Tracy Chapman’s “The Rape of The World”

Tracy Chapman is a singer/songwriter known for her heavy and meaningful material.  In her song, “The Rape of the World” she discusses the wrongs of humanity against Mother Nature.

“The Rape of the World”

Mother of us all
Place of our birth
How can we stand aside
And watch the rape of the world
This the beginning of the end
This the most heinous of crimes
This the deadliest of sins
The greatest violation of all time

Within this first stanza, Chapman has only described who she is addressing, and vaguely what is happening.  She says that what is happening is “the rape of the world”  and goes on to implant the idea that this action is “the most heinous of crimes, …the deadliest of sins, the greatest violation of all time.”  This gives the audience a predetermined view on what is to come; moreover, the crime itself.

The rhyme scheme for this stanza is very soft, including the slight rhyme of aside, crimes, and time.  This slight rhyme puts an emphasis on these words.   Chapman made this emphasis to make her message more pointed.  It is well accomplished.  It is a juxtaposition of Chapman’s soft voice.  It almost makes the audience feel guilty already, before hearing the accusation and the crimes with detail.

Mother of us all
Place of our birth
We all are witness
To the rape of the world
You’ve seen her stripped mined
You’ve heard of bombs exploded underground
You know the sun shines
Hotter than ever before

In this verse, Chapman goes on to tell what all the persons being addressed has witnessed and is witnessing such as the “her stripped mined.”  This is a reference to mining and it’s negative effects on Earth.  It is a violation that was previously mentioned in the last stanza.  The next action witnessed is the sound of “bombs exploded underground.”  This is another reference to mining.  It is a harsh way to clear Earth out beneath the crust.  Chapman goes on to say that “You know the sun shines hotter than ever before.”  This is a reference to global warming and the breaking down of the atmosphere and Earth’s natural UV shield.

Between each line, the piano adds a dramatic riff.  This clarifies the solemn message and shows the audience that Chapman is serious about the issue at hand.

Mother of us all
Place of our birth
We all are witness
To the rape of the world
Some claim to have crowned her
A queen
With cities of concrete and steel
But there is no glory no honor
In what results from the rape of the world

In the third stanza, she claims that some people are hypocritical in the situation being presented by claiming to place Mother Earth on a pedestal but then living in big cities that are hazardous to Earth.  They claim her as a queen, but no queen is treated in such a manner.  This is to say that there is no glory or honor bestowed upon the earth and therefore what will result from “the rape of the world”, or the mistreatment of the earth.  As mentioned in the first stanza, this mistreatment is the beginning of the end.  Put simply, we the audience, are killing the our home, Earth.

Mother of us all
Place of our birth
How can we stand aside
And watch the rape of the world
If you look you’ll see it with your own eyes
If you listen you will hear her cries
If you care you will stand and testify
And stop the rape of the world

In the second to last stanza, Chapman reiterates her original question, “How can we stand aside and watch the rape of the world?”  She goes on to describe what the audience would experience and understand if they stopped and paid attention .

“If you care, you will stand and testify and stop the rape of the world,” this is a call to arms.  This is a call to stand up and make change to better help the Earth and not to cause so much damage to it.

Stop the rape of the world
Mother of us all
Mother of us all
Mother of us all
Mother of us all

The very last stanza is a repetition.  “Stop the rape of the world” is one last call for humanity to stop their harmful ways.  Chapman goes on to repeat the phrase, “mother of us all.”  Tracy Chapman repeats this phrase a total of four times.  This is to drive the guilt home.  All throughout the song, the phrase “Mother of us all, place of our birth” is repeated at the beginning of each verse.  This phrase is to make humanity realize that Earth is not just a planet but our home, mother, and birthplace.  This is another guilt-trip tactic.  This is to say that driving the whole song home with “mother of us all” repeated at the end is the mother of all guilt trip.  Who would hurt their mother so badly?

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is a revolutionary book written by Margret Atwood.  It is an absolutely intriguing, painful, and beautifully written experience.  The book is centered around the main character, Offred.  In the book, the author describes the Offred’s mental journey in a dystopia that was based off of the 80’s.

It begins with Offred’s experience in the red center.  Atwood writes this part in the eyes and descriptions of Offred and her observations.

Throughout the book, the reader is able to piece together exactly how Offred’s life was before this and how this dystopia came to be and how that affected her life.  It shows why she acts how she does now within her roles and current society.

Throughout the story, Atwood continues to use the metaphor of flowers and the color red.  Red signifies rebirth, death, and fertility.   The flowers are a constant juxtaposition against the harsh nature of the book.  They also represent fertility and womanhood.

