Is she good or bad…

March 28, 2017


Queen of the Night, or Königin der Nacht, is a major character in the Mozart opera called “The Magic Flute” (1791). “The Queen of the Night’s Aria”, “Der Hölle Rache” in act II inspired this drawing by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

In a fantastical world of ferocious serpents and enchanted musical instruments, a noble prince sets out to rescue a beautiful princess and ensure that truth and justice prevail…

A serpent chases young prince Tamino through a valley. He is rendered unconscious, and three ladies kill the snake. Tamino awakens with the assumption that a good natured bird catcher named Papageno killed the snake. Once Papageno takes credit for heroics of the three ladies, they reappear and padlock his lips to prevent further white lies. The ladies show Tamino a portrait of Pamina, the beautiful daughter of their mistress, the Queen of the Night. He is immediately smitten. The ladies inform Tamino that Pamina has been kidnapped by an evil magician named Sarastro. The Queen appears and asks Tamino to rescue Pamina, and he agrees. The ladies free Papageno and give him a magic set of chimes. They also give Tamino a magic flute and send the two off on their mission. Papageno comes across Pamina who is being seduced by her villain captor named Monostatos. Frightened, Monostatos runs off, leaving Papageno to tell Pamina that her rescuer is close. Three boys lead Tamino through Sarastro’s realm. He tries to enter the three temple doors, but is turned away from the first two. At the third door, a priest greets him and informs him that the Queen is evil and that Sarastro was merely trying to prevent Pamina from getting under her mother’s dark influence.

“Der Hölle Rache” Notecard



WHAT ARE SOURCES? WORDS – OBJECTS -IMAGES. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

What is re-search?

Doing research is the process of investigating evidence from the past; it can also involved surfacing and examining memories of individuals who resonate with our own values… or challenge them. Re-searching can be a valuable and transformative experience that compels us to check our own pulse and to be accountable. Detachment allows us to watch events unfold so that we can understand how a community’s character developed. We cannot look at our own past in anger. Our motivation to research directs our energy; questions channeled only with anger do not reveal truth that heals. As a society, we are who we are, and what we are because of events that happened in the past, and understanding the past can help us to develop maps of social justice for the future.

 Where to begin… what is essential

Always begin research with resources that are available. Secondary research materials contain interpretations of evidence can provide essential overviews. Once you have an overview of your topic, you can then go to primary sources: words… objects… images…


It is tempting to rely upon moving images to understand how events unfold, but they rarely tell the entire story. When critically thinking about broadcast news content consider who tells history and who collects history. Research must be comparative; relevance continually shifts in a changing world. Adjacent communities may be operating with and reacting to similar challenges to our own.


A reset, retracing experiences from the past… Values shape the development of society and culture, and these factors change over time. What we care about can change radically, dramatically, and irrevocably with a single event.


Images from button pins to posters to photographs place ideas and events into context.

Power to the People Symbol

“Power to the people” was a powerful symbol of Third World student activism during the late-1960s.


Oriental (of the East) and Occidental (of the West) in a Yin/yang symbol designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

If Asians are called oriental, then Europeans and Westerners can be called occidental. The term “oriental” has been classified as a politically incorrect term for “Asian.” Correct usage of “oriental” has been identified as best used as an adjective for things (inanimate objects) and not human beings. Whereas, the term “Occidental” has been used to refer to Western, as opposite of “oriental.”

In Chinese philosophy, yin-yang (also 陰陽 yīnyáng, or “dark-bright”) describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent within the natural world; they may actually give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Yin-yang perceives components holistically within nature and the environment as with sky and earth, night and day, water and fire, male and female, and active and passive.