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February 28, 2007

Punkin' out

"Defining themselves as prisoners of their own gender, for instance, women frequently create characters who attempt to escape if only into nothingness." (260)

This at first made me angry, so I just rolled with it. I think that if women are trying to escape a stereotype or some crappy life situation, instead of punking out and dying or puking up their salad, they should take a real stand. If you don't want to be imprisoned, bust out in a way that you'll still be around to enjoy the results (divorce the man, work out, go to rehab). No wonder some men percieve women as self-absorbed or wimpy. Then a voice in my head reminded me that in a time when women were trapped, they couldn't just go to divorce court or therapy and I have to accept that. Okay, I'm punking out now and leavin' this one to good old historical criticism.

Posted by ErinWaite at 2:21 PM | Comments (2)

Take it like a man: Brann's icons

"The 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' marks the grand climax of the iconic technique; for it's enabling doctrine, that 'poetry is like a picture' comes to an end when imitation, mimesis no longer drives either the visual or poetic arts." (247)

To me this basically meant, "here's the deal, take it or leave it." Keats indeed did give us a very strong theory of truth and beauty. The poet tells us what their perception of reality is and we can either accept in or question it based on our own realities. That's where I think we step into gray areas. We all have a general sense of reality, but where does our and another person's blur and how to make rules for mimetic criticism when there's so much gray?

Posted by ErinWaite at 2:08 PM | Comments (2)

Long-liveth the Eve stereotype

"Women in literature written by men are for the most part seen as Other, as objects, of interest only insofar as they serve or detract from the goals of the male protagonist." (225)

I finally agree with the feminist on this one. In almost every work, the woman is either the sex object, the victim, or the "strong woman" that puts men in their place. Either way, the woman is placed there to make man realize just as Adam did Eve, that she is there to help him or lead him into destruction. I was watching North Country last night, so my vision is definitely swayed by this, but I saw this throughout the movie. Her husband beats her and her dad asks if she was with another man and that's why it happened. When she is the "strong woman" in the court woman she is making men realize something about themselves. While this is true, I think that men aren't intentionally trying to write about women only as objects, I think they write from experiences just as females do and if a woman acts like a stereotype in real life that is her own fault. We are each to blame for our own actions, whether we relate to Adam or Eve. If that ain't reality, I don't know what is.

Posted by ErinWaite at 1:48 PM | Comments (0)

Long-liveth the Eve stereotype

"Women in literature written by men are for the most part seen as Other, as objects, of interest only insofar as they serve or detract from the goals of the male protagonist." (225)

I finally agree with the feminist on this one. In almost every work, the woman is either the sex object, the victim, or the "strong woman" that puts men in their place. Either way, the woman is placed there to make man realize just as Adam did Eve, that she is there to help him or lead him into destruction. I was watching North Country last night, so my vision is definitely swayed by this, but I saw this throughout the movie. Her husband beats her and her dad asks if she was with another man and that's why it happened. When she is the "strong woman" in the court woman she is making men realize something about themselves. While this is true, I think that men aren't intentionally trying to write about women only as objects, I think they write from experiences just as females do and if a woman acts like a stereotype in real life that is her own fault. We are each to blame for our own actions, whether we relate to Adam or Eve. If that ain't reality, I don't know what is.

Posted by ErinWaite at 1:48 PM | Comments (5)

Getting Psyched

"The psychologist enables us to grasp certain configurations of experience analytically, categorically, and (if we accept his conceptions of health and neurosis) normatively...Fiction lets us know what it is like to be a certain kind of person with a certain kind of necessity." (222).

Paris explains the need of psychology in mimetic criticism in a way that can be well-justified because we are then able to further understand the mentality of the characters and further understand ourselves, thus enhancing our perception of reality. We need to understand how people's mind works and I do agree with Paris that sometimes the story is written to help us understand a certain feeling of a character more than anything. What a better way to do that than psychologically analyzing the character?

