March 2009 Archives

Peace Be With You

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"Around me the students move with faces frozen in solemn masks, and I seem to hear already voices mechanically raised in songs the visitors loved. (Loved? Demanded. Sung? Al ultimatum accepted and ritualized an allegiance recited for the peace it imparted, and for that perhaps loved. Loved as the defeated come to love the symbols of their conquerors. A gesture of acceptance, of terms laid down and reluctantly approved.)"

When we talked in Dr. Brennan's class about faith development, we discussed actually understanding the words in the prayers that we as Christians say. In the Christian faith, in fact, I know that a lot of members just mutter the words of the Hail Mary and The Lord's Prayer, not even thinking of the words that are included. However, when a priest speaks these words with great passion, or sings a church hymn with great passion and we as a congregation join in, we feel the energy coming from that priest. ultimately, we can tell if he means it, we can tell if he is passionate about it, and we can tell if he wants us to believe it or if he's just doing it because we have to. In this passage, though, it does not quite matter so much that they mean it, it matters the latter, that it brings peace to the congregation.

Other Students' thoughts On The Invisible Man

A 'New and Improved' American Dream

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    This article was hard to understand and my mind jumping around wondering, what? while I read it, but I settled on these few quotes to analyze.

    "The flooding that climaxes the novel is thematically situated to provide maximum counterpoint to the drought which originally forced the Joads to migrate west... Their survival has come to depend on shelter from the elements rather than the elements themselves." (Cassuto)

    Cassuto points out here that the very thing they depended on (the water) turns on them when they migrate (when the flood hits) and they are forced to find shelter and their lives are theatened. He also says earlier in the article that, "Instead of abandoning the American Dream, the dream itself underwent and ideological shift."

     This is because in the 1920's, (When Gatsby was set,) the American dream was to have a white house, a nice family, a white-picket fence, the mother not having to work, oh and don't forget the dog. The family lived happily ever after. Now, (during The Grapes of Wrath, I mean,) the American dream is working. -Imagine that.

    Wait. Something sounds familiar. too familiar, doesn't it?.... we see that this is repeating itself as we enter our own recession in the twenty-first century. People are losing their jobs left and right. Even doctors are getting laid off. I'm just bringing this example to light because this is real.

More thought here

Frost; One Upset Man

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to me, this poem represented loneliness in Frost's life. Through slight research I cannot find if Frost and Lowell knew each other or not. However, you can tell through this poetic work that Lowell imagined them to have a sort of connection.

Robert Frost at midnight, the audience gone
to vapor, the great act laid on the shelf in mothballs,
his voice is musical and raw- he writes in the flyleaf:
For Robert from Robert, his friend in the art.
"Sometimes I feel too full of myself," I say.
And he, misunderstanding, "When I am low,
I stray away. My son wasn't your kind. The night
we told him Merrill More would come to treat him,
he said, 'I'll kill him first.' One of my daughters thought
thought every male she met was out to make her;
the way she dressed, she couldn't make a whorehouse." 
was he saying here that his girl was ugly and tried to be a whore? or too good for a whorehouse and though she tried to get the boys?

And I, "Sometimes I'm so happy I can't stand myself."
Lowell- so happy it makes him insane
And he, "When I am too full of joy, I think
how little good my health did anyone near me."
uses joy and good life as irony because the poem actually has a very morose feeling.

more thoughts on Lowell here

Daddy Daddy

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Daddy by Silvia Plath was written in 1962 by Silvia Plath. it seemed to use the Holocaust as a metaphor to her life with her father. Her father, who I found out was a German immigrant, was weighing her down.
" shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo..."

"...The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene"
'Ich' means I in German.
In the war, every German looked alike, and the German language is obscene. for example, Ich liebe dich = I love you.

"...An engine, an engine,/Chuffing me off like a Jew./A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen./I began to talk like a Jew./I think I may well be a Jew."
The engine is her father damaging her mind.
She was not part Jew, but the way he treated her made her feel like it.
She compared him to Hitler.

