ASA Student Gallery

Here are some creative samples of our English Comp 1 students’ writing. Please take a moment to comment–all writers enjoy feedback!

The first is a poem by Yolanda Core. One Sunday, somewhat spontaneously, our 9 a.m. class trekked uptown to the MET where the assignment was to walk through the galleries until an artwork reached out, pulled you in– then simply to listen.

Given the poem’s unique structure, the reader can feel this woman’s isolation, perhaps hear the wind outside the cottage, and sense the hope of a guest arriving to share this meal.

 

 

 

PEASANT WOMAN COOKING BY A FIREPLACE

As I sit on my stool,                                                                                          Thoughtless nights far from sight,                                                                                  As the days go by I try to survive,                                                                                  And no one around to talk to at night,                                                                    While making a fire close to midnight,                                                                          Cooking my meal in this gleaming night,                                                                  Cooking my meal to share this night,                                                                          thinking of someone soon to pass by,                                                                              But I’m still alone wondering why,                                                                              Still lonely and weary I will survive,                                                                                I know someday this night will end,                                                                            And I will no longer be depressed,                                                                                So as I continue to breathe  this air,                                                                              I will not fall, I will not break,                                                                                        It will be another day I sit in my shed,                                                                            a peaceful mind day by day,                                                                                      trying to survive so it will never end,                                                                        Back on my stool I sit again.

 

In the following literary analysis of “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Alan Poe, Anna Hajdo, draws some disturbing connections to own dark times. Looking at the drama of international politics, she compares the cunning of Montressor to Putin, and guess who plays the hapless Fortunato…

Keep your friends close and enemies closer. This powerful philosophy is a great tool to trick others, especially when held by a determined individual. Deception is a smart, yet unfair way to gain various advantages in life, such as money, power or revenge. The world of politics, great finances and marketing is based on playing, tricking others. Daily news and headlines bring various examples of the top public figures and institutions being deceived all the time. That brings to mind “The Cast of Amontillado”, a memorable story of two people, who seemingly were friends, but turned out to be the worst enemies. Following the news on a daily basis, I am truly concerned that this is also the case on the international political scene nowadays. The world leaders use the language of flattery to manipulate one another and poison each other’s minds. A perfect example of such would be the relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Sadly, the latter seems to be more cunning. Thus, the current American president resembles Fortunato and the Russian leader brings to mind Montresor.

The analogy between the two mentioned politicians and the characters of “The Cask of Amontillado” can be found at the very beginning, in their background. While Fortunato is a member of a rich and well-respected family with traditions, Montresor suffers financial difficulties and humiliation. Likewise, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin come from very distinctive environments. The former is a privileged man from a rich family, which helped him start his career as a wealthy businessman. Like Fortunato, he was raised in comfort and safety, which made him not realize many difficulties that ordinary people face. Everything was handled to him. Thus, he might very often not be aware of how desperate and determined people can be. On the other hand, Vladimir Putin was born to an ordinary family and raised in rough conditions of the Soviet Union. He had to fight his way to the top. He knows the costs of being in power and he will do everything to maintain it. Not only that, he wants to lead his country to becoming an empire again and it seems like nothing can stop him. Despite its enormous size and undeniable influence on the international political scene, Russia still faces poverty and hardships that are unfamiliar to the people of the United States. Likewise, Montresor’s family lost the greatness it once had, which hurt his ego so badly that he would do everything to defend his honor. Human’s desperation is a much greater power than money.