Posted by ErinWaite at 1:32 PM | Comments (0)


From the very beginning of “Everyman,” we see the numerous ways that this play relates to mimicry, or at least our own perceptions of reality. Growing up in churches, attending schools with strong religious beliefs, or watching television, we get a strong image of judgment day and the fear of the fiery pits of hell where perhaps many of our friends and co-workers will be waiting to shake our hand. We could do a historical reading or a formalist reading, but whatever our criticism is, it is guided by one thing: our version of reality.
“They forget clean, and shedding of my blood red; I hanged between two, it cannot be denied; To get them life I suffered to be dead; I healed their feet; with thorns hurt was my head.” (2). In this 15th century play, the audience didn’t have access to Bibles usually and not everyone who had them could even read them. The Bible was sometimes read aloud in rhyme or people were listed in threes so it was easier for people to remember. The above line exemplifies the way the audience read and gives us a sense of their reality. It also sets the mood for the play. It explains Christ’s suffering on the cross to pay for our sins and seems to really open us up to the idea that there will be consequences for going against a God who performed such a sacrifice for us. When Plato once described reality as being based only on our senses and the forms people were seeing the cave he wrote about, he managed to also explain the need for poets and playwrights alike to use symbols to enhance our perceptions of such realities.
“Philosophers who manage to escape the cave and enter the transcendent realm of pure forms can communicate what they have discovered only means of metaphor and symbol. To talk at all about such a realm, the thinker must …become…a poet,” (Keesey 207) Keesey says. Thus, to provide the audience with an understanding, their reality must be shaped like that of the playwright’s and word choice certainly plays a role.
Twice, Everyman mentions death “comest when I had thee least in mind,” (3) reminding people that when they stop thinking of the consequences of their life style God can judge them. The word choice here and the repetition reminds the audience of the judgment day that will soon be a reality and at the time, the church ruled the government even more than it does today, so people’s fear was apart of their daily lives.
“For Adam’s sin must die of nature,” (3) refers to Genesis when the fall began and Death is reminding Everyman that people will get their come-uppance for being born with this original sin. Apart of word choice, is also the characters themselves, for Fellowship and Kindred embody not only what Everyman needs to help celebrate Christ as he should be celebrated (someone to read the Bible with, etc.) but to provide comfort for Everyman as well. As we have partners in Christ, we also have partners in destruction and apart of reality in the lives of the audience is that we can relate to the need of someone to be corrupt right along with us. We have a group mentality and as we see in modern times of cyanide Kool-Aid drinking, the group mentality isn’t always so helpful. Besides the destruction of group mentality, there is also the issue that at the end of the play, of all Everyman’s friends, Good-Deeds is the only one who will accompany him.
As a society we are raised to believe that good deeds will get us into heaven, or at least the good karma that will one day win us the lottery, but as apart of our reality and within the play, we see that money is constantly an issue and money “maketh all right that is wrong.” (8). The play seems to adopt the moral tone that we hear daily, that while money can buy temporary happiness, it can’t buy our way into heaven or make people like us genuinely. As the people in the 15th century and Everyman sought confession to make up for lost time, we are still trying to do that within the Catholic Church perhaps by donating more money or being the first to volunteer to help with bingo. There is much more than just history and trying to compensate for our actions in reality or mimetic criticism.
As Keesey says, “Almost any verbal representation, particularly one in narrative or dramatic form, seems to invite comparison with our nonliterary experience.” (213). This provides the “justification” that mimetic criticism seeks. While formalists may argue that there is no way to accurately look at a work without paying attention to structure, form does relate to our sense of reality, because whatever we’ve looked at in the past in the way of form represents our concept of what form is. In order to look at form and reality, we must look at history so we have past events to back up our claims.
Overall, while mimetic criticism that we’ve seen in “Everyman” is argued as irrelevant at times (and difficult to pin down the rules of as opposed to other forms of criticism), each of the forms interrelate to give us our “big picture” or “reality” when it comes to making an honest criticism.

