October 31, 2004

Well, Did He or Didn't He???

According to Wikipedia, the three words are described as follows:

- "A myth is often thought to be a lesson in story form which has deep explanatory or symbolic resonance for preliterate cultures, who preserve and cherish the wisdom of their elders through oral traditions by the use of skilled story tellers. Its truth is larger than the advent of critical history which may, or may not exist as in an authoritative written form which becomes "the story"

- "A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude. Legend, for its active and passive participants, includes no happenings that are outside the realm of "possibility," defined by a highly flexible set of parameters, which may include miracles that are perceived as actually having happened…"

- "Folklore is the ethnographic concept of the tales, legends, or superstitions current among a particular ethnic population, a part of the oral history of a particular culture."

The Legend:
In the late 1800’s after the country was reshaping from the Civil War, railroads were being created. During this time period, companies would hire thousands of slaves to smooth the area and make way for the proposed railroad tracks. Some researchers believe that it was at this time that the legend of John Henry arose. John Henry’s company wanted to save money therefore they bought a steam powered hammer to complete the rest of the work by the slaves. In an attempt to save his job and the jobs of his fellow slaves, John Henry protests against the use of the steam hammer and challenges the owner to a contest. John Henry vows to out work the steam hammer in driving spikes and working the railroad. In a duel against the steam hammer, John Henry collapsed and fainted at the end of the all day contest. Calling for his wife during his last minutes, he questioned if he outbeat the steam hammer in which he did: the steam hammer was at 21 feet and John Henry was at 27 1/2. Shortly after John Henry died of exhaustion and heart attack. The legend is symbolic of the working class of the time period and a martyr for the slaves.

The Real John Henry:
According to "John Henry: The Steel Driving Man" John Henry was believed to have existed. Supposidly John Henry was an African American slave born out of Alabama in the 1840’s. Standing at 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, he was a giant for the times. Data research collected by Guy Johnson and Louis Chappell focused on the possibility of a real John Henry existing and racing the steam hammer. Johnson received letters from C. C. Spencer, F. P. Barker, and Glendora Cannon Cummings all making statements regarding Henry’s race with the steam hammer. Spencer’s letter was particularly thick with detail and even claimed to have witnessed Henry’s race and death. However deep with detail, Johnson was unable to verify some of Spencer’s facts.

Question to Ponder?
- What do you believe? John Henry: Real or legend? And why?

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at 9:56 PM | Comments (2)

October 12, 2004

When Wanting H2O Can KILL You!

Its a wonder I have a throat left let alone the flesh around my mouth. Imagine if you will the movie scene scenario of the bully/thematic a-hole about to take a drink from a water fountain - - the water fountain returns a henious, sporatic burst of water...right?


That was me, approximately 20 min ago with the third floor Maura water fountain (expect I am no bully.) Fellow Setonian writers BEWARE!!! All that copy-editing got you a little dry in the mouth? Well, DO NOT seek the water fountain outside your doorway!!! I warn you!

I mean, this is no lie...this thing was wicked! I just wanted to take a few gulps of water, not be blasted in and around my mouth. What started as a faint trickle of water turned into a deadly affair. This thing literally sprayed onto the wall - - inches away!

I think at this point I'll settle for dehydration than take a power clean to the back walls of my throat. Esh, what a lovely start to my LONG Tuesday!

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at 9:24 AM | Comments (2)

October 11, 2004

Putting it Together...

I think its safe to say I'm finally done with this very first Blogging Portfolio that I have due for my Lit class today. This entry calls for linking to the blogs that I will turn in...

An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge

The Raven

Bartleby the Scrivener

The Scarlet Letter

Dickinson and Poe Cover Slam (Me and Katie's Performance)

Emerson and Thoreau


The Comment Grande

The Link Gracias

The Comment Primo

Alrighty...I think that shall have to end this month's experience with this darn blogging portfolio....boy am I glad this one is over. Next subject's due date??? =/

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at 2:07 PM | Comments (0)

Move Over, I Might Faint and Die!