The resemblance between the country leaders and Poe’s characters goes further and it reveals itself in their personalities. Both sets of characters contain a loud, arrogant extravert and a silent, patient introvert with a hidden agenda. We meet Fortunato during a carnival celebration, when he is wearing a motley and drinks quite amounts of wine. He is enjoying his time, dancing to lively, loud music among people he considers his friends, unaware. Likewise, we meet Donald Trump as a politician during the election campaign, which can be easily compared to the carnival season. He is also wearing a costume, his oversized suit crowned with the red, power tie. He is a showman, who loves to appear in the media and to be praised by mobs. He is arrogant and self-confident, yet seems to be blinded by his self-love and drunk on flatter. On the other end of the spectrum, there is Vladimir Putin, a silent, lurking bear of the East. He carefully weighs his words whenever he speaks in public and he does not seem to be appealed by the media at all. He is discrete and focused. That brings to mind Montresor, who stays in the shadow and silently follows his mysterious agenda. Likewise, he does not wear a costume and stays serious despite his smile. Like Sun Tzu once wrote in “The Art of War”: “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

Finally, the most terrifying resemblance of the Trump-Putin relations to the ones from “The Cask of Amontillado” is the plot of events. The hidden agenda to compromise the opponent seems to be the underlying theme of both stories. Like Montresor used the rare wine to lure Fortunato into a trap, Putin does the same by using Trump’s biggest weakness, his hunger for flatter. Finding someone’s desire is the best way to manipulate the person. Montresor knew it well. “He had a weak point- this Fortunato- […] He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine”, he said. Likewise, Vladimir Putin seems to pour Donald Trump the wine he loves the most and the latter seems to be dizzy already. “He is a very colorful person, talented, without any doubt.” he said about Trump. The American president seems to be very pleased with all the compliments he receives from the Eastern leader. One of his public statements about Putin proves it perfectly: “I think he said some really nice things. He called me a genius.” Putin seems to know how to manipulate Trump to make him happy as a child, but I am not so sure if the opposite situation would be the case as well.

The analogy of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to Poe’s characters is symbolic, yet seems very accurate. One man seems to have a leverage over the other by knowing what his wine is. That kind of knowledge can be deadly, like the events of “The Cask of Amontillado” show. People in power especially should be aware of it as the consequences of their actions may affect millions of others. Putin lures Trump with flatter and promises of a fruitful cooperation. At this point Donald Trump has already entered the catacombs and tried some wine. How far he will follow Putin in the tangle of the dark corridors, we will see. Let’s hope the end of this story is less bleak than the one of “The Cask of Amontillado”.

The following is work of flash fiction by Luz Ramos that conveys a contemporary tale of entrapment and self-realization– all in about 400 words. Well-done, Luz.

It was a beautiful Saturday in May.  The birds were chirping.  She could smell the flowers blooming.  Here she was, standing in front of the church with her son, waiting for her husband to park.  It was her son’s big day, he was getting baptized.  Her husband finally arrived in his suit, handsome as always.  They went inside with the rest of the family.  The ceremony was beautiful and her son look so cute in his white suit.  They proceeded to the usual shin-ding, a reason for free food and drinks.  She was her usual self, serving and making everyone have a great time.  She look around while everyone was eating and drinking, different conversations, carrying on, which she wasn’t part of.  She didn’t fit in.  This wasn’t her home.  She felt like the maid but in a beautiful dress.  And there it was! She heard her voice, from across the room, her sarcastic laughter.  Her son’s grandmother.  Her mother-in-law.  God’s gift to earth, better said, God’s cruel joke to her.  Sweetie!, can you bring us more drinks?  She was  so oblivious.  God! Did she not know she was the daughter-in-law, her grandson’s mother.  Not the damn maid!  She was something else.  With her usual smile she approached her, of course, Margie, anything else? No darling, that will be all for now.  Under her breath she mumbled, you should be more sociable, darling.  That darling! was like a knife to her stomach.  What more did she want, with anger inside her, she smiled and apologized.  I’ll get those drinks. She walked away.  She went to her room to freshen-up.  She had her son in her arms.  As she looked in the mirror her son said, mommy are you ok?  Yes, sweetheart. She gave him a kiss.  He was her only reason.  She had a plan and she was going to see it through.  She looked around one last time with a smile, knowing, there was nothing there she would miss.  She joined the party again.  She saw her brother across the room, one look, he knew it was time.  She spotted her husband and approached him. Excuse me. sweetheart, can I have a word with you?  He smiled at her, in a sarcastic way.  She looked into his eyes and told him, we’re leaving.  I don’t want any problems or a scene, my brother has our bags and he’s taking us to the airport.  I’ll call you. 

