Wildcard 3-healthcare in the US

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This final wild card has nothing to do with American Literature.  I wanted to propose my concerns for the health care system in our country.  I will be honest and say even though I have such strong concerns I have not updated myself recently on the most current plans for our nation as I have been very busy; therefore I would love some feedback from others.  I demonstrated my concerns with the system by choosing it as my topic for my research paper last year for my thinking and writing class.  I presented the major issues in our nation and how it is leaving a devastating effect on many citizens.  I also decided to research Canada's universal system, but found many life threatening issues with that route as well.  My research left me discouraged and quite upset as it did not lead me to a solution.  I am against universal coverage, but I also think health care has turned into a business, which is unethical. This has been an ongoing debate for years upon years and its obvious that there needs to be change.  However, I am nervous as to how far we will take this movement.  A small step towards socialism could turn into something much bigger and lead to danger. With that said, I can see the other side of the argument which highlights its concern for the welfare of the citizens. I just wish we could come up with our own unique plan that would help out the millions of uninsured Americans while sustaining the values of the American way.  Even though I conducted a research project on this topic does not make me an expert by no means, but I wanted to post my concerns.  

Third and Final Portfolio

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This is the third and final portfolio for my American Literature class at Seton Hill University.  There are many links that take you to my blogs on specific readings assigned for this portion of the class.

Coverage- Here are all of the links to the blogs that discuss my responses to the assigned readings.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor- Foster chapters 23 and 24

Foster, How to Read Literature... (Envoi)

Huckleberry Finn (finish)

Mallioux, ''The Bad-Boy Boom'' (pp. 43-50)

Scott, Kevin Michael '''There's More Honor': Reinterpreting Tom and the Evasion in Huckleberry Finn''

Smith, D.L.''Huck, Jim, and American Racial Discourse'' (pp. 356-369)

Traditional, "John Henry" (late 19th C)

Washington, ''Address of Booker T. Washington...'' (1895

Du Bois, ''The Souls of Black Folk'' (selections) (1903)

The Wizard of Oz


Depth-The following blogs I felt I had gone into depth with and could have easily sparked a discussion

Scott, Kevin Michael '''There's More Honor': Reinterpreting Tom and the Evasion in Huckleberry Finn'' -I discussed why I thought it was smart on Twain's part to bring Tom back for the end and went into detail on how the article I read changed my whole perspective on the character of Tom and his "honor". 

Huckleberry Finn (finish)- I not only shared my reaction to the novel as a whole, I went into some character analysis and discussed questions that the novel raised for me

Traditional, "John Henry" (late 19th C)
-A few questions were asked to be addressed and I feel I went beyond the minimum requirement to answer each.  Also, I brought up many points in my comparison between the two songs.

Washington, ''Address of Booker T. Washington...'' (1895
-I highlighted many aspects of Washington's argument that stood out to me. 

Du Bois, ''The Souls of Black Folk'' (selections) (1903)
-I brought up valid points to defend Washington.

The Wizard of Oz
-I not only stated my initial response to reading the text instead of the movie, I began a short analysis of the text itself.  While I included a few comparisons, I tried to focus on what the text had to tell us as readers.  
 

Interaction-These are the comments I left on my Peers Blogs.

Response to Jeremy Barrick's comment on the end of Huck Finn

Response to Katie Lantz's comment on the Bad Boy Boom

Response to Katie Lantz's comment on Scott's article

Response to Meagan Gemperlein's comment on Smith's article

Response to Heather Mourick's comment on John Henry

Response to Jeremy Barrick's comment on John Henry

Response to Heather Mourick's comment on The Wizard of Oz





Discussion-These are the few blogs that I felt sparked a discussion, either on the website or in class, especially when we broke into groups.

Huckleberry Finn (finish)- I proposed a few questions that the novel raised for me as a reader which is always a good way to receive feedback. 

Foster, How to Read Literature... (Envoi)

Mallioux, ''The Bad-Boy Boom'' (pp. 43-50)
 -This started a short discussion in class on how society continuously blames outside sources for problems

Scott, Kevin Michael '''There's More Honor': Reinterpreting Tom and the Evasion in Huckleberry Finn''
-My claims started a small debate in the classroom about the role of Tom in the novel.

Traditional, "John Henry" (late 19th C)
-My points were brought up in the midst of a discussion on what issues this story addressing.

