Disabilities are restrictive and limiting. Entire elements of events can be missed depending on the impairment that is reality. In Ambrose Bierce’s Chicamagua, a little boy’s entire life is completely altered and he has no clue that any of it is going on until he stumbles upon his mother. Bierce does a fantastic job of portraying the boy as just a normal child, out playing by the river and interacting with animals.

When the boy sees the men, he hurries to the front of their weak and struggling pack to be their strong leader. Because of his age, he is naïve to the true nature of what is happening. Bierce managed to avoid identifying any impairment until the very end. The entire time, the child seems to be nothing more than a little boy who is enjoying “playing war” and leading his men. He laughs at them struggling along and compares their faces, covered in blood, to the clowns that he saw at the circus. He is missing a large part of the context that is going on. Perhaps his cluelessness would’ve been lessened if he had been able to hear the events that had occurred during his nap, but due to his deafness, there was no opportunity for this supplemental information.

The acknowledgement of his disability brought to light the reality of the situation. If he had the ability to hear, he would have heard the gunshots that had occurred right by him and, because he is a little boy, gone home to his mother. This might have led to him communicating to her what was occurring nearby and led to a decision to leave the area for safety purposes. Unfortunately, the reality of the war was unbeknownst to the boy, and thus he had no idea that there were any guns being fired. The discovery of his mother was completely unexpected – he was wandering toward the fire excitedly because it fascinated him. It seemed throughout the story that his major impairment was simply that he was a child and unaware of the harsh realities of the war, but the reveal of his physical impairment brought to light the true reason behind his naïve nature.

The outcome of his mother’s story causes me to wonder if he was in fact able to hear, if she might have survived. With that being considered, did his deafness and his disability evidently have the ultimate negative impact on those who loved him?

Born This Way

Lady Gaga, a pop artist who became popular in the 2000s, is a huge advocate for the LGBTQ community and shows this in many of her songs. One of her most prominent songs that is in support of people who identify as an LGBTQ is Born This Way, which was published in 2011. Despite belief that much more notable and significant progress was made in more recent years, 2011 was in fact a huge year for the Gay Rights Movement. Gays, lesbians and bisexuals were permitted to serve openly in the military and states such as New York decided to allow same-sex marriage. While these are smaller stepping stones in comparison to the Supreme Court decision of June 26, 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, it was the smaller victories and continued advocacy by cultural icons such as Lady Gaga that kept the issue at the forefront of the political agenda.

“Born This Way” depicts the feelings that many people who identify as a member of the LGBTQ community experience on a daily basis. Gaga starts the song off by saying “It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M”. Throughout the rest of the song, she refers to God, saying that He “makes no mistakes”. As there has been a huge shift in political views, religious views too have experienced a slight transition toward more liberal ideologies. In recent years, especially since the 2015 decision, far more members of the church have expressed their same-gendered sexualities, citing ideas in line with those in “Born This Way”. They point to the belief that were made by God and He does not make mistakes. Therefore, they were born loving people of the same sex and that is simply the plans that were laid out for them.

Shame is a frequent feeling experienced by people who are a part of the LGBTQ community. For years these people were told to box off their feelings and ignore them simply because they weren’t “right”. In her song, Gaga encourages people who struggle with their sexuality to “not hide in regret, but rather love themselves and they’ll be set”. In 2011 when she produced this song, most people who identified as LGBTQ were not comfortable with the idea of not hiding. Lady Gaga, however, felt that people should be free to be themselves, and she advocated for that in whatever way she could.

Further, one line of the song says “no matter black, white, or beige, Chola or orient made, I’m on the right track”. Gaga used this song as an opportunity to address challenges that are faced by a wide variety of people. Not only do people in the LGBTQ community frequently struggle with feeling like they were a mistake, but also people of different ethnicities have long had difficulties with prejudice. Born This Way acts a reminder that, no matter where you came from or who you love or what you believe in, you were made that way and it is a part of each person’s character that makes them unique and worthy of loving them self.

Nightwood and Ordinary Men

Ordinary Men, by Christopher Browning, tells the story of middle-aged men from Germany who carried out the genocide during the Holocaust. Despite their seemingly cold and careless hearts, most of the men were not in favor their situation, but rather greatly disturbed by it. Some even asked to be relieved from their posts at times because they could not bear to continue on with their gruesome tasks. One of the only positive aspects of their roles was that the Germans did not have to worry about their families, for they were the ones behind the guns. Unfortunately, many Jewish families of the time faced the disheartening realization that their lineages would not likely survive the Holocaust.