Posted by ErinWaite at 1:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2007

Keesey Ch. 4 : Mimetic isn't really about mimes, but it could be...sort of

"We incline to believe that if we can claim for a device, a technique or a whole work a realistic purpose, we have provided an ultimate justification." (206).

This can relate to mimes in the way that they pretend to do things like climb in a box (ok, I haven't done that since I was five) or direct traffic (that's kind of dangerous) that we do in reality, so ha!! Mimes do relate to mimetic criticism in a scaring little children and annoying "important" business people sort of way.

I think I will enjoy this type of criticism, because as Plato explained, we justify reality based on our senses, making whatever we "see" become real to us. I also appreciated that the artist's work doesn't have to be the same as the carpenter's. To me this perhaps means that while we have a sense of reality in a chaotic world, the mimetic way of looking at things allows us to acknowledge while this chaotic reality does exist, the "transcendental or underlying reality" (208) can also provide a way to explore higher truth and beauty.

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2007

Silly lessons I've learned

1. Blogging is becoming second nature to me finally! I actually learned more this semester about literary criticism. Valerie and Vanessa cracked me up and Jason and Karissa just floor me with their knowledge sometimes, that I almost don't know how to respond (I mean that in a good way).
2. Alot of people are still insecure about things they were insecure about in high school, so be more sensitive when you're around your friend with the big ears or Mr. Ed laugh.
3. I am actually not insecure for once! I know I'm a big nerd and I'm proud of it.
4. Having a car again after you haven't had one for awhile is great, but in the winter it's a pain in the butt sometimes.
5. My thirty-something girlfriends are the funniest, smartest, strongest women I know!
6. I will never like Linkin Park, Rush, reality TV, and clothes that cost more than my car and I'm fine with that.
7. I'm really uncomfortable when people stare at me for no reason, say something dammit!
8. Cheap beer and liquor=sicker
9. We are not all as eclectic and different as we believe we are. We are all quite the same: human. I like that.
10. As Audrey Hepburn once said: "No one thinks you are quite as fabulous as your dog does!"

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

Corndogs: Tasty treats for blogging carnivals

While McDonald's doesn't sell cordogs yet, Mr. McDonald still made an impression on me. To answer Karissa's blog carnival question, McDonald was influential to me because he used strong examples from The Tempest to back up his theory that we can't just pay attention to the political climate or history, but the words themselves. As a poet (or someone who wants to be one), words define so much about a person and their situation. McDonald's argument isn't one-sided, though. He encourages everyone to look at the "poetic, political, and critical (108)." I relate to the formalist approach the best so far, because to me it is liberating enough, but it also gives us some type of structure to follow. As readers we should be able to combine all the types of criticism into one big old carnival of sight, taste, and sound. McDonald appeals to me because he seems to encourage all of that. Now that you've had your corndog, wait a few minutes so you don't get sick (didn't your mom always say that?) and go for a spin on Tiffany's Merry-Go-Round. Vanessa says we need more rides, so start building, bloggers!

Posted by ErinWaite at 9:34 AM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2007

All blogs go to heaven (or at least to the vet for a much-needed check-up): Portfolio Une

Will this blog make it to heaven? I don't know. I do know that I put more effort into my blogging this year than I ever did before. I blogged early every single time, but once and was the very first blogger for Feb. 22nd (okay, I'm getting on my high horse, knock me off, please). I'm still struggling with trackbacks, but I did the tutorial. I managed to be the first commenter on many of David and Kevin's blogs. I got some great insights from Karissa and Jason as always (but I'm used to that with them :) ). I laughed and learned so much from the wonderful Valerie and had some awesome discussions with Denamarie, Tiffany, and really, the whole class. I think I put so much more effort not only because I know how to, but because I've learned so much from my classmates. This blogging teaches us in a way that is relevant and gets us into the discussions that make us better literary critics. If I don't make it out of the pound, at least I'll get rid of some of my fleas (aka prior judgements of works) and learn to appreciate literature alot more!

