November 22, 2004

Second Poetry Slam

All the members of my group: Melissa Hagg, Se-Ann Williams, Nabila Uddin, Katie Aikins, and Linda Fondrk.

We have chosen poems from Edgar Lee Masters: Spoon River Anthology. The poems are dated from 1916.

The following information that I jotted down is from Linda Fondrk's program card. Here is some information regarding the author. Masters is an American poet and biographer. The Spoon River Anthology is basically a collection of epitaphs in free verse revealing the secret lives of dead citizens, was acclaimed for its treatment of small-town American life.

1.) The Hill The poem is presented by the whole group. It is divided into several parts. The order of the presenting the poem in parts is the following: Linda, Katie, Melissa, Se-Ann, and Nabila.

The following short poems is presented individually.

2.) Sarah Brown This poem is presented by Linda Fondrk.

3.) Ollie McGee This poem is presented Se-Ann Williams.

4.) Fletcher McGee This poem is presented Melissa Hagg.

5.) Robert Fulton Tanner This poem is presented by Katie Aikins.

6.) Cassius Hueffer This poem is presented by Nabila Uddin.

As a whole group, we have chosen "The Hill" because it flows well when parts are read by many people. It is more effective and the audience will be able to capture the atmosphere of the poem. I have interpreted this poem to be when all the people are located on top of the hill that have died. In a nice way, it is said that all the people are "sleeping" on the hill. It firsts comes out to say, "where are so and so..." Then, it tells how each person died and is located on the hill. It is a dramatic poem and can you can feel the intensity of the characters.

Individually, I am presenting "Cassius Hueffer." I have chosen this poem in particular because it is displaying deep feelings about how a man feels when his tombstone is carved. My interpretion of the poem is when the main character has already died, and he tells the audience that he is better dead than alive, because he couldn't handle the mean things that people said about him. He doesn't like the how the present inscription is carved on his tombstone. It should have been changed according to him.

Posted by NabilaUddin at 11:27 PM | Comments (11)

November 14, 2004

Portfolio #2

This second portfolio fulfills my American Literature I class requirements. There were numerous stories discussed in class through presentations. Some of the stories mentioned in the portfolio include: Bierce's "The Devil's Dictionary", Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", Belasco's "The Girl of the Golden West, Clemen's "Huck Finn", and much more.

Coverage: This category contains all the major literary stories that we have studied in class.

Bierce's "The Devil's Dictionary"
Native American Oral Literature
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Chapters 1-15)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Chapters 16-31)
Huck Finn (Chapters 32-The Last)
Br'er Rabbit
Legend of John Henry
Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Robinson Readings
Belasco's "The Girl of Golden West"
Wildcard (This is my personal blog on games night at SHU)

Depth: These entries were analyzed in more detail.

Native American Literature
Adventures of Huck Finn (Chapters 16-31)
Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Interaction: These blogs are used for interaction with peers. Students discuss with classmates about the material that we have studied in class and provide their thoughts and insights on different topics.

Native American Oral Literature
Adventures of Huck Finn (Chapters 16-31)
Legend of John Henry

Discussion: In these entries, students were having conversations either dealing the specific reading assignment or just to discuss other various topics.

Bierce's "The Devil's Dictionary"
Adventures of Huck Finn (Chapters 1-15)
Adventures of Huck Finn (Chapters 16-31)

Xenoblogging: This term means that the blogger has commented on other students' blogs.

Katie Aikins
Melissa Hagg
Linda Fondrk

Wildcard: This entry tells something about myself; for example; what are my interests or favorite activities.

Games Night at SHU

Posted by NabilaUddin at 7:00 PM | Comments (3)

November 11, 2004

Girl of the Golden West

Dr. Jerz pointed out that melodrama was used in this text. It's bascially the good guys vs. bad guys. He also mentioned to pay extra close attention to the stage directions in the play as well. In Sara Remaley's presentation, she defined melodrama is a term that comes from "music drama" where music was used to create and increase already existing emotions for people. "The Girl of the Golden West" takes place during the Gold Rush era, these character personalities go along perfectly. During this time, there were bandits, the good guy, the girl everyone's after, saloons, chases, gambling and drinking. All of these things added up, can heighten our interest because of the pure drama behind it all." I liked the way she summarized the genre of the play and how she focused the basic elements of melodrama.

In Janice's presentation, she gave a summary of what happened in the story. This was helpful to me, since the class didn't read the text due to unavailability. I was able to picture the characters and action that took place in my mind. I know the two main characters: Jack Rance and Dick Johnson. I liked the way Janice commented on Rance: "...When I first read about him I felt that he was the cocky, "I'm the Best", has to have what he wants guy."

