February 2008 Archives

Indiana Jones, Osiris, and Jesus all in the same story! YES!

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Ok I would first like to say to bare with me in this entry because it may be a little out there, but I promise that it will be interesting all in the same.

"There's one of these doctors in Atlanta that's taken a knife and cut the human heart- the human hera," he repeated, leaning forward, "out of a man's chest and held it in his hand," and he held his hand our, palm up, as if it were slightly weighted with the human heart, "and studied it like it was a day-old chicken, and a lady," he said, allowing a long significant pause in which his head slid forward and his claycolored eyes brightened, "he  don't know no more about it than you or me (O'Connor, 50)."

This reminded me of two instances, both involving religion, which I feel is a major motif in this story. It first reminded me of Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom, when the creepy guy does human sacrifices and pulls out the person's beating heart. Creepy, but it's what it reminded me of.  Secondly, it reminded me of a ritual in Egyptian mythology called The weighing of the heart ceremony.  In this ceremony, after one dies, they take the journey to the underworld.  When they get to Osiris (God of the Underworld), he is standing next to a scale.  They then weight the person's heart in comparison to a feather, and if it is heavier, they stay in the underworld, but if it it lighter, they go to their paradise (Field of Reeds).  It's kind of like in the story when it says The life you save may be your own.  The egyptians believed that if you lived a good life, free of sin and malice, that your heart would weight less than the feather thus leading you to paradise.

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"Lady," he said, jerking his short arm up as if he could point with it to her house and yard and pump, "there ain't a broken thing on this plantation that I coulnd't fix for you, one-arm jackleg or not.  I'm a man," he said with a sullen dignity, "even if I atin't a whole one (O'connor 53)."

I also wanted to expand on this passage because I found an interesting contradtion.  As I was reading it, it kind of reminded me of Bruce Almighty, when Jesus is portrayed in different ways than what we would normally expect (homeless man).  I thought that it was almost like O'connor was using a Christ parallel here because Mr. Shiftlet was a carpenter (as Jesus was said to be), and he was being portrayed with a disability.  It's like the message was God is in the places where we least expect him to be.

THEN naturally after finishing the story, I realized that that was the COMPLETE opposite of what I thought was going on here.  But part of me wonders if that was what O'connor was going for.  Was she trying to build upon the figure only so the shock factor would be more intense in the end?  If so, I think she did a job well done.

Like I said, I know this blog entry is a little strange, but I think that those are some interesting comparisons and thoughts to take.  Hey, I try to think out of the box.

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Watch what you say.

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"Trust theyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.  Accept the place the divine Providence has found for you; the society of your contemporaries, the connextion of events. Great men have always done so and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the Eternal was stirring at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.  And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not pinched in a corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but redeemers and benefactors, pious aspirants to be noble clay plastic under the Almighty effort, let us advance on Chaos and the Dark."  -Ralp Waldo Emereson, Self- Reliance

"Diction denotes the work choice and phrasing in a literary work," states Hamilton on page 68. 

I chose diction because it is such an important part of our language, whether it is in the speech in our literature or the speech in our songs.  You can have abstract diction, which focuses on concepts, or concrete diction, which focuses directly on objects. It's interesting when you hear this because then you can start placing authors and poets into separate cateogries.  Take Emereson for example.  From his past writings, and the example above, we can see that he is a very spiritual, pacifist, religious man.  He's a lover not a fighter. He focues on concepts of nature, beautry, spirituality.  He uses abstarct diction.  He makes an inanimate object stand for an askew concept.

Ex: "Accept the place the divine Providence has found for you; the society of your contemporaries, the connextion of events (Emereson)" 

The sentece above references the divine, the spiritual meaning for your set location, for your being.  It is giving us a window view of immortaility and that there is a meaning/reason for everything that is.  It's a very philisophical mind sent.  Rather than saying "What is, is," he is saying that "What is, is because of the divine."  

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ENGLISH CLUB: Silent Voices Heard: A genocide reading

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Hey guys,
 
Here are the minutes from last nights meeting.
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The Holocaust/ Genocide reading is still planned for March 13. 2008 @ 7:30 p.m. in sully hangout (where SHU has it's movie night). Darren is donating food for the event, and it's going to be a coffe house setting.   We have 10 readers so far ranging from faculty to students who will be presenting poetry and prose.  We are estimating like 5 min. per person, but obviously with poetry we are going to have to make some exceptions, haha.  The flyers were also taken care of (THANKS GIRLS!!! ) and they look wonderful.  We're titling the event Silent Voices Heard: A genocide reading.
 
If you are planning on reading, you need to acquire the following asap.  Title of piece, author, date, brief background history.  This is to be sent to Mary Clark at cla7691@setonhill.edu by March 4th.  We are also planning on sending out a global email, posting it on the newsfeed on the main web page, emailing faculty, putting posters up around campus and in teachers mailboxes, giving updates to RA's, etc.  I know some teachers are also giving extra credit for attendance.
 
If you would like to help set up for the event, or read, PLEASE EMAIL ME (unless I already know of course from your attendance at the last meeting).  I really think that this is going to be a GREAT event, so I hope to hear back from all of you soon!
 
 
Oh, and the CarrerWorks English Major Awareness event will be held on March 9th, 2008 @ 7:00 p.m.  We haven't ironed out a lot of the details yet because of our focuse on the event above, but if you would like to help, please let me know in advance!
 
