September 2009 Archives

Oh... I Didn't Realize That This Was Law School...

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"Strategy 4: Argue Against Possible Objections" (177).

I suppose that this is what everyone is talking about when they refer to an "arguable thesis." According to most of our teachers and classmates, this aspect of a paper is crucial to acquiring reader believability. As a matter of fact, as of late I've made a point to make my thesis as arguable as possible. Additionally, in each of my papers I've placed a paragraph or two in which I raised my "own objections and then argue against them" (177). This is a useful tactic because the writer is anticipating any objections that could come in the future.

Since we have a research paper due soon, I plan to use the tactic of raising possible objections directly in the beginning when I formulate my thesis. This will tell me right away whether or not my argument could not only stand up to the test of time, but also stand up to the analyzation of an angry peer-editor. For instance, if an editor were to make an opposing claim, Roberts asserts that "It is your task to show that the objections (1) are not accurate or valid; (2) are not strong or convincing; or (3) are based on unusual rather than usual conditions (on an exception and not the rule) (177).

So, let's take, for example, a thesis that says "Mathilde did not change and was still childish." I know that this thesis seems rather- blah- but a difficult example is not needed. One must begin by asking oneself if the thesis is arguable... what objections could be stated? Well, someone could argue that Mathilde did change. Therefore, it will be your job to decide if this argument is weak in comparison with yours.

Regardless, as writers it is definately our job to prove our point, and prove it well. So, thanks, Roberts. This section of your book helped me a lot!

Finding That Balance

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Even after hearing the opposing opinions of those who disliked "Goodnight Desdemona Good Morning Juliet," I'm sticking to my guns. I really liked the play. There was an important question concerning "feminism" that was brought up in class on Wednesday. Is MacDonald's play a feminist play? Well, we have to first know what a feminist is before we can make that decision. According to Feminist.com, feminism "empowers people to transform and reimagine the roles of men and women."

MacDonald firmly stated that her play is NOT a feminist play. I'd like to disagree. I believe that GNGM is a play whose logical timeline of events symbolizes the logical timeline of events in the world of men and women. In the beginning of the play, Constance Ledbelly is exactly what her name implies- She is a led-belly, a person who is weighted down by the world around her. Also, Karyssa Blair mentioned in class one day that led is a malleable substance and can be bent wherever one wants it to be bent. So, Constance is able to be bent wherever those around her want her to be bent. This can be compared to the roles of women before the feminist movement. Women were ALL ledbellies. They were also able to be manipulated by whoever was around them.

As the play progresses, Constance is introduced to Desdemona, the fiery equivalent of a feminist, and Juliet, the equivalent of an old-fashioned woman whose dependence lies strictly upon men. In the midst of the chaotic imaginary Shakespearian world, Constance must encounter both women and decide which type of woman she identifies herself with more. I beleive that MacDonald is trying to make the point that Constance relates to neither extreme, but, being an alchemist of sorts, molds both personalities to form herself. Therefore, I understand where MacDonald was coming from when saying that her play is NOT feminist. However, as we said in class on Wednesday, it doesn't matter what original author intent was. I've come to identify this play as a feminist play due to the fact that Constance, in examining the roles of men and women in her own life, was empowered to draw conclusions about her life. She was obviously changed, and we can see this change when the Chorus says "The alchemy of ancient hieroglyphs/ has permeated the unconscious mind/ of Constance L... Where mingling and unmingling opposites/ performs a wondrous feat of alchemy,/ and spins grey matter, into precious gold"  (Epilogue, pg. 89).

I believe that the chorus is saying that Constance's "grey matter," or brain, was changed into Gold. Her ideas were changed and molded. We can assume these ideas to be about her role in life as a woman and how she will relate to the men in her life after she was changed. Therefore, through the actions of the play, Constance undergoes a change, and this creates a feminist aura around the play. 

  

If Wordsworth Had Written the Bible...

