Robert Johnson Was Known As Robert Spencer Essay Example

Robert Johnson.

            Robert Johnson was an American artist born in Hazlehurst in 8th of May, 1911 to Noah Johnson and Julia Major Dodds and his career ended in 16th August when he died. He was specifically known for singing American blues. He was a man who possessed great skills in the art of music something that made him a blues virtuoso. Music was his long time ambition and at first he became interested in playing musical instruments such as harmonica and harp before focusing more on the guitar. His remarkable skills in music are portrayed in his elaborate style of writing music. The manner and the pattern he used in playing guitar something that greatly influenced other musicians who emerged after his era. This research paper is mainly going to look at what unique that Robert Johnson added in the blues’ musical scene.

            Originally Robert Johnson was known as Robert Spencer but he dropped Spencer and took his father’s name Johnson. He had a difficult childhood in that his family was not stable and kept on migrating from one region to the other in the South. It is while in Memphis that his music interest started taking its shape when his older half brother taught him how to play the harmonica and the Jew’s harp[1]. His music career not developed because of the effort that he received from his family but because of the appreciation that people showed towards his music. In fact his stepfather unlike his half-brother was unsupportive and somehow discouraged him but he would instead sneak out and go to the streets to play his new music to his colleagues. “Robert Johnson was a brilliant, tortured musician whose intensity and passion for the blues has never been matched. He was an innovator of extreme significance, and his influence on all of blues music is immeasurable”[2]. He had the capacity to play the songs that people in the streets requested even though they were not his own compilations. By doing this, he earned his living in that he would get a lot of tips from people who wanted him to play the songs they requested[3].

            Though short-lived, Robert Johnson is the most celebrated blues artist in America. He is a legendary who bridged the gap between the Mississippi’s country blues with the modern post Second World War era’s city blues and is thus considered as the father of the Delta blues. Most of his predecessors such as Son House and Charlie Patton used to play what was known as the country blues[4]. These were the kind of songs that in most cases reflected the South’s life experiences and particularly after the emancipation period. At this time, these artists would move from community to community expressing their feelings in songs about problems in their lives, about love, about sex and also about freedom. With time, country blues gave birth into another blues genre referred to as the classic blues. This transformation was largely due to the migration of many people from rural areas to urban centers thereby turning this music into an urban thing. After the World War II, blues even took a more different twist as it moved into big cities like Chicago. Technology also ventured in where the music played on the guitar would be amplified and would use drums more with the emergence of artists like Muddy waters and Buddy Guy[5]. Johnson’s strong interest in blues music was not deterred by the fact that the Mississippi community detested this music genre in that they believed that it had a devilish character. These people believed that blues artists would  go under the cover of the moon to meet Satan so that their guitars would be fine tuned, become famous, win women and make easy money in exchange of their souls[6]. Although information about the life of Johnson is scanty, the little that is available shows that at first other bluesmen would not agree to share with him the same stage as he was poor but due to his relentless effort and his undying enthusiasm to be like them, he was able to master the art of playing the guitar within a very short time something that astonished his critics. It is due to his quick mastery of the guitar that some tended to believe that he also followed the same path by going to a crossroad somewhere around the Dockery’s plantation for the fine tuning of his guitar “Seemingly overnight, Johnson had gone from fledgling bluesman to guitar genius, which fueled rumors about a supposed deal at the crossroads…[7]” It is presumed that here he met the devil who fine-tuned his guitar.

            Just like it was the case with other artists to have been influenced by other artists, the case was the same with Johnson whose music influence came from blues artists such as Son House, Willie Brown and Charley Patton. Johnson also influenced artists like the Allman brothers and Keith Richard who in particular said that he would hear the sounds of two guitars only to understand later that all was from that one guitar. His unique music style has found its way into the modern blues and rock music through the works of other artists such as Elmore James, John Hammond, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zippelin[8].

            Charley Patton who was one of the greatest Delta singers and whose influence on Johnson cannot be measured is believed to be the one who set the blueprint for how the life of bluesmen should be and if this is the case, then it is Johnson himself who put life into the plan. Johnson’s music simply talked about the life he had gone through in fact it comprised of bits he collected from his adventures.  By putting these bits together, he was able to come up with beautiful blues songs such as ‘I Believe I’ll Dust my Broom’, ‘Crossroad Blues’, ‘Terraplane Blues’ and Come in my Kitchen’ in 1936[9].

