March 2008 Archives

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Get it now!  BOGO blog entries.  But guess what else!?  It's a double coupon day.  You are entitled to one free blog entry!  It's your lucky day!  These two entries are from Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

1)  "Done knowingly by an established writer, the comma splice is effective, poetic, dashing...Done ignoranyly by ignorant people,it is awful" (88).

   When I read this, it made me a bit perturbed.  How is it acceptable to let a grammatically savvy person misuse something they have a master of?  How is that at all "dashing?"  If you have the knowledge, use it!  And could she have not picked another word besides ignorant?  I am so excited it's April Fool's Day; Excitement is coursing through my excited veins and I am so excited to pull more pranks on people!  Does this sound good?  NO!  Take note Truss...

2)  "In each of the following examples, incidentally, can't you hear a delighted, satisfied "Yes!" where the colon comes?...Tom has only one rule in life: never eat anything bigger than your own head" (118).

   Do you hear the yes?  I don't!  In fact, I hear a "No!" which is an immediate response to Truss's example.  The first example I understood: "This much is clear, Watson: it was the baying of an enormous hound."  To be completely honest though, the "Yes!" and "Ah" strategies really didn't help me at all.  I had a really difficult time trying to understand the colon and semicolon sections. 

   Even though I do complain about Truss, I want to make sure it is known that I do, in fact, like the book, and I am getting something out of it.  Sometimes I just need to vent and bring up questions that I want responses to.  Because I feel bad about cutting up on Truss, I'll even add a third quote because I thought that it was a great analogy.  When I read this I just thought, "Yes!  Now this is good writing!"

3)  "On the page, punctuation performs its grammatical function, but in the mind of the reader it does more than that.  It tells the reader how to hum the tune" (71).

   Imagining the words and punctuation as a song lifts the writing off of the page!  What a great image!

Trusst me. You WANT to read this!

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This entry is another Double Feature so hold on to your socks people, you're in for a wild ride!  These quotes are from Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves.


    a) "I hope that by now you are already feeling sorry for the apostrophe" (46).

    b) "Of course it should be St Thomas's Hospital.  Of Course it should.  The trouble is that institutions, towns, colleges, families, companies and brands have authority over their own spelling and punctiuation (which is often historic), and there is absolutely nothing we can do except raise an eyebrow and make a mental note" (58).

First, I have to blow off some steam.  I have to admit, while reading this I had many random outburst of "Oh my gosh!  It's really not that big a deal!"  I'm not saying that I don't think grammar is important, I do, but there are some people in the world who aren't taught extensive grammar skills.  I seriously have not been taught grammar since like 5th grade.  Yes, I have received some instruction but my teachers have not really gone into depth with it.  I think that each teacher thought that we just knew so they only did a brief overview.  Teachers also know that students do not really like learning grammar and terms so some just don't teach it.  I will admit, it's boring!  Quote "a" along with some other outrageous and over-dramatic quotes stuck out to me.  My reaction to Truss's above comment was "Hardly.  An apostrophe is an inanimate object woman!"  I chose quote "b" because she contridicts herself really.  She said above that grammar books can't make up their minds about whether it is really "Keats' poems" or "Keats's poems" but then she says she's bothered by when people misuse it.  Obviously, all the grammar people need to get together and decide what the heck we should do and here's a hard concept, STICK TO IT!  Honestly, Truss needs to get over herself and maybe she would enjoy life a little more.

Ok...I feel better now that that's off my chest!  Time to move on to my next quote.


"Elton John, a friend of the Beckhams', said last night...I mean to say, why do those sweet little Beckhams need to possess Elton John twice?" (60).

I never thought of this and it is a good point.  I did not know that you could make something possessive twice and I really like her explanation and motivation to look it up when she did not know what the rule was.  "A friend of me" completely sounds stupid, "A friend of mine" is definately correct.  Even though Truss makes me angry, she does know what she is talking about.


Small tangent for Dr. Jerz or anyone who might know off hand, is it really acceptable to leave the period off of Dr.?  If so, I missed the notice.  If you check out this site, it says it is ok but I don't believe it!

These few lines reflect Mrs. McIntyre's character in Flannery O'Connor's The Displaced Person:

"Then she stood a while longer, reflecting, her unseeing eyes directly in front of the peacock's tail...She might have been looking at a map of the universe but she didn't notice it any more than she did the spots of sky that cracked the dull green of the tree" (204).

If you didn't notice, Mrs. McIntyre's character was riddled with faults.  Her worst fault was her inability to see what was right in front of her.  She did not appreciate what she had until it was gone.  She enjoyed having Mrs. Shortley around but did not notice this until after she fired her husband and they were long gone.  She betrayed her best friend. (Keep this in mind for later.)  She hypocritically on page 224 makes comments about how her slave help is so wrapped up in money.  She could also not see the beauty in the peafowl in her possession.  With each husband, her peafowl (the correct term for the species of bird.  Peacock being the male and peahen being the female. fyi) disappeared along with her ability to see the beauty in life.  Her priorities are all messed up and she can't figure out which way is up.  She can give good advice to others but does not follow it.