Stephanie Wytovich, Secretary

Here's a mouthful for a little story.

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So there were several things that I found interesting in this passage, and rather than rake my brain by trying to figure out which one I like best, I decided to just go with them all.

"She began to whistle and blow like a musical skeleton (O'Connor 27)."

-I found this the most WONDERFUL example of showing, that I underlined it and highlighted it.  I thought that in a way it was almost poetic. What an interesting way to show that she was sleeping/snoring. I thought that it portrayed such a better visual rather than just saying "She feel asleep and began to snore loudly." A good example of telling rather than showing can be found on page 33 in the second paragraph as the describe the preacher.

"He had found out already this morning that he had been made by a carpenter named Jesus Christ.  Before he had though it had been a doctor named Sladewall, a fat man with a yellow mustache who gave him shots and thought his name was Herbert, but this must have been a joke (O'Connor 31)."

-I really liked this paragraph because of its different examples of theories on creation.  I never even looked at it as Harry's ignorance to religion until I read Kayley's blog which I'm going to direct you to now... click!

"Then he left the apartment and caught the car at the corner. He hadn't taken a suitcase because there was nothing from there he wanted to keep (O'Connor)."

I really wanted to add this in here because I think that this is a great example of personal growth.  In fact, growth could even be considered one of the motifs in this story.  It's interesting to see how such a young boy is almost forced to grow up so quickly.  It really makes you think.

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READ READ READ READ READ

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ENGLISH CLUB MEETING TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY FEB. 27

@ 8:30 P.M. IN SULLY HANGOUT.

-Anyone that is planning on reading at the event must either attend or give me a sample of the literature that they are planning on presenting.

If you can attend, please email me or contact me on my blog.

wyt0420@setonhill.edu

"Dramatic Irony: occurs when the audience is privy to knowledge that one or more of the characters lacks.  The technique may be used for comic or tragic effects (Hamilton 46)."

I must say that I'm a huge fan of dramatic irony.  I mean there is nothing like criticizing a character for being a dumbass all throughout the story, even though they can do nothing about it.  Take my man Odeipus for instance.  The poor man was cursed from the beginning. Sometimes I just don't see how these men cannot listen to the blind seer. I mean have that not learned from previous character's flaws? haha ok so I'm just kidding there.

I think that dramatic irony adds to the involvement of the audience.  I know that when I was reading Oedipus and knew all the ties to the king and queen, and the past of the father that I found myself anticipating his failure, as bad as that sounds.  In a way in added to the suspense because I was like waiting for the "GASP he hooked up with his mother... GASP his own children are his brothers and sisters" factor.

Oh dramatic irony, how you slay me...and Oedipus as well I guess seeing that he stabbed his eyes out?  If only he knew what we knew.

Ouch.  Harsh ending. His tragic flaw of over confidence got him  He was doomed for the git-go.

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Talk about an insult. One point for the Wives of Windsor!

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Mrs. Ford: How might we disguise him?

Mrs. Page: Alas, the day, I know not.  There is no woman's gown big enough for him; otherwise, he might put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchief, and so escape.

Falstaff: Good hearts, devise something.  Any extremity rather than a mischief.

Mrs. Ford: My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brainford, has a gown above.

HAHA. Ok so once again, we have the devious Wives of Windsor plotting against Falstaff without him knowing.  Not only do they dress him up as the mai'ds aunt, knowing that he is going to get beaten, they poke fun at his weight in the process. 

Such devious women!

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Stuck in the middle, with no where to turn.

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"Eliot borrows the same technique. His internal monologue begins with the "you" and "I," the two sides of Prufrock's personality, debating whether or not to confront a female. One side wants to believe in the possibility of a relationship with a woman; the other, doubts the possibility. (Blythe and Sweet)"

Personally, I'm a fan of personal asides and internal contradictions in poetry and drama.  I think that it shows a great deal of the characters personality, and exhumes what they are like when they are in a stressful situation. This either allows the audience to come to a mutual understanding with the protagonist, or disagree with him to the extent of loving his faults.

I like that he shows the ongoing battle of should I or shouldn't I.  He wants to believe that you can honestly have a good relationship with a woman, but the other half doubts his confidence in the matter.  I think that we have all been there at some point or another. Everyone sees the positives and the negatives of a matter, and yes, it can be difficult to make a decision.  What I like about this in Eliot's poem, and Doone's Song for that matter, is that we almost get to experience the internal conflict with him.  We understand why he feels the way that he does, and it's interesting to see how he reacts to the situation.  I think Blythe and Sweet did a good job in exhuming the key factor of the poem, indesciveness.

Added on 2/22/08

Something else that I wanted to add was the reference to mermaids in poem.  I wrote about this in my reflection, and I think it's interesting enough to possibly throw out there.  In the poem, we have a reference to mermaids.  I'm not sure if everyone knows the history behind the creatures, so I'm going to throw it out there.  Mermaids, although filled with beautry and seduction, used to use their 'song' to lure sailors into their death.  So technically, I guess mermaids weren't all that great. 

