Julianne Ayers: Astrophil and Stella

Julianne Ayers is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in Language, Literature and Writing and minoring in Communications. In her free time she works with the Girl Scouts and a Catholic youth choir.

Entry 1
Poetry in response to Astrophil and Stella
The following poems are Stella in response to Astrophil’s affections (which I have created).
Sonnets 37, 66, 69 and 91
“Stella’s response to Astrophil” – Julianne Ayers
Your mouth doth water,
Your breast doth swell,
Keep your place and you will be well.
I am not a nymph,
I am not a poor,
I belong to Lord Rich forever more.
You meet great misfortune;
Since I am not yours,
I belong to Lord Rich forever more.

I looked at him
He looked at me
Then suddenly
Something came over me.
I don’t know what happened
I turned and blushed
These feelings came in
With such a great rush.
Oh, Astrophil you’ve loved me
For so long
I finally realized
I’ve been hanging on.
I married Lord Rich
My once true love at heart
But for this affection
I cannot part
I feel something for you
Not sure what,
But I will not depart from my marriage
My true love at heart.

I finally declared it
My love is pure
But there is one condition
That will always be sure

I told him once, I told him twice!
Our love must stay under platonic light

He does not seem to understand
I shall take him by the hand
I feel his love maybe much too strong
That this could turn out very wrong

I told him once, I told him twice!
Our love must stay under platonic light

He says these things I should not hear
So inappropriate and clear
His sexual desire for me has not changed
I have to leave while I am still sane

I told him once, I told him twice!
Our love must stay under platonic light

I understand you love me so,
But these strange feelings have to go
You watch these women go to and fro
They remind you of me, oh no!
These thoughts in your head make no sense to me
You are over analyzing everything you see.
Red lips, rose cheeks everywhere you see me
Not good, no way you just need to stay way.
We were not together all that long,
There’s no reason for me to be the light of your life.
Not the sun to brighten the darkness
Or a candle to light the way.
You may love me, but you are not in love with me
No matter the day, it’s over anyway.

Entry 2

The Twists and Turns and Double-Backs: Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods. – Julianne Ayers

The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson is not linear, but follows a line of thought, and these lines of thought only can run straight when we force them to. It is first and foremost a work of fiction that challenges us imaginatively, and in turn we use the challenges in our lives. What is perplexing is that Winterson writes The Stone Gods as a time or place of possibility but these possibilities are closely reflective of past, present or future effects on Earth.
It is mainly concerned with corporate control of government, the harshness of war, and the dehumanization that technology brings, among other themes. The novel is self-referential, where later characters in the story find and read earlier sections of the book itself, and where certain sets of characters’ story repeat, particularly those of a Robo-sapian named Spike and her reluctant human companion, Billie. This technique sets the book in the postmodernist genre, though it is mainly used to warn against history’s tendency to repeat itself, as well as humanity’s inability to learn from past mistakes, even when these mistakes repeat across history, planets, and their respective evolutionary timelines.
The Stone Gods is written in four parts; The first part, “Planet Blue,” is set in a futuristic past, where humanity’s problematic destruction of its own home-world, Orbus, seems to be fixed when they come across another viable world in outer space. Orbus, a world very like earth, and like earth running out of resources and suffering from the severe effects of climate change. This is a world where everyone is bio-enhanced and bored to death. It is a world that has run out of possibilities. Then, a new planet is discovered, perfect for human life. This planet, “Planet Blue,” has only one drawback—the dinosaurs. A mission leaves Orbus to get rid of the dinosaurs.
Part two, “Easter Island,” is set in the 18th century, a time when Easter Island’s inhabitants destroyed many of the mo’ai statues (and the last tree) on their island. The toppling of these statues may suggest the author’s opinion of current overbearing corporate and government entities. Part three or “Post-3War” is set in “Tech City” after World War Three and Part four or “Wreck City” is set in the same time-space, though moving to a derelict trash city where those abandoned by the corporate-controlled society struggle to live.
Within the entirety of this novel there are multiple theorists and critical approaches that can help define the material that Winterson has revealed to us. The theory of post-colonization and Louis Althusser outlooks on Marxism and Humanism can be found embedded into all four parts of “The Stone Gods.” As a critical-theory of literature, post-colonialism deals with the literatures produced by the peoples who once were colonies of the European imperial powers. Post-colonial literary criticism comprehends the literatures written by the colonizer and the colonized. In Dutch literature, the Indies Literature includes the colonial and post-colonial genres, which examine and analyze the formation of a post-colonial identity.
“Easter Island” is reflective of the time when the inhabitants destroyed the statues and trees of the native peoples on the island. Winterson writes on page 110, “The Ariki Mau had ordered its protection as a sacred tree, and the Bird Man had ordered its felling. . . . that an island abundant in all things necessary has been levelled to this wasteland through the making of a Stone God and then by his destruction.” This is a clear definition of occupational colonization in which the non-natives forage and strip apart the land and then go back to their parent country, even without formally forming and establishing a colony.
This theory of post-colonialism also rears its head in Part one, “Planet Blue,” when Spike explains about the destruction of dinosaurs and the relocation of the citizens of Orbus. “The rich are leaving. The rest of the human race will have to cope with what’s left of Orbus. . . . MORE is building a space-liner called the Mayflower. It will take those who can afford it to the Planet Blue, where a high-tech. low impact village will be built for them. . . . it will take several generations for a counter-movement to begin, and the feeling is that the planet is so big they can just be allowed to leave and form alternative communities elsewhere” (Winterson 60-61). They are colonizing the new planet just as they have done on Orbus, and may or may not have learned from the destruction on Orbus on how to preserve their new planet.
Louis Althusser outlooks on Marxism and Humanism can be seen or interpreted within Winterson’s writing. His essay “Marxism and Humanism” is a strong statement of anti-humanism, condemning ideas like “human potential” and “species-being,” which are often put forth by Marxists, as outgrowths of a bourgeois ideology of “humanity.” “Robo sapiens is evolving. The first artificial creature that looks and acts human, and that evolves like a human-within limits of course” (Winterson 14) and “The future of women is uncertain. We don’t breed in the womb any more, and if we aren’t wanted for sex. . . . But there will always be men” (Winterson 22).
The above quotes are completely anti-humanist statements. The creation of Robo sapiens is dehumanizing and is removing the feelings that are shared between humans. Since they don’t have hearts, they cannot experience love or display feelings that need to be shared and seen between one another. The removal of carrying a child in the womb is anti-humanistic toward women. It is demoralizing because for centuries, that is what women have been praised for and thought to be only good for: reproduction.
This work of fiction is truly imaginative and challenges our imagination. This placement of multiple possibilities is a reflection of the changes that our real Earth and real lives have or will face if we do not to learn from past mistakes. The genetic enhancements are advancements on our modern day plastic surgery. Manfred is fixed as late forties and Pink wants be fixed at the age of twelve to please her husband. This enhancement is on a larger scale than lipo-suction or breast augmentation but with technological advances, this could be our future. The destruction of the dinosaurs on Planet Blue, sounds a lot like the extinction of dinosaur on Earth over 65 million years ago and the after math of World War III kind of plays into Will Smith’s movie “I, Robot” with the creation of the first Robo sapiens.
Thinking long and hard, this ideology or fictional world doesn’t seem so far-fetched. If you think to the conversations between Spike, Billie, Pink and Handsome on the flight to Planet Blue, they discuss the “White Planet” and how Handsome says that “The white planet was a world like ours” (Winterson 56). Could this be true for Earth as well? We destroyed our planet, millions of years ago, and moved or relocated to Earth to start anew and are repeating history again and again. Think about it!