The Fur and Fuzz : Coverage I have done the Wallpaper so many times, but I thought I did a good amount of work on my latest reading of it. I also really enjoyed the McDonald article and learned more about the importance of looking deeper into the text.

Heavy Petting : Depth The Ch. 3 Keesey article was an okay intro, but it certainly confused me and made me think that while it's great to be able to make your own interpretations, it's nice to have some background. Kolodny just made me angry with her soapbox attitude, but I realized that it did relate to audience because we all have different interpretations and she was just exploring the difference between the sexes.
O'Connell was another one that kind of annoyed me, so I had no trouble getting in-depth there.
Bark or Bite: Character I am excited because I figured out the blog carnival idea and Karissa suggested a very good topic. I brought the cordogs, so go have a treat!

Plays Well with Others: Interaction I really had fun with Vanessa on Iser and Valerie on Eagleton and Tiffany got a laugh on my Iser blog.

Down, boy! Discussions

Everyone really got talking on Benito Cereno. I also got some great feedback on Tradition and the Individual Talent I cracked up Karissa on my criticism blog, too.

Time for...Timeliness

I blogged a week for early for some entries. I think I was only late once and I don't know if I was or not. All I know, is I'm much better with timeliness than ever before!

X is short for what? Xenoblogging
The Comment Primo
I was the first to comment often on almost everyone's blogs. In particular, David's, Vanessa's, , and Kevin's.
The Comment Grande
Denamarie and I both had strong reactions and alot of laughs during our Kolodny discussion. My comment is long-winded and full of errors, but I was having too much fun to care.
The Comment Informative

I helped Karissa with her ice scraper dilemma
The Link Gracious
Karissa is the ultimate carney in the blogging carnival so I linked to her on my carnival entry
I learned some silly things this year.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:38 AM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2007

Word up: Ideology

This was kind of a “gimme” because I figured it had something to do with beliefs, but it was cold in my basement as I typed on our crappy 90’s computer, so give me a break. Here’s the deal; it’s basically a set of beliefs and habits that relate to certain social groups. I learned that to the group, the ideas may be important, but the rest of the world their ideas may seem nuts (for example, the group that drank the Kool-Aid). Ideas can be forced or accepted and they guide our prejudices. We each have our own idea as to what constitutes normal, so stop looking at other people strangely because they are feeling the same way about you. Ideologies are of great interest to critics who are into politics. I found this term appropriate to look up because many of the people we are studying this week are quite hung up on ideologies of many kinds.

Posted by ErinWaite at 5:49 PM | Comments (0)

Kolodny makes me rant not read.

Kolodny uses lots of examples from text with a female narrative and I appreciated this because of the need to differentiate between a male’s interpretation and a female’s. While I may interpret a work one way as a woman, a man might interpret a work entirely differently based on what we’ve learned through the “tradition” Kolodny keeps talking about. She seems to be using this work to defend women as authors more than discuss reader response, though. I didn’t get more than we (males and females alike) must read in a “re-visionary” manner and that each work is unique. While I appreciate her defending women’s perspectives, I just wanted her to get off of her soapbox and write an argument I could use to further myself as a woman, not make me feel like the victim of some frivolous “male oppression.” I’m not anti-feminist, but I just feel that women need to stop playing the victim and start breaking stereotypes instead of whining about them.

Posted by ErinWaite at 5:48 PM | Comments (4)

O'Connell gets sentimental

O’Connell argues that the narrator of Benito Cereno is unreliable and thus, puts us in a position like Delano’s. She also notes that the irony is overdone, which I agree with as well. We at first are led to believe that we know what’s going on and then of course, our suspicions are wrong (this is usually a good thing, but in this case, it make things all the more perplexing). She then uses dozens of other critic’s arguments to interpret the meaning of this ambiguity. These other arguments do shed light on the her argument that we as readers are distanced and taken out of our comfort zones, which allowed us perhaps to see the “powerful antislavery argument (193)” lying within the work. She compares the work to “sentimental” works like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which made me realize apart of how reader response it gauged. She did it herself by incorporating a work she already knew to further her understanding and maybe that is another tool we can use in accurately responding as readers.

