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February 27, 2006

Portfolio #1

Portfolio 1 (100pts) -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)


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Article: Kinghorn -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

CLAIM: "The entire spectacle is bathed in eroticism."

Caesar notes that the dead Cleopatra looks as though she were asleep and could still rouse male desire.
"The Clown makes a crude sexual reference to a woman a 'a dish for the gods, if the devil dress her not'"
'The stroke of death', which Cleopatra likens to 'a lover's pinch/Which hurts and is desir'd' is another, interpretable as a delforation symbol."

WARRANT: Cleopatra is a symbol of sex even as she lies on the floor, dead, yet still rousing male desire and attention. It reminds me a little of Marilyn Monroe. It seemed like even thought Cleo was the queen of Egypt, she still had very little respect from men and even herself. These guys are checking her out when she's dead and she even compares the asps to having sex. The Clown says she's this big dish for the gods, if the devil didn't get to her first. SICK! It seems like no one here cares about this woman dying, but only how good she looks.

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February 24, 2006

Blank Verse Blog Entry

Ex 1-4c: A Clever Blank-Verse Entry on Your Blog (10pts) -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

The sun shines brightly through my room so clear
The breeze is swift the birds are chirping loud
I suppose Spring is coming quickly but...
I sit here in this stuffy room so sad.
I wish I were out running through grass fields
Or having catches with Denamarie
Instead I'm blogging about blank verse now
And wishing I was anywhere but here.
Does blank verse have a name? Or would he like
To catch a ball outside with us today?
Are picnics something he would like to do?
Or will he want to blog with Jerz all day?
I'd hope to think he'd want to play with me,
'Cause blogging is just not fun on Fridays.

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February 20, 2006

Short Story

The Tourist
Despite the early morning hour, it was already approaching eighty degrees. It felt as if an air-tight jar encircled Seven Mile Island making the air so thick one almost had to chew it. Spooners would be opening in a matter of minutes, but the hot briny air stirred up by the swaying ceiling fans would not draw any islanders seeking air-conditioned comfort ambling down Dune Drive. Maggie Dawson relaxed on a stool with careful conscience to the locations of her boss, Mimi, a plump, bitter woman. Rolling her eyes, she thought, “She has eyes in the back of her head”, and fanned herself with a menu that was half as old as the restaurant and just as sticky.
That was how much of the charming island of Avalon was: battered, but loved, and old-fashioned. No, this was not an island of highways, guard rails, or noisy traffic. It was not a town filled with crime or stress. It was one of the few civilized places left in this busy world that had escaped the spread of infectious chain restaurants. This was a town where kids rode robin-egg-blue bicycles to dusty ball fields and people walking or blading always outnumbered the cars.
Yes, this was typical seaside living, alright. The sandy streets, familiar gull cries, seafood markets, and ice cream parlors defined the only home Maggie ever knew.
The late-August sun poured onto her lap. She almost forgot this was her last day at Spooners. This was also her last week in Avalon, for in a week she would pack and move her life to Boston where she would be attending her dream college, Emerson. This was what she had always wanted, right?
The time-warped screen door banged shut interrupting Maggie’s thoughts. She arose and picked up her pad and pen from the checkered countertop. Leaving home and seeing the world was what she dreamed about since she was a little girl and in a week she would finally be doing it. Smiling, she approached the family of four who had chosen a booth by the windows.
They were decked out in Avalon tees, hats, and of course the typical tourists’ necessity: fanny packs. Being a local all her life, these sort of people normally bothered her; however, she found this particular family adorable. Maggie could tell right away they were friendly new-comers. Maggie smiled brightly as she bragged of Sylvester’s Seafood, Beaches Eatery, and Isabel’s Ice Cream Parlor – not only restaurants, but the familiar faces she had grown up around.
And then it hit her, completely blind siding her while in the middle of boasting about how good Sunday specials were at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. Here she was, eighteen, about to embark on a journey that required her to pack everything she’s ever owned into the cramped trunk of her car and drive hundreds of miles north to an unfamiliar town to begin an unfamiliar life.
The family of four noticed Maggie had suddenly zoned out. Excusing herself, she pushed through the swinging doors and into the stifling kitchen. Sitting on the cool, familiar tile floor of Spooners, the realization that everything she ever knew was about to change was unbearable. College was now the enemy. The mere idea of starting a new life churned her up like a wave does a child caught in the tide. It twisted and battered her onto the solid sand completely at its mercy.
She suddenly remembered her ninth birthday spent by the sea. Images of crushing the day’s sandcastles, running after the ice cream truck’s proverbial tune that would forever be embedded into her memory flooded her memory. It was memories like that she could not pack into her pink suitcases come September. Those were the most important things in her life, but were unable to be carried with her to Boston. They would be forever left among the dunes and the foamy billows and in the future memories of a family of four tourists, unfamiliar to the sounds and the faces of the place Maggie could navigate with her eyes closed.
However, in time the family would come to know. As the couple aged and the children grew, they would come to know the ice cream man’s tune. Over the years, they would come to know old Sylvester himself at his family-owned seafood restaurant. There would be many Sunday mornings spent at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. Years and years will go by, and the family of four will soon fill scrapbooks and photo albums with memories upon memories of vacations on a little island tucked away by the sea called Avalon, that was, at one time, completely alien to them.
Mimi discovered Maggie sitting on the back stoop of the restaurant with her head in her hands, tears streaming down her face wondering how she could have taken advantage of something so special.
“Get out of here, kiddo”, Mimi grumbled. “I doubt we’ll be busy, anyway.” Pausing to look towards the Atlantic, she blinked at the brightness of the day. Although she stunk like grease and syrup, there was comfort in her voice and presence standing over Maggie. “Take a walk down Dune Drive. Go say hello to Sylvester. Grab some chocolate custard and lemonade from the boardwalk. Chase the sandpipers along the shoreline. Watch the sun set over the bay. Home is like graffiti on the heart and soul. You’ll never forget this place”, she murmured, then tipped her head back to drink in the cloudless sky. She chuckled, “Jesus, how could you?” All Maggie could do was smile. She had eyes in the back of her heart.
Maggie stood up, untied her apron, walked through Spooners, and nodded as she strolled out the door at the family of four who had affected her life more than they would ever know. She would be one of the many tourists soon. She would be the one coming back only to visit. Looking around, she realized how precious her memories she made there were. “This island is irreplaceable”, she whispered and smiled, walking away from Spooners for the final time.
Come September, the tourists will pack up their sandy bathing suits, striped beach chairs, a bucket or two of preciously collected shells and sea glass, and countless memories of sandcastles, miniature golf, and breezy nights by the sea. They’ll buckle up sun kissed children clenching souvenirs and containers filled with shiny rocks and hermit crabs from Calypso’s. Weary-eyed twin girls will wave sentimental goodbyes to the island, the sea, the sand, the place that will forever be remembered in their hearts when they think of summers at the shore. Jam-packed minivans and SUVs will cruise down balmy Dune Drive for the final time for a whole year, heading home.
“Home”, Maggie whispered as she took one final glance at Avalon before it faded into the orange ribbon sunset in the rearview mirror. “A place our feet may someday leave, but never our hearts.”