Other aspects of this book also really jumped out at me.  Atwood lays the story out non-linearly.  It creates a dizzy affect while explaining everything thoroughly.  The reader is clear on everything that is happening in the end.  All the threads come together and fray in a way that leaves the reader hopeless in the most magical way.

The format was also great for character development.  This story has a definite steady pace that felt right for the scattered plot at hand.  It allows for a before and after of the characters and shows some of that development throughout.  The plot’s turns and twists allow you to ponder on each aspect of the story, while simultaneously leaving you satisfied with each chapter.  Atwood definitely floods the reader with emotion with each chapter written.  The deeper you get into the book, the more complex the emotions become.   Common themes that are portrayed in this book are womanhood, community, power, extreme political views, and survival.  Offred’s flashbacks within the book definitely foreshadows the other character’s futures.  However Offred’s thoughts also lead the reader to conclude an opposing ending.  The book’s main theme is feminism, however.  The characters of each role show a different part, kind, and view on womanhood.  It is really intriguing how this separation leads to many different perspectives on womanhood.

This book forces me to seriously evaluate our current state of government, politics, and balance of power within the United States of America.  Considering the way that Atwood’s world transitioned into what it is, and how realistic it all is, we should all re-evaluate ourselves as a country.

Comments from other reviews include, but are not limited to:


“The Handmaid’s Tale deserves the highest praise.” -San Francisco Chronicle

“Atwood takes many trends which exist today and stretches them to their logical and chilling conclusions….An excellent novel about the directions our lives are taking…Read it while it’s still allowed.” -Houston Chronicle

“A novel that brilliantly illuminates some of the darker interconnections between politics and sex….Just as the world of Orwell’s 1984 gripped our imaginations, so will the world of Atwood’s handmaid!” -The Washington Post Book World

Monument 14: Sky On Fire

Monument 14: Sky on Fire is one book of a series written by Emmy Laybourne.  It is absolutely thrilling,  horrifying, and indescribably well written.   The book is centered around two brothers, Dean (Type O) and Alex Grieder (Type B). In this story, Laybourne describes the journey of eight kids traveling through a postapocalyptic America that has been destroyed by chemical warfare.

It begins with a letter written by Alex who describes their situation to the reader, naming everyone’s blood-type and age.  He then ends the letter by asking the reader to go rescue his brother and the others.

The kids live in a supermarket but end up escaping in a bus.  A few are left behind for reasons pertaining to the effects the chemicals in the air have on their blood-type.   As the days pass, the conditions worsen and the kids find the outside world to be brutal.  Eventually, their bus gets taken and they have to travel by foot, leading to some serious issues.  Finally, they reach their destination, a hospital where they are told they will be evacuated.  This story has a bitter-sweet and exciting ending.

While reading, some aspects of this story really stood out to me. Laybourne lays out the story in such way that allows for the ultimate nit and grit.  The format also allows great character development.  The story has a definite steady pace that I felt was just right for the plot at hand. The structure shows the before and after of the brothers’ relationship from the beginning of the story compared to the end.  The plot’s twists and turns leave you wanting to read more while simultaneously making you need space from the content. For example, when Laybourne described the derranged person the kids came across while on foot makes the reader need a break.

Common themes found in this book are family, friends, loyalty, trust, willpower, and survival. The letter presented in the beggining of the book definitely foreshadows events in the story; however, if the reader uses this note to predict the end, the reader is led astray.  The book’s main theme is outright family.  The main characters stick with each other through thick and thin.  In the end, they are all brought together by their survival.

This book makes me seriously reconsider my survival tatics and how I think the world might end, considering this world Laybourne imagined is quite realistic.  Moreover, I highly recommend this book.

Comments from other reviews include but are not limited to:

“Frighteningly Real…Riveting.” -The New York Times Book Review on Monument 14

“An unforgettable opener…a realistic, multi-character survival story…the ending is a real thriller.” -Booklist

“Monument 14 is raw, honest, gritty, and full of emotionally taut storytelling.  Laybourne dares you to look away but you won’t be able to.  I had to hug so many kittens after reading it that the pet store asked me not to come back.” -Lish McBride, author of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Fifth Block.

There is a wire cord holding my wrist and plugged into my ears.  I hear nothing.  The computer screen in front of me begs me not to do my work.  I am three days behind and it is 4:26.  There is no time to do it now.  So I make my way to the bathroom after deciding to waste my time for the twenty-sixth time today.  I ask the cord to let go.  She complies reluctantly.  There is a caterpillar on my left eyebrow inching its way to my ear to ask me, once again, why I can’t be selfish.  “I’m not sure.” I reply.  The caterpillar swells in my right ear and I can no longer hear my own thoughts.  “I have gout,” the caterpillar replies.  I come back to my computer and the cord returns to my wrist, gripping tighter because I’ve forgotten to plug in my ears.

