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Ring v. Arizona Supreme Court Ruling on Sixth Amendment’s Right to a Trial by Jury

Ring v. Arizona Supreme Court Ruling on Sixth Amendment’s Right to a Trial by Jury

The Ring v. Arizona Supreme Court case is one of the most significant legal battles in the realm of death penalty law. The case, which was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 2002, centered around the issue of how the death penalty was imposed in the state of Arizona. Specifically, the case challenged the constitutionality of Arizona’s capital sentencing scheme, which allowed a judge, rather than a jury, to make the final decision on whether a convicted defendant should be sentenced to death.
The case ultimately resulted in a landmark ruling that shook the foundation of death penalty laws across the United States. In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a jury trial required that any fact necessary to impose a death sentence must be found by a jury, not a judge. This ruling had profound implications for the way capital punishment was carried out in Arizona and prompted similar challenges in other states with death penalty laws. The Ring decision continues to have a lasting impact on the legal landscape surrounding the death penalty in the United States.

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Facts

At the murder trial of Timothy Ring, the jury was deadlocked on the premeditated murder. However, the found the accused, Ring, to be guilty of felony murder that occurred during the time of armed robbery. Ring, under the law of Arizona could be handed a death sentence, unless additional findings by a judge conducting sentencing hearing that is separate were made, and only at least one circumstance that is aggravating is found by the judge, and no sufficiently mitigating circumstances that is substantial and can lead to a call for leniency. Because Ring had been convicted of felony murder by the jury and not the premeditated murder, this means that eligibility of Ring  for death penalty was high if actually  he was the killer of the victim. During the hearing of the sentence, the judge cited the testimony of the accomplice, and found ring to be the killer. Moreover, the judge found two additional aggravating factors to the case. The first one being that commitment of the offence was done for pecuniary gain, besides another mitigating factor, of the minimal criminal record of ring. In the ruling, the judge ruled that Ring did not deserve to be given leniency.

Legal question

Does the capital sentencing scheme of Arizona violates the jury’s Sixth Amendment trial guarantee, by solely entrusting the finding of facts to a judge that are sufficient to lead to death penalty sentencing.

The legal question in the case of Ring v. Arizona centers around whether the capital sentencing scheme of Arizona violates the jury’s Sixth Amendment trial guarantee. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a fair trial and a jury’s role in determining guilt or innocence. In this case, the question is whether the judge’s ability to find aggravating factors that would lead to a death sentence, without the involvement of a jury, undermines the defendant’s right to a fair trial. The case raises important issues about the role of the jury in determining a defendant’s sentence and the constitutional limitations on a judge’s ability to impose a death sentence.

Courts ruling

There were seven votes for, and two votes against. The decision of the majority was delivered by Justice Ginsburge and concurred by Breyen, Thomas, Kennedy and Scalia. The dissenting voices were from Rehnquist and O’Connor.

The court’s rationale

The legal provision to the courts gives the jury the right to trial. In the seven verses two opinion of the jury delivered by Justice Ginsburg Bader Ruth, it was held by the courts that because it is specified by Arizona that the aggravating factors operate as “useful equivalent of a greater offence element,” the Sixth Amendment stipulates that they be identified by the jury.  For instance, under Apprendi verses New Jersey, 530 U.S.446, where the court maintained that the Sixth Amendment does not, in any case permit a defendant to be “rendered to a penalty that exceeds the maximum he would be sentenced if punished in accordance to the reflected facts in the verdict of the jury alone.” Moreover, the court in its capacity overruled the case of Walton  verses Arizona, 497 U.S. 639, so far it permits the judge, sitting without jury and  delivering sentence, to find the necessary aggravating circumstance for the death penalty imposition.

Concurring

Justice Ginsburg wrote that the guaranteed right to trial by the jury by the Sixth Amendment  would be diminished senselessly if it included the necessary fact finding to increase the sentence of the defendant by two years, but not the necessary fact finding to put him to death.

 Dissent

Dissenting Justice O’Conner made an argument that Apprendi was a decision full or errors and other than Walton, it should be overruled. She further made her argument that the decision of the courts would have very serious consequences, by opening up litigation flood from the death row inmates. This would create uncertainty in the laws of the other nine states that adopted either partial or total judicial finding of facts in death sentences. 

References

Constitutional Law-Judge’s Imposition of Death Penalty Violates Sixth Amendment’s Right to a Trial by Jury-Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002). (January 01, 2004). Suffolk University Law Review, 37, 247-253.

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Influence of “Leaves of Grass” on American Literature

Influence of “Leaves of Grass” on American Literature

Abstract

The paper discusses how Walt Whitman’s *Leaves of Grass* influenced later movements in American literature. It begins by analyzing the book “*Leaves of Grass*” published in 1855 by Whitman and the various collections of poems documented by Whitman. The paper then contextualizes the book “Leaves of Grace” by analyzing different poetry aspects adopted by Whitman and the drastic shift from traditional poetry. In this section, The Romantic “I” and his poetic Form are analyzed in-depth using various rhetorical devices. The relationship between Emerson on the literary works of Whitman is also highlighted in the paper as how he shaped the works of Walt Whitman. The paper also discusses some of the contemporary critical reviews of the book by comparing and contrasting different authors. The paper is finalized by analyzing how Whitman changed the poetry world and his influence on later writers and readers.

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Introduction

Whitman’s poetry collection *Leaves of Grass* first appeared in 1855. Most of their professional life of Whitman was spent rewriting and revising *Leaves of Grass* many times until he passed away. This explains many different editions of this poetry collection (Miller, 57). The first edition of the book included notable poems such as “I sing the Body Electric” and “Song of Myself,” which celebrated sexual passion, physical health, and the beauty of the human body. Moreover, his third edition included 122 newly written poems and “Calamus” poems that recorded a homosexual love affair that was intense. The fourth edition included civil war poems such as “Sequel to Drum-Taps, Drum Taps. “In his eighth edition, he incorporated the “November Boughs,” and as he was writing “Garrulous to the very last,” he contemplated his death. However, he still wrote more buoyant poems for his ninth edition (Britannica, 1). The title of the poetry collection was a play on words. The word “grass” in the title was slang for informal, silly pieces that compositors such as Whitman would apply when things got slower at the workplace (Delbanco, 1). The poems contained in the collection are connected loosely, with each poem representing Walt Whitman’s celebration of the philosophy of humanity and life. It was a conventional book of poetry written in free verse and in the first person, which broke from all the traditional frameworks of the poetry of the time. *Leaves of Grass* today is part of the American canon as one of the literary pieces that broke ground in American history. The paper will discuss how Walt Whitman’s *Leaves of Grass* influenced later movements in American literature. Whitman’s drastic poetic form shift in “*Leaves of Grass*” tremendously changed American Literature.

*Contextualizing “Leaves of Grace”*

In analyzing how Walt Whitman’s “*Leaves of Grass*” influenced later movements in American literature, it is significant to place this poetry collection into social and historical context. Therefore, the paper will first offer a historical introduction to explain America’s sociopolitical climate during that time. The historical aspect will also highlight the effect of this socio-political climate on the world of literature during that period. After that, transcendentalists will be introduced and how they influenced the world of literature.

*America as a Literary and Political Nation*

In 1776 when Independence was declared in America, it claimed the liberation of America and also stated equal rights of people, thereby ushering in a new nation. However, this declaration was not accepted by the British immediately until ten years later, when a new constitution was drafted, solving most issues (Edlund, 4).
During that time, Gura pointed out that several Europeans were critical of America and even questioned if they could change the inherited sociopolitical framework from their European roots (165). The European critics argued that change demanded something to be changing, which was lacking in America then. However, the idea of equal rights for men that emerged from a desire for individual identity in America made for development on all societal levels, even in the literary arena (Gura, 167). This resulted in American literature being referred to as the American Renaissance. The term renaissance means the significance of the contemporary authors since they developed individualistic styles separate from Europe (Levine and Krupat, 446).
According to Levine and Krupat, the American Renaissance authors reflected upon the socio-political concerns like the contradicting opinions about the legality of slavery and multiple cultures assimilations into one well-functioning and unified society (446). During the American renaissance, attempts were also made to create a literary, nationalist spirit to solve the persistent call for nationalism. However, this did not go without some criticisms from literary circles. Levine and Krupat observed that the criticisms resulted from a mounting Abolitionist Movement, which called for a more multicultural American identity. This movement was spearheaded by Emerson, among others (454). Therefore, this group made America recognized as a melting pot of cultures.
In the early 19th century, thus, Americans were still grappling with the conflicting identity crisis. There was a call for something new to offer direction to a fundamentally stable future.

