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October 30, 2009

EL 266 Scott "There's More Honor':" In my opinion what should've happened

"What the actual ending offers is a broader possibility, one that provides an alternative for the late-nineteenth-century reader who cannot make the moral leap Huck proposes." (Scott)

I agree with this statement. Using a traditional train of thought leads us to a more modern understanding of the ending.
In my opinion, I think that Tom ignored Jim, using him as a prop for the adventure the he has concocted for Huck and himself. Tom takes advantage of Huck's morals in the last leg of Huck's adventure by taking over. By doing so, Huck comes out as the hero. As Tom is more of a villain. Tom realizes what he is doing. Not realizing any consequences. Example: Tom getting shot.
A more positive outcome is seen in the last chapter when Huck is told that he has six-thousand dollars waiting for him.
As for evading, well all the characters in ADH were evading something. Jim was evading enslavement. Tom escaped the enslavement of his abusive father. Tom escaped the enslavement of a simple mind.
Tom does re-enter the picture only to, in my opinion, ruin Huck's last adventure, thus spicing up the ending though. The adventures of Huckleberry Finn does not have an ending that is conventional. I agree with Marx. It should have ended with consequences, but rather happily ends. I was shocked myself. When I completed the novel, I put it down, frustrated that it ended on such a positive note.
During my reading, I thought that Jim should have been caught and killed more than once, and Huck beaten or imprisoned for his lies. Tom being the antagonist in the story, going against all that Huck wants and stands for, morals. I think that Huck was attempting to mature morally, but when Tom enters, he takes his vivid mind and leads Huck and Jim on an adventure where it nearly costs Jim and Huck their lives. But it was Tom who really got it in the end by nearly dying.
Finales and endings are really up to the author/ director. I remember the last episode of The Sopranos. In my opinion, it sucked. I was so angry that I watched the show from season one. But then I thought about it after several conversations with fans, like myself. David Chase ended the show on a positive note because he realized that the subject matter was the mafia. As we all know, the mafia is all about violence and illegal doings. If Chase ended it with violence, that only meant that was all we, viewers, knew about mafias, not the positive side of the Don. The same goes with Clemens. He ended AHF the way he did because we, the reader, expected a negative outcome. It was shock value that everything ended optimistically. From Huck coming from abuse and Jim escaping his master lying and stealing their way throughout the Mississippi River on their adventure.

October 25, 2009

EL 266 Mallioux The Bad-Boy Boom. See and be seen

"By the 1880s the dime novel had evolved to include urban as well as western settings, detective heroes as well as cowboys." (Mallioux)

First of all, think about the era that these dime store novels occurred in. There was nothing to do for young boys except to idolize what they read in these particular books. Second, technology has really done genders wrong. Television caters to anyone, ESPN for men, TLC for women, LOGO for homosexuals, and BET for African-Americans. Genders and ethnicities are placed accordingly. It is not only just television, but other mediums as well. Maybe I have strayed from my point, but I want to focus on the role of males in society. Dime novels were only for young males. Look at male-driven things, as society usually stereotypes them: sports, cowboys and Indians, organized crime, construction work, tattoos, etc...
You do not really see a lot of women in these fields, until recently. The bad boy image still holds strong in the Twentieth First Century. What started from a novel glorifying cowboys has developed into larger things like a separation of genders as I mentioned in the latter. Okay, okay, since Mallioux wrote this on AHF, I will use Huck as an example. Huck is a poster child for young men to idolize just as the movie The Outsiders was for me when I was young. I remember carrying around a pocket knife and wearing tattered clothing trying to resemble the character Pony Boy. In my eyes, he was so cool, back then.
Mimicking a character that is stapled as a "bad boy" is addictive. Look at all the sub genres that were constructed from that: hippies, punks, gangsters, and many more.
Mallioux's essay was informative that led me to my own conclusions on the "bad boy" development.

EL 266 Foster Chapter 23, 24- Ugh! I'm dying!

"But as we've seen time and time again, what we feel in real life and what we feel in our reading lives can be quite different." (Foster)

I tend to agree with Foster. In reality, we feel for a person that has been stricken with an immediate illness. We do not look back at their lives until they are deceased. What I'm trying to say is, in literature, us, the reader, has to be educated in a sort of back story in order to understand what is currently going on. In reality, hearing that Mr. Johnson was diagnosed with cancer, we instantly become sympathetic towards him.
The author has to create the illness. Build their character before giving he/she a diagnosis. Look, for instance, at Arthur Dimmsdale in The Scarlet Letter. He constantly holds his hand over his heart. Although he is older, I automatically thought that he had some kind of condition. It turns out that it was more metaphoric. I would not have realized this if I had not read the novel in its entirety.

