September 2009 Archives

Follow Your Own Path

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                "The air is full of invisible bolts.  Every path but your own is the path of fate.  Keep your own track, then" (4).

                I took interest to the whole passage that this quote is a part of.  Thoreau states "it is worth the while to be warned so often and sincerely by any power to get off its track" (4).  He then goes on to say that we have constructed a particular path of fate and that even when bolts are shot to stray us from this one path we are all stuck on, we ignore them which causes us to "live the steadier for it" (4).  He is stressing the importance that we must be brave and make our own path.  It is so easy to get lost on the path society lays down for us.  Maybe if we all took time out to listen to ourselves and the nature within us all, we could pick out "particular points of the compass" to find our own fate. 

Direct Your Eye Inward

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I really took a particular liking to the whole conclusion passage.  Many passages stood out to me so it was rather difficult to select just one. 

"Direct your eye right inward and you'll find A thousand regions in your mind Yet undiscovered. Travel them, and be Expert in home-cosmography " (1). 

                Humans get so caught up in life we tend to neglect ourselves.  We are spending every waking moment getting to know not only people we meet but all other surroundings we are placed in, including nature itself.  After awhile we don't know who we are anymore; this is frightening and can lead to extreme confusion and even loneliness.   Thoreau further supports this throughout the passage following this quote.  "Yet some can be patriotic who have no self-respect, and sacrifice the greater to the less.  They love the soil which makes their graves, but have no sympathy with the spirit which may still animate their clay" (1).  I completely agree with all of the points in this passage.  I rarely take time to truly listen to my own thoughts.  Many people not only lose sight of who they are, they start to love everything and everyone around  more than the most important person; themselves.   

History Repeats Itself/ Extreme View is Never Productive

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I took interest to two quotes from this section.

"Writing that engages the realities of its world-that thinks about human problems, including those in the social and political realm, that addresses the rights of persons and the wrongs of those in power" (110).

This kind of writing finds itself to be very successful for a long amount of time.  These works have potential to be timeless and considered a classic.  They capture the hearts and intrigue the people during the time it is written, but what makes it powerful is that it can reach out and touch future generations.  Society obviously changes drastically from the issues in politics to the popular styles of clothing, but history tends to repeat itself over and over again.  Sometimes the issues of wars come up again.  But the main reality authors can hold onto is that all humans from the beginning of time undergo very similar life experiences and internal conflicts with temptation etc, and sufferings such as broken hearts etc.  They might be alerted slightly but the root is identical.

"As your reading that story or poem, religious knowledge is helpful, although religious belief, if held too tightly held, can be a problem" (120).

I took interest in this quote because it supports the idea that extreme views are never productive, even in literature.  People who never engage in any religion and refuse to even inform themselves of it loses out on a lot.  I am not saying people have to believe, but ignorance is very dangerous.  Not only can it cause false prejudices, it can take away something from a fulfilled reading experience.  Now this can hold truth for the flip side of this as stated in the quote above.  It can be equally, if not more dangerous, if the believer's views are held too tightly.  There have been many wars on extremists in various religions.  This too can slight the reader from a full experience.    




Mixed Feelings About Blogging

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 Wildcard section of portfolio: Honestly when I first heard about our responsibilites as a blogger I felt like this was going to be just busy work.  This first impression was due to my lack of experience with blogging before this class.  My first few blogs turned my opinion into a fact as I did not gain much.  I picked something that jumped out of the text and came up with a short response in which I posted.  Then I picked the first two titles that sparked my attention that came from my peers' blogs.  After that first week I did not visit my sight until I had to complete the next set of blogs and I never engaged myself into other peer blogs (other than the ones I repsonded to). Therefore, I was not gaining any NEW and original insight.  Something I realized after that first week is that this blogging website is only what we, the students, make it.  I started to visit my site more and also my peers' sites to see what they have to say.  This assignment also helped me as I was reading.  It forced me to study the text and look for more connections and details, which goes above and beyond the plot.  I never really underlined when reading a text (unless it was for a paper) and blogging forces me to do that as well.  I will agree with some of my peers that this is quite time consuming so I am hoping the pros of this blogging out weight the cons at the end of the year. 

Portfolio 1

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This is the first portfolio for my American Literature class at Seton Hill University.  There are many links that take you to my blogs on specific readings assigned.  Enjoy!