Whitman and Emerson

One of the major sources of inspiration for Whitman was Emerson, and his writings deeply influenced Whitman. By requesting Emerson to separate the old world from the new world, Whitman felt the need to answer the call of Emerson for a new American scholar. Matterson stated that “The Poet” would steer America into a new era and diminish the influence of the Europeans (VII-VIII).
There was a genuine interest by Whitman in his country. This made him get engaged with current American events, attend many public rallies, and keep him updated with politics as well as having (Killingsworth, 4). This made him listen to Emerson’s slavery speech in the 1840s, where he infused his definition of self-reliance and personal abolitionist opinions (Killingsworth, 15). For a long time, Emerson had argued for more Romantic connections in the literary arena, and this belief helped shape his appearances in public politics. This speech’s influence could later be seen in the aesthetic developments of Whitman.
After writing and publishing “*Leaves of Grass*” in 1855 and sending a copy to Emerson. This self-promotion act proved successful as Emerson considered the book very innovative and of contemporary poetry: “I find it the most extraordinary piece of wisdom and wit that America has yet contributed” (Killingsworth, 22). Therefore, the influence of Emerson’s words and his calling for an American scholar and acknowledgment gave Whitman the courage to push the borders of literature and “purse how to own deepest insights” (22).

*Aestheticism*

In “*Leaves of Grass*,” the historical aspects also need to be placed into structural, social, and historical contexts for clarity. This paper will refer to aesthetics as structural aspects, subject matter, Form, and theme of poetry. Aesthetic is core since Whitman’s poetry answered Emerson’s call for a new poetry form that is innovative. Hence, it is important to analyze the poetry’s new aspects in “*Leaves of Grass*” to highlight some of the traditional elements at that time that formed the framework. The paper will first introduce briefly how Romantic ideals influenced the narrative perspective and the subsequent changes in poetic form understanding.

*1. The Romantic “I”*

During the Romantic period, until the early 1800s, the third person was used in most poems. The typical subject in poetry during that time was the Petrarchan sonnet lover longing for a beautiful woman. However, there was a change in consciousness in poetry during the 1700s, and this shift in poetry from other’s subject matter to contextualization of the poet who penned the words was something that William Wordsworth understood well. Lynch and Stillinger asserted that this was a change that William Wordsworth registered when he located the poem’s source in his preface, not in outer nature but in the individual poet’s psychology (13). From this idea, the “I” became controversial to becoming very common in Romantic poetry. The Romantic movement was represented ably by Wordsworth as he personified the new “I” contemporary in all his work. Moreover, he showed more commercial poetry that appealed to both the common man and the educated (Lynch and Stillinger, 13).
Whitman adapted this contemporary way of writing in his poem “*Leaves of Grass*” and wrote it in the first person after hearing Emerson speaking in the late 1840s. According to Killingsworth, this speech by Emerson influenced him to adopt a new approach to poetry which took the experimental “I” Form and a prose form from that moment, moving forward (15).
In the “Song of Myself,” the first line is “I celebrate myself” (23), and he introduced the perspective of a first-person unequivocally. However, “I” Whitman takes many forms. It can be read as representing the soul and body; in this case, the poet’s soul and body are the real first-person Form. “I am the poet of the body, / and I am the poet of the soul” (40). However, at the end of the poem, he reveals that the “I” is symbolic of America as a nation: “I am large…I contain multitudes” (Whitman, 77).
The “I” of Whitman outdoes the Romantic first person “I” and becomes like an evolving living entity in constant change. At one point, it is dominant, only to be dependent and submissive the next. It represents the reader, Whitman, and all of America. Therefore, Whitman’s “I” demonstrated a new form of poetry aesthetics and perhaps was more of a representation of the many various perspectives seen later in Realism instead of the feature argued in the Romantic era. Realism is a reflection of reality as diverse, and with these many views comes the divided definition of what exactly is reality naturally. This is similar to how Whitman’s “I” has many definitions. The “*Leaves of Grass*’” and “I” also support the development of individualism by Whitman as it, through its continuous change, becomes a representation of all eh Americans and, through that, is a representation of the American soul. Therefore, in the first person “I,” Whitman demonstrates the same solidarity and qualities as his individualism paradox (Edlund, 23).

*2. Poetic Form*

In Whitman’s “*Leaves of Grass*,” one of the most innovative aspects was its Form of poetry. This absence of visible structure today is called a free form of poetry and is composed of stanzas shaped individually. Griffith asserted that, generally, Whitman is regarded as the first free verse poetry practitioner in modern times (159). However, it is important to note that during that time, “*Leaves of Grass*” was regarded as lacking any form of poetry, and this is the biggest subject in most contemporary criticism. This collection of poems book was referred to as an insult to forms of poetry, ignorant and immoral (Killingsworth, 106).
According to Edlund, the poetic version of a paragraph is referred to as a stanza (10), implying that each break in a poem’s textual writings indicates a new stanza. A stichic verse is not divided into stanzas. This distinguishes prose from poetry, which is related to the line’s length. In prose, the line will be continuous to the end, while in poetry, the line is broken (Fry, 347). The Rhyme schemes can be subtler, more obvious, easy, or more complex. Besides the regular end rhymes, the rich rhymes sound the same: nose/knows and heard/beard and eye rhymes that only look the same. However, various slant-rhymes exist in vowels repeated by assonance: kiss/pit, full or partial consonance repeating the consonants: wild/weld and gulls/coils (Fry, 168). Perhaps the most vital poetry aspect before the Romantic Period was the intricate application of rhetorical devices. Lipking and Noggle noted that these rhetorical definitions and patterns of words, such as anaphora and alliteration, were core in all literary education at that time in Europe and can be traced back as far as during the Roman empire (367).
Until the late 1700s and early 1800s, the structure of poems had been static relatively in the sonnet form. There is a long history of sonnets dating back to Italy in the 13th century when Francesco Petrarca finally invested in the Petrarchan sonnet. It had the greatest poetry influence in Europe. Fry indicated that poetry during the Renaissance literature was defined by the complex order of linguistics formed by an increasing number of various rhetorical devices (281-282). Therefore, from a structural perspective, there was little room for individualism, and the emphasis was not always on the author but on the subject matter.
While Petrarchan Lover was a subject matter common in the sonnet, the most common theme was love in Renaissance literature and other theological subjects. Even though it contained smiles and metaphors, the Romantic Period’s sonnet was not as tricky and complex to decipher as the older masters of poems like Shakespeare. The sonnet is one stanza comprising fourteen lines of the particular rhyme-schemes pattern. However, the free Form of poetry does not have any stringent rules. The poet must create a pattern of lineated rhymes, meter, stanzas, and Form. Therefore, Fry stated that what might appear lacking in any form is more likely to be conscious of the poet or her aesthetic approach (175-176).
It is evident that the poetic structure of Whitman greatly differs from contemporaneous traditional poetry, for instance, in the sonnet. Nevertheless, it does not lack poetic Form or structure. It cannot be disputed that Walt Whitman put great effort into using the traditional framework and rhetorical devices as a literary basis in his writing. But, he changed his poetic Form to make his poetry represent his individualism as a solidarity with the common people (Edlund, 25).

