October 2009 Archives
Setting Contributes to Atmosphere and Mood
There are many ways to develop moods. Descrptions of bright colors (red, orange, yellow) may contribute to a mood of happiness. The same colors in dim or eerie light...invoke gloom or augment hysteria. References to smells and sounds bring the setting to life further by asking additional sensory responses from the reader.
Robers, Ch. 6, pg 112
Things have officially come full-circle for me. It all goes back to imagery. Setting is nothing without imagery--just the name of a town or the location of a house. The images that readers see along withthe location are what really matter. When I think back to high school, as I often do, I remember the simple question on tests: "What is the setting?" Back then, it was sufficient to just say a private Abby or 7 different rooms,when referring to the Masque of the Red Death. However, now, I'm not sure that really does it justice. Even describing the rooms wouldn't do it justice, because there's so much hidden symbolism in those rooms. However, I'm not saying that I think this makes close reading more difficult. I actually think it makes it a little easier, because by understanding the setting, and the reason for the inclusion of specific items, we are able to uncover deeper meanings within the works. I just want to say one last time that it all goes back to imagery. I love imagery and sensory details. The more detail, the better. I love it when the text paints a pretty picture in my mind, but now I really understand why it's important to include such details while other times, it really is beneficial to leave some information out. I guess it all just depends on the atmosphere.
Click here for more on Chapter 6
But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and lighthearted friends from among he knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys....The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There wre buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet dancers, here were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."
--"Masque of the Red Death," Roberts pg. 357
I think I've read this story about five times over the years, but I'm not complaining. I love Poe, and I enjoy reading this story especially, because it alludes to the Plague, and the fact that when people die, there is no longer the need for divisions of class--Death does not pick us by how much fortune we do or do not have--it picks random, because, in Death, there is true equality. Everyone dies, and Poe effectively proves this in his short story. He demonstrates that even when people try to avoid the inevitable, it finds a way to happen anyway. Prospero attempts to cheat Death by locking himself within his fortress with a number of party guests. This, in theory, is where he went wrong. He let the Red Death in as soon as he allowed his knights and dames from across the land to enter his abby.
Poe foreshadows the inevitable death as soon as he mentions that the Red Death was absent from the pleasures of the fortress. Prospero has created a false sense of security for himself, and his doom awaits as Poe goes about describing the setting of the story. This does more than just give readers a visual. It adds to suspense. Readers know the Red Death is going to appear, but the question of "when?" remains until the foreboding clock begins to chime. The setting of the rooms also provides suspense when Poe describes the seventh room, which lacks the vibrancy of all the others. Readers can see a bad omen coming from this room. The more the clock chimes, the more people get creeped out. The readers know that the clock is counting down to something--death.
I think I appreciate this story a lot more now that I'm reading it in college. When I read it in middle school, and again in high school, I remember just thinking that it was a creepy story. I listened to what my teachers said the symbolism was, but probably really didn't get it. But now that I'm older and actually look for symbolism on my own, I have a new appreciation for all of Poe's works. They're so much more than just a creepy story.
Click here for more on the Red Death
Vladek: In the kitchen was a coal cabinet maybe 4 feet wide. Inside I made a hole to go down to the cellar. And there we made a brick wall filled high with coal. Behind this wall we could be a little safe.
-Maus, pg. 110
I'm absolutely fascinated by the bunkers Vladek describes in this half of the book. I recently went to see Inglorious Basterds, and in the beginning of the film, a man hides a few Jews underneath his floor. However, they were simply laying under the floorboards. In Maus, the hiding spaces were much more elaborate, and they actually worked! After I read this part of the book, I'm really curious about Jewish Bunkers. Vladek always talks about the importance of trade--he held onto valuables in order to barter later. Is that how he managed to build the bunkers? I'm sure they didn't have a lot of time to build the bunker in the basement of the kitchen, or the bunker in the attic, so it's really surprising that they were able to actually hide from the Gestapo. The only way they were found was if they left their hiding place or if someone lead the Nazis back to their hidden bunkers. I'm still confused on how the coal-bunker worked. How did they cover up the entrance with coal once they were inside the bunker? I decided to do a little research about the bunkers from the Holocaust, because I wanted to see what they look like in real life--I found a photo:
The more I read, the harder it was for me to understand what these people were going through. I can't imagine hiding and going without food for such an extended period of time. It really is incredible that people were actually successful in hiding from the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Click here for more posts about Maus.
- Life is Stew? was a blog entry about the second act of Good night Desdemona (Good morning Juliet). I wrote about my confusion because I never read Othello. I also talked a little about the dramatic irony in this play.
- In Immaturity at its best, I blogged about Romeo and Juliet's homosexuality being MacDonald's way to show their immaturity. They are in love with the idea of being in love.
- Transcendental War Anyone? gave brief reactions to two poems read for class. I compared Yeats' "Irish Airman" to Hardy's "The Man He Killed."
- Lonelliness is a two-way street offered my take on Frost's tone and theme for the poem.
- Stratego Anyone? was a blog about Roberts' chapter on research questions. I complained a little bit about his overuse of Hamlet for examples, but acknowledged that I disliked Hamlet in high school because my teacher did not do a good job teaching the play.
- Characters really make the story... gave me the opportunity to analyze the majority of the characters in Williams The Quick and the Dead
- Death of Innocence was my response to the second third of the book. I blogged about Annabel's loss of innocence--her dream of Ginger killing the turtle eggs, as well as other incidents of animal deaths.
- Ghostbusters! proved one of my assumptions in my first blog about The Quick and the Dead. I questioned whether Ginger was a ghost or a figment of Carter's imagination. Turns out Ginger was a ghost. Yay.
- Zombie book Review was my review of the book review of Pride Prejudice and Zombies. I praised the author for not summarizing the plot and was a little surprised by how many outside sources she included.