            Below are some of Robert Johnson’s Albums: Crossroad Blues and the King of Delta Blues, Back to the Crossroads: The Roots of Robert Johnson, the Road to Robert Johnson and the Hellhound on my Trial accessed at

            Johnson is known for his unique style of playing guitar even while making his recordings. It is through his frequent visits he made to the Delta that he picked some rhythmic and melodic ideas form other bluesmen and with this help he came to be acquainted with a unique style of playing and tuning his guitar, a method that was unfamiliar to what other Robinsonville associates did[10]. Sources available show that he would play his guitar while facing on the wall something that left many baffled. His behavior was often misinterpreted with some thinking that he was doing so to protect his style from being copied by his competitors while others thought that he was doing to hide his shy face. When some persistent inquiries about why he did so were made, it is said that sometimes he would simply walk away for days or even months. His friends say that he would wake up at night to pick his guitar and he would do it silently. If they happened to wake up he would quickly stop playing, probably to protect his unique style[11].

            It is claimed that the note selections and chordal movements that Johnson made are impossible to achieve if you possess normal size fingers. Those who hold this belief point the fact that Johnson had extraordinarily big fingers that enabled him to do so.  Through his ingenuity, he was able to introduce new playing tactics in blues for example, the introduction of walking bass notes into the music something that left many puzzled over where he learnt this style. Much of the credit as far the evolvement of the blues into what it has become goes to Robert Johnson. It is through his unique method of playing guitar that other artists such as Elvis Presley and Rolling Stones were able to come up with even more complicated playing style leading to the emergence of another music genre known as the hard rock[12].

            Robert Johnson is one of the American historic figures whose memory will remain green in people’s minds forever. He is particularly remembered for his outstanding skills in playing the guitar. He had a very unique way of doing it something that left many amazed. Many did not get a chance to know how he did it because while performing he would pick his guitar while facing the wall. People could not understand why he did so but some thought it was because of his shyness while others thought it was his way of protecting his unique guitar playing style. He set a stage for other music genres such as the hard rock something that exhibited his influence.

                        Works Cited.

Dicaire D. Blues Singers. Biographies of 50 legendary artists of the early 20th century. McFarland. 1999. The History of Blues guitar, 2004. Retrieved at

Rock and Roll Hall of fame + Museum. Robert Johnson. 1986. Accessed at    

Schroeder, Patricia. Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American     Culture. University of Illinois Press, 2004.

[1] Rock and Roll Hall of fame + Museum. Robert Johnson. 1986. Accessed at      

[2] Dicaire D. Blues Singers. Biographies of 50 legendary artists of the early 20th century.  McFarland. 1999;  27.

[3] Ibid 25

[4] The History of Blues guitar, 2004. Retrieved at

[5] Rock and Roll Hall of fame + Museum. Robert Johnson. 1986. Accessed at       

[6] Schroeder, Patricia. Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American Culture. University of Illinois                Press, 2004; 25

[7] Dicaire D. Blues Singers. Biographies of 50 legendary artists of the early 20th century.  McFarland. 1999; 27.

[8] The History of Blues guitar, 2004. Retrieved at

[9] Dicaire D. Blues Singers. Biographies of 50 legendary artists of the early 20th century.  McFarland. 1999; 27

[10] Rock and Roll Hall of fame + Museum. Robert Johnson. 1986. Accessed at     

[11] Schroeder, Patricia. Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American                Culture. University of           Illinois Press, 2004; 28

[12] Ibid; 29

The Theme Of The Double In Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson’s book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the most famous pieces of literature concerned with the theme of the double. The answer to the riddle proposed by the story is only given at the end of the narration when the strange experiments of the scientist Dr. Jekyll are revealed. At first, the reader is confronted with two characters that seem to be mysteriously related in the story: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, who are visibly connected only through the will left by the former in the possession of Mr. Utterson, through which the entire fortune of Dr Jekyll is supposed to pass over Mr. Hyde, in case of the doctor’s death or ‘disappearance.’ As it shall be seen, Stevenson constructs his story starting from the medical contemporary research regarding the duality of the human brain. However, what is important is that the author rejects the objective voice of science and focuses on the metaphysical implications of man’s double nature. The story thus emphasizes the implications of the medical theory on the spirituality of man, who is torn between two opposed aspects of his personality.