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If I were a tree, then I would have loved to live during the time of Wordsworth and Yeats because I would have gotten plenty of attention in their poems. I'm not saying that I COMPLETELY disliked both of these poets. I'm simply sayign that they are not my favorite. Wordsworth is, well... Wordy. I can only compare this to reading those versions of the Bible that overcomplicate a simple phrase like "Jesus resides in heaven." If Wordsworth were to have written this phrase, he'd probably would say, "The savior of the world, whose holy blood cleans the hearts of those who turn away from him, sits now and forever and ever at the right hand of God teh Father in the home of eternal glory." I'm not saying that the Bible is poorly written (nor that Wordsworth is an awful writer). However, Wordsworth's poetry seemed to be a whole lot of mumbo jumbo, and I was too swamped with words to even think about the meaning.

On a more positive note, I really liked Wordsworth's "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways" because it was short and beautifully written. It was also simple enough to understand. There's something to say about simplicity in poetry! Anyway, I took this poem to be about a woman who Wordsworth longed to know but never could. This woman probably died before he had a chance to meet her (Candle in the Wind, anyone?) This poem also saddened me because it speaks of someone who was unmourned (or perhaps forgotten) by any but Wordsworth.

Yeats, on the other hand, was a bit disturbing. I also found his poetry to be rather boring, but thought that "Adam's Curse" was lovely. In lines 20-26, Yeats says "It's certain there is no fine thing/ since Adam's fall but needs much laboring./ There have been lovers who thought love should be/ So much compounded of high courtesy/ that they would sign and quote with learned looks/ Precedents out of beautiful old books;/ Yet now it seems an idle trade enough."" It would be wonderful to sit around all day with one's lover and speak passages out of beautiful old books, but this cannot be. Men and women are now forced into a life of labor, and the more labor a person gives in the name of another, the more love that is shown. Could this be Adam's curse?

Foolscap... Hankie... Whate'er It May Be.

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I LOVED this play...

However, I know that if I simply left it at that, many people would not be happy. So, here it goes. I LOVED this play BECAUSE:

1) It helped me to FINALLY understand Shakespeare: Folks, I was thrilled as I read this play because, near the middle, I actually began to understand Shakespearian language. I now want to go test my new understanding on other Shakespearian works. Something tells me that it just won't be that simple, but I just feel like trying anyway. I'm wondering something... how close has MacDonald come to actual Shakespearian language. I mean... if I of all people am actually understanding Shakespeare, how close could she have come??

2) Connie and Iago undergo role reversal: We read both "Romeo and Juliet" and "Othello" in high school, and frankly I'm glad. I enjoyed Othello much more than the first just because I can't stand the fact that two pre-pubescent, spoiled brats marry out of pure infatuation (MacDonald was VERY effective in emphasizing how annoyingly unpredictable both Romeo and Juliet are... Kudos). Anyhoo, I always enjoyed getting to know the character of Iago. He's so complex even though he is a total jerk. He's only a jerk, though, to pull himself ahead in his own career. Isn't that what Connie is doing, though? She barges in on two of the greatest works of all time in order to finish her work. Not only that, but other characters also go through role-reversal... Othello and Desdemona, for instance.

3) Three Words: Satirical beyond belief: This play was brilliantly written in that it fit actual Shakespearian language into the context of an absurd plotline. Do I really think that Romeo turned out to be homosexual? No... but MacDonald expertly plays on not only a satire of the "starcrossed lovers" theme, but also Shakespeare's use of language and humor, as well.


One question, though... What is the significance of Constance's fountatin pen being made of her dead pet bird?

Portfolio 1!!!

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Coverage: Here are all of the entries that I've posted this semester thus far:

Close Reading or Close-Mindedness:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/08/close_reading_or_close-mindedn.html - Here, I examined if close readings only cause students to close their minds.

If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/if_youre_a_bird_im_a_bird.html 
--No, this is not a reference to "The Notebook." In this entry, I noted that Mrs. Wright in Trifles by Susan Glaspell can be likened to a caged bird. This blog prompted my first close-reading essay.