Du Bois, ''The Souls of Black Folk'' (selections) (1903)
-This started a great discussion in class on how his views differed from Washington and also the reasons why. Also, three people commented on how they agreed that Du Bois's attack was unfair.

The Wizard of Oz 


Timeliness-All of my entries were written before the deadline, but these were the few (because of the time they were written) peers responded to.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor- Foster chapters 23 and 24.

Foster, How to Read Literature... (Envoi)

Scott, Kevin Michael '''There's More Honor': Reinterpreting Tom and the Evasion in Huckleberry Finn''


Huckleberry Finn (finish)-
-This blog and the one below was written early enough to have multiple people respond.

Mallioux, ''The Bad-Boy Boom'' (pp. 43-50)multiple

Du Bois, ''The Souls of Black Folk'' (selections) (1903)
-This prompt response allowed three people to respond. 


Traditional, "John Henry" (late 19th C)

Washington, ''Address of Booker T. Washington...'' (1895

The Wizard of Oz -This one was written especially early as it was done over Thanksgiving break.  
 

Xenoblogging-The following entries are responses to my peer's blogs that I felt gave a little bit of insight to the owner of the original entry..

Response to Jeremy Barrick's comment on the end of Huck Finn
 -I gave some insight on Tom's role in the end of the novel and how it affected the characters around him.

Response to Katie Lantz's comment on the Bad Boy Boom
-I gave Katie some feedback to her question "was he really such a bad role model?"

Response to Katie Lantz's comment on Scott's article
-She was having a hard time accepting the fact that Tom was brought into the novel to do good, so I restated some of my reactions to the article in order to help her look at the article from another angle.  This sparked someone else to respond after me as well.

Response to Heather Mourick's comment on John Henry
-She did not see how his story was social commentary so I added to Jeremy's comments to help her see how it was in fact an example of this.  Also, I added my thoughts on why it is too simple to merely say it was a story of both race and technology.

Response to Jeremy Barrick's comment on John Henry
-Both Jeremy and Meagan felt racism did not play a role in the story of John Henry so I stated my reasoning for disagreeing with them.

Response to Heather Mourick's comment on The Wizard of Oz
-I left her with a question "what else was the author trying to tell us with this text?", which should always be addressed when tackling a literary work.

Wild card-Health Care in the US

"Oz has never been civilized".

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I really enjoyed getting the chance to read the text of the Wizard of Oz. I grew up on the movie but a text can open up your eyes to many other aspects of a story and its messages. I tried throughout to not focus on the comparison of the two, but on what the text was trying to tell me. The images of the movie obviously flooded my mind with each scene, but like i said I enjoyed reading this familiar story rather than watching the same film.  The author did an awesome job writing a magical story filled with lessons for kids, but I tried to see what he was telling about the time period which he wrote this story in.

Oz was described as a beautiful and magnificent place, but yet "Oz has never been civilized". Dorothy's town, which was civilization, was gloomy and gray. This reminded me of Huckleberry Finn and how Huck was running away from civilization. IN my opinion, this was the author's way of expressing himself and how he thought about parts of society.  He did this also by introducing the idea of "bondage" and "slavery" throughout the whole text.  The fact that the first good witch was from the North jumped out, but the good witch from the South confused me. I wonder why the author chose East and West for the evil?   

I took interest in how the author chose to make it obvious through the text that the three characters, the scarecrow, the lion, and the tin man, in fact displayed the very things they thought they lacked.  In every situation or obstacle, the lion was the one who showed courage and the scarecrow showed wisdom and logic.  The tin man even showed compassion, which comes from the heart.  This created a clear message for the readers.  I do not remember it being this way in the movie, but I could be mistaken.  

"But once I had brains, and a heart also; so, having tried them both, I should much rather have a heart." The author I feel was trying to emphasize that we need both. We talked a lot about the battle betweeen arts and technology (information) or feeelings vs facts. But, a "fool would not know what to do with a heart" and "brains do not make one happpy".  Therefore, you are powerless without both.

This text has so much to offer its readers and I am glad I got the chance to read what I have seen all these years! I could blog about more, but I will leave it for the classroom discussion!
 






