February 2009 Archives

EL 312 Blog portfolio

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This is my first blogging portfolio for EL 312 Literary criticisms my previous other blogging portfolios were for the class EL 150 Introduction to literary studies. Here is a link to my last portfolio in EL150

COVERAGE: Shows that I commented on all the readings assigned for this class.

 

 

"white Guilt" and the American slave trade

 

Harold Bloom

 

There is no meaning of any work of literature

 

Keesey Ch 3 Mind games

 

Carnival "THe DEAD" What is dead?

 

Structural Irony

 

Irony is an automatic response

 

Envy In "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

 

Complex or simple? which is better?

 

Who knows the truth about Structuralism?

 

Tempest A High School Play I don't think SO!

 

Political importance of the Tempest

 

English Nationalism in The Tempest

 

Critical argument with the Critics of mine

 

WHy does anything else matter but what I think?

 

Just blogging my word

 

I hate it! and you need to agree. It is not Literature?

 

What means what When and WHy?

 

The yellow Terror!

 

 

Where does the talent come from?

 

Your literary theory


 

DEPTH: (Theses are some examples of blog entries that I really expanded on my ideas)

 

"white Guilt" and the American slave trade

 

Keesey Ch 3 Mind games

 

Who knows the truth about Structuralism?

 

Carnival (A group of bloggers agrees to blog on a particular topic, and one of them writes a cover entry that links to each contributor's blog.) 

 

Carnival "The DEAD" What is dead?

 

INTERACTION: (This sections shows were I have commented on other peoples blog responses to my bogs.)

 

Discussions.

Where does the talent come from?

Complex or simple? which is better?

I hate it! and you need to agree. It is not Literature?


Timeliness

Who knows the truth about Structuralism? - written on Feb 14 commented on the 19

Where did the talent come from? - written Jan 25 three comments 

Xenoblogging

"white Guilt" and the American slave trade

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“ Ah, mater,” sighed the black, bowing his face, “don’t speak of me; Babo is nothing; what Babo has done was but duty.”

“Faithful fellow!” cried Captain Delano. “Don Benito, I envy you such a friend; slave I cannot call him” (Melville 495)

Let me just start by saying that this story was not my favorite mostly because it seems to tell the reader a story he or she has already encountered.  It seems to be discussing the slave trade to the Americas a story that has been over played in its many versions.  However Melville adds an interesting twist to this story using symbolism to further contributing to the notion of “White Guilt” as used in the book Rereading America. The way African Americans were treated on their voyage was tragic and Melville creates an in depth picture for his readers when he continues to explain the Conflict that Captain Delano holds within himself. His duets and morals become the angle and demand on his shoulders. “ Ah, mater,” sighed the black, bowing his face, “don’t speak of me; Babo is nothing; what Babo has done was but duty.” “Faithful fellow!” cried Captain Delano. “Don Benito, I envy you such a friend; slave I cannot call him” (Melville 495) Captain Delano feels guilty of treating people whom he has become friends with through learning the language and feeding the slaves on the boat.

Melville also delivers this passion through colorful text, mostly colors that drive from the far ends of the spectrum. From black to white, and from light to dark.  As one may already know where the American slave trade is concerned color has everything to do with this event. The first page is full of dark imagery not only with the usages of the word Gray but also in the form of Shadows. Melville never hides the direction of his story “Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come” (Melville 489.) Foreshadowing the state that America is in today. Melville seems to know what is to come in the future and is blaming Americans for their own out-come, Thus creating again the notion of “white Guilt.” 

Then you have the other side of the spectrum Light and white. … There is too much to write about I give up. J

Harold Bloom

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I would like to read some of Harold Bloom’s works, when time is on my side. He sounds very intelligent when it comes to misreading of a work.  People are influenced by their surroundings whether they like it or not. “ What happens if one tries to write, or to teach, or to think or even to read without the sense of a traditions?” (194 Kolodny) Literature is always going to influence other literature as well as learning. Literature is used in the learning process and is conveniently misread for different purposes. However Bloom does have some limitations in his model as pointed out by kolodny. When the topic of women authors arises.  I feel that I have learned a lot in this class of literary criticisms 

There is no meaning of any work of literature

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“Whenever the author turns into a reader of his own work, he must therefore revert to the code, which he had already recoded in his work” (142 Iser).

