October 2009 Archives

The Research Essay Review

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Wow this chapter was long and it covered so much stuff. At the same time, I felt a lot of it was review. For example, the strategy to look for a topic: "If you still cannot decide on a topic after rereading the words you have liked, then you should carry your search for a topic into your school library" (260).

Since I'm indecisive, this is the same strategy I take each time and I look for a long article or book. The bibliography section was like the bibliography exercise that we did and the online library services is like what we went over on Friday and in Intro to Lit last year.

The notecard idea was interesting and I remember using it in high school once, but it costs money and it's time consuming. It's easier today to copy/paste links, bibliographies, notes, and quotes onto Word and save it.

This information actually seemed so outdated to me that I checked the publication date. Most recent: 2006. Originally published: 1964. Maybe this section needs to be updated.


Poor Miss Brill

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She shouldn't have been eavesdropping, but still I feel for the lady. She'd just started thinking positively of herself. Unlike Mathilde in "The Necklace," I didn't get the feeling that Miss Brill was stuffed up or wanted to be prettier or more popular than everyone else. She was confident, but not conceited.

And then hero and heroine shattered her "theatre" world, not only because they pretty much said she wasn't an actress and was actually and old hag, but also because they weren't the beautiful hero and heroine. The boy seemed to be inconsiderate of the girl's boundaries and the way he spoke about Miss Brill wasn't gentelmanly at all. The girl, despite her protests, doesn't seem to the pure heroine and is also very rude.

Poor Miss Brill didn't even finish her routine/act/play by stopping at the baker's for her honeycake that sometimes had an almond in it, that was "like carying home a tiny present - a surprise" (351).


Explanation versus Depth

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Unlike the boat poem we read before, I understood John Keats's "On First Looking..." for the most part. I was still a bit lost in translation because I didn't know who Chapman was or why he was important or really about the controversy between the original greek (I think it is) and the English translation, but I still loved the poem.

I wanted to note that in chapter nine on page 141 there is a paragraph of information summarizing the poem. This summarization really helped, but I see how (with all the lost metaphors/similies) it loses its greatness and its depth.

This reminded me of the middle and high school books that we would read Shakespeare or other old works. On the left page was the original text (or older English translation) while the right page had notes that explained what a certain passage was saying or an old phrase/reference. The paragraph is Roberts reminded me of this. It's clarification, it's like Sparknotes, it's helpful (sometimes necessary), but not nearly as good.

I'm torn though between liking that old high school style where the answer/message was delivered alongside of story or the new college level of struggling through it, but getting more out of it.

If you had something similiar, which do you prefer? Do you think as college students it's our duty to decipher everything now? What about those still not skilled in the meanings of poetry?


Moving but inaccurate

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I love how the famous poem "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" by John Keats can be so moving, yet very wrong. Perhaps it was common at the time for someone to mix up Cortez and Vasco de Balboa. As a student in teh 21st century, I didn't even know it was wrong until I looked in the notes.

What struck me was that even though his information was wrong, it was still printed and reprinted. It is still talked about for it's great figures of speech and it didn't lose any of the meaning. Either he was already a really famous poet and nobody questioned him, it was an insignificant fact, or the poem was just so good that it didn't matter. Perhaps it was all three.

"Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes/He star'd at the Pacific - and all his men/Look'd at each other with a wild surmise" (141 line 11-13).


Shakespeare's Halloween

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This is a good example of using sound imagery. I could hear the overlapping cries because of the repetition, alliteration, and different uses of the expression of sorrow and darkness:

  • "sessions of sweet silent thought" (line one)
  • "And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste" (line 4)
  • "in death's dateless night" (line 6)
  • "And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe" (line 7)
  • "Then I can grieve and grievances" (9)
  • "woe to woe" (10)
  • "fore-bemoaned moan" (11)
  • "Which I new pay, as if not paid before" (12)

Really it reminded me of the Halloween spirit. Then came the couplet ending as usual in a Shakespearian sonnet that turned the whole feel around and said "It's not that bad" and "sorrows end" (line 14).


Bummer dude

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"No anonymous sources unless the story is of major importance to the community or the country. Anonymous sourcing should be extraordinary, not routine" (22).

I agree with the last part of this quote and even the first part, but at the Setonian we have such a small community that reads the paper that nothing will ever need to be anonymous.