Well-Behaved Women Rarely Avoid Murder:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/wellbehaved_women_rarely_avoi.html
-- In this entry, I questioned the power women have over domestic life.

I Will Write My Own Eulogy:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/i_will_write_my_own_eulogy.html
-- In response to Roberts' Chapter on Point of View, I decided to examine common settings for various points of view, including in Eulogies. Then, I went on to explain why it would be more informative if I were to write my own Eulogy.

On Turning Twenty:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/on_turning_twenty.html
-- I wrote this entry in response to Billy Collins' poem "On Turning Ten." I spoke of how the themes of the poem have personally affected me.

Where the Wild Things Are:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/where_the_wild_things_are.html
-- One of my favorite entries. I analyzed the imagery used by Ambrose Bierce in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" to indicate the "wildness of war." I then compared this literary work to another we read in class, "The Man He Killed" by Thomas Hardy.

Fiction Does NOT Always Make Sense, Roberts!:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/fiction_does_not_always_make_s.html
- In response to Roberts' claim that fiction "always makes sense," I counterclaimed, by citing something we will have to read in class in the future, that this is simply not true.

Everlasting Love:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/everlasting_love.html
- In attempt to analyze the symbolism in Shakespeare's "Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou Mayest in Me Behold," I wrote this blog. I examined the themes of death and rebirth, and how this contributed to the creation of an effective (and non-cheesy) love poem.

Fire and Rebirth:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/ladies_and_gentlemen_sylvia_pl.html - In "Fire and Rebirth," I conducted a deep analysis of Sylvia Plath's poem "Lady Lazarus," and posed many questions to prompt discussion among my classmates. This blog entry inspired my second close-reading essay.

Forced Martyrdom:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/forced_martyrdom.html
- I posted this in response to Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace." In this blog, I discussed the difference between the forced martyrdom of Mathilde and the voluntary martyrdom of her husband, Loisel.

A Lesson On Annotation:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/a_lesson_on_annotation-_robert.html - In this blog, I reflected upon the benefits of completing thought through annotation, and noted my own experiences with this writing method.

A Question of Greatness:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/a_question_of_greatness-_twain.html - This is a blog entry concerning Mark Twain's "Luck." I tried to examine whether or not the Reverend was helping Scoresby out of duty to his country, or if he was doing so to gain glory for himself.



Timeliness: The entries that I posted in a timely manner

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/08/close_reading_or_close-mindedn.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/if_youre_a_bird_im_a_bird.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/well-behaved_women_rarely_avoi.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/i_will_write_my_own_eulogy.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/on_turning_twenty.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/where_the_wild_things_are.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/fiction_does_not_always_make_s.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/everlasting_love.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/ladies_and_gentlemen_sylvia_pl.html




Depth: The longer entries in which I went into great detail and thorough analysis.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/if_youre_a_bird_im_a_bird.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/on_turning_twenty.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/where_the_wild_things_are.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/ladies_and_gentlemen_sylvia_pl.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/forced_martyrdom.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/a_question_of_greatness-_twain.html

 

Interaction: Where I commented on others' blog entries and fostered some kind of discussion.

Karyssa Blair's "Am I Missing Something"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KaryssaBlair/2009/09/am_i_missing_something.html:
            - I offered an opposing viewpoint and even fostered a (civil) argument about the use of point of view in Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge."

Josie Rush's "Daddy Issues"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/09/daddy_issues.html#comments
            - I fostered a discussion about Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" and the use of "black" in the poem.

Josie Rush's "Forget the Bird, What's the Cage Singing About?" http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/09/forget_the_bird_whats_the_cage.html
            --I was the first person to comment on this blog entry.