28 comments

  • Linaber Garcia

    Yolanda Core’s poem is so well written. I love the way it was structured. Yolanda was able to capture the feeling of the image loneliness and eerie feeling. Even though it is a bit depressing there is still hope for a better tomorrow. This is shown when she writes “I know someday this night will end, and I will no longer be depressed. So as I continue to breathe this air, I will not fall, I will not break”.

  • emerwin77

    Yes, I also felt that the contrast between the dark and lonely night, with this woman’s hope elevates the poem. Yolanda has a gift for empathy, and she is able to evoke the feeling for the reader as well!

  • Sibel Sezen

    The story finished unexpectedly, i liked this Illusion story… Thanks.

    • emerwin77

      Yes, Luz’s story ends unexpectedly. As a woman, I can relate to her character’s feeling of entrapment and the need to free herself.

  • dje kadjo soh julie hermine n'da

    Yolanda ‘ poem is really very inspired and well structured.We have the impression that she is suffering the same pain as if it were directly affecting her.We can see her courage, her dedication, her will to continue fighting until the end.Yolanda shows us that this suffering will end one day. There is hope, there is a reason to continue. Yolanda really knew how to appropriate this art to put emotions in it, according to me it is to congratulate and encourage.

    • emerwin77

      Yes, I agree, the poem expresses a universal pain–perhaps in times of isolation we have all felt it, and had the courage and faith to believe that beyond the moment, beyond the night, our isloation will end.
      It brings to mind a passage by a mystic, St John of the cross.
      SONG OF THE SOUL THAT REJOICES IN KNOWING GOD THROUGH FAITH

      For I know well the spring that flows and runs,
      although it is night.;

      I

      That eternal spring is hidden,
      for I know well where it has its
      rise,
      although it is night.

      II

      I do not know its origin, nor has it one,
      but I know that every origin has come from it,
      although it is night.

      III

      I know that nothing else is so beautiful,
      and that the heavens and the earth drink there,
      although it is night.

      IV

      I know well that it is bottomless
      and no one is able to cross it,
      although it is night.

      V

      Its clarity is never darkened,
      and I know that every light has
      come from it,
      although it is night.

      VI

      I know that its streams are so brimming
      they water the lands of hell, the heavens, and earth,
      although it is night.

      VII

      I know well the stream that flows from this spring
      is mighty in compass and power,
      although it is night.

      VIII

      I know the stream proceeding from these two,
      that neither of them in fact precedes it,
      although it is night.

      IX

      This eternal spring is hidden
      in this living bread for our life’s sake,
      although it is night.

      X

      It is here calling out to creatures;
      and they satisfy their thirst, although in darkness,
      because it is night.

      XI

      This living spring that I long for,
      I see in this bread of life,
      although it is night.

  • Michael Inocencio

    Very well written. The writer has a great sensibility to structure and describe the events. The story is kinda sad/depressing, but does not lose hope

    • emerwin77

      Yes, I agree–although the poem is as you say kind of depressing– the poet, the woman in the painting do not despair; hope in the end wins…

  • Moofon Blandine Bambara

    All the works are great!Therefore, the Flash fictions work of Luz touched me a lot! I always ask myself why a relationship mother-in-law and daughter-in-law has to be complex or worst “a hell”?Why especially the mother has to see her daughter-in-law as a rival, a maid etc… . The morale is that when one feels like he/she is suffering, he/she must escape from this situation and look for his/her happiness! Also, like the daughter, it is good to always stay polite and smile in every situation because you know what you’re worth!

    • emerwin77

      Yes, Moofon, I agree with both you and Luz; “when one feels like he/she is suffering… esacpe”! It’s been a pleasure working with you this semester, and I wish you ongoing success in your studies!

