate research in determining which jails and prisons need the most help and how best to go about it. Author Seth J. Prins wanted to provide a broad view of mental illness in prisons after realizing most works cited only two federal reports from 1999 and 2006, so “the author undertook a systematic review of 28 articles published between 1989-2013.” The study concluded that not only are these issues widespread, it is difficult to tell how widespread, as there has been a lot of fluctuation in the numbers of mentally ill reported in prisons. There are wide variations when self-reporting, however, many seriously mentally ill inmates are not competent to consent to self-report. A full mental health screening for every inmate currently incarcerated is called for. We must begin with accurate information in order to see precisely the magnitude of the crisis that we are experiencing in the judicial system.

Perhaps complicating the issue is the fact that for-profit prisons make money off of bodies in cells. If mentally ill inmates are diverted into other programs or facilities, there will be a substantial decline in the number of inmates held in these for-profit prisons. A complete overhaul of the prison system is necessary, and we must start by caring for persons with mental disabilities, not locking them up. We must implement policies and programs and procedures for dealing with the mentally ill in a compassionate way.

Another factor may have to do with poverty.  “Poverty is a common element among many mentally ill inmates, even homelessness.” (Prins) It was certainly true for myself and the people I encountered during my escapade. The way the current system is set up, homeless people can receive encroachment tickets for having their things out in public with them. Once they’ve received enough tickets that they cannot pay, they wind up in jail without the money to bail themselves out. Bail reform is something that Senator Kamala Harris has recently taken up in California. Far too many people linger in jail for longer than necessary due to these bail restrictions.

Another law, I feel is cruel, is the three strikes law. As Tala Al-Rousan wrote in “Inside the Nation’s Largest Mental Health Institution: A Prevalence Study in a State Prison System,” evidence suggests mentally ill persons are more likely to break rules, get in fights, be reprimanded by adding more charges to their time and spend more time in jail than someone who is not mentally ill. Once they’ve reached three strikes, they are now handed lifelong prison sentences.

Not only are mentally ill inmates more likely to be exploited by other inmates, they are more likely to break rules themselves. Abramsky noted in her article that the mentally ill face higher than average disciplinary rates, and lack of behavioral control, “Many refuse to comply with orders like sit down, come out of a cell, stand for count, remove clothes from cell bars, take showers.” A lack of showering is an often-cited symptom of depression.

Do the wealthy pay for mental healthcare to help avoid incarceration for their children? Why wouldn’t they? It is much easier to stay healthy when one has health insurance and have the money to afford premiums, co-pays, medications and expensive healthier foods. Does this system contribute to the criminalization of the poor? If the poor are disproportionally represented in prison and also lack mental healthcare prior to incarceration, then it certainly does. “Poor people with mental illness receive only short-term treatment, are stabilized, sent back out into the community with limited access to treatment.” (Abramsky)

The poor are criminalized for being sick, and that is absolutely disgusting.

The mentally ill face a host of challenges. In Prins’ review, he found these common elements: poverty, unemployment, crime, victimization, family breakdown, homelessness, substance abuse, general health problems and stigma. One of the difficulties of stigma is that the actions of the mentally ill are treated as disciplinary problems rather than as symptoms of their illnesses being observed. The inadequate access to community treatment options prior to incarceration is a terrible burden, and as we have seen, many, many people are diagnosed in jail or prison. In the Iowa study, Al-Rousan found 48% of inmates had mental illness, of whom 29% had serious mental illness, and 99% of the inmates were diagnosed while incarcerated, as I was.

Mental illness often interferes with the ability of the prisoner to cope with life in prison. There is a “prison code” that exists, and mentally ill persons are more likely to break this code, snitch on another inmate, and receive retaliation for it. (Abramsky) This leaves people with mental illness vulnerable, and often frightened. Eyal Press’ article “Madness”, presented by The New Yorker, closely followed life in the Dade Correctional Facility. It was found that people with mental disabilities also face general ostracization and are called nicknames like “dings” and “bugs.” Anyone attempting to help an inmate, such as a psychologist, was known as a “hug-a-thug.” This created a hostile working environment for psychologists and case workers at this particular facility, which allowed for the lethal abuse of an inmate with a mental illness.

