May 3, 2007

Peer Review Day: I throw this in my porfolio hey baby hey!

The title was my idea of a song of joy that this hell is almost over but I don't think it will be a chart topper. haha. Anyhow, we are feeling so productive that we have managed to correct papers, talk to family members and make sure britney spears is still a nut all at the same time. I am very sad that Vanessa will not be here to watch the Gilmore Girls with me, so we've now completed the very important tasks that all English majors must conquer, learning how to interpret numbers. Okay, so we exchanged numbers, but at least we're multi-tasking. I am cheerfully pouring happiness and glitter into the gaps of Diana's paper and she tells her gum "Screw you." See, I've learned alliteration (glitter, gaps, and gum, oh, my!), but in all seriousness, I've gotten mad help on my paper. Vanessa working in the writing center has been an asset.
Here is what's happened:
1. My thesis is being re-worked
2. She's helped me on sentence placement and grammar
3. She's given me some ways of citing my sources properly
4. I'm getting more sources on Machiavelli and Shakespeare
5. I placed all of Diana's misplaced paragraphs in happy homes.
6. I fixed some minor grammar and verb confusion
7. We talked about ways to make our arguments stronger
I'm all better now, so I'm rippin this band-aid off and callin it quits. Peace out girl scouts!

Posted by ErinWaite at 7:11 PM | Comments (0)

Rough Draft/ thesis ideas/ help?!

"From Prospero's viewpoint, Gonzalo's obedience to his master (even though it entailed Prospero's suffering and near-death) is praiseworthy because political obedience guarantees the stability of government (Yachnin 42)." While political obedience was a strong issue during Shakespeare's life, especially between the Jacobeans and the Elizabethans (going along with the government seemed to indicate going against one's own conscience, or even worse being labeled as an accomplice) I believe that Shakespeare's feelings of what justice should be is more prevalent throughout the play than just his feelings about the government and obedience alone.
From the beginning Prospero presents himself as the one who deserves to serve this brand of justice to Alonso and even his own brother. While Yachnin presents the idea that Gonzalo's obedience is "praiseworthy" because of stability to the government and is forgiving (or so it seems), he's less than forgiving to the other men who usurped him (at least in the beginning).
First, he uses Ariel to create the tempest. Then, as if that isn't quite enough, he punishes them by having dogs chase them, has Ariel's music get them lost, and all the while, he has Alonso's son (whom he was probably very worried about). It's understandable that he's being like any modern politician and trying to use Ferdinand to stabilize his political position, but the methods he uses to get the rest of his revenge seem rather like the old phrase "an eye for an eye."
While revenge is never a new concept, the thought of serving justice in this manner does seem to make the reader question how Shakespeare must have felt about how justice should have been served during his time. Furthermore, does this mean that he believed (as Yachnin suggested) that people who went along with the government were just as guilty and deserved whatever their punishment was?
To answer that question, by taking a formalist approach, the readers could look directly to the work and see various pieces of the puzzle that is indicative of such an interpretation. Prospero's thought of injustice shows that he is somewhat of a hypocrite in the fact that he's angry with his brother taking over, but he believes it's just to use Caliban and Ariel to carry out his deeds. When Ariel asks for his freedom that Prospero has promised for years, Prospero doesn't hesitate to remind Ariel of all he's done for him and keeps making him serve. This goes along with his idea of justice, but also exemplifies how Shakespeare may have seen the world himself. He also believes that Caliban owes him and thinks that because he gave him "human care (1:2, 349)" he is nothing but a savage who is lucky to receive whatever justice Prospero gives him.
On the other hand, Shakespeare also liked to show his audience a good time and give the audience a sense of relief, at least during some point of his plays, so the "happily ever after" ending does perhaps indicate that Prospero's justice did work for him. It could work in the way that he gave up some of his power and freed those he promised he would, thus not making his revenge seem so unfair. While this does show that Shakespeare may not have been favoring the "eye for an eye" method, but when Gonzalo grieves over the way he's treated people, it seems that justice is really served because he went against his conscience.
"Him that you term'd sir, "the good old Lord Gonzalo,"/ His tears run down his beard like winter's drops From eaves of reeds (Yachnin 44)." Whatever Shakespeare felt about politics is an open debate, but it is clear in the text that each member truly received some form of justice whether it be through losing a family member, surviving a storm, being enslaved, or simply feeling the burning of one's conscience. Shakespeare did make it clear that people would receive some type of justice and the same man who caused it all could easily relieve their pain, just as Queen Elizabeth was able to during his time.
Shakespeare's full intent can never be completely clear, because the audience can only view what's before them, but they can look at the government in modern society and see punishments such as the death penalty and look back to Elizabethan times and see the suffering in The Tempest and perhaps strengthen the belief that justice (no matter how one-sided) is still an issue and a representation of Shakespeare's intent to demonstrate justice that neither goes against or celebrates the "eye for an eye" method.