The girl beside me speaks but all I hear is the boy who cried rape and a metaphor of cookies and sheep.  I’ve been told I only hear what I want to hear.  No.  I just misheard.  She spoke of sexual assault and how it never stopped.  Chocolate runs from her mouth and I rush to lick it up.  I wish to speak so freely.  The chocolate is so sweet and saturated and it burns my throat like molasses until it spills over and out from the ducts of my eyes.  I have been penetrated and re-solidified in sweet chocolate.

Gilded, one might say.  That’s what I have been living in, they say, and I agree.  From the air, all I see is gold, but it is dirty and diseased below the surface.  A pile of rotting horses have been stacked on my heart.  My heart sinks.  He is not meant to hold that weight.  My first love dove down my throat to save what survived of my heart.  He rebuilt what was lost, but he took half to where he lives in England.  “Count my toes again,” I say.  He tries to teach me how to do it myself and I only remember how for a day or two.

Three things.  I have three things in the skin pocket sewed into my back:  a phone, a candy bar, and the absence of a chain I can’t find because my roommate cleaned again.

Hide the Girl. (Pt. 2)

I like clothes.  I like the comfy kind that stretch and dangle.  I drop to my knees in baggy pants and over-sized shirts.  (my first true love is baggy clothes)

I don’t like the pants that fit at the ankles.  (I never have.)  They always made me feel exposed, like not even my ankles were safe.)  Neither did I like tight shirts.  (and as I grew, I liked for them to cover to my thighs as a form of security.)

And then I became aware.  The guys in school (who never talked to me) began to talk and look (they still never approached me.)  I didn’t think anything of it.  I only ever talked to my friends (a group of 4, mostly) anyway.

Then I got to high-school.  9th grade took so much adjusting.  (I think I’m scarred from it.)  Guys noticed too much.  They said too many things.  Did too many things.  I became so paranoid.  (This is where I gained my sharp-shooting eyes.)  I never stopped walking.  (Daily procedure: keep your head down; smile if something is said, but keep walking, fast; make it to class but stay seated as much as possible)

I joined the cross-country team that year.  And choir, track, and soccer.  (I was already in band.)  Walking was HELL.  It was actual, living, breathing hell.  I couldn’t get from Point A to Point B without some boy spitting what he thought was game.  (I just wonder how any girl ever fell for them)

Soon I met a guy who did know how to charm, and yada yada yada, we got together.  Nothing changed.  One group of guys even went as far as to threaten me and my relationship.  (I didn’t tell my boyfriend because I couldn’t have him going to jail.  He was 18 and they would’ve sent him)

Track was always bad with the football boys there.  (Track boys were at least a little more respectful.)  Long story short, I got told to bend over.  (I bought more baggy pants for the next week, which are harder to run in.)  I loved to run, but it became miserably angry. (Yes, I became the angry _____girl. (no one knew what ethnicity I was.))

Soccer wasn’t too bad.  I was pretty comfortable besides the persistent flirting and commenting from Megan’s boyfriend.  (He was no good and now has another baby on the way.)

Cross-country was (for the most part) a safe place.  One guy got mighty close to me smacking the testosterone off of him.)

Oh, and those tight pants with the tight ankles, those became my regular my tenth grade year.  I succumbed to the fact that what had happened the previous year was normal.  Although, i will say that my tenth grade year was a lot better.  I had earned quite the reputation the previous year despite what I told you above.  Everyone knew not to mess with me.  (Most everyone)  That’s when I started wearing tight things and showing off more (still not too much, I wasn’t about that.) I was still the angry ___ girl.   It was all just a front though, it think.  (i’m truly not sure.  I think this attitude melded with my previous identity)  I only became tough because I had to.

Now, I’m here and I feel safe.  I show off.  (this is too safe.)  The other day, I was reminded of the real world.  I was reminded that MSA can only guarantee that safety until graduation.  (soon, this bubble should burst.)  This scares me.

Hide the Girl. (Pt. 1)

Since I got to this school, I have piled myself in makeup. I think I do this (no, I know I do this) because I each time I look in the mirror, I see just a couple more flaws. (It must be because of the shock I had from all the beautiful people here. Perhaps I feel the need to catch up. (I write all of this as if I am guessing))  I don’t like the way makeup feels most times.  But I hate what looks back at me when I go to the bathroom.  ( I tend to use the big stall because I like windows).  In there, my reflection is unavoidable.