The abuse and neglect of the mentally ill in prisons is a horrifying subject. I actually found so many examples of neglect and abuse among various sources that I focused on a few cases, two of neglect presented by Fellner, and one of abuse all resulting in death, presented by Press.

Neglect: Anthony McManus, a prisoner in Michigan, died in 2005. He was age 38, weighing a mere 75lbs. Although bipolar and schizophrenic, he was confined in a prison with no psychiatry department. He was pepper sprayed three days before his death and videotaped asking for food and water, although none was provided and his official cause of death was myocarditis and emaciation. (Fellner)

Neglect: Christopher Lopez, an inmate in Colorado, was 35 years old when he died at San Carlos Correctional Facility in 2013. He was schizophrenic and died from severe hyponatremia, which is too much psychotropic medication leading to low sodium in the blood. It is easily identifiable via blood test and treatable, but the nurse(s!) never took his vitals. He was kept in a room 22-24hours a day. (Fellner) Solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment, and it should never be used to discipline persons with mental disabilities.

Abuse: Inmate Darren Rainey was boiled to death in a hot shower in June 2012 in Florida at Dade Correctional Facility, where the incident was then covered up. Guards were seen laughing about “putting him in the shower” to discipline him, but the shower was hot enough to make coffee. (Press)

These cases were extreme, but not unique. Correctional Officers, or COs, use excessive force in many cases, and further compassionate training is required. Even when there the proper equipment is provided, such as restraining chairs or psychiatric beds, they are often misused.

There are many challenges to getting prisoners the mental health care they need. Abramsky noted that understaffing, poor screening and tracking of mentally ill prisoners, lack of timely access to mental health staff (guards are not referring prisoners often enough, and “bizarre behavior” is not enough for a referral, though it certainly should be when viewed as a symptom!), diagnosis of malingering (faking it, or manipulation), using medication as the sole treatment strategy, and a lack of confidentiality between the prisoner and the mental health staff all add barriers to prisoners receiving the help and medical attention they need.

I find some comfort knowing that some places are truly making an effort to integrate solutions to the mental health crisis. Tom Dart is an Illinois sheriff. Angela Bradbery wrote about his program for Public Citizen News. “Dart, who oversees one of the largest jails in the country, has implemented changes that have made his jail a role model for humanely managing seriously mentally ill inmates.” (Bradbery, 1) Dart manages his inmates in a number of ways that compassionately support the mentally ill. All staff receives mental illness training. Their jail provides full treatment, and upon release, transitions them to community resources. Once free, access to a 24-hour care line is available for mentally ill ex-inmates. This example is one to be mimicked around the country. Tom Dart has managed to show that some people do care, and that it can be done with proper planning and implementation.

Politicians and the community have failed the mentally ill. Mentally ill persons wind up in prison when they are left untreated within the community until their symptoms have gotten so bad that they commit a crime. The word “transinstitutionalization” refers to the problem of persons with mental illness being left untreated until they end up institutionalized within correctional settings. (Abramsky) This is certainly what happened to me. My symptoms had been getting worse for months prior to my leaving town, and I worsened to the point of not having the self-awareness necessary to monitor my moods. “Thousands of mentally ill are left untreated and unhelped until they have deteriorated so greatly that they wind up arrested and prosecuted for crimes they may never have committed had they been able to access therapy, medication, and assisted living facilities in the community.” (Abramsky) Reform is needed and public funding and support is needed. Stigma must be decreased and people must speak openly about mental healthcare in order to influence public opinion and garner support. These changes can happen, and should.

Solutions are desperately needed to help with the mental healthcare crisis facing both prisons and communities today, for these problems are intertwined. Early preventative care and mental health screening in the community would greatly curb the number of people with mental disabilities being introduced to the criminal justice system to begin with, as they would have access to medications and therapy.