I find it interesting that he uses the characterization of a mermaid to allude to women in general.  Talk about a sterotype, haha!  He is saying that women are not to be trusted.  That they use their charm, and beautry to lure men in, and then ultimately break their hearts.  Perhaps this is the reason behind his thoughts on relationships?  And most importantly, perhaps this is the reason why both authors have "Song" written in their title.  I think when they say 'love song,' they are using that as a contradiction.  They are alluding to the devious songs of the mermaids.  I dunno if that's correct, but I think that it could def. be a possibility.

What do you think? Do you think that they are really love poems, or that their titles are deceptive?

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I wish Lady Macbeth was in this play.  She wouldn't be all gitty and "oh lets lead him on."  She'd just call him out and kill him.   That's my girl, haha.  Anyways...

Falstaff- Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel?  Why now let me die, for I haved lived long enought.  This is the period of my ambition.  O this blessed hour!

Mrs. Ford- O sweet Sir John!

Falstaff- Mistress For, I cannot cog.  I cannot prate, Mistress Ford.  Now shall I sin in my wish: I would thy husband were dead.  I'll speak it before the best lord; I would make thee my lady.

Personally, I wanna know how Mrs. Ford is not either laughing her ass off or gagging right now.  So here if Falstaff, lost in the moment of seduction, and awaiting his much anticipated rendevous.  I mean, 'O this blessed hour!'  Are we serious?  Please, I hope no woman would fall for that line.  Thank God she is just leading him.  But the part that I found ironic enought was that Falstaff states that he wishes her husband dead so he could marry her and release his undying love to her.  How can a dishonest man, make an honest woman out of a more dishonest woman? Part of me actually wonders if this is going to lead to her husbands demise, or even Falstaff's death for that matter.  Shakespeare always has a way of foreshawdowing a characters death, and who knows, this may be it! 

Oh the drama.

It never ends.

 

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Hey! For those of you that don't know me, my name is Stephanie Wytovich and I'm a freshmen at Seton Hill University.  I would like to take a minute or so to introduce myself, so you can get a feel for what to expect.  I'm a double major in English literature and Art History.  I honeslty love both subjects and I'm still on the journey towards figuring out how I would like to incorporate them both into my life.  In the mean time, I'm focusing on Horror and Suspense Fiction, and interning at a museum.  When the opportunity arises to take the best of both worlds, seize it! I pretty much write what I feel without holding back.  I like to try to spark discussion, so if my thoughts seem a little out there and random, that's why. Normalcy is overrated.  Be different and go against the grain!

In my Intro. to Literary Study (EL150) course with Dr. Jerz, he opened the blogosphere world to us.  As a requirement for the course, we are to write entries about our readings and post them on our website to exemplify our understanding, depth, interaction, etc. with each piece we have in class. It's amazing how catchy it gets after at while. I know that I personally looked at it as a chore at first, but found out rather quickly that I was getting addicted.  It's a great experience to speak your mind and have your voice heard! Pretty soon, I found myself going on my blog just to write and express myself.  Who knows, if you words are helpful to you, they may be inspiring to others as well!

Coverage Entries:  These entries include links to our class's homepage, so you can get an idea what the assinment was, and even check it out yourself if the mood strikes you!  In some entries, I have also included links to other websites for research and clarification purposes.

Timeliness: These entries were all posted 24 hours before class and they are on a variety of subjects! From brings a story to life, to getting Emily Dickinson a cookie before she cracks, they are pretty out there! If you're feeling dangerous, give them a go!

Interaction: The entries that are listed below are ones that were so controversial, that I couldn't get people to stop debating on them! haha, no but seriously, these ones exhumed some pretty good topics!

  • The rhythm of melancholy eyes:  This topic sparked a lot of good discussion in our class. I have included a link to Angela's blog because we shared similiar thoughts on the topic at hand.
  • It was a dark and stormy night : In this entry, I took an excerpt of Edgar Allen Poe's writing, and explained how crucial it is to use geography and setting to build up a scene.  I even included a taste of my own writing at the bottom to give an example of how it can be done!
  • The protagonist really never had a chance: This one was really fun to write, because I knew while I was writing it that I wanted to spark some discussion.  In order to do this, I portrayed the protagonist in the same light as the antagonist.  I mean if the poor main character is doomed to failure, then he's sucked into the life of the bad guy as well... right? I don't know! You tell me!
  • Dear English Fans:  This isn't something for class, but it is something that I wanted to announce to everyone!  Seton Hill has just started an English Club!  So for all you fun loving poetry and prose lovers, check this site out and let me know if you have any questions!
  • Is that a symbol? Well Duh! :  This is a more personal entry about how literature means something different to everyone that reads it.  Although some might think that there is a giant book of correct answers that teachers use to mark our papers, I think that by reading this, it might clear the air... not to mention the reputation of our poor English teachers!
  • And the crowd goes wile! JERRY, JERRY, JERRY!!! : I'm not even going to say anything.  If the title itself doesn't spark some curiousity, then I've lost you as a reader!

Depth:  The entries are some of my more thought provoking ones.  I really found a deep connection with the topics at hand, and I wanted to share my opinions in a deeper context rather than just writing my initial reaciton.  For anyone that is reading this, I really do appreciate your opinions!  Let me know if you had a similiar opinion, or a completely different one for that matter!