In Zach's presentation, I liked about how gave the description of David Belasco and the setting of the play. It made me realize how the characters acted during to the time era. When I read the play, I did realize how Rance stated the Girl's name Minnie only about two or three times throughout the play. If Rance would have addressed her by Minnie instead of The Girl; I don't know it would have made a difference. She would have rejected him anyway.

So, basically the story revolves around three main characters; Jack Rance, Dick Johnson/Ramerrez, and The Girl. The other characters are just part of the story, but are not as significant. It's a triangle, that two guys want the girl, but The Girl rejects Rance and wants Johnson. However, after she finds out the truth about Johnson, she is hesistant for awhile, but finally decides that she wants to be with him the rest of her life. I thought that Johnson wasn't going to live anymore, because of Rance and his posse, but fortunately both Johnson and The Girl live happily ever after.

The only thing that I noticed and I didn't understand was the Girl's attitude. The Girl knew that she wanted Johnson from the moment she saw him; however when Johnson tried to come close to her, she backed away. I didn't understand why she would do that. If she knew that Johnson loves her and that she loves him, when why did she initially back away from him? It took awhile before she was close to him.

The place Cloudy Mountain in Calfornia sounds like a real place to me, due to the fact that many of the states in the U.S. have very odd city names. This name in particular sounds nice compared to the other names that some cities have.

Here is a link of some odd city names in the states and in some countries.

Posted by NabilaUddin at 4:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 9, 2004

Wildcard: Games Night at SHU

On November 4, it was our Math Club games night. We had different games available for the students, for example; roulette wheel, poker, blackjack, pool, etc. I have never played these wonderful casino games before, so it was amusing to me. I enjoyed playing poker, however my only problem is that I always forget "what beats what." We played from 8:00p.m. until near 11:00p.m. It was so much fun! I wanted to play some more, but I had to go home since it was getting late. The funniest moment that I saw was when Professor Sasmor and Professor Atkinson tried to play pool on a mini version of a pool table. Well, we had to play the mini one, since the pool equipment was not available.

My favorite game would have to be blackjack. It's easy and it's fun. The next day, I taught my little sisters how to play the game, and they thought it was exciting. They always seem interested whenever I share my college experiences with them. Now, I get to play blackjack on my cellphone, whenever I get bored.

You could say I am a game person. I have enjoyed playing games, since I was little. I like board, card, video and mind games. I am also interested in learning new activities, because it's very handy when you are traveling or when giving parties.

What kind of games does everyone else like to play now or as a little kid?

Posted by NabilaUddin at 12:10 PM | Comments (4)

November 8, 2004

Robinson Readings

ROBINSON, Edwin Arlington (22 Dec. 1869-6 Apr. 1935), poet, was born in Head Tide, Maine, the son of Edward Robinson, a timber merchant and civic leader, and Mary Elizabeth Palmer. Shortly after his birth the family moved to nearby Gardiner, where he grew up; the town later provided the model for a series of poems that he wrote throughout his career.

Robinson attended Harvard from 1891 to 1893 despite his father's doubts about the value of a higher education. During the early 1890s the family's fortunes began to decline, triggering a series of tragedies that influenced Robinson's life and poetry. In 1892 his father died, and the panic of 1893 and the lingering aftermath slowly bankrupted the family over the next seven years. Robinson's brother Dean became addicted to morphine and returned home in failing health. Robinson was forced to leave Harvard because of the family's financial difficulties and his mother's failing health. She died in 1896 of "black diphtheria," and because no mortician would handle the body, the brothers had to lay out their mother, dig the grave, and bury her. During this time Robinson wrote the poems that were later published in 1896 as The Torrent and the Night Before and in 1897 as The Children of the Night.

From the first, Robinson's poetry was noted for mastery of conventional forms, be it the sonnet, the quatrain, or the eight-line stanza. The characters of works like "Richard Cory," "Luke Havergal," "Aaron Stark," and "John Evereldown" are faced with failure and tragedy.

After 1911, Robinson spent his summers in New Hampshire, and spent much time writing and publishing his poetry. By this time his books supported him for the rest of his life.

Robinson died on April 6th, 1935 in New York City. By this time all his immediate family had died. He wrote many popular and great poems during his days, some of these are: "Merlin", "Lancelot", "Richard Cory", "Miniver Cheevy", "Mr. Flood's Party", "For a Dead Lady", and "Luke Havergal".

Robinson was the first major American poet of the twentieth century, unique in that he devoted his life to poetry and willingly paid the price in poverty and obscurity.

Now, that you have an idea of what type of person Robinson is, I would like to share my opinion on two readings that sparked my interest.