Cody Naylor's "Trifles by Susan Glaspell: Early Feminism at Work" http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/trifles_by_susan_glaspell_earl.html
-- In this entry, I posed a question

Brooke Kuehn's "Those Sticky Pearls Just Won't Come Off!"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/BrookeKuehn/2009/09/those_sticky_pearls_just_wont.html#comments
-- I offered an alternate viewpoint to the ideas in Brooke's blog.


Josie Rush's "Strangling Verse" http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/09/strangling_verse.html
-- I offered the first of 9 comments on Josie's blog.

Josie Rush's "What She Said"
 
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/09/what_she_said.html
-- I was the first person to comment on this blog, and was able to foster a discussion.



Discussion: Strong discussion ensued about these entries.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/well-behaved_women_rarely_avoi.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/on_turning_twenty.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/fiction_does_not_always_make_s.html

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/ladies_and_gentlemen_sylvia_pl.html



Xenoblogging: When I contributed to the blogging community.

Jessica Orlowski- "On Turning Twenty"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/on_turning_twenty.html

-- I was the last to comment on this entry which received 11 comments.

Jessica Orlowski- "I Will Write My Own Eulogy" as inspiration for  Carissa Altizer's "Ch. 4 Point of View: What Would a First-Person Eulogy Sound Like?" http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/i_will_write_my_own_eulogy.html
-- In this blog, I spoke of writing my own Eulogy, and was able to inspire this
entry of Carissa Altizer's: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CarissaAltizer/2009/09/ch_4_point_of_view_what_would.html.

Jessica Orlowski- "Fire and Rebirth"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/ladies_and_gentlemen_sylvia_pl.html
-- This entry is one of my favorites because the discussion is STILL going on. In addition to fostering discussion, I provided links to an additional documentary on Plath's life.

Cody Naylor- "For Shame"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/09/for_shame.html
-- In Cody's "For Shame," Josie mentioned my blog, "Fire and Rebirth" in her comment.

Melissa Schwenk's "You Mean So Much.. Kinda"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/MelissaSchwenk/2009/09/you_mean_so_muchkinda.html
-- In Melissa's blog, I was able to provide an alternate viewpoint which fostered discussion.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/09/what_she_said.html- I was the first to comment on Josie's Blog "What She Said."


Wildcard: My favorite blog which I believe demonstrates the zenith of my blogging career thus far.

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/09/ladies_and_gentlemen_sylvia_pl.html



A Question of Greatness- Twain's "Luck"

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"I said to myself, I am responsible to the country for this, and I must go along with him and protect the country against him as far as I can." (362)

As I was reading Twain's "Luck," I couldn't help but question the character of the Reverend. Some may argue that, since the story is primarily ABOUT Scoresby, that Scoresby is the main character. I disagree. I believe that the Reverend is the main character because he is the character in whom we can see the most tangible changes (through storytelling, of course).

The Reverend began as a teacher in a military school at which Scoresby attended. He informs us of how, out of "pity" (361) for the young boy's failures, the Reverend assists Scoresby in passing his examinations. Eventually, it seems as if the Revered becomes almost bitter about Scoresby's success. This leads me to believe that the Reverend's original intentions for helping Scoresby were only fueled by a premise of helping himself and himself alone...

You see- mostly everyone has his or her own personal intentions at heart. It's human nature. So, as a teacher, the Reverend may have wanted to gain success through the successes of his students. The fact that he's telling our narrator how much Scoresby is "an absolute fool" (360) indicates not bitterness or contempt, but that Reverend is a braggart attempting to prove his own greatness.

So, the question I have is this: Was the Reverend originally a Reverend? Or was this yet another attempt to prove his greatness?

A Lesson On Annotation- Roberts Chapter 1

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"Regardless of your own writing method, you should always remember that unwritten thought is incomplete thought (pg. 29)." 

            I'd heard that Mr. Carosella was an amazing teacher, so I was excited to have him for ninth grade English. I was also a bit reluctant; it had been said that he had a very rigorous course planned with plenty of writing. Writing had never been my best subject, so the excitement I felt was overpowered by anxiousness. How would I handle so much writing? My anxiety slowly dissipated, though, when I was introduced to a particularly important component of the writing process: annotation
.
               
