The following entries show a direct quote from the reading and its source. These entries also contain links back to the course website.
All enteries featured in this Portfolio show coverage.
The following entries were posted on time (according to the course schedule). This allowed the chance for other students to read and comment on the entries.
All enteries featured in this Portfolio were timely.
All enteries featured in this Portfolio were timely.
The following entries show interaction between my classmates and myself through entry comments.
The following entries show a higher level of depth in the understanding of the assigned text.
The following entries are from my classmates blogs. These entries show comments that were part of a meaningful discussion.
What is Going On? Entry by Joshua Wilks
Shall I Compare Thee to Rihanna? Entry by Alicia Campbell
Nameless Theory Entry by Andrew Adams
"He says the Russians have always had more ideas than any other people in history and ended in the pit. The Americans have no ideas and they have one success after another. I am trying to have no ideas". -Resurrection Blues p. 2
This statement by Jeanine in the Prologue reminded me of the topic I am currently writing about in relation to The Skin of Our Teeth. I was able to conclude from that play that the American Dream is not really about success and achievement; it is about the acceptance of flaws and the willingness to show the world imperfection. I was drawn to the character of Jeanine because I feel she fits perfectly with this theme. While she may not have been trying to fulfill an "American" dream, she seems very accepting of the fact that she is not perfect. By jumping from a window she shows this - then she accepts it and learns to embrace the new outlook on her life she now has. The statement her father told her also shows that Americans may not have all the best ideas, they may not be the brightest or the most advanced in all fields - but the population accepts that fact. They use mistakes as an opportunity to learn. The imperfections of everyday people let them be successful in life.
"In general, flying is freedom, we might say, freedom not only from specific circumstances but from those more general burdens that tie us down". (Foster p. 127)
Foster makes a connection between flying, yet not really leaving the ground, and spirituality. As he says, we all know that humans, on their own, cannot really fly. That is an ability that we just do not possess. Being able to "fly" is being free, not being forced to stay in one place all the time. It is being able to spread your wings. When someone has every aspect of their life grounded in one place, or one situation, things may not always work out for the best. Flight allows us to make decisions, to experience new things. In books when characters are able to have flight, they are much more relatable and really are able to be more complex, interesting characters.
"I thought free will had to do with sin."
I think about this, "No", I say, "why should free will be limited to right and wrong? I mean, you just decided, of your own free will, to take off your shoes. It doesn't matter, nobody cares if you wear shoes or not, and it's not sinful, or virtuous, and it doesn't affect the future, but you've exercised your free will."
Clare shrugs. "But sometimes you tell me something and I feel like the future is already there, you know? Like my future has happened in the past and I can't do anything about it."
"That's called determinism," I tell her. "It haunts my dreams." (Niffenegger p. 75)
Arguments between free will and determinism have always intrigued me. It seems as if Clare has the power of free will. She is able to do what she wants, when she wants to do it. She has the power to decide if she wants to meet Henry or not. Yet, it seems as if her determinism is controlled by Henry. Because he is able to go back and forth in time, I would conclude that he is the events that determine her future. The actions that take place in the future are determining the things that take place in the current life she is living. Because Henry seems to be a constant in both times in her life, I would say that he is the chain of events controlling her. The idea of determinism is based on the idea that control of the future is directly related to the past and the present. Henry talks about how he cannot change anything, yet he does, in my opinion. He is changing everyday what Clare does in her young life, because she does things for him. If he stayed in the future, she would not be doing these things. Now, when it comes down to free will and Henry, I think it is safe to say that he does not really have any. He is not able to come and go as he pleases, or always do what he wants. This is because he does not know when he will time travel again. He says that determinism haunts him, and I can see how this is. While he is often not able to change the future or the past, he knows what will happen. He cannot change what is already determined, again because he does not have the free will to control his time travel.
"There is much irony in the narrator's statement that this speech for the
Brotherhood has effected his transmogrification, has allowed him to become
more "human," especially since though the protagonist's audience recognizes
and values this moment of becoming, the Brotherhood itself largely does not" (Hanlon p. 4).