In a class last year, I asked about anonymous quotes because I wanted to do something about drinking or a column about crazy things that happen at SHU. It was made clear that an article like this would not fly with the nuns/administration, we don't do gossipy/ask abby stuff, and we don't ever use anonymous quotes.

People I interviewed weren't willing to come forward though because they were afraid they would get in trouble, but it is these ideas, this popculture focus on sex, crime, drugs, and drinking that would bring more readers to the paper. Only we aren't allowed to put that in. Not in even in a column because of the audience we have now and because of need for anonymous sources.

So these guidelines may work for AP and The USA Today, but not the Setonian. However, I did like and think many of the other guidelines could apply, like saying "The USA Today has learned" and describing the source.


Want Pot? Get a prescription

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I thought this editorial, Questions about pot, was very intersting and written in such a way that I had a hard time telling the bias. It's from the Washington Post.com so I don't know if you have to be a member to see it, but it went over the recent ruling that people with a prescription for pot that get it filled legally can no longer be harassed by police.

The editorial was leading on that this is the first step towards legalizing marijuana, but more tests need to be made, more discussion hashed out, and FDA needs to approve. I won't share my opinion on legalizing pot, but this article did remind me (and I drew my own connection) that the effects of tobacco are just as harmful as pot (in different ways), yet it's legal.

I especially liked the ending though: "The medical marijuana controversy may be moot in the near future because of a drug known as Sativex, a spray mist approved for conditional use in Canada and the United Kingdom that delivers the active ingredients found in marijuana. If cleared by the FDA, patients will have some confidence that it is safe and effective."

I didn't know about this and no matter what side the person is taking a stand from, I think it is good that the writer included this fact because, if approved and effective, it should really destroy the debate on both sides.


Big Words

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So I read this before in sixth grade and I didn't know a lot of the words. I read it again and I was surprised that I still didn't understand many of the words and that was keeping me from knowing the meaning of parts of the story.

For example, I didn't know at the end what "finding the grave cerements and corpse-like mask...unentenated by any tangible form" (emphasis added 360). I figured from the combination of the prefix "un" and the word "tenant" to mean no one lived there, but I wasn't sure so I looked it up.

Unentenated = uninhabitated

Cerements = cloth the dead are wrapped in

This in combination with the description "from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse..." (359) led me to the conclusion that this intruder is a zombie that was killed by the Red Death and infected with the zombie gene/thingy and came back to eat/kill the last people alive.


Setting and Poe

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I really want to talk about Poe, though I already have in two other blogs, and I should save some of it for my presentation.

But I will say this: Poe's works are the best examples I know of that use setting as another character and use this new character to tell a story. The action in "The Masque of the Red Death" doesn't even start until nearly the last page!

Now onto something else though. I liked this quote: "Setting is often essential and vital in the story." Well duh! You can't have a story without some setting. I would like to try to write one though.


But Where's The Time?

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"An accurate context involves representing all sides of the story fairly and completely. Reporting draws on as many sources as may be necessary to accomplish this" 12.

But where is the time to do all of this? Maybe if this was your only story or only job. It would be a really great idea for articles appearing in our paper where we have more time to gather quotes, but in a paper that comes out everyday or an assignment for News Writing (like just this last one) it's hard to find sources that will respond in time and give you both sides.

I realized the night before the article was due that I didn't have any quotes opposing the Fake Hymen Kit or that were conservative. The farthest they went was saying it was wrong or attempting understand the conservative side, but not siding with it.


Analysis of Poe's "Masque of the Red Death"

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I chose to present on Poe because I like many of his works and I remembered reading "Masque of the Red Death" in sixth grade and it really scaring me. I wanted to revisit this and look closer at it to really appreciate all the levels of imagry, detail, and allusions. While rereading this short story, I realized I didn't know many of the words (and I still didn't know some: dictionary to the rescue) when I was younger and I lost some of meaning.

So this was going to be a very formal blog, but I found I'm overwhelmed with information and I don't know where to start.

From EBSCOhost, I found a couple of article: "Dead or Alive: The Booby-Trapped Narrator of Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" by David R. Dudley and "Poe's Use Of Macbeth in 'The Masque of The Red Death'" by K. Narayana Chandran.