Annotation can be defined as writing down one's responses to segments of literary works. The first story we read in Mr. Carosella's English class was Harrison Bergeron, and we were informed that we would be writing an in-class essay about the story. Mr. Carosella hadn't told us about annotation, though. So, when I went to write my essay, many of my thoughts were incomplete. I couldn't think of a thing to write about. Next, our teacher told us what annotation was, and demonstrated how to write down our thoughts in response to the story. Now, we were given a second opportunity to write an in-class essay. Needless to say, my second essay turned out much better than my first.
            In hindsight, I believe that Mr. Carosella purposefully did not tell us about annotation at first. We came into the class with our own writing methods in mind. By learning how to annotate, we learned how to place our thoughts on paper and produce better written essays.

Forced Martyrdom

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"It took them to their door, on the Street of Martyrs, and they sadly climbed the stairs to their flat. For her, it was finished (pg. 9)."

            In Biblical times, Martyrs were people who were willing to die for their Christian faith. Everyday martyrs can exist, however, because of the sacrifices they are forced to undergo or willingly make.  Loisel and Mathilde from The Necklace are both Martyrs in their own ways, and it can be speculated that the author purposefully places their home on the Street of Martyrs to indicate a difference between a martyr of destiny and a martyr of choice.
            Mathilde is a martyr of destiny, or a forced martyr. It could be said that Mathilde is not a true martyr at all, but one whose martyrdom is forced upon her. She feels that she was destined for noble, privileged birth: "She was one of those pretty and charming women, born, as if by error of destiny, into a family of clerks and copyists (pg. 5)." Nonetheless, it can be inferred that Mathilde has had to sacrifice much by simply being married to her unwealthy husband, something she did not choose out of love and dedication, but simply because "she finally settled for a marriage with a minor clerk in the Ministry of Education (pg. 5)."
            Loisel, however, is a martyr of choice. Time and time again, he proves himself to be a true martyr- one whose martyrdom is offered willingly and without complaint. First, Loisel brings Mathilde an invitation for one of the fanciest parties of the year, and because he "came home glowing (pg. 6)," one may infer that Loisel cares more about Mathilde's happiness than most things in his life. Additionally, we continue to see the persistent sacrificial qualities of martyrdom in Loisel as he sacrifices money to buy Mathilde a fancy dress to the party. Even when Mathilde happens to lose Mrs. Forrestier's necklace, Loisel goes out and searches for it despite the fact that he has to be at the Ministry of Education at ten o'clock the next morning. Each of Loisel's acts are committed out of pure dedication and sacrifice, proving Loisel to be a true martyr of choice.
             True martyrdom springs from the deepest love, dedication and sacrifice that a person can offer to another. Consistently throughout The Necklace, we see a sharp contrast between Mathilde, a woman who loved nothing but jewels and the fineries of life, and Loisel, a man who shows his love through the sacrifices he makes every day. Coincidentally, after Mathilde loses the necklace and vows to repay the debt, she progresses toward being a Martyr of choice because she opts to live without the little nonessentials that they'd previously had. All in all, though, it is plain to see that the Loisels, who live on The Street of Martyrs, are very different in their martyrdom.

Fire and Rebirth

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Sylvia Plath is now my favorite poet. The end. She writes in the same style I do: witty and almost on the surface. Her poetry is very, very powerful. Because I have a strong interest in the Holocaust, the last two poems ("Lady Lazarus" and "Daddy") really caught my interest. In the introduction, it says that "Daddy" is a "fictional apostrophe," meaning it's an exaggerated poem about someone else. By far, though, "Lady Lazarus" was my favorite.

