For the last poem in my series, I chose to write about nature. And more specifically the moon. From this article, I learned about an ancient legend originating in India which talks about how “CHON and KAN, or KAM, the Moon and Sun, which is confirmed by another gypsy legend which declares that the Sun, because he once violated or still seeks to seduce his sister, the Moon, continually follows her, being destined to wander for ever.” I also learned that if a gypsy woman is with child, she will try not to leave her tent in the moonlight. The moon is also believed to be connected with agriculture, productiveness, and fertility. I used this information about the moon to inspire my poem. It is about three different people in Romani culture who all have different wants and needs in life and different personalities.
Proverbs reflect the Romani worldview by providing wisdom in code and rules of Roma social behavior that has been passed down from generation to generation. I believe the purpose of the proverbs are to give the reader guidance and wisdom. It is also a fun way to remember something rather than just literally saying it. The proverb that I chose is “What a year may not bring, an hour might” (we never know when something wished for could materialize, it is all up to fate). I chose this proverb because I firmly believe in this. I believe that when you are actively seeking out something or someone, most of the time you do not find it. I find that I’ve come across the greatest things in life when I was not expecting it. This proverb inspired me to write a love poem about my x-boyfriend. I met him in the most unusual way when I was not looking for a relationship at all and it ended up being one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
For my painting, I chose Lita Cabellut’s painting which is called Frida 20. In this painting, the artist uses value (which is variations between light and dark) and color. She does this by using the colors of pink, purple, black, white, tan, and brown. These colors emphasize contrast and make certain things, like the girl’s head band and shirt stand out. Texture is also used in this painting. The woman’s hair, clothes, and hands appear to be smooth while her face seems to be hard and rough. The patterns in the painting are long strokes everywhere except for the face. The face looks like there was no pattern intended. It seems to be messy and thrown together randomly. The effects of the artist painting in this way seems to make the viewer pay more attention to the woman’s clothes rather than her face. One is automatically attracted to the brighter colors rather than the dull colors. I believe that the painting depicts a woman thinking since her hand is pressed up to lip almost as if she is thinking about what to say in response to something. But yet, her face is blurred out so either the artist may be trying to convey that what she has to say is not important or that all women are essentially the same and that she wants the painting to be relatable to every woman. I believe the symbol that this paining is trying to convey is that women should be seen and not heard. I believe the painting is conveying that women are not supposed to think and if they do it is not important. They should only be an object to be looked at. For my poem, I am going to write about someone who does not have a voice but wants to speak out. I want to write about this because this is the message that I received from this painting.
The poem which I chose to analyze is called “The apparition of Choxani” by Luminita Mihai Cioba (Romania) on page 116 of The Roads of Roma. In this poem the narrator is talking about a girl he met one night. He describes how she holds a flower in her teeth and compares her to a goddess. She is also described as being really sad. The girl and him are in love but then some how she dissapears and does not return. The narrator then says that without her, he might as well be dead. The main metaphor of this poem is that the narrator may be straying away from Romani culture although he may long to be apart of it. I think this is correct due to the definition of part of the title of the poem which is Choxani. Choxani is also the girl he loves, and is a witch who brings retribution to those who stray away from Romani culture. The poetic techniques the poet uses in this poem are metaphors and similies. For example, he says “she was light”. He is comparing her to a positive image. An example of a similie would be “coursing through my body like a great river”. In this sentence he is comparing his steady feeling of death to the steady flow of a river. The effects of these techniques allow the reader to better understand what the narrator is trying to say. The author uses the sensory descriptions of sight, taste, and touch. He uses sight by describing the scenery and describing the girl. He uses taste when describing death, and touch when describing what her hands and lips felt like on his skin. The tone of the poem is longing and bewilderment. The narrator longs to find his love again but also has no idea where she disappeared to why she left. There is a cultural reference to Choxani who is a witch who brings retribution to those who stray away from the Romani culture. The word ‘kamavtu’ is also used which means I love you in the Romani language.
In the Disney movie, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, one scene where gypsy men in particular seem to be very violent is when Captain Phoebes and the bell ringer Quazzi Motto try to go to the court of Miracles to search for Esmeralda, but are captured by many gypsy men instead. In this scene the characters are acting as necessarily gypsy. Meaning that their stereotypes go along with their role in the film of being violent. Automatically without question, the gypsies tie Quazzi Moto and Phoebes up and seem to threaten them with hanging. Ian Hancock notes in his artcile “Gypsy Mafia, Romani Saint: The Racial Profiling of Romani Americans” that this “situation rests on a pattern of inherited treatment and attitudes that have become fixed over time, and on the vague understanding of what the perception of “Gypsy” identity actually is on the part of the law enforcement body, which has resulted in the racial animus/targeting exhibited in this case.” By only watching this one scene, the viewer would automatically assume that the gypsies were being violent for no reason against these innocent people. Only with the back story can the viewers know that the gypsies have to act this way because they can not trust anyone who enters their home because they are afraid of it being destroyed by non-gypsy people. From the trailer of Jackson Katz’s documentary Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity, he says “manhood is defined as connected with dominance, power, and control.” In order to intimidate the intruders, the gypsies ambush them, tie them up, show knives, and sentence them to hanging without allowing them to explain. By doing this, they show their dominance over the intruders to instill fear into them.
The clip of a sexualized representation of a Romani woman that I chose is from the movie The Hunch Back of Notre Dame. In this scene, a female gypsy named Esmerelda performs a sensual dance while many men look upon her. She receives excited looks and hoots and hollers from the men in the crowd. She is being displayed as a sexual object which “is the leit-motiff of erotic spectacle: from pin-ups to strip-tease, from Ziegfeld to Busby Berkely, she holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire” (Mulvery 837). In this clip, Esmerelda is aware of the reaction she is obtaining from the men in the crowd and the power that she holds over them in this moment. She uses her sexuality as a tool to make money in order to improve the quality of her own life. Another way she holds the look of male desire is when she dances up to the Bishop Frolo. At the beginning of the clip, he mentions that he is disgusted with her act of dancing in public but while watching the clip, it is made obvious that he enjoys it. In many ways, men can identify with Frolo who is one of “the main male protagonist, he projects his look on to that of his like, his screen surrogate, so that the power of the male protagonist as he controls events coincides with the active power of the erotic look” (Mulvae 838). Esmerelda plays to his sexual desire by wrapping her scarf around his neck and then hitting him in the head almost to remind him that she is unattainable. Another way in which she signifies male desire is by doing a pole dance. She takes a spear from one of the guards in the crowd, a very masculine object, and throws it into the middle of the stage. She then spins herself around the pole. By doing this, she is being a tease to the men. She also winks which is another provocative way to obtain attention from the opposite sex.