January 2009 Archives

Fake it Till Ya Make it

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"She used to sit on the sand with his head in her lap by the hour, rubbing her fingers over his eyes and looking at him with unfathomable delight." (Fitzgerald 77)

 

            To onlookers it would seem by this quote alone that Daisy was madly in love with Tom Buchanan and deliriously happy to his wife. This is because they did not witness the drunken hysterical scene Daisy had made in her room the day before, "she married Tom Buchanan without so much as a shiver, and started off on a three months' trip to the South Seas" (Fitzgerald 76). As a read the description of Daisy "looking at him with unfathomable delight," (Fitzgerald 77) I could not help but to feel like she was forcing herself to love him and be happy. He had money, stability, and love for her, but she did not truly love him! This I feel is only the beginning of Daisy "faking" love, happiness, or desire to improve her own life without real consideration for those around her who aren't "faking it."

 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL267/2009/02/fitzgerald_the_great_gatsby/ 

Reality Check

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"Now the only reason to give a character a serious hang-up is to give him the chance to get over it. He may fail, but he gets the chance." (Foster 10)

 

            If only fiction were reality! If only God (or whatever creator in which you choose to believe) created men and women with faults with the knowledge that they will have the opportunity to overcome them and grow into better people. Some are lucky, like fictional characters, and they are granted the chance to conquer their weaknesses. Many, however, remain flawed. Racism, for example, continues to rage in the United States today even though many Americans refuse to recognize it as a cultural and social issue. In such a case, people who are brought up with racist views rarely have the opportunity for a "fairy tale ending." Foster's other claims at fictional simplicity in the first three chapters of How to Read Literature Like a Professor like "The real reason for a quest never involves the stated reason. In fact, more often than not, the quester fails at the stated task" (Foster 3) are disheartening and attempt to turn the art and mystery of writing fiction into a type of paint by numbers! Yes, his generalities may simplify the interpretation of literature, but the ambiguity is gone.

 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL267/2009/02/foster_how_to_read_literature/

Slow Surrender

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"...there may be two or three

Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.

But I am done with apple-picking now."

"After Apple Picking" by Robert Frost

 

            As I crossed the stage in front of friends and family to receive my high school diploma, memories of football games, parties, and our senior prank danced across my mind, but they were thrown out of rhythm by the games I didn't go to, the parties I didn't attend, and the other opportunities I had turned down in the last four years. This memory struck me only because I interpreted Frost's "apples" as symbolizing his own opportunities and those left on the branch are ones he missed out on. Being mere mortals, it's impossible to take every opportunity with which we are presented, but the narrator's surrender that is evident in "But I am done with apple-picking now" is somewhat annoying. New and exciting opportunities don't simply stop existing as one ages, and to stop "apple-picking" is like making a conscious decision to stop enjoying life. The apples I hadn't picked haunted me during the most important event of my life so far, but I don't ever plan on quitting "apple-picking" because it is adventure and excitement that make life worth living!

 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL267/2009/02/frost_after_apple_picking/

Putting Idealism in its Place

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"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,"

"Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost

 

            The feelings of longing and stark realization in these two lines struck me as a turning point in "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. The narrator seems entranced and even enthralled with beauty of the snow-covered forest around him until he realizes he cannot stay. Who among us has not experienced that same impression of yearning and regret? I know I have! Before we moved to the United States, we would come here on vacation and I would wonder at all the "American things" I had not experienced. Boarding the plane to go home was like a punch in the stomach because I knew that no matter how many day dreams I had, we weren't moving to the U.S. anytime soon. This shared sense of realism (and I'm sure we all have our own examples) gave me a sense of camaraderie with the narrator and an emotional attachment to Frost's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening."

 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL267/2009/02/frost_selections_1/

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