Posted by ErinWaite at 4:36 PM | Comments (0)

Some random poetry I felt like busting out


Sock puppets and holy jeans make for a mean afternoon of comedy and worship...

Blue jeans slung low
faded perfectly
cuffed below
To thee I shall protest
why ruin thy holy pants with such bad taste?

"I need a man like I need a hole in my...jeans"

I can take you
on and off
my body
drag you through the mud
and rip you
hard and fast
or...just wash you up
wear you casually
above or below
the waist
skin tight or loose
but I like you best
broken in
from so much love.

Posted by ErinWaite at 4:31 PM | Comments (3)

April 23, 2007

Tag-teaming Lit. Critics--oh my!

Dock, '''But One Expects That': Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and the Shifting Light of Scholarship'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
"Once battles for recognition have been won, however, critical notions that have served as rallying cries need to shift." (480).

Each writer has a cause or motive they are rallying for and the authors show the various reviews that depict the intention of the author vs. the reactions from the audience. The norms shaped reactions and meanings were twisted and fluffed, but in the end, it's all up to the author.

Posted by ErinWaite at 9:49 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2007

Word Up to Murfin and Ray: Frusturated

I have too many assignments to be worried about looking up a word in the dictionary. I wish I could post a picture of myself banging my head against the wall. That would define frusturated and that's not in Murfin and Ray and I don't give a shit :)

Posted by ErinWaite at 5:07 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2007

Word up: Simulacra

This means in Latin "to put on an appearance of." I thought this was so appropriate because as study signs and the origins of language with postructuralism, we are gaining more knowledge of what's a real solid definition as opposed to a shakey one. Examples could be a picture of something as a substitute for the real "brass-balls" object (to get all manly on you, now I thought brass-balls was appropriate).

Posted by ErinWaite at 2:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2007

Word up: Alliteration

It's a mnemonic device used often in poetry. It's when words in a poetry line or perhaps a sentence in a book begin with the same letter and sound. Alliteration is usually used to make the phrase stand out. Think of Peter Piper picking a pack of picking peppers, corny, (in this case of pepers, hot stuff) but you remember it don't ya?

Posted by ErinWaite at 9:04 PM | Comments (0)

Progress Report on Term Project

Thus far, I've went to the library and checked out a bunch of books related to The Tempest and Pale Fire. I would like to do my term project most likely on The Tempest and perhaps the historical context in that, but I'm still unsure. I'm currently working on looking at my essays on and deciding which is my best. Then, when I get there, I'm going to compile library info with whatever I can find on Ebscohost and perhaps in past works of the authors.

Here's the plan for the next few weeks:

-I'm going to the library to search for more books on my topic, once I choose it.

-I will make an outline of key points and quotes

-I'll then pick an argument and use the books I have to form an argument.

-Once I form my argument, I will develop my thesis and use quotes to back it.

