English I

Respond to the question presented by the poet.
"..if there were a fire in a museum which would you save, a Rembrandt painting or an old woman who hadn't many years left anyhow?" Explain your answer.
"Ethics"
In ethics class so many years ago

our teacher asked this question every fall:

If there were a fire in a museum

which would you save, a Rembrandt painting

or an old woman who hadn't many

years left anyhow? Restless on hard chairs

caring little for pictures or old age

we'd opt one year for life, the next for art

and always half-heartedly. Sometimes

the woman borrowed my grandmother's face

leaving her usual kitchen to wander

some drafty, half imagined museum.

One year, feeling clever, I replied

why not let the woman decide herself?

Linda, the teacher would report, eschews

the burdens of responsibility.

This fall in a real museum I stand

before a real Rembrandt, old woman,

or nearly so, myself. The colors

within this frame are darker than autumn,

darker even than winter—the browns of earth,

though earth's most radiant elements burn

through the canvas. I know now that woman

and painting and season are almost one

and all beyond saving by children.

My answer is that I would save the old woman because just because she may not have many years to live, the painting could be painting again and have it look the same. Do you think my answer is good enough? Which one whould you choose?

  1. 👍
  2. 👎
  3. 👁
  1. I would clarify your reasoning by saying that the old woman is a living being and therefore more worth saving than an inanimate object.

    1. 👍
    2. 👎
  2. I think I would rescue the painting. It will last for centuries, an infinite gift and learning for generations. The old lady is finite and although human and may still be able to be a gift, will not last.

    1. 👍
    2. 👎

Respond to this Question

First Name

Your Response

Similar Questions

  1. English

    I don't really understand this question and, I know you said to other people go look at the other exact same question but they don't really help and I don't want to get a B in ELA. I don't want the answer, I just need help on the

  2. Physics Projectile motion

    A building’s 10th floor (34.5 m high) is blazing with fire. A fire truck arrived at the scene and the fire men shoots water from their hose. The water leaves the hose at the speed of 29 m/s, at an angle of 63° and is held at

  3. Language Arts

    23. Respond in a paragraph. Answer is written in complete sentences. Compare the poems by Szymborska and Milosz read over the course of this unit. All are important twentieth century writers addressing a similar theme: death.

  4. math

    the art museum charges an initial membership fee of $50.00. for each visit the museum charges $15.00. Write a function f(x) for the total amount charged for x trips to the museum.

  1. Math Word Problem

    A museum charges ​$13.50 for a​ one-day youth admission and ​$16.50 for a​ one-day adult admission. One​ Friday, the museum collected ​$1581 from a total of 110 youths and adults. How many admissions of each type

  2. English

    Which best describes the main idea of The Great Fire? The great fire was caused by people's carelessness and firefighters errors The inquiry into the spread of the great fire determined that it was caused by a single key mistake

  3. analytic geometry

    A forest ranger in a 120ft observation tower sees a fire. The angle of depression to the fire is 3.5. What is the horizontal distance between the tower and the fire

  4. Social Studies

    Which statement best describes how slavery was presented in Uncle Tom's Cabin? a. slavery was presented as a political problem for Congress to solve b. slavery was presented as an economical requirement for the South c. slavery

  1. English

    23. Respond in a paragraph. Answer is written in complete sentences. Compare the poems by Szymborska and Milosz read over the course of this unit. All are important twentieth century writers addressing a similar theme: death.

  2. English

    Which of the following sentences is an example of a complex sentence? A Ian and Charlotte worked and saved enough for a trip to Scotland. B Originally, they wanted to ride bikes all the way, but they decided to take the train

  3. math

    admission to a local art museum is $8 for each adult. How much does it cost for 4 adults to attend the museum.

  4. ela

    Which statement best explains the central idea of this stanza? The poet has something to hide. The poet identifies with private people. The poet is afraid of authority figures. The poet seeks fame and recognition.

You can view more similar questions or ask a new question.