The short story “Toba Tek Singh” by Saadat Hasan Manto is an excellent critique on how absurd the ideology of creating political borders on a planet created without borders is in reality. The text opens the mind up to the idea that humanity did not need political maps to identify with cultures for a significant part of human history. This does not imply that certain cultures were not the products of particular climates found only in specific locations, but that humans do not need to politically define those location in order to define a culture or climate. Humans in their nature have and always will group together based on similar agreeing ideologies.
“Toba Tek Singh” provides readers with a story about a man who is caught in the grasp of an ideology that tells him where he can live based off of his religious ideology. The story takes place in an asylum for the mentally ill. Its diverse group of characters are confronted with having to possibly change to a different asylum location based on their religious beliefs and the current political borders. The characters in the story are continually confused by the changing borders between Pakistan and India. The fact that borders in the story can change diminish their concreteness and make them seem as insane as the characters. If boarder can be changed at any moment, they must automatically be imaginary and irrelevant to any mode of practical operation in reality. The whole situation breeds chaos in the asylum. Instead of letting people live in peace, a form of authority has to impose it desires on the inhabitants who live under it rule.
In order to establish a more perfect ideology that contrasts with the ideology displayed in Manto’s short story, a community’s territory should not expand past the space that they occupy at any given moment. An emphasis should be placed on respecting everyone on an individual level. As long as harm is not caused to any individual or community occupying an area, it should not matter if another individual or group passes through or occupies a part of land near that area. If harm were to be caused, the victimized party would have the right to confront the source of their problem. In the case that harm was caused to a community without their knowing, it should be left up to karmic forces to resolve the issue. In that way, humanity can live more closely together as one organism instead of separate conflicted nations.
If groups formed naturally around more perfect ideologies like the one previously described, it could be argued that life would be considerably less chaotic. In destroying boarders, humanity would aim an arrow at the heart of one of main reasons for conflict among the people of Earth. In learning to share, humanity could transcend the insanity of separation and realize that we are all sentient human life. Through that process, it might also become clearer that all life is more valuable than claiming ownership over any piece of land that should be free.
The Story of Yingying shows how society can destroy love. The tale Yuan Zhen weaves about Zhang and Yingying displays how love becomes weakened when outside force are allowed to have an influence on what people feel inside their hearts. The two lovers fall apart and end up never seeing each other again because of a number of outside forces acting upon their relationship.
At the beginning of the story, Zhang is unable to express his feelings toward Yingying. The social standards that Zhang imposes on himself and the standards that Mrs. Cui imposes on her family limit Zhang’s ability to profess how he truly feels. These standards have been imposed on their lives because of the way that these characters view society. Instead of professing his love outright for Yingyng, Zhang has to pursue other more indirect means so he does not offend Mrs. Cui or break his own social rules. Eventually, the two do end up falling in love with each other and find a way around society for at least a moment.
Shortly after the two have fallen in love, Zhang leaves for Chang’an because he is socially obligated to live there while he pursues his schooling. The distance puts a strain on his and Yingying’s relationship. Zhang manages to come back and visit Yingying, but it is only once and for a brief period of time. Before long, Zhang is again socially obligated to travel back to Chang’an for his scheduled examinations. At this point in the story, we see that Zhang views his schooling as socially more important than his love for Yingying.
Near the end of the story, we see how Zhang has obtained a generalized view about all beautiful woman. He says, “It is a general rule that those women endowed by heaven with great beauty invariably either destroy themselves or destroy someone else.” Zhang then makes reference to the stories of King Xin of the Shang and King You of the Zhou who were destroyed by women. It is obvious that the stories about the two kings and the feeling they imbue Zhang with have come from society and are not native to Zhang’s heart. If he had felt that beautiful women would destroy him from the start, he would have most likely avoid his affair with Yingying.
At the very end of the story when both Zhang and Yingying have married other people, we see a final example of how society has corrupted their love for each other. Zhang returns to the village where Yingying is living and asks her husband if he can meet with her. This shows that because of social standards Zhang cannot simply knock on Yingying’s door and talk to her. He has to follow the social order of asking permission to see her. To make matters worse for Zhang, Yingying refuse to see him. She sends him two letters explaining how she is no longer attractive and ashamed to show herself to him. She fears she is now socially unattractive and that it would be socially unacceptable for her to meet with him since they are both married.
If Zhang had abandoned his attempt to try and make a place for himself in society by getting an education and following the social norms of other people, he could have focused on truly loving Yingying and avoided the sorrow of losing her. He did not though and he decided to follow the socially acceptable path of getting his education. To truly love something, a person must make sacrifices and dedicate a huge portion of their life to that which they love. In The Story of Yingying, Zhang loved his education more than Yingying. He followed the thing that was more appealing to society instead of what he felt he loved in his heart. Because of his choice, he lost the true love of his life.