Therefore, I propose a whole host of solutions to offer compassionate methods of processing persons with mental disabilities. To begin, it would be helpful if police received extensive training in recognizing mental health crises. When I was on the streets, I had several interactions with police officers prior to my incident and arrest. None of them realized I was a missing person, and while they obviously could tell something was wrong, they had nowhere to take me and ultimately just released me back on the streets. Ideally, my symptoms should have been identified, and then the police could have transported me to facilities that do not yet exist. Some cities have PERT (Psychiatric Emergency Response Team) which sends out a psychiatrist along with a police officer. Together they determine where the individual needs to be taken. These PERT teams should be in all cities and be standard procedure.

The United States is in desperate need of more specialized facilities for the mentally ill. These facilities would need to process individuals in mental health crisis that have committed no crimes and are therefore free to go as long as they are not posing a threat to themselves or others and not be turned away for lack of insurance.

For the prisoners, there need to be acute crisis care units and intermediate care units with psychiatric beds for long-term care and rehabilitation in all facilities. Each location should include 24-hour psychiatric care and monitoring.

Bail reform is something that would reduce the criminalization of the poor. This can ruin lives, as the incarcerated can lose their jobs, their income and have no one to care for their children. Innocent until proven guilty should not include a bail system that is not intended to be, but is nonetheless, punitive.

Doing away with encroachment tickets would be a great start to reducing the criminalization of the homeless.

Another helpful solution would be the development of a kind of homeless daycare center. Think of it like a park, maybe with a library, with lots of shade and water fountains and bathrooms and showers and large lockers for their things. There could even be an on-site psychiatrist and psychologist available, and administrative staff to assist people with applying for health insurance, disability, and other forms of government assistance. In my utopia, this place already exists, funded completely by taxpayers.

The development of mental health applications has been a new and novel thing. Some apps help time breath, mood swings, all sorts of things. I don’t see why we haven’t seen applications that allow people to report mental illness they see in others (perhaps a PERT team can respond?) or, perhaps even more important, an app that puts the mentally ill in direct contact with help when they are in mental crisis. I’m not talking about a suicide hotline, I mean an app where I can press some buttons to say, “I’m hearing voices and losing my mind, what do I do?” and get put in immediate touch with a psychiatrist, assistance, a PERT team, anything. This is the next logical and necessary step.

Once a crime has been committed, there are many solutions that will aid in the compassionate processing and interfacing with mentally ill inmates. Firstly, as Abramsky points out, low level drug offenders are often diverted into substance abuse treatment programs. Since large numbers of the mentally ill also have substance abuse issues, making this universal would reduce the numbers of mentally ill in prisons. There should also be a diversion program in place for those who do not have substance abuse issues, but do have a history of mental illness. They should be diverted to intermediate care units for rehabilitation with minimum security.

Moving beyond training COs, there need to be treatment programs in place for inmates. There should be group therapy, solo therapy, medications should be introduced and tapered carefully, with staff in place around the clock. Pre-release care is important, as is a smooth transition to community resources for the recently released. I approve of Tom Dart’s 24-hour care line for mentally ill former inmates and think more places, if not all facilities, should implement such a solution.

We have abandoned the mentally ill to the streets and prison system, to struggle with substance abuse issues and endure a number of hardships. Deinstitutionalization has created a public health crisis in the United States. Careful consideration and decisive action is needed to universalize and standardize the mental healthcare system. The mentally ill do not belong in prisons simply for being mentally ill and need to have access to round-the-clock care in facilities that are designed with their needs in mind. I am so grateful for the care I received while I was incarcerated.  This is not some luxury, it is a constitutional right to medical care, and it is needed now.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Abramsky, Sasha, and Jamie Fellner. “Ill-Equipped U.S. Prisons and Offenders with Mental Illness.” Human Rights Watch, Open Society Institute, 21 Oct. 2003, www.hrw.org/report/2003/10/21/ill-equipped/us-prisons-and-offenders-mental-illness#912713.

Al-Rousan, Tala, et al. “Inside the Nation’s Largest Mental Health Institution: a Prevalence Study in a State Prison System.” BioMed Central, BMC Public Health, 20 Apr. 2017, bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-017-4257-0.

