March 2008 Archives

(English) what?

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“We had been taught Latin, French and German grammar; but English grammar was something we felt we were expected to infer from our reading…” (15 Eats, Shoots & Leaves)

There are various things that as American students, in the school system that we are forced into, that we are expected to infer. Different words are uses in front of us as children that we never know what they mean. No one questions our knowledge of there meaning; therefore we never truly know it.  Realizing this, I have now started looking up words that I already think I know in the dictionary in order to again true knowledge of the word. Even some words I have been using for years I have found I have been using them in the wrong context, but no one has ever corrected me. This is probably because they learned the meaning the same way that I did through experience not by looking up the actual definition. 

Punctuation .,?!

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“We are like the little boy in The Sixth Sense who can see dead people, except that we can see dead punctuation.” (Page 3 Eats, Shoots & Leaves)

Truss is right in discussing punctuation; in today’s society punctuation is not emphasized enough. Therefore people lose sight of how to write, when they see incorrect punctuation on signs, billboards or even titles of Movies. This confuses society especially the younger generations whose lives are dependent more so on the media. The melting pot notion has directly influenced our language further than expected and needs to be considered when the discussion of how to punctuate is concerned. Lets not let our slang typing get in the way of our original written language in order to keep it strong. 

The Displace society in a large world

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"She said getting him was the best day's work she had ever done in her life" (The Displaced person) 

This is one of the most important phrases in this story, it refers directly to the slaves and people who have been treated unfairly by American society in the past and currently this statement is severely derogatory toward the Guizacs. How is that considered work? This was Mrs. MaIntyer's way of crediting Mr. Guizac for his good work with out actually doing so. The polish people are considered "Displace persons" but I think in this case that term should be expanded to the African Americans as well because of the time period this seems to take place in. Are we not all displaced people? Should the term not then be expanded to all of the Americans? We are all displaced people who came from another country.

Everyone Has "bad Qualities"

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“Mrs. Hopewell had no bad qualities of her own but she was able to use other people’s in such a constructive way that she never felt the lack.”(169)

 

 I feel this quote has an extremely strong meaning. How is it possible to have “no bad qualities”  She must be a very talented and powerful woman to accomplish the task of using other people’s faults as a tool for herself.  Perhaps this is what O’Conner was getting at when she wrote this line. This could be a foreshadowing event in the story. 

Common Themes in O'Connor Short stories

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“ she was quicker than Mr. Freeman.”(170) “It was hard for Mrs. Hopewell to realize that her child was thirty-two now and that for more than twenty years she had had only one leg.” (171) “Then She had gone and had the beautiful name, joy, changed with out telling her mother until after she had done it” O'Connor 

 

In the first quote O’Connor is explaining Mrs. Freeman. In O’Connor's previous stories the men seem to always play a small role or less intelligent role in each story. The women always know what is going on more so then the men; I thought this was an interesting common theme in most of O’Connor's short stories Another common theme was the mothers in “ The Life You save May Be Your Own” had daughters with disabilities and were older than they were considered in the mother’s eyes.  One child could not hear the other is missing a leg. Yet again another common theme occurred between “Good Country People” and “The River. Joy had changed her name to Hulga  and Harry changed his name to Bevel. 

First a Teacher then an English Major

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“Regardless of your major, however, remember: Your Major is not you. Nor is your future determined or limited by your major.” (183 Lemire)

 

I understand this completely because I am an English major who is becoming certified as a teacher. I consider myself as a teacher first, then an English major. I like to have options but I also like to know what path I am taking. Gaining an English major gives me lots of options and I may consider doing some writing on the side of my teaching but that is not my sole concern. I am however just as excited about writing, as I am to teach it. I think this is what will inspire me to become a better teacher. When I was growing up all we were taught was that writers can only write for newspapers and become English teachers but now my horizons have expanded. I still want to be a teacher but know I know what to tell my students about. 

Hard work and Writing

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“Because the form of a poem, a play, or a work of fiction may look so inevitable and move so smoothly on the page, it is easy to forget that the work is the product of a series of deliberate choices that the author makes in the course of drafting and revising it.” (99 Hamilton)

 No matter how many times I wrote and revised my own paper I never really thought about how hard it was for a real righter to revise their papers. But isn’t that what they want us to think, that they got it right on the first try. I think it detracts from the meaning if you are always thinking about how many times it could have been revised. At the same time it give comfort in knowing that if they had to revise their writing, that you can revise your writing to greatness as well. There is a long thought process that needs to be recognized here because it is a lot of hard work to think critically like authors do. 

Latinos Took my Job!

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“Latinos might be hogging all the crap jobs and substandard housing for themselves, as they often do.” (121Nickel and Dimed)

 This comment really disturbed me because she never mentions any reason for her to have this believe about the “Latinos.” The only reason for this statement to come from her that I can think of is the fact that she is just going off what society says. IT is a popular belief but what does that really mean. I grew up around a community that had a fair amount of Latinos and I have not come to that strong of a conclusion. That is Gutsy of Ehrenreich to bring up such a debatable topic. I guess these topics are not unusual for her from what I have read of this book.  Perhaps she made this argument for a reason because most Americans judge situations from what they here from the public and don’t form their own opinions. 

Everyone doesn't read the same stuff.

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“Confined to the classroom, English majors have no direct experience of what most people - inhabitants of the real world -read;” (119) (Lemire)

 

Book warm, dictionary, Thesaurus, spell checker, always correcting other peoples grammar in everyday speaking are all stereotypical characteristics of English majors. The kinds of stuff that either makes a normal person twitch or admire about an English major. Like the misconceptions that people put on English majors English majors have misconceptions about everyone else. They think that everyone in the world knows what they know about great literary works. This makes them seem like they are acting better than other people and causes them to be belittled. 

Teach what you know? Can you teach what you know?

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“It’s also one thing to have studied English; it’s an entirely different matter to teach English.”(Lemire)

 

Many times people out side of the teaching perfection believe that you can just jump into teaching, if you know the subject you are teaching. That is not the case at all, you have to know and learn how to work with students. It is hard for many people to relate to the students and to understand that the students don’t always know what the teacher is talking about. I myself have struggled with teachers thinking I already know what they are teaching but I have no clue.

Ask your boss to stop sitting on their ass.

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“ Managers can sit - for hours at a time if they want--- but it’s their job to see that no one else ever does, even when there’s nothing to do, and this is why, for servers, slow times can be as exhausting as rushes.” (22) nickel dimed

 

            I once had a Manager like this who would always find something for you to do even if you were not crowed, but isn’t that how a house works to. There is always something you can do besides get home and watch T.V. the same for if you are in school. Managers are just the annoying person to tell you what you can do it is back breaking. I worked at Calvin Kline and I used to pretend to be busy to avoid doing something out of the ordinary at the store.

Do it right!

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“If you’re going to do something, do it will. In fact, ‘well’ isn’t good enough by half. Do it better than anyone has ever done it before.” (18 Nickel and dimed)

            I think this is a good thing to strive for but isn’t right for everyone. You may end up failing if you try to hard. But people who don’t try to do it will bug me I feel like they are worthless if they don’t’ try just a little. If you try at all you have a gold star from me. Those people who know they can do it but decide to slack bother me. Like for example if you drop a class because it is difficult just because you want more free time I will not look up to you. If you have a hard day at work are you going to quit?

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