Therefore, as critics have observed, Stevenson builds on the scientific theories and medical evidence of his own time, regarding the dual nature of the human brain. According to Anne Stiles, the Victorian scientists believed that the left and right hemispheres could function independently, each having opposed functions, as the seat of reason and that of emotion respectively: “Variant versions of the dual-brain theory circulating during the nineteenth century posited that the left and right hemispheres of the brain could function independently….The left brain was seen as the logical seat of reason and linguistic ability, contrasting with the emotional right brain.”(Stiles 887) Starting from the medical evidence, Stevenson interprets through the story the complex consequences of this condition on the spirituality of man. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are a drastic representation of this mental split with the resulting moral imbalance: “This drastic mental split has moral consequences for Stevenson’s dual protagonist, ones that reflect contemporary theological debate surrounding the dual-brain theory. More than one Victorian scientist had been struck by the possibility that ‘so far as the brain represents it, the soul must be double.’”(Stiles 888) Kevin Mills also argues that Stevenson’s story is a musing on self-alienation and the schizophrenic split of the human mind in two separate and independent compartments: “Here emerges a sense of change that defies the very idea of subjective continuity; a kind of auto-alienation is implied by which the self is turned into another, a disguised other, the strangest other of all.”(Mills 340) The self is therefore based on an inner conflict, a fragile unity that can be destroyed at any time.

The story can be read as a detective inquiry up to some point, as the thread that connects the events is the mysterious will with its strange specification about doctor Jekyll’s disappearance, instead of death, which already makes the reader aware of the existence of a mystery. The very idea of disappearance suggests a shift into the uncommon, as the material, rational world does not allow for disappearances but only for transformation and death. Actually even this very word “disappearance”, which is so much insisted upon in the story, is a hint at the main theme of the book: appearances and duality. In the posthumous letter left by Dr. Jekyll, the explanation of the mysterious presence of Mr. Hyde is finally given: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are in fact one and the same person, or more exactly the antagonist sides of the same personality: the good and respectful side is incorporated into Doctor Jekyll, while the evil and demonic part is represented by Mr. Hyde, who seems to be nothing else but the result of a ‘magic’ potion created by Dr. Jekyll during his experiments. Thus, on the one hand, the dual nature of human kind is skillfully and completely separated by Stevenson, according to the scientific theory circulating in the nineteenth century : “I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two.” (Stevenson 12) The implications of this conclusion are, as Stevenson shows them to be, extremely large. Man is inherently divided into two different sides of his own self: the good and the evil. What is more, the division seems to offer an explanation for the clinical cases where one of the two sides of the same character takes precedence over the other, thus resulting in an mental disorder. Kevin Mills thus notes that the coexistence of these two fundamentally opposed tendencies of the human mind results in a conflict, with each of the two separate parts longing for independence and liberation from the unity:  “There are repeated suggestions that Jekyll views his alter ego as enjoying an unprecedented freedom in his separation from the unified being. Not only is the drug characterized as a means of escape from the prison house of the compound disposition, but its effects are also the reduction of inhibition… producing what Jekyll depicts as freedom without innocence.”(Mills 342) The two parts of the same self tend towards division, thus splitting the union and becoming different manifestations of the same personality.

A human being is made essentially of good and evil, but Mr. Hyde is all evil, and entirely divided from his good part, Dr. Jekyll. In this manner, the author develops a critique of the metaphysics of appearance, the two individual separate appearances being rooted in the same personality and the same mind. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are two physical entities, that cannot coexist, and that fantastically transform from one into another by the secret potion prepared by Dr. Jekyll during his experiments. Thus, the appearance of the character is associated with very different personalities and social entities: Dr. Jekyll is the respected and trusted doctor, while Mr. Hyde is a very mysterious and controversial character that always incurs the displeasure and even repugnance of the people who see him, not only through his acts but actually from his very appearance that has a very strong impact on the people he meets: “He is not easy to describe.  There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something down-right detestable.  I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why.  He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point.  He’s an extraordinary looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way. “(Stevenson 53) Dr. Jekyll represents human reason and therefore the seat of morality, whereas Hyde is, as the name implies it, the obscure side of the human mind, the locus of impulses and emotion. The fact that Jekyll is a scientist is all the more ironic, as Stevenson proposes this imbalance is inherent even in the most respectable members of society.

