This was an extremely emotional story:
Even if family members don't have this type of cancer, you can still connect with the woman who is suffering from the cancer. The struggle that she goes through is so specific to her, however on the same token, it speaks to a broader reader.
When reading it I really felt for her transitions that she had to go through and the family structure differences, which were going to be taking, place. I thought that she handeld the news, and the process of the cancer and treatment well.
As a person from the social science area, there is a theory which she kind of fit into.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has a stage theory that someone goes through when they are dying, losing something or greiving.
Kubler –Ross stages of Grief
The main character in this story can be traced going through these stages.
1.Denial- seen when telling herself that this is a dream and that she will soon wake up to find it unreal. And there are other points with in the story where denial comes in
2.Resentment- when she is unable to get out bed, and she becomes exhausted.
Also seen when she gets physically sick. Also seen in her sarcasm
She also resented that she was unable to complete crosswords and play with her granddaughter.
3.Bargaining- there really wasn’t a point where she began to bargain (usually with God)
4.Depression- when she was angry about the situation that she now is dependant on Her daughter and son in law
Also seen when she discusses the idea of committing suicide.
5.Acceptance- there really wasn’t a part of the story where I felt she accepted what
Was happening to her. It seemed like the cancer progressed too rapidly for her to come to an acceptance.
After reading the book, there were many themes, which would bring about great discussion in class. I was looking though at the race theme. I want to note on a personal level. I loved the title of McBride’s first Novel: “The Color of Water’. This title comes up from an explanation to the young McBride from his mother. The question that was asked was what color is God? McBride’s mother was white, and his father was black. So growing up McBride discusses some of the racial questions he had in regard to the different back round and physical characteristics of his mother and then of his father. His mother so poetically answer’s young McBride’s questions with, “God is the color of Water”. A statement which has wonderful meaning on a theological level, is so simplistic and child like, that to believe and take ‘mom-McBride’s’ words, your faith must be child like in love.
Well, now with the “Miracle at St. Anna” it’s McBride’s turn to use colorful language to express the thought that God, Jesus and his angles are universal in their love, and that there is no color skinned associations.
…He’d learn that even his own life wasn’t his own. It belonged to God. Other than his mother and his grandmother, he had no stake in anyone, anyplace, and land, anything except for this little somebody. ..In the destiny of Train’s own thick mind, the walls of impossibilities loomed ahead never occurred to him, the centuries of granite, concrete, steel-strong prejudice that awaited him back in America. This boy was a miracle. He was an angle. AN ANGEL HAD NO COLOR…the boy was like him. He was nobody. He was invisible. (210)
This leads into what I wanted to talk about today in class.
My Agenda Item is to talk about how these four American soldiers have been treated one way by their ‘peer’ soldiers, and then the way that they must have felt staying with the village people who welcomed them. (at first they were a little hesitant to have the soldiers stay but they warmed up to it later)
These people opened their home, conversed, ate, and shared with the four American soldiers.
How does that differ from the experiences they faced back in America?
How does that differ from the experiences they faced while in the service?
McBride, takes the race issue, and I feel almost eliminates for the reader the notice of segragating because of ethnic, religous, moral differences. McBride is sensitive to the challenges different people face, and doesn’t abolish the struggles the person faces, however stresses the importance of the Transendent (God) over differences in eachother. McBride gives autonomy to the characters and their struggles; the story uses the boy, village people of Bornacchi to give examples of an equality among friends, and to strip it all down, among human beings.
Some pages to look at for the differences between the interaction of these four soldiers in America, working in the service with Americans, and then when in the village making friends with the people who took them in.
Soldiers in America: Pg. 7 Pg.190
Soldiers interaction with other soldiers: Pg.31 Pg.71 Pg.210
Interaction with Bornacchi townspeople: Pg.108 Pg. 110 Pg.114-116 Pg.131 Pg.160/161 Pg.168/169 Pg. 183 Pg.187 Pg.188/189 Pg.192 Pg.197 Pg. 190 Pg.192
James McBride has done it again. Although, “Miracle at St. Anna’s” differs in genre from his first book, “The Color of Water”, his style of writing is still comparable.
I had to read “The Color of Water” as part of my role as an RTA for the freshmen class. As I was reading the book, I became drawn to McBride’s story, and connected with it on a personal level. Therefore I was beside myself when Seton Hill University hosted him to come and talk to the students. Pittsburgh Live had a reporter come to Seton Hill to conver the event.