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Blogging Portfolio #1

In this first blogging portfolio for the second semester, I compiled blogs and comments from EL150 Introduction of Literary Study.

Bernice Bobs Her Hair
In this blog, I discussed how Bernice is a "quester".
To Build a Fire
In this entry, I talked about how graphic London described the feelings and setting.
The Machine Stops
In this blog, I talked about how humans need reason in order to obtain happiness.
Three Poems
In this blog, I talked about the poems "Because I Could Not Stop for Death",
"Spring and Fall", and "Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock".
The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock
In this blog, I closely examine several of the lines and stanzas in the poem.
Death Be Not Proud
In this blog, I discuss how death is a natural part of life and should not be feared.
Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds
In this blog, I talk about how love is an extremely big risk, but well worth it in the end.
Coleridge's, "The Raven"
I discussed in this blog how it was odd to have a raven play the part of something so happy. When finished the end of the poem, however, my opinion changed.
Hácová, ''Love, Life and Death in Coleridge's Poem 'The Raven'''
In this blog, I talk about how I thought I was confused in the beginning about the choice of birds in the poem.


Bernice Bobs Her Hair
To Build a Fire
The Machine Stops
Coleridge's, "The Raven"
Three Poems
The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock
Death Be Not Proud
Let me Not to the Marriage of True Minds
Hácová, ''Love, Life and Death in Coleridge's Poem 'The Raven'''

The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock
In this blog, I analyzed stanzas and lines in Eliot's poem.
Three Poems
I analyzed "Because I Could Not Stop for Death","Spring and Fall", and "Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock".
Let me Not to the Marriage of True Minds
I discussed how love should not be brief. "Til death do us part" should be taken literally.