  • Trifles. Everyone has them, but is murder the answer? : For those of you that haven't read Trifles, I highly recommend it!  I included a link to the site within my entry, as well as my thoughts and concerns about the murder suspect.  Was it the wife, or was it the neighbors?  Was this a justified killing? 
  • Today here, tomorrow not:  This entry is about a Holocaust literature lecture I attended with guest speaker Dr. Alan Rosen.  It was really an eye opener for me because it gave me a completely different perspective on this genre of literature.  
  • A word is never just a word.  A sentence is never just a sentence.
  • Death is only the beginning: This entry includes my take of one of Emily Dickinson's poems. After analyzing it, it really turned my inital opinion of her around.  Sometimes the more you know about a person, the better you are to understand their work.
  • Oh, the taste of victory! :  This is yet again, another analysis of one of Dickinson's poems.  Rather than just pick an excerpt on this one, I went through the poem itself and analyzed what I thought it meant to me.
  • Stuck in the middle with no where to go: I really put a lot of thought and analysis into this one.  I even referenced mythology to support my opinion. If your interested in the mystery of mermaids and the devious plannings of death, then this entry is for you!

Discussion Entries: The following links are links to my classmate's blogs entries that I have commented on.  They have some really interesting and thought provoking commentary!   Whether it's from Angela's entry on Shakespeare being a little bit too honest with his words, to Chelsea's entry on combining literary techniques, I tried to bring there commentary into my own ideas.  I must say though, I agree with what these girls are dishing out! 

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And the crowd goes wild! JERRY, JERRY, JERRY!!!

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Next on Jerry Springer, Shakespeare Characters, love triangles, and deception, OH MY!

Wow, I really don't even know what to say. Talk about drama!  Is there anyone that Falstaff doesn't want to hook up with?  I guess he can be considered the modern day gold digger!  Then we have Quickley promising marriage proposals to a handful of men, and good ol' Caius trying to fight Evans!  Let's line up the chairs and let Jerry handle this one, because I'm so not getting in the middle of that one.

Ok but on a serious note...

Shallow: Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and broke open my lodge.

Falstaff: But not kissed your keeper's daughter?

(haha, this part made me laugh)

So we have Shallow, this outspoken, misauthorized law figure of a man, in a argument with Falstaff, who is a drunken, a theif,and a pretty shallow, heartless man.  But enough of the characterization.  This excerpt shows the comedic side to Shakespeare's play.  We have Shallow who is trying to be serious in his accusations against Falstaff, and then in mockery, Falstaff pokes that he forgot to mention kissing the daughter of his keeper! GAH! The drama! What a bold move on Falstaff's part. His sarcastic remarks are kind of a foreshadowing for his devious behavior.

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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"And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

 As any she belied with false compare.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Sonnet CXXX: My Mistress' Eyes are Nothing like the Sun

Ah, William Shakespeare.  What a guy.  No matter what mood I'm in, reading his sonnets always make me feel better.  I guess at heart, he is a hopless romantic too, even if he does have a mistress, haha.

The sonnet ends, as all sonnets usually do, with a rhyming couplet.  It states that even though his mistress doesn't compare with the glow of the sun, the beauty of a rose, or the majestic scent of perfume, that he still loves her anyways.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  One's physical features are not the only asset that make one beautiful.

I like reading Shakespeare for several reasons, but my main reason for reading him is that he puts things in perspective in a very creative way.  This piece obviously shows even when one points out another flaws, there is still beauty to be found.  Romeo and Juliet exploits the message that one should do what they believe in despite others. Hamlet shows the dangers of revenge and the importance of making decisions.  It shows themes of sanity vs insanity.  See? All of Shakespeare's works have an important message to be conveyed.  I also think that they are all very relatable.  No wonder we still read him his works today! The man is a genius!

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First Dickinson... Now Donne! Someone get these people a cookie!

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"Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so(Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud)."
 
Wow, if Emily Dickinson doesn't get the message about death across, then John Doone surley will.  I hate to burst Emily's bubble, but I think Doone is a tad bit more dark and morose than she is.  But who knows, maybe that will be a compliment.
 
In the quote that I chose, it is exhuming the same message that Dickinson portrayed in her last poem we read for class.  They both are looking at death as a welcoming force rather than one to be afarid of.  Death is only the beginning of a new life in their eyes.  It leads to ones spiritual life as an immortal in the arms of heaven.
 
 "...then from thee much more must flow,
 And soonest our best men with thee do go..."
 
What is interesting about this poem is that is exclaims that even the bravest of men will perish.  We do not have a choice when we will die, or who will die first.  Death will reign over ones body whether they like it or not.  It has an almost saracatic, hahaha you lose, type of attitude to it.  That's why I think that it comes across as darker than Dickinson's
 
..."One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.."
 
Death must be accepted.  Whether it is through fear or through acceptance.  Death is only the beginning. It shall not die. It is immortal.
 
 

Answered Prayers lead to more than just a fat, 'deaf' woman

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"Confound it! When a man is as awkward as all that he should remain at home and not come killing people in the streets, if he doesn't know how to handle a horse (The Costly Ride, Guy de Maupassant)."

I would first off like to say that after reading this I was very angry.  That old woman should have been thrown out in the streets if you ask me.  Gah, sorry for the ranting vents.  For those of you that didn't read the story, let me give you a very brief, exhiliarted summary of what happened.