 

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

How to Read Literature Like A Professor- Foster Intro,1,2,3 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/08/the_quest_of_life.html

How To Read Literature Like a Professor- Foster 5,6,7 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/the_e_chord.html

How To Read Literature Like a Professor-Foster 8,9,10 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/remember_to_check_the_weather.html

How To Read Literature Like a Professor-Foster Interlude, 11, 12  http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/life_always_goes_on.html

Young Goodman Brown-Nathaniel Hawthorne http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/08/faith.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-1-6 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/outward_purity_is_a_lie.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-7-13 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/symbol_of_her_calling.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-14-21 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/no_man_has_the_power_to_remove.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-19-24 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/defining_oneself_through_the_l.html

The Masque of the Red Death-Edgar Allen Poe http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/08/the_symbolism_of_time.html

The Yellow Wallpaper-Charlotte Gilman http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/life_behind_bars.html

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street-Herman Melville http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/the_fate_of_a_dead_letter_is_t.html

 

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

Young Goodman Brown-Nathaniel Hawthorne http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/08/faith.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-7-13 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/symbol_of_her_calling.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-14-21 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/no_man_has_the_power_to_remove.html

The Yellow Wallpaper-Charlotte Gilman http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/life_behind_bars.html

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street-Herman Melville http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/the_fate_of_a_dead_letter_is_t.html

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

Sarah Durham on The Scarlet Letter http://blogs.setonhill.edu/SarahDurham/2009/09/is_it_possible_to_make_prison.html

Meagan Gemperlein on Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street http://blogs.setonhill.edu/MeaganGemperlein/2009/09/dont_mess_with_predestiny.html

Katie Lantz on The Scarlet Letter http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KatieLantz/2009/09/red_flames_scarlet_letter_19.html

Jessica Pierce on Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street  

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaPierce/2009/09/dead_letters.html

Kayla Lesko on The Scarlet Letter http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KaylaLesko/2009/09/enough_already.html

Heather Mourick on The Scarlet Letter http://blogs.setonhill.edu/HeatherMourick/2009/09/confession_at_its_finest.html

 

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.

How To Read Literature Like a Professor- Foster 5,6,7 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/the_e_chord.html

Young Goodman Brown-Nathaniel Hawthorne http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/08/faith.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-1-6 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/outward_purity_is_a_lie.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-7-13 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/symbol_of_her_calling.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-14-21 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/no_man_has_the_power_to_remove.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-19-24 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/defining_oneself_through_the_l.html

The Masque of the Red Death-Edgar Allen Poe http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/08/the_symbolism_of_time.html

The Yellow Wallpaper-Charlotte Gilman http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/life_behind_bars.html

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street-Herman Melville http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/the_fate_of_a_dead_letter_is_t.html

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 8,9,10 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/remember_to_check_the_weather.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-1-6 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/outward_purity_is_a_lie.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-7-13 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/symbol_of_her_calling.html

The Scarlet Letter-Nathaniel Hawthorne-19-24 http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/defining_oneself_through_the_l.html

The Yellow Wallpaper-Charlotte Gilman http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/life_behind_bars.html

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.

Jessica Pierce on Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaPierce/2009/09/dead_letters.html

Meagan Gemperlein on Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street http://blogs.setonhill.edu/MeaganGemperlein/2009/09/dont_mess_with_predestiny.html

Kayla Lesko on The Scarlet Letter http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KaylaLesko/2009/09/enough_already.html

Heather Mourick on The Scarlet Letter http://blogs.setonhill.edu/HeatherMourick/2009/09/confession_at_its_finest.html

Wildcard-These are my thoughts on blogging so far

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaApitsch/2009/09/mixed_feelings_about_blogging.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIfe Always Goes On

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" The smallness and fragility of our lives is met with the cold indifference not only of the distant stars and planets, which we can rightly think of as virtually eternal in contrast to ourselves, but of the more immediate "outer" world of the farm itself.." (pg 89). 

This quote really stood out because of how much truth it holds.  I have read many poems and short stories in high school where the author's main purpose was to get this point out: The reality is after we die nature will live on just the same.  It is not affected by us humans coming and going, which allows it to be a great addition to any poem or story.  Life is tough and when humans feel loneliness or any kind of tribulation nature is always right there to heighten their internal feelings.  Nature can be used to set a beautiful and tranquil mood, but when approached at from this angle the author can invoke so many feelings on a reader, such as insignificance or fear or loneliness, etc. 

The Fate of a Dead Letter is the Same as One of a Dead Man

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"Dead letters! does it not sound like dead men? Conceive a man by nature and misfortune prone to a pallid hopelessness, can any business seem more fitted to heighten it than that of continually handling these dead letters and assorting them for the flames?" (page 21 last paragraph)

 

 

The US Postal service started this dead letter service to establish a method of dealing with mail in which the owner could not be identified and in turn the mail could not be delivered.  By Melville assigning this as Bartleby's former employer and revealing it at the end, it allowed the reader to have more insight on how Bartleby truly felt inside.  This undeliverable mail was stripped of all of its purpose and value when it arrived at the Dead Letter Office. It did not know of its destination and was therefore destroyed to secure the owner's privacy, which is very analogous to Bartleby's fate.  After reading this passage the reader got the sense that somewhere along his life he lost his purpose and felt he had no value, just like the Dead Mail he worked with everyday.  I wanted to also add that I am sure he felt a weird connection with this undeliverable mail.  So by losing his job, he also lost his only outside connection and in turn felt even more lost. 