 

Bradbery, Angela, and Delaney Goodwin. “National Survey Shows County Jails Unequipped, Overwhelmed With Seriously Mentally Ill Inmates.” Public Citizen News [Washington, DC] 1 Oct. 2016, Vol. 36, No. 5: 1+. Print.

Fellner, Jamie. “Callous and Cruel Use of Force against Inmates with Mental Disabilities in US Jails and Prisons.” Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch, 12 May 2015, www.hrw.org/report/2015/05/12/callous-and-cruel/use-force-against-inmates-mental-disabilities-us-jails-and.

Fries, Brant E., et al. “Symptoms and Treatment of Mental Illness among Prisoners: A Study of Michigan State Prisons.” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, vol. 36, no. 3-4, Jan. 2013, pp. 316–325. Science Direct, doi:https://doi.org.ezproxy.palomar.edu/10.1016/j.ijlp.2013.04.008.

Press, Eyal. “Madness.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 2 May 2016, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/05/02/the-torturing-of-mentally-ill-prisoners.

Prins, Seth J. “Prevalence of Mental Illnesses in U.S. State Prisons: A Systematic Review .” Psychiatry Online, National Institute of Mental Health, 1 July 2014, ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ps.201300166.

 

 

The Sympathetic Monster

Carly Janine

English 203

Professor Craig Thompson

9/19/2017

 

Victor Frankenstein’s monster is an abandoned child, shunned by his father and creator, and left to his own devices to raise himself in the harsh, mountainous landscape. Had the monster been shown love and acceptance, instead of shunned by his creator, all his murderous tendencies could have been avoided. It is through this glass, viewing the monster as childlike, that brings forth sympathy. All of the monster’s rage can be traced back to a lack of love and understanding, and his petty revenges upon Victor as a sign of his love, unrequited, turned to hatred. There are many moments along the monster’s tumultuous journey that show how truly childlike he is. When the monster sees his reflection in the water and realizes he is ugly, he becomes sad, which is such a relatable and uniquely human experience. His only true guidance comes from Mother Nature, and when the landscape is rough and weather cruel, he mirrors those things and becomes filled with rage and destructive tendencies himself. At every turn, when the monster seeks to express his humanity and connect with others, he is thwarted and instead receives pain. This negative reinforcement haunts him throughout the book, until at the end, he unloads all of his pent-up anguish upon the captain and vows to end his own life. In this way, he is yet more honorable than his creator, who unleashed this monster upon the world, uneducated and unloved.

When the monster is first imbued with life, he opens his eyes and Victor immediately recoils, irresponsibly leaving the room. Where once Victor had been obsessed with creating life, when he saw what he had wrought, he was disgusted. “I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” (Shelley, 36) Victor recognized that his own obsession is what has led to this disaster. However, instead of dealing with the monster in a direct way, Victor goes home to bed. Later, his monster comes to him through the window, and even attempts to smile at his creator, but Victor once again flees. Rejected, the monster retreats to the mountainside to try and survive.

Frankenstein’s monster is most at home in nature. When the weather is calm and mild, it restores him and he seems to move closer to being at peace. “Spring advanced rapidly; the weather became fine, and the skies cloudless…My senses were gratified and refreshed by a thousand scents of delight, and a thousand sights of beauty.” (Shelley, 80) This appreciation of nature surfaces again and again and often acts as a mood reflection of the monster. As this particular Spring approached, however, the monster found himself drawn to humans once again. As the Winter thawed, he found himself falling in love with a family.

The monster observes and learns from the family of De Lacy, who were living in the cottage in the forest, through a hole in the wall of their home.  He taught himself language and how to read as he became more involved at the cottage, hiding through the following seasons on their property and reading their copy of Paradise Lost. During his research at the cottage on humans, the monster began to develop rudimentary concepts of good and evil, Heaven and Hell, and wondered what is his place in the world. He wanted so badly to make a good impression, and took months to work up the courage to approach the old blind man when he was home alone. De Lacy is the first person to treat the monster as a decent human being, his blindness did not allow him to see the hideousness of the monster, so he was unafraid of him. Suddenly, Felix, Agatha, and Safie return to the cottage. Upon seeing the monster, Agatha fainted and Safie fled the cottage. Meanwhile, “Felix darted forward… dashed me to the ground, and struck me violently with a stick.” (Shelley, 94) The monster, so hurt and angry by his rejection by De Lacy’s family, that although he leaves them unharmed, the next night he burns the cottage to the ground. The monster never sees the family again. Every time Frankenstein’s monster seeks out contact with humans, things go awry. The monster simply cannot control his emotions and lacks the emotional guidance and maturity to tell right from wrong, and the innate fear he is regarded with by humans makes him angry, sad, and confused.