In the Bible, Lazarus was a good friend of Jesus who passed away. Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead, however, and all was well. The speaker in Plath's poem is a "Lady Lazarus." She 'rises' again and again, once every decade. Of the entire poem, this part confused me most of all. I know that she says "I am only thirty./ And like the cat I have nine times to die./ This is number Three./ What a trash/ To annihilate each decade./ What a million filaments." (Stanzas 19-25). I believe that these stanzas are the most important. "Nine times to die" could signify that she has ninety years to live, and each decade she loses a crucial part of herself: time.

"The first time it happened I was ten/ it was an accident" (Stanza 35). I believe that the "accident" she's referring to is actually gaining the knowledge of the passage of time. Also, the "it" she's referring to is death and rebirth all at once... Her innocence died, but she is reborn into adulthood.

"The second time I meant to last it out/ and not come back at all." In stanzas 36-38, the speaker is actually referring to suicide. The rest of the poem, however, talks about the speaker being put on display and being prodded. Perhaps the speaker is implying the pain she went through after her failed attempt at suicide. "For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge" (stanza 57). Who is this charge directed towards? Is this a charge that the speaker herself has to pay?

In the end of the poem, stanzas 81-85 detail someone rising "Out of the ash/ I rise with my red hair/ And I eat men like air." I believe that this is symbolic of the speaker being a phoenix of some sort.

**If anyone has ANY idea of what the last stanza means, feel free to let me know. I have no idea.

Everlasting Love

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"Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold:" Wow. Some may say that Shakespeare is overrated, difficult to understand, and irrelevant to our time. Others may say that he was a genius. I'm somewhere in the middle. I do have one thing to say, though... That man REALLY knew how to put together an awesome love poem. I found this sonnet to be difficult to understand at first ( which makes me terrified to take a Shakespeare class later on), but after my third reading, I loved it.

I could be "wrong," but I analyzed this poem's speaker to be a man on his deathbed speaking to his life-long lover or wife. This could imply that shakespeare wrote this Sonnet at the end of his life, or the "fall." The concept of 'fall' in literature has often been interpreted as the eve of death, and I definately see this concept throughout the poem. Also, I noticed that each quatrain details something that can be reborn again. In fall, there is death, but spring comes again. At twilight, the afternoon sky dies, only to be reborn into the morning. A glowing fire may again be rekindled.

I believe that the speaker is saying that even though he is in the barren pre-death stage, his wife or lover still seems to see the beauty in him and his death. This makes her love stronger and everlasting.

Fiction Does Not Always Make Sense, Roberts!

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"(F)iction must make sense even though life iteself does not always seem to make sense."

--pg. 93

Okay, Roberts. I've read plenty of works of fiction in my day. I've read Harry Potter, Twilight, and other fictitious works not related to the fantasy realm. Actually, a particular work of fiction comes to mind right now: The Quick and the Dead.

If the title of this novel sounds familiar, it should. We are going to be reading it for class. Because I'm an uuber nerd and like to get things done ahead of time, I read The Quick and the Dead over summer vacation (you're right... I DON'T have a life, thank you very much). Those of you who have read this work will understand when I say that it didn't make one lick of sense. There are many different characters and subplots woven together in such a manner that breeds confusion. Some parts were alright, and on a poetic level the novel was brilliant. Something, however, did not click. Something didn't make sense.

To be fair to the author of the novel, though, perhaps the fact that it didn't make sense attributes to its brilliance. Also, to quote Roberts, "What we depend on for the sense or meaning of fiction is plot, or the elements governing the unfolding of the actions." (93) I suppose that, in some twisted way, there was a sequence of events, but I'll let you decide. When we have to blog about The Quick and the Dead, I will cite this blog. Also, if anyone has read this work, please let me know.

Where the Wild Things Are

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"He had not known that he lived in so wild a region."
-pg. 322


In Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," we are taken along during the literal last moment of a man's life. Peyton Farquar, a "well-to-do planter, of an old and highly respected Alabama family (319)," was accused of sabotaging a bridge that prevented troops from moving onward on their journey.