Richard Corey
This short poem is about a young man who looked decent and was polite when approached by strangers. He was a rich man and people did respect him. It was kind of shocking, that one summer night; he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. People have so much that they got out of life, but still they are not satisfied. It is true how the rich and poor people suffer the most. The rich may have wealth, but not happiness. The poor are just unforunate because they have to battle to stay alive in society. It's only the middle class people, who are better off. They don't have to worry as much, and are the happiest group.

The Mill

In this reading, it talks about the miller's wife who waits for her husband. There are context clues that the husband will not return, such as "The tea was cold, the fire was dead.." The husband committed suicide by hanging himself off a beam. After this discovery, the miller's wife drowned herself. At least, this is how the author wanted the readers to view this story. Actually, we really don't know if the miller hanged himself or if the miller's wife drowned herself. Perhaps, it's all just a hallucination as indicated by Locklear's article.

I did realize the pattern how Robinson has tragedy and sadness in his poems. Since Robinson's life wasn't as pleasant, you can tell that his poems are reflecting of his feelings and emotions of his life.

In Mindy's presentation, there were a lot of good points brought up. Mindy got my attention when Robinson's parents wanted a girl, but had a boy instead. They just ignored him, like his didn't exist. Robinson didn't like his name because the neighborhood people picked his name by a drawing it out of a hat. It was sad how Robinson was not very close to his family.

I liked how Mindy got the class involved by having different groups write interpretations and drawings of the characters. I learned more about the readings. Our group had Thomas Hood. He had a split personality, because he was happy in the outside, but was really depressed in the inside. The second group had Miniver Cheevey, which a man who was drunk and lazy. He liked medieval period, so he enjoyed observing paintings. The third group did Richard Corey. Richard Corey was viewed as a gentleman who society liked. Also, he was a rich man. However, he was miserable and shot himself in the head. It just shows how money doesn't buy happiness. The fourth group did Aaron Stark. He was a creepy man who just laughed at anything. Even if it's not the right time to laugh, he did. Finally, the last group did Mr. Flood. Mr. Flood was a lonely man who just remembers war experiences. He only time pass activity was drinking and he was attached to his jug.

Dr. Jerz noticed how Robinson hated his own name and he would draw special attention to his character's names. Dr. Jerz also discussed about "Mr. Flood's Party" in great detail. It resembles to "A Christmas Carol" written by Charles Dickens. In this story, there is a character named Ebeneezer Scoorge and he is visited by three ghosts. In the story, "Mr. Flood's Party, the name Eben is mentioned and it talks about Flood's past experiences. Mr. Flood invites himself to drink and he is affectionate towards his jug because that's his only relationship. He also talks about his war experiences, but no one seems to believe his stories. He is a very lonely man.

Posted by NabilaUddin at 2:29 PM | Comments (2)

November 3, 2004

Gilman's "The Yellow Wall-Paper"

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wall-Paper" is a story that also reflects on the author's life. It talks about how a woman is sick and her husband John and her brother advise her to stay in bed and not to anything until she gets better. She has to stare at a ugly yellow wallpaper that is in the room where she rests. I think due to her condition of depression, she is focusing on little things that made her condition even worse. She has focused most of her energy on the wall-paper, and she wanted to get rid of it; however John does not want to get rid of it because he tells her that's it's only temporary location and very soon they shall move out that apartment. I have noticed throughout the story, the woman wants to write very badly, but cannot due to her husband's objection. Either her husband cares for his wife very much and wants her to recover fully or he is very controlling due to his male instincts.

I would like to focus on three presentations, since the most discussion took place and some good points have been viewed.

In April's presentation, she views that "The women comes to realize that the real source of her depression is the way she is repressed by society." April focuses on how John is treating his wife. He may be a physician, but perhaps the woman's depression have been caused by her husband's behavior. Melissa Hagg commented that during today's society it would have been controlling his wife, but back then it is just called being considerate and caring. I believe that there are more than one way of looking at the text. No one is right or wrong, it's just how people view the information.

Dr. Jerz commented that the physician is caring in his professional manner and he just want to solve his wife's health problems; however all the woman might need is more affection and attention from John.

In Trisha's presentation, she talks about incidents of how men are controlling women throughout the story. Trisha also brought up a good point of how the woman wasn't able to move in the begining of the story and how John is capable of moving around, but then at the end of the story, John fainted and the woman was able to move around. This is a drastic change of how men overpowered women, and then it showed how women are coming up first at the end of the story.

In Mike's presentation, he seems to focus greatly how it is wrong to treat women the way John did. Mike thinks that John did not love his wife and didn't really share an intimate relationship. Eventhough they had a child together, it was basically "an act of service" for the woman to provide a child for John. It was great how Mike had in depth information of his feelings and interpretations of the text.