I have the feeling that O'Connor's Mrs. McIntyre is supposed to represent humanity.  Mr. Guizac is the clearest Christ-like figure we have read in O'Connor's collection.  He does no wrong and yet he is disliked.  With Easter and all coming up I'll relate it to that.  Mr. Guizac's first days and arrival are like Palm Sunday.  He is worshipped by Mrs. McIntyre (the people) and she loves him but slowly her affection towards him turns to dislike and disappointment.  Eventually, she decided to put him out in the cold like she did to the Shortleys.  The day he was run over was like Good Friday because he was sacrificed without doing any wrong.  He did not mean to cause harm to the Shortley family.  There is no resurrection and as O'Connor often does, the story ends glumly with Mrs. McIntyre becoming an invalid.  Here O'Connor notes once again Mrs. McIntyre's eyesight, which "grew steadily worse" (252).

An interesting side note.  I looked up the surname McIntyre.  I have found that O'Connor usually picks names with meanings.  I found that one of the many meanings is son of a carpenter.  Jesus=carpenter, McIntyre=humanity.  It works perfectly.  O'Connor never ceases to amaze me.  It could be a coincidence but I think not!

Let me start off by saying that I was completely torn between a number of quotes and images.  This was a GREAT story!  It just may be the best Flannery O'Connor piece we have read yet!

"Mrs. Hopewell had no bad qualities of her own but she was able to use other people's in such a constructive way that she never left the lack...Nothing is perfect" (Good Country People 169).

   There are so many things to point out about this passage.  The first thing is that nobody in Flannery O'Connor's stories is perfect.  The line "nothing is perfect" seems to reflect her own beliefs.  O'Connor turns even the most optimistic of times into dismal scenes.  Remember the scene with the family all going on a vacation in A Good Man Is Hard to Find?  Yes, the family is dysfunctional, but what family isn't?  They are off on a nice little trip and BAM!, just like that, the scene shifts from the comedic yet still peaceful scene to a dramatic suspense.  Nothing is perfect and many things aren't as they seem in life and especially while reading O'Connor.  Even though "Mrs. Hopewell had no bad qualities of her own" she is far from perfect and in fact, she does have a few bad qualities.  She is not accepting of her own daughter.  She seems so tactful to others yet to her own daughter she does not have the same kind of understanding.  She said to Joy/Hulga, "If you can't come pleasantly, I don't want you at all" (171). This is a harsh statement coming from such a seemingly nice lady.  The truth is, Mrs. Hopewell has not accepted her daughter's imperfections and seems to pick on her whenever she gets the chance. The statement “I don’t want you at all” seems to reflect her dislike of her own daughter.  It is her way of snidely telling Hulga she does not really want her or like her.   Mrs. Hopewell also has a problem with her daughter's Ph.D.  Mrs. Hopewell is upset because she can't brag and say, "'My daughter is a nurse," or 'My daughter is a school teacher,' or even 'My daughter is a chemical engineer.'"  She goes on to say that you can't call Hulga a philosopher because that ended with the Greeks.  Why doesn't she just day her daughter has a Ph.D. in philosophy?  That's still impressive.  She doesn't need a specific title.  This shows her ignorance and pride.  So, in conclusion, with O'Connor in general and this quote specifically nothing is as it seems and "Nothing is perfect."



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This has been taken from Hamilton's Essential Literary Terms:

"A flat character, also called a two-dimensional character, is more a type than an individual, and stays essentially the same throughout the work...A round, or three-dimensional, character, in contrast, is multifaceted and subject to change and growth."

I thought of Hamlet when I read this.  I would consider Ophelia more of a flat character.  From the beginning, she is weak and stupid.  Hamlet drops hints for her that he still loves her but she is not smart enough to catch on.  She is also very dependant.  She depends on her father for direction as well as Hamlet.  She seems to not know how to care for herself.  This could be why she drowns herself when she thinks Hamlet wants nothing to do with her.  Hamlet, of course, is a round character.  He is very three-dimensional.  He starts off mourning.  He evolves into a vengeful person.  He also changes from a clever boy who feigns insanity to a boy he is possibly insane.  We are let inside Hamlet's head which I believe attributes to his three-dimensional appearance. 

Teacher for a Day

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"On one level the story's title refers to the words of a popular song 'A good man is hard to find/ You always get the other kind'  But on another level it also suggests Christ's rebuke to Peter when Peter tried to call him good, and Jesus responded that no one should be called good (Mark 10:18)" (Desmond).

   This line as well as many others do not seem to go along with the thesis of violence, surface action vs. depth and complexities.  Is it just me or does this paper almost seem to lack focus?  This person proves points although I am not entirely sure they are the same points he started out proving.  I'm done being teacher for a day.

Am I Missing Something?

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"She gazed with stony unrecognition at the face that confronted her in the dark yellow-spotted mirror ever the table" (A Stroke of Good Fortune O'Connor pg 63).