When James McBride visited Seton Hill University in the Fall, I purchased his second novel “Miracle at St. Ana”. I knew that this book was fictional, compared to the autobiography which I fell in love with, however thought that I would give it a try. I began to read the text after the Lecture; however as the story of a SHU student’s life goes, there isn’t much time for personal reading.
It honestly wasn’t until it was assigned that I was able to pick up the book and enjoy it. While reading the book, I saw James McBride in Sicilian Hall talking about his trip to Italy to write the book. While reading the book I became attached to Train. I’m not sure if McBride intended the reader to fall in love with this character however he did an amazing job with the adjectives he used to describe him. Train’s physical characteristics almost ascend above humanity. His chocolate features, larger than life size and simple southern language really gives him character. As if Train’s physical descriptions weren’t attractive enough for a character, his emotional side indefinitely catches my attention. While reading the book, all I really kept in visioning was this man beyond men cradling this, as portrayed on the cover and through the text, frail, sick, lonely boy in the middle of a war. A war which he probably doesn’t understand, then again how many of us even understand it. I was just captivated by the characters that McBride shares with us, and am thankful that the book was assigned because I don’t know that I would have gotten to a ‘pleasure reading book’ until the summer time.
More will be added to my blog because this is the text that I will be presenting on, so look for some additional posts and though driven questions.
I’m not sure that I followed this story. From what I understood, Mero has to travel back to his hometown in the west from the east (Massachusetts) because of the unfortunate death of his brother. Which I would like to know how often does a person get killed by a emu? And the author just flashbacks Mero’s life on the farm as Mero makes his way back west.
This Story just screamed the hit VT sitcom, Will and Grace. The relationship between Leo and Lucille resembles Will and Graces. The two live in close proximity, they have breakfast together, go to work together, and then go out for drinks after ward. The two talk about past and current relationships, their childhood, and culture. The only thing which got me what I didn’t know if the Best Girlfriend (she) Never had was Leo, or the dog which at the end she winds up going into adopt.
After reading Greenleaf I was left with one question: What does the Bull in Greenleaf represent?
Does it represent as Mrs. May suggested property, and she has a right to dispose of it if the owner doesn’t come by to claim it? Or is there another reason for the Bull in the story. Without the Bull there really wouldn’t be that much of a story. Other than the fact that this man has worked on a farm for the past 15 years. The Farm owner isn’t very found of him, and the reader would learn about the Greenleafs as a whole family unit. However that doesn’t follow the traditional reason for a story to be told. Usually, if I am correct or at least in today’s ‘self-help’ age, a story is supposed to be more than just a source of passing time. So what moral, lesson, or philosophical dilemma are we (the reader) faced with.
The Bull I would suggest represents, as the story suggests ‘a force of nature’. There are different perceptions and strategies in going about something. Well, what business does a Bull have grassing in someone’s yard, and destroying the property non-the less? This Bull was different from the others, Mrs. May was able to notice it immediately from the other Bulls which were hers. Nature, human nature, a force that drives us all to act in certain ways, regardless of whether they are acceptable or not. The Bull grazing in Mrs. May’s field wasn’t wanted, in fact the Bull’s owner was asked to take it away. Then thinking that she could get rid of it herself Mrs. May sought to destroy it, however it seemed to destroy her. Are our innate natural instincts stronger forces in our lives than our rational human faculties?
A theme which is seen in this story is Racism. There is a since of re-telling the story, or emphasizing ‘White wins over Black”. The story was written in 1923 when African American persons were thought of differently depending on where they were living. The northerner was given much more credibility, responsibility, and respect than the southerner. This is a story of the southerner, and the racist thoughts which surrounded him/her.
The story also talks about the ‘cultural no-no’ of the time. Interracial relationships, for Bob Stone (a White man) to have a relationship with Louisa (a Black women) was Taboo at the time. Never the less, this ‘no-no’ still was represented as ‘winning’ in the story. When Tom stabs Bob in conflict with him fighting over Louisa, “White men like ants upon a forage rushed about”. There was immediate attention, and the ‘resolution’ projects the thoughts of a typical southern town of that time: destruction of the evil (Black man).
When I write this I cringe… I don’t believe that the author believed this, and I indefinitely wouldn’t agree to this line of thinking. I would suggest though that the author was creatively expressing what he envisioned or maybe even experienced in the south.