*Contemporary critical reviews of “Leaves of Grass”*

Opinions about the poetry written by Whitman and his place in the history of America are divided and diverse. This section will attempt to discuss a few critical reviews of Walt Whitman, his criticisms, his admiration of the aesthetics of “*Leaves of Grass*” and his admiration of Emerson.
Stephen Matterson, in his book “The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman,” in the introduction, he begins by referring to Whitman as a “revolutionary poet” (Matterson, v). This view is currently being shared by many of his critics. In his book, “The Cambridge Introduction to Walt Whitman,” Killingsworth also is in agreement with Matterson when he refers to Whitman as “a bold innovator in a free-form” (Killingsworth, vii). Both authors refer to the drastic shift in a poetic form introduced in 1855 in “*Leaves of Grass*.” Moreover, Matterson even refers to the “*Leaves of Grass*” book as an “American Epic.” He further pointed out the significance of how it was for Walt Whitman, from a perspective of socio-politics, to assume the position of “American Bard,” as articulated by Emerson, because it was eminent for the calling of a national poet (Edlund, 11). Meyer also pointed out that it was the instinctive knowledge the Americans held that they had the only rare chance of developing their peculiar language and aesthetics is the fundamental reason why the breach between America and Europe, alongside the calling for a new nation’s national poet, was eminent and prominent in America’s literary world (Meyer, 75). Therefore, the literary, political, and social climate all asked for something new, and it came in the form of “*Leaves of Grass*” which was free-form poetry and was considered innovative.
Edlund also pointed out that the correspondence between Emerson and Whitman boosted their confidence in Whitman as a poet (12). Emerson acknowledged the attempts made by Whitman to become an American scholar, which he called in his “The poet” essay when he gave Whitman a positive review. Matterson also recognizes the intention of embodying what was asked by Emerson when he wrote that “the greatness of Whitman lays in his aspiration” (viii), referring to the attempts made by Whitman in responding to Emerson. Killingsworth also agrees, arguing that Ralph Emerson must have been “flattered by his influence on the book that was obvious” (105). Meyer also discusses this topic as he quotes the initial sentence of Emerson in the correspondence between Whitman and Emerson, where Emerson acknowledged that “I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful gift of *Leaves of Grass*” (Edlund, 12). However, Meyer further noted that despite the initial good relationship between Whitman and Emerson, Emerson changed his attitude regarding Whitman because of Walt Whitman’s compulsive need for more good reviews. However, the admission of Emerson Whitman does not go unnoticed by Emerson himself during that time or the contemporary critics.
According to Killingsworth, Emerson’s positive review of the book “*Leaves of Grass*” made it possible for Walt to create a relationship with other Transcendentalists. Thoreau and Alcott thought that the new Form of literature was different; however, they acknowledged the poetic depth of Whitman in contextualizing some of the transcendentalist ideas (106). He further claimed that the spirit of the Transcendentalists was most visible in the preface of “*Leaves of Grass*’” very first edition (23). In one of the letters written by Thoreau, he stated the following about “*Leaves of Grass*:” “Though sometimes ineffectual and rude, it is a great poem that is primitive – a trumpet note or an alarm ringing through the camp of the Americans. Wonderfully like the Orientals too” (296). Therefore, today’s contemporary critics tend to acknowledge the poem collection “*Leaves of Grass*” as a transcendentalist movement text, at least in its first edition. Thoreau demonstrates an understanding of their attempts of Whitman in presenting a new poetic approach that is innovative when he states that “*Leaves of Grass*” to be working as an alarm bell in the American camp and for the American people (Edlund, 12).
Despite the Transcendentalists acknowledging Whitman and his book, the literary critics during that time did not accept it, and even the public was not friendly. Killingsworth noted that the public reviews of “*Leaves of Grass*” during its first publication attacked Whitman’s personality and the Form of the book to imply that he needed to be institutionalized (Killingsworth, 106). Matterson also noted that Whitman went even a step further is writing three positive reviews himself in an attempt to change the hostility against the book (vii). He further acknowledges the attempts by Whitman in helping in contextualizing his work. He further argued that the reviews written by Whitman should be seen as important and helpful in understanding his aesthetics instead of just self-promotion (Matterson, VII). Matterson further argued that their greatest aspiration of Whitman with his poetry was for an embodiment of democracy itself, and he even quoted Walt Whitman: “I resist anything better than my diversity.” Matterson calls Whitman’s declaration his personal view of democracy as it shows his thoughts of Whitman accepting a multitude within a nation and within oneself (IX). It is a belief held Matterson that the published contemporaneous reviews of Whitman’s first edition of the book “*Leaves of Grass*” acts as a framework for the expectations of the poet in America during that time.

On the other hand, Meyer also debated Whitman’s tendency to focus on minor details. He suggested that the hyper-visualization of Whitman might have been the reason for their changing attitude by Emerson towards Whitman (Meyer, n.p). Therefore, the contemporary attitudes towards the book and Whitman himself were harsh, and the attempt by Whitman to help the public to understand also was not noticed.
On the style used in “*Leaves of Grass*,” which is much debated, Killingsworth opinionated that despite the apparent absence of poetic structure, there exist vivid traces of, for example, King James Bible: “alternative rhymes, irregular line lengths, and repetitions of highly varied patterns” (22). He further praised this Form of poetry when he said that Walt Whitman introduced “repetition of sounds and words, breathless long lines to create a form that is like a web for replacing the conventional meters applied in the majority of the experimental poets which preceded him” (24). According to Meyer, the lack of lyrical/verbal attributes is precisely the unique identity of the poem. He further claimed that the book does not have “the quality of a fine poem or book or any artistic work but the quality of a man living” (80). Matterson also considered the overburdened, incorrect, and bold Form to have a provocative intent and a thought-provoking primary. He concluded, “the objective of the authors will be to create an astonishment instead of pleasing and to stir the passions more than to charming the taste” (Matterson, X). he further goes ahead and addresses the difficulties an individual might face when reading the book by stating on the need of the readers to find traditional symbolism in the “*Leaves of Grass*’” texts. Matterson holds the belief that this makes it more difficult to comprehend Whitman’s poetic style since he possesses more of a democratic aesthetic, Walt attempted to assert “full equality of things and people” (X). therefore, today’s critics seem to agree that “*Leaves of Grass*’” aesthetics served another purpose rather than being the trademark of a new bard of America. That is, Whitman also wanted to question the sociopolitical issues.
Whitman’s innovative and bold Form met with many criticisms in modern times and the 1800s. However, these aspects that were groundbreaking placed it in America’s literary canons. Most contemporary critics agree that “*Leaves of Grass*’” free-form displays individualism which seems to have been the intention of Whitman.

*How Whitman changed the Poetry World*

Poetry rhymed in the early 19th century, and that was final. Free verse was nonexistent, and anything that did not follow the laid down European traditions dictating Form, content, and style was dismissed quickly as gobbly-gook of a commoner. It might be referred to as moving, perhaps sentimental, but not poetic (Allison, 1).
Walt Whitman changed all these. According to Whitman, an ideal American poet did not place himself above the common person. He did not hold fast to the traditions just for the sake of the traditions. Moreover, the most important is that an ideal American poet did not identify with Europe, its society, its people, or its land. He was an American in all aspects (Allison, 1). Whitman’s high-minded ideals contracted everything directly about modern America poets and American poetry. He preached free verse and equality to the sonnet-clinging elites.

Furthermore, while Whitman is known globally as the father of free verse poems, he first published, *Leaves of Grass*, his first edition, in 1855; he was literarily a nobody. However, the audacity displayed by Whitman was boundless. He was not contented with taking risks with his free verse style, and he was not contented with coming out of the woodwork and calling the literati out (Allison, 1). Walt left school at the age of eleven years to start his career, which included stints in printing, teaching, journalism, and publishing. He learned ways of setting type and acquired the popular culture feel and, to some extent, marketing. Consequently, this would result in his ultimate demonstration of panache, which is the promotion of his personal work.
Upon the unveiling of *Leaves of Grass*, Allison pointed out that Whitman sent complimentary copies to many prominent literary figures. This is currently a common tactic for promotion, but it was a very rare boldness move back that time. However, when he received a favorable response from Ralph Waldo Emerson from the copy he sent him, Whitman went to great lengths by publishing Emerson’s response in the New York Daily Times without permission from Emerson. Moreover, he published his own work’s reviews anonymously in many newspapers. Praise for Walt Whitman was in abundance from many quarters (1).
However, all Whitman and his Form of poetry were not received well. Many also considered his poetry obscene, and he was frequently perceived as arrogant beyond the limit. When it came out that several reviews were self-written and published by Whitman, many people were not pleased. Furthermore, the sixth edition of his poetry, *Leaves of Grass*, 1882 was prohibited from publishing in Boston City based on obscenity. However, perhaps because of, or despite all the controversies surrounding Whitman, Allison observed that Walt Whitman achieved a feat that most authors and poets do not. He lived to see his literary works gain fame and prominence in America (Allison, 1).

*Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” influence on later Writers*

Walt Whitman’s *Leaves of Grass* impact on American literature over the past century is immeasurable. Every American poet virtually at some point has directly engaged Whitman, often in the poem. For instance, the way Allen Ginsberg engaged him in his poem “A Supermarket in California” and Hart Crane in “The Bridge” (McGarvey and McGarvey, 1). The influence of Walt Whitman on contemporary poetry in North America is so huge that it has been said that there is a division in American poetry into two major camps. One camp naturally flows and believes in Whitman, and another consciously strives not to accept Whitman’s style of poetry. The great talents of Whitman displayed a complex paradox to the modernist poets such as Ezra Pound and T.S Eliot, who recognized the value of Whitman but also feared his influence’ implications. During the apex of modernism, he continued presenting a problem until he got rescued by other influential poets such as Hart Crane and William Carlos William. Later, other bat poets and Allen Ginsberg would transform and become his most vociferous champions of his humanistic, abundant, and expansive America.

Moreover, Whitman’s hand can also be seen in plays by several 20th-century poets such as June Jordan, Mary Oliver, Galway kennel, John Berryman, Philip Levine, Langston Hughes, James Wright, Kenneth Koch, William Carlos Williams, Joy Harjo, among others (Mcgill, 1). Internationally, Walt Whitman was also revered by global poets ranging from Rimbaud to Pablo Neruda to Fernando Pessoa and Garcia Lorca. Harold Bloom, a literary critic, and Yale professor, also regarded Whitman as one of the five most important American poets of all time. Other influential poets, according to him, include Wallace Stevens, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Hart Crane. The enormous influence of Whitman can also be seen in the works of English poet and novelist D.H. Lawrence (Mcgill, 1).
According to McGarvey and McGarvey, Walt, in his poems, always addressed his future readers, and many American poets have continually talked back to him- questioning him, praising him, and arguing with him about the democratic and diverse American future he promised in his poem. The number of the American poets who have continued this endless debate with Whitman is many. From Robert Creeley and William Carlos Williams to Muriel Rukeyser and Langston Hughes, from Marín Espada to Yusef Komunyakaa to June Jordan (1). The American poets have regarded Whitman’s radical poetics as essentially intertwined with the national character, a distinctive and distinctly American voice.
Throughout the wider culture, Whitman’s voice is also heard too. In films such as Down by Law; The Notebook; Bull Durham; Sophie’s Choice; Dead Poets Society; Now, Voyager, and many more. Similarly, in television series like “Breaking Bad,” where the name Walter White s an indication of the connection to Walt Whitman, and where Whitman’s work plays the recurring central role, and in several recent ads which include those for Levi’s, iPad, and Audi (McGarvey and McGarvey, 1). Moreover, over 500 composers, including Ned Rorem and Charles Ives, have set Walt Whitman to music. McGarvey and McGarvey also pointed out that the presence of Whitman is also felt in many installations of art everywhere, including the recent New York City Aids Memorial by Jenny Holzer, which featured excerpts of “*Leaves of Grass*” and “Song of Myself.”
Many famous figures and renowned poets found inspiration from reading Walt Whitman’s poetry. Several American writers cite Walt as a source of inspiration for their work by showing admiration for the controversial themes he often addressed and his groundbreaking structural innovations. One of the founders of the Transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson, in a letter in 1855 to Whitman, wrote: “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” He would later become a major influence on the poetry of Whitman (n.a, 1).
One of the prominent late 19th-century and early 20th-century poets, Ezra Pound, penned a poem called “the Pact,” with the main subject being Walt Whitman. Even though Whitman passed away shortly after Ezra Pound was born, his literary poems would later become prominent extremely in the literary community. Moreover, Ezra read his work at the commencement of his career. Ezra was initially very vocal about his dislike of the rugged style of Whitman’s poetry. However, In the “Pact,” Ezra Pound admitted that Whitman influenced him and Whitman also paved his career path. Similarly, in his essay entitled “What I Feel About Walt Whitman,” he further made a declaration that Walt Whitman was America’s Poet and further asserted that “He is America” (n.a, 1).
Whitman was also held in high regard by the 19th-century famous steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie. He referred to him as the “great America’s poet so far.” During the later years of the 19th century, Bram Stoker, a gothic novelist in his ground-breaking novel called Dracula, modeled the character of Dracula after Walt Whitman. According to Bram, he wanted Dracula to have a representation of a quintessential male, and according to him, the perfect character was Whitman (n.a, 1).
The poetry collection *Leaves of Grass* also significantly influenced the early work of Allen Ginsberg, a 20th-century poet. In his poem “A Supermarket in California,” Allen addressed it to Whitman (n.a, 1).

*Conclusion*

In conclusion, the paper discussed how Walt Whitman’s *Leaves of Grass* influenced later movements in American literature. The paper found that the first edition published in 1855 of the book “*Leaves of Grass*” responded to the contemporary request for national identity in America and within the literary circles’ search for their American style. Therefore, it can be argued that it was a declaration of literary independence in America. The contextualization of Whitman’s poetry serves as a preparation for the American new and unfamiliar poetic experience and what the reader will encounter.
Whitman not only claimed his identity as the new American bard, a poet, and a scholar in all the texts he penned but also adopted a poetic structure to embody the American soul in his representation of “I. “It is everyone he met, himself, and everybody who reads his poems; it is America, it is the soul, and it is the body. Hence, Walt Whitman tried authenticating his poetry by covering many definitions, and his poetry went beyond the contemporary literary appreciation during that time.
Moreover, the innovative aesthetic that Whitman applied does not lack the structure of poems; to the contrary, it contained rhetorical devices that were well thought through. However, in Whitman’s poetry, he let the subject matter control the Form, unlike the traditional poems where the subject matter was controlled by forms, particularly in the word choices. Even though sometimes Whitman’s “I” seemed ambiguous, it displayed aesthetic development that was later seen in Realism. In most instances, various perspectives were presented to ensure the best reality presentation.
The paper also discussed some contemporary critical reviews of “*Leaves of Grass*,” how Whitman changed the poetry world and his influence on writers and readers.

