October 31, 2005
Don Quixote and AHF...my thoughts of connection
Getting to last Tuesday's discussion about the relation of Don Quixote and AHF....I did read in depth Don Quixote last year in my Spanish class and I immediately noticed some relationship between the story we are reading now in class (AHF). The characters in DQ believe that books are supposed to only tell the truth, therefore, should have a censorship so they don't corrupt the minds of foolish people, like Don Quixote. He becomes subdued by the books of chilvary and they influence his everyday life, like Tom Sawyer and his books in AHF. The way Tom Sawyer and Don Quijote play out what they read in their books is very similar. No one else seems to understand them, nor do they seem to understand anyone around them. The books for both characters provide sort of a fun outlet and spice to their dull and boring lives. Interesting? uh yeah!
Jim stands out
Well I didn't get quite to the end of Huckleberry Finn yet, but I do have something to say about what I have read thus far. It seems like Huck is seeing Jim more and more like a human, rather than a slave. For example, like when Jim admits to his fault about beating his daughter, I think, it shows he is only human and makes mistakes in which he can forgive himself. Above all, I think the "royalities" that they've picked up make Jim's honest and good character stand out even more to Huck. I feel like Jim is becoming like a role model for Huck. Until I finish the rest of the novel....let me know what you think!
October 27, 2005
This section by David L. Smith was also interesting because it commented on Clemens using the term "nigger" in his writing. I agreed with the author, that even though Jim is often called this, he is portrayed as a knowledgeable and worthy character. He is "shrewd, thoughtful, compassionate, self-sacrificing, and even wise man" (359). I think Clemens was trying to show the humanity also of Jim and his race. It seems Clemens is wants people to understand in a different way, what American racism really is about.
Raft or Shore?
The introduction by Henry Nash Smith was interesting to read because it noted things I have not thought of while reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In particular, the idea that caught my eye started on page 329, where he talks about the raft of Jim and Huck being a sign of "freedom, security, happiness, and harmony" and the society of the towns along the shore demonstrating "vulgarity and malice and fraud and greed". I didn't think of the raft being like a safe zone for Huck and Jim because it kept them always moving and in a reasonable distance from the shore. It was also interesting he talked about how Huck is drawn to the shore repeatedly and also repeatedly is drawn back to the raft (329). I think Huck is torn between the two and can't decide what he likes better, the shore where there is structure and there are people who will take care of him, or living in the wild on the raft where there is freedom with Jim.
October 23, 2005
Hurray for Huck!
"We laid off all the afternoon in the woods talking, and me reading the books, and having a general good time." (Ch. XIV, p.133)
I loved reading the first part of Huckleberry Finn. Sure, it was very time consuming, but well worth it. Mark Twain makes the reader feel right in with the adventure of Huck and Jim. I particularly liked this line in the book because it just shows how easy going and content Huck and Jim were hanging out together. Its funny how Huck is somewhat educated and Jim isn't at all. You can definitely tell by the language Jim uses versus Huck. Their arguments are hilarious because they never get anywhere. It seems like they are on like a Peter Pan adventure of make believe where they are running away from their problems, but living in the moment and enjoying every minute of it. I wish I could run away like Huck and not have a care in the world sometimes, except people looking for me! This is my first time reading Mark Twain, and I really like it!
October 13, 2005
Emily Dickinson Selections
"Perhaps you'd like to buy a flower? But could never sell." -Emily Dickinson IV
I really liked this poem because I instantly connected and remembered by job working for Johnston the Florist for years. I understand what she means, but saying she will only let a person borrow a flower until the daffodil comes. Daffodils come in the spring, so any flower in between then is sacred; spring is when most beautiful flowers do come up. Its so hard to sell something or give away something you watch grow from the beginning because its so fragile. The much-awaited bloom is like a prize after watering and caring for everyday. Its very difficult when someone comes to you and wants to buy that flower because its like selling your little baby that you'll never see again! Maybe Emily worked at a flower shop too!