 

 

 

LIfe behind bars

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            "Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard." Pg 7

            The wallpaper and the figures it holds obviously play the role of everything the woman internalizes.  Gilman does an amazing job at bringing this paper to life.  He first uses it as a tool to foreshadow in the passage when the wallpaper is first introduced on page 2, "they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions and "if I had to live in this room long".  Also on page 3, "pattern lolls like a broken neck".  Gilman then uses the wallpaper to give the reader a clear image of the world this poor woman lives and eventually dies in.  He accomplished this throughout the whole story, but the quote above really stood out to me.  She feels trapped behind the bars her husband built and only finds one way out, death.  With this quote alone, Gilman could reach so many people in this world who feel trapped within themselves and are forced to hide behind darkness. 

defining oneself through the letter A

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"Now thou art my mother indeed! And I am thy little Pearl." pg 190

When Hester removed the letter, Pearl did not acknowledge her.  I found it interesting that as many times as Hester would call Pearl to come, Pearl showed no emotion or any sign that she even heard her mother.  Once Hester placed the letter back on her bosom, Pearl ran to her. The part that left a true impression on me though was the fact that Pearl reassured herself that she was in fact little Pearl.  This proves she associates her whole existence with the letter on her mother's bosom and defines herself by it. 

No man has the power to remove the letter

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"It lies not in the pleasure of the magistrates to take off this badge, calmly replied Hester.  Were I worthy to be quit of it, it would fall away of its own nature, or be transformed into something that should speak a different purport." pg 153

I took interest in this quote because it makes sense of several aspects of this story.  One of the questions asked in my group was "Why do you think Hester did not just relocate to another town and start over?" Many ideas were passed around, one being she was too prideful.  To me this statement right here explains it all.  Hester truly felt that she sinned and her penance was to be served to the Almighty and not men themselves.  Hester most likely believed God just used the men of this town to carry through His demands and when He felt as if her suffering was suffice, the letter then would be removed by Him.  Her leaving the society and removing the letter herself would be redundant.  This statement also is another way Hawthorne gave the readers the sense that in this town, in this novel, religion and government go hand and hand.  It is not enough for Hester to please the magistrates, so no matter how much praise she receives from here on after, Hester's spirit will not be fully lifted.  That is rather depressing.  

remember to check the weather

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"It's never just rain." pg 75

I just found this whole section on interpreting the weather interesting.  I always thought about weather as a tool to set the perfect tone or setting of a book or movie and to supply the reader or viewer with the "right" feeling.  I never keyed into the symbolism of weather, besides the obvious meanings such as sun equals happiness or storms equals danger coming or sadness.  Foster opened up my mind to all of the endless possibilities of something as simple as rain could represent which in turn, opened up my eyes to other avenues of symbolism.  

symbol of her calling

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"No good can be acheived by them, no evil of the past be redeemed by better service (120). "The letter was a symbol of her calling" (146).

 If Dimmesdale did not choose to hold onto his guilt he would not have been able to touch all of the lives during that time.  His inner conflict with himself slowly takes over though and the idea that you can't love and help others if you detest your own self image holds true here.  I loved how the tables were turned to give Hester the power to help.  The letter and everything it put her through truly became a calling.  This gives the readers hope that anything (no matter how trialing) can be transformed into something positive if chosen so. 

outward purity is a lie

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"Outward guise of purity was but a lie" "there was nothing else so awful and so loathsome as this sense" (80).  Chapters 1-6

I thought the section of Hester Prynne realizing she was not alone in the world of sins was a powerful one.  Her true character came out when she displayed the utmost sympathy for her companions instead of rejoicing in the fact that she is not the only one who "took the fall".

The E chord

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"When I feel that resononce, that "fat chord" that feels heavy yet sparkles with promise or portent, it almost always means the phrase, or whatever, is borrowed from somewhere else and promises special significance." (foster pg. 55).

 

I liked Foster's simple connection with the E chord because it gave me a better understanding on how to connect literary works.  I obviously know author's are inspired from other works and ultimately everything comes from everything.  The lessons we as humans are taught and many life experiences are "timeless" (56) so they appear in every generation of literature.  I recognize that, but I was concerned that being a pretty young and inexperienced reader I would never be able to make those specific connections Foster made throughout the chapters many times as I have not even heard of some of the examples given.  His comparison to the E chord gave me some hope.  When you sense that resonance you do not have to see it right away, you can search and find it.  Time is always an issue, but I do agree with Foster that it is worth searching for.  Upon finding it though I would want to look at it as a strenghtening factor to the modern piece and not as a means to take anything away from it.