A man named Hector was in a similiar situation to those in the Great Depression.  Jobs were scarce, and he had little money.  After working over time, he was excited to be handed a little extra money for his work.  Thus speaking, him and his wife decided to spend it on a night on the town persay.  Renting a horse, and a carriage for the rest of the family, they went about their day.  On their way back, Hector lost control of the hourse and ran over a seemingly deaf woman who was rather slowly crossing the road. Hector was verbally abused by those who viewed the accident, and the doctors stated that there was no external injuries, but possibly some internal ones.  They needed to keep her in a home for observation, and Hector grasiously agreed to pay for it.  To make a long ending short, the doctors found nothing wrong with her, but the woman kept saying she was hurt, couldn't move, blah blah blah.  Point of the story: Hector got a fast one pulled on him.

Ok. The woman is a selfish bitch to put it nicely. First off, everyone or almost everyone was probably in the same situation as Hector.  Money wise that was.  But even with that said, I would not sacrifice my body to getting run over by a horse!!! Are you serious?  This woman wasn't deaf, she was nuts!  In my eyes, she saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of someone, and surley did not let it pass.  I mean think about it.  The doctors couldn't find anything wrong with her, and yet she couldnt move, and was so sickly. Wow, for being that sick, she was still able to eat her weight in food, and talk happily to the other patients.  She ripped Hector off.  She saw this as a way to be sheltered, feed, and warm at the cost of someone elses expense.  If I was Hector, I would have kicked her out of that shelter a long time ago.  People that take advantage of other's kindness are worth helping.  It's the thought behind the action that counts.  Not the action in its self.

The truth behind the words...

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"Perhaps Dickinson felt He had denied her personal happiness.  In #690, though, her bitterness seems more universal. The poet questions a God who had been "so economical" with all of His "Sparrows," not just with Emily Dickinson (Katherine A. Monteriro)."

It never fails that everytime I read someone else's interpretation on a poem that I sit and wonder, "How did I not see that?"  After reading this, it seems that I was so out in left field.  Mind you, there can be countless interpretations for this poem, but this one def. sold me on the most well defined and supproted explanation. 

It never hit me that Dickinson was speaking not only to herself through private monologue, but speaking for others as well. It's not just that He surpassed her, but has providied universal disappointment and despair as well.  Something that I also thought was interesting was the beliefs that Emily had on wars and its patrons.  I knew that Dickinson wrote a lot about nature, love, religion etc, but I never knew of her religious beliefs.  So much of what I have read about her relishes on depression and solidarity, that this was a new perspective on her and her writings. 

 

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Oh, the taste of victory!

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How sweet it would have tasted,
Just a drop!   (Dickinson, Lines 5-6)

As I spoke of in my last entry, the themes of death and dispair are still present.  Generally speaking, it seems as if Dickinson is trying to grasp that glitter of hope, and is once again shut down. The poem even sounds sullen and regretful. 

In the excerpt that I chose, Dickinson is revealing that tone. It's as if she's screaming "Oh what it would have been like to succeed.  Just once!"  Reading it, I noticed how easy it was to relate to, and how easy it was to feel sad.  It was like you could feel her pain.  But that's Dickinson for you.  Bring on the death and despair!

Added on 2/18/08

"Victory comes late,    
And is held low to freezing lips    
Too rapt with frost    
To take it."

I wanted to include this exceprt in my entry because after reading Katherine's article, its realism astounded me.  I could not believe how Dickinson portrayed such a desolate image with such beautiful poetry.  Being that this is about the defeat of soliders and their never ending battle with war and destruction, victory became so much more than just a word.  It became an unreachable symbol in their eyes.  When she says that "Victory came late" she is referring to that death came first.  So often in history do we find our heros die before the cause they were fighting for comes to light.  

I also wanted to note the imagery she uses in combination with realism.  She does not hide the image of our soldiers frozen lips because it heightens the intensity of the poem.  To say that it is held to their lips, but they are to rapt with frost to take it, implies that victory is in the form of nourishment.  It's like it would be the thing to save them in the end, if they did not reach their demise. This poem makes victory out to be so much more than the winning of a battle. 

 

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Death is only the beginning...

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Since then 't is centuries; but each   
Feels shorter than the day   
I first surmised the horses' heads   
Were toward eternity (Dickinson, lines 17-20)

 

Emily Dickinson portrayed a darkened tone to most of her writing and accompanied it with themes of death and immortality.  This poem encompasses all of the above when death civily takes our author away.  She visits places she used to go, and sees people she used to know.  But in the end, the afterlife welcomes her into its arms.

The excerpt that I chose was towards the end of the poem.  Since Dickinson spent most of her life as a recluse and in the later years of her life, rarely left the confines of her room, she was very in touch with her emotions, and feelings of depression and saddness.  I feel that the poem relates to her life as a recluse very well.  The first line states that even though centuries have passed, it still only felt like half a day.  This can be in correspondence to the years that she stayed into her house.  She was alone for so long, that eventually, time became unrecognizable.  Sometimes when we're alone for a great deal of time, when we look at our clocks, we tend to wonder where the time went. The reference to the horse's head taking her to the afterlife, can be another way of going towards the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  Personally, I think that a lot of her poetry was based on metaphors of her life.