I'm leaning towards the narrator one because I haven't read Macbeth in a long time. I wish I could find an article on the colors of the rooms, the number seven, or the levels of irony though. (But this is why we do the research before we write anything.)

I also found an interesting website called "The Poe Decoder" where I got some of the ideas below.

Prince Prospero - From Prospero, comes the idea "prosperity" which is not uncommon for a prince especially one that can afford a lavish party when half of his kingdom has already died, but this prince experiences the least prosperous things that could happen: death. He and the rest of his kingdom and friends die.

The seven rooms - The historical importance of the number seven stands out in the piece through the number and difference in the rooms. Seven could be used to remind readers of seven deadly sins, seven wonders of the earth, or the seven stages of life.

This last one seems to hold more weight because the color of each of the rooms are different and these colors also align with stages of life. Many times blue signifies birth and black is death. There is also the movement from east to west, from sunrise to sunset, life to death. The prince starts in the blue room and goes through to the black room chasing the Red Death. The red of the windows in the black room reflect the blood and death of the outside world and foreshadow the death that will take place in that room.

Clock imagery - Traditional idea of the clock representing life. Every time it starts up the dancers stop: perhaps waiting anxiously to see if will chime all the way through and life will continue. The dancers then are described as "dreams" that frozen when the bell chimes. The last time it chimes is with the life of the last standing man of the party.

The clock is also dark ebony like the room it is kept in. In Roberts, he hints that it (as part of the setting) is another character personified. It has lungs. It stands. It beats rhythmically like a heart.

A video here will start my presentation.

Not the End

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I find it interesting that the ending is left open at a sort of cliffhanger, but in such a way that a reader could stop there. We know the man and wife make it out alive and we've heard of the horrors of Auschwitz before. Even the mystery of Anja's diaries are solved. Still, the reader wants more. (So now I'm checking it out from the library.)

What's also weird is that Anja was always right. Did she have some other sense like Vladek did when he had that vision? Sure she was crazy and a little unstable, but when she wanted to keep her son and they gave him up, he was killed. If they'd kept him, would it have been different? She wanted to stay with Mrs. Motonowa, but Vladek wanted to go and they were sent to Auschwitz.

I'm sure Vladek eventually realized these things and was crazy from his wife's death and that's why he tried to get rid of their time/past.


Oh, I really like the part where Art realizes that his drawings of Vladek seem just like the racist stereotype. We talked about young and old Vladek's differences in class? I wonder what made him that way.

You're Such a Pig!

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MAUS I by Art Spiegelman has so many levels in such an easy to read book. Like Karyssa Blair says, "It helps me understand the events of the book in such a profound way, an understanding I don't think I would have from reading a straightforward history textbook. "

And for me even a historical fiction or literature book. I get really bored with so much text on historical events without pictures. History (with the exception of paleontology, some archeology, Native American, and other indigenous third-world people) does not interest me at all, but MAUS does something new.

The graphic art pulls me in and the language, themes, and symbols keep me wanting more. I know what happens (because it's historical), but I still want to know more despite the grandfather character saying no one will want to know of his life before the war. I actually think it makes him relatable. I'm sure we all will have/have had/or know someone with an obsessive significant other or someone with mental/emotional disorders.

The language also isn't filtered. It draws you in with the broken English and you can imagine the stereotypical accent alongside of it. The digressions about age and medical problems enhances the stereotype.

Then there is the type of animals. The timid/eaten/beaten Jews are mice and the ruthless killing Nazis are cats. (A game of cat and mouse.) The impartial nonjew is a pig. Why? Because unlike the Jews, the Polish could eat pigs so make them this animal. Did the Polish act like pigs? Or is it because in Jewish context the pig is close to humans in some way and is in some way sacred/should not be eaten?

Here the question is raised: Are the Polish pigs in a postive way or a negative way in the book? What characteristics do they hold?

Student Opinions 

WAL Portfolio 2

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Writing About Literature class is halfway done now. This portfolio will demonstrates the skills I have learned in class and out of class between the last portfolio and this one. This portfolio will also demonstrate the conversations/debates I have generated about the texts in depth and in brief. I will be putting up a a couple of blogs for each section that demonstrate these skills: Coverage, Depth, Interaction, Discussions, Timliness, Xenoblogging, and Wildcards.

