Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learning Adventure 4


Sorry for being less active than normal. Aside from jetlag, the net access in Australia gets worse over time. There are serious bandwidth issues and ISPs are raising prices and metering use. Access in the hotel room where I am costs $27.50/day and if you use more than 50mb of downloads, the service will slow even more than it is. I'm currently using HPs in the hotel business center which sound like a 747 landing.

So, Learning Adventure #4 involves many of the issues and controversies regarding the World Wide Web. It plays to the humanities side of the cadre. Part 1 will take 4 days or so followed by a part 2.

Using the Web, Google Groups and any other resources or prior experience, answer the following question:

Is Ned Kelly a hero?

Feel free to debate, but as always be mindful of your thinking and keep track of your learning process.

Day One:
Here is a link to the letter he wrote , 56 pages , actually advocating for what he was trying to do.

Day Two:
As I am reading through Ned Kelly's letter I am learning a considerable amount about the man, his perspectives and his impressions of the law. It seems that no matter what he does (borrowing a neighbor's horse and not letting them know about it, attacking a officer of the law (but he didn't kill him- that is his excuse because he could have), he always seems to think he errs on the right side of the law.

Much of what I have read so far reminds me of our cheers for the bad guys we love to hate. It is like watching what the RoadRunner does to Wyle E Coyote. You want the RoadRunner to get caught, but you love watching him torment the coyote.

I am also fascinated by Ned's level of vocabulary and descriptive nature to his writing. One would think that an outlaw would not be that well educated, and yet this man is impressive comsidering the background I attributed to him.

I can't say yet whether I would consider him a hero, can you claim someone is a hero who defies the law? Robinhood? Braveheart? Gladiator? George Washington? Martin Luther King? Rosa Parks? Hmmm.....

Day Three:
'If my lips teach the public that men are made mad by bad treatment, and if the police are taught that they may not exasperate to madness men they persecute and ill-treat, my life will not entirely be thrown away.'- Ned Kelly

I think this speaks volumes about Ned Kelly and his claims for innocence. Throughout my reading of the letters Kelly wrote, although well written and descriptive, Kelly lays no claims to him being at fault. I think most of his life was lived at the expense of others. There was no sacrifice for the greater good. I made many connections to characters in literature whom are deemed heroic by actions, but in the end, their downfall was a tragic flaw: ambition, pride, revenge. Like Hamlet, Kelly was bent on revenge for both his family and his name. Macbeth draws another connection to Kelly in their pursuits to challenge the hierarchical system of government. Macbeth’s pursuits were ambitious leading to the deaths of not only himself, but all of his family. Although Kelly perished before his mother, he also lost everything (except maybe not his reputation?). Oedipus draws another connection to Kelly for his refusal to see the truth about himself. I guess although one can make the argument that he started the movement for Austrailian nationalism, I think he wouldn’t give himself credit for it. I think instead, he would say that he would rather place himself King of the Bushrangers. He then would only have to answer to himself. So, no, I do not think he is a hero.

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