*Work cited*

Allison, Chris. “How Walt Whitman Changed The World Of Poetry & What You Can Learn From It.” *Neboagency.com*. N.p., 2018. Web. 18 July 2018.< www.neboagency.com/blog/lesson-Walt-Whitman-audacity/>
Britannica. “*Leaves of Grass* | Work By Whitman.” *Encyclopedia Britannica*. N.p., 2018. Web. 19 July 2018.< www.britannica.com/topic/Leaves-of-Grass-by-Whitman>
Delbanco, Andrew. “Barbaric Yawp.” *Nytimes.com*. N.p., 2018. Web. 17 July 2018.
Edlund, Tina. “Walt Whitman’S Leaves Of Grace-A Poetic Paradox In Search Of American Individualism.” *Diva-portal.org*. N.p., 2017. Web. 18 July 2018.< www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1147558/FULLTEXT01.pdf>
Emerson, R.W. ” Contemporary Reviews ” *Archive.vcu.edu <Archive.vcu.edu>*. N.p., 1841. Web. 19 July 2018. Available at: www.whitmanarchive.org/criticism/reviews/leaves1860/anc.00038.html [Accessed 19 July 2018].
Emerson, R.W. ” Self-Reliance. Essays: First Series..” *Archive.vcu.edu <Archive.vcu.edu>*. N.p., 1841. Web. 19 July 2018. Available at: archive.vcu.edu/english/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/emerson/essays/selfreliance.html [Accessed 19 July 2018].
Emerson, R.W. “The Over-Soul. Essays: First Series..” *Archive.vcu.edu <Archive.vcu.edu>*. N.p., 1841. Web. 19 July 2018. Available at: archive.vcu.edu/english/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/emerson/essays/oversoul.html [Accessed 19 July 2018].
Fry, Stephen. The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within. London: Arrow Books, 2007. Print.
Griffith, Kelley. Writing Essays about Literature: A Guide and Style Sheet. 8th Ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Gura, Philip F. “American Literature 1700-1820.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter Ed. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 2013. Print.
Killingsworth, Jimmie M. The Cambridge Introduction to Walt Whitman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.
Levine, Rovert S., and Krupat, Arnold. “American Literature 1820-1865.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter Ed. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 2013. Print.
Lipking, Lawrence, and Noggle, James. “The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century,” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. The Major Authors. 9th ed. Vol.1. New York: Norton, 2013. Print.
Lynch, Deidre Shauna, and Stillinger Jack. “The Romantic Period.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. The Major Authors. 9th ed. Vol.2. New York: Norton, 2013. Print.
Matterson, Stephen. “Introduction.” The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman. London: Wordsworth Editions, 2006. Print.
McGarvey, Kathleen, and Kathleen McGarvey. “Walt Whitman ‘More Important Now Than Ever’ Walt Whitman More Important Now.” *NewsCenter*. N.p., 2018. Web. 17 July 2018.< www.rochester.edu/newscenter/walt-Whitman-more-important-now-than-ever-228072/ >
Mcgill. “Walt Whitman.” *Cs.mcgill.ca <Cs.mcgill.ca>*. N.p., 2018. Web. 19 July 2018.
Meyer, Jr., William E. H. “Whitman vs. Wordsworth: The Fundamental Aesthetic Difference.” Journal of American Culture. [online]. Available at: eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.server.hv.se/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=5 7b7f81e-4d06-4906-ac30-5867e17a33e1%40sessionmgr101&vid=1&hid=103 [Accessed 19 July 2018].
Miller, James Edwin. *Walt Whitman*. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1962. Print.
n.a. “Walt Whitman: Poems Whitman’S Influence On American Writers And Leaders.” *Gradesaver.com*. N.p., 2018. Web. 17 July 2018.
Thoreau, Henry David. “The Project Gutenberg Ebook Of Familiar Letters, By Henry David Thoreau..” *Gutenberg.org*. N.p., 1896. Web. 19 July 2018. Available at: www.gutenberg.org/files/43523/43523-h/43523-h.htm [Accessed 19 July 2018].
Whitman, Walt. *Leaves of Grass* (1855). Ann Arbor: Borders Classics, 2006. Print.

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The Role of Hijras in Indian Society: Exploring their Presence, Beliefs, and Controversial Involvement

The Role of Hijras in Indian Society: Exploring their Presence, Beliefs, and Controversial Involvement

Hijras, also known as the third gender, have been a significant presence in Indian society for centuries. While they have long held a marginalized and stigmatized position in mainstream society, hijras have also been revered in certain cultural and religious contexts. Their role in Indian society is multifaceted and complex, as they are often simultaneously celebrated and discriminated against.
In this essay, we will delve into the role of hijras in Indian society, exploring their social, religious, and cultural significance. We will examine their presence in various cultural and historical contexts, as well as the beliefs and traditions that surround hijras in India. Additionally, we will shed light on the controversial involvement of hijras in certain aspects of Indian society, such as their involvement in certain religious ceremonies and their often marginalized status in mainstream society.
By exploring these aspects of hijra culture and identity, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of their place in Indian society and challenge prevailing stereotypes and prejudices.

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Hijras are people who are neither male nor female; this is done by cutting off their penis and testicles. They are always born with male genitals and are cut off once identified that they cannot function sexually. They are also known as the other gender. In India, the Hijras are not considered crazy or in need of therapy because, according to them, they are a blessed community. During the Ramayana period, before Ram went to Srilanka for his wife, his father asked him to leave his native city into the forest, and the whole city followed him out of love. When he asked the people to go away, neither male nor female did not go since they perceived that Rama was not referring to them. When Ram returned from Sri Lanka, he found them there after 14 years and blessed them. From this myth, the hijra community is highly respected people in India.


Many might confuse them with homosexuality, but in North India, the men who play the effeminate role in a homosexual relationship are known as zenana. The hijras are different from the homosexual because they don’t have the same desires as men, the desire to get married and have a family. Though the hijras don’t represent either of the genders, they put on female dresses. As narrated by a hijra elder, the main reason for becoming a hijra is being impotent. The majority are discovered at a young age by their dress and behavior. Once initiated into the community, the hijra acquires female names and identities. Several hijras were born female but did not fully develop the secondary female characteristics and transformed their gender role into hijra. The hijra also believes that one of their founders was a woman who did not menstruate (Nanda 15).


The hijras have a positive role to play in Indian society. Though unable to conceive, they can confer blessings of reproduction and fertility to other people. They are always present during childbirth and marriage to give their blessings. They are believed to get their powers through their ritual sacrifices and devotion to the Mother Goddess (Nanda 30-33)


The community of hijra is controlled by a hierarchy of gurus, teachers, and chelas, the disciples—the chelas vow to obey the guru and the community rules. For new members to be initiated and belong to a spiritual family under a guru, a sum of 150 rupees has to be paid to the guru. The guru control where the hijras work; working in a territory without permission will lead to a fine or being physically assaulted (Nanda 43).


Once a child is born in a particular neighborhood or if there is a wedding, a group of hijra goes to perform songs, dances, and clowning. There are always fixed payments for the performances depending on the family’s social class. They are always offered money and goods. The hijras normally go to the extent of shaming the family and ruining the party if their pay demands are unmet (Nanda 49). For example, if angered by the host, they would utter abusive words and indecently expose themselves until they are paid.


They also ask for alms from people on the streets; under a local guru’s control, the group collects money from shopkeepers in the city. They agree with the shopkeeper on a certain amount weekly or monthly, and the shopkeepers comply to avoid harassment. They are sometimes asked for a higher amount during the festive season. The authority can do nothing about this because the states of India officially gave the hijras rights.


The majority of the hijras engage in prostitution to earn a living. Though it is against their spiritual beliefs, the ones involved claim that it is the only source of livelihood and that it pays well. Despite being a well-paying source of income, most of them do not live well because most of the money they earn is taken by the gurus or house elders. A good example is the life of Kamladevi as a prostitute. She claims that her life is troublesome and that she earns quite some money, but she does not have any wealth(Nanda 58).
The hijras believe that gender roles depend on a child’s upbringing. Some of them are brought up as men and take up the roles of men in society but once initiated into a hijra, they consider themselves neither men nor women. Some take up the role of a woman.

As much as they adopt female behavior by dressing and other female physical characteristics, they mostly engage in male occupations such as delivering milk on a bike, construction and being electricians, which are perceived as male jobs. However, hijras take up jobs for both men and women, such as being servants and cooks. Those born females live female life for the early years, but their real gender is discovered once they don’t become women fully; for example, Salima felt like a girl but ended up being a hijra.
The gender roles in Nisa are specified for men and women and cannot relate to Nanda. In Nisa, men are known to dominate the public sector while women are in the domestic one. In the! Kung women’s role is to give birth to children while men hunt and provide for their families. In terms of power and authority, men had more power over their women, and they were expected to follow their men’s orders. This clearly shows that in! Kung men and women had specific roles in society.


Work Cited
Nanda, Serena. 1999. *Neither Man nor Woman. *Wadsworth Publishing Company. Text. Canada. December 11, 2016.
Shostak, Marjorie. 1945. *Nisa, The Life and Words of a ! Kung Woman. *Fifth Printing. Text. December 11, 2016.

5/5 - (13 votes)
Unveiling Themes of Loyalty and Faithfulness in the Odyssey

Unveiling Themes of Loyalty and Faithfulness in the Odyssey

Introduction

In Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey, themes of loyalty and faithfulness play a central role in the development of the narrative. The story follows the protagonist, Odysseus, as he embarks on a treacherous journey home after the Trojan War. Throughout his odyssey, the characters he encounters, as well as his own actions, are continually tested and shaped by the concepts of loyalty and faithfulness.
The ancient Greek concept of loyalty, or xenia, which emphasizes reciprocal hospitality and kindness, is a prevalent theme in the Odyssey. Odysseus encounters numerous challenges in his quest to return home, including facing temptations that could lead him astray from his faithful wife, Penelope. Additionally, his loyal companions, such as his son Telemachus and his faithful swineherd Eumaeus, exhibit unwavering devotion to him.
Furthermore, the poem also explores the idea of faithfulness in the face of adversity, as Penelope remains steadfast in her commitment to Odysseus despite the persistent suitors vying for her hand in marriage. These themes of loyalty and faithfulness in the Odyssey continue to resonate with readers today, as they reflect on the timeless values of honor, perseverance, and devotion.

