AndrewAdams: February 2009 Archives

Red

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I thought it was interesting how any person trying to unionize the workers they are called "red". For example,

"The contractor turned back to the men. "You fellas don't want ta listen to these goddamn reds. Troublemakers--they'll get you in trouble"" (264).

Red to me always means communism, the red scare and all that, so calling these people red is basically calling them communists. These individuals were feared as radicals who wanted everyone to receive a fair amount from some authority. I never thought that the struggle of the workers, or the Joad family themselves would be compared to communism. Also, the act of "blacklisting" someone was something that also happened during the red scare. I just barely noticed this little fact and thought it was interesting.

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One Story? C'mon

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While it is apparent from my other blogs that I am not a fan of this book, the Interlude was always my least favorite part. There was actually a running joke in our AP English class about this. The point originally is a good one, that every person is part of an ever continuing "story". Every written word and every action we take is part of the grand history of the universe, which seems pretty cool. I find fault with a different point though. On page 187 Foster writes "On one level, everyone who writes anything knows that pure originality is impossible. Everywhere you look, the ground is already camped on. So you sigh and pitch your tent where you can, knowing someone else has been there before." This type of thinking to me just seems ludicrous. While it is true that many great stories are based off of other things, saying that nothing is original anymore is something I just cannot agree with.  Also on page 187 he goes on to say that "...the work actually acquires depth and resonance from the echoes and chimes it sets up with prior texts, weight from the accumulated use of certain basic patterns and tendencies." So all we are reading now is a bunch of well placed textual patterns based off of other stories?

This is one point I could and most likely will never agree with. If this was true then you could apply this thinking to pretty much everything. Instead of living in the here and now we would all just be wondering who said what first instead of caring what is being said.

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Okie tendencies

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(I have a different copy of the book than most, so the pages will probably be off)
 
I enjoy how Steinbeck really gives the feeling that the characters in the book could be real people. They just have some tendencies that seem just too fitting to have been made up. An example of this is on page 25, when Tom is asked if his Pa wrote to him, he says "Well, Pa wasn't no hand to write for pretty, or to write for writin'. He'd sign up his name as nice as anybody, an' lick his pencil. But Pa never did write no letters. He always says what he couldn' tell a fella with his mouth wasn't worth leanin' on no pencil about." This type of behavior to me is stupid, if you're going to be leaving and your son was in jail and could potentially never find you, I don't know why you wouldn't write a letter. However, through the dialogue so far and by the atmosphere that the characters have, it isn't a stretch to imagine this happeneing. I wonder if it actually borders on the edge of being too stereotypical?

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Politics in writing

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I enjoy Foster's take on some political writing. He says that "political writing I personally dislike is programmatic, pushing a single cause or concern or party position, or it's tied into a highly topical situation that doesn't transfer well out of its own specific time and place" (110).  I personally cannot stand politics, because to me I do not think I can trust much of what I read or see. From what I have seen most of this type of material is based heavily of misleading statistics and slandering the other side of the argument. However, placing political messages into novels helps to show the author's point through a structured world, but generally does not overload the reader. My favorite book is Catch 22. This book strikes out at the leaders of the military and shows, through much exageration, how ridiculous leaders can be. I feel this book points out the flaws of those in power much greater than a straightforward bashing of certain individuals could. Plus, it is timeless.

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Hot Dog!

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My favorite thing about this play is that the constant use of repetition throughout the play gives the dialogue an almost musical nature. This was obviously the author's intent, because on page xi under "The Hope" it says that the production will hopefully "have 'style,'" through "...the excitement of its sounds". The opening scene seems like an elaborate song created from the various dialogues of the individual workers, capped off with my favorite line "Hot dog." Here is an example, (page 3)

STENOGRAPHER. She's late again, huh?
TELEPHONE GIRL. Out with her sweetie last night, huh?
FILING CLERK. Hot dog.
ADDING CLERK. She ain't got a sweetie.
STENOGRAPHER. How do you know?
ADDING CLERK. I know.
FILING CLERK. Hot dog.
(As a side note this page alone says Hot dog. 4 times)

While none of this is that important to the story in general, it made the play flow nicely for me, and brought the unimportant characters more to life.  Sophie Treadwell, at least to me, has created a musical with no singing.

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Greek

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Through much rambling and failed attempts at humor, Foster does point out something that seemed to have fallen to the back of my mind. Myths to me were always heroic tales about old adventurers, but always seemed to have a moral. I found it strange how these could have this kind of effect on me, because they had nothing to do with me. It's only logical that people would then find a way to relate this to life as it exists now. One example of this is given on page 72, and it reads "Indiana Jones may look like pure Hollywood, but the intrepid searcher after fabulous treasure goes back to Apollonius and The Argonautica, the story of Jason and the Argonauts." It's interesting to think that so much in today's society still comes from a time that is so far gone.

Quick Rebeginnings

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I was surprised by just how quickly Gatsby and Daisy reunited their relationship. For how nervous Gatsby seemed and how controlling Tom seems I did not think Daisy would just completely fall for him instantly. The way the story went it seemed inevitable that something would happen between the two of them, but not at the pace at which it did. I honestly envisioned most of the rest of the book to be Gatsby trying to convince Daisy to come back to him and eventually have a dramatic standoff between him and Tom before anything happened between the two of them. Only a half an hour after they first see each other again, on page 89, Nick enters the room by "making every possible noise in the kitchen, short of pushing over the stove--but I don't believe they heard a sound. They were sitting at either end of the couch, looking at each other as if some question had been asked, or was in the air, an every vestige of embarrassment was gone. Daisy's face was smeared with tears, and when I came in she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before a mirror." This quick rekindling just struck me at first as shocking.

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