"I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea." -Emily Dickinson, XVII
Well, first of all, I had to look up a "moor" was: A broad area of open land, often high but poorly drained, with patches of heath and peat bogs.. This helped because then I understood the poem in a whole different way! I think Emily is saying that even though she hasn't seen a moor, or a sea, or heaven she knows they exist. Just like when she says,"I never spoke with God", she is implying she believes in God and heaven, even though she's never been in the presence of either. It sounds to me like she is a faithful person who believes in things, whether she was told or read about them.
October 09, 2005
Poe All Around
The Poe poems were a refreshing change of pace! I like all of the poems, but especially "Epigram for Wall Street".
"Take a bank note and fold it up, and then you'll find your money in creases!"
Ha! I thought this was so funny, we see Poe being a comedian now. It sounds like he's making fun of money and it doesn't matter how much you have because its just paper! The Poe selections I think express different sides of Poe. I thought all of Poe's work was dark and depressing, but, for example, "Fairyland", sounds like he is a softie in love!
I also wanted to comment on "Science!"
"Why prey'st thou thus upon the poet's heart, Vulture! whose wings are dull realities."
This poem sounds like Poe is mad at science, or rather industry on the rise. When I think of a poet back then, I think of a peaceful man sitting outside and looking at the wilderness and writing their emotions. Maybe Poe was looking at smoke stacks being built and he was upset the "science" people were out to get him. I don't think science and poetry go well together. Let me know your thoughts!
"On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before." (The Raven)
It sounds here like the Poe is not quite sure how he feels yet about the bird's presence. The bird has broken his lonliness, which seemed to have made him uncomfortable, but at the same time he seems to like the company. Even though he is unsure about "the visitor" he is expressing in this quote some despair about his "hopes" leaving him before. I think he's speaking of Lenore leaving him before and he's kind of sad because even if the bird is Lenore in another form, its just going to fly away like her dying. Maybe by the raven saying "nevermore", it is trying to send a message for Poe to not be lonely anymore...like Lenore's spirit is still present. I really like the rhythm this poem gives the reader while reading it; it reminds me a Halloween poem which fits the season perfectly!
October 05, 2005
"that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
This is a great line from the conclusion of Thoreau. It is to say that Thoreau had this great dream of living in the wilderness and seeing what its like to learn on a different level from what he is used to. He followed this with confidence, not to mention kept a strikingly positive attitude while engaging in his endeavors, and came out with a success unexpected. It sounds like his attitude changed in the conclusion of his selections because it seems like he is preaching his findings to the reader. Its like he completed his time in the woods and now he has a completely different perspective of life itself. Everything he says in the conclusion makes perfect sense for the way a person should live their life in order to be intelligent and spiritual. This last part gave me a lot of words of inspiration, they are like words to live by. I really liked reading Thoreau!!!
"I withdrew yet farther into my shell, and endeavored to keep a bright fire both within my house and within my breast."
I really liked this line of "Housewarming" by Thoreau because it reminds me so much of the feeling of winter. It sounds like he is starting to realize that winter is going to be a challenge because of how cold it gets and needs to keep the fire burning for warmth. I found the second part "within my breast" very true because he is expressing his need to keep a warm heart and remember the burning passion of why he is in the woods so he doesn't give up, despite the hardships winter brings. I think he is maybe becoming a little wary of what winter might bring, but he surprisingly stays positive through many of his actions and words. It seems like Thoreau finds the positive to everything, even the wasps invading his house!
October 03, 2005
"Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour."
I found it interesting how Thoreau mentions that reading books should not be the only way we should learn. I think this quote signifies that he wants to use his own knowledge to discover the world around him and think for himself without the distractions of society. He uses was he sees and hears as learning experiences away from books. Books seem like they hinder him from truly learning acccording to his natural-born genius.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
It sounds like Thoreau was determined to the way the first people on earth did in order to figure out the meaning of life. In fact, it seems this whole selection is digging to answer the question of what life is all about. I think it would be easier for him to answer these philosophical questions because he chose to live in the woods where no other distractions could interupt his thinking, like everyday life. I think his idea of "living" is not to make a life with someone and have a loving family, but seclude himself to become one with nature and understand why God gave it to him. Is it me or was he really lonely?!