February 27, 2005

A picture says a thousand words

I could honestly not put The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde down. I had to keep reading it to find out what was going to happen next. Wilde fills the reading with suspense at the endings of every chapter in this book.

I could not help but hating Dorian Gray towards the middle of this book. He did not even seem to care of Sibyl Vane's death. In fact, it is written in the book, "What had Dorian Gray to do with Sibyl Vane's death? There was nothing to fear. Dorian Gray had not killed her."

I feel that he did kill her. His sould had first started to appear ugly after Sibyl Vane had killed herself. He did kill her. He killed her with his evil words that he said to her. Dorian told her, "How little you can know of love, if you can say it mars your art! Without your art, you are nothing...What are you now? A third-rate actress with a pretty face."

What a shame! I would say Dorian's words are what killed this girl. His wickedness had first started to appear at this moment, without him even realizing it.

The book stated, "...and lay there like a trampled flower." Flowers are definitely symbolic in this book. She was trampled on like a flower, because Dorian had trampled on her heart. Lord Henry was plucking off flower petals at the beginning of the story when he realized Basil had something that he doesn't (a very good friend-Dorian), and Dorian had crushed a flower right before he had killed basil. The destruction of flowers in this book represents the destruction of one's soul.

After Dorian had viewed his picture the first time it had changed, he thought, "It had taught him to love his own beauty. Would it teach him to loathe his own soul?"

After he found out about Sibyl Vane's death, he thought that the picture found out about this before he did. That is why the painting had changed.

Another interesting part of the book was when Basil came to discuss with Dorian that he wanted to put his painting in an art exhibit. Dorian started to become afraid. He did not want his sould revealed to the world. Dorian thought to let Basil explain to him why he would never put the painting in there in the first place. Basil explained his secret to him. Towards the end he said that he did not want to put it in the exhibit after all. Dorian was relieved. Later he said, "There is something fatal about a portrait. It has a life of its own."

The part of the story that made me hate Dorian the most was when he had killed Basil and then got an innocent man to help clean up his mess. The innocent man ended up commiting suicide, which also would put destruction into Dorian's soul.

I feel that Dorian has become the painting, ever since the begining of the book when he stated that he would give anything, even his soul, to become the painting (to stay young forever). Well, he got what he prayed for. Throughout the book, everyone stated how wicked and evil takes a tool on a person. If a person is wicked and does evil things, it shows on their outward appearance (through ugliness). Because Dorian was doing evil things and his real self was not showing it, no one believed that he was commiting such acts of evil. The painting was what was showing Dorian's true self. The painting was Dorian. It was not only his soul, it was his whole self. The youthful Dorian was a fake, it was what the artist had created of him.

What told me this was the ending. Dorian wanted to destroy the painting. He thought that if he destroyed the painting that he would become good. His past would be behind him. He was wrong. Piercing the painting had caused him to kill himself (because the painting was himself). He was found lying on the floor with a knife pierced through his heart. The painting looked just the way it first had when it was painted, but Dorian looked ugly, wrinkled, hideous, and evil. No one knew who it was until they recognized his rings on his hands.

Dorian had finally got what he deserved. I know this sounds cruel, but of all the evil he has done to others, there was finally evil done to him. Not only was evil done to him, it took over his entire body after he had destroyed the painting.

Dorian, in the end, committed suicide, without even knowing he did it.

Posted by Anne Stadler at 03:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 22, 2005

Interesting, and different I might add

In T.S. Eliot's "Tradition and the Individual Talent", there are many good points that are brought up.

My favorite lines in theis essay was, "Someone said: 'The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.' Precisely, and they are that which we know." This was the most straightforward line I have ever read in a passage. In what Eliot replied holds so much truth. We do know those who were writers before us. We know their writing styles and techniques and combine it to make it our own. We know who they are and accept the things that they have learned so that we can advance in our learning. Why should we have to figure things out if they have already been figured?