The meaning of a work all depends on the readers and audience at the time. So when the writer becomes the reader the audience takes that as the truth above all truths.  The author’s ideals would come out and there would be no more room for interpretation otherwise. If people of today do not become aware of the fact that the author becoming the reader of their own peace is not the final answer the world will be stuck not being able to think for themselves. There is so such thing as the ideal reader of any written work because even the author as an ideal reader would not come up with the meaning of their work to all audiences. As time moves on a reader conducts many meanings of a work of literature through observing other documentation that has been created and becomes available to the audiences. The writer has no way of predicting the future documentation that will become available to define their works.  

Keesey Ch 3 Mind games

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Keesey, Ch 3

“ Unarmed readers may believe they are responding to the surface level, but they are really being affected by the underlying patterns of archetypal symbolism.” (131)

 

All through school, students like myself have been taught that commercials are lying and that we should not believe them. That they are subconsciously convincing us that we want something that we really don’t. Writing affects people in the same way.  The Author writes to convince its audience of something or to show them how they feel. There have been some writings in the past based on scientific evidences however evidences can also be written to sway the opinion of someone reading it.  Specifically today readers are not reading for scientific value and or destine for literature. People “do not live by scientific truth alone”(131).  An every day reader looks at a work of literature through his or her response and not what is behind the words that is actually trigging the emotion. This being said, I think that it is relatively imposable for someone to critic a work based off of reader response because each reader has a different response and can never be assumed.  The value of the reader’s response is limited though not valueless. When evaluating a work the reader response may be beneficial if used as the most common reader response and not as a specific reader response. The reader response can be used to predict what the author wanted but cannot be the only evidence to prove a point. Many of the schools of criticism work in the same way.  “One advantage of Richards’s view is that it offers to account for all features of the literary work” (132) For an argument in criticism of a work of literature to be considered valid it must have evidences to the conclusion in more than one school of criticism.

Carnival "THe DEAD" What is dead?

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What does the title refer to in "The Dead?" There are many argument theories including that the dead really means those who died in the story, or figuratively speaking the characters of which have dead emotions.  Some including myself would say that it is not about death at all but about rebirth specifically the rebirth of Irish heritage and society (Cengage.)

 Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland.” Winter comes so that the ground may be reborn in the spring.  This statement is unusual in this story because snow does not fall very often in Ireland, which is the setting of the story. This would be a rare in this setting and for James Joyce to choose the snow is a green light for symbolism.

 It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried”(Joyce).

Though all seems depressed and hopeless at the end of “The Dead” Joyce still manages to include the fact that he is not explaining a death at all when he writes on the very last line “ upon all the living and the dead.”

·      What do you think the snow symbolizes?

·      Do you think I am going in the right direction or do you agree with the other critics?

More on James joyce and what others think 

Online Literary Criticism Collection

·      What other proof can you find to my thesis about James Joyce “The Dead?”  Back to Carnival

Structural Irony

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Structural irony refers to an implication of alternate or reversed meaning that pervades a work. A major technique for sustaining structural irony is the use of a naïve protagonist or unreliable narrator who continually interprets events and intentions in ways that the author signals are mistaken” (Hamilton 45)

 

            I thought that it would be appropriate to look up this term because most of the reading for El 312 of this week discussed structuralism and Irony. I am sure that structural critics would be dealing with Irony in the context of all the literary works that require a structuralism view. Irony is simple to look for however if you are going to use it critically then you much use more than one form of critical reading and evaluate fully before only concentrating on Irony. 

Irony is an automatic response

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“Invulnerability to irony is the stability of a context in which the internal pressures balance and mutually support each other” (87 Brooks)

           

Do not automatically point out the irony that many times is the obvious reaction to a work of literature. When a critic looks for a school of critics and decided on what to write about on a work of literature there tendency is to look for Irony.  One can find many other factors besides Irony that hold more ground in a peace like symbolism and structure.  I think that Irony is important but sometimes gets over used when critics analyze a peace of writing. 

Envy In "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

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“Walter Jackson bate suggests that the fact of repetition may spring from the poet’s envy or the happiness the figures on the urn appear to be experiencing, although “envy” is precisely what Keats repudiates as a motive in the similarly empathic experience of the companion “Ode to a Nightingale.’” (114 Kent)

 

I never thought about Keats “Ode to a Grecian Urn” as an envious poem but now I see that the poem could go both ways.  Envious because he entities the quality of life on the Urn, but however seems bothered by the fact that the Urn life will never know real life of pain and anguish.  The poem drives in a joyful manner, however when analyzed Envy is almost the obvious voice.  