I chose to write about this quote, because it is exactly how I envisioned the narrator while he was giving his speech. He seemed to be so different, so free. And while I am not sure that he really meant everything he said (and I do think he will later come to regret it), usually when someone is able to stand in front of a group of people and speak off topic - they are usually able to make a strong point. And I think that his is what the narrator did. He talks about knowing what despair is and not trusting the world, but learning to change - and suddenly the Brotherhood must interrupt. By this you can tell that he was moving away from what the Brotherhood felt - and the message they wanted to send. I already feel that by this point the Brotherhood has brainwashed him, and I felt that by this speech, and their strong reaction, you can see things will soon get worse for him. I hope that after his speech, and his new sense of "human" qualities, he will see how destructive being in the Brotherhood could become.
"For now I realized that I meant everything that I had said to the audience, even though hadn't known that I was going to say those things" (Ellison p. 353).
In his speech, the narrator talks about how people see individuals like him as blind. They view people of other races as un-common. He continues to make references to blindness as the speech goes on. He calls the brothers one-eyed. He tells the audience to look at him, and to take back their eyes. All the references to sight in this speech were so obvious; it encourages me to look into them more. I was able to conclude that the narrator's speech was pretty much "the blind leading the blind". The narrator can't see the audience - he even says that "red spots danced before my eyes" (p. 347). He was trying to teach and lead people he couldn't even see. He is blind to what is going on around him. He is preaching about things that he himself really does not even believe in. He may have said he meant everything, but he does not seem to really practice what he preaches. He seems to hold some of the same negative feelings toward his "brothers" as the individuals he despises. Then he gets ridiculed for the things he says by the brotherhood. It seems that that narrator has become way over his head, and is reaching the point where he will never get out.
"The next day i saw his picture in the Daily News, beneath a caption stating that he had been "mugged".Poor fool, poor blind fool, I thought with sincere compassion, mugged by an invisible man!"
-Invisible Man p. 8
While I read chapters 1-14 of Invisible Man, this passage in the prolouge stayed in my mind. Something about the whole situation bothered me, and after considering it for awhile, I think I came up with a conclusion about what Ellison was trying to say through this scene.
I think what struck me about this scene was the realness of it. The whole encounter seemed so violent - yet so real. The strong reaction the narrarator seems like an overreaction. It is portrayed, I feel, to seem like one. Yet, when you think about it again, maybe its not. Now I can never say I have been in that type of a situation before, but is it not human nature to react strongly when you feel as if you are being verbally attacked? It is not common for someone to just sit there and take it. Violence, as they say, is never the answer, but I can see how someone may become heated in that sort of situation (even if the force that he used was inappropriate).
But, I think that the real message is not necessarily in the violent beating and confrontation, but in the story the narrator said was written in the paper about the incident. He says that he feels bad for someone who was mugged by an invisible man. Mugging is not a light subject, and the man took a very painful beating. Yet, the article portrayed only one side of the situation. No one knew that the blond man had been vulgar and continued to provoke the "invisible man".
This shows that maybe the narrator really is invisible - at least to anyone who read the paper. After reading the article, people were able to make judgements about him - without even knowing who he was. In no way am I saying that he was completely justified in his actions, but maybe readers should consider the unfairness he had to deal with as well. Individuals are always quick to judge based on what they know, and only what they know. Often times people do not take the time to consider gathering all the facts before the judge. I think that this part of the book really foreshawdows other events I read in the book. I know that the prolouge reminded me to read without making rash judgements.
There are several short segments of text in David Cassuto's Turning Wine into Water: Water as Privileged Signifier in The Grapes of Wrath, that caught my eye.
In the print out from EBSCOhost, on page 68 it states "The Plains were classed upon to supply grain for the international ward effort in 1914 and to feed a hungry nation whose population continued to multiply exponentially"...It goes on to talk about how the farmers diligent work required large amounts of water that were not readily available at the time, in those areas, and farmers had to declare bankruptcy - yet neither they, nor the government gave up on the idea of the garden. They held to the idea and tried as hard as they could to be successful. Two things caught my eye in these few lines. One was the idea that the government encouraged farmers at the time to use their land to help the population of America. And now, the government pays farmers to NOT farm the lands they have...It is interesting to see how things change. It also made me think of hope and success, which I feel is that Steinbeck is really trying to express in The Grapes of Wrath.