-I will compose a rough draft and have it reviewed by 3 non-partial people

-Then, revise, rehone the argument and keep truckin'

That's all so far, Dr. J :)

Posted by ErinWaite at 8:36 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2007

Blade Runner: Peek-a-boo, Eyes Can See You

Scott, dir. Blade Runner (Director's Cut) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

I read Freud first thankfully, since the Pale Fire experience, I learned my lesson. I thought it related perfectly to Blade Runner's plot full of eyes, replicants, and Asians. Just how uncanny can you get? Lets see:
The Voight-Kamph test with the eyes was very Freudian indeed. The memory implant concept also made me realize the importance of the replicants having them so they could appear emotional and what I find so funny about it is that Dr. Tyrell thought emotions make people easier to control. I feel that emotions make people even harder to control. Look at the (oh no, repetiton, Freud fans) repression in The Yellow Wallpaper, she went nuts. People see therapists nowadays if they see a kitty commercial and feel sad, so of course emotions make us even more out-of-control. On the other hand, emotions make us vulnerable to other people and can easily make us easier to control because people can use our emotions to their advantage. It's a tough call, what do you think?

Posted by ErinWaite at 5:47 PM | Comments (2)

March 13, 2007

Word Up: Semiotics

This a term that Charles Sanders Peirce came up with and it refers to the study of signs and the way meanings are derived from them. This doesn't just mean a stop sign or a no-smoking sign, but rather how someone uses body language (smiles, high-fives) and even clothing to represent feelings, etc. What you are wearing can symbolize to others a certain vibe, so watch out you little hipsters!

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2007

Swann is really just a silly goose

I'm sorry, that was cheesy. But really, he didn't need to kill that many trees to tell us that he feels Benito Cereno is a mystery and that we have to re-read it a few times and become detectives ourselves to interpret the meaning. He used some examples from other works to demonstrate the importance of looking at historical context, thus re-iterating the importance of intertextuality. I just felt like I was slogging through Melville all over again in this criticism, so at least Swann served his own purpose.

Posted by ErinWaite at 1:31 PM | Comments (3)

Frye's reading of The Tempest: We want to be Peter Pan once in awhile

"And it is Shakespeare who gives us, as members of his audience, his island, as one would give a child an apple, but with the further hope that we will not stop with eating the apple but will use its seeds to create for ourselves new seas and even more enchanted islands." (305).

Frye again goes back to the fallen world discussion and also uses a variety of examples of other plays ( hello, intertextuality) to stress his point that what seems like child-like illusion can be reality and vice versa. I liked how he explained that to really get the full dramatic experience, we shouldn't lose our sense of wonder just as Shakespeare tried to strive for. We still get excited over our favorite Disney movies (at least I do) and I believe that's because of the excitement of escape and the idea that while it might not be reality to us now, it seemed like it could be when we were children.

Posted by ErinWaite at 1:09 PM | Comments (1)

"Culler" in the lines

"In my book, he says, they will read themselves and their own limits." (297)

I liked Culler's idea that structuralism is more about how we look at our own perceptions of what "the soul" is and what is symbolic of something else to us. He seems to want to enjoy the way literature effects us. It either expands our minds or hinders us. Thats kind of extreme isn't it?

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:53 PM | Comments (1)

Frye: A Balancing Act

"Criticism will always have two aspects, one turned toward the structure of literature and one turned toward the cultural phenomena that form the social enviroment of literature." (284).

I liked how Frye spoke in the first person and left out alot of the hoo-ha, look at me, "I can use big words" voice that most literary critics use. He (?) talks about the "escape literature" in the sense that we use it to compensate for experiences we haven't had and that we get excited more over the habit of going to the movies and reading. This also reminds me of how much we tend to put all of our eggs in one basket when it comes to lit. crit. We tend to put more effort into a criticizing and looking deeper into works we admire and give rave reviews to the genre we already admire rather than stretching our muscles and criticizing in a manner we're not comfy with. The two aspects Frye focuses on explains how we look at a work in one way or another and try to separate them. I think being a good critic may just being able to combine the two to form a more balanced opinion.

