When I chose my panel, I didn't do much initial research, but just picked a topic that looked fun. I love folklore and tall tales, so I thought the John Henry and Uncle Remus stories would pretty easy and fun. Shouldn't I know by now that nothing in college is easy? I was under the impression that there was an actual, written-down version of the John Henry tale, but apparently it is an oral legend that has stemmed quite a few songs, but no "story." I still have some more research to do, but I'm really at a lost of what to do.
I tried reading through the Br'er Rabbit tales...I just got a headache. I can hardly understand what Uncle Remus is saying. This is the same trouble I had with Huckleberry Finn; both authors tried to accurately portray the characters language and speech style, but all they accomplished with me was confusion. I stumbled my way through Harris' works, but there is no way I am talented/equipped enough to present this to the class. I may get up there on Monday and make a fool of myself, but I'm at least going to have some correct and well laid out information. I guess I'm stuck with ol' John. Let's just hope this works.
Does anyone have any suggestions for my presentation? What would you like to see me do?
So I finished "Huck Finn" a little while ago and I'm just annoyed. I liked most of the book and was having a good time reading until stupid Tom Sawyer made his appreance. Before, I was curious to read the prequel to "Huck" and find out what happened to the boys before this adventure. Forget that idea! Tom did nothing more than get on my nerves. He connocted outlandish ideas and dragged Huck and Jim along for the ride-although I blame Huck & Jim for putting up with his ridiculousness.
Ok, granted, Tom & Huck are just boys and it was a different time period, but still...is there really a need for all the hubbabaloo to rescue Jim? Why was it necessary to go through all the stealing and digging and all the other irrelevant nonsense? So maybe it's comic relief and adds some excitement to the story...I thought it was all very silly.
Like my title says, Tom is a brat and needs to controlled. Man, some people's kids...where are his parents? Ok, so sorry, bad joke...he's still a little snot, though.
This is just a short little b**** session about Huckleberry Finn. Why did the Grangerfords have to die? I hate books and films like that; the good, interesting characters go away. It's just not fair!!
I know, I know, I sound like a little kid, but that's how I feel. If I know I'm going to cry or be hurt, I refuse to watch a movie or read a book. I can't stand to be sad. Anyway, I think that if the book would have ended with Huck staying on with the Grangerfords, I would have been perfectly satisfied. Ok, I know that's not the point of the book and that leaves a lot of questions unanswered, but I would have still liked Huck to have lived "happily ever after" with the family. Who know, Huck could have found Jim & he could have worked for him (I know! Jim still wouldn't have been free...) and Huck could have grown up & married one of the daughters.
Wow, I really need a life. I'm rewriting the ending to a literary classic. Hmmm, I still think my ending would be better than all the good people dying.
It sometimes hits me that we're all connected in some way...no matter what color or size or where we're from, we came from the same place.
"Rather than going to church, I attend a sweat lodge; rather than accepting bread and toast [sic] from the Holy Priest, I smoke a ceremonial pipe to come into Communion with the Great Spirit; and rather than kneeling with my hands placed together in prayer, I let sweetgrass be feathered over my entire being for spiritual cleansing and allow the smoke to carry my prayers into the heavens. I am a Mi'kmaq, and this is how we pray." Noah Augustine, from his article "Grandfather was a knowing Christian," Toronto Star, Toronto ON Canada, 2000-AUG-9. From Religious Tolerance.org:Native American Spirituality
As a Christian, I sometimes find myself believing the misconception that everyone is like me and every has (or should) have the same beliefs as me. It's a statement like that above that brings me back down to earth. We're not all the same and never will be, but we're all connected. I firmly stand by the belief that the most important aspect of a person's life is just that: BELIEVE. I'm a Christian and you're a Jew. Do you believe and stand by your faith? You're a Native American and you're Islamic? Do you trust and love your Creator? To me, that's the heart and soul of life. This is not to say I support those who worship Satan or idols, but believe in the Great Beyond and a Higher Being. Believe and stand by your faith, just don't disregard others and their life. We're all different and that's what makes us great.
A few day's ago, we had some students (Paul Crossman, Diana Geleskie, and Amanda Cochran) present "The Devil's Dictionary". They all did really well and it was great how all three took a different point of view. Of course, it was a typical day in class and there was NO agreement and an "argument" ensued.