EL 266 final chapters of AHF-Leave it to Tom

"'I'll tell you. It ain't right, and it ain't moral, and I wouldn't like it to get out-but there ain't only just the one way; we got to dig him out with the picks, and let on it's case-knives.'" (Clemens) Ch. 36

Maybe it's just me, but I see this happen when Tom enters the story. All of a sudden when Tom enters, he tends to take over Huck's adventure. The quote I used is just an example of this. Tom finds a way to get to Jim. It appears that he does not let Huck think for himself. Tom, all of a sudden, becomes the protagonist. This leaves Huck to validate all that Tom says and does. Tom says that instead of using shovels to get to Jim, use case-knives.
While I never got the chance, yet, to read the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I really do not know Tom Sawyer like I got to know Huck Finn. But Tom steals the limelight from Huck.
So I wanted to know what case-knives are. Silly me. They are nothing more than pocket knives. I guess I wasn't the only one that did not know what they were. In Chapter 36, Tom asks Huck to hand him a case-knife. "' Gimmee a case-knife'". Huck didn't know either. "I didn't know just what to do-but then I thought. I scratched around amongst the old tools, and got a pick-axe and gave it to him, and he took it and went to work, and never said a word." Old Southern slang in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are hard to understand as I am, obviously, used to modern English nor have I ever lived in the South. If it were not for the glossary in the back of my book, I would not know what some of the words being used are. Case-knives are not in the glossary, by the way.

October 18, 2009

EL 266 AHF Ch. 11-35 Jim ain't got no friend

"'Pooty soon I'll be a shout'n for joy, en I'll say, it's all on accounts o' Huck I's a free man, an I couldn't ever ben free ef it hadn' been for Huck; Huck done it. Jim won't ever forgit you, Huck; you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had; en you's de only fren' ole Jim's got now'." (Clemens)

I really began to feel sorry for Jim. He is always on the look-out for Huck and his safety; although Jim escaping from his slavery. Huck likes to torment Jim. I can understand this as Huck is a young man on an adventure, but all Jim sees in Huck is a true friend. Why would he do such a thing?
Answer: Huck is escaping his terrible life from his father as Jim is escaping Miss Watson's grasp. Huck, more than likely, is not used to someone else caring for him as Jim does. Does Huck really care if Jim makes it, considering Jim is a slave, and Huck was being taken care of by Jim's master?
Answer: I feel that Huck is just immature. He is attempting to live vicariously through Tom Sawyer's. The beginning of the novel, Tom puts together this club which is lived through his vivid imagination. Huck, in my opinion, is really acting Tom's imagination out loud with his wild river adventure.
I have to say that I really like the fact that the novel navigates us, the reader, up and down the Mississippi River. I have seen the Mighty Mississippi River quite a few times, and it is really big. Although I am not an cartographer, I use my memory of the river to guess where the two are at during their wild escapade.

EL 266 Portfolio two: Literature takes a twist

-Coverage

- Depth

- Interaction

- Discussions

- Timeliness

- Xenoblogging

- Wild Card

EL 266 Wild Card

I blogged about the G-20 Summit after watching the evening news. It made me sick to my stomach the kind of people that were protesting it. They were poor representations of our city, let alone our country.

-G-20 Vomit

EL 266 Xenoblogging

I commented on a peer's blog before the deadline, after the reading(s):

-Foster (Ch. 13-15)

- Poe selections

- Foster (Ch. 18, 19, 20)

- Uncle Tom's Cabin (Aiken)

EL 266 Timeliness

-The Yellow Wallpaper (Gilman)

- Walden (Thoreau)

- Poe selections

- Foster (Ch. 18, 19, 20)

EL 266 Discussions

Here are some EL 266 students I have sparked discussions with in my blogs and classroom:

- The Yellow Wallpaper (Gilman)

- Walden (Thoreau)

- Dickinson selections

- Foster (Ch. 18, 19, 20)

- Uncle Tom's Cabin (Aiken)

-

EL 266 Interaction

Here are some of EL 266 students I have interacted with:

- Jennifer Prex
on The Yellow Wallpaper

- Jamie Grace on Walden

- Jennifer Prex on Poe selections

- Jennifer Prex on Emily Dickinson selections

- Katie Lantz on Uncle Tom's Cabin

-

EL 266 Depth

Entries I have gone into depth with:

- Bartleby the Scrivener (Melville)

- The Yellow Wallpaper (Gilman)

