September 2009 Archives

Pitching!?

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The idea that journalists actually pitch stories never actually occurred to me before reading the text at http://www.freep.com/legacy/jobspage/toolkit/pitch.htm. I suppose this is because the only newswriting experience I have is with the Setonian and I just have my story assignments handed to me. I think the advice for pitching stories provided in this source was sound and useful though. I am now determined, before the end of the semester, to find, research, and pitch my own story the one of the editors of the Setonian... I will post on my blog about how this process is going.

Who's the Real Fool?!

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In Mark Twain's Luck, the Reverend who is sharing the many happy mistakes that Lieutenant-General Lord Arthur Scoresby has made throughout his military career makes it a point to portray the man as a complete and utter fool. However, it is the Reverend, the once-teacher of Scoresby, who has harbored bitterness and envy toward his former pupil for so many years that comes across as the true fool in the story. As the Reverend is sharing Scoresby's stories with a fellow dinner guest, it is made clear that Scoresby has seemingly lucked into every victory he has ever earned on the battle field. However, the Reverend ignores the fact that however Scoresby managed to defeat his foes in battle, he DID, in fact, achieve victory... the Reverend is just jealous that Scoresby has gone further in life than he has and is carrrying a rather large chip on his shoulder...

Portfolio 1

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Coverage: Here are all the blog entries I have posted.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/08/roberts_ch_2.html

The above entry was about the second chapter in our textbook, Writing About Literature. It discusses the close-reading process and how useful it will be for the rest of my collegiate career and how I will have to change my own personal method of reading.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/trifles_by_susan_glaspell_earl.html

The above entry was originally posted as a response to chapter 3, but I also used it in a later blog in which I was also supposed to respond to Trifles. This entry discusses the overtones of feminism that Susan Glaspell worked into her one-act play.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/adolescence_is_rough.html

This entry was in response to three poems that Billy Collins wrote. I dicussed how the poem On Turning Ten raises a good point that adults often overlook how certain childhood experiences can be just as tramatic and weighty as the issues that adults have to deal with. 

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/see_wordiness_isnt_so_bad.html

This blog was in response to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. In it, I discuss how the blatant wordiness that the author employs is very effective in creating an eery mood and placing the reader right in the story with the doomed main character. 

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/chapter_4_digging_deeper.html

This entry is in response to chapter 4 and conveys how excited I was to read about a subject with which I was not all that familiar.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/the_seasons_of_life.html

This entry is in response to Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 and it discusses the prevelance of the theme of the seasons of life in this and other of Shakespeare's work.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/a_brief_shining_moment_of_unfa.html

This blog discusses my dismay that chapter 5, after the informative chapter 4, was more review of a subject with which we, as English majors, are all-too familiar.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/for_shame.html

This entry was in response to the three Sylvia Plath poems we had to read. I wrote about Daddy and how reading that poem and the commentary the editor made in its regard spurred me to research into Plath's personal life and that, in turn, actually became one of my papers that I am going to write for this course.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/whos_the_real_fool.html

This entry was in response to Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens' short story, Luck. This entry discusses the sentiments that I shared in class about how the real fool in the story is actually the wise old Reverend who has harbored envy and bitterness toward his clumsy former student.

Depth: These are the entries for which I did outside research or developed my thoughts and ideas more fully. 

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/trifles_by_susan_glaspell_earl.html

The above entry was originally posted as a response to chapter 3, but I also used it in a later blog in which I was also supposed to respond to Trifles. This entry discusses the overtones of feminism that Susan Glaspell worked into her one-act play. I took a long time to create this entry and really thought that I made a good point. I was disappointed that more of my classmates did not read and respond to it...

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/the_seasons_of_life.html

This entry is in response to Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 and it discusses the prevelance of the theme of the seasons of life in this and other of Shakespeare's work. I was also disappointed to see that not many people responded to this blog because I made a valid point and can easily back it up as I have read a lot of Shakespeare in the AP English courses I took in high school...

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/for_shame.html

This entry was in response to the three Sylvia Plath poems we had to read. I wrote about Daddy and how reading that poem and the commentary the editor made in its regard spurred me to research into Plath's personal life and that, in turn, actually became one of my papers that I am going to write for this course. This blog is somewhat in depth, but the paper that has spawned from it is much more impressive...