While I read "The Devil's Dictionary," I was more amused than offended by Bierce's outlook on life. Apparently, though, a good many got angry. Here's my way to see Bierce's work: he didn't hate anyone or anything in particular, he just hated everything equally. That's not to say he hated life, but he just saw things how they were; Bierce stated the obvious and people got pissed off that he told the truth. I wrote a blog earlier when I was first getting into "Devil's" and I said some things that were pretty stupid. I got the feeling that Bierce was this disgruntled old man that was mad at the world; after class, though, I see that's not right. Ambrose Bierce had a knack for showing people for what they truly are. He didn't necessarily believe these thoughts, but he seemed to enjoy playing devil's advocate (thanks to whoever said that in class!) He uses humor to communicate his findings and I think that's what truly upsets people; he's so blunt about the way things are, but instead of just coming right out saying what he feels, he cracks jokes. I find it amusing and refreshing, maybe because I know what an idiot I am most of the time.
C'mon people, lighten up...nobody's perfect and if you can't find your own faults and laugh at them, then you're missing out. I've just learned to face it: girls are dumb, men are pigs, and as long as we know this, the world continues to go 'round.
Native American literature fascinates me. For years, I heard stories from my grandmother of my family's Native American ancestors and have always been proud of my heritage. Unfortunately, once my mother started researching our geneaology, we found no record of a Native American background. Actually, most people think they have NA in their familes and most do not. I can't tell you how many times my mom has shown me comments/entires on her geneaology website stating: "My great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee Indian princess." or "Geronimo was apart of our family." Gimme a break people. Everyone boasts of their unusual lineage, but that's the point! It's an unusual and RARE circumstance to have (and be able to prove) one's background, especially of NA. Most of their culture was oral, so the chance of having census or birth records is slim to none.
I'm sure some people really can trace their bloodline back to NA and that's great...but how many princesses do you think there really were? And Geronimo was only one guy...he can be related to everybody.
Well, here goes nothin'...
All of the following pieces are my coverage blogging requirements. I wrote these blogs because I was moved by the readings and felt a need to express my thoughts (however confusing or irrelevant) for the rest of the class. I feel these entries best show my reaction and understanding of the work we have done in American Lit.
These next blogs are for depth. Unlike the coverage entries, these are not just my own thoughts; I studied and researched to get a better understanding of what the author was really saying.
From others in the class commenting on my blogs, I began discussions about the work we studied. These interaction blogs may show not only my thoughts, but the reaction my classmates had to my entries. Some of these entries are covered in the coverage and depth areas, but here I primarily focused on the comments left by other people.
Unlike the interaction area, these discussion entries are discussions that I have started my commenting on someone else's blog. From my classmates, I have then gone on to write a blog from my own thoughts and through their inspiration.
Xenoblogging is the work done on other's blogs; therefore, these are not my blogs, but I have left comments.
Finally, the wildcard is a random blog that does not necessarily have to do with my American Lit. class. My wildcard is a description of myself and my life.
I started reading "The Devil's Dictionary" and I was more than a little lost. First of all (this is blondeness showing though) it's like a real dictionary! I expected it to be a novel...I'm not sure why. I guess that fact seems pretty obvious, but I just never suspected the title to be so literal.
As I began to read, I just couldn't seem to get into the author's head. I understood the words and their meanings, but so what? What purpose did Bierce have?
I went back and re-read the introduction and that helped a lot. The whole work makes more sense to me when it's referred to as "The Cynic's Dictionary." After I got that into my head, I really got into the reading. I consider myself an optimist, but I also have a twisted sense of humor: I find Bierce's cynicism and contempt for the world oddly amusing.
As I was searching "Devil's" and Bierce, I kept coming upon the the word 'satire.' I've heard this word before, but I had no idea what it meant. I did a little research and came up with some information that really helped me to relate to Bierce and understand his works more. I got this excerpt from an essay and I think it sums-up 'satire' pretty well.
"Satire is a literary manner which blends a critical attitude with humor and wit to the end that human institutions or humanity may be improved. Satire is the literary art of diminishing or derogating a subject by making it ridiculous and evoking towards it attitudes of amusement, contempt, scorn, and indignation. The true satirist is conscious of the frailty of institutions of man’s devising and attempts through laughter, not so much to tear them down, but to ridicule their folly and shortcomings to inspire a remodeling, if not of the institutions, then at least of the reader’s view of them."