- Precious Cargo throughout the ages was a blog about Masefield's Cargoes 1902. I blogged that I saw the imagery as allusions to the past. I also commented that my liberal arts education came in handy, because I recently learned about the Assyrians in my Western Cultural Traditions class.
- Sensory details to the rescue! was a blog about Roberts Chapter 8. I wrote specifically about my love of imagery and the gustatory sense.
- Josie's Who Say that Coming? We did.
- Dianna's I Think You Just Ruined My Childhood
- Ashley's Now the snarfblatt dates back prehysterical times when humans used to sit around and stare at each other all day. Got very boring. So they invented the snarfblatt to make fine music ~Scuttle, The Little Mermaid
- Melissa's Passage of Time
- The Comment Primo: In Josie's Who Say that Coming? We did. I was the first to comment and sparked a lasting conversation with several people on Josie's blog.
- The Comment Grande: In Dianna's I Think You Just Ruined My Childhood, I reflected back to my own childhood and the fact that I learned when I was young that Disney stories were revamped.
- The Comment Grande: I reflected back to my childhood again in Ashley's Now the snarfblatt dates back prehysterical times when humans used to sit around and stare at each other all day. Got very boring. So they invented the snarfblatt to make fine music ~Scuttle, The Little Mermaid.
- The Comment Primo/The Comment Grande: I was the first to comment on Melissa's Passage of Time. She responded, and I gave her another comment, which has not shown up yet (as I'm writing this entry).
- Transcendental War Anyone? -This blog entry has another link back to a previous entry about another poem studied in class, because I chose to compare the two poems. It also caused a brief discussion.
- Characters really make the story... -This blog has a little bit of everything. Timeliness, depth, and tons of comments too!
- 16 to 17 Words? discussed how long the average sentence is, and I talked about how important it is to avoid wordiness.
- Story Pitches for the Future was a short entry explaining that I didn't have a lot of experience with pitching stories.
- Even crime news needs to be "news" discussed how many different ways crime stories can be reported. I loved that there are so many different angles to choose from. It's a great opportunity to be unique.
- Spel chek pleez? was a fun entry for me. I spent more time criticizing the lack of copy editing than I did analyzing the breaking news articles.
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles aren't the only thing killing the earth analyzed two spot news articles. I went into detail on each one, choosing to give reasons for why each article was both successful and unsuccessful
- Gushers!!! Cappon Ch.6 was a shorter blog entry about gusher words and the fact that I use them a lot more often than I'd like to admit.
- She said, he said, it said of? Of? Huh? Chappon Ch.8 was an entry about my experience with "said of blah blah blah" and the Setonian. Although I never do it myself, I've come across it a lot in copy editing.
- I may be dreaming of Layout for a few weeks... was a really long entry for me. I analyzed each of the front pages on the website.
- Even crime news needs to be "news"
- Spel chek pleez?
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles aren't the only thing killing the earth (great example of depth!)
- I may be dreaming of Layout for a few weeks... (most likely the most in-depth blog entry I've ever written)
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles aren't the only thing killing the earth
- I may be dreaming of Layout for a few weeks...
- Aja and I had a discussion on her entry, Reader's Digest
- I disagreed with Angela in her blog, I Like Me some Color!
- I may be dreaming of Layout for a few weeks...
- The majority of my other blog entries were published prior to class time, but I did have a few this time that I completed after class time, because I feel a little behind due to golf matches.
- The Comment Grande: In Aja's Hello Lead, I was second to comment, but offered a link back to my own blog, because we blogged about similar topics.
- Comment Primo: I was the first to comment on Katilin's blog entry, Writing with a sense of place in journalism. Unfortunately, no one else commented on this entry.
- Comment Primo/Comment Grande: I was the only one to comment on Jeannine's entry When Adjectives Become Gushy, but I also mentioned that I blogged about the same thing in my own entry.
"Jesus! You startled me," Sherwin said. "My heart went skippety."
"I loathe that movie," the woman said. "It's been in there for a month. She smiled at him thinly, a hefty broad with sunken eyes wearing some sort of partygoing apparatus with gauzy overlays, the kind hefty broads ofttimes wore. She looked familiar, as though he'd seen her in a photograph somewhere, but a specific photograph, framed.
"So you slipped away from the party, too," Sherwin said.
"Some time ago," Ginger said. "Tell me, how did you find your way in here?"
--Williams, pg. 293
I was so excited when I read this part of the book--not the part where Sherwin dies, but the fact that I was actually right for once. Ginger isn't a figment of Carter's imagination! I knew it! I blogged about this in my preliminary blog about The Quick and the Dead. Williams did an excellent job with this ambiguity. Throughout the whole book, there were hits that Ginger might be a ghost--but then there were also hints that she was just a figment of Carter's imagination.
Williams brings Ginger into the scene in a very eerie way. And I thought it was quite interesting that she decided to kill Sherwin, who really didn't do anything to her, since she died before having met him. I love the dramatic irony in this section. The readers know that Sherwin is not speaking with a live person--but Sherwin has no clue. Williams does an excellent job of concealing Ginger's "identity." She continuously refuses the cigarette, not because she doesn't want it, but because she obviously cannot smoke it. This is curious, however, because there was a time earlier in the novel when Ginger was asking Cater questions in his room and dropped something on the floor.
"Cater feared he'd find it on the floor in the morning and watched carefully as she placed the button in her pocket" (34). This was one of the reasons that I initially thought Ginger was actually part of his imagination. However, she just seemed to know too much--more than his conscious even. Her suggestions to invest in the stock market was another clue, but at the same time, it wasn't. Williams really got her readers with this one. She really could've had Ginger go either way "Figment of imagination" or "phantom."