Interaction: Here are some examples of "creative differences" between my classmates and I:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/09/lying_eyes.html

This is a link to Josie Rush's blog in which we have a discussion on points of view. I respectfully pointed out how some of the points of view that she looked down upon in her entry can actually be fine if employed correctly and the discussion ended in her saying, "Your comment made me realize that it's really hard to choose a favorite pov. You kept selling me on all of them. I'm gonna have to rethink my opening line."

Discussions: Here are some links to blogs in which my peers and I have had interesting discussions:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/trifles_by_susan_glaspell_earl.html

While brief, the discussion on this blog brought up some points that I had not even discussed in my entry... also, Dr. Jerz called me out for not actually blogging about the chapter and instead writing about one of the stories in that chapter.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/09/it_makes_my_love_more_strong_t.html

It has worked out that Josie Rush is involved in more of my online disussions that I thought. Here is a link to one of her blogs in which we slightly disagree on the meaning of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73,

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/09/lying_eyes.html

This is a link to Josie Rush's blog in which we have a discussion on points of view. I respectfully pointed out how some of the points of view that she looked down upon in her entry can actually be fine if employed correctly and the discussion ended in her saying, "Your comment made me realize that it's really hard to choose a favorite pov. You kept selling me on all of them. I'm gonna have to rethink my opening line.".

Timeliness: Here are the entries that I submitted on time:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/08/roberts_ch_2.html

The above entry was about the second chapter in our textbook, Writing About Literature. It discusses the close-reading process and how useful it will be for the rest of my collegiate career and how I will have to change my own personal method of reading.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/trifles_by_susan_glaspell_earl.html

The above entry was originally posted as a response to chapter 3, but I also used it in a later blog in which I was also supposed to respond to Trifles. This entry discusses the overtones of feminism that Susan Glaspell worked into her one-act play.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/adolescence_is_rough.html

This entry was in response to three poems that Billy Collins wrote. I dicussed how the poem On Turning Ten raises a good point that adults often overlook how certain childhood experiences can be just as tramatic and weighty as the issues that adults have to deal with. 

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/see_wordiness_isnt_so_bad.html

This blog was in response to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. In it, I discuss how the blatant wordiness that the author employs is very effective in creating an eery mood and placing the reader right in the story with the doomed main character. 

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/chapter_4_digging_deeper.html

This entry is in response to chapter 4 and conveys how excited I was to read about a subject with which I was not all that familiar.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/the_seasons_of_life.html

This entry is in response to Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 and it discusses the prevelance of the theme of the seasons of life in this and other of Shakespeare's work.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/a_brief_shining_moment_of_unfa.html

This blog discusses my dismay that chapter 5, after the informative chapter 4, was more review of a subject with which we, as English majors, are all-too familiar.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/for_shame.html

This entry was in response to the three Sylvia Plath poems we had to read. I wrote about Daddy and how reading that poem and the commentary the editor made in its regard spurred me to research into Plath's personal life and that, in turn, actually became one of my papers that I am going to write for this course.

Xenoblogging:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/09/lying_eyes.html

This is a link to Josie Rush's blog in which we have a discussion on points of view. I respectfully pointed out how some of the points of view that she looked down upon in her entry can actually be fine if employed correctly and the discussion ended in her saying, "Your comment made me realize that it's really hard to choose a favorite pov. You kept selling me on all of them. I'm gonna have to rethink my opening line.".Whether or not she went back and edited her blog, I do not know... however, I got her to consider it.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/MelissaSchwenk/2009/09/a_devilish_illusion.html

This is a link to one of Melissa Schwenk's blogs on which I was the first to comment. I talked about how unique her point of view on the story was and so did all of the subsequent posts, whether they agreed with me or not...

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/for_shame.html

This entry was special to me because Jessica Orlowski and I sat out on one of the Admin. building porches one night just reading and discussing Sylvia Plath. I got the idea for this blog and the subsequent paper from a discussion that we had. In turn, I helped her with a similarly in-depth look at Plath's Lady Lazarus that she wanted to pursue.

Wildcard:

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/trifles_by_susan_glaspell_earl.html

The above entry was originally posted as a response to chapter 3, but I also used it in a later blog in which I was also supposed to respond to Trifles. This entry discusses the overtones of feminism that Susan Glaspell worked into her one-act play. I took a long time to create this entry and really thought that I made a good point. I was disappointed that more of my classmates did not read and respond to it...

