January 31, 2007

The Lowe/Maura Hallway

Has anyone ever actually sat and observed the steady stream of people that come through this section of the hall. This evening as I sat in the SHGA Office (Lowe 113) I couldn't help but realize that there is a steady stream of people through there at all times. It could come at a trickle or at a flood sometimes, but there are always people there. Some are loud, some are completely silent sneaking up on you while you are looking at the screen, others sing to themselves, and any other combination that you can possibly think about.

It is the congregating place for all of campus to meet. People meet at the DSA desk or just on the threshold of Lowe/Maura. They carry on conversations in the middle of the hallway careless of what the people in the offices might be doing. Suddenly, I have a whole new appriciation for the people to whom this hallway belongs as an office location. It is amazing that anything gets done.

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January 30, 2007

Quick Change

Hi, everyone. This is Karissa on Tiffany's blog... I'm in here to change things around again, by request of my dear Tiff.

You'll notice some things moving around and colors changing, but don't be alarmed. I did all of what you see here in less than 20 minutes. Things will clear, leaving Tiffany with a lovely professional looking blog. :)

Until then, disregard any obscurities you may find.


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January 29, 2007

That's such a meiosis!

Meiosis = understatement...who knew! I have a friend that tends to describe things as being an understatement all the time. As I was flipping through the glossary, I noticed the word understatement in italics listed next to the word meiosis. I never knew that this word exsisted! I have recently been finding that many of the words that I use on a daily basis have a word that is much bigger and more technical sounding than the word that I use. I'm not sure that I like these realizations. I think that this comes from the fact that I'm studying to be an elementary school teacher where things need to be said with as much simplicity as possible. I tend to use vocabulary that the everyday Joe uses, not the vocabulary one expects a soon to be college graduate to use. Does anyone else find this to be the case? Now, there are the occasional periods where I will slip into an explaination of something at home to my younger brother (he is 16) and he will give me this look and need to remind me that he is still in high school. Then politely tells me that he has no idea what I just said, but still on average I feel like I continuously find words that are bigger and wonder why not just use the simpler version. Something to think about for sure.

Murfin and Ray, Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

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I can not believe the incredible feelings of foreshadow I have while reading this story. Melville does an incredible job at having hte reader second-guess everything that is going on by having Captian Delano continually think that something is occuring and then deciding that it is a trick of his mind. For instance, on page 501 Delano has feelings of "ghostly dread of Don Benito" and then on page 502 he "began to laugh at his former forebodings." However, on page 503 Delano's feelings return when the narrator describes them as being "Under a new form, but more obscure than any previous one...with less of panic than before."

Melville, ''Benito Cereno'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Now I know that these thoughts are not exactly a single quote to be discussed, but it is a feeling that I had throughout my reading of the story. For me, foreshadowing is key to keeping the reader invovled in the story and I believe that Melville has done that in spades. However, I think that there is such a thing as too much foreshadowing. The continuous back and forth between what Delano is feeling while on Benito's ship sends me reeling. I was always taught that when foreshadowing is glaringly obvious that it can be ineffective and that is should be more subtle. I can't decide if what Melville is doing here is ineffective or not. The presence of the on going battle for Delano to either take over command of the ship versus his feelings that something is just not quite right aboard the San Dominick assuredly keep me reading, however why doesn't he just follow his inital instinct and demand answers?

While I know the feelings of foreshadowing I had were wrong (I thought that they meant Delano was going to die) the fact remains that they did induce that something was wrong aboard the ship. I think that the use of the device was used well by Melville and that it was very effectively laid out. I know that it took awhile to get to the point of fruition, but I think that is part of the foreshadowing aspect. I know for me when I feel like something is just not right everything feels like it has been thrown into slow motion. So good job Melville! Great use of Foreshadow!

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January 28, 2007

Emotion needs to be held in check when it comes to poetry

After making a scientific analogy between the mixing of elements and the mind of the poet, Elliot states:

The mind of the poet is the shred of platinum. It may partly or exclusively operate upon the experience of the man himself; but, the more perfect the artist, the more completely spearate in him will be the man who suffers and the mind which creates; the more perfectly will the mind digest and transmute the passions which are its material.

I found this quote important because it is something that I trouble with myself. I tend to feel and write what I feel before I separate myself from the illogical emotional state into the logical rational state.