To see the definition for these sections, see this blog of Dr. Jerz's. This is where you can see other students' portfolios.

Coverage - Recent to old, all the work I've done with exception of wildcards below

Depth - Longer work, goes in detail, little comments because of how informative

Interaction - where I commented/disagreed on my own blogs

Discussions - blogs that got many comments, productive discussion

Timeliness - posted early or blogs posted on time that got comments

Xenoblogging - my comments on other blogs. I did not split it up because I've been working on this blog all day and I'm exhausted. If you're interested, click the links and see which catergory it applies to.

Wildcard - blogs I spent more time on

Can you Imagine? Nope

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I actually disagree that "Cargoes" is a very good at visual imagery because, like I stated in my last blog, I don't know much about the bible or history and some of the references were lost on me. Also, the time it took to look up each meaning took me out of the poem. The people that he wrote it for probably didn't have this problem though.

The book I reviewed, I had read years ago, and it really stuck with me so much so that I didn't even know it had. Interesting fact about me: For a couple of years, I've had reoccurring dreams about my teeth falling out. Rereading this book, I found out that the girl in the story (during one of the horrifying scenes) has the same thing happen to her. It's been stuck in my head the whole time. So yea...the author did a really good job with visual imagery in "Dr. Franklin's Island".


Yay me!

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So I figured out a few things from this poem (I think) and that makes me happy because I thought I wasn't going to understand any of it. I don't know much about history or the Bible. So there was the repetition of "with a cargo of ___" and this cargo is what is precious to those people at that time.

I figure the three stanzas talk about three different ships going from oldest to newest and reflecting the obsession of the time. The first probably had to do with something that happened in biblical times and the last is during the Industrial Revolution (around the time this was written, right?).


Ruby in the Rough

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I was going to read a review about the book "The eyes of A King," but I couldn't find a lengthy review for it so I decided to search for the better-known "Breaking Dawn." Only I was also greeted with short blurbs because it came out a few years ago and "Twilight" was more widely known.

The book review by Elizabeth Spires was not only long enough, but it did the job very well. I read through the whole editorial without feeling bored. It was longer than the blurbs with more information, but it didn't spoil anything and left the reader wanting more. The review was concise and interestingly compared two books (finding similarities and differences) without making one seem less wanted/readable than the other: "Twilight" and "Enthusiasm".

Even though I don't like Jane Austen at all, this review made me want to read it to find this "romantic obsession" that is also in "Twilight" and to see how much of this story seems to be fanfiction from Jane Austen books or a parody like "Goodnight Desdemonda."

The reiwer seems to know a lot about the book and she gives more details about the book. It begins like a summary, but tells the action and the most popular parts like a news story. She also relates her childhood and the typical teenage years to these books. I have so much more to say about this review (in a postive way mostly), but I've already taken up too much space.

I wrote my book review on a not-so-popular book titled "dr. franklin's island" and the New York Times had a small blurb. "Ah, wouldn't you know, a mad scientist is on the other side of the tropical island where three teenagers are the only survivors of a plane crash. Dr. Franklin is looking for young people to use in his experiments in 'transgenic treatments.' Quite scary."

This books isn't quite as good or well-known as "Twilight" or "Harry Potter" but it's still an interesting piece of lit. It's hard to find information on it too. It's not a diamond, but it's not valueless.

News Essay

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So those words may seem contradictory, but not in an editorial. It's power is not just to inform, but to persuade. Presenting fact is just as important to opinion like in Dr. Klapak's examples about town hall meetings or the divide between Democrat and Republican in his CA 100 class. People get too wrapped up in emotion or half-facts. Where is the whole truth?

One thing I would like to see more (not just in the Setonian) is the opposing side's argument presented on the opposite side. We did this a lot in at Reservoir High and it sparked a lot of debate.

Also, presenting a change to make is better than just complaining. Like saying your dorm sucks because it's too cold, overcrowded, etc. Do you propose a plan or file a report with maintainence? Do you speak to RA's or bring it up at the next floor meeting? If not, stop complaining.

