Time by Lidia Sferrazza

My poem uses words and phrases from a news article about the Brock Turner Stanford rape case. It is specifically about the criminal being released after only 6 months of jail time. This article angered me because it seemed as though Brock Turner would not admit to the crime he committed and only blamed his actions on alcohol. I chose to cut out the words “six years”, “30 seconds”, “six months” etc. and listed them to show the contrast between how much time he should have gotten in prison, to how much time he really got, to the number of seconds it could take to completely destroy someone’s life, and how easy it was for him to do this. 
I arranged the words in vertical lists that could also be read horizontally. If read vertically, the words are similarly grouped together, but if read horizontally, each of the phrases on top of the page could end with variations of the word “victim” and “justice” to show that Turner turned someone innocent into a victim, and this victim deserves justice. On the second half of the page, I wanted to focus on the victim herself, so I included some of her own words to show the strong impact that a rape can have on someone emotionally. Working on the poem was emotional for me because it got very specific about the rape, so I wanted to include some of that raw emotion by using the second person in the words “you have triggered my pain… outrage… damage…” I wanted to point a finger at the reader, almost like “you” are the criminal and I am the victim, to help intensify the issue. Hopefully, this can emphasize the long term emotional effects of rape victims and what they have to go through to recover from this traumatic event. Writing this poem made me think a lot about repetition. Especially because the word “victim” was repeated several times: this is the most accurate way to describe the woman. I also titled the poem “Time” because the victim will be a victim for the rest of her life, and giving Turner “time” in prison is only a small way to help her recover.

Lidia Sferrazza

The Two Different Sides of Walter by Lidia

When a reader first meets Walter’s character in the play A Raisin in the Sun, they may be immediately turned off to him. After all, his first few lines suggest that he is self-centered and even a bit rude, especially when he bickers with his wife and asks about the incoming check. However, there is an explanation for his constant pushy behavior. Walter’s negative attitude stems from his dissatisfaction with his life. When he explains that he has “got a boy sleeping in the living room”(34) he implies that time is slipping away from him, and that he wishes their living situation was better, an idea that is repeatedly referred to by many characters in the play. Even Mama feels this way when she describes her dreams back when she and her husband first bought the house, yet none of her dreams ever happened(45). This goes to show that the way Walter feels-that he missed out and that his life is incomplete-is not completely unreasonable.

Early on in the play, when Walter is arguing with Beneatha, he insults her goal of becoming a doctor and tells her that she could “go be a nurse like other women-or just get married and be quiet…”(38). His comment has two meanings. One of them is a bit more obvious: Walter does not believe that Beneatha has what it takes to be a doctor and should not waste her time, and instead she should take the easy way out by becoming a nurse or marrying rich. The other meaning is that regardless of whether or not Beneatha is smart enough to be a doctor, years of school are a hassle, especially because of the family’s financial situation. Walter’s heart could be in the right place when he says this because he wants better for his sister, and maybe taking the easier path could improve the quality of her life. However, at this point in his life, Walter is incapable of expressing his caring emotions the right way because of the years of hard work that have worn him down emotionally.

In addition to the written play drawing a raw and bitter picture of Walter, the movie version of A Raisin in the Sun portrays him this way as well. In the same scene, the line “-or just get married and be quiet” from the book is changed to “-or just get married and shut up” in the movie. This line was most likely changed to make Walter seem a lot more angry with Beneatha. In reality, he is not necessarily angry at Beneatha, but rather he is angry at the situation and taking it out on his sister. Ultimately, this is still wrong, but it helps us understand where Walter’s anger is coming from and that it is somewhat justified, meanwhile in the movie, it simply makes him look mean.

Later on in the play, after Mama tells Walter to take a share of the money for his liquor business, his whole demeanor changes. He tells his son that this business is going to change “our lives”(108) not just his own life. He wants to be able to tell Travis that he can “be whatever is [he] want[s] to be”(108). He does not just want the money for himself. He wants to continue making money so that he can provide a lot more for his family than in the past. There is no denying that Walter spends most of Act I and II either looking for money or acting out because he does not have money. However, once this issue is resolved, he is much happier. His relationship with Ruth also shifts, as is evident when she cheerfully describes her movie date with Walter and how they “was still holding hands” even after the movie was over(112). When Walter and Ruth first got married, they were a lot younger. Years of working long days and raising a child while always worrying about their financial situation wore them out. Having one of these worries lifted off of their shoulders has brought them back to what they probably used to be years ago, implying that Walter was not always the mean and ungrateful character that was shown to us early in the play. 

Discussion Question #1: How is the way Walter is portrayed in the book similar and different to the way he is portrayed in the movie?

Discussion Question #2: What are your values, and how do they compare to Walter’s values in the play?

Hey, I’m Lidia

Hi everyone, my name is Lidia Sferrazza and I am a sophomore majoring in English Adolescent Education. I am from Long Island (Nassau County specifically). I love to travel whether it is just a weekend upstate in the mountains or going out of the country. I also like outdoor actives such as kayaking and hiking. I’m excited to get to know everyone in this class and I wish you all good luck on your first week of classes!