The feeling of helplessness for all future generations is something that no man wants to fathom as the outcome of his own lineage. This is seen in Nightwood when Felix is concerned about the end of his family line once him and Guido die. “When the Tree Falls”, one of the chapters of Nightwood, is centered around Felix’s conversation with the Doctor. It is obvious that Felix is worried that his name will not be carried on to any future generations if Guido’s illness worsens. The chapter title can be related to the concept that “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it really make a sound?”. In class, the title was discussed with regard to its relation to the Holocaust and the idea that many family trees were falling in this time period. Nightwood was written by Djuna Barnes in 1936, amidst the mounting power of Hitler and the first stages of the ensuing mass genocide. This common phrase can be associated with Felix’s situation because of Felix’s concentrated family tree that ultimately curves back in on itself. Numerous family lineages were completely wiped out during this genocide. Records of the people murdered during the Holocaust were seldom kept. Because of this, many mothers and fathers worried that the lack of any record would result in no “sound” being made when their families were chopped down. For Felix and so many families during the Holocaust, a lack of a surviving family member meant that the family name would be soon forgotten.


While a parent’s hope is to create a life in which his child will prosper, sometimes the parent cannot foster a desirable situation for the child because of uncontrollable circumstances. During the Holocaust era, anyone with Jewish blood was a target of the genocide, so many were quick to put off their parents’ ethnic ties if it meant safety. This concept of not desiring to be a product of one’s parents is evident in Felix. He desires to make his life his own for more personal reasons, to the point that he rejects his family and the life he is “supposed” to live. While Felix denies his familial ties for acceptance, the desire to not assume the identity of one’s parents was common in the Holocaust era. However, in the case of the Jews, they were putting off their family ties for survival purposes. Many half-Jews were hopeful that their non-Jewish side would keep them safe from being victims. The implications of success or failure to hide from one’s Jewish heritage is seen in Ordinary Men. In one instance, a man who was in the role of murderer speaks of his realization that his cousin was a victim. The man who was safe and in control in the situation gained his status by clinging to his German heritage, whereas his relative was far less fortunate and fell victim to his Jewish roots.

Though Felix was not directly affected by the Holocaust, both his desire to escape his parent’s image and his fear of the end of his family tree nearing were sentiments that many Holocaust victims experienced. Presently, both of these themes seem to be prevalent in society as more and more people desire to see an impact come about from their efforts and long to leave behind the societal norms of the past that some of their parents are holding tight to.

Short Response 1, Craft Narrative

In the narrative Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery, a variety of allusions are utilized to add to the narrative and emphasize the ways that slavery impacted society as a whole, as well as to grow the literary authority of the narrative. Biblical references are commonly used throughout Craft’s account of his wife and his escape from slavery. In this time period when civil violence was growing and racial issues were at the forefront of societal issues, it was common for Christians to both approve of and partake in keeping slaves. While nowadays it seems as though this would never be the case based on the ideals that present-day Christians are seemingly committed to, it was their opinions and thoughts that seemed to validate the practicing of slavery.

Craft acknowledges the acceptance of slavery by Christians by pointing out the opinions of various reverends from throughout the North. By quoting northern reverends, he is able to emphasize that the belief that slavery did not go against the Bible was not only common in the South, as would be expected, but was accepted throughout the country. Most notably, Craft points to views pertaining to the Fugitive Slave Act. Rev. Dr. Taylor from New Haven, Connecticut encouraged the church to follow the law and, therefore, return any fugitive slaves to the southern states. Rev. Bishop Hopkins of Vermont not only backs the Fugitive Slave Act, but goes so far as to say that since the Old Testament warrants slavery and the New Testament does not address it, slavery is thus permitted by the Bible (Craft, 96). He proposed that Christians were allowed to have slaves, as long as they treated them properly. Proper treatment, however, is not something that seemed to be addressed by these reverends. They simply trusted their fellow followers of Christ to treat the slaves respectfully, despite the fact that they were considered as nothing more than property.


Craft never directly counters the statements made by the reverends – he doesn’t explicitly say that the Lord was against slavery, but rather shows the invalidity of this belief by comparing his own journey to the Israelite’s escape from Egypt. When speaking of his master searching for him upon their arrival in Philadelphia, Craft equates the master’s troubled feeling to that of the Israelites as they approached the Red Sea during their flee from Egypt (Craft, 75). While this comparison serves to show a parallel in stories of fleeing from slavery, it is also important because it allows Craft to show that the Lord does not condone slavery as many were preaching throughout the country. It was the Lord’s work that parted the Red Sea and ultimately enabled the Israelites to escape from Egypt. This reference clearly counters the assertion that the Bible permitted slavery, seeing as it was by the work of God that these people were able to be released from their bondage to slavery.


Craft’s allusions to the Bible, both through the views of men deemed “holy” and the events of the flee from Egypt, stress the contrast between what people were saying and believing, and what was actually true. He is able to portray that even though claims were made that the Old Testament doesn’t condemn slavery, it is obvious that the Lord was against those who were enslaving when the Red Sea flooded back on them. His use of Biblical references enables him to call out the Christians who were being tolerant of slavery and not fighting back before numerous lives were lost due to the cruel practices that were all too common.