Theme Connection Reflection

Pete Davis and Cole Ellis

2. By the Waters of Babylon

3. Dreamland by Edgar Allen Poe

By a route obscure and lonely,

Haunted by ill angels only,

Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,

On a black throne reigns upright,

I have reached these lands but newly From an ultimate dim Thule-

From a wild clime that lieth, sublime,

     Out of SPACE- out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,

And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,

With forms that no man can discover

For the tears that drip all over;

Mountains toppling evermore

Into seas without a shore;

Seas that restlessly aspire,

Surging, unto skies of fire;

Lakes that endlessly outspread

Their lone waters- lone and dead,-

Their still waters- still and chilly

With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread

Their lone waters, lone and dead,-

Their sad waters, sad and chilly

With the snows of the lolling lily,-

By the mountains- near the river

Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,-

By the grey woods,- by the swamp

Where the toad and the newt encamp-

By the dismal tarns and pools

     Where dwell the Ghouls,-

By each spot the most unholy-

In each nook most melancholy-

There the traveller meets aghast

Sheeted Memories of the Past-

Shrouded forms that start and sigh

As they pass the wanderer by-

White-robed forms of friends long given,

In agony, to the Earth- and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion

'Tis a peaceful, soothing region-

For the spirit that walks in shadow

'Tis- oh, 'tis an Eldorado!

But the traveller, travelling through it,

May not- dare not openly view it!

Never its mysteries are exposed

To the weak human eye unclosed;

So wills its King, who hath forbid

The uplifting of the fringed lid;

And thus the sad Soul that here passes

Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,

Haunted by ill angels only,

Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,

On a black throne reigns upright,

I have wandered home but newly

From this ultimate dim Thule.

4. (see above)

5. The theme of a recurring past bringing unforeseen effects connects Dreamland by Edgar Allen Poe and By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benét to the current economic issue in Egypt. Abdel Fattah Sisi, the rising leader of Egypt, is being threatened with the rise of the old, ineffective economy present especially during the time when oppressive dictator Hosni Mubarak was in power. As he gains power, he becomes more aware of all the issues Egypt is facing. He is essentially discovering this ruined economy left by past men, just like in By the Waters of Babylon, where John discovers the Place of the Gods was just ruins of a past human society. Dreamland conveys this same theme when the traveler "meets aghast/ Sheeted Memories of the Past" but "May not- dare openly view it" (Poe). The traveler has an understanding of his environment but has no grasp on it, just as Sisi will struggle to lead Egypt back into stability.

6. In both Dreamland by Edgar Allen Poe and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the writers use the theme of the past never truly being hidden from mankind to show the corruption of society. In Dreamland, the traveler comes along mysterious memories that are not totally exposed to the "weak human eye unclosed" (Poe). These mysteries from the past have always been available to the citizens of society, but, by now, the society has endured so much corruption that they are forbidden and people would simply not be able to recognize the mysteries. In Fahrenheit 451, most of the people in this corrupted society are too ignorant to understand the reason for the censorship of books and the effect it had on the start of the war. In other words, a lot of the people were so oblivious as to what was the actual reason for war that they died without knowing anything happened. It was quick. It was painless. They didn't even know what hit them. "I wonder how many knew it was coming? I wonder how many were surprised" (Bradbury 155). Also, this meant a new beginning for the intelligent survivors that had secretly read books for years such as Montag, Granger, and the others. After the bombed destroyed the city, they knew it meant they would be responsible for the rebuilding of the city, and it was an opportunity for them to share their intelligence and maybe bring books back. "I'll hole onto the world tight someday. I've got one finger on it now; that's a beginning" (155). This theme also connects to what is currently happening in Egypt. Sisi is facing the tribulation of managing Egypt's stagnant economy. A lot has been hidden from him, just as literature has from Montag and the "Eldorado" (Poe) from the traveler. However, Sisi begins to understand the full magnitude of what he's responsible of. Montag makes a similar discovery when he finally realizes that "there must be something in make a woman stay in a burning house" (Bradbury 48) and sees the corruption going on in his society. All of these discoveries result in negatively impacted outcomes.

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