Du Bois's Unfair Attack

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" Mr. Washington distinctly asks that black people give up, at least for the present, three things"Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others

I do not agree with what Du Bois is saying here. I am not an expert on Booker T. Washington, but this is not the impression I got after reading about him.  He believed that the black man needed to start at the bottom in order to get to the top.  He also recognized that it would be impossible to reach such a top if they stayed in the mindset of revolt and revenge.  Washington was a leader of both races. I am not surprised then that he would receive oppostion from people of his own race, including Du Bois.  I feel that criticism is healthy, but I do not feel that Du Bois represents Washinton's views (the very thing he is criticizing) fairly and properly and some of Du Bois's opinions were not that far from Washington.  Not everyone during this time will be able to accept Washinton as they are bitter at any idea of compromise, but I do not get any feeling that Booker T. Washington wanted the black community to give into anyone.  He started a movement towards unity, which he thought would end up giving the black man everything Du Bois mentioned in his attack on Washington.  Washington was giving both the black man and the white man the tools to get the black man where Du Bois thought such a man needed to be. 

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Cement the Friendship of the Races

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Overall, I was really impressed with the words of Booker T. Washington.  Therefore, I will shine a light on a few of his teachings that stood out to me. 

"I early learned that it is a hard matter to convert an individual by abusing him, and that this is more often accomplished by giving credit for all the praiseworthy actions performed than by calling attention alone to all the evil done." This reminds me of the idea that killing one with kindness is the best tactic.  No one responds to criticism that only holds a negative tone. 

I also agreed with him when he made the point that any individual who learns to do something better than the next guy, no matter the color of skin, has solved his problem.  He was not giving the "negro man" an easy way out.  He was not trying to give such a man the upper hand, but instead he wanted equality for ALL hardworking men.  Respect must be earned.    

I feel that during this time blacks and whites spoke a different language, therefore, understanding one another was an impossibility. After hearing Washington, I came to a conclusion that he discovered a language that could speak to both whites and blacks.  He did this successfully through his ideas. If we do not stop discriminating, we will "stop the progress of the world" and the first step away from this is to "cement the friendship of the races". He stressed for congress to "encourage the material and intellectual growth of BOTH races".   

Grover Cleveland thought Washington inspired everyone "to gain every valuable advantage offered by their citizenship".  This message can inspire us today. We never experienced lack of citizenship, but Washington's words can put it into perspective for us.  This will prevent us from taking advantage of our freedom and lift us to a place where we want to be everything our freedom allows us to be.

Last but not least, I could not agree more with this statement: "The happiest people are those who do the most for others".   

Man vs The World

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A few questions were asked to be addressed in this blog and also a comparison between two versions of a song was requested.

In what ways was John Henry's story a tall-tale? Well of course this story was in fact a tall-tale as the true identity of which John Henry was THE John Henry was unknown.  There was no proof even of the exact location where this occurred.  Even though many people backed their theories up with evidence, no single theory was proven.  Although this is true, I have to agree with a speaker in Wade's report when he claimed that it almost does not matter.  The story of triumph is enough. 

How is it social commentary? John's Henry's story, no matter who John Henry is or where he came from, is a story about triumph for man kind, especially the man who has suffered from inequalities.  Such men, even today, can hold onto this story for hope and the strength to make changes in their own worlds. 

Is it primarily a story about technology or race? And is it too simplistic to just say "both"?
I think it is obvious that this story addresses both man vs. technology and man vs. white society, but I agree that it does not stop there.  I believe after reading his overall story, listening to Wade's report, and reading different versions of songs, that John Henry is a man that was going up against the world he was living in.  This statement actually leads me right into my comparison between my two songs. 

I compared the early version and the construction crew version.  I found that the later of the two did a better job at addressing more conflicts that man face in the world they live in.  The first one that jumped out was identity.  In this song, John Henry was introduced as a man first and a steel worker second.  In the earlier version, he was only mentioned as a "railroad man".  References to "white man" flooded the text in the construction version, which brought up the issue of race.  The idea of being faithful to one's partner could be found in this version as well: The early version had John Henry's lady claiming "I've been true to you" but in the construction version Henry's lady did not claim this until AFTER his victory, "I'll be true to you".  The final world issue in the construction crew version was religion when God was referenced in the concluding sentence.  This sentence also got the message across in order to be a good steel-driving man do not forget how you got there; "yo hammah an' yo" God"  The early version mainly focused on man vs. technology. 
 


It is All a Form of Play

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"Go play, Dear Reader, play" (281).