Usually, I don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “hey, lemme pile some dirt stuff onto my face, not just because I like how it makes my face break out, but also because it feels WONDERFUL.”

Sometimes I put just enough on in the morning, a little here and there.  Then I go and look into a mirror to fix my hair, and compulsively, I put more.

I wasn’t always like this.

At the beginning of tenth grade, I prided in using minimal makeup only on special occasions (I used to wear none. I thought I was “makeup abstinent” (I never liked how makeup looked on my peers.  I knew they didn’t need it)) .  As the year progressed, I grew a need for concealer.  I felt dead without it. (This is a sort of lost virginity, the beginning of addiction)

It continued from there.

(I don’t want to tell the whole story, or maybe there’s really no story to tell…) I think this need for a second and new face has sprouted quickly from that small seed in tenth grade.  It’s now a vine that won’t quite let me go, (I’m kicking) and I’m fighting but it keeps pulling me back.  My eyes have resorted to a daily screaming for help (eyeliner dries my eyes) because my skin is too muzzled and quiet (and dry and covered) to call out.  (my screaming eyes might also be because I’ve lost my glasses).


i Don’t Want to Fall

Sometimes i reach for things.  i reach and i reach.  And If i’m too short, i’ll stretch, i’ll climb.  The distance will grow between my feet and where i started, yet i don’t like heights.  i’m terrified.  And, no.  it’s not like i’m scared of hitting the ground, smashing myself into a million pieces.  Don’t say that, because it’s not true.  i am the one who is scared of falling, of feeling that sudden drop.  It’s easier, i think, to just climb to the ground and hit myself against it instead.  i do.

Trust me, i’d rather do this than have no grasp, no control, and nothing but friction-less air around me.  That makes me feel guilty.

I know that hitting is inevitable. So, i’ll do it myself.  Others might stare and ask if i’m okay or if i have a purpose.  Maybe they try to help.  Sometimes it offers some comfort.  But mostly, i just want to bang my head against the ground until my nose bleeds.  i want to walk around, bloody nose, raw forehead, and not be asked if i need help or if i’m ok.  Do you hear me?

i want to be outwardly bloody, but i don’t want people to see.  i want to show what a mass murder i am feeling that day, but not be questioned then or the next day.

This is the bottom.  Just please don’t feed the fish.  Because one flake turns to two and it eventually won’t be enough.  They crave flesh, ya know?  They aren’t the innocent little goldfish you see from the surface.  So, please don’t reach below into that water.  It’s acid.

One day, i will sleep here.  That will be my home.  I just hope that it doesn’t last too long.  Even I will dissipate in those waters.  Those fish are the worst, though, nibbling at you until you churn.  They only get worse if you fight.

They turn to piranhas who turn into sharks.  Please, just don’t let them get bigger.  They’ll be killer whales, surrounding me in black and white: playing with me until i am soft and peeling at the edges.  Flakes fizzing into nothing–that’s what i’ll be.

Excuse me, i’ve got to get out of here.  it’s too dark.  i’ve got to climb that ladder, but i’m afraid of reaching the top.  I fear it is too soon that i will have to come down.  i just don’t want to fall.

Rambling of a New-found North Wind

Take a step in my direction

come closer,

no.  really look at me.

observe my fuzzy lines and changing angles.

Notice I havent yet faded?

I’ve just switched  my colors

from a solid green to yellowed, rainbow pinstripes.

I am different;

I am changing.

Sometimes, I feel like I am not who I am supposed to be.  Not that who I am is bad.  Just that I never saw myself here, not physically, but personality-wise.

So when I think about reverting, going back to the old me or who I think I am supposed to be; I reject the idea within minutes.  First, I think, ‘What a great exterior that would be.’  Then I realize just how unhappy I would be.

So, I am accepting the changing, the shaping, the unknowing.  I’m going to tumble where the wind blows me.  I don’t want to be tied down, yet I don’t want to be lost to all.   There is a sort of balance I strive for, which, I know will take a long time to achieve.  Somehow, it’s like I won’t be happy until I can follow my heart, but I also want someone to help guide me along the way from time to time.  It’s sort of a give and take.  It just isn’t as easy as staying still and stagnant, which I can’t do.

I don’t care that it might take years; I accept the challenge.

Since I was in junior high, I wanted to become familiar with every inch of land on this earth.  I wanted to feel every ray of sun and moon, and touch every drop of ocean and sea.  I wanted a new perspective because I knew the one I had was not the only one to have, and that bothered me.  I need variety.  I need change.

Before now–today, sitting right here typing this–I had been stuck on the past.  I was stuck on everything that had ever bruised or brushed me, good or bad.