- Walden (Thoreau)

- Poe (Selection)

EL 266 Coverage

- Bartleby the Scrivener (Mellville)

-The Yellow wallpaper (Gilman)

- How to read literature (Foster) (interlude, 11, 12)

- Walden (Thoreau) (Ch. 2&4)

- Walden (Thoreau) (Ch. 13, 18)

- How to read literature (Foster) (Ch. 13-15)

- Edgar Allen Poe selections

- Emily Dickinson selections

- How to read literature (Foster) Ch. 18, 19, & 20)

- Uncle Tom's Cabin (Aiken)

- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Clemens) (up to Ch. 10)

- How to read literature (Foster) (interlude, 21, 22)

October 12, 2009

EL 266 Adventures of Huck Finn Ch 1-10: Deceive the people

" 'Look at it, gentlemen, and ladies all; take behold of it; shake it. There's a hand that was the hand of a hog; but it ain't so no more; it's the hand of a man that's started in on a new life, and I'll die before he'll go back.' " (Twain) p.34

There are many similarities between the father character in Huck Finn, and Arthur Dimmsdale, in the Scarlet Letter. The comparisons can be Dimmsdale deceiving his community by living a lie, and his secret meetings with Hester and Pearl in the woods. Basically, he is living a lie. He does not want others to know who he really is. That is until the end of the book.
The old man can be seen in the same light. He is nothing but a homeless drunk out to get his son's fortune; although he has given it away. The judge takes him in and gives the old man another chance at life to better himself. He fools the judge and his wife, deception! I was able to come to this conclusion when the old man crept into Huck's room and beat the piss out of Huck for becoming educated. That developed his character from the start.

EL 266 Foster Ch. interlude, 21,22: The blind leading the blind

"Blind as he is, he walks toward that death without assistance, as if guided by an unseen power." (Foster) p.206

Foster really touched upon something that I really have never given much thought to before, disabilities in the literary world. Blindness was the focus of Ch. 22. When an author introduces a blind person, the writer has to make up for their sight.
But, blindness can be defined in other terms as well. For example, saying Love is blind. I do not think of a blind character when I say this, but someone who uncertain of the emotion. It depends on the content of the text.
Fact is, when introducing the word blind into a text, the author has the complicated task of making it work.
I was at a party a few weeks ago, for some reason, there were several deaf people there. I was hesitant about going up to them and talking. I thought the task to be to difficult. But the complete opposite occurred. I communicated with them on a note pad since I did not know sign language to well, only a few words. Also, they read lips. What I'm trying to say is if the reader understands a person with a disability, it will not be that difficult to understand his/her character. By not turning a blind eye to a person with a disability, I have gotten much more out of a text.

October 11, 2009

EL 266 Uncle Tom's Cabin: Cruelty to slaves turns around

ST. CLARE:

" You would think no harm in a child's caressing a large dog even
if he was black; but a creature that can think, reason and feel, and is immortal,
you shudder at. Confess it, cousin. I know the feeling among some of you Nor-
therners well enough. Not that there is a particle of virtue in our not having it,
but custom with us does what Christianity ought to do: obliterates the feelings
of personal prejudice. You loathe them as you would a snake or a toad, yet you
are indignant at their wrongs. You would not have them abused but you don't
want to have anything to do with them yourselves. Isn't that it?" (Aiken)

This was a little different from a text because the obvious, it was in play form. I think this version was better because it was a lot easier to follow and understand the characters more.
I see a general theme in the texts we have been reading: characters that are faced with a crossroad in their lives, for example: Cassie and Tom. Cassie believes that she has the devil in her due to the way she has been treated by her master. She tries to convey this to Tom, but his beliefs are way to strong to be tempted. Topsy feels that she has evil in her. This is probably due to the fact that she has been conditioned to be a slave since her childhood. That is until Ophelia changes her way about her slave.
Death is another theme I have seen quite frequently in the readings. Eva speaks about going to the heavens. So does her father after Eva passes on, St. Clare.
Spirituality is a third characteristic that characters during the eras we have been reading about seem to have. I see a lot in common between Eva and Pearl, from The Scarlet Letter. They both possess some higher form of spirituality. They seem to have more insight than their elders.
As far as the quote, well, I won't go into racism, but it sure relays to it. I think it is more along the lines of humanity. All St. Clare is trying to say is, just because people are different, color wise, does not mean they should be treated any more differently than any one else. Color should not be seen as a restriction. Ophelia despised negroes until she saw how Tom was with Eva. Even after Eva's passing. Her mind had changed. The repeated use of the word shiftless really showed Ophelia's character. It was not others that were lacking, but her. She lacked the intelligence to understand another race of people.