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Penelope, Odysseus, and Athena

Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, contrasts greatly with what is expected of a woman in her situation. In her society, she embodies the truth and possesses the characteristics of the ideal woman. This includes faithfulness as she waits twenty years for her husband’s return. According to Homer and Pope, many may think that her faithfulness comes easily (13). This is a mistaken misconception; she portrays long-suffering, often having diverse, unique, and creative ways to keep off suitors who are in plenty. Her pride in her home can be seen as she defends her husband and his journeys for many years. In the end, she sees herself as she will be rewarded with the perfect, distinguishable home as regarded as a noblewoman of high honor in society. She endures constant attention and, in one scene, has to hold off a quite persistent suitor. She promises to marry him after completing her father’s burial shroud. This event takes three years, upon which the suitor has given up. While she faces the same situation as Klytaimnestra, she shows more resolve, loyalty, and strength in character, which is not observable in the other woman. She continually dwells on the memory of her husband, speaking of him and yearning for his return despite the twenty-year exile, which seems unending (Homer et al. 25).

On the other hand, her husband Odysseus is in quite a contrast to his wife. His bravery and strength are the main focus of the film. However, he shows less faithfulness and loyalty. He cries over the memory of his wife yet succumbs to temptation when it comes. For example, when he meets Circe, she seduces him. Unlike his wife, who finds creative ways to keep off suitors, he easily succumbs and commits adultery. Homer and Pope indicated that what is surprising is that it is not a one-time event; he continues to see Circe and commit adultery with her for a whole year (17).

Further, he begins another adulterous affair with the nymph Kalypso when out at sea. Although he is anguished at the absence of his wife, which shows some semblance of loyalty, consciously becoming emotional at the memory of her, he continues to sleep with Kalypso every night. His wavering resolve stems from a weakness he seems unable to combat despite his best intentions and pleas from his army men. He seems unable to help himself and often has to consent to unfaithfulness. This is a sharp contrast to his wife, who continues being faithful despite being faced with more temptations.

Athena shows great loyalty and faith in Odysseus. She appears as if the men are being tested for their strength and worth in battle. She finds creative ways to make Odysseus seem strongest and prove his worth to the Greek army. She also allows the man to prove himself worthy so that he may find confidence in leading the loyal soldiers. When Agelaos leads a group of disloyal men to attack Odysseus while he is alone and vulnerable, Athena scatters their spears. She causes her shield to appear mysteriously in the hall (Homer et al. 22). The men are scared, and many disown the disloyal faction of the army. She continuously defends Odysseus against the suitors showing the strength of her loyalty and faithfulness. Even when most of the suitors are against Odysseus, she faithfully structures ways, draws confidence, and annihilates the disloyal suitors. It can be said that it is only with her help that Odysseus finally defeats the disloyal suitors, gets purified, and returns to lead his true and loyal comrades. Odysseus’ team only suffers minor damage because they always have the help of Athena (Homer and Pope 32).

Conclusion

Odyssey continuously discusses and emphasizes the most important theme in the story: loyalty and faithfulness. The story revolves around a more than decade-long war and how it affects the relationships of the individuals. The men face temptations to be unfaithful to their wives and the law for society’s benefit. The play’s setting is an ancient Greek army itself. The women, on the other hand, are left to fend for themselves. Each individual reacts differently, with Penelope being the epitome of faithfulness and loyalty.

Work Cited

Homer and Alexander Pope. The Odyssey. Waiheke Island: Floating Press, 2010.

Homer, Robert Fagles, Bernard Knox, and Homer. The Odyssey. , 1996.

5/5 - (12 votes)

“The Secret Garden” musical review

Introduction

“The Secret Garden” musical performance is based on the 1911 book of “The Secret Garden” authored by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The music is by Lucy Simon and lyrics by Marsha Norman. Set in 20th century early years, the story beings by Mary Lennox, young girl of English origin who was born and raised in India, is orphaned by an outbreak of cholera at the age of eleven years. She is sent away from British Raj, India to England in Yorkshire to live with her strange relatives she has never met. In England, she meets her Uncle Archibald Craven and sickly cousin Collin. Her personality develops and blossoms as they bring new life to a garden neglected. Their estate has many wonders which include a magic garden beckoning children with Dreamer’s spirits and its haunting melodies from the past of Mary, which guides Mary through her new found life.

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This report is based on personal experience during a performance of “The secret Garden”. The report will include and not be limited to: commentary on the composers and works heard, critique of the performers performing techniques and instrumentation used. Moreover, aspects of music interpretation and music form and stylistic authenticity will be addressed. In this report, I want to confess that I am attached passionately to the successful stage musical of “The secret Garden” by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon. The duo translated the classic children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett into an opera context. Despite the fact that the opera itself still needs some little tinkering to be appealing to the younger audiences, I was quite taken overall with the impressive and stunning production.

The story telling is condensed and complemented beautifully by the fluid score, which I believe still needs some work in the melodic invention in the arena. The fluid score finally burst forth in the final scenes with a banquet of harmonies in the garden that is blooming. The colorful characters are introduced in a three-dimensional life by adaptation.

Martha– the spunky domestic whose down-to-earth cheerful approach is what Mary needs during her transition to the life in the mansion.
Lily-aunt to Mary and wife to Archibald Craven, who died in a tragic accident in her garden. She haunts Misselthwaite Manor’s walls metaphorically.
Mary Lennox-I think she is quite an explorer from the way she often found herself in trouble. She is also stubborn and fights for what she believes in.
Dr. Neville Craven-despite the fact that he is a brother to Archibald, he still love his brother’s wife even though she never loved him. Moreover, being responsible for taking care of Collin, he is unwilling to leave Misselthwaite.
Mrs. Medlock– I think she is cold as Misselthwaite Manor
Archibald Craven– the uncle to Mary and owner of Misselthwaite Manor. He is afraid of the future and is haunted by the past. I think he likes locking himself away mentally and physically.
Collin craven-he is a son of Archibald and has spent most of his life in bed because of heart condition. He throws temper tantrums and very stubborn whenever he want to get something
Ben Weatherstaff– he is the head gardener who is entrusted secretly to take care of the garden after the death of Lily
Dickon– he is the younger brother of Martha, and he looks after sick animals and plants within Misselthwaitte. I can describe him as a young man between the child imagination world and adult reasoning

Everything in the orchestra revolves around the performer acting as Mary. She effortlessly shifts from a pampered petulant child in India to a girl in England filled with curiosity that is insatiable about the enigmatic garden, and her deep compassion for the sickly son of Archibald, Colin. At only his younger age, the performer astonishes the audience with his powerful performance and ringing tenor. Ultimately, Mary has a spirit that is irrepressible that embodies the garden’s life.

From the musical performance of “The secret Garden”, it is clear that the composers were well organized, well prepared and creative. From the performance, it is evident that the composers showed their maturity and intelligence in analyzing and understanding different characters.

Directed by Ashley Butler, the story began on a spacious stage that is below a towering soaring set of the actors. This was an effective device to underscore how Mary must have felt when she found herself transported tragically into a dark old mansion that was filled with a lot of mysteries. However, Mary is up to the challenge, and she is meeting it on a set which in itself is a piece of living art. A backdrop of the garden scene alternates with the austere walls. The open space has doorways acting as portals to the other worlds, and it showed in a very simple, theatrical, evocative way travel, growth and journey. The director did not want much at the garden and the doorway, so he kept the props and set at a minimum. The garden scene is at first weedy and neglected and then, under the compassionate touch of Mary, taking on the hues of green and finally bursting into a bloom. In the process, it is also parallel to the effect of Mary on the household. The showcases of the set displays the considerable creative talent of Lizz Dorsey, who overlaid paint and canvas to make a beautifully shaded, ever-shifting, detailed, shimmering landscape, assisted and aided by Joel Coady’s lighting design. One visual touch that is delightful was that of a Robin that was animated and was a key to the story. That effect reinforces and underlines what I think of as an inarguable and touching message of the play. That is the life pulses also in the darkest circumstances, and it just wait for the awareness touch to bring it forth into healthfully. Butler wanted the story to be transformative and therefore expressed it through the characters, music, lighting, and set. For the lighting, it was important for Joel Coady that the Moor and India have a lot of mist and haze that resembles the aura of cholera in India and death and then traveling through English countryside barrenness. As the play progresses, the lighting got more colorful and vibrant

The performance used different performing techniques and instrumentations such as costumes. Despite the fact that the opening sequence of the performance begins in India at the home of Mary Lenox, the major parts of “The secret Garden” take place in Yorkshire, England in the early 1900’s. Yorkshire country in England is the largest and is cold often from rain and fog that is prevalent in the region in most months of a year. The costumes used in the play reflect the time period. The dresses of the women are paired with blouses and are nearly floor length. During that time, it was common for women shirts that are styled as for men with fitted vests and covered with jackets. Moreover, a hat and overcoat was also used when traveling. By examining the costumes of Mrs. Medlock, the housekeeper, I noticed that they were placed on top of other house servants. Therefore, it was important that amongst all the other house servants, she was to be the most presentable, classier but should not be too fancy to be mistaken to be the lady of the house.