Bernice Bobs Her Hair
This blog of mine had conversation had Dena, Kevin, and I.
Comment on Dena's Blog
talking about how Bernice should have continued to act like herself like she did in the beginning of the story.
Comment on Dena's blog
about how much it disgusts me to think about someday living like those in "The Machine Stops"
Comment on Elyse's Blog
reguarding Hácová, ''Love, Life and Death in Coleridge's Poem 'The Raven'''
Comment on Dena's Blog
reguarding Hácová, ''Love, Life and Death in Coleridge's Poem 'The Raven'''
Comment on Andy's Blog
reguarding Hácová, ''Love, Life and Death in Coleridge's Poem 'The Raven'''
Discussion on "Let me Not to the Marriage of True Minds"

Conversation with Dena, Kevin, and I
Discussion on "Let me Not to the Marriage of True Minds"


Short Story
Blank Verse

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February 16, 2006

Academic Article

Hácová, ''Love, Life and Death in Coleridge's Poem 'The Raven''' -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

"He changed from the tempory representative of happiness and love to his traditional position: the representative of happiness and love to his traditional position: the representative of death, namely, of death out of revenge."

Normally I find academic articles dry and difficult to read, but this one was quite different than any others I've read in the past. I found it colorful and interesting to read. I thought I understood Coleridge's, "The Raven" pretty well, but it was really expained thouroughly in this academic article.

I really enjoyd the above line because when I was reading the poem I wondered why it was a raven that played the part. I always pictured ravens to symbolize evil and death, and the story was, for the most part, happy and cheerful. I liked how the author said the raven's cheerful personality was just a "temporary respresentative". "The Raven" definitiely made a lot more sense to me after reading this.

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February 14, 2006

Let me Not to the Marriage of True Minds

Sonnets -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

I really enjoyed reading and analyzing this poem.

It is such a simple messge, yet Shakespeare really makes it colorful and interesting.

He explains love as "an ever-fixed mark" and as "the star to every wand'ring bark". Love is not temporary. Once you love, a part of you will always feel the same way. Kind of like, "if you don't love me now, you didn't love me then" sort of thing. It is also something almost everyone seeks in life. Finding one's soulmate is something I would think everyone would desire. I really liked this line:

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

I believe that is so so true. Love is a complete risk. You don't know what will happen months or even years down the road. You don't know if it will ever work out. Maybe it won't. Maybe you'll regret the time you spent together. Or maybe they'll turn out to be the one you spend the rest of your life with. How do we ever really know? We don't. Shakespeare is saying that love and it's worth are completely unknown, but taking the risk is vital.

He also explains how love is, and should not be, brief. When you commit your love to someone it should iterally be until death.

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Death, be not proud

Sonnets -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

Deathe, ne not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;

I liked this poem because it's message is that death is not something to fear. Even the "best men with thee do go". No one is immune to death. It is merely a part of life as natuaral as birth.

I also liked how Donne says we are slaves to things like "fate" and "chance", because I've always been a biggie on fate and whatever is supposed to happen will. Death is something we have no control over whatsoever, so why fear it? And Donne explains how we just "wake eternally" after we die so death really isn't the period at the end of the sentence.

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February 13, 2006

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Eliot, ''The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'' -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

Where to start?

We read this poem last year in AP English and I absolutely loved it. I read it several times, then went back and literally ripped apart every stanza to try and find what everything meant because I think this poem has so much meaning in it's lines.

Unlike Dena and Andy, I believe the title is merely ironic. I do not think this is a love song at all. I think it is a pity poem for Alfred J. Prufrock. He suffers from indecision the entire poem and perhaps even some kind of social anxiety disorder. Does he even leave the room he’s reciting it in?

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains

Wow…that is such a colorful stanza! The description makes you see, smell, hear, and even taste what the atmosphere is like. It is so stagnant and foul, which is a lot like Prufrock. He “[lingers] upon the pools that stand in drains” because he never has the guts to go inside where “the women come and go/Talking of Michelangelo.”

Prufrock is also constantly delaying throughout the entire poem. He’s always saying, “there will be time”, or asking “So how should I presume?” He’s completely trapped himself in the present tense. We never see him actually do anything, only talks and talks about what would happen if he actually did. Tragically, the only thing that does progress in his life is his age. He is evidently withering away as a passionless old man and can do nothing about it.

I grow old…I grow old
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Later when he makes a reference to Hamlet, he compares himself to the “politic, cautious, and meticulous” Polonius. I wondered why he didn’t relate to Hamlet first, who was also very cautious and thought things to a fatal extent.

I thought the poem ends very sadly. Even in the lasts stanzas he still questions himself.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

In my AP English class we discussed how a fuzzy peach was a symbol for marriage (I think) in Chinese was also the symbol for female genitalia. He’s still asking whether or not to approach women or not even in the last lines of the play.