 

For Shame?

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"Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through" (244).

In Sylvia Plath's poem, Daddy, Plath describes both her own personal relationship with her estranged father and provides commentary on her feelings toward World War II-era Germany and Nazism. In The Seagull Reader Poems, the editor notes that because of these "references. . . to Nazi concentration camps" (237) most critics feel that Daddy "is a fictional apostrophe" (237) and not a truly personal work. I found this hard to believe and decided to look into Plath's lineage figuring that there had to be a reason for her references to Nazi Germany.

I found that Otto Plath, Sylvia's father, was not in fact a Nazi, but both of her parents were German immigrants (ancestry.com, Syliva Plath). So that leads me to believe that Plath was demonizing her father in Daddy who, according to her biography on www.poets.org, "had been a strict father, and both his authoritarian attitudes and his death drastically defined her relationships and her poems." I think that Sylvia felt somewhat oppressed by her strict father and that is why he is portrayed as a vicious Nazi in this poem. I plan on writing my close-reading paper on this same subject... so I will share more of my findings in class! 

I was shocked that the articles in the link that Dr. Jerz posted were so recent... I had no idea that there were so many buses that literally plunge off of cliffs... Anyway, I chose to compare the articles: "20 die, 33 injured as bus plunges into ravine (Detailed)" and "Blackburn holiday-maker in bus plunge horror". These two articles, while both were indeed about buses taking the plunge, were kind of different. The first article was brief and very factual and was almost dry in its telling of the tragedy in which, as the title suggests, 20 people were killed and 33 were injured. The second article was more personal as it actually quoted and centered around a survivor of an actual bus plunge. The intimate details that the survivor provided were much more moving than any words that a completely detached reporter could ever write...

Who Knew...

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I didn't really know what Dr. Jerz was talking about in class when he used the phrase "bus plunge" stories. I never recalled reading about a bus plunge in my local paper... However Shafer explained that these stories, about a tragedy that would be sure to grab readers' attentions, were very common because they were used as filler when there was extra blank space in a paper. Nowadays, they are less common because it is easier to edit articles or photographs to fill space. I also think that these bite size articles would have been a breath of fresh air for readers who had to sit through the reading of several lenghty articles to come upon a brief one that got to the point and actually did have an interesting story to convey... 

    I enjoyed this story. As mentioned in pretty much all of the other blogs, the first stranger is actually the escaped prisoner instead of the third stranger as the reader is first led to believe. While this is an example of a somewhat unreliable narrator, I feel like this twist in the plot was not all that surprising since I had a hard time following the story anyway.

    What I did really enjoy about this story were the vivid descriptions. In the beginning of the story, when Hardy was describing the setting, I got a very clear image in my mind and he did an equally impressive job describing and developing most of the main characters, which is often hard to do in a short story.

    "Allowing for the fact that each part must be independent and distinct as well as connected, a plan or graph might be made of four overlapping triangles, with a list of common elements indluded within the triangles as a 'key'" (103).

    I was kind of disappointed that Chapter 5 was about plot and structure. This is one of the most basic ideas of literature... I think I recall first learning about plot in third grade! I was excited by Chapter 4 because it brought up a few ideas that I had never considered before about point of view and now it seems like we went backwards and back down to the basics.

   The one thing I did enjoy from this chapter was the idea of using a venn-diagram-like graph to help find similarities between the different parts of a literary work. Each individual section of the graph represented a different part and then each part overlapped in the middle. Reoccurring passages and ideas that appeared in all of the sections were listed under the section in which it appeared. I think that this could be yet another useful tool to use during my newly adopted close-reading process... 

The Seasons of Life

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    "As after the sunset fadeth in the West,/ Which by and by black night doth take away,/ Death's second self that seals up all in rest" (102).

    In Sonnet 73, Shakspeare is talking about the seasons of life; a theme that appears in a number of his sonnets. In the Spring of someone's life is when they are young and new to the world. The Summer represents the peak physical and mental years, probably the 20's and 30's. The Fall is when a person is starting to get along in years and is facing their own mortality and Winter is when a person is dying. This poem focuses on the Fall. Shakespeare writes in lines 2, 3 and 4: "When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang,/ Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,/ Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang" (102). The leaves, which he seems to have a fondness for, are almost all gone from the trees. I took this to mean that many of his friends and loved ones he cherished in the earlier years or seasons of his life are dying or moving on away from him. As for the absence of the birds' song, I think this could mean that he is not experiencing as much joy in life as he did. At one point, he would just live his life and the cheerful birds would chirp in the background and everything was fine. Now that he is aging and is thinking more about death, the sweet music has faded.