Faithfully dogged to the mysticism and sentiment of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, this musical by Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman exploits every emotional opportunity. The most noted is the upbeat anthem in the dead Lily Craven, “Come to My Garden.” Director Ashley Butler coaxed fairly restrained, well-crafted performances from his cast and then makes ingenious, versatile set, most of his own. Given the set pieces of the gardens, it is blooming that is sudden is quite feat. The play began with the Indian music which influenced different world tone, and then introduced 1900 England’s periodic music. This helped in influencing the direction and movement of the play
“The Secret Garden” beautifully fits into the style and format of opera, and I enjoyed seeing it as such greatly. Despite the fact that the production proved that it was beautifully fit for the lovers of opera, I wondered whether the younger viewers of, the younger audience, dressed beautifully for an afternoon at the opera with their grandparents and parents, for this story of the children were given the best vehicle. The score which was conducted confidently by Susan McEwen Ray is not yet as magical as the full-bodied vocals and the trappings of some of the principals, posed some challenges in aura. Certainly supertitles helped, but I am worried about the children who may be not have been proficient at flickering visually from supertitles to stage. Fortunately, the young viewers left with smiles simply because they were in the company of adults who were eager to explain to them what was going on

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Exploring the Power of Digital Marketing with Amazon

Introduction

Digital marketing is the system through which companies promote their own products via electronic media. In the past, traditional methods of marketing have only been able to measure and monitor outgoing data only. Through digital marketing however, it is possible for the companies to analyze the impact that the strategies they have elected, the methodologies of communication and the campaigns have on the target market.  Digital marketing gives the consumer the control in terms of information access. While traditionally consumers needed to look for the advertiser or marketer in order to get information; today, consumers can access the information wherever they are. It is not surprising therefore that majority of the companies are modeling and fashioning their digital market in line with campaigns that have been highly successful.

Amazon is the leading company when it comes to digital marketing. The company’s strategy allows for access to information and products when and where the company needs them.  The system also allows for a consolidation of customer preferences and expectations so that the customer needs can be attended to quickly, easily and more conveniently. The ever growing company has expanded into areas of entertainment and even social interaction, a platform that has seen extended growth of the digital forum.  In the past decade many other companies have attempted the same services as amazing. In addition to providing similar services and products, such companies have also attempted to employ the same digital marketing strategy. However, (Ryan and Jones 2009) argue that the uniqueness of this forum is yet to be understood holistically. The unique aspects employed by Amazon are hard and difficult to duplicate without a clear understanding of the same.

Evaluating Amazon’s communication process

The success of any communication process is measured through the transmission of the message. Unlike popular belief the success of the process should be measured at each step. This allows for easy identification of barriers which may hinder the communication process before such barriers begin to multiply.  While the message may leave the company successfully, it may fail to reach the intended target or even become misunderstood and distorted along the way. The Amazon culture has fostered the error identification and correction of the same norm, which then enables constructive feedback from the intended customer and in return improvement of communication channels.

In today’s digital marketing, the most vital stand comes in transparency of the message as received by the consumer. (Bird 2007) indicates that the majority of consumers today are more interested with companies showing transparency that is guiding the consumer or seeming to guide in honesty. For Amazon this has been achieved through proper critique of items under sale, rather than just touting the strengths of the product, the company has tried as much as possible to include true analysis of all aspects of the products. On the side of the company, the concern is directed towards efficiency that is the ease of passing the information from the company to the consumer. Managers are more concerned not with the content but the actual channel used, and the benefits that accrue from the same in terms of audience and cost saving. Therefore, the communication process is two sided that is the effectiveness to the consumer and the efficiency to the company.

Evaluating the transmission process

The first step in evaluating the communication process is understanding the transmission process. Amazon employs various transmission channels to make sure that the message reaches the intended target. From television messages all the way to newspaper ads, these are some of the popular offline campaign transmission of messages. This coupled with the digital transmissions have had a great impact on reaching a wider and greater target. However, it is important to note that each of the channels employed by the company has its own challenges. Amazon for example has relied more on computer based resources for transmission of their own messages. These messages often require accompanying resources such as software and hardware and some degree or level of understanding with regard to the information technology.  The advantage and strength of this transmission is that it is quick and rapid; however, there are many more messages that do not reach the targets. For example when it comes to emails, it is possible that the targeted consumer will not read or access the email. Further, majority of the emails with advertisements are automatically classified as junk, yet the company has no method or means of measuring those emails which indeed were read by the target.

Evaluating the message

(Mathieson 2010) states that the digital message presented by Amazon is easy to understand and often reaches the intended customer as it was expected from the company. This is made possible by continued surveys where consumers are able to relay difficulty or challenges that they are having with understanding the promotions. From these surveys, changes are made and the messages in turn become clearer attracting even more consumers. Amazon has understood that even though much research goes into creating and establishing the initial campaign messages, it is possible that the intended target may not understand and receive the message as it was intended. For this reason, the input of the consumer even during the campaign and promotion is vital towards generating and ideal and proper message for the targeted customers. Failure to take in the input of the consumer may lead to confusion and ambiguous messages which in turn disillusion the intended target.

Customer satisfaction

Perhaps the biggest strength of the communication process by Amazon is that the company focuses and has understood that the message is not intended for the benefit of the company but rather the benefit of the consumer. Therefore, with every communication it is important to measure the level of customer satisfaction so that necessary changes can be made to the same towards achieving higher customer satisfaction, (Wind and Mahajan 2001).  Consumers can give vital information such as whether the message was timely or not, whether the channel used for communication was satisfactory among others in addition to giving suggestions for implementation in the future. Amazon often carried out customer surveys to measure the level of satisfaction, and also to compare new campaign with previous promotions and campaigns. The results are used and employed towards improving the future communication channels and messages for the company.  Customer groups that could be affected by any changes in the communication are considered first in any implementation to ensure that such changes do not translate to loss of the any customer or a portion of the market.  Even though the message is properly transmitted and received, this does not automatically translate to increased customer satisfaction.

COMMUNICATION

While promotions and other marketing strategies are vital towards reaching the consumer, without a proper communication strategy the efforts will bear little if any fruit.  Businesses and companies use marketing communication to make their brand well known among the target market. Amazon has created and often employs several strategies which in turn have created excellent brand awareness for the business.  (Hanlon and Akins 2009) indicate that majority of the companies often focus more on creating a campaign or promotion and in turn ignore the communication process. The result is an excellent campaign and marketing program which fails to reach the consumer as intended. The company spends much with little if any returns from the same. The communication strategy employed by Amazon takes into consideration the five steps in the process of communication that is:

The sender: the strategy understands the basics of the company, taking into consideration exactly what the company intends to communicate to the consumer. By understanding the advantages and strengths of Amazon, the company is able to select an ideal target market.

Encoding transmission: this second step covers the transformation of the creative advertisements and promotional messages into messages that immediately capture the attention of the consumers.

Transmission: this step includes the selection of the communication channel or media, that is the channel through which the consumers will get the message intended for them.

Decoding and receiver: often these stages of communication go hand in hand. They occur when the consumer receives the messages from the company, decodes and then uses the same information to make decisions on purchases, services and other matters as intended by the promotion. Digital marketing allows the company to measure the process of decoding as it is happening.