   When I read it, I could not help but think of Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor because somewhere in the book (I looked but could not find it) it mentions that looking into a mirror is always self inspection.  Here, Ruby is looking at herself and realizing how old she looked and felt at the ripe old age of thirty-four.  She knows she shouldn't look and feel this old but then later she compares herself to her mother and realizes that she looks better than her mother looked at her age.  This family must have some bad genes because at thirty-four, you should still look and feel pretty good.  She should not look withered at all and unlike her mother, O'Connor never really gives a reason for Ruby looking as old as she does.  She does talk about the mother's children taking a lot out of her.  This scene kind of makes me laugh and think of Borat the movie.  His mom is in her early 40s but she looks like 80.  Obviously, this woman isn't that old in real life but it helped me imagine Ruby's character. 

   Here's where I admit that I did not like this story that much.  Compared to A Good Man is Hard to FindThe River, and The Life You Save May Be Your Own this story did not really stick out.  The other stories had a surprising element to them, this one, not so much.  Am I missing something?  The man Mr. Jerger reminded me of Dr. Jerz because the similarity in names. haha

Lemire can give good advice

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"Regardless of your major, however, remember: Your major is not you" (Lemire I's an English Major-Now What? 183)


   This made me think of the saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."  We should not become so wrapped up in our work that we become our job.  A JOB, by my definition, is something that you do in order to make money that you may or may not enjoy.  No matter if you love or hate your job, it still should not be your life because as the saying goes, what will you do if something happens and you no longer have that job?  Also, you should be more well rounded than that.  There are things called hobbies.  In the teaching profession, the one I plan to pursue, you have to try to separate home from work because things will go on during the day that you will not want to think about when you go home.  Maybe you made one of your best students cry because you gave them a bad grade (even though grades are not given, they're earned).  You have to try to push these things out of your mind to just be you.  You can worry about these things when you go to work the next day.

Yes people this is a double feature!  This quote is also from Lemire.

   "For example, if I could do it over, I would have either minored or double-majored in education or communications.  I would have taken advantage of a program my college offered to earn a BA and MA in four years, and I certainly would have sought out more internships" (207).

   If there is one thing I love about mistakes, it's when I'm not the one making them.  Just kidding, I don't like to see others make mistakes but reading this made me think I know some people in my class are double majoring.  Greta is English/French.  She explained it to me and it didn't sound too bad.  I'd have to get on my horse though and get going and talking to someone to find out about these things.  I would be interested in doing communications or marketing or maybe history.  Communications is flexible, marketing seems cool and I have found that ever since I had an awesome AP US History course (thanks Zera) that I like history.  Why not at least inquire about a double major?  It never hurts and most always helps to go above what's expected. 

   This section is my personal little thank you note to Lemire.  Although sometimes what you had to say could have been taken as offensive, I think you wrote a nifty little book and I enjoyed reading it.  Thanks for the great advice!

"An epiphany (eh-PIH-fanee, from the Greek work for "to manifest," to "to show") means a sudden, overwhelming insight or revelation evoked by a commonplace object or a scene in a POEM or a work of FICTION" (Hamilton  Essential Literary Terms 102).


This brought to mind the scene from Flannery O'Connor's The River that says, "For an instant he was overcome with surprise; then since he was moving quickly and knew that he was getting somewhat, all his fury and his fear left him" (46).  This is exactly the "manifestation of God's presence" that Hamilton talks about.  I really enjoy reading these entries and then I, myself, get an epiphany and I'm like Wow these authors apply so many different techniques, how do they keep them all straight?


If you feel dumber after reading this entry, see my other entry for class today.

I'd pay about a Nickel or Dime for this book (lol j/k)

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Grrrr...there are places in Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich that make me really mad and here's one of them!

"I still think we could have done something, she and I, if I could have afforded to work at Wal-Mart a little longer" (191).


This quote seems counter productive to the point of the book, to bring social change.  She does a good job of calling to attention how bad it stinks to be of the lower class and how difficult it is to get by.  Why then, when the opportunity presented itself to possibly do something and bring about positive change did she stop?  She leaves a job half completed.  This goes back to my other entry about this book and how I said if you're going to do something, do it the best you can, don't half do it (you know what I wanted to say here) or you're selling yourself and the people you represent short.  Now here's the part when I draw back from the offensive and say, Ok this book wasn't really as bad as I've been saying it was.  She did use humor effectively and I really appriciate this.  She takes frustrating situations and presents them to the reader while still managing to make them laugh or nod their heads in agreement.  An example of this is the line that says, "Now I am picking up not only dropped clothes but all the odd items customers carry off from foreign departments and decide to leave with us in ladies'-pillows, upholstery books, Pokemon cards, earrings, sunglasses, stuffed animals, even a package of cinnamon buns" (164).  These are such random objects it made me laugh.  I also was nodding in agreement because I've seen the same thing and maybe once or twice I left something somewhere in a store that doesn't belong.  I didn't do it often and now if I don't want something I'll either take it back or just take it to the counter and they'll put it away.  So I will withdraw my negative stance on the book and say, Alright, it was ok.  I learned a little and it was somewhat funny.  It could have been better executed but things can always be improved.  Ask Dr. Jerz.


 Check out my comment on Juliana's blog.

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