This story was very moving. As Roberts suggests in his essay about this short story, "The escape, which forms the narrative of the third section, seems to be happening plausibly and realistically in just the way that the reader, naturally sympathetic to Farquar, wants it to happen. The power of the story results from his tension between desire and actuality (90)." This was the case for me; I had read this story before, but I still found myself rooting for Farquar as he makes his fast-paced escape from death (or so he thinks).

As for the quotation above, I found it to have a double meaning. An omniscient narrator states this tiny revelation for the reader to chew on just as Farquar's conscience is beginning to dwindle For anyone who did not forsee the shocking ending, it may be presumed that the stressful situation of almost DYING may take considerable toll on the poor man's body. That short period of time in which his senses were all "preternaturally keen and alert (320)" was swiftly coming to an end, and he begins to walk in a dream-like state. It is stated that "he had not known that he lived in so wild a region (322)."

Throughout the story, the reader is given evidence that Ambrose Bierce believes that war is unfair. For instance, on page 318, the narrator says of Farquar "Evidently this was no vulgar assassin. The liberal military code makes provision for hanving many kinds of person, and gentlemen are not excluded." This type of "we kill all" mentality is only further emphasized when we are introduced to the "wild region" in which Farquar did not know he lived. Of course, this could be referring to the literal trees and grasses, the wilderness that Farquar walks through in the final moments of his final moment. I, however, took this differently.

This statement brought to mind Hardy's "The Man He Killed," a poem in which the reader is introduced to "the senselessness of war (61)." We cannot quite understand exactly why Farquar is being hung (for blocking a bridge? That's dumb...), just like we can't understand why the narrator of the poem shot a man who could have been his friend. I did realize, though, that the wildness of Farquar's home could be due to the wildness of the people in it. Could Farquar be referring to the savagery of the people who tried to kill him?

On Turning Twenty

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I have a little box in my room in which I contain artifacts of my past. There are stickers, an old journal, Barbie clothes, etc. Every once in a while, I pull out the box and examine the things inside. As I stand on the edge of my teenage years, I take the box out more and more often because I long to reside in my childhood again. It was such a simplistic and satisfying time: My imaginary cat, Carlos, and I could roam the streets together, and if I didn't want anyone to see him, I could just simply not mention him.

These days are over, though. And no matter how much I want them to return, I don't believe it's possible apart from sifting through old memories. That is why I was very moved when I read Collins' "On Turning Ten." This poem was beautifully written, and although I didn't understand EVERYTHING that was written, I don't think that poetry is meant to be completely torn apart (as you may well know from reading a few of my previous blog entries). I actually like how Collins put this action in "Introduction to Poetry." So many times, we "torture a confession" out of poems (74). This, however, is beside the point.

In "On Turning Ten," a narrator, presumably ten years old, is looking back on his quickly passing childhood. He says that "You tell me that it is too early to be looking back (76)." This young man seems very wise for his age... He seems to know that his innocence is lost.
I've realized, through studying the media in STW, that children are growing up increasingly more quickly. My eight-year-old cousin walked down the stairs yesterday in a belly shirt, eyeliner smeared down her face. How is one supposed to react to this? She asked me "Do I look pretty, Jessie?" What was I supposed to say? I couldn't tell her that she was growing up too fast. Now, I see what the young boy in "On Turning Ten" is talking about- ten is NOT too early to look back in today's day and age. He longs for  the "perfect simplicity of being one and the beautiful complexity introduced by two (76)."

I feel empathy for the poor boy who "used to believe there was nothing under my skin but light. If you cut me I would shine. But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life, I skin my knees. I bleed (77)." Now, any adult would know that there is not light underneath his or her skin; we've had too many science classes to prove otherwise. But how do you tell this to a child?

I Will Write My OWN Eulogy.