    The reader knows that Shakespeare is contemplating his mortality, which he is often more cryptic about in his poetry, because of lines such as the first one quoted at the beginning of this blog and "In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,/ That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death bed, whereon it must expire" (103). The speaker in the poem realizes that he is no longer young as made clear when he states that he is lying "on the ashes of his youth" (103). The frequent mention of death and even of the "twilight" (102) makes me think that he is coming to the end of the Fall and approaching Winter or death. He is looking back on his life and possibly searching for some sort of meaning.

     Finally, the speaker addresses his lover in the end couplet. I think that his lover his younger than he is and he knows that he is going to die before she does because he tells her: "This [his death] thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong" (103). Even though his lover knows he is going to die, she is staying with him and still loves him. This is quite a romantic notion.

     Overall, I enjoyed this sonnet. It is far more to the point than many of Shakespeare's sonnets I have read. I also enjoy the comparison of life to the changing stages of the seasons...

Making Your Story Matter...

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I enjoyed what this section discussed. There certainly are ways to make news writing exciting without adding in your own biases or opinions. I think word choice and sentence structure play a lot into it. I could be assigned one of the most exciting and important news stories for the Setonian, but if the article itself does not hook readers in, then there is almost no point in having written the article at all. I also think it is important to hook the reader in immediately since (as we discussed with the inverted pyramid model) some of the latter parts of the article could end up being cut.

Chapter 4... Digging Deeper

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As we progress through Writing About Literature topics are starting to come up that I am a little less familiar with, which is nice because I do enjoy learning. Chapter four, which deals primarily with point of view, which is, of course, something we are all familiar with, brings up several points that I had never really stopped to consider. The most notable for me are the tips the chapter gives about writing about point of view. The author suggests asking questions as we read in order to discover the point of view of the characters and the overall story itself. I think this will be useful during the note-taking that I now do when I read... not only will I write down important events and passages... I will now jot down questions as I read... Why did this character say that? Why did that character react the way that they did?... I also enjoyed the example exercise on page 78 with the fictional car accident. The author asked the reader to imagine how the points of view of all the different people, both involved in the accident and witnessing it, would differ. I also enjoyed the passage on page 80 that stated that point of view is not the same thing as opinion. Yes, characters' and authors' opinions can sneak their way into the point of view and how the story is told, but point of view more importantly involves the language, narrator, and the perspective from which the story is told. While this was still a review chapter in many ways, I think it was the most helpful of the four that we have read so far. I am anxious to see what will come next as we dig deeper into this textbook...

See... Wordiness isn't SO Bad!

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I enjoyed this An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge mainly because the author, Amrose Bierce, was so vividly descriptive. I get chided all the time for being far too wordy of a writer, but, at least in this story, I feel that it really works. Even in the very beginning of the story when Ambrose describes Farquhar's fall and the aftermath, he goes into such detail: "he was
awakened--ages later, it seemed to him--by the pain of a sharp pressure upon his throat, followed by a sense of suffocation. Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward through every fiber of his body and limbs." These words really make the reader feel Farquhar's pain which makes the character far more relateable. I actually felt myself feeling sorry for the guy which is no easy feat considering that I can usually remain emotionally undetached from the stories I read. Bierce's imagery also played a large part in the tenseness I felt when Farquhar was being shot at and had to flee. The author does an excellent job of stirring up the readers' emotions.

The ending of this story truly caught me by surprise. I did not expect the character that the author spent so much time making me care about to just die so abruptly! I think, in a way, that this is the author's way of commenting on war. I agree with Jess Orlowski that this story's message is similar to that of the poem The Man He Killed earlier: war is senseless. By making the reader care so much about a lowly grunt in the war and then ending his life so quickly, Bierce effectively lets the reader see whatever battle that seems totally unrelated to the modern day reader through the eyes of someone who was actually acquainted with Farquhar.

Adolescence is Rough...