I also thought it was interesting how he used "Someone said" as if he was trying not to expose the person who has said this. I thought this was a smart move. If someone would like the person who said this quote, that may lead to a bias against Eliot's point.

Amanda brings up good points in her weblog. I agree that Pope is more negative when it comes to criticism. I feel that Eliot is the opposite of Pope. He believes that criticism should only be based on the poem itself rather than the poet.

"Honest criticism and sensitive appreciation is directed not upon the poet but upon the poetry."

My English teacher in my senior year of high school would always make us put our names at the end of our paper. She did not want to know who was writing it until the end. I thought this was a smart way of doing things because she marked every paper equally. No one would be able to say that she favored one student over another. This brings me back to Eliot. He said not to criticize the poet. Well, my teacher did not criticize us because she did not know who's paper is was until the end.

Eliot states, "Only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things." He states that a poem should be written as though you're escaping from your emotions and personality. I feel that every human being has some sort of personality and emotions, so anyone should be able to escape from these.

Ever so often, I would write poems in my journal when I was younger. This gave me a chance to get everything out. It was a cleansing process. It was as if I was putting something on paper that I would not normally feel. A couple days or months later, I would read the poem and I could not believe I had wrote it. It was as though I were someone else. I guess I have the talent sometimes to put my own personality and emotions aside. Maybe sometimes I have this talent, as you can note from the Poem for Pope blog, I acted kind of funny in the middle--that is certainly my own personality.

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Leave the artists alone already!

Some of these sentences in The Picture of Dorian Gray preface made me think. Some of them shocked me.

"There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all."

This one was a shock to me. Seeing that no books could be moderate seems so close-minded. I have read books that are great until you get to the ending. What would that book be considered? A well written book or a badly written book? I would say that it would be in the middle. It would neither be my favorite or my worst.

"No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved."

I think Wilde is trying to say that artists do not try to do what they should. There is always something to prove, but artists seem not to care. Do I agree with this? Heck no!

When Wilde states that art has surface and symbol and those who go beneath it "do so at their own peril," I was confused. We are supposed to go beneath the surface of art to get the underlying meaning of it. I would not think that this would put you at risk or in danger (well, unless your brain hurts from thinking too much about art).

"All art is quite useless."

GOSH! LEAVE THESE ARTISTS ALONE! I feel so bad for them. Artists had to put up with all these horrible rules that people created. The spectators of art had to put up with rules to view it. Sometimes I wonder how artists ever made it this far. Their work was criticized and looked down upon by most everyone we have read in Media Aesthetics. I truly feel sorry for these artists and the artists spectators.

Posted by Anne Stadler at 09:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"The Decay of Lying"

In Wilde's passage, "The Decay of Lying," it states that "Life imitates art far more than Art imitates life...And it has always been so."

Of course life will imitate art better than art imitates life! Life is our reality, but the art that is created are our ideas about the reality. Art will have some flaws or different approaches to view life, but life is ever-changing and flexible to every possible view that an artist may draw. I know I may be confusing you (I am somewhat confusing myself), but I cannot find the right words at this moment.

Let me give an example. An artist draws a picture of a tree. Life can easily immitate that tree. Life does not say, "Oh there's a new painting of a tree, I have to grow one exactly like this." Life probably already has a tree in this worls that is similar to the painting (well, as long as they didn't paint the tree a blue color or something). Don't let me confuse you, I am starting to disagree with what I am writing. Oh no, I am contradicting myself...

I do not understand how life imitates art. Do the people imitate the art in reality? Do they make they painting real? Or is it just a figure of speech? At first I thought this saying would be easy to explain in my own words, but now I am struggling.

Wilde states, "But these things merely produce health; they do not produce beauty."

Well, who said that health was not a form of beauty. Being in good health has to be beautiful in some way. I disagree that art is required to make health into a beautiful thing. Health could be beautiful in reality.

I agree that "Life is Art's best," because if it was not for life, art would not exist, (and neither would I).

