Win Martin Post 2: Ridding life of its Addictions

The novel Nightwood is a series of conversations and stories wrought with turmoil and interpersonal struggles between and within characters. The character at the core of all this hardship and strife is Robin Vote. Though not much is known about Robin’s background, she has a constant habit of hurting the people who love her and emotionally abusing them in a way that is similar to the behavior of a long-term addict. Each relationship she’s in is plagued by her constant wandering, drinking, and adultering. Nora Flood is portrayed in the book as the person who loves Robin more than anyone, and it is she who is the most troubled by Robin’s behavior. However, her love for Robin will only cause her pain because Robin is too addicted to her destructive lifestyle to give anything to Nora. Thus, it is only in letting Robin and her addiction go that Nora will be free from the evil that has so deeply tormented her soul.

Robin is highly addicted to her destructive lifestyle of constantly spending nights out at bars. Her behavior is similar to a character in the short film called Hollow. In this film, a husband and wife are recovering heroin abusers who have recently found out that the wife is pregnant (Sorrenti, 2010). While they seem to be going well for a while, Mark, the husband, ends up going out for a few beers one night and relapses into his heroin addiction after first getting drunk (Sorrenti, 2010). Mark has a steady job and a wife who loves and supports him in his recovery even as she recovers as well. Yet in all of this stability, Mark still is unable to resist the alluring call of heroin and falls back into his destructive pattern, resulting in him being kicked out of the apartment. For Mark, Alice’s voice of him being a father and finding happiness in their love was overcome by heroin’s voice of simply getting high.

In Nightwood, Nora says, “There’s something evil in me that loves evil and degradation–purity’s black backside! That loves honesty with a horrid love; or why have I always gone seeking it at the liar’s door?” (144). She and Alice are deeply drawn to people who have attached themselves to destructive patterns of substance abuse. Nora is filled with self-loathing because of her desire for this dark evil in Robin, and Alice struggles with her own addiction because she is unsure whether or not the man she has married will be able to support her and her child. Both women are suffering because of the person they love, however the difference in these two women is that Alice ends up finally making the decision to rid her life of the person that has brought so much pain. Though Nora “[will] never love anyone again, as [she loves] Robin,” (145), her only hope of liberation comes from purging her life of the addiction that has plagued it. An addiction that can only be rid of when one is rid of its owner.

Sorrenti, Rob, director. Hollow – Short Film. Vimeo, Rob Sorrenti, 12 Oct. 2010,

Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood. Harcourt, Brace, & Co., 1937.

Still Reflection 2: Chappelle’s Netflix Special


Dave Chappelle’s two part Netflix special, Equanimity and The Bird Revelation, does not shy away from discussing some of today’s, as well as the past’s, most controversial issues. His viewpoints are not always agreed with, which is evident is the audience’s reactions. Trans-issues and their perception in today’s society, alternative opinions on the “Me Too” movement, and race and gender inequalities rooted in our culture were included. The methods in which he presented his jokes and sketches were very meticulous, so much so, in fact, that he influenced the manner in which the viewers felt toward topics and himself.

Current issues regarding transgenders and trans-rights are thought of as a “sensitive topic” for some, which may contribute to its inclusion in the special. Stemming from an antidote about a fan letter, Chappelle discusses an account he had with a transgender. The words he uses while telling the story, as well as his body language, initially portrayed a somewhat disapproving mindset. He elaborates about a “wild night” he had while out at clubs in which he unknowingly danced, and eventually had relationships, with a trans woman. Not taking her sensitivity seriously, he played off her reason for not being upfront regarding her sexuality as unjust and unthought of. This demonstrates an internal theme that is present in our culture today, which is the overall uneasiness and expectation of being told, as if it is someone’s right to know about another’s personal choices. Her response of not wanting to ruin the night because she was having “such a good time” seemed to not justify her actions for him. Transitioning to a more well famous example to further his bit, he discusses Caitlyn Jenner and a rumor he had heard about her nude modeling. His reaction after introducing the rumor was one word: “Yuck!.” Chappelle jokes about how he “isn’t strong enough NOT to look at the pictures”, which can be taken several ways. Possibly revealing uncertainties about his own sexuality, or labeling the photos as being so taboo that he must look among other reasons. This undermines the strides taken toward equal treatment and inclusion of the trans community, hurting many organizations such as The Human Rights Campaign, whose goal is equal treatment for those in the LBGTQ community. Many trans people are facing ridicule and exclusion solely because it is seen as “different” and “strange” by some. Chappelle’s remarks about Jenner’s body undercuts the actions taken by trans supporters to enforce the idea that their bodies are just as important and beautiful as a normal woman’s  or man’s. The HRC has several articles discussing the importance of the way in which transgenders are viewed. These equal rights activists state,

Contrasting transgender people with “real” or “biological” men and women is a  false comparison. They are real men and women, and doing so contributes to the inaccurate perception that transgender people are being deceptive when, in fact, they are being authentic and courageous.”

This specific article continues on by explaining the importance of the overall comprehension of what it means to be trans as well as the integration of the trans community into everyday society. Chappelle continues his performance with some support of the trans community, saying they are very “strong” and that he has nothing against them (which for some members, may not be believable).