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Eulogies... they all sound the same: "Henry was a great person. He lived a great life. Great, great great, blah blah- blah- blahdity blah..." It may sound strange, but all I could think of while reading Roberts chapter 4 (on point of view) was of funerals and the routine speeches given by friends and family members about the deceased. I know that this is morbid, but hear me out:

Roberts chapter 4 detailed the various points of view which authors can take when writing works of literature. As many of you well know, there is 1) First person point of view, the less common 2) second person point of view and 3) the third person point of view. When I read about third person point of view, or the point of view that resembles the narrator as "a fly on the wall (83)," I thought of a specific event that might use third person point of view. Then, I thought of the perfect event: a funeral. The deceased is not there to offer his or her side of the story; Only a third party offers his or her viewpoint.

This is why, friends, I will write my own Eulogy. Third- Person point of view is a very unreliable point of view. How can I know if the person who gives my Eulogy will give an unbiased viewpoint of my life? Roberts says that "some first-person speakers are reliable, but others are unreliable (81)" based on the person's own interests. However, I believe that I will be able to offer the most unbiased version of my life. This is why I will write my own Eulogy.


Well-Behaved Women Rarely Avoid Murder...

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As was voiced by many of my classmates, Glaspell's Trifles shows a deep chasm between the male and female genders. We see the cynicism with which the men in the play view their female counter-characters (Is that a word?):


SHERIFF: Well, can you beat the women! Held for murder and worryin' about her preserves

COUNTY ATTORNEY: I guess before we're through she may have something more serious htan preserves to worry about.

HALE: Well, women are used to worrying over trifles.


Yes... to the men in Trifles, they may just be preserves. Obviously, murder is a much larger issue than a can of preserves- right? See, here's the thing; my grandmother explained to me how much work it takes to can preserves. So, to Minnie, her preserves were everything. It was her only means of displaying a bit of power over the cruel man in her life. At that time, women were demeaned. They didn't hold a lot of power except for in the world of their "trifles" (quilts, preserves, canaries, etc.). In the eyes of the men, the women were meant to be well-behaved. As the old saying goes, though, "well-behaved women rarely make history." Minnie had been silent and well-behaved for a very long time. She bought the canary so that she could emit some semblance of a "voice." When John Wright killed the canary, he also killed the voice that Minnie had. So, when she killed John she voiced a new type of power, one that allowed her to cross over into the male world.

If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird...

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Mrs. Hale- She- come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself- real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and fluttery. How- she- did- change. (398)


How would you feel if every means you had for enjoyment and happiness were taken away? I had to ask myself this question as I read Trifles. The play is absolutely stuffed with deeper meanings and almost guarantees analysis. Even before the aforementioned line is stated in the script, I began to come to this conclusion- Mrs. Wright is like a caged bird in her own way.

First, I noticed the double meaning in Wright's name. I do not know if it was intentional on the part of Glaspell, but Mrs. Wright's name immediately brought to mind the fathers of flight, Orville and Wilbur Wright, who made the first sustained flight in 1903. Historically, this makes perfect sense- Glaspell, who wrote Trifles in 1916, may have intentionally wanted her readers (or viewers) to associate Mrs. Wright with flight (and later on- the flight of a bird).

Additionally, I found it coincidental that Attorney Mr. Henderson, when examining Mrs. Wright's kitchen, stated that he "shouldn't say she had the homemaking instinct" (395). The "homemaking instinct" is a man-made "instinct," and is had by all women at that time. By stating that Wright lacked this instict, Henderson is suggesting that Wright posessed an opposite instinct, an animal instinct that identifies her more with a bird than with the human housewives with which she associates.

Finally, it was clearly evident that Mrs. Wright attempts to live a creative and unstifled life through the musicality of her canary. When Mr. Wright, whose harsh and unbending nature is detailed in the very beginning of the play ("all he asked was peace and quiet" (393).), kills the canary, it is symbolic of Mr. Wright killing a part of his wife, as well. In order to seek revenge for this cruel act, Mrs. Wright utilizes one of her only remaining means of creativity, a quilting knot. She kills her husband, avenging not only one death, but two.