Posted by Anne Stadler at 08:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 21, 2005

Poem for Pope...

After reading this poem, I felt the need to rhyme,
But I am only going to do this just one time.
I feel that Alexander Pope was right in his head,
On the paper of which his poem I read.

In An Essay on Critisism part one,
There are no quotes at all that I would want to shun.
Pope states, "Against the poets their own arms they turn'd,
Sure to hate most the men from whom they learn'd."

Why would you hate the person who taught,
Why turn your back on the one who lent you their thoughts?
I understood and looked into these two lines,
I agreed at how artists create, but are blind.

They do not know or give recognition,
To the poets who have at first helped them.
They do not thank or speak highly of their masters,
They look down on them as if their works are disasters.

Pope said, "Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,
Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools."
Poets do not understand what their masters have taught them,
So they think they are fools and disregard them.

Pope seems to be the opposite of Plato,
He seems to like poetry so.
For he said, "Be Homer's works your study and delight,
Read them by day, and meditate by night."

Then comes the explaination of why the critic offends,
for this person is why poetry has come to a bend.
For Pope states, "The critic else proceeds with remorse,
Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force."

Now-a-days, I would not agree with this statement,
For poetry now is not only about placement.
There are rules for poets to pursue,
But they are able to do almost whatever they want to.

In An Essay on Criticism part two,
There is a quote I want to point out to you.
"What the weak head and strongest bias rules,
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools."

Poets with too much pride become indulged in their work,
That behind the beauty there is sometimes murk.
Only this occurs when they just respect themselves,
And everyone else their criticism dwells.

"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again."

In this I feel Pope means to learn,
That knowledge is what we should all yearn.
If only a little learning takes place,
Then the whole truth will never reveal it's whole face.

I always feel that I do not do as much as I can,
There is a Pope quote that made me think of who I am.
"In ev'ry work regard the writer's end,
Since noone can compass more than they intend."

I always intend exactly what I should do,
But when I get to the end, I feel it is too few.
Not all my thoughts that I was thinking to create,
Make it into the work that I was planning to generate.

"Concluding all were desp'rate sots and fools,
Who durst depart from Aristotle's rules."
Alexander Pope does not seem to agree with anyone,
Who writes their poetry just for fun.

There needs to be a purpose behind it,
There needs to be rules that bind it.
I do not like this idea of following rules,
When your own ideas are your own poems tools.

Your own thoughts should be written on paper,
Without someone telling you they need tampered with later.
"Amaze th' unlearned, and make the learned smile."
For this was your job in those days or you would go on trial.

(You wouldn't really go on trial,
I just made that up.
I just thought it would be funny to add,
along with this other stuff.)

Poems should not be so predictable,
according to Pope who states this principle,
"Where'er you find 'the cooling western breeze',
In the next line, it 'whispers through the trees'."

The lines that caught me by surprise,
Were lines 484 to lines 495.
That an artist may draw the most colorful image,
But beyond this beauty there could be the most damage.

The quote I want to add just for you to see,
Was in An Essay of Criticism part three.

"The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
With loads of learned lumber in his head,
With his own tongue still edifies his ears,
And always list'ning to himself appears."

Pope is saying here that conceitedness is bad,
You should be open to what other experiences were had.
Do not only listen to your own voice,
But listening to others seems to be the better choice.

I hope you enjoyed all my thoughts from Alexander Pope,
I hope, through the nineteen pages, you too were able to cope.
Because all my thoughts are written down for you to lend,
This is where I'm going to end.

Posted by Anne Stadler at 07:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 20, 2005

Small group discusses big ideas

No there were not five of us in Media Aesthetics today, there were only three. Did this stop us? Heck no! Amanda, Johanna, and I discussed everything we have written in our blog entries as well as other things.

While I read my blog entry on Aristotle's "Poetics," Amanda and Johanna agreed with my arguement on beauty. Amanda said how she did not like Aristotle telling us what could be beautiful and what could not. Aristotle was pretty much saying to see things my way, or else.