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:24 PM | Comments (2)

March 8, 2007

Imitation is flattering, but can cause floppage

"By orienting the poem toward the world of poetic convention rather than toward the world of empirical reality, they eliminate the problems that haunt mimetic attempts to explain how verbal constructs can 'imitate' this reality..." (277)

Yikes, I don't know if I'm getting the right meaning out of this quote but, what I picked it because it included alot of the terms and discussions we've had previously. I think Keesey could have said, we don't necessarily always imitate reality, but perhaps the artwork of others we admire. I've noticed in some of my writing classes that people tend to stick with the genre they are most comfortable with and mock their favorite writers. I'm not condoning or condemning in this (I'm super-guilty on genre-theft), but I think as critics it's our job to look at whether the author is discussing their own reality or just looking for the right formula that will make their writing fit in with their own favorite authors.

Posted by ErinWaite at 8:42 PM | Comments (5)

Pale Fire: Not so pale, just plain fidgety

I'll tell ya, reading the Intro and the Commentary even before the reading is somewhat helpful, but what we drew me in the most about the writing was the style and his gift for metaphors and word choice. He was a bird-lovin' man and a true Zemblan at that. I have to agree with Karissa that I have no idea what Vlady is doing in this, was he a drinnking buddy of Shade's or what? I liked Lolita (I stopped at the purse part, I swear I'm going to finish it), but I need to know what his role is in this rubber-banded index carded-work of 4 cantos is really about, so it's time for some research, kids! For now, as an "I write favorite quotes on gum wrappers girl," here are some of my favorites, let's discuss:
" Your ruby ring made life and laid the law." (p. 50) This reminds me of his wife's ruling over him almost with just the slightest flick of her wrist, oooh I have a ruby ring, too (lol). I've noticed her kind of guiding him along the bumps and in the commentary the author said she would almost talk for Shade...I wouldn't want her as my wife, thanks.

"A non-dressable in morning dress." (p.54)
This reminds me of his dealing with age, face it as we age we are not so hot-to-trot when it comes to dressing. I'm seeing more and more old men in at Denny's in Rocawear sweats with penny loafers, I don't think they are representing anything or in morning dress, rather just happy to wake up in the morining.

I LOVE the line on p. 66 when he compares himself with Marat as he shaves in the tub. You can't get any lazier than that. It got a little gross after that...
p. 57 "The Year of the Tempest," come on people, we can compare his daughter's death with The Tempest or simply how a tempest is a tough there's a high school paper for ya.

Another favorite is how he compares the 3 chambers of their home in which he, his wife, and daughter shout back and fourth and how that is like a 3-act play. Good metaphor and it reminded me of the happier times with his daughter. Don't we all shout back and forth (sometimes things the neighbors really don't want to hear) to each other because we are too lazy to actually walk down the hall to talk to a family member?

Finally, I was excited for him when he thought someone else shared his death vision, but she saw a mountain. She seemed like one of those women who call KDKA every time the girlscouts ring her bell selling cookies too much or someone's dog fertilizes her lawn. We wouldn't be friends. Speaking of friends, I think the commentary is great for explaining some of the chaotic lines and it depicts the author's close friendship. I'm ashamed to say it, but I actually enjoyed some of the commentary. Especially when he discusses finding frivolous instructions on what to feed the cat and how the blinds should be so as not to damage the furniture. It sounds exactly like the 4-page instructional letter my pap sends us on how to turn on the lights and and unlock his doors in case we randomly decide to drive three hours to sit in his basement while he's living it up in Florida. Better safe than sorry, folks! Please talk :)

Posted by ErinWaite at 8:09 PM | Comments (2)

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)

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 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,, 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)

January 29, 2007

Who's really the leader?