COMMUNICATION PLATFORMS EMPLOYED BY AMAZON

The main aspect of Amazon’s successful communications strategy is that it does not rely on a single or singular communication platform. Rather, the promotions and campaigns often rely on more than one single communication platform. A combination of the platforms allows for the company to strengthen those which are weak while at the same time doubling on the strength of others. For example, where emails are often recorded as spam, and therefore not read by the targeted consumer, the social media platform allows for messages to be viewed, read and the interest of the consumers to be captured. In digital marketing, barriers often distort or prevent the message from reaching the consumer. Each channel of communication has specific barriers which must be taken into consideration seriously. By employing two or more channels of communication, the company is able to effectively maneuver around major obstacles and barriers.

Social media

Perhaps, the fastest and most effective means of communication today is the social media. With millions of users daily, this platform allows the company to reach more people than ever. Majority of the traffic directed to Amazon has in the recent past been due to the social media communication platform. Here consumers not only have the chance to communicate with the company but also among themselves.  Through this platform Amazon‘s efforts are centered towards creating content, and not just content but content that is appealing and gets the attention of the targeted consumers.  Individual users are also encouraged to share the messages by the company on their own social platforms. This has proved to be quite effective, because the message spreads from one user to another and soon gains momentum. According to (Hermann and Burbary 2013) this platform has the ability to reach millions within the shortest duration possible.

Emails

Before there was social media, there were emails. Amazon has not completely negated the email platform for communication with possible consumers. This channel often works with loyal customers however. Once customers have made a purchase, it is easy to keep them updated on the various other products that are available within a specific duration. However, as Amazon has learnt the hard way, this channel can easily lead to disgruntlement among the targeted consumers especially if the promotional messages are too many.  The idea rests in regulating the number of emails sent to the consumer.

In product communication

This channel has gained popularity with Amazon from the beginning. Through this channel consumers receive advertisements and suggestions for other products that they would like while they are visiting the site. This channel calls for in-depth understanding of consumer needs, hence the need for continued surveys in order to keep in touch with the current market.

Branding

A most recent addition to the Amazon communication channel is branding that is, instead of focusing on the products available within the site, the messages are more and more focusing on the company name. This way, consumer’s think of Amazon before considering any other company and only when the company fails to provide what they need do they move on to another company. Branding begins from the early stages of the marketing communication, and moves on to the end of the consumer experience. With branding, the advertisements and even personal selling have only one aim; to make the company a recognizable name.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

Amazon’s greatest competitive advantage comes in the form of e-commerce. While majority of the competitors have often considered e-commerce as one of the options under their wing, Amazon has used the same platform to scale up the business world. Today, Amazon is renowned as the trusted and most recognized brand name when it comes to e-commerce. There are few companies that have reached this platform. As cited by (Rowan 2002) large companies such as apple have the advantage of not just size but also the technology advancement and resources to grow their own businesses. However, Amazon continues to maintain the lead when it comes to e-commerce with such large companies trailing far behind, and as he points out being far from catching up despite their own resources. By leveraging itself of information technology and further advancements in e-commerce, the company has created a niche which is difficult to duplicate even for the larger multi-national companies with their many resources.

Recent focus of the company on creating better logistics and distribution systems has allowed the growth of the same company to become unequaled. With e-commerce the main advantage lies in ensuring high customer satisfaction. Goods ordered need to be received by the customer as orders, in good time and with as little inconvenience as possible. Unfortunately majority of the companies in the industry often fail when it comes to proper delivery. The result is that they lose a large chunk of the market to competitors. Amazon has understood that consumers are even willing to pay slightly more, if it will mean more convenience in terms of delivery.

Technology and supper systems have further allowed the company to enjoy the advantage of reaching areas which were previously locked out of e-commerce companies. There are markets that have been traditionally difficult to venture in when it comes to e-commerce. In such markets, the convenience of e-commerce often devalues the service that the customer expects. Amazon has however, found ways through technology to breach the barriers and begin making an impact in such markets. With a trustworthy brand name, the entry has not been as challenging as it previously was for other companies in the same field.

AMAZON’S CULTURE OF METRICS

Amazon’s culture of metrics focuses completely on ensuring that the customer is completely satisfied and has no reason or desire to move from the company.  The culture of metrics in Amazon is based on five hundred goals and targets. These targets have been set through serious research into what the consumers expect from the company. The goals often change as per the new trends and culture in the market. It is important to note that while majority of the other companies focus their goals on the company systems, Amazon’s 80% of the metric goals focus on the customer and their satisfaction with the company services.

Like with any other site on the internet, there are chances that new developments which may have seemed like a good idea to the company will become a complete turn off to the consumers. Based on this, Amazon has metrics that measure the turn offs for customers so that they can be moved out. It is important to note that such metrics are often watched in every minute unlike other companies which watch the metrics periodically. In doing so, Amazon is able to identify and rectify the situations as they occur rather than after the fact which could easily lead to loss of customers.

Majority of the metrics in companies today are set on stone. Employees are set on the metrics that must be watched, often ignoring others in favor of others. While this means that the companies can receive highly comparable data, it also means that the companies have a one dimensional look. Much of the data that could be vital towards satisfaction of the customer and growth of the company is ignored and not considered. Amazon’s culture of change and innovation has also influenced the culture of metrics. Employees are often on high alert debating, and exchanging ideas on which metrics to watch with which promotion and campaigns. The result is that the company has enjoyed a wider dimension outlook on what the customer needs and trends are. Based on this, the company is able to increase the level of satisfaction for the current and expected consumers. Further, Amazon is able to know and become aware of the trends that will attract newer customers and markets that are upcoming before competition. The growth of the company in the past decade has been founded on allowing freedom in the culture of metrics.

When one speaks of metrics, it is often misconstrued as a system which measures and avoids risky areas for the business. For some companies, it is exactly that. Using the metrics data, the companies can predict risky products, channels and even markets and therefore avoid them, (Frick 2010). On the other hand, Amazon has taken the risk factor compete opposite. While the metrics measure the risk facing the company, such risk is not just avoided but rather is used to create innovativeness and opportunities for growth. With high risks come even greatest returns. Employees often use the metrics to measure the chances of returns on particular risks, and then translate the same to application. Using this system, Amazon has been able to venture into high return markets which competitors were previously afraid of. In addition, the company has also ventured into new unexplored markets where profits continue to be high.

CONCLUSION

In summary, the customer communications in the digital marketing platform applied by Amazon can be summarized in the acronym RACE. Race stands for the following:

Reach: that is, the target of the digital marketing is to reach more and more consumers. With each of the marketing strategies being measured, SEO and Ad words are employed to ensure that more and more traffic is directed to the site.

Act: the company is directed at making simple experiences for the customer. The actions of the entire company are geared towards convenience and ideal shopping for the customer. This may mean changing the distribution channels or even logistics.

Convert: the company is ready to learn and change their own actions to suit the customer. Often Amazon has been quoted as “customer obsessed”. This means that everyone in the company is ready and willing to learn in order to ensure high customer satisfaction.

Engage: with the focus being the customer, then constant communication needs to be maintained. Through constant communication, the company is able to anticipate and meet the needs of the consumer and therefore consistently remain at the top in the industry.

REFERENCES

Bird, D., & Bird, D. (2007). Commonsense direct & digital marketing. London: Kogan Page.

Frick, T. (2010). Return on engagement: Content, strategy and design techniques for digital marketing. Oxford: Focal.

Hanlon, A., & Akins, J. (2009). Quick win digital marketing: Answers to your top 100 digital marketing questions. Cork: Oak Tree Press

Hemann, C., & Burbary, K. (2013). Digital marketing analytics: Making sense of consumer data in a digital world. Indianapolis, Ind: Que.

Mathieson, R. (2010). The on-demand brand: 10 rules for digital marketing success in an anytime, everywhere world. New York: AMACOM.

Rowan, W. (2002). Digital marketing: Using new technologies to get closer to your customers. London: Kogan Page.

Ryan, D., & Jones, C. (2009). Understanding digital marketing: Marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. London: Kogan Page.

Wind, Y., & Mahajan, V. (2001). Digital marketing: Global strategies from the world’s leading experts. New York: J. Wiley.

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