His second episode, The Bird Revelation, is a much more personal and intimate encounter with him. The tight, low-lit setting creates a more somber and serious feeling, foreshadowing the nature of discussion. Beginning with a tongue-and-cheek joke about how our society is going off the rails, he backs up this claim with the rise in debate regarding the “Me Too” movement. Chappelle talks about his comic acquaintance, Louis C.K., and his tie to the movement. Emphasizing that he was oblivious to the accusations before they came out, he moved his stance in favor of C.K. Repeatedly stating that he was a supporter of women’s rights and that they should report sexual abuse demonstrates to the audience that he doesn’t side with the abusers. However, the comedian changes the dynamic of the “conversation” with the audience and somewhat criticizes the course of action the victims took. ‘If you are uncomfortable you should leave’ seemed to be the main point he was making which translates to women should be able to express their feelings and show opposition to their assailant. Disapproval of some members of the audience became evident at this time, as this is a common mentality for those who have not been directly affected by sexual assault or cannot empathize with the stress of the situation. Trying to strengthen his argument, Chappelle also incorporates another common skeptical ideology in our society; due to the vast amount of accusations in such a short amount of time, surely some of them must be false claims. Both of these diminish the support and strength of this movement, hindering its overall goal of creating a safe and enriching environment for women. In a recent article in USA Today, these mentalities are brought up. The movement is relatively unstable due to the skepticism by some, according to the article, and this skepticism transcends through our society working in opposition to the movement. In an effort to show indifference and avoid bias, the article incorporates facts from both sides of the argument. Regarding the faux claims of sexual abuse, the piece states,

“False reports of sexual assault are rare —  2% to 7%, according to studies cited by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center — but, as Weiss pointed out, they are remembered.”

Such small percentages shift in favor of the movement, but, as the article continues to describe, one false claim undermines the credibility of others (in the minds of some in our society). Overall, the “Me Too” movement, as discussed in Chappelle special, relates to those in the audience who also share some skepticism of the validity of the accusations.

The two part Netflix special by Dave Chappelle was much more of an elaborate performance than I had initially thought, which topics of discussion had great relevance to current societal views. His controversial nature, in addition to playing both sides of most arguments, was used in his favor to increase the intrigue of his special. However, not only did his routine undermine several current issues of equality, including the “Me Too” movement and trans rights, Chappelle also demonstrated many ingrained discriminating ideologies in our culture which hinder our societies path to one of equality and comradery.

Nightwood Love and Youth

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes is a contemplative piece that transports the readers into their own world, where vices roam and debauchery is welcomed. From the struggles of maintaining a strong family tree to the rejected transformation process for members of the LGBTQ+ community, Paris in the 1920’s is shown through the vantage point of multiple characters. The chapters change as the story is flipped on its own end through the alteration in viewpoint, making the entire novel feel as confusing as the characters themselves.

When approaching this story for the purpose of this assignment, it became apparent of the many angles that could be taken. The most striking of plot values, that continued to show itself in deeper analysis, was quite obviously the love triangle between three characters: Robin, Nora, and Jenny. The vagabond nature of Robin throughout the story perpetuates a simultaneous juxtaposition and co-mingling of love and hate. After it has become apparent that Robin has fallen in love with, and left with Jenny, the reader is welcomed into a conversation between Dr. Matthew and a heartbroken Nora.

The long monologues by Matthew to Nora are only interrupted when Nora’s arguably whiney voice describes her emotions about the situation. During one part of the interaction, Nora and Matthew say:


“Matthew,’ she said, ‘have you ever loved someone and it became yourself?’

For a moment he did not answer. Taking up the decanter he held it to the light.

‘Robin can go anywhere, do anything,’ Nora continued, ‘because she forgets, and I nowhere because I remember.’  She came toward him.  ‘Matthew,’ she said, ‘you think I have always been like this.  Once I was remorseless, but this is another love — it goes everywhere; there is no place for it to stop — it rots me away.”


Upon reading this, I was immediately reminded of a song that I had listened to far too frequently:


“And if you’re in love, then you are the lucky one

‘Cause most of us are bitter over someone

Setting fire to our insides for fun

To distract our hearts from ever missing them

But I’m forever missing him”


Youth by Daughter is a slow and emotional indie song about heartbreak, and the direct result it can feel like it is having on one’s body. The metaphorical lines in the song tell the story of a woman, post-breakup, who is unable to find a hope for the future. Life had suddenly become only but a beginning and an end, and everything in between had lost meaning without that person. Losing them was losing everything, and every breath and thought without them has become destructive.

Nora’s “rotting” description to Matthew is just that: destructive. Under the absence of Robin, and subsequently their love, Nora has lost meaning for everything including her life. The loss is so heavy that she feels as if her life is falling apart – literally, as she “rots” from the inside out.

Djuna depicts a type of a love that falls apart, where only one side of the couple is deeply affected. This component supports the notion that this novel is compiled of a sort of non-story, in the sense that it lacks a normal pattern. Nora is left heartbroken and helpless, while Robin appears to be happy with Jenny. It becomes obvious, however, that Robin is truly never happy and Jenny is wholly aware of this, leaving this love triangle lacking any deep connection.

This non-story novel is an unconventional tale about unconventional love, that leaves every reader with a different perspective, mimicked by the different character vantage points throughout. The story does not entirely make sense, but at the same time, makes so much sense to very different people. In the same, the song connects to people through various heartbreaks, while also pulling in questions of youth and adolescence, and the impact of society. They both struggle with finding a strong meaning but somehow achieve it at the same time.

Table for 3: Should White People Apologize?

This podcast by Aidee, Emily, and Eliza debates whether an apology promotes or hinders equality within America. Past narratives and modern examples are used to understand the controversial issues that exist between different races. Will an apology from the white population guarantee success in the United States?


Comparing and Contrasting Dave Chapelle’s Netflix Specials with HBO’s 2 Dope Queens

BBE Literary Podcasts (Brendan K., Billy M., and Eric X.) evaluate the similarities and differences underlying the comedic styles and presentation of Dave Chapelle’s 2017 Netflix specials (Equanimity and The Bird Revelation) and the first episode of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens.

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