In 610 C.E., Muhammad started writing the Qur’an. By 630 C.E., Islam took control of Mecca and destroyed the idols worshipped there. Over the course of many years, one text has changed the way about a quarter of the world’s population thinks today. It is evident that time periods are products of the texts being produced and read during them. This is because texts are the only way to give analyzable information to large audiences. The way people respond to the texts they are given create definable moments in time. In the Qur’an, it states there is only one god, all men are equal, and that loyalty to Islam is above all else. Because these were bold statements for their time
period, they caused many people to change the way they think and act. This change in thought and action in turn changed the time period itself.
We can see one example of how times are a product of texts by examining how the Qur’an’s message of there being only one God affected the people of Mecca. This statement brought about the end of all idol worship in Mecca. It was a significant change in the way people lived at the time and it was brought about by the texts Muhammad created and people’s responses to those texts.
Muslims were driven out of Mecca in direct response to the oppression against the word of Muhammad. After leaving Mecca because their beliefs were challenged and they were persecuted, the followers of Islam spread its message across the Middle East. Eventually, Islam gained enough of a following to take back Mecca. The takeover of Mecca and the destruction of the idols worshiped there created a new period of time in the Middle East.
Another example of how times are products of texts can be found by examining the effect the Qur’an’s message of all men being equal had on the people of the Middle East. This statement was responsible for bringing about a change in equality in places like Mecca and Medina. Because Islam was willing to accept slaves as full and equal members of its religious community, people began
to think differently about slavery. After hearing what Muhammad had said about the equality of all men, slaves started to formulate their own ideas about how they were being mistreated by their masters. They responded to the new ideas found in the Qur’an by disobeying their masters. Much like the how Emancipation Proclamation changed the way the United States thought in 1863 C.E., the Qur’an changed the way much of the Middle East thought around 610 C.E.
One of the most time defining segments of text found in the Qur’an is the statement that loyalty to Islam comes before all else. These words caused many people to turn their backs on their old customs and embrace the new beliefs of Islam full heartedly. Because of the strong devotion to Islam commanded in the Qur’an, Muslims have spread their religion all over the globe. This
is a direct response to Muslim’s belief that Islam is more important than any other religion, organization, or social structure. The words written in the Qur’an created a time period, in which we still currently live, where much of the Middle East is Islamic.
In conclusion, because texts are the only way to get analyzable information out to a large numbers of people, they hold a great deal of influence over people and evoke responses that change thought patterns and actions. These changes in thoughts and actions bring about a change in time periods. It is easy to see how influential texts can be by examining how many of the core fundamentals found in the Qur’an changed the course of history. Ideas spread by the Qur’an changed the Middle East around 610 C.E. and are still changing the world today. One book, one film, one song, or one live performance is all it takes to change the minds of people worldwide. If you can change the minds of the people, you can change the times.
I came across an Image Grammar strategy asking me to find a family photo and write about the memory. Searching around for a good picture, I found this one of my mom and I standing outside in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It brought back a lot of good memories from our most recent family vacation last summer. With my picture chosen, I set out to describe it using specific nouns, specific verbs, participles, appositives, prepositional phrases, and adjectives out of order.
Image Grammar by Harry R. Noden
Chapter 4: From Imitation to Creation
Strategy 2: Paint from a Family Photo
On a sunny day in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, my parents and I enjoyed an afternoon at the boardwalk. Looking for gifts to bring home, we explored the cobbled streets of the old town market.
My dad sunburnt and peeling wanted to find a bar, obtain a few cervezas, the Spanish words for beer, and relax for the afternoon. He had no interest in shopping.
My mom would not let that happen. Showing dominance, she told us that we had to finish our gift lists before we could party. Mom had decreed it and her word was law.
After several hours of shopping in the crowded market, we had exhausted our list and could now start imbibing the alcohol we had been waiting for. We quickly found a nice bar near the ocean, ordered a few beers, and relaxed.
The sun massive and golden was just starting to set over the ocean. The day had been beautiful. It was time well spent with my family having fun. It had been a day of memories.
While searching for other strategies to work on in Image Grammar, I came across one that I could not pass up. The strategy asked me to create me own imitations of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone introduction. It was the perfect opportunity for me to work on parallel structures and imitation. I took the template they gave me of the original version and added my own creative twists to create a couple of unique zones.
Image Grammar by Harry R. Noden
Chapter 3: The Artist's Rhythms
Strategy 3: Travel into the Twilight Zone
The Metal Zone
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as loud as thunder and as brutal as Hell. It is the Gothic bridge between rock and roll, between Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and it lies between the cry of guitar riffs, and the noise of the soul. This is the dimension of sound. It is an area which we call... THE METAL ZONE.
