October 27, 2004

Heroes in Huckleberry Finn

As I continued reading the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I tried to think of a topic that really wasn't discussed in class. Folklore is always interesting, however, the idea of heroism found in this novel became an interest for discussion. Obviously, heroism is found in Huckleberry Finn all throughout the novel. I came up with this topic having at least 10 more chapters to read. Surprisingly, in the last chapter, the word hero was stated, and I knew that I was on the right track.

The word hero has a few definitions.

1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits and favored by the gods.

2. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.

3. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field.

4. The principal male character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.

I think that there are three characters in Huckleberry Finn, who demonstrate heroic characteristics. The first character is of course Mr. Huck. It seems that Huck has always wanted to find himself, or it might seem that he is really just acting as an adolescent might act. Huck seems to always have a different way of thinking from that of the society around him. I focused more on Huck's later experiences with being a hero. I found in chapter 38, Huck speaks out his heroic thoughts when speaking with Tom Sawyer. Huck says to Tom, "And that is, there's a nigger here that I'm a trying to steal out of slavery-". Huck is not afraid to tell Tom his plan, which is where Huck here in this section is really taking action as hero.

The second hero in Huckleberry Finn is Jim of course. I feel that Jim is a hero just because he is there for Huck for the most part through a mental aspect. Huck is growing physically and mentally, and I feel that Jim is there as the character who inspires Huck during his growth in adolescence.

A question here for the class is

In what ways throughout the story have we observed Jim being this hero as almost a mentor for Huck?

Are there other actions that Jim has proved to be a hero, and what these heroic actions?

A third hero in this novel is Mr. Tom Sawyer, who iniates his heroness at the end of Huckleberry Finn. I think that both Tom and Huck really feed ideas off of eachother when they create a plan to free Jim. I found when Huck was thinking to himself how Tom would actually place shame on his family name by helping free Jim. In chapter 34 (p176) Huck is describing Tom, that Tom is "respectful, well brung up; and had a character to lose; and folks at home that had characters; he was bright and not leather-headed; and knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, but kind; and yet here he was, without any more pride, or rightness, or feeling, than to stoop to this business..." My interest here is that how do you think Huck feels about his own acts to save Jim, and might Huck be comparing himself to Tom?

Huck also describes Tom as able to super-intend any boy I ever see, and that he could do everything. When I said that Tom and Huck interchange eachothers ideas, I also found in chapter 35, Tom has faith in the two of them succeeding with freeing JIm. Tom really speaks his heroic thoughts, "there's more honor in getting him out through a lot of difficulties and dangers". If i'm not mistaken, this is also how Huck might feel. Therefore they really work well together.

Note also that great feeling when the heroes, Huck and Jim, finished their digging the hole to get to Jim, and surprised Jim. In chapter 36 Huck mentions, "He was so glad to see us he most cried; and called us honey, and all the pet names he could think of". Heroes are great!

Posted by ShannaDeFrances at 02:32 PM | Comments (8)

October 25, 2004

"Thumbs up" to Huck!

I don't know if it is the many psychology courses that I have taken or if I just always go to the iniate beginning of events when determining peoples actions. For example, in class on Monday, the 25th of October, we discussed reasons why the river provides a means of symbolism in Huckleberry Fin. I got to thinking deeply back to the first reason why Huck ventured off to the river. Huck's life seemed for the most part unfair. I didn't feel much love amongst his caregivers, especially with his father. Huck knew and understood that he needed to remove himself from such misery. Being an adolescent, Huck didn't realize what the river would bring him as for obstacles. He just knew that the river flows in the direction he wants to travel.

A river, or just water in general could have many different meanings. Water or a river could be treacherous, or could give a relaxing feeling. Obviously, with this story, the river offers pleasure at first, then flows with many obstacles. Huck wanted to escape, and felt that the river was his best way to transport himself.

I truly feel the river does symbolize Huck's life through adolescence. So far the river has proved to be calm and inviting, while other days the river is furious and unpredictable. These descriptive words I chose in describing the river, calm, inviting, furious, and unpredictable. Aren't these words that can be used to describe an adolescent? Huck doesn't have his family to help him along through such a strenuous period in life; however, Huck does have Jim and no fear at attacking such obstacles in life. Whose to say that maybe those calming nights that the river provided actually guided Hucks thoughts and concerns. I recall when Jim and Huck would gaze up at the stars, is when Huck seemed to go into personal and deep reflection of his thoughts.

I give Huck a thumbs up for taking such entrepreneurial steps and actions with lifes unpredictable obstacles!

Posted by ShannaDeFrances at 05:14 PM | Comments (4)

October 12, 2004

Comments and such of that darn Devil's Dictionary

First, I would just like to say that yes, I was one of those students who gawked at the thought of reading, let alone printing about 150 pages of text. However, after the fact, I thought, "You know, throw this shreaded log into a binder, and wala! When company arrives, you have a coffee table book for serious or casual discussion". Get some creative juices flowing and fancy up a flashy and inviting cover for this binder and your set.

I really enjoyed The Devil's Dictionary by Bierce, and the discussion on Monday. Everyone had great input and thoughts. I personally agree, which seemed like most of the class, that Bierce wrote this for all different views, and personally how the reader interprets the meanings in his or her life. I usually take things to heart, and a handful of definitions I couldn't believe were stated. However, if a thought is kept contained, how are others going to relate to maybe similar thoughts. I feel Bierce threw out these meanings that could be either true or false to the reader. He may or may not have felt a particular way that was stated in the dictionary. Thus, the title, "Devil's Dictionary", which as the reader, whether you agree or not, the idea that the Devil conjured up this literature still remains in the back of our heads.