Added on 2/18/08

In class we continued our discussion on this matter.  I realized that through the metaphor of death and immortality both being in the chariot, that it did have some significance.  Emily Dickinson was reculisive, but just because she chose this pathway, doesn't necessarily make her a depressed psychopath (thanks for clearning that up Dr. Jerz, haha).  By being able to reflect and medidate, she was able to comprise her emotions and convey and understanding of her beliefs through her poetry. People ask why she thought Death was kind?  She didn't view death as a morose, darkened ending to life, but as a spiritual beginning to a new one.  Death and Immortality work together as one in her eyes, and that is why they are both in the same chariot.

 

 

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In the spirit of St. Valentine...

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Shakespeare Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
Thou are more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 

I picked this because it is my ALL TIME FAVORITE love poem/sonnet.  I think that it is so beautiful that Shakespeare is comparing his love to the beauty of a summers day, and then telling her that her beauty surpasses it.  What is even more romantic is when he states that even with age, her beauty will not fade.  It's infinite.  The poem ends with a rhyming couplet expressing that as long as he can breathe and see, she is all that he needs.

Haha, compare that with this Shakespearean sonnet and tell me what you think! What are you first impressions when you read it?  What do you think it means? Is this typical or atypical of Shakespeare?  Use them vocal cords people! :)

<3 Try reciting this to your loved one!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Dante always finds a way back into my heart.

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"S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse a persona che mai tornasse al mondo, questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse. Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo non torno vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero, senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo."

For those of you that do not know, the epigraph to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is an excerpt from Dante's Inferno (one of my absolute favorites) ! What it is basically saying after translation, is that Prufrock is explaining his ideal listener.  Someone that will listen to his obsessive complusions, and accept his intermost confessions.  As one can see after reading the poem, his perception of the world is not the greatest.  I think that he believes that with all the hussle and bussle of the world today that the ideal listener he wants so badly, doesn't exsist.  Everyone has there own issues, and that's why it is difficult to find someone who is willing to put theirs aside and focus solely on yours.

The reasonings listed above might be the meaning behind why some scholars think this poem can be conformed to soliloquies. A private aside.  A look into our character's mind. 

 

 

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Is that a symbol? Well DUH!

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"The other problem with symbols is that many readers expect them to be ojects and images rather than events or actions.  Action can also be symbolic (Foster 105)."

Sometimes symbols can be rather confusing. You see someone pick up a washcloth, and you're like oh no.  Did I miss something? Was that a simple for cleansing their soul?  Washing out the profanity of their youth?  It has to mean SOMETHING!

The truth of the matter is, is that there isn't really a wrong answer to that.  As long as you can support it with some kind of evidence, you'll make your interpretation stand.  But something that I've noticed is that normally people assume symbols to just be a stationary object.  While this is trust most of the time, there can and will still be symbols in action.  For example, a prom queen candidate killing her competitor because she is competition.  Naturally this could symbolize insanity, but look a little deeper.  It could symbolize vanity, low self esteem, etc. 

"Here is the problem with symbols?: people expect them to mean something.  Not just any something, but one something in particular.  Exactly.  MAxium.  You know what? It doesn't work like that (Foster 97-98)."

Bottom line. Be creative.  Look for the unexpected.  Find what works for you.  If a certain action, or object means something to you or the characters, chances are you're right.  Just be able to speak your mind when others question you.

 

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A word is never just a word. A sentence is never just a sentence.

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"Myth is a body of a story that matters (Foster 65)."

(So now you're thinking, wow. Way to pick the sentence in bold faced print, Steph)

I chose this quote for several reasons.  One, I think its beautiful poetry.  It is almost like saying everything has a deeper meaning behind it. Everything has its own fairy tale that it wants to live out, and every detail, every character, every breath, is what makes that story its own. 

Second, I think that myths and folk lore add such an interesting twist to a more modern day story.  Well, modern in the sense that it wasn't when the Greek God's were at war and so on and so fourth.  Myth is one of the reasons that I actually decided to go into English Literature and Art History.  It emcompasses them both.  In literature, we see folk lore through similiarites of characters, through battles/ wars, though plot, setting and time, etc.  Sometimes it is written for us in black and white, and other times we have to search for it.  It's almost like the ongoing battle of symbolism verses allegory.  An allegory, as Foster states, is when a symbol can be reduced to just one thing.  It's that cut and dry, black and white type of fixture. Symbolism, on the other hand, is open to interpretation.  It's what works for you.  That's kind of what a myth is.

In art history, we see a painting done by Artemisia Gentileschi called Judith Slaying Holofernes.  This is a biblical myth in which Judith sneaks into Holofernes tent and decapitates him.  Is it straight to the point?  Yes, I would have to say so.  But it also gives out that need to want to know  WHY.  I belive that is the point to myths, and why a lot of writers go back to them.  They leave the reader wanting to know that correlation between the two.  What was so special about this myth that the author felt the need to relate his character to it?  What is the real story behind the piece of literature/ art?  Myths add that sense of curiousity to the story, which therefore keeps the reader asking why.

 

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The Misfit finds a home in violence.