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I loved On Turning Ten by Billy Collins. I have always thought that being a child was far more complicated than adults ever let on. Just because they do not have the same problems to worry about DOES NOT mean that they do not have problems. I get the feeling from the poem that the narrator is going through a mid-life crisis at the ripe old age of ten because he his fondly looking back on his childhood memories and then says how the world is starting to change: "This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,/ . . . It is time to say goodbye to my imaginery friends,/ time to turn the first big numer" (24,26,27). He goes on to talk about how he always felt invulnerable when he was younger, but now he is more aware of his mortality: ". . . now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,/ I skin my knees. I bleed" (31,32). The transitions we go through as children can be very jarring and I think that this poem shows that... not that I had quite this much of a dramatic experience entering into the double digits. Also, I think that it is even more important now to realize that children can have to sometimes deal with very adult problems because of the rapid change in what children can learn and see and hear from the media and at home from their care-takers. Children now are much more mentally mature than they were when our parents were growing up.

Obituaries: The Final Word

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I never like reading obituaries, at least not about people I know who have passed away. I feel that no matter how many quotes by friends and family members the author crams into them, they still feel slightly impersonal. I enjoyed the sample one in Clark and Scanlan's text, however. They really brought across the point that she was loved despite her many quirks like constantly eating food out of cans. The article ended on a more serious note and gave the time, date, and location of her funeral. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I would hate to be responsible for writing the final word about someone who has lived an entire lifetime on earth that now has to be summarized and condensed into five hundred or so words!

"Trifles" by Susan Glaspell: Early Feminism at Work

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Let me begin by first stating that I enjoyed this play for what it was. I found it highly entertaining. Having said that, it was quite obvious to me during the initial reading that the author, Susan Glaspell, used some of the characters and their actions in her play to make some points that are in line with the way that many early feminists thought. Let us first discuss the men in the play. The Sheriff and Mr. Hale, throughout the entire play, address the woman in an almost mocking tone. When the women bring up Mrs. Wright's concern for her jarred fruit, the Sherrif spews forth the line, "Well, can you beat that women! Held for murder and worryin' about her preserves" (394). In response to this, Mr. Hale chimes in, "Well, women are used to worrying over trifles" (394). These lines hint at the notion that anything and everything that women concern themselves with are far less important than matters to which the men attend. The County Attorney, Mr. Henderson, is a bit more interesting than the other two men. Where the author used the OLDER men in the play to represent the way that many men from previous generations in the real world felt about women, she used the YOUNGER man and his kinder, more understanding words and actions toward the women to comment on how the younger generations are warming slightly to the idea that women are equals. I enjoyed the line in which Henderson utters, "And yet, for all their worries, what would we do without the ladies" (394) in response to the comment that it is hard work being a farmwife because it was a little odd to hear in a piece set in that period. Now, on to the women: Mrs. Peters, the Sheriff's wife, represents the generations of older women as well as the younger women who are used to the idea of being seen as inferior to men and are generally 'ok' with it. Several times throughout the play, Mrs. Peters drops line like, "Of course they've got awful important things on their minds" (397) and the side note even states that this line, which is in defense of the men's actions, is said in an apologetic manner. Mrs. Peters, up until the end of the play, is also adamant about the letter of the law being followed, despite her deep sympathies with Mrs. Wright. One must stop and consider whether she is just a legal eagle or if she fears what will happen to her if she meddles in one of her husband's investigations. Mrs. Hale, who at the beginning of the work is described as "larger" (392) and "comfortable looking" (392), represents the average, modern-day (at least in the author's lifetime), every-woman. She is still very clearly portrayed as a woman through her slightly hesitant and scared movements about the house, but Mrs. Hale speaks  about the men in such a different manner than Mrs. Peters and also relates so whole-heartedly to Mrs. Wright's plight of being stuck in a happiless marriage that one cannot ignore the feminist undertones in her dialogue. Mrs. Hale's penultimate moment of feministic fervor comes at the top of page 400 when she delivers the line, "I might have known she needed help! I know how things can be- for women. I tell you, it's queer, Mrs. Peters. We live so close together and we live far apart." I take this line as meaning that there is a problem in the world for women, the fact that they are not being seen as equal to men, and that women all over the country are aware of it, but they do nothing to change it. All the women are living under the same unfair circumstances, but they feel like they are alone and without any allies because they will not unite and stand together for their common good.

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Aja Hannah on Could it be?!: That's an interesting idea. I
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