Another thing. We all understand that no one here on earth is perfect, and we all have lessons to learn. We also battle with the fact that we all have somewhat of a conscience. We deal with the fact that there is wrong and right. Is it right that when we are alone, we are in bad company, and is it wrong that a coward thinks with his legs? Think about it, we are reading this material in the year of 2004-2005, how many years ago, and the Devil's Dictionary still in todays readers stirs emotions that still encourage thought about our living today.

Please give me some feedback. I am going strong here. = )

Posted by ShannaDeFrances at 12:00 PM | Comments (8)

October 11, 2004

October 06, 2004


This wildcard option is a great idea, and I am going to take the opportunity o talk about myself :)

So yes, I am Miss Shanna Rae DeFrances, 22 years old, and my birthday is coming up on October 23rd-yeah!!! Of course I am a Scorpio, who loves and cherishes life, though I must admit can be quite unfair at times. Depending what mood I am in, I can be very talkitive or completely shy.

I am the oldest of five children in my family, and my parents have intstilled in me morals and values in guiding me to make wise decisions in life. It is important for me to help lead my sister and three brothers up and down bright paths in their lives. I always make time to do things with my siblings, whether it is helping them with school or going to a pumpkin patch.

Being the first born, my father took me under his wing and taught me how to manuever all kinds of equipment. Because of my father I know how to ride quads and dirtbikes, which was put on my first Honda 50 at age five, drove the Rabbit (type of car) on the farm at age 8, manuever a Farmall tractor, dumptruck and bacchoe. I still enjoy riding all of these things with wheels.

Yes, I am one of those college students who still lives under my parents roof; thus my family lives on a farm, primarily just fields. We do not have any farm animals. However, we do have two dogs, a German short-haired pointer-Zoey, and a beagle-Scrappy. I love dogs, but really I cherish all animals.

I love to be out in nature, and I am so into the arts, whether music, material or drama, I enjoy it all. It is amazing how we all have potential to create wonderous things. When I have time for art, I usually make works related to a nature theme. I enjoy painting, working with clay especially, and creating collages.

I graduated from Seton Hill In May of 2004 with a B.A. in art therapy, and I am here to get my teacher certification in art education. I am extremely friendly, so please do not hesitate to speak with me. One of my favorite mottos is, "At least one hug a day will keep the blues away".

Posted by ShannaDeFrances at 12:49 PM | Comments (4)

Emerson and Self-Reliance

I have read some poems and phrases by Emerson, and I really find personal meaning to certain situations in life. With his Self-Reliance essays I continually found that familiar meaning throughout Emerson's concerns. As a woman, reading this essay I felt slightly unimportant. It seemed that Emerson is speaking to man and that the reader is to be no other than a "man" or of male gender.

Aside from this odd feeling, I took a few of Emerson's thoughts to the application of today's world. One thought that Emerson gave in paragraph 11 is "how the world whips us with its displeasure, and therefore man must know how to estimate a sour face". This is so true in todays world. I am an extremely observant individual when I am out in the world. According to various situations, I find peoples facial expressions and actions histerically amusing. For example, a rowdy customer at a grocery store, whose items are not coming up on sale in the register. Watch out grocery clerk. Emerson remarks,"Fear never but you shall be consistent in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour."

Yes, life has many displeasures, and at times these displeasures can be lessons to be learned throughtout our lives.

Emerson tends to get quite emotional with his ideas and feelings, and beacuse of this trait I can easily relate to some of his ideas. Another thought of Emerson that caught my attention is his speaking of relations of the soul to the divine spirit in paragragh 22. Emerson quotes, "Whenever a mind is simple and receives a divine wisdom, then old things pass away,- means, teachers, texts, temples fall; it lives now, and absorbs past and future into the present hour." What does does Emerson mean by "It lives now"?

Posted by ShannaDeFrances at 12:03 PM | Comments (2)

Comparing video versus book

Ok, so I thought that I would be a good student and watch the movie The Scarlet Letter in attempts to understand the book better. I am a visual learner and needless to say, I really enjoyed the movie. However, when it was test time on The Scarlet Letter, my knowledge from both the book and the video were causing confusion.

Most of the contents of the movie went along with the book; however, towards the end of the movie is when scenes were changed around from that of the book. If anyone has seen the movie, I would like to hear your comments.

Posted by ShannaDeFrances at 10:41 AM | Comments (1)

October 05, 2004

Reflection of Poetry Cover Slam#1

The two poems that I chose to recite are both by Emily Dickinson and are titled How happy is the little stone…and I heard a fly buzz when I died. Yes, I was very nervous to present in front of the class; however, when I got up there and started to recite the poems, I tried to forget about the class. I actually forced myself to imagine that I was Emily Dickinson or some other character. I know that I have the potential to get overly nervous and can ruin a presentation. When I finished, I felt good about my presentation; however, I was already critiquing myself on what I could do better.

The feedback from my classmates proved to be what I had expected. Mostly everyone commented on the prop that I brought for How happy is the little stone, and how I acted out the poems, which really helped the class understand meaning of the poems. One comment that really made me consider my interests in jobs is, “Shanna, are you secretly an actress”. My classmates also acknowledged my added emotion, facial expression, voice change and involvement with the class during the poems.

As for the encouragement of correcting mistakes from the two poems, many classmates mentioned how my pauses seemed too long at times. I know that when I began critiquing myself immediately after the poems, pausing for what seemed a length of time, could have been shortened.

Like everyone else who had to recite their poems, I was extremely nervous, but I can truly say that I had a great time with this assignment. I really enjoyed putting on a show, and watching classmates do the same. I would like to see more of poems being recited from two different approaches as Mr. Jerz portrayed in his demonstration.

Posted by ShannaDeFrances at 12:07 PM | Comments (4)