Complex or simple? which is better?

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“The complex poem is better than the simple poem because it appeals to a greater number of our desires and aversions. And a coherent poem is better than an incoherent poem because in organizing its diverse elements, it also organizes the reader’s psyche.” (79 Keesey)

 

I disagree a poem can appeal to who ever looks into the poems meaning. I simple poem can mean a lot more to some because they can understand it better. Where as a complex poem may only grab the attention of a person interested in critiquing poetry and not in simply enjoy it.

I have come to the conclusion that I am not a formalist fan. I believe that there is importance to the reading response.  “ But most formal critics, though not necessarily denying that poems have the potential to do something like this for certain readers, rejected the entire reader-response” (80) Why do writers write because they want something to happen, they want readers to respond so isn’t reader response important. 

Who knows the truth about Structuralism?

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“Some Literary forms-realist prose, for example - tend to be metonymic, linking signs by their associations with each other; other forms, such as Romantic and Symbolist poetry, are hilly metaphorical” (Eagleton 87).

            I have found that this chapter writes about signs a lot but what does Eagleton mean, does he mean literal signs or metaphorical signs. The way a product of writing looks physically on a page with indentions and mechanics or the sign as in symbols of with meaning.

“…The Czech structuralisms insisted on the structural unity of the work; its elements were to be grasped as functions of a dynamic whole, with one particular level of the text. Acting as the determining influence which defored, or pulled into its own field” (87)

           

            What is structuralism as defined for all? Do the Czech become the definers to all, did they event this definition of Structuralism. Does everyone except this definition as the structuralism views or do they differ in different countries or between Structure centered critics. From what I Can tell from the text Structuralism is one of the most closely related to formalism in the fact that they only look at the text in question no outside sources.

“ In literature …alone, one can shake off the sordid ‘externalities’ of referential language and discover a spiritual home.”

 

What is the differences or connections between Structuralism and semiotics? Is semiotics a factor or way of structuralism?

“Semiotics’, or ‘semiology’, means the systematic study of signs, and this is what literary structuralisms are really doing.” (Eagleton)

 

Tempest A High School Play I don't think SO!

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I did not like this play The Tempest when I read it in High School everything was to fake for me I felt I could relate to Romeo and Juliet better cause of course that this time in my life, like all girls I thought I was Juliet and every guy I liked was Romeo.  Now that I am older I do understand the significant of the story in all its glory but still flee from its characters like Caliban and Arial who is a spirit.

Political importance of the Tempest

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“To locate The Tempest in the literary field does not necessarily foreclose the possibility of a particular political reading of the play; rather, it simply requires that such a reading be grounded in a historically specific negotiation between the text and the normal political attitude of the theater-audience.” (Yachting 34)

The Tempest has value in more than one topic of discussion whether it is political or literary or some form of both.  When this story is taught in a high school setting the children see the humor in the play as I did when I was in high school. Furthermore if someone were to be taught the story when they are older they may understand the historical factors of the Play. This was Shakespeare intent I believe because in his day people who were poor watched his plays because of the humor but educated people saw both humor and the current political society embedded in the message of the great story. Shakespeare should be read in historical criticism as defended by keesey “Approach the poem through the study of the life and times of its author” (3)

English Nationalism in The Tempest

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I agree with Walter Cohen: “The Tempest uncovers, perhaps despite itself, the racist and imperialist bases of English Nationalism.” (McDonald 99)

 During Shakespeare time there was a lot of controversy about where England had control and why. I believe specifically Ireland was struggling with England’s colonization of Island.  The story presented in The Tempest develops a setting where countries have English colonies settled there. Shakespeare mentions a prince in Africa. And history is obviously developed in the story. There is plenty of blame to go around in the British nationalism issue of people being blinded to truth and closed off as Miranda is when she is UN aware of men other than her father and becomes Ferdinand immediately joined at the hip with Ferdinand.  This family feud represents the English nationalism controversy.  

  

Critical argument with the Critics of mine

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Are poems historical acts?

 

Dear Critic, to all those who judge my work,

I hate literary criticism not the class, not giving it but the receiving of it. I cannot write, ok so you have told me. But you don’t scare me anymore. You will never be more right than I about any topic I chose to write down. I will be your critic, criticizing your critics of me.  