On page 69 it states "The class stratification depicted in The Grapes of Wrath arose from corporate control over the region's most precious resource. However, the region's aridity made water an absent signifier. Both in the novel and in the desert itself, waters conspicuous absence is what makes it so powerful"...when I read this, I almost felt relieved because I had been so confused up until this point. The article seems to make so many references to water in The Grapes of Wrath and it was something I had not picked up on at all as I read it. I was confused as to how I could have missed such an important element in the work of literature, and then I got it. Maybe I missed it because it really was not there as much as Cassuto makes it seem. In these sentences, it seems to me that water was a hidden theme. I guess that makes sense as to how it could be powerful - it controls aspects of life without being present...
"You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty year, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo."
- Slyvia Plath Daddy
In Slyvia Plath's poems, it is easy to see how the hardships she endured during her life played a large role in her poetry. The loss of a parent as at a young age is a very difficult thing for a child to deal with, and it often affects them throughout the rest of their lives. Plath characterizes her father as many different things throughout the poem Daddy. It was her reference to him as a shoe that stuck out to me the most.
In my History of Western Medicine class, we just watched a movie on war medicine. In the film, there was a segment on how important it was for soldiers during World War I and World War II, to have sturdy, stable, and comfortable shoes. It talked about all the risks that wet, could feet could cause a solider. It also talked about how shoes were an important element in protection. The element of protection is what came to mind while reading lines 1-5 of Daddy.
Even though her father is dead, Plath relates him to a shoe that she has lived in for a number of years. I took this to mean that even though he was no longer physically her life, his memory was still her shoe - or her protection. She relied on him to get her through life.
Line five says "Barely daring to breathe or Achoo." I think that his means Plath is afraid to ruin the memories she has of her father by doing anything really, even things that are not out of the ordinary. The blackness of the shoe symbolizes the death of her father and the darkness that surrounds his death.
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle."
- Theodore Roethke My Papa's Waltz
It seems as if My Papa's Waltz is a poem open to interpretation. As with any poem, it is up to the reader to make their own personal judgments about the words in front of them. It is important to remember that interpretation is based upon the individual and generally are concluded with life experiences in mind.
With that in mind, I believe Theodore Roethke was describing a loving moment between a hard-working father and his son. This poem was written during a period in time where it was very common for a father to come home from a body wrenching job, and enjoy a drink or two with dinner. The scent of whiskey on the fathers breath does not necessarily mean he was an alcoholic or even drunk at the time of the waltz. It is common for young children to dance on the feet of their mothers and fathers, and the incredible difference in height can make it difficult to hold on. So saying that "I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy" (3-4) does not have to really symbolize death or pain, just difficulty in the situation.
If someone was "romping" in your kitchen and it caused pots to fall, would you not think this would cause a mess? This could be the reason for the frown upon the mothers face - her kitchen is slowly becoming messier, and she knows it will be her job to clean it up in the morning! If these lines really indicated abuse, it is more common for a mother to leave the room - then to simply just sit there and frown at the actions of the father.
As we learned from Foster - it is important to reference time when analyzing a piece of witting. Theodore Roethke died in 1963 - meaning that this poem was written before then. In the middle of the 1900's, what types of jobs were common for men to have? Factory work was still common, but desk jobs were not. So is it out of the ordinary for a man to have rough hands? No. People see the word "battered" in line 10 and they think abuse! But, there are other ways in which someone could interpret that. Lines 11 and 12, where it states "At every step you missed, My right read scraped a buckle" seems to accurately describe what waltzing with a father would be like. You can not expect a father to be incredibly graceful if they were an untrained dancer. And when you again think about height and size - a young boy hold on to his father, could very well be at waist height - right were a belt buckle would be.
For anyone who has ever taken a dance class before, you know that you dance to a beat. People drum beats with their fingers gently on desks, their foreheads as they try to think, and other surfaces. The father and son were having a fun time together, and the fact that the father is strumming a beat on the child's head still is no direct link to abuse. "With a palm caked hard by dirt" (Line 14) can be related to the same explanation of the battered knuckle seen in line 10. In the last two lines of the poem, it seems as if the father is taking the son to bed - and the boy, tired from all the dancing - is holding on to his father, not wanting the time they just spent together to be over.
Now, it is impossible to say if this interpretation is correct, or if any other individuals take on the poem is either. It just seems to me, that there is no real unarguable evidence in this poem to indicate anything other than just a bonding moment, late at night, between a father and his young son. It simply comes down to the mind frame in which you decided to read this poem in.