Posted by ErinWaite at 5:48 PM | Comments (1)

Iser gonna roll...or not.

“The actual context of these mental images will be colored by the reader’s existing stock of experience, which acts as a referential background against which the unfamiliar can be conceived and processed (147).’
At first I was a bit befuddled, but Iser rescued me a little by providing some of Fish’s handy steps for being an informed reader (I’m a fan of quotes and steps, anything that harnesses my short attention span) and he to number throughout. He did a decent job explaining the reader’s relation to text and made me see that we all have different life experiences and even when we try to be objective, some pre-conceived notion we already have is going to pop up like an unwanted pimple. We can use this to our advantage if we explore how the text follows a process of bringing us to our own realities. To put it another way, we can see how the author works with the text to make it relevant to us.

Posted by ErinWaite at 5:47 PM | Comments (1)

Ch. 3 Keesey comes knockin' again

Keesey breaks down the meaning of reader-response by explaining how these type of critics are interested in what the audience has to say now as opposed to the past which is a nice step out of the bat cave of historical innuendoes (sigh of relief, no offense to history buffs). While I am relieved about this transition of focusing on us as readers, there isn’t as much to elaborate because we can’t compare every story to 911 (which seems to be the topic everyone brings up as if it’s the only thing that ever happened in this country). The author may be writing chiefly for a historically inclined audience, so where does that leave us? I want to be able to interpret the work without completely misconstruing it. I also found the Jungian and Freudian methods in which readers interpret works to be interesting and the way that people tend to agree upon meanings instead of coming up with their own. I think as critics we should find ways to criticize in which we can come up with our own points without abusing the work, but my question to you is how? I guess Keesey didn’t quite get me there, but then again, as an audience, it’s our turn to make our own conclusions.

Posted by ErinWaite at 5:46 PM | Comments (0)

Kent enjoys a quickie

“Looking both backward and forward, acting as a climax to the first two stanzas and as prophetic to the fourth stanza’s discovery, the third stanza occupies a pivotal position in the ode’s entire dramatic trajectory (115).”
Kent reveals yet another way of looking at form: he takes a piece of the work and breaks it down so as an audience, we can see how it relates to the whole, which is another important tool for criticism. He explains the significance of the apostrophes and the paradox of the third stanza. Like McDonald, he also notes the importance of repetition to drive a point home, but what I liked was that he made his point just as clear, but in a shorter amount of time than McDonald did. While The Tempest is a longer work and I enjoyed his argument, as a reader I grow bored with long-winded examples to prove one point. Kent’s a quick one, but I admire his style.

Posted by ErinWaite at 5:45 PM | Comments (2)

McDonald's interpretation: Not-so-fast food for thought

He confidently starts out with his formalistic style of paying closer attention to the text. His argument opposes Yachnin’s in a manner of first attacking other critic’s readings and then filling in the blanks with his own. He encourages the reader not to see just from the view those interested in the political climate at the time, but he expresses the necessity of looking at the work in a way that can link both text and the topic of politics.
“The tendency of words and phrases to repeat themselves may be linked to reproduction, in various senses from the biological to the political (101)."” Besides providing a balanced way of approaching both approaches to the text, he also gives substantial evidence of why he feels so passionately. He gives examples of text that contain repetition and phonetic duplication. He even explains how the repetition is “a staple of Shakespearean dramatic structure (104).” He concludes strongly and relates his own feelings with our own interpretations that we make today. He wants the readers to be skeptical about the “…poetic, political and critical too (108).” The only complaint I have is that he might be a poor speller (I could be wrong, because I constantly make errors on my blogs).
Overall, I appreciated his argument because it wasn’t one-sided and acknowledged the need to look at a poem from many perspectives and I think it will help me as I cruise through the drive-thru to pick up more critical skills that may be healthy for once.