            Mr. Hyde’s appearance in itself is what disturbs the other members of society, and, moreover, Stevenson himself accounts for this appearance by explaining that this particular physical form was the result of the moral and spiritual features that were divided from Dr. Jekyll and  incorporated themselves in another human form -that of Mr. Hyde:

“The evil side of my nature, to which I had now transferred the stamping efficacy, was less robust and less developed than the good which I had just deposed.  Again, in the course of my life, which had been, after all, nine tenths a life of effort, virtue and control, it had been much less exercised and much less exhausted.  And hence, as I think, it came about that Edward Hyde was so much smaller, slighter and younger than Henry Jekyll.” (Stevenson 55)

            Thus, a metaphysics of appearance develops: the two different physical forms are in fact the manifestations of the duality of human nature, each corresponding to two different spiritual entities. The physical appearance and the spiritual form are always related: the evil is given a specific form, and society always interprets as such in that particular form. The physical but unreal shape of Mr. Hyde becomes a symbol for evil and crime, and on the other hand, the physical form of Dr. Jekyll is not responsible for Hyde’s wickedness. Thus, Stevenson shows the way society always attributes specific forms to transcendental meanings, and this is also symbolized in the story through the mirror, another form of reflecting the appearances, beyond which lies the “hidden” (the pun of Hyde’s name) nature of things.

Works Cited:

Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, New York: Viking Penguin, 2002

Mills, Kevin. “The Stain on the Mirror: Pauline Reflections in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Christianity and Literature. 53 (3). 2004. 337-347

Stiles, Anne. “Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde and the double brain.” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 46 (4).2006. 879-899

Mughal Architecture

In India many types of architectural styles were seen . Mughal architecture is one of most famous architectural style. Mughal architecture an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture, is the distinctive style developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Babur (1526-30 A. D. ), the founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, also made a modest beginning of the architectural style which was later developed, on a massive scale, by his grandson Akbar (1556-1605) and Akbar’s grandson Shah Jehan (1628-58).

Mughal architecture is mainly made out of red stone or white marble. It is symmetrical and decorative in style. mughal architecture is famous for minarates ,domes, intricate jaliwork, the big courtyards, the fountains. The dome is a special feature of mughal architecture. Muslim people come together and pray together so they need large space for that, flat roof can’t provide those kind of large closed space. dome provide large space which they need. dome echo’s the sound of pray. The dome is symmetrical ,very well heighted ,carved and painted out to perfection and thus enhances the look of the entire structure.

Jaali work is another famous architectural feature of this kind of architecture. These jaalis were used for ventilation purposes and because of the small voids in the jaalis air flow was tremendous and hence the rooms were ventilated for entire time. the jaalis are again carved with different patterns, There are patterns like the floral pattern. Symmetrical shaped jaalis etc. These jaalis were mainly seen in the rooms of the king, queen etc. The jaalis were also kept for women who use to attend the daily meet but because of being women they couldn’t go in public and hence use to watch through jaalis.

The fountains or water ponds were present in almost all the buildings under mughal architecture. main function of water bodies ,is cooling the air travelling over it. The entrance of the structures were decorated with lots of trees and water bodies thus beautifying the structure and giving it a more splendid look. The mughals were huge lovers of floral gardens and thus in each and every structure they had a garden with lots and lots of flowers. they used these gardens for leisure. these landscape enhances the beauty of structure. also big courtyards are the part of mughal architecture . hey use these courtyards as their meeting place. minarets are other features of mughal architecture. huge towers to keep a eye on intruders. These towers were also placed symmetrically. The towers were also used for making announcements like to call people for the prayers or a meetings. these minarets are carved and have small domes top of it. Mughal architecture was all based on symmetry and carvings. they are used to create carved bands of different floral pattern, animals. Through their carvings they use to tell some story of the past heroes who fought for them etc. The floral patterns were the key patterns used for carvings.

The inside part of the domes were carved with such patterns thus making the structure look different from other forms of architecture. also the coloums are carved with stories and intricate work. large openings of structures with heighted arches shows the grandness of mughal architecture. The white marble or the red stone as we see was extensively used as these were the stones that were symbol of wealth. these stone is available in that locality. The big biog structures like the taj mahal Or the red fort were completely built by these stones. The white colour of taj mahal is the key feature of the structure.

All mughal structures are spread across large areas. like taj mahal ,fatehpur sikri, red fort. all these structures are famous for mughal architectural features. these structures have almost all features like gardens and water bodies surrounded by structures, minarets, domes, jalli works . Thus mughal architecture should be studied to know what exactly symmetry means and hw do their domes, jaalis correspond to their form of architecture, this form of architecture has a great impact on the other types of architecture in India and the word symmetry has made a new stand in the books of architecture because of such buildings.