I think I shall add on what Miss Amanda C. had to say about the trek up the University's drive.

I was so glad to see a fellow student voicing their opinion on the horrendous (to say the least) driveways and/or pavements as you drive up what seems like a mile long entrance to the University. I am a commuter: That's college language for, I have to come to and from this school almost 3 times a day. That's a heck of alot of potholes! The last thing I need right now, let alone can afford, is a front end alignment on my car!

But as a mere change in luck would have it, I was leaving class last week when I noticed some Seton Hill Maintenence milling around with what looked like a steamroll flattener. I figured nothing of it. Then a couple hours later when I returned for my night class, I noticed that my car wasn't pounding around from underneath me, I didn't feel like I was making a descent into the depths of a pothole, and I wasn't inclined unconsciencely to just swerve every which way to avoid massive car damage.

I put two and two together...

THEY FINALLY FIXED THE BLASTED POTHOLES! HOORAY! I was estatic! I mean, they are no grade A paving job but they will suffice...or atleast until the next construction car makes a mess of it.

Oh, and I've come to the conclusion...
There aren't many things about this school that make me happy, BUT that just happened to one in the minority. :)

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2004

Emerson And Thoreau (up)

I like Philosophy, I really do! Perhaps it is this time of year that makes me inept when it comes to understanding any kind of reading we are being handed in my Lit class. I loathed the Philo portion of the reading, sorry Dr. Jerz. But alas! Blogging Portfolios are freaking due on Monday so I have to say "something."


WELL....According to Emerson, an essay that totally blew me off guard, made me doze off a couple times, and made me squirm at the sight of 16 printed computer pages, the most important thing to mankind is self. Quite interesting, seeing that I'm kinda sorta having a problem like that in my own life.

Perhaps this has nothing to do with Emerson's reading at all, but I feel that it does therefore I think I'll share. Once upon a time, Renee met this really cool girl. Seeing that Renee had REALLY crappy friendships in the past, this cool girl was like a breath a fresh air, something different, a ray of hope. For 2 years, Renee and this really cool girl shared an unexplainable bond...something we owed to God....something we felt that was his doing in bringing us together for a reason. Simple put, Renee and this really cool girl were the best of friends, sisters from another womb.

Later on, Renee and this really cool girl started sharing their indeifferences, and a handful of fights accumulated. Renee and this really cool girl slowly lost their bond...so much that this really cool girl told Renee that she didn't think they should be friends anymore. (Renee is STILL crushed but thats another story).

The point is you may ask? I'm obviously Renee and this really cool girl was at one time my best friend. God bless my other friends for being there for me now but they all believe I've lost myself along the way. I think I'm getting tired of hearing "You have to think for yourself Renee, do what's best for you, do the things that make you happy..."

I don't know how to do that? I never have maybe...I think its selfish. My life has revolved around pleasing others, making my friends happy, ect. If they are happy...it makes me happy. I guess what this whole page long emo rant was about was...I'm not sure I entirely agree with Emerson. Someone like me couldn't possibly...I'm a do gooder, a people pleaser, the one to turn to. I just don't know how to think in regards to self and self importance. I mean I guess I do in a way, otherwise I could be direspecting my body or something of that nature, but in a way I don't.

I hold a certain amount of self reliance and self respect, but then again I don't know.

I hope this has made at least a pin prick of importance and or relevance. =/

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at 8:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2004

"Move Yo' Self"

Looking back on me and Katie's oral presentation of Poe's "Annabel Lee" we got numerous responses back from our fellow classmates on how to expand future performances of orally presenting poetry and/or Literature. (I know, I know...we did Poe...eventhough I just ranted on him in the previous blog).

Of most of the "negative" responses, we got some reactions concerning moving during our presentation, vocal audibility, and vocal variety (i.e. emotion in our words). Some of the students felt that we didn't move ourselves enough during the reading of the poem. However, that was the aim Katie and I were reaching for: a dismal display of human heartache. I will admit though that in some parts, I could have expanded on achieving a better display of emotions through the reading.