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

When I think of mermaids I think of beauty and youth. I thought this reference to mermaids singing was also ironic. I also found it sad that Prufrock said, “I do not think that they will sing to me”. I think the poem ends perfectly with him drowning in some watery hell.

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The Raven

Coleridge,''The Raven'' -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

I really liked this poem. Even though it was just a raven, I felt really sorry for it. I thought it was neat how he planted the acorn that grew into the oak where his family lived. It made me think about how every action we do directly or indirectly affects another person. I also thought it was interesting that the author picked a raven as the bird. When I looked at the title, I thought the poem was going to be dark and evil; however, as I read through it, I pictured the complete opposite. I wonder why the author didn't choose a dove or any other type of bird.

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February 8, 2006

Three Poems

Poetry Selections -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

First of all, I'd like to give a round of applause to Lonigro who really nailed these poems. I have to admit, I feel a little stupid after reading Andy's in-depth blogs about these poems, and I wish I got as much out of them as he did. I did not, however, but am going to give it a shot at interrpreting them anyhow.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death
I had to read this one slowly over and over again until I got the jist of it.
I think this poem shows the Carriage as life after death. I pictured this Carriage picking up someone who died and riding along this road passing milestones and memories. The first time I read it, I portrayed Death as this evil character dressed in black with dark, dreary scenery surrounding their ride. As I reread it, however, my opinion about him changed dramatically. I now pictured Death as an ordinary man, picking someone up for a carriage ride to look back on their life. Many people seem to really fear death. I do not. After all, death is something as natural as birth and will eventually happen to everyone. Mitch Albom says in his book "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" that the point of afterlife is to have our lives here on earth explained.

I don't know if that is what I was supposed to get out of it, but I'm curious to see what others thought. I felt this poem had a positive feeling about it, did anyone feel it had a negative effect on them?

Spring and Fall
I found this one more difficult to understand.

It seems like this woman, Margaret, is grieving for Goldengrove leaving. Is Goldengrove a woman's name? I was thinking maybe it was like a plant or something.

I liked this line:

Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder

That was the one part that I could really relate to. I know I'm not old or anything, but when comparing my life now to when I was a young child, life is definitely crueler and unsugar-coated now. I can't imagine how different I will look at life twenty or thirty years from now.

At the end of the poem, the speaker tells Margaret it is actually herself that she mourns for, however, I did not understand why she was mourning for herself.

Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock
This one also confused me the first time I read it. I took a friend's advice, however, and read the poem by sentence, not by line, and it actually made a lot more sense to me.

I think what this poem is saying is that the house that is haunted by people in night gowns are all normal. They are not wealthy or high in class. They wear plain white night gowns and do not dream of great things such as "baboons and periwinkles". There is only the drunken sailor "asleep in his boots" who dreams of catching tigers in red weather. I'm not too sure about how to interpret this sailor guy.

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February 7, 2006


'We have indeed advanced, thanks to the Machine,' repeated the attendant, and hid the Himalayas behind a metal blind.

She repeated, 'No ideas here,' and hid Greece behind a metal blind.

This story made me think a lot. I really believe the world will come to this someday, and the idea of never touching people or loving others or talking to people face to face makes me sick.

Although their technology was so advanced, I felt so sorry for them. They did not know love, envy, true happiness, or what their own children were really like. They did not leave those stupid cubicles or experience anything life has to offer. In my Philosophy class today we talked about what humans need in order to achieve happiness. Nutrition, reproduction, society, movement, and REASON were things human beings needed compared to plants and animals who really only need nutrition. We need REASON in order to define our life. Those people in the story simply ate, bathed, and gave or heard lectures every single day of their lives. That is pathetic. They are nothing but vegetables. Why would anyone want to ban emotion, or even pain?

I did not understand why everyone was always looking for "ideas" everywhere. Ideas for what? In the above quote when Vashti closes the metal blinds over an aerial view of Greece is sickening. I can't imagine how beautiful that scene must have been. How could human beings become so advanced they are untouched by beauty?

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February 2, 2006


London, ''To Build a Fire'' (online) -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)


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"His dead fingers would neither touch nor clutch. He was very careful. He drove the thought of his freezing feet, and nose, and cheeks, out of his mind, devoting his whole soul to the matches."

There were times while I was reading London's story, especially towards the end, when I actually cringed at the very thought of being in this man's position. I wouldn't wish being stuck in the artic on anyone, but I think the man was very stupid for going out into the cold. He mentioned earlier it was his first winter. I don't know what he was thinking by traveling alone. In the middle of the story, the man actually got cocky and said the Sulphur Creek man was womanly by being so cautious about the extreme cold.

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