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    • POEM: Invictus by William Ernest Henley (8/11/2010 5:24:00 AM)

      Valerie: Wow. Love the passion but logging on here now, really by accident, and noticed there was response to my take on Invictus I was surprised to see the conversation. I’m surprised you would attack someone so quickly, and in a hurtful way, really for no reason. This is not a healthy sign in a person. I did appreciate that you posted another message so thank you and of course apology is accepted, we are only human after all. I am American; in fact I am a Native American living in Seattle, WA working on my Bachelors in Dental Hygiene. I respect and love education so so much and I know the people in my life are tired of listening to my preaching about the value it adds to life, so I was a little hurt by your educated comment. I am 29 years old, single Dad of a 14 year old son named Jordan, student, I am a Server at a Restaurant and my ultimate goal in life is to be a Osteopathic Doctor. I have lived in poverty pretty much my whole life and I work really hard on making a better life for my son and I. My GPA is currently at a 3.8 and I hope to raise it. There is nothing wrong with my interpretation of this wonderful poem. I wrote this as a paper for my English class and got full points! Whoo Woo! My Professor taught our class that interpretation of poetry is never wrong or right because the poem should speak to the individual. This is the reason why poetry transcends generations and speaks to everyone. I mean Henley never wrote anything saying what he was “really” meaning and feeling when he wrote this. The way you see Henley and his poem is not the same as me and that’s okay.

      I will remind you though that the poem originally had no title until Arthur Quiller-Couch put it in the Oxford Book of English Verse of 1900 and titled it himself. Invictus is Latin for unconquered but once again this was a title “someone” else gave the poem based on his “interpretation”. In addition, don’t forget that Henley had a hard life. I believe whole heartedly that he has complete confidence in him self and his destiny in life and that he will be okay in the future but just because Henley wrote “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” does not make this a “happy” poem. It inspires perseverance because of his hardships and our ability to relate to those hardships because of our lack of knowledge of something so painful like Henley’s Tuberculoses or something painful (emotionally or physically) that really happened to us too. Saying that Henley is pessimistic does not demean the poem or the inspiration it gives to people. Now, back to Henley. He had Tuberculoses of the bone and at the age of 25 he had his leg cut off below the knee. Then in 1875 he wrote Invictus after passing the Oxford local examination. He went through a dark time that was hard on him and he made it through that dark time but in order to get the message across he is rather dark in this poem and I believe in its power to inspire but I still think he and his poem are dark. I connect to Henley well because I feel like we are two men living in different times connecting with eachother because of the pain we have both experienced in our lives through his poem Invictus. The one trait we both have is that we are both driven by the hardships in our lives and that why I like Henley so much and for that matter we are both students during the toughest times in our lives which is kind of funny.

      Jack: Thank you Sir. I appreciate your wit and your courteous nature.

      Mindy: Thank you for the support but not sure about learning anything from Valerie. I barely kept my head when I didn’t even know she was alive let alone regular communication. Sorry Valerie, you kind of deserved that one.

      Julia: Spoken like a true lady. Much appreciated and really similar to what my teacher said to me when she returned my paper with full points! ! Lol. Sorry, I was just really happy about that. You will be happy to know our English teacher has her PhD.

      Kathryn: I know exactly what you mean because I learned through my research that Victorian men were men’s men for sure and that’s why the poem is so strong, that’s part of who they were at that time culturally.

      Rev Clyburn: Thank you so much Sir. That meant a lot to me about what you said. I am a Christian and I cant help but speak from the heart. I’m glad you included my paper/this discussion in that Sundays sermon. I will defiantly keep trying to share my thoughts. Good luck to you.

      Talat Islam: Thank you for your kind words. I am happy to read that you found strength through this poem as did I. Thank you for your support. I am rather new at this if you can’t tell.

      Chris: I think you have it right on and what you said reminded me that we are all going to have to experience great pain in our lives from some source as some time so I too will remember this poem in those times.

      Gordon: What you wrote was perfection. Very similar to the true message that Henley was saying. Through your experience you could relate to Henley on a Psychological level literally putting your self in his position and not by choice at that. I’m sorry you had to experience such a painful time. I have no physical aliments myself but have had a lot of abuse as a child so I understand pain. You’re an inspiration your self and I’m glad I can say that to you and I suggest you keep telling people your story.

      Darren: I gain a lot of self confidence from this poem as well. It’s a deep seeded type of confidence from your soul. Something putting an expensive outfit cannot give.