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"Why you're one of my babies.  You're one of my own children! She reached out and touched him on the shoulder.  The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest.  Then he put his gundown and on the ground and took off his glasses and began to clean them (O'Connor  22)"

I like this quote because for me, it was the part of the story that tugged at the strings to my heart.  It's that factor in a story that makes you go WHAT! I feel that it intercorrelates the violence, conflict, and turning point of the story.  The violences part is obvious.  As is the conflict.  The Misfit is in a state of rememberance as his listens to the grandmother.  Part of you wonders, is he going to change because of what she said, or will his true colors come out?  In fact, even after he shoots her, you still tend wonder if her words had some impact on him.

I think one of the most important parts of the quote is when he uses the snake reference.  His reaction reminded me of how a cobra would react when its scared or threatened.  It instinctively snaps, just as he did. Maybe The Misfit was scared of being loved.  Of being accepted.  Maybe that reference is the meaning behind the name.

 

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Today here, tomorrow not.

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"I wish there was nothing to teach about," states Dr. Rosen.

Tonight I attended a lecture by Dr. Alan Rosen, Professor of Holocaust / Jewish literature.. With his warm, humorous personality, he brought like to such a darkened topic. Upon walking in, I was handed a packet of poetry/ prose to which we later dissected and discussed.

One of the first questions that he asked us was what we thought literature was. Many people stated that literature exhumed realism through the usage of metaphors, similes, etc., while others stated that it was the beauty of language that allowed us to experience. Then, he defined what literature was to those in the Holocaust. It was an art, a way out. Normal symbols that we would view as death, were actually symbols of hope. For example, in I Lie in This Coffin, the coffin represents sanctuary rather than death. He symbolizes life, for in that moment of time, it protected him from the Gestapo. Other works that we looked into were Deathsfugue, Slain with Hunger, and Maus I and II.

Out of all of the literary works that we discussed, I would say that Deathsfugue was my favorite. Plus, it went along with today's lecture in class. The poem starts out "Black Milk of daybreak we drink it an evening..." I found it interesting that the author decided to start with an oxymoron. One that takes a nourishing, life giving source and then contrasts it with darkness. Even more interesting is the fact that there is no punctuation. I believe that its absence is because of the fast paced movement in the poem itself. There is so much happening in the scene, that maybe the author wanted you to focus sorely on what was happening, without missing a breath. Another example could also be that without the commas and exclamation points, one is focusing solely on the words at hand. Even though you don't see them, you still know when to shout, when to whisper. You feel the poem. Punctuation is a symbol for civilization. Without it, one just has discourse, which perfectly describes the era of the Holocaust

DEAR ENGLISH FANS...

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I don't know if you are all aware, but Seton Hill has formed an English Club this year! Our goals are to promote literacy, provide community service, engage in literature and inform others about what English has to offer.   But most importantly, we're looking for members :) 

Anyone that is interested, or has any questions/concerns can contact me via email or by leaving a comment on here!  Here are the minutes from the last meeting to give you an idea what we're all about!

2/6/08 Minutes

 Last meeting we tried to get as much done as possible, but we only had a few people show up.  We decided that on March 13 @ 7:30 in the new sully hangout, we are going to have our literature/poetry night.  We did receive a good response from faculty about participating in our event.  We plan on marketting our event by putting up flyers 2 weeks before the event, along with sending out a global email. We also planned the event with CareerWorks around Thursday, April 3rd, but we're still waiting to see what works best for them. 
 
 Our next meeting is Wednesday, 13th @ 8:30 in the Greensburg Room.  It's going to be a collaborative meeting with S.T.A.N.D. so we need as much input as we can get.  If you cannot attend the meeting, but are still interesting in helping out with our events, please email me and let me know.  On that same note, email me if you're planning to atttend :)
 
Any questions of concerns, just let me know :)
Hope to see you all there!!
Stephanie Wytovich, Secretary

 

The makings of a living, breathing story.

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"The crisis may be a recognition, a decision, or a resolution. The character understands what hasn't been seen before, or realizes what must be done, or finally decides to do it. It's when the worm turns. Timing is crucial. If the crisis occurs too early, readers will expect still another turning point. If it occurs too late, readers will get impatient--the character will seem rather thick. -Jerome Stern"

The tips on how to write a short story were really helpful to me. A lot of it seemed familiar from the chapter's I've read in Foster, but then again, a lot of it was new material/insight for me.  I particularly enjoyed the part about the turning point of a story.  I know that when I write, I normally start out with a very emotional event right in the beginning. This way, it gives the reader a dramatic, heart renching NEED to read the story, and also offers some details about the character, their life, and their emotional/physical/mental stability.  Plus, just as the quote says, it keeps them wanting more!  Timing really is important, if not more important than the setting/geography.

clickhere to see what others have posted on this material!

The protagonist never really had a chance

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I chose to write my entry on the protagonist.  Because even though they are supposed to be the good guys, more than often, I think they can share the title of the antagonist as well.

I've been reading Shakespeare and other playwrights for a little over five years now, and I'm starting to see a pattern in their writing.  The protagonists... yeah they never have a chance.  They either always start out with a troubling characteristic, such as pride or vanity, or end up with one.

My favorite example is Oedipus.  His inability to listen to others advice and moral perception ultimately lead to his suffering. He wasn't a bad guy persay, but his tragic flaw eventually caught up with him.  The only good thing that ever seems to come out of the protagonist is the revelation of his flaw and a good lesson for the readers.  Now obviously this isn't always the case, but I've noticed, especially in Elizabethean plays, that the protagonists typically live a rough life.