Dr. Jerz commented that the author might have delibrately left questions unanswered, so that the readers can have a debate.

In my personal opinion, I believe that the woman is suffering from some sort of depression, because the text talks about her nervousness and how she viewed things differently. Nothing to her was appealing. I would like to add that eventhough John is a physician and treats his wife like one of his patients, he still cares for her. I found it weird of how he kept referring the woman as a little girl. He is just thinking that doctors know best and wants his wife to get better fast. Perhaps, he wants her to get better fast, so that she can get back to housework, organizing parties, and other feminine things. But you have to remember that is story takes place in the late 1800's. This was common thinking of men. Also, the yellow wall paper is an important symbol in the story that contributes to the woman's illness. By having nothing to do in her room, not even to write, all she had was ugly yellow wall-paper to stare, so naturally it led her condition to be worse after awhile.

Here are two links that talk about Gilman's personal life.

Posted by NabilaUddin at 5:05 PM | Comments (7)

November 1, 2004

Legend of John Henry

The legend of John Henry is about a man named John Henry. He took a bet from the captain and salesperson of whether or not he could beat the steam drill. John accepted the challenge, and as a result, John had won the race. However, he died due to exhaustion. It was man power vs. machine. At the end, man power overtook the machine, but the machine came out anyway.

Dr. Jerz brought up the point that the steam drill was coming whether or not John Henry won or lost. The bet was if John won the race, then the salesperson would give the steam drill to him and if he lost the race, then he would have to buy the machine. As a result, "They worked John Henry to death, and then replaced his men with a machine anyway. Because of this message, the legend of John Henry has been a staple of leftist politics, labor organizing and American counter-culture for well over one hundred years."

In Katie's presentation, she mentioned how some websites were not really accurate, since some people say John was either a white or black man, the area where he grew up in was either West Virginia or Alabama, and finally whether or not John was real or fake. These are the conclusions made by Katie. It's really up to the person to believe if it's a legend or not based on other's observations.

In my opinion, it doesn't matter whether John Henry was real or not. It's the actual legend that makes the reader involved in this story, for example, I'm sure everyone has heard of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Sure, people may just believe it's a legend, but others believe it is real. I think if the story is good enough and has some substance to it, then it's valid to be either one. A good legend or realistic story to me would be if it gets pasted down from generation to generation.

In Renee's presentation, liked how she defined folklore, myth, and legend. It helped me to understand which category John Henry can be placed under. Renee mentioned that this ballad was popular in the late 1800's. It so happens that the Civil War took place in 1861, so John Henry would have been very young during that time.

The question that she mentioned is whether John Henry was a legend or a real story? In my opinion, I think it's a legend just because the facts are not accuate. The main points are the same, but some of the details are not consistent, for example; his birthplace or whether he was a white or black man. If it was a real story, then it would have surely stated these huge facts. However, people have different perspectives of John Henry.

Posted by NabilaUddin at 4:56 PM | Comments (6)

Br'er Rabbit

This written work was done by Joel Chandler Harris. When he wrote the short story of Br'er Rabbit, he divided it up into three sections: Uncle Remus Initiates the Little Boy, The Wonderful Tar Baby Story, and Why the Negro is Black. The author continues each part of the story by the old man and the little boy. The little boy probably asked questions of "what ever happened to Br'er Rabbit?" So, the old man continued to tell his tale. Harris' story was about a trickster hero called "Br'er Rabbit", and the rabbit is clever because he uses his wits in order to fool "Br'er Fox."

In Tiffany's presentation, she called about how Br'er Rabbit hated Br'er Fox. In a way, it is saying how White Americans hated African-Americans. A question that was brought up by Tiffany would be why was it appealing to white and black readers? It was popular among both Black and White readers in the North and South, because it presented an idealized view of race relations soon after the Civil War. Diana commented that it was not just about race, but just a clash between personalities and it was about society in general.

The class concluded that the readings were hard to understand because of the language. Most students read it 3 or 4 times to understand the stories. Overall, it was the most difficult reading that the Native American and the Huck Finn readings.

Dr. Jerz stated that there is a difference between dialect and slang. Dialect is when people talk the English language, but in a different way. It's like an accent. Slang is a degrated form of a perfect language. Bascially, it's a lingustic issue.

In my opinion, I think that Br'er Rabbit in general wasn't a bad story, but if I would have understood it better, then I would have enjoyed it more. It is interesting how the African American folk culture had many stories to tell to the children. It is a good activity to make the children think in a imaginative way.

Posted by NabilaUddin at 4:32 PM | Comments (2)