Obviously, Bierce and his writing encompass most of these characteristics. As I was reading "Devil's"...well, it put a lot of things in perspective. Even today, people get up-in-arms about ridiculous ideas and ideals. I am guilty of these of these notions and that's why this sarcastic and sardonic piece of literature appeals to me. I make absurtities into huge deals and for what? So I can get upset and act like an idiot? Webster's dictionary defines 'cynic' as "a faultfinding captious critic; especially : one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest," but I got more out of 'Devil's' than that; I realize that I'm walking a thin line and, if I'm not careful, my views are going to start mimicking Bierce's pessimistic outlook. In addition to that whole big huge rant, the whole dictionary is funny...I laughed out a few times (and got some interesting stares in the computer lab.) All together, I enjoyed this work and I actually think that this has been favorite in the class so far. Hmmm, maybe Bierce isn't so bad after all.
Once again, the lovely Katie Aikins has inspired me. Take a look at her blog to see where I got the idea for mine. This blog isn't quite as good as the first draft...I didn't save the first one and it go deleted. :-(
My favorite movie EVER is "The Crow" with Brandon Lee. Here's a quite summary of the film: Eric and his fiancé, Shelley are brutally murdered the night before their wedding. One year later, Eric is ressurected my the Crow, a spirit that brings the dead back to the land of the living to avenge the wrongs of their life. For more info try these sites: Crow Fan Club or The Crow's Loft
Anyway, Katie blogged about the connection between death and beauty in Poe's "The Raven" and that topic really struck a cord with me. "The Crow" tells a tale of a love so strong that not enough death can exstinguish it. "The Raven" and "The Crow" parallel each other; from death stems a beauty that is just too much for this world. Our earth as we know it is not capable of handling Eric and Shelley's love, so they must use a supernatural force to finally be together. Poe's Lenore is not in this world physically, but she still "speaks" to him through the raven.
Do death and love (beauty) have a connection? Yes...they both touch a part inside of us like no other emotion. "...poetry is not describing a beauty here on earth, but is trying to describe a divine Beauty. Poetry is supposed to excite the soul so that it reaches into the divine to glimpse this Beauty."
Just some trivia that I found interesting...1.) The crow squaks in the film aren't from a crow...they are a raven's call 2.) Eric's last name is Draven...stemming from Raven? 3.) Eric quotes a line of from E.A. Poe's "The Raven." 'Suddenly their came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. You heard me rapping, right?'
Coincidences? I think not.
I just wrote the greatest blog ever & I didn't save it!! Nooooo!!
I consider myself a fairly intellegent person, but right when I think I have everything under control and sorted in my brain, a text like Emerson's is thrown into my lap and I realize how dumb I truly am. But, there is hope for me!
I read the Thoreau and Emerson assignements for class and, although, I coud get through most of it, some parts were still fuzzy.
Stephan's presentation really helped break up and organize the puddle of information in my brain. Stephan really broke down the subject to make it a simpler read; I'm glad that he didn't "dumb it down," he simply put it all into perspective.
Now that I understand Emerson's point of view, I find that I can connect with his feelings. "People define themselves through religion, family, and what job title they hold. No person is a “farmer” or a “doctor.” They are first themselves, and then they can perform services of a doctor, but should still not define themselves so." I love how that line makes me feel...I'm just not sure how to describe it. Those words (ok, so this is corny) put a little hope in my heart and allow me to imagine that the world isn't spiraling down as fast as I once thought. It's comforting to have the knowledge that a person doesn't have to succumb to the presures of religion, occupation, etc., but can be what the want, what they are in the inside.
I am an odd individual and have a hard time expressing my thoughts, but I honestly think now that my eyes (and heart) have been given a little push in the direction of individuality, I can now come of out of my shell, and be ME...and not just a student or daughter or friend.
So I copied Katie's blog idea (Thanx, Katie!!) and decided to share a little about myself to the rest of the class. I attended kindergarten at Seton Hill, so I figured if I started school here, I might as well finish here, too. Plus, SHU gave me money. Easy choice!!
I was born and raised in the little hole of Jeannette, which just happens to be all of 5 minutes away from Seton Hill. In high school, I was a total band geek; I was in the marching, concert, and jazz band, along with drama and chorus. I love reading and English is the only "talent" I have, so I thus became an English education major.
I don't do much outside of school, except work. I'm a receptionist at an assisted living facility and I also work for the IT department at school. I'm a member at Norwin Christian Church and I collect Wizard of Oz items. That is my one vice...if anyone has any questions, I bet I could answer them!
That's about all I have to say about me. I'm a pretty boring person...any questions, just lemme know!!