Of the positive, most people said the same thing and surprisingly the opposite of what the negative responses said. The majority of the positive responses liked that Katie and I utilized space within our performance. Our goal was to create a human/thought reading. Meaning that...Katie was the voice of the heart sick lover who just lost his precious Annabel Lee...and I was his own tormenting thoughts. Hence, why we tried to create something that would show that without actually saying. Therefore, I stood on a chair...something quite different from the other readings. Typically people expressed that they liked that idea and some "oooed" and "ahhh" before we actually explained what the heck we were doing.

Overall, the oral presentations of a poetry slam was kinda fun: however, I don't see myself doing anytime soon again...atleast not of my free will. I don't see myself as a physically and verbally expressive person. Acting and stagelike things just don't float my boat - - they do but I don't see myself a natural at it. Therefore, I think I'll stick to my position of keeping quiet and sitting in the classroom corner. :-P

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at 10:04 PM | Comments (2)

Quoth the Raven, NEVERMORE

I'm sorry, but what is it with people and Poe? I just don't get it. Judging from the Poe/Dickinson Poetry Slam my Lit class performed last week, I definately am biased towards Emily Dickinson in comparison to Poe.

Now this poem, "The Raven," I have NEVER liked. I mean, I just don't get it? Is he talking about an actual raven or something symbolic of it? The more I think about it, the less angry I get at Poe for writing what I think to be such ridiculous pieces of literature...I think I blame my teachers/professors. I was never actually sat down with a class in all my years of schooling and taught what this poem was about. What are its symbolic undertones, what is its meaning, what was Poe trying to say?

I reiterate...I just don't get it?

As much as I read and re-read this poem, I just can't seem to make sense of it and without sense there is no appreciation, atleast not from me.

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at 9:46 PM | Comments (4)

No Thanks to Film Class!

Reading Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" didn't come so much as a surprise for me. Why not you may ask? Because of that darn Art of Film course I took some semesters ago with Dr. Arnzen.

I remember reading this short story some time ago in high school, but it never struck my fancy then. Perhaps it was because it wasn't taught well, I didn't pay attention enough, or none of the above. However, I do remember reading it atleast twice over my time here at Seton Hill. The coolest thing though, since I'm a visual person at times, was that I got to see the award winning short film of the story in my Art of Film class.

Therefore, re-reading through this story for my Lit class didn't exactly do anything for me. I knew what was going to happen even before my eyes met the first word! Unfortunately, the reading through of the short story the umpteenth time through didn't do anything for me either. I was actually more confused reading it then I was actually seeing the film version of the story.

In comparison to the film, the short story seemed very unrealistic. The main character escapes the wrath of the soldiers at the bridge and begins his escape. Described in words it seems almost impossible for this man to dodge bullets and fired weapons. However, in the film you see the soldiers shooting at him then the shot cuts to him swimming. It almost seems believable that a man can withstand missing so many bullets. Another thing I favored more from the film in comparison to the text was the final scene with the man about to embrace his wife. To a person seeing/reading this for the first time they may feel relieved. He finally reached home, he is safe, he is reaching for his wife. However, the film seems to capture the man's last seconds just a little better than the plain words on paper. The film shows the emotions, the longing, the reach, the snap of his neck within the rope at Owl Creek Bridge. You are left stunned, surprised, shocked....even if you have already read the book.

Overall, I didn't particularly care for the Lit class reading of "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" and I think its because I saw the film and it tainted my image of how the story really went.

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at 9:34 PM | Comments (2)

October 4, 2004

Don't Mind Me

The next couple of rambling blog entries are due to the fact that I have a "blogging portfolio" due in exactly a week. Therefore, there will be just "scholastic" blogs for a slight bit. Um yeah...

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at 7:46 PM | Comments (0)