When he is traveling near a river, he stumbles across a girl who had fallen in and is drowning. Although it is difficult, the monster fights the current and rescues her and brings her to shore. As he is attempting to revive the young girl, her companion arrives and forcibly removes her from his arms before departing. As the monster follows, the man shoots him. This is a big turning point for the monster, as it causes him to lose the faith and hope he had left in humanity. The monster says, “This then, was the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and, as a recompence, I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound, which shattered the flesh and bone. The feelings of kindness and gentleness, which I had entertained but a few moments before, gave place to a hellish rage and gnashing of teeth. Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind.” (Shelley, 99)

Inherently, the monster’s actions are driven towards wanting love and acceptance. When the monster is overcome with emotion, usually anger, it is pure and uncontrolled. Without the emotional tools necessary to process anger, the monster is left with a blinding rage against those who hurt or rejected him. This erupts into many acts of violence throughout the course of the book, during which the monster does not fully comprehend the consequences of his actions, much like a toddler. All he sees is getting revenge on Victor, not the pain, manipulation, and havoc he himself has caused.  For example, the first person the monster murdered was William, Victor’s little brother. William calls the monster ugly, and upon giving him the name Frankenstein, the monster responds by murdering him due to Victor’s indifference. Having become jaded and crafty, the monster took the locket from William’s neck and hid it on the servant, Justine. She is accused and convicted of William’s murder, and Victor, in his cowardice, says and does nothing to exonerate her.

Facing cold abandonment and rejection on all fronts, the monster becomes obsessed with convincing his creator to make a female companion monster for him. To this end, the monster stalks Victor, following him around the world as he travels, and beseeching him to create this companion. After following Victor for some time, he is at last swayed to create a female monster. Things seemed hopeful for him, but Victor dawdled creating the she-monster. At last, when she was nearing completion, the monster comes to check on Victor and his progress only to find that Victor will not bring her to life. Victor tears up the she-monster in front of the monster, who was so eager for companionship. Now believing he will be alone forever, the monster’s hatred for Victor grows, and he vows to see Victor on his wedding night.

Incensed by the destruction of the she-monster, the monster rebels by murdering the people Victor cares for.  Henry, Victor’s best friend and guiding light, is next to die. Elizabeth is murdered on their wedding night. Her death brings about such a sadness in Victor’s father that he, too, passes away. At last, Victor is as alone as his creation and vows to destroy his monster.  As Victor and the monster become locked into their eternal hunt for revenge, both are reduced to merely surviving. Driven by hatred, they torment each other until Victor becomes ill and dies on that woebegone ship in the Arctic. At this point, the monster engages in a monologue in which he professes his regret for the murders and for driving his creator to his death. He accepts that this hatred that has been turned towards his creator throughout the book is truly self-hatred, and upon that realization, the monster can bear his own pain no longer. He vows to sail off and create a funeral pyre and die. The monster has shown growth and acceptance for his actions, and once faced with the true horror of what he had wrought, along with the anticlimactic destruction of his creator and nemesis, opted to die. By sparing the world his pain, destruction and rage, he shows again that he is more compassionate, responsible, and more honorable than Victor as well. Frankenstein’s monster led a sad, lonely life. Every creature he opened his heart to betrayed him.   Any child raised in such an environment and faced with the same circumstances, would have an equally hard time adjusting. Without guidance, emotional maturity, friends, or even companionship, the monster never stood a chance of maintaining his connection to humanity.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and J. Paul Hunter. Frankenstein: the 1818 Text, Contexts, Criticism. W.W. Norton & Co., 2012.