Ok so now that that is out of the way… “It is often suggested that a poet has done enough if he fully performs what he set out to do,” Well here is my question what if what the write sets out to do changes within the process of the writing, and then after the peace is finished it changes again. Just like a writer who writes a story may change the title to fit the content.

 

WHy does anything else matter but what I think?

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“These two ideas, then, one stressing the individuality of the poet, the other the individuality of the age,”( Keesey 11) more comments on Keesey introduction

“Approach the poem through the study of the life and times of its author” (keesey 11)

According to the “(formal work criticism)” (3) diagram in the book Context for Criticism shows the basic idea of what a critic can do with a work of literature. But this is too basic of an idea for anyone to base his or her theory on how a work should be evaluated and discussed.

 Chapter one discussed the concepts a bit further in regards to historical criticism. What should be looked at when/ and where the Author is concerned?  There are two main concepts related to this term. “One stressing the individuality of the poet, the other the individuality of the age,” In other words one must look at the differences between the authors the characters of the poem or work of literature, the time period of the setting and the time period of which the author lived in. That also concerns the time period when the author wrote the work of literature. “Approach the poem through the study of the life and times of its author,” one poem could attain different meanings if studied as a representative of different time periods in its like or the writer’s life. I think that this is an increasable well-explained concept for young critics (all people new to the literary world of criticism) to understand.

 

Just blogging my word

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“Atmosphere, a term taken from meteorology, means the predominant mood or town in all or part of a literary work,”  (Hamilton 89) more blogs on Hamilton I confess I was just flipping through the pages of my Hamilton book and found this word instead of finding it in the class readings we had due for El312. However I thought this word was appropriate because it develops the setting of a work of literature and the symbolism, which was discussed in the previous chapters we have read for this class. 

I hate it! and you need to agree. It is not Literature?

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"Literature was not a matter of ‘felt experience’, ‘personal response’ or ‘imaginative uniqueness’:” (Eagleton 15)

So again we struggle with the definition of Literature. The symbolist definition in the Webster’s dictionary is “ all writings on some subject.” So Literature is not anything that one may think it is. You cannot categorize or define this word by what an author felt what you as a reader felt or the imaginative uniqueness a peace of writing may hold. So literature is then any way of looking a literature. Through the eyes of the reader through the eyes of the writer, and the critic. In the past literature was just literature if it had evidence to the true false fact. News articles would fall into this category along with history and politics and moral issues. Fantasy and fiction would not be put into this category. Today’s society has redefined the word Literature to mean something much broader in some cases including all genres of writing. 

What means what When and WHy?

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Struggling with textual meaning. What means what when and why? Discussion of Objective Interpretation “…The textual meaning has nothing to do with the author’s mind, but only with his verbal achievement, that the object of interpretation is not the author but his text.” (19)

Every unit of text has meaning behind it but how would one find this meaning? The only time a meaning in my opinion cause be certain is if it is a simple sentence like her hair is brown, or the car moved fast.  These sentences to not need a critic to define their meaning through the authors mind because it is obvious that they only have one meaning and that is the car moved fast and her hair is brown. For this reason a more complex writing would be relatively impossible to define it’s meaning. Many would agree,” the most “adequate” construction is the one which gives the fullest coherent account of all text’s potential meanings.” (20) There fore if anyone can find another meaning that the supposed adequate critic missed the critiques then becomes inadequate.

The yellow Terror!

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The Yellow Wall paper EL 312

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Keesey 

This story reads like many books I have read, one particular is The Secret Garden. In the beginning of this story when the writer describes the seen of the garden the main character reminds me of the boy who couldn’t walk and had a phobias of everything. The character grows into a type of hypochondriac as the writer uses words like nervous and terror. The narrators fear and evaluation of the wall paper develops this theory as she acquires a theory that the wall paper is a type of haunted. From the beginning a reader may be unclear of which character, John or the narrator. However it quickly comes together at the end where most would come to the conclusion that she really was sick the whole time. On Page 535 the main character argues with john that she is not better despite what he believes. Why would she do that if she wanted him to think she was better in the begging? The answer to this question soon becomes clear, she did this in order to stay in the house long enough to find out what it was about the yellow wall paper that was haunted her at night. 

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