"Follow your leader" is the cryptic quote that we think we understand as we read this. I couldn't wait to find out the ending because I thought Cereno or his crew would murder Delano. In the end it was Babo who controlled everything, I found it very ironic. Now the "shadow" part makes sense to me because Babo seemed to shadow Cereno wherever he went and his presence could in a sense fall like a shadow on Cereno's pale skin. Also, Cereno was buried in the same cemetary so he even followed his leader to the grave. It seems that Babo was the true leader and Cereno followed. I'm surprised that Delano was so passive, but he was smart for being so because it saved his life in the end.

Posted by ErinWaite at 3:36 PM | Comments (5)

"Tradition and Individual Talent"

“ Honest criticism and sensitive appreciation is directed not upon the poet but upon the poetry. If we attend to the confused cries of the newspaper critics and the susurrus of popular repetition that follows, we shall hear the names of poets in great numbers; if we seek not Blue-book knowledge but the enjoyment of poetry, and ask for a poem, we shall seldom find it.”

This spoke to me, because as a poet, I try to write things that will make people feel something and I really liked how Eliot explained that a poet is really only truly great if they can make even a person who hasn’t experienced what he or she is going through feel the same as the poet may have. When we look at a literary work, we may want to criticize it based on feelings, but we really do have to look at other critic’s and the genre of the work itself before we can make a strong criticism.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:51 AM | Comments (4)

"These are the terms, Buddy..."

“The last quatrain gives an image, a feeling attaching to an image, which "came," which did not develop simply out of what precedes, but which was probably in suspension in the poet's mind until the proper combination arrived for it to add itself to. The poet's mind is in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together.”
Here’s a least one term I looked up: Quatrain. This term interested me because I was reading about it the other day in Intro to Poetry. To understand it, if you look at the “qua” part, you may recognize that it has to do with 4, as in quadruplets. The actual definition of quatrain I looked up in the Bedford glossary is this: a stanza containing four lines. I learned that the quatrain is the most common form used in English-language poetry. I also learned that some examples are in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s elegy for Arthur Henry Hallam and in William Blake’s “Infant” sorrow. In my poetry class I’m now noticing more quatrains as a result. The word caught my eye as I read Eliot’s “Tradition and the Individual Talent.”

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:42 AM | Comments (2)

Eagleton "What is Literature?"

"What we have uncovered so far, then, is not only that literature does not exist in the sense that insects do, and that value-judgements by which it is constituted are historically valuable, but that the value-judgements themselves have a close relation to social ideologies" (p. 16).”

We tend to decide whether we like a book based on whether we agree with the values of the type of book we are reading and I think Eagleton related that very well. He also explains Formalism in a way that allows us to understand how it formed and that the language can give many clues to the context. Back to value-judgements, after reading Eagleton's perspective on this, do you think it is okay to avoid reading books that have topics that go against your values? I think we should, because as I've said before, we can all read for pleasure, but I want to read to be changed or at least develop a stronger feeling towards a work.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

Criticism: Now in little boxes for your viewing pleasure

"Because criticism usually involves the interpretation of a particular literary work, it is logical that the work in question should hold the central place in the diagram." (3)

I found it kind of humorous that the way we label a work can also be "labeled" in a cute little diagram. "Look mom, I'm already a critic calling diagrams cute (not a very good one, though)."
I tend to argue with myself, so for me, understanding the types of criticism and whom they relate to was very helpful. When it comes to memorizing laundry lists of text in terms I can't interpret, it's very helpful. Like Valerie said in her blog, I sometimes just want to watch old-school Sesame Street without worrying about why Ernie and Bert are in the tub together. I find it impossible to really harness all of the methods into one area. Heck, I can't even remember if I'm wearing socks half of the time, so how am I going to remember my perspectives? I'm a little overwhelmed, but I do enjoy reading what makes me change and I want to hold onto that. I am looking forward to stretching the way I analyze things, though. Everyone tends to have stronger and weaker reactions to literature based on how they've read them before, so this class will help us to understand the various means of looking at something before making a judgement.

Posted by ErinWaite at 9:31 AM | Comments (4)