Portfolio II

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So, these blog things are not what I expected. I know I wrote previously about how much harder I wanted to try the second half of the semester, but it honestly just didn't happen.  I did try in the beginning to keep up but as the weather got nicer and my day dreaming got worse, I found it harder to focus on the books that were specifically chosen to keep my attention.  So, I'd like to apologize for not putting the effort into this blogging that it deserved.  

However, I did find it beneficial to do my catch up on the day of the final. It was a good review.  

Timeliness: These are the blogs that I blogged on time.  

Discussion: this is my only blog that sparked any kind of comment and I forgot to reply. 

Depth: These blogs are the ones I took the most time to write.

Others...These are blogs that I could not think of a category for.

I suppose in the end I've realized how much harder I should have worked. I just went along not putting much effort into anything and now I am paying the price. 


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"Drives you crazy, doesn't it? When they're writing about other things, they really mean sex, and when they write about sex, they really mean something else.  If they write about sex and mean strictly sex, we have a word for that. Pornography."  -page 144, chapter 17

When I hear the word pornography, my first reaction is: ew.  But why does sex always have to be a bad thing when it's just sex? If the sex is symbolic of something then it's obviously okay. I'm not sure why though. It has always been a natural occurrence ever since the first humans got together.  Also, if something is written that is meant to be symbolic of sex, then why isn't that considered bad? People these days I have noticed are completely accepting of sex or completely against sex.  Again, I'm not sure why there can't be a happy medium. 

Outside History...

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"I suppose sometimes a man has to plunge outside history..." (pg. 377)

This quote without a doubt stood out to me but I couldn't figure out what the author was trying to say.  What did he mean by "plunging outside history?"  I didn't know so I googled it and this is what I found...

"Ellison uses the question of existence "outside" history as a vehicle to show that identity cannot exist in a vacuum, but must be shaped in response to others. To live outside history is to be invisible, ignored by the writers of history..."  -Dena Trugman

Now it made sense.  Like Trugman says, to live outside history is to be invisible.  Aha! Ancestors of not only Americans but of other countries' as well, have plenty of untold stories because they were never in the limelight of any kind of historical even.  What if something happened to someone that changed the world as we know it but never wrote it down? They are "invisible," are they not?  The more I read into the interpretation of Trugman, the more I like this quote.

The Invisible Man?

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I must admit that as soon as I was told I had to read "Invisible Man," my first thought was about the super hero.  However, as I read I found that what I had assumed was completely wrong.  The narrator is far from a super hero. The book in fact did not catch my attention and I found that I had a difficult time reading as much as I did. 

Perhaps I set the standard of this book too high. I guess the moral of the story would be not to compare a simple man to a super hero.  

Farm Machines

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"As farmers were forced more and more to mistreat their holdings, they degraded it further to sexual plaything and chattel. This ideological evolution progressed naturally from the dominant myths.9 As industrialism began to dominate the West, the accompanying mindset fit a unique niche in the American dream of rugged individualism and merit-based achievement."
-Turning wine into waterWater as privileged signifier in The Grapes of Wrath. David Cassut

Out of the entire essay this quote really stood out to me the most.  Not because of the sexual playthings, but because it is, to be honest, one of the only sections of the essay that I understood.  I recall talking about this in class and thinking that everyone was crazy to think that a farm machine could be considered sexual.  But as I reread the whole section of the book and this part of the essay, it was made more clear to me that the parts were sexual in nature.  Crazy?  Maybe a little.  

The tractors came, and as stated in chapter 5 on page 33, "One man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families.  Py him a wage and take all the crop." This is how industrialism started to rear its ugly head, forcing families to lose their money, their homes, and eventually almost everything.  

The mindset the article talks about is that is industrialism, I believe.  Everyone at first was so reluctant to replace people with machines but in the end that is exactly what happened and people were not so happy with it.  However, everyone had to come to accept it and realize that machines were now a scary reality.  


True Intentions

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"It seems to me that if we want to get the most out of our reading, as far as is reasonable, we have to try to take the works as they are intended to be taken."
-228, Foster

This means, you can't read a work that was written in the 1800's and relate it completely to right now.  Everything would be different.  No one had electricity or cars.  No one treated people back then like people are treated now.  There really wasn't any offense meant when someone said something that could be taken wrongly now.  The works were meant to be read as though they, the reader, were set in that time period.  


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"Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing.
I want to fill it with color and ducks..."

When I picture a child's room, I imagine the yellow ducks on the border around the room and brilliant bright pastels drenching everything in the room.  I imagine a mother looking her new child in the eye and seeing the reflection of the room in the baby's eye.  It's truly a beautiful vision.  I can't say that this is exactly what the author wanted me to imagine but it's what I thought of.  A mother thinks her child is the most beautiful thing in the world and wants nothing more than to surround that child with beautiful things to make him or her happy.  

Broken, Bitter Heart

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"When true love broke my heart in half, 
I took the whiskey from the shelf,
And told my neighbors when to laugh.
I keep a dog, and bark myself.

Ghost cried out to ghost-
But who's afraid of that?
I fear those shadows most
That start from my own feet."
-The Surly One

This poem really stuck out to me because of how well it described the bitterness one feels when they have their heart broken. All I saw when I was reading this was a man with his bottle of whiskey standing on the porch and the neighbors starting at him.  I pictured him telling them to laugh now because later he'd get back at them.  I imagined him yelling along when his dog starts barking.  Everything seems so clearly pictured.  Sadly, he isn't really yelling at anyone in particular.  He's upset at himself.  Maybe he messed up?  Was it something he did?  He fears what he did or what he could do.  He's scared of the shadow of himself.  

Liberal propaganda?

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"Last night another big one fell.
It splattered like an egg of fire
against the cliff behind the house.
The flame ran down. We saw the pair

of owls who nest there flying up
and up, their whirling black-and-white
stained bright pink underneath, until
they shrieked out of sight."
-page 47, The Armadillo

At first I imagined some sort of bomb going off on the side of a cliff.  Blowing up a cliff and the surrounding homes.  The animals are running away out of fear because their homes are being destroyed.  However, the third time I read it through the "bombs" seemed more to me like fireworks.  The "flame ran down" is like the fire work falling like a weeping willow and the fire works lighting up the underside of the owls. Everything then made more sense as I read through thinking of the "bombs" as "fireworks." 

Distinctive Voices

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"The eight poets represented here, though they share certain traits and subjects, have voices that are distinctive. They all learned from others-in some cases from one another-but each one gradually transmuted those various sources into a unique style." introduction-xv

This section really stood out to me because I love how writers learn from one another. They can feed off of the other's energy and create something better than what would have been written.  The book refers to music as a perfect example of the type of influences writers have on each other.  It states that when a person listens to a certain song or verse they know who the musician is.  So, when reading a poem or a work of literature one should be able to connect that work with the person who wrote it?  Sure, why not?  I can't do that but if someone has the correct knowledge it would be as simple as listening to a song.  

December 2009

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