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Dark Ecology: Race, Gender & the Environment

English 252 @ Hunter College

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Anxiety

Rappaccini in Court

The court is crowded with people who are impatiently waiting for the deliberation. The defendant, Doctor Giacomo Rappaccini, is staring into the space with hollowness in his eyes and is waiting for the judge to continue. The judge is staring at the defendant but is speaking to the Defense Attorney.

Judge:

Today after a long journey of a year this court has seen both sides of the case and now before the jury is sent for deliberation, is there anything you must say Mr. Rob in defense of Mr. Rappaccini?

Defense Attorney:

Yes your Honor, I do.

Judge:

Well Mr. Rob the floor is yours.

Defense Attorney:

Thank you, your honor. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the jury and people of Padua. Today we have gathered here for a case so unique that people of Padua and the media has called it the case of the century. For the past year, we have seen the media turn this case into a typical news story for which this case has gained a lot of fame. However, we have seen the media version of this case but we have not seen the facts, but I am not here today to fight the people nor the media. I am here today, to ask a question and ask you all to not only hear me but to listen to me. I want you to listen to the questions I am about to ask of you and think of an honest reply and answer yourself and see a side of this case that the media nor the prosecutor has presented. Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to reintroduce you to Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini, not the man that the media or the prosecutor has presented, but to a scientist, who once was a superhero to his daughter, but now has become a grieving father. You may call him Dr. Rappaccini, Giacomo, or even Gia but you may not call him a criminal, at least not until you have heard Rappaccini’s side of the story or until he is proven guilty. The question I want to ask you is, have you ever done something with the best interest at heart, but when somehow something goes wrong, you get punished for helping? Or have you ever dreamed of saving people by creating a cure to all diseases and poison known to mankind? If you have, then you might have experienced what Rappaccini had, which is passion. Passion and desire is needed to change the world. However, not only did Rappaccini dream of a cure, he had dared to act upon that dream. Rappaccini is a scientist who envisioned a world with a cure to every disease. He tried to save the world through his work and like any ambitious man, he had to make sacrifices. As a scientist, he had to sacrifice his social and personal life just so he could save others, just so that no one else would have to experience the loss of a significant other, or a child being raised without a parent. Imagine having to live in constant fear of someone you love being forced to leave you by a serial killer called nature. So to ensure your only child is not a victim of this killer, you raise her in a way that no disease will be able to harm her. Now imagine being accused of murder just because you wanted your daughter to be protected against a nondiscriminatory murderer? Not only did Rappaccini try to save his daughter but he also had choosen to use this situation to benefit the society as well. If the treatment works, it could become a cure. However, as she will be undertreatment, she will be sacrificing her chance at a normal life. However as a father, Rappaccini had found a solution and that solution was called Giovanni. Earlier on, we have heard the prosecutor stating, “Rappaccini should be put on the chair for a heinous crime of murder.” What I would like to ask is why Rappaccini? On what basis is the prosecutor claiming murder, when all of the evidence is stating that Rappaccini is the victim in this case. The only crime, if you must say, Dr. Rappaccini has committed, was hoping that his daughter will not be alone for the rest of her life like he was. The crime he committed was to want a better future for his daughter and let her love. He was a selfish father who wanted a normal life for his daughter so by letting Giovanni close to his daughter, he was ensuring normality. Even though her life was far from what would be considered normal, he still tried.  He had sacrificed his daughter, not only for himself, but to make this world a better place. He had done it to help and increase the speed of science and did something only a true scientist would do, sacrifice the one thing they loved the most. Now you must be wondering why Rappaccini was put on trial if he had not committed a crime? Well people of the jury, it is simple. It is because this is a typical case of stereotyping. She had labeled him something that he was not. The prosecutor has assumed as stated, “Rappaccini is a heartless scientist.” Why has that been stated? Because in reality Rappaccini loved his daughter more than anything. He might have lost his wife but not his heart, as being a single father, he had to be the mother and the father to his little girl. After knowing this is it believable that a person who has to raise a child as both parents can be heartless? No, because a heartless person will not be able to fulfil the role of both parents. So why was he called heartless? Maybe because he was ambitious. People of Padua, I am asking of you to stop for a moment and look through Rappaccini’s eye and see, to help science progress, he has not gained anything. In fact, he has faced many losses and has lost his daughter. The only criminal in this case is Giovanni as he was the one who promised her love and a normal life and then snatched the dream away heartlessly. Not only did he murder her dreams but had murdered her, literally. He had given her poison and promised her it was a “cure.”