  • Yolanda core

    As I took my poem home I sat there staring at the picture,it was amazing what I felt while I started writing,it’s as if I was that woman in the picture,I felt lonely,it amazes me on how I can put myself in an image that grabs my attention, I can feel the sensibility of each art work and this isn’t my first. My mind goes far beyond my imagination like I can relate to each poem that I write. I also thank my English Professor for giving me the opportunity to open up mentally.

    • emerwin77

      As you can see from the comments, you reached your audience– feel free to comment on their comments. I’d also be interested to hear your response to Luz’s work of flash fiction!

  • Estefanie Baez

    In the poem you can see a lot of sensibility and pain, however Yolanda is. A good writer, you can feel the darkness in the poem with the sadness.

  • Iljana Dielli

    Yolanda’s poem is like going on a path through her sadness, but by the end of the path it leads you to a beautiful way for you to restore hope on your mind that everything will find its way. I like the structure of the poem as it makes it have a really nice flow and it keeps your attention. I like the words that she chose as they make me feel her depression in a kind of way but she ends it with words that give you courage.

  • Faith Quinones

    Yolanda’s poem was beautifully written, I really enjoy the way she captured such a dark and lonely night.

  • meliza Marrero

    The poem from Yolanda Core has a dark style when I read it. I like that mood that it gives, the mood of loneliness and loss. I like this poem from Yolanda Core.

  • David Carrasco

    The poem from Yolanda Core has dark style in her writing. And the mood of the poem is so uneasy. Which it makes me the reader, read more. This poem males me feel confused because one part of the poem she talks about someone that die, but I don’t know who. And that keeps me reading more.

  • Tiffany bougouma

    I really like this comparison of “the cask of amontillado” and Donadl Trump and Putin …that was so true and powerful..I like this term”be close to your friend and closer to your enemy” That’s the reality of our world and I use that in my life, and it Works ..

  • Meliza Marrero

    The poem from Yolanda Core has a dark style when I read it. I like that mood that it gives, the mood of loneliness and lose. Very well written.

  • David Carrasco

    The poem structure from Yolanda Core is dark and depressing. While I was reading this poem, I had dark, sad emotional feeling. Yolanda writen style is unique and she ia my second favorite poem composer, Edgar Allan Poe is my favorite one.

  • Yuling Fang

    I like Yolanda Core’s poem, it remains me of my mother who still lives alone in my hometown. She is always full of physical strength, but is too sensitive. I can’t imagine that she would be like the character in the poem, where living alone. The days is colder and the nights more solitary. I miss my mother as well.

    • emerwin77

      Yes, I also get the sense that this strong, hardworking woman once had children. She expresses the solitude of women who have worked their whole lives for their kids, then come to face this phase of life on their won…

  • Zhenfang Liu

    All of the three works are excellent, but I am attracted by Yolanda Core ‘s poem. For the poem, I had to marvel at Yolanda Core because she could feel the loneliness of the woman from a painting. I know that isolation is desperate, the woman did the meal, but she only could share with this night, wind, or air.When there is only yourself left in the world, and no one can share your happiness and sorrow even though a meal. Just as the author wrote,”I know someday this night will end.” The loneliness will end until you are no longer in the world, which shows that how depressed and isolation the woman was. A short poem contains profound content and that is the reason why I like it.

  • Yolanda core

    I thank each and everyone that has read my poem and left beautiful remarks, im so emotionally happy that I was able to capture so many viewers the same way the picture captured my attention, I never thought I would get any feedback from anyone and by this I will definitely continue to write more poems,those special poems that I can go far beyond and feel the attraction that pulls me into them. ❤️

  • It is a nice comparison between Trump and Putin, Since the beginning of trump era, i felt america was in danger. Because Putin is smart and he wont let go any opportuny that can benefit him and his country. Thank God America has a good politic structure.
    Nice Job!

  • Tadapong Suwanrat

    Yolanda Core’s poem is a little dark, but it does seem to offer hope for the future. It seems like it could be a poem about her endless misery ending with her death. Or maybe it is a story of a hoped for better future. I think it can be seen both ways. But either way, it is a great poem.

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