 

"In tragedy, the tone is serious, and often somber; the effect is to involve and strongly move the audience; and the outcome is disastrous for the protagonist and, often, also for those associated with him or her (Hamilton 4)."

 

click here.

Trifles: Everyone has them, but is murder the answer?

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"Then why can't I see him?" I asked her, out of patience. "'Cause he's dead," says she. "Dead?" says I. She just nodded her head, not getting a bit excited, but rockin' back and forth. "Why--where is he?" says I, not knowing what to say. She just pointed upstairs--like that (himself pointing to the room above). I got up, with the idea of going up there. I talked from there to here--then I says, "Why, what did he die of?" "He died of a rope around his neck," says she, and just went on pleatin' at her apron. Well, I went out and called Harry. I thought I might--need help. We went upstairs, and there he was lying'-- "

Talk about a suspect to murder!  Crazy old woman sitting there pleating her apron, easily talking about her husband's death?  Yay thats not suspious at all???  If you ask me, she has guilty written all over her face, and probably her apron.  It reminds me of Psycho.  Murder can always be traced back.

 

added 2/6/08

In class today, we had some pretty interesting conversations about this piece.  Even though we don't technically know if the wife killed her husband, (even though it seems pretty obvious) was she justified in doing so?  Personally, I think she was.  I'm not saying that people should go around killing each other if they don't like the way something is, but in her case, I think her choice was justifiable.  Supposedly, her husband was mean to her, outlandish in his behavior, and very committed to his job.  Chelsea pointed out that at that time it wasn't looked well upon by society if one left their husband, so in my opinion, that probably added to her decision.  It's kind of like The Scarlet Letter.  When they found out that she had gone against society's viewpoints, they shunned her.  Julianna then mentioned that when, and if, he killed her bird, that he was in essence killing her spirit.  Very good insight.  The woman was most likely lonely, seeing that her husband was married to his job, and therefore her bird was her window to sanity.  People do have their breaking points.  Maybe that was the last straw?

 

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It was a dark and stormy night.

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"He treats us to "a singularly dreary tract of country," to "a few rank sedges" and "white trunks of decayed trees," to "the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn," so that we're ready for the "bleak walls" of the house with its "vacant eye-like windows" and its "barely perceptible fissure" zigzagging its way down the wall right down to "the sullen waters of tarn."  Never perhaps have landscape and architecture and weather merged as neatly with mood and tone to set a story in motion (Foster 166)." 

 

I LOVE THIS QUOTE.  Honestly, writing would be nothing without the setting.  Your geography and placement build up the scene. It preps the reader for what's about to happen next.  In addition to that, it also explains the culture, dialect (slang), clothing, attitude etc.  We all know that when we read southern literature, we hear that definite slang.  William Faulkner was famous for that, especially in his piece "Barn Burning." Where the story takes place is such a crucial part of the development of a story, and I think that people overlook its relevance.

....

The girl walked down the dimly lit sidewalk, just as a layer of fog had began to wrap itself around her waist.  Get the drift?  Something bad is most likely going to happen if you're alone...especially if its dark and foggy.  I mean the girl has no chance.  How do we know this? Whether it's from common sense, or habit, it's all about placement.  All about the geography.

 

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The Rhythm of Melancholy Eyes

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"No matter how beautiful or brilliant a girl may be, the reputation of not being frequently cut in on makes her position at a dance unfortunate.”

This quote sounded so sad to me.  Speaking from a girl's point of view, there is nothing like watching other people dancing while your sitting in the corner.  It's a compliment to be asked to dance, and an even greater one if you're already dancing.  I mean how many movies have we watched were we fall in love with the wallflower protagonist, only to see her get hurt in the end.  Everyone needs a self esteem boost once in a while.  Even though something like this could/would be depressing to a girl, I don't think that she should have changed to suit others. 

Conformity is what's wrong with our world today. People are trying so hard to be something that they are not, and because of that, are losing their individuality. Take advertising for example.  How many times have we seen the overly thin model, wearing close to no clothing?  How many things have we been coaxed into buying because it's what society deems cool and fashionable. Fads are going to happen.  That's a fact.  But do we have to give into what other's think, say, and do just because its right?  Where would our diversity come from then? 

Angela makes a really good comment on conformity... clickhere to read more.

 

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The truth about vampires: its all about sex.

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"I think we'd be reasonable to conclude that the whole Count Dracula saga has an agenda to it beyond merely scaring us out of our wits, although scaring readers out of their wits is a noble enterprise and one that Stoker's novel accomplishes very nicely.  In fact, we might conclude it has something to do with sex (Foster 16)."

As we all know from class Friday, I'm a huge horror fiction fan.  Naturally, when I saw the third chapter's title (Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires) I knew my quote was coming from there! I thought that it was interesting because it identified vampires for who they really were, sex gods.  In any movie, novel, short story, etc. that I have read or watched, it always begins with the mysterious count leading the innocent girl into his lair to have his way with her.  It's always the same plot, because that's the normalcy of vampires.  What I never realized was that a vampire could be used as a metaphor in other stories.  If you think about it, whenever a man takes advantage of a woman, technically, you could draw the line of comparison to himself and a vampire.  Vampires don't necesarily mean fiction.  Sometimes they come to life.

 

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Testing out those vocal cords

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:)