"...And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man,..."
Found on a paper discussing images in Mein Kamf;
"Panzer-man" (l. 45) implies her father was like one of the most feared military machines, an armored tank producing a mind-chilling sound when approaching its target. She also says he is "not God but a swastika" 

"...If I've killed one man, I've killed two---
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.  "
Hitler had many impersonators, but unless she was talking directly about Hitler, I'm pretty confused by this.

My Papa's 'Waltz'

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Roethke's poem My Papa's Waltz was the one that caught my eye easiest by his saying waltzing, I got 'child abuse' out of it.
This threw a red flag at me, because I am going to be teaching K-3rd grade and though people like to be blind to the subject, it does happen.
This poem is found on page 13.
The poem begins with a common rhyme scheme of A B A B and continues on to not exactly rhyme every-other-line, but rolls off the tongue easily.

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy
First off- alcohol is usually a common cause of child abuse. The fact that it is making the boy 'dizzy' and he had to hang on 'like death' is another thing that makes the whole situation unsettling.

e romped until the pans

Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.
romped is usually a word used with animals. they were acting as animals. and his mother was unhappy, but apparently could not stop it.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.
His father's hand is holding his wrist so he doesn't move, and is battered possibly because of physical harm that the fist has done. If he stumbles, messes up, he gets punished more

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt."
This is, to me, the most alarming stanza of the poem. literally it is saying because the child was around all day and is up too late (maybe?), the father has had enough of his nonsense (when the father needs some parenting advice himself...) is again abusing him and dragging him off to bed.

Other students' takes on Roethke

Rain Meaning Sadness as well as Hope

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"If you read a scene in which new life was coming into being, the rain outside would almost inevitably lead you (based on your previous reading) to a process of association in which you thought, or felt (since this really works as much as this visceral as at the intellectual level): rain-life-birth-promise-restoration-fertility-continuity. What, don't you always run that cycle when rain and new life are on the table?...But then there's Hemingway."

Foster explains that we must begin to recognize irony. We know from previous chapters that symbols can mean more than one thing. In this case that Foster mentions, Hemingway's character is in a state of despair and thus gets his parade rained on and is in a depressed state. However, this is not an unknown way to look at rain either, rain-sadness-depression-despair-hopelessness-death, etc.

A Bit Young to have Children

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In Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, the characters are truly more bazaar than any I have ever read about. In act I, a boy who is but 12 years old says,

"Telegraph boy: 'Thank you Mrs. Antrobus. Mrs. Antrobus, can I ask you something else? I have two sons of my own; if the cold gets worse, what should I do?'"

Not only did Wilder bring dinosaurs, and tons of biblical illusions into his book, but a twelve year old has two children?

I believe this just sets the stage for the rest of the play being as far fetched and out-there as it is, and as I read on, my mind didn't change.

However, the fact that Selena was the maid, quit, and then met Mr. Antrobus and swooned over him so he cheated on his wife, kindof unsettled me. I couldn't tell if it was a flashback (because of the pageant,) or if that is really what Wilder made happen after she left her job.

Hearts in Gran Torino

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"Despite this nearly constant use of the last twenty-eight hundred years, the figure of the heart never overstays its welcome, because it always is welcome. Writers use it because we feel it..." (Foster 208)

Foster makes a very good point here. Even in action movies/books, we see that the heart is somehow involved, if even for a small amount of time.

In Clint Eastwood's new movie Gran Torino he plays Walt.

Walt is extremely prejudice against all races, until after his wife dies, he makes friends with his Hmong neighbors. He sticks up for them, helps Tao find work, and gets to the point where they are actually civil to one another. They become such good friends that him and Tao spend time together on a regular basis. When Tao is over one day, Walt coughs up blood (as he does many times in the movie.) How does this fit in? **Coughing up blood is a common sign of heart disease** Walt knows his time is short, and therefore risks his life to make his friends' lives better. other than a biblical illusion or two, (the fact that he sacrifices himself for them, and he is shown lying on the ground the same way Jesus was placed on the cross,) it takes a huge heart to sacrifice your own life for other peoples' lives.

What are some other books or movies that you have seen something like this happen?
Is it easy for you to pick the parts of them out?

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