The Batman Zone
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as dark as night and as twisted as Arkham. It is the thin line between vengeance and justice, between right and wrong, and it lies between the boarders of your fears, and the sight of his mask. This is the dimension of pain. It is an area which we call... THE BATMAN ZONE.
Once again, I turned to Image Grammar to help me practice imitation and brush strokes. I found another strategy asking me to imitate the style of a paragraph while using zooming and layering techniques to add more detail in paragraphs. I utilize specific nouns, specific verbs, participle, appositives, prepositional phrases, and adjectives out of order in my sentences.
Image Grammar by Harry R. Noden
Chapter 2: The Artist's Eye
Strategy 5: Focus on Word-Image Senses
Running on the stiff tar of the track almost ten feet ahead of the nearest runner, a kid from Sioux Falls, Jenny sprinted toward the finish line. As she crossed in victory, she heard her friends and family roar with excitement from the crowd. Jenny exhausted and fulfilled needed help from her coach, Linda Stromm, to make her way to be congratulated for her victory. The loudspeaker announced she had set a new school record in the 400 meter dash. Friends young and old rushed onto the track to share in Jenny's excitement.
Looking through Image Grammar, I found another great strategy for practicing brush strokes. It asked me to look at the clothing people wear and describe what those people are like. I incorporated zooming and layering techniques in each of my descriptions. I also made sure to utilize specific nouns, participles, appositives, prepositional phrases, and adjectives out of order in my sentences.
Image Grammar by Harry R. Noden
Chapter 2: The Artist's Eye
Strategy 2: Paint the Personality Behind the Clothes
Sherry Moonflower was the lead singer of the band, Lotus Blossom, and the owner of a flower shop. She dressed in vibrant neon and pastel colors. Working on song lyrics, Sherry could usually be found in her garden. She considered herself part of the counter-culture movement and often sang about peace, love, and LSD. She was a flower child in every sense of the word.
Lester Maslow is a real estate agent from New Jersey. He can usually be found dressed in business casual. Selling houses, Lester makes a solid living. He created the nickname, deal hunter, intending to establish a commercial identity. Lester broken and dependent is a slave to the man.
I was looking for an Image Grammar strategy to help get me warmed up for some creative writing. I found one asking me to create some new poetry derived from the words of other poems. It was exactly what I was looking for. The underlined words are the ones that can be found in the other poems.
Image Grammar by Harry R. Noden
Chapter 1: The Writer as Artist
Strategy 4: Stimulate Images with Derived Poetry.
Poem derived from "Hector The Collector," by Shel Silverstein.
People need to be patched-up
Souls need to be reshaped
Junk leaves us cluttered-up
Our minds need to be escaped
Drink life's love or be dried-up
Don't let fear lead you to hate
Poem derived from "Hector The Collector," Shel Silverstein.
Broken bottles and bits of brick
Sudanese nights are fast and quick
Gatling guns and golden treasure
People dying from earthly pleasures
Bent-up, soar, and broken
Sudan rise-up and speak words unspoken
Poem derived from "Wolves," John Haines.
Howling wolves bark at the moon
Singing a brave and polished tune
Human voices drifting afar
The wind carries their words out past the North Star
Sounds fill the calm night air
This is natural music for the entire world to share
I found a strategy in Image Grammar that got my creative juices flowing. The strategy asked me to find a piece of nonfiction and transform it into a short fictionalized story. I used this strategy as an opportunity to practice zooming and layering. I took advantage of specific nouns
, specific verbs
, prepositional phrases
, and adjectives out of order
in my brush strokes for this story.Image Grammar by Harry R. NodenChapter 9: Closer Look at One Form of NonfictionStrategy 3: Experiment with FormsNonfiction Article: Two Promising Places to Live, 1,200 Light-Years Form Earth
1,200 light-years from Earth in the Lyra Constellation
, two habitable planets exist
. Kepler 62F
and Kepler 62E
are sister planets with climates similar to Earth
My mission, exploring Kepler 62F
, will take three years with light speed capabilities
. I will travel for two years
and explore the surface of Kepler 62F for one year
I am prepared for my journey
. My expertise
is aquatic vehicles and underwater research. Kepler 62F
consists of about 75% water
. I consider myself the perfect candidate for the job
. Dreaming of the future
, I think of the adventure ahead of me
. Creatures strange and unimaginable
are bound to exist somewhere on Kepler 62F
. I imagine fish beautiful and mysterious
swimming freely, scales glowing in neon, fins swishing gracefully through the water
the names I will call all of my discoveries
. the plants noble and true
, the animals varied and wonderful
, the landscape vast and uncharted
all needed to be named.
I ready myself for a year long sleep
. I take my last breath and close the door. I am on my way