Elliot, ''Tradition and the Individual Talent'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Elliot argues that he does not think emotion is bad, but that when a poet uses emotion to drive a piece of work there is something missing. As I look back on poetry that I have written I begin to understand what he is saying. Often I turn loose a rampage of emotion be it anger, saddness, or joy on my unsuspecting reader. I'm sure if one looks back in the archives of my blog entries he or she could find a poem that is of this nature. I never understood that my poetry would probably be better if I lassoed my emotions, corralled them, and then trained them that I would probably be able to reach much more of an audience than I currently am. (Please excuse the bad equestrian analogy, my cousin is in the background talking about her lesson today.) Now we are all emotional. It happens. I think that Elliot gets that, but his encouragement to not let a personal issue get in the way of writing is sound advice. The question I now ask myself is if I did separate myself from my emotion before I wrote a piece would I feel like that piece is still worth writing?

Another interesting point that I think Elliot makes is that oftentimes poets are trying to find and create new emotions than the ones that are currently available. I'm not sure what he means when he states that when one is searching for this new emotion they find the "perverse," but why can't one attempt to break out of the mold and try something new? No offense to Elliot, but right on to those that are trying this. I know that people tend to write about love because everyone feels it at one point or another (I'm guilty on this account) and I know that people write about anger a lot because it helps to vent the emotion (I'm also hugely guilty of this one), but if someone could find a different way of expressing an emotion that might not be tapped yet sign me up to learn how. I would love to read about something different for a change or even write about a different emotion.

Anyway. Back to the quote that began my entry. By using life experiences to create the poem, but by almost stepping out of the emotional aspect of the experiance, the experianced poet is able to record better the emotion of the poem. I think that I will make this a new goal for myself to strive and accomplish.

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Can we really define literature?

This article really struck a cord with me because a few of my friends and I have recently had a discussion about just this. What exactly is literature? How can we define what it is? The following quote from our reading really stood out to me.

If it will not do to see literature as an 'objective', descriptive categor, neither will it do to say that literature is just what people whimsically choose to call literature. For there is nothing at all whimsical about such kinds of value-judegement: they have their roots in deeper structures of belief which are as apparently unshakeable as the Empire State building.

Eagleton, ''Introduction: What is Literature?'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

As I was reading the article I couldn't help but think of that conversation that Diana, Athena, and I had over dinner last week. We live in a day in age that is flooded with popular culture writing such as the Harry Potter novels and the writings of Clive Cussler, to name a few. The conversation basically came down to are Rowling and Cussler any better at writing than Poe or Dickens? We couldn't settle on an answer at all. It all depended on our personal views of what we call literature. I think that they are all literature in their own ways. Poe and Dickens are writers of literture that is classic to our day in age, but who is to say that the writings of Rowling and Cussler aren't going to be the classic literature that people read when they are discussing the period that we are currently living in?

I think that this is part of the problem that Eagleton was having when trying to pin down what literature is. It is almost impossible to make a solid, singular definition because it is all arbitrary depending on how you are reading the words on a page. I loved his analogy of a drunk reading the sign in the London subway. That drunk broke down the words on the sign word by word and read more into it than it actually was, but isn't that exactly what we do when breaking apart a passage for better understanding or to try and find meaning in any piece of literature.

Another problem that one has when trying to define literature is that writing is always changing. Authors are constantly finding new ways to grab an audience and in doing so create new genres of writing. Is it then wrong to say that these new ways of writing are not to be considered literature? As one can see by reading this entry this is a subject that continues to baffle me even though I have studied it since I came to Seton Hill. I'll be interested in seeing what everyone has to say about this article.

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The beginnings of a critic

After reading the introduction to one of our assigned texts, Contexts for Criticism, by Keesey I have decided that the last line of his introduction is the most valuable to myself. He states, "becasue to read at all is to read from one or another of these perspectives, the informed reader should at least know which he or she has chosen, and why."

Keesey, General Introduction -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

The introduction to the main book that we will be using in class was eye opening. In all of the classes I have taken here at SHU, I never realized that there were so many different ways to critize a piece of literature. I have participated in many discussions not realzing that I was more than likely conversing in one of these categories of criticism. I chose the above quote for a few reasons. The first of which is that I don't know which form of criticism will work best for me. I think that it will be very interesting to see what does work best for me. Secondly, I agree with Keesey when he says that we need to be aware of what we have chosen and why that works best for us as writers. Now that I know I have probably been writing my papers with a certain perspective the whole time I have been here at SHU, I feel like I am missing something in myself for not knowing what that something is. I

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