A sob is heard from Rappaccini as Rob continues*

People of the jury, I am asking of you to look at the case and its facts, as the fact is that Giovanni has taken a child from a father. So the person on trial should not be Rappaccini, but instead should be Giovanni. Before I finish today, I want to ask of you to look at this grieving father and not to pity him but think of the pain the murderer had inflicted on him.  The pain he is going through just because he wanted his daughter to have a normal life and because of his desire to change the world. So ladies and gentlemen of the jury I hope you have heard the facts now and will decide in favor of justice. I rest my case.

Silence prevails in the courtroom and the Defendant is seen crying but in silence.

 

Work Citied:

  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel, and Simon Schama. Rappaccini’s Daughter. London: Hesperus Press, 2003. Print.

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/english/f1124y-001/resources/Rappaccinis_Daughter.pdf

Set in Supreme Court of Padua similar to USA court:

Anxiety: Balancing work, school, creativity, ambition, and laziness.

Over the past semester I’ve come to a realization that I harbor much more anxiety than I care to admit. Through therapy I’ve learned to cope through creative means, such as writing, drawing, and painting. Another way which I try to cope is through procrastination.

Procrastination is an interesting phenomena, it allows the temporary relief of your anxiety at the cost of experiencing more anxiety down the road. One procrastinates in order to avoid anxiety and in doing so causes more anxiety, so, one must procrastinate to push the anxiety off into the future which causes more anxiety—ad infinitum. This would be an unhealthy coping mechanism.

A healthy coping mechanism would be any sort of creative expression be it writing, drawing, music, or anything else. I’ve been drawing a lot recently. I’ve noticed that my creativity has skyrocketed, I’ve been drawing at any chance I can get, my skill has increased and because of that I’m enjoying it even more. I’ve also really enjoyed writing poetry for my Creative Writing class, oftentimes getting the work done in a timely manner. I work on my poems for quite a bit, I spend time editing them, fine-tuning them, and trying my best to express an emotional truth. I’ve found much fulfillment in both writing and drawing. I’ve also tainted these coping mechanisms with procrastination.

After a while I noticed my other homework has piled up. My readings for my theory class are now waiting until the last minute. My essays are “due later” and I can’t be bothered to work on them now, there isn’t time for this sort of work… but there’s time for drawing and writing poetry? My healthy coping mechanisms have now become unhealthy.

My original blog post was going to be a comic adaptation of The Tempest. That’s not going to happen. The amount of time and effort to create a comic strip is staggering. I love comics, but I have homework. I love practicing drawing and writing, but I have homework. I can create the best comic adaptation of The Tempest that the whole world has ever seen—but that isn’t a priority.

I would say working a job is perhaps one of the toughest things to do while in school. I’ve been at the same job as a deli clerk at a supermarket for 3.5 years. When I wake up in the morning I feel very motivated to do my schoolwork. By the time I get home I have spent all of my working energy on… well, work. Working a low-wage, backbreaking job is draining and it has the potential to discourage even the most motivated from continuing their education and their pursuit of happiness. Just spend time on the priority. The priority is to do what you have to do to the best of your ability. Do not avoid your work, do not avoid your responsibilities, and know that when you rise to the call of action you will find an immense satisfaction which is a million times sweeter than anxiety is bitter.

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