Posted by ErinWaite at 5:45 PM | Comments (2)

February 12, 2007

Word up: Intertextuality defined

Intertextuality is the idea that any text is a mixture of others either because it is influenced by others works or because it's language has common points of reference. According to Murfin and Ray, a new historical or cultural critic can use this to connect literary and contemporary texts. The Simpsons and Family Guy are good examples because they constantly refer to works of famous dead people within their episodes.

Posted by ErinWaite at 9:19 PM | Comments (0)

Test-driving Tempest

"Though with their high wrongs I am struck to th' quick,
Yet with my nobler reason 'gainst my fury
Do I take part. The rarer action is
In virtue than in vengeance ( 5:1, 25-28)." When Prospero tells Ariel this, I couldn't help but think about obedience and moral judgement that Yachnin discusses. While he pats himself on the back for virtue, what's really going on? As a Shakespeare neophyte, I'm not sure how to criticize this yet, but in a historical context, I continually found examples of unrest and quiet submission that occured both in the work and in the Elizabethan time era to compare.

Posted by ErinWaite at 9:02 PM | Comments (0)

Austin: A good balance of form and backgrounf

"keats's imagination imposes the limitations (fron the standpoint of most readers) of immobility on eternal life, for if he can imagine the figures alive, he can also imagine them as mobile (53)."

Austin presents his interpretation of Keats work in a no-frills, easy-to-follow sequence. He starts off with the interpretations of others to set a standard for his own. He outlines them for us in 6 parts and then argues which are valid and which aren't by using the work itself. He speaks in plain English and seems to actually enjoy the poem. Of all the applications we've read thus far, I found this one to be the most demonstrative of the kind of papers we should write.

Posted by ErinWaite at 8:51 PM | Comments (0)

Obedience school for humans

Watson explains the need for historical context by not so much telling, but by showing examples of Gonzalo's acts of relating to the political climate of the Jacobeans and Elizabethans at the time. "He assumes that his acts have meaning only in terms of a larger hierarchical structure which includes the political, natural, and cosmic worlds (43). Watson mentions that political obedience sometimes undermines moral judgement. People do obey out of fear and not always with what they feel is necessarily right, yet should we go against the government for moral reasons? This got me thinking more about political issues than historical context, but because they are so closely related, I appreciated what Watson's reading brought to my first reading of "The Tempest."

Posted by ErinWaite at 8:34 PM | Comments (3)

Keesey Ch. 2: The Anti-Breakfast Club

“The status of the poem as an “object”, as something that exists independently of it’s creator and independently of any of it’s reader, is a key concept in formal theory (76).” I enjoyed Ch. 2 a little more than Ch. 1, because it allows people who aren’t history buffs to make criticisms without feeling bogged down by standard by breakfast cereal, sex, lactose intolerance, or whatever else we are required to know to discect a work. It’s nice to break things down and see how they fit together. Formalism gives people armed with a dictionary a chance to play with “real critics.” People change their opinions as frequently as they do their underwear (at least I hope so). Thus, one day a poem you wrote could be about a sad time in your life, but when you look back twenty years later, you may say it was the best time of your life. If this happens where does that leave you? Formalism is in black letters staring back at you. Poets can’t go back years later and change the already published poem after they’ve had their Raisin Bran now can they?

Posted by ErinWaite at 8:33 PM | Comments (2)

When Irony gets dirty, Brooks can "cleaneth" up

“We do not ask a poet to bring his poem into line with our personal beliefs…What we do ask is that the poem dramatize the situation so accurately…that it is no longer a question of our beliefs, but of our participation in the poetic experience (91).