I think I am done with that.  I think that from now on I am going to try to transition into a new sight, a completely different outlook on person.  I used to see all those cheesy quotes like, “It’s not where you came from, it’s where you’re headed”.  I would look at them and think, ‘no.’  But now, I find sort of a truth in it.  It does matter where I came from, but not as much as I previously had thought.

I am headed wherever I choose.  Not one word of my past will whisper my future, because if people can change immensely, so can fate.

This Weird Dream I Had


There’s a castle chalked with chaos

in front stands a wagon-girl

who cant control her bucking horse

he tried to kick me on my way out

‘Calm down!’ she was red-faced and flustered

then she smiled slyly at me and shouted

‘horse for sale!’  and I was pulled by my arm

my mom at my side bidding her price

she plopped me on him when we got home

where he bucked me off and proceeded to kick at me

my mother was perplexed.  she told me to mount again.

I ran.  I ran until I came here, to MSA.

But, I think I was also hiding from the Japanese

they had started chasing me on my way

and I ran up many flights of stairs to get away

I tried to hide in Mrs. Sus’ office

but it wasn’t a good place

but i found a CD in there

and I took it, too

It was a movie that I watched in my room

while the Japanese searched tirelessly

they found me when I went to put the CD back

Mrs. Sus caught me.  She discussed the movie with me

then I took off from the Japanese, eventually reaching the roof

this is where the dream ended.

should I jump?  Or should I face my enemies?


Opening The Book (mirage)


I’ve always had an odd relationship with my father.  He was in my life at the start of my  childhood, yet never truly there.  Whenever I would visit him in Chicago, he would leave me with drunkard Uncle Ben.  I guess this wasn’t all that bad.  It’s just that Uncle Ben always carried a terrible smell with him.  It didn’t matter how many showers he took.  As soon as he came out, he was already smelly.

Besides his constant stink, he passed gas in his sleep.  Whenever I heard him go off, I had to run hide in my father’s room.  Believe me, if we would have had gas heating, he would’ve kept the place fueled to the max.

Besides my uncle’s repelling habits,  he let me play with knives.  No, I never hurt myself, but I don’t think I would’ve allowed that if I had been in his position.  Then again I don’t think I would ever get drunk on the weekday I’m babysitting.

My dad was also pretty careless.  I remember there was an ice-cream truck that would come around the block each week.  I would run out the door and butt not-yet-calloused feet against spiky, brown, gumballs.  He wouldn’t even watch out the window to make sure I would come back alright.

When it was time to go back home, the exchange went like this:

We would load up into his shiny black Lexus, and I would sometimes burn my knee on the muffler while I was loading my stuff.  We occasionally brought my brother or picked up my dad’s friend.  I usually sat in the back because of this.  He wouldn’t usually strike a conversation with me.  Except once, he told me he didn’t like country.  So, decided to make gold my favorite color and Rihanna my favorite singer.

Instead he would talk to someone else, or he would talk on the phone.  If all else failed, he turned up the old-school rap already playing from his radio.

Somehow, we would either run late or he forgot to feed me before we left.  I threw up in his car.  He was so mad at me.  His car was his baby, and I had just violated her.  Whoops, guess he should’ve fed me.

We made it to the airport eventually.  I always struggled with getting my suitcase out.  So, he would jerk it out, slamming it on to the ground before me.   There would be a “Common,” and I would obey.

Imagine it.  A small girl tugging her luggage a few feet behind her oblivious father.  He never really did look back.  He did manage to ask to lead me to the gate.  That was only because I wasn’t old enough to find my way.

Then we would reach the gate, he would say goodbye, and I would board.  Mid-flight the air-flight attendant would always notice my young age.  She would ask me where my parent(s) was.  I would say that I’m flying by myself.  She would say that he’s not supposed to do that.   I would shrug.  She would respond with, “he must not have wanted to pay the fee.”  Then for a moment I sat and thought about how much I wish he would have just payed the extra money so I wouldn’t have to go through this exact conversation every time.

Then there was the four years that he disappeared.  I found out he had a girlfriend named Yolanda that he had replaced me with.   My first thought was, “So, this is what being left for another woman is like.”  I hate the name Yolanda now.

He was even colder than I remembered for a couple years after that.  I was growing up.  I began dreaming, planning my future.  He shot that down.

Then I got accepted into an art school.  He hurled insults at me until his birthday came, and I refused to talk to him.  Three days later, my mom forced me to call him.

Now he tries more, but the relationship is still odd.  He seems to try.  Although, it’s the little things that I catch onto.

He’s still so distant.  I’m still a few steps behind.  I’m still tugging my luggage.  This time though, I’m the one telling myself that he shouldn’t do that.