March 2009 Archives
The poem My Papa's Waltz by Theodore Roethke had two completely different tones for me after I finished reading it. At first it seemed that it was an adorable father and child experience that the child was writing about. It gives the reader a genuine tone of happiness. However, it also seems to have a dark undertone of possible child abuse. I'm not at all sure which of the two it is. At the moment I'm leaning towards a father and his son having a great time, but I seem to change my mind everytime I read this poem!
In Cassuto's "Turning Wine into Water: Water as Priviledged Signifier in The Grapes of Wrath", he states, "The difference between the Okies and the banks lay more in scale and philosophy than methodology and eventual result. Both sides participated in the capitalist mechanism, but the banks had better adapted to thrive within it" (78)
As I thought about this point, I realized that this had alot to do with today and what's going on with our environment. In this quote, it is directed to how everything had to change because of the economy of the area, and despite what the Okies had to say about it, they knew that their time was limited. They participated in the deal and they, unfortunately, got the short straw. If we apply this idea to the depletion of our environment's condition, we can see that at some point in our future, changes will have to be made similar to these.
This simple quote in Cassuto's article is timeless. Yes, it is directed to the novel The Grapes of Wrath, but if we close read it and broaden our sense of the quote, we find that is the largeset groups way of life that influences the future. If we don't change the way we treat the world's environment, soon there will be inevitable changes that hurt people and their families. However, this quote will be able to apply to any major issue in society for the rest of time. It's a matter of cause and effect.
In Silvia Plath's poem, Child, she expresses her feelings in the differences between childhood and adulthood. I think this is something that everyone highschool and above can easily understand. We often find ourselves wishing to be able to go back to being children because things were so easy. As a child, you never had a care in the world, everyday was a brand new adventure, and we didn't have our responsibilities. We just lived for the sake of enjoying everday to its fullest extent.
As I read this, despite the dark undertones of Silvia Plath's depression, I found that it reminded me of my Dad. His hero is Peter Pan because he refuses to grow up. Even though he is an adult and has a ton of responsibilities, in his free time, he enjoys himself as much as he can. When I was a child, he was never embarassed to hang out with me and do 'girly stuff' (despite the very little amount of girly stuff i ever did as a child) and was always a kid with me. As I grew up, I realized that that is who my Dad truely is; a kid at heart. And I think that we can take Silvia Plath's poem and apply it to our lives as such, even though we may not be as depressed and upset as her.
Foster's Chapter 22 was a chapter in which he explained the need, as an author, to sometimes make the symbolism extremely obvious. For his example, he brought up the play Oedipus Rex and how blatant the play made Oedipus' blindness, eventhough he had perfect eye sight, using a blind man who could see more than what met people's eyes.
It is necessary to do this so that you can add a deeper meaning for all of your readers including those who do not use close reading techniques. By doing this, the story will inevitably become something more for those who do not look into the symbolism in books. As an English major, I find that this is an extremely valuable piece of information because it is something that I've never taken into account before and probably wouldn't have considered until it was brought to my attention. I'm very glad that I read this chapter in my freshman year instead of finding out after being half way through my career.
This is the first portfolio that I'm posting for my American Literature 1915 to the Present class. All this is, is a compilation of all of the blogging that I've done so far.
Coverage: This section shows all of the blogs that include a quote from the required readings and that link back to the designated class web page for that reading.
- Frost: After Apple Picking has the link back to the course page and a quote from the poem at the end of the post.
- Foster: Chapter 3 has the link back to the course page so that you can see what the other students in my class have to say as well as a quote within the blog.
- Foster: Chapter 12 includes both of the requirements
Timliness: In this section, I included all of the blog posts that I've gotten in on the expected date as well as blogs that were more involved but a day or two late.
- Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath (Part 1) was posted the day after the expected date but was longer and more insightful that most of my other blog posts.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby (Part 2) was also posted a day late but was more extensive than the majority of my other posts.
- Foster: Chapter 12 was posted on the expected due date
Interaction: This section includes the blogs and/or comments that I have posted which began an 'outside of the classroom' conversation.
- Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath (Part 2) spurred some conversation between me and a fellow student.
Depth:In this section, I attached the blogs that I had some added 'depth' in.
- Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath (Part 1) had some insightful opinions on symbolism and foreshadowing.
- Foster: Chapter 18 included an interesting question dealing with the forms of symbolism Foster discussed within this chapter.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby (Part 1) also posed an interesting question about a current issue and the author's possible opinions.
- Frost: After Apple Picking brings in the realization of how true this poem really is to everyone's life in one way or another.
- Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath (Part 2) brought up 'outside of the box' thinking on symbolism in the last portion of the book.
Discussion: This section includes the links to any comments I have made on my classmates blogs.
I'm usually pretty good with getting my own opinions of symbolism but I never even thought about the symbolism that can be found in food and dinners with people. Also, it symbolizes something when there is a lack of food or a missed meal. It seems so simple but I've always missed it for some reason. This makes me wonder what, if anything, what all of the parties that Jay Gatsby has can symbolize. He has so many of them! Also, Nick does get invited to go out to lucnh as well, but I can't really think about what these might mean. The only thing I could really think about was its there to symbolize Nick's acceptance into the 'new society' in which he is living.
As I was finishing The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, I felt horrible for the Joad family and everything that had happend to them. However, thinking back to Foster, I began thinking about how all of the rain that the Joad family found in California had a possible means of foreshadowing their future turmoil. They experienced the same, and far far worse, pain that they did in Oaklahoma. However, Foster says that rain is always there to symbolize something, and it seemed to me that it was almost always something good. However, they Joads' life became worse once they got to California, and it was EXTREMELY rainy. They experienced a severe and relentless storm for 6 to 7 days straight. I began thinking about what the excessive amount of rain could possibly symbolize in the final chapters that we have with the Joad family.
Robert Frost's poem After Apple Picking is a poem that I've been reading almost every year for school. While it does have its academic purposes, each time I read the poem I find that I can relate to it more and more. My parents always say you'll realize how true certain things are as you get older...and they're so right. As I read the poem I always end up thinking of all of the opportunities that I've had in my life, good and bad, and opportunites that I've taken and that I haven't taken. Unfortunately, as we get older, life goes by faster and we need to make the most of it. I like to think of my Daddy whose hero is Peter Pan. He always says that we have to make the most of what we've got and make something good out of the bad things that come along. You only have one shot so you might as well make it the very best you can! "It melted and I let it fall and break, but it was well".
In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the character Tom Buchanan is a particularly interesting character. He's considered the 'epitome' of a 'true man'. With how Fitzgerald creates Tom, and possibly alludes to the main character and narrator, Nick, being gay, it seems there is a little bit of a current issue here. I'm not too sure if there was even a 'situation' between gays and straights in that time period, but it does seem to touch on some of the basic, 'this is what you have to be like to be a real man' topics. This made me wonder about what Fitzgerald would say about the 'situation' and even how different would The Great Gatsby be if he wrote it during our time period.