Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cause and Effect

I see the texts we have read for this week, "Krik? Krak!" and "Landmarking" as directly correlated to each other, as sort of a cause and effect, or a situation and a response. Danticat's novel, a collection of short stories has a thread of mistreatment and injustice running througout it. Showing another side of cities, the side that doesn't give out opportunity, but instead hinders those who live in it, literally holding them back from expressing or furthering themselves. We even see how difficult it is for the Haitians to further themselves when they live in American cities. This is especially evident in the stories, "New York Day Women" and "Caroline's Wedding." Some of the women in these stories are unable to fully blossom and do whatever they want even in American because of their cultural heritage and because they were not born in the United States. The mother in "New York Day Women" is ashamed throughout the story of what she has to do in order to support herself and her family and hides what she does from her daughter. In "Caroline's Wedding" Grace can't feel like a true American citizen until she has a piece of a paper and a passport to prove it. She fights with her mother to let go of the papers for a couple weeks in order to get a passport, because those papers allow her to finally belong. Ma, in the story, is even unable to really become part of the city they live in, the country they live in, because of their location in a Haitian subcity in New York.

The "Landmarking" essay is a direct result or answer to the injustices and problems seen in cities in Danticat's novel as well as Achebe's and Calvino's. The Jesuits built their churches and schools in cities because of the growth of "modern urban culture" (Lucas, 3). "Jesuits have made that dialogue a strategic priority, a characteristic-and even definitive-element of their apostolic program" (Lucas, 3). The Jesuits felt they had to be in cities because of the needs cities had and because of the importance cities had in the world. Even back when these churches and schools were being found "lay faculty, other religious, and Jesuits [lived] in the dangerous neighborhood where they [worked], exercising a ministry of presence as well as education" (Lucas, 21). Jesuits have continually made sure they were in the center of where the problems were, there to help fix them after or before they even started. I think this also lends to why writers like Danticat, Achebe and Calvino write and publish their stories, so others can see the state that cities all over the world are in, causing them to look at those cities and perhaps their own and take the initiative to fight and work for justice.

The "Landmarking" essay also shines light on why we should have a "Year of the City" initiative at Loyola and continue to participate in its purpose long after this academic year is through. "In Ignatius Loyola, the Church in the city found a champion and a conceptual genius, a man who was fully attuned to his urban culture, a man able to adapt-and even abandon-parts of the Catholic tradition in order to shape an instrument uniquely suited for the existential needs of his time and place. Where he chose to be-where he located his churches, schools, and residences-clearly incarnates how he chose to be and to minister in the Church" (Lucas, 22). I think this simply states why Loyola itself has to take a part in Baltimore, why it had to have this "Year of the City" initiative and why it must continue to serve the city of Baltimore, and this is because it is in the city. The Jesuits hand-picked where each of their schools and churches were built based on that areas need and what they could do in the city, therefore Loyola College was built in Baltimore because Baltimore needed its help and continues to need its help to this day. It is also located here because the city offers many opportunities for its citizens to overcome and for others to help them.