Elephant's Last Stand

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"That elephant had died too, the same evening, the one who painted watercolors. Her keepsers had shipped her to Phoenix and bred her there, and her unborn had slipped out of her womb into her abdomen, rupturing the uterine wall. They hadn't let her paint during her pregnancy because they wanted her to focus on raising a calf, they'd denied her paints, brushes, the artist's life" (297-8).

And in the last chapter the elephant appears again, but it isn't wild. It's a "civilized" elephant that dies like many of the elephants in this book. She dies because her keepers wanted her to have a baby. The unwanted baby kills her and, at the same time, she is kept from her passion of painting.

Before she died, the keepers didn't recognize her similarities, her desire to do something else, but when she died they apologized continuously.

To learn more about the elephant in "The Quick and the Dead" visit Carissa's blog.


Newswriting Portfolio Dos

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News Writing class is halfway done now. This portfolio will demonstrates the skills I have learned in class and out of class between the last portfolio and this one. This portfolio will also demonstrate the conversations/debates I have generated about the texts in depth and in brief. I will be putting up a a couple of blogs for each section that demonstrate these skills: Coverage, Depth, Interaction, Discussions, Timliness, Xenoblogging, and Wildcards.

To see the definition for these sections, see this blog of Dr. Jerz's. This is where you can see other students' portfolios.

Coverage - Recent to old, all the work I've done with exception of wildcards below

Depth - Longer work, goes in detail, little comments because of how informative

Interaction - where I commented/disagreed on my own blogs. I didn't get many this time because I didn't really get any comments. Discussions - Blogs that got many comments, productive discussion. Well I didn't get many comments so I' just combining the two here.

Timeliness - Posted early and got comments

Xenoblogging - my comments on other blogs. I did not split it up because I've been working on this blog all day and I'm exhausted. If you're interested, click the links and see which catergory it applies to.

Wildcard - an extra blog I did about Dr. Boyle's interview and a blog I updated constantly.

I also wrote two blogs for one assignment on Chapter 6 and 8

1-D Characters

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Minor characters are supposed to be flat, but these characters (in middle section of "The Quick and The Dead") seem to flatter than normal. They just show up for an action or anecdote and then they are gone for the rest of the book (I assume) or section. Corvus's neighbor that kills the dog is one example. In (normal? real?) stories, minor characters may remain flat, but they remain in the story for extended periods or they are at least reflected on.

In my research for the paper, I read something that attempted to example this unusual flatness. About Williams's book/writing style from a book review, "She rashly introduces and discards minor characters to illuminate points that are relevant but marginal and therefore jarring. However, many readers would be willing to sacrifice [what] we expect from literature for access to the conceptual acrobatics. Life and death are not neat, confinable topics...[the] form has to bend a little bit for Williams' mind to spill onto the page."


From Breaking to Bland

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These news articles are from Washington Post (.com):

Police Seek Man in Silver Spring Bank Robbery Attempt - I found this from the Examiner and I think it is the same type of article. I also found these about the arrest. I guess because they aren't AP style recommended the Washington Post can't use them.

Man Shot to Death in Northeast Washington

These breaking articles are all short and to the point (like they should be). One has pictures and another has a map of the crime because both are unsolved/without arrests (I think). At the end of the article, they also asked for more information to be sent to specific departments. An update, but not from the Washington Post.

Suspect in Death of Woman Found in Manhole Dies This is actually a follow-up article to one printed the same day titled "Body Found in Manhole Leads to Charges in Case" written by:

By Liz F. Kay and Justin Fenton
The Baltimore Sun
Tuesday, October 6, 200

(I didn't link this article because you have to be a Washington Post member to see it anyway). This follow-up article was actually posted as breaking news and in the center of the article it linked to the related articles. The "Suspect in Death" article is actually written by the AP though so I'm continuing my search.


Plot or not?

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Is there a plot to this book? I see that there is some close reading that can be done here like comparing the west to death or survival. The books constantly returns to these places or this scenery if the comparison isn't already obvious enough. "Everything was saw-edged and spiny-pointed. Everything was defensive and fierce and determined to live" (12).

But where is the plot? Or is this all commentary? I want to use the plot to make sense of the comparison, running metaphor, and assist in my close reading, but I just don't know what plot structure this book follows (if there is one at all). And the order is all messed up. Is this book chronological? The narrator seems all over the place and unreliable. I can't tell where the flashbacks are or maybe there aren't any.


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