I thought Brooks did a good job of explaining irony and gave solid examples on ironical situations. I like the emphasis on sarcasm that sprinkles happily throughout the reading as well. While we don’t always agree with what we are reading or have never experienced what the poet has, if written well, the poetry can translate to everyone, making us feel or at least laugh at the clever use of irony. Rearranging words can change a whole stanza or perhaps just your whole outlook on life.

Posted by ErinWaite at 8:32 PM | Comments (0)

February 6, 2007

Word of the Week: Elegy

Here are I go with another poetic term (know where my favor lies, huh?). In Greek and Roman times, an elegy was used to refer to any poem composed in elegiac meter (alternating dactylic hexameter and pentameter lines). In the 17th century, it was used to describe loss, but in Elizabethan times it was for love (Murfin, Ray 130-131). I found it really interesting that "American Pie" (the song not the movie) is considered an elegy because it was written about Buddy Holly. I've never written an elegy, but I have plenty of dead goldfish and hermit crabs named after my dad's friends and a priest that may just appreciate my attempts.

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:04 PM | Comments (2)

February 5, 2007

Kaplan: More Angie, so it's all downhill from here

Let me be more like Kaplan and Hirsch and emphasize the same point over and over, in different words: Knowing about the author might help us understand their emotions and the style they wrote in because of the time period, Angie, Angie, Angie,Angie....we all have different backgrounds, voices, understanding them will help us understand the text, Angie, Angie (not only in the margins now). Karissa and Vanessa know what I'm talking about. There's no need to continuously beat the dead horse on this one, I'm out. Angie, Kaplan, and Hirsch all need to stop repeating themselves.

Posted by ErinWaite at 1:01 PM | Comments (2)

Hirsch: So repititious that "Angie" is my homegirl

Angie, Angie, Angie...wow, either the girl who had this book before me really likes herself or this part of the book annoyed and bored her too (considering she wrote her name in every margin). While he makes an argument that interpreting the text as simply apart of language makes an "impossibility of defining in principle the nature of a correct interpretation (19)." Hold up, buddy! Unless we are sleeping with the author or live inside his or her messed up little mind, we are not going to be able to just make a general comment about the war going on at the time and say "Since this is a fact of the time period, I know exactly what the author is saying." Furthermore, is there really any "correct" interpretation, when there are a million for every work?

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:50 PM | Comments (4)

Keesey Ch. 1 Intro: Looking at the pretty horsey instead of the dead guy on top of him

"The historians' tendency to treat the poem like any other kind of document, their failure to conceive of poetry as a special use of language deflects attention to nonessential un-poetic factors (13).

This reminds me of our discussion last week when we talked about flowery things (horses, kitties) that distract us from the dead body in the background. We can sit and wonder if E.E. Cummings liked to ride his bicycle, but it won't always help us understand his poems. I think while it may be nice to know that we can relate to the author on some base levels, we really only have the work itself to go by and we may want to look at the words of the poem before we ponder the author's personal life.

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:40 PM | Comments (2)

Wallpaper as her own form of therapy?

While trying to keep a historical perspective and think of the author's intent, I re-read this story and realized that it really does take a second reading of a story to pull something new out of it. It's almost like reading with new lenses.
"John is a physician, and PERHAPS--(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)--PERHAPS that is one reason I do not get well faster."
This made me think of how while the wallpaper cages her in (because it's all she has to look at, thanks to her hubby's brilliant idea of "rest therapy"), the paper liberates her because she at least can write and let out some of her pent-up rage. Looking at some of her other works online made me see that indeed she did have certain feelings towards men and of course, led me to question what her life was really like. She mentioned in one article about the importance of a woman not being a man's servant, but being apart of a man's soul. I think this could easily be applied to many works, but it still doesn't let me know who she is or why exactly she wrote the text. I think to really know author intent we'd have to be living in their mind, so the best we can do is interpret the words and see where we are lead.

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)