November 30, 2004

November 18, 2004

Peer reviews

I thought the group work we did on our research papers was a great help. I'm my toughest critic, so to have an unbiased opinion on my work is wonderful. There are some great minds in our class and I truly benefited from having my classmates read my paper.

My paper isn't going to perfect or anything spectacular, but it's going to be much better now that my thoughts are organized. I'm not sure what I'm trying to accomplish with this blog; maybe I just wanted to say thanks to the people in my group and let Dr. Jerz know what a huge help the review was.

Posted by KatherineLambert at 02:36 PM | Comments (1)

November 11, 2004

Wildcard: My favorite movies...

I may be an English major, but movies have always been a passion for me. I
love watching films & it's always been a secret dream of mine to write and direct someday; it'll probably never happen, but I have some great ideas rattling around in this head of mine.

I worked in a video store for two years, so I suppose I'm a connoisseur of sorts; my friends tease me that I could have a whole conversation using movie lines. Movie (like books) are an escape for me...I can go into whole different worlds for two hours and forget all the stress I have in my life. I've dabbled in theater, so I think that may have something to do with my obsession, but whatever the reason, I love films.

I don't have just one favorite movie, as you might have guessed, so here's a list of my favorite films...let me know if anyof you has seen any of these!!

The Crow
The Wizard of Oz
Moulin Rouge
Gone in 60 Seconds
The Virgin Suicides
ANY Stephen King film (I collect them!)

Told you there was a lot!! I tend to enjoy odd films...I'm a closet-goth at times. Hope you enjoy learning about these movies!!

Posted by KatherineLambert at 01:25 PM | Comments (10)

November 02, 2004

Thoughts on "The Yellow Wall-paper"

I'm not really sure about my feelings towards this story. I thought "The Yellow Wall-paper" was going to be a sort of mystery; at the beginning, it reminded me of "An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge"; I kept expecting there to be a big twist and a surpirse ending- she lost her baby in childbirth, but believes the baby to still be alive, or she has really died and is haunting the house. I don't know, I was looking for a little bit more romanticism. The ending wasn't all that bad, but a little disappointing.

I searched for some information on this story, hoping it would clear some things up and here are some good sites.

A Guide to Research Materials:
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
-This is an essay that breaks down the story and simplifies things. I really enjoyed reading the writer's view; through this person's eyes, I was able to get a clearer picture.

About Charlotte Perkins Gilman-This is a short biography on Gilman, the author of "The Yellow Wall-paper." I can now see the inspiration for this story.

"The Yellow Wall-Paper": A Twist on Conventional Symbols
by Liselle Sant
-This takes on the use and importance of symbolism within the tale. May not be a huge help to understanding, but still an interesting read.

From my little bit a research, here's my view on the story: this woman is so repressed and sheltered, she's forced to use her imagination to keep her sanity; ironically, her mind and imagination fail her and she ends up losing her mind, anyway. I understand what is going on up until she's ripping the wallpaper down. Was she hoping to discover the woman? To set the woman free? To free herself? As I was reading it, all these ideas floated through my head (hey, I thought they made sense), but then the husband came in and fainted. From what? Did she look so crazy that he was scared? Hmmm...just some of my random thoughts. Maybe someone can clear things up in class.

Posted by KatherineLambert at 02:37 PM | Comments (4)

November 01, 2004

"[John Henry] didn't really die... just stopped livin' in his Mammy's shack, and started livin' in the hearts of men, forever and a day."

When I first chose John Henry for my panel discussion, I thought I would be working with a short story. So, when I started researching, I was surprised to find that the John Henry tall tales were not in a short story format, but rather as songs. I wasn’t sure how a presentation would go, based on a few songs, but I finally narrowed my topic down to the history of John Henry and tall tale.

History of Tall Tales
Settlers in the American wilderness used storytelling for entertainment. Obviously, there was no television or radio, so the people would instead gather around after the day’s work and tell each other tales. Each group, the loggers, cowboy, railroad and steel workers, had their own “superhero”; maybe having a superhuman doing the same job gave them a little pride and hope while doing their job.
Every tall tale hero has a gift or special talent; everyone has something that made them entirely unique from everyone else. Men, women, and sometimes animals were the focus on these American tales. Some of the most well-known characters are:
• Davy Crockett
• Johnny Appleseed
• Paul Bunyan & Babe, the blue ox
• Pecos Bill

John Henry’s History
John Henry’s story is based on real people and events, but it’s not really clear whether or not John Henry was a real person. Some of the legends say that John Henry was an African-American slave that was born in Tennessee in the 1840s or 1850s with a “hammer in his hand” and then moved to West Virginia (or Virginia) to build the Big Bend railroad tunnel. Other legends portray John as a white man, a dock worker, a saint, a womanizer, and sometimes a little of everything. Sometimes John is six feet, while other time he’s as tall as eight feet and originates from Alabama.

On, John is established as a real man. He was born a slave, worked for the railroads after the Civil War, and died in the 30s; he also had a wife and baby. The facts of the legend are harder to pin down. Through the ballads and folk songs, it is said that John worked for the C&O Railroad Company and worked to rebuild the Southern states after the Civil War. The railroad was moving quickly, but the Big Bend Mountain was a literal road block; it took three years and 1,000 men to clear through the mountain. As the songs say, John Henry was one of the best workers and used a 14-pound hammer and could tunnel up to 20 feet a day.

While the men were working, a salesman happened by with a steam-powered drill. He challenged that his drill could outwork any man-John took the challenge. John won the race (he drove 14 feet to the machines nine), but John died after the battle. Some say he collapsed from exhaustion, while others tell it was a stroke. This is just a simple view of the competition; some stories say John used to 20-pound hammers, one in each hand.

The fact and fiction of John Henry’s life is blurred; over 150 years has passed since John’s life and his true life and his legend have become intermingled. John was a source of guidance and hope for the railroad workers and American settlers. John was an inspiration in his time and even today-an example of raw work ethic and unbeatable strength.

Here are some questions to think over after hearing the history and legend of John Henry:

• Does it make a difference if John was real or just an imaginary character?

• Would the stories and songs make a bigger impact if John was real?

• Would his story have been as exciting if he was just a regular man or does his "superheroness" add to the story?

Posted by KatherineLambert at 12:56 PM | Comments (2)