I was so happy this is the way Foster left us.  Throughout the book I respected much of what he had to say and wanted to try to apply it to my future readings in order to experience a more rich reading experience.  But, I feel that if he would have ended it with just another chapter full of texts I have never heard of and specific ways to read that text, I would have just blogged about "the ways this chapter will help me improve my skills". Then, I would put the book away and probably not get much from it after spending all this time studying it.  This will not be the case because of how Foster put this whole book into perspective for me in the Envoi.  It is not an encyclopedia of codes to memorize, but rather a template to assist readers to discover the codes on their own.  I will definitely continue to read books I like, but after reading Foster, not only will these books "engage" my "imagination", they will also engage my "intelligence" (281) which is definitely a "form of play" in my opinion.  

Huckleberry Finn, a means for scoial reformation today.

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"who actively opposed slavery, frequently regarded blacks as inherently inferior" (357).

This quote immediately reminded me of Uncle Tom's Cabin.  This message was instilled in that reading as well by having the cousin from the north, who did not own a slave, look to the blacks a a "subhuman".  Twain, by having Jim technically free the entire novel wanted to make a point that Jim was not fleeing from "legal bondage" , but from the "cruelties of this civilization".  Smith made this point and I happen to agree with him.  Even today we continue to be "constrained by social relations to other people".  We will always find something or someone to play the part of the "inferior negro".  Those who do not recognize the reality of this are the ones who "remain confused about Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and those who do not act on this will "remain committed to both racial discourse and a self-deluding optimism". Therefore, I feel this novel is still serving as a means for social reformation today. 

"Jim clearly possesses a subtlety and intelligence which the "negro" allegedly lacks."

I always looked at Jim much more than an ignorant "negro" trying to flee the bondage of slavery. I like that Smith celebrated his depth as a character and showed how Jim added to this novel.  With this said, I have to take the stance that Jim was not used as to "merely reiterate cliches". 

Tom Character was Genuis on Twain's Part

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"the evasion suggests, society can live up to its promises and its claims on honor and "set the nigger free." (11).

When I first started reading this article I was still only looking at Tom's character as a direct representation of the corrupt white society that was used for us to have a more clear view of it.  Even at this point I thought it was smart for Twain to bring Tom in at the end to make this comparison.  He could have easily just had the men of the society place the hardships on Jim and take away his humanity similar to the way Tom did during the escape, but I thought bringing Tom in to do the dirty work added depth.  I never realized the potential of this depth until I read continued to read the article.  When Scott first started to discuss his view on the ending through honor, I did not see where he was going with this point.  Even though I appreciated his use of honor to add more depth to the ending, I still viewed this as an honorable dedication to the views of a corrupt society.  It was not until Scott clearly painted the picture for me how Tom's honor takes on a slightly different meaning that the honor of society.  Even though both did not represent our definition of reality, Tom's honor was used to add meaning to his reality, while Society's was just a tool to cover up the reality they did not have the courage to face.  I had more respect for Scott's essay at this point, but it was not until the end remarks when I was truly convinced of the weight of his claims.  My quote above is why I am impressed with this essay.  Tom is obviously used as a representation of white society and was created "as an attack on the Southern (white) mind.  But, his character does not stop there. Even though I initially looked to Huck as the role-model, after reading the ending to this essay, I now believe Twain created Tom to also serve as the role-model for the corrupted society.  Huck essentially would have a much smaller effect on society as he is withdrawn from it.  Huck can be the "what" we should be doing while Tom's honor can be the "how" we should be doing it.  I still view Tom as another tool to represent the society, but this essay shined a light on another dimension to Tom for me.   


Don't Read With Your Eyes

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"Don't read through your eyes" (228).

This is such a difficult, but necessary strategy to master.  Dr. Jerz from the first day of class tried to teach us this way of reading.  I remember clearly him stating something very similar to the words of Foster, "try to take the works as they were intended to be taken".  All authors write for a purpose and many times these purposes are overlooked because our personal reactions take over.  Like Dr. Jerz always said, our personal reactions still hold weight, but we should never stop there.  When I read the chapter I chose my quote from, "Don't read with your eyes", I immediately thought of acting.  I was a part of the theater in my high school and the beauty of acting for me was having the chance to study my part through the character's eyes and performing as that charcter.  When I was on stage I was not Jessica "acting" as someone else; I truly became someone else for the duration of the show.  If I would have stayed in my own mindset throughout the process, so much would have been lost in my performance.  This is the same for reading. If you only see through your own eyes, think of how empty reading would be.   
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