October 2, 2009

EL 266 Foster Ch. 18,19,20 Drown, dead, rebirth

"Not every character gets to survive the water." (Foster) p.155

I would say that Foster is on to something with the focus being on water. Water is used as a medium for whatever the situation calls for. For instance, I took my family to the beach. Little Charlie went swimming and never returned. What happened to Charlie? Did he drown or get eaten by a shark? That is reality. Now if the same scenario came up in a novel, it would make for something completely different. Did Charlie drown or was Charlie going swimming a metaphor for leaving his life and the walk to the beach a symbol for a path taken?
Foster is on track as he mentions that "drowning has plenty to tell us in a story." Water the same. It is used as a medium in order to make way for other things to occur.

EL 266 Emily Dickinson-The garden weeps due to no water

"I have not told my garden yet,
Lest that should conquer me;" (Dickinson) [VIII] I have not told my garden yet

I think that Dickinson makes the garden she refers to as her friend that she has not told a secret to. She does not go into the streets to tell others for she has not told the garden yet. She would feel shamed to do so. If she did tell the garden, it may stop growing. Just like humans talking to plants in order for them to grow. The poem has an emotional attitude to it. She is embracing nature as Thoreau had in Walden.
Again, I see the same theme pop up in Perhaps you'd like to buy a flower? Dickinson, I feel, is trying to say that we only have so much time on earth until we pass. For a short while, the narrator will lend an open ear until the next bloom, which is the daffodil. The thawing of winter entering into spring. Dickinson is comparing her life to nature by using metaphors.

EL 266 Poe-Silence; living a double life

"No power hath he of evil in himself" (Poe)

I have been on an "evil" hunt the last few days. I try to find passages that relate to the word. Oh well, I have noticed that Poe references God in the last few works I have read. It seems a bit ironic that a man who writes on the macabre has a spiritual side to him. For example, Silence (1850) the last word of the last line, "God". The Raven, "by that God we both adore". Just a little observation.
I feel that Poe is reaching far into the psyche with Silence (1850). Is he trying to say that we have two sides to us at all times, body and spirit? Aha! Is this possibly more of a transcendental philosophy. Through knowing, we stay in touch with all that is around us.
Life can be construed as a mystery. There is no sure path made directly for us, in my opinion. But one thing we do know is we need our body and our souls to prove our existence just like matter requires light in order to be seen, as well as the sea needs a shore.
As far as the quote I used, I feel that man is not inherently evil. It takes outside forces for this to occur. We are not born good nor evil. Like I mentioned, it takes an environment and other forces to participate in such an action. This is funny because a few weeks ago, my friends and I were sitting outside and the question came up "Do you think people are generally good or bad?"
Now in Poe's poem Silence (1950) I feel that it is a battle between science and religion. How are things created?

October 1, 2009

EL 266 Poe The Raven. The fowl's happiness is dark

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil — prophet still, if bird or devil!" (Poe) p.5

The narrator is distraught. I feel that he thinks that the bird has flown on his bust of Pallas for happiness. Now as the reader, I realize that Poe really does not write poetry nor other short stories about happiness. He is the original master of horror. Even the presence of the raven represents some form of evil. Because a raven is dark in complexion, it has black undarting eyes, and it will not leave the narrator's bust of Pallas until the narrator's sanity is taken. Therefor the raven is a representation of death.
Poe has taken the reader from a sad lament to a lost love into madness. I feel that he does this by using the same words in the third and second to last lines of each stanza 4th line yore-5th line yore-6th line neverm-ore. It threw me into a word coma. I felt like I was entranced by the word patterns. The -ore never stops either. Until the end which Poe wrote "Nevermore" was ongoing. The poem I feel never stops. There will always be some temptation of evil when lamenting a loss.
As we discussed Tuesday that forms of evil are prevalent in many of the works we have read this far, The Scarlet Letter, Young Goodman Brown, and The Masque of the Red Death. Maybe not the underlying theme, but its presence is well known.
Is literary "evil" different from the evils we, society, experience from day-to-day? I feel it is. When I think of evil, I think of a murderer, an ex lover, and hate mongers, but literary evil can consist of urges and temptation. These characteristics are a bit more fantasy like. For instance, the man in the woods that YGB encounters is symbolic of evil. There really was no physical presence standing in front of him, it was YGB encountering evil in his mind. Was the path the right one or wrong? It was Hawthorne creating a choice for the young man. That is how I feel that "evil" is different.