When Johanna read her blog entry, I liked when she mentioned how we learned from imitation. I said that when we are children, we learn by mocking others. This is how we learn to talk, crawl, stick out our tongues, etc. So why is imitating considered such a bad thing?

Amanda read her blog entry as well. We all had three different ideas on Aristotle. I told Amanda that the quote she was confused about (referring to beauty) was the same thing I wrote about in my weblog. I said that Aristotle was trying to explain what sorts of things were beautiful.

We also discussed why we feel Aristotle spoke more about tragedy than comedy. We we saying that Aristotle probably does not like comedy as much as tragedy. But even so, you would think he would have spoke just a little more about it. Aristotle was being one sided, sticking only to what he liked and thought was better.

So even without our professor, Dr. Jerz, class was still a success. So no need to fear Dr. Jerz! We had a very productive discussion on our disagreements and agreements of Aristotle.

Posted by Anne Stadler at 07:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 16, 2005

It's a Tragedy

What is beauty? Think about this for a moment...

It is not something big? It is not something small? According to Aristotle beauty needs to have a certain magnitude to be considered beautiful. If it is too big, your eye cannot take it all in; if it is too small, you cannot see the beauty at all. Well, what is a normal sized form of beauty then?

I don't know if I agree with this too well. At first, when Aristotle wrote, "Hence a very small animal cannot be beautiful; for the view of it is confused..." I thought he was talking about beauty being bigger and more visual, until he said, "Nor, again, can one of vast size be beautiful; for as the eye cannot take it all in at once..."

I don't agree with this. The smallest poem could mean the world to a person and be the most beautiful poem they have ever read. A statue could be so huge and dominant, that it makes you appreciate it for it's beautiful characteristics. The statue could be ugly, but you still find beauty in it. As the saying goes, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." How is Aristotle going to tells us what can be beautiful and what cannot. Everyone has their own interpretation of beauty; it could be an object that is very small, or an object that is very large. Whatever it may be, there could always be beauty there in the eyes of some person, regardless of it's size.

Also, he talks about how poetry is imitated, but it does not matter (unlike Plato, who thinks it is worthless). There is a quote that stood out to me--"...he is a poet because he imitates, and what he imitates are actions." This is the quote that reminded me of Plato's ideas in a way.

Aristotle must like the idea of writing because he brings up ideas on how a tragedy should be written: what the plot should include and how the characters should be, and how the author should write the piece.

One quote that stood out to me was, "The fourth point is consistency: for though the subject of the imitation, who suggested the type, be inconsistent, still he must be consistently inconsistent. It takes a while to get this, but it makes sense if you think about it.

Make sure if you ever write a tragedy, not to use unusual words, mean words, or rare words--you may be criticized by Aristotle.

Aristotle also talks about what strikes humans as pitiful, and that is what should be included in the plot (he gave the example of a brother killing a brother, rather than an enemy killing an enemy). He expands so much on how a tragedy should be written, that I don't understand how he can say it is imitation. Of course they write about something that happened (this would be imitation), but what about the writers who made up their own stories, such as Shakespeare. These stories were not imitated, but would Plato and Aristotle still consider him an imitator?

Posted by Anne Stadler at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2005

Artwork and poetry are important--Plato tends to disagree

Through Socrates, Plato looks down on everyone in book X of "The Republic." The painter who may paint a picture of a bed and the carpenter who builds a table. He decides that all these people are "creators of experience." They are trying to build something that relates to the forms, or ideals, inside their heads. Socrates explains to Glaucon in "The Republic" that God created one bed, and no other bed will ever come close to looking like that bed. A painter will never be able to paint it, and a carpenter will never be able to create the ideal. In Socrates eyes, a carpenter is a maker of a bed, but not the perfect bed, and a painter is not a maker of a bed at all, he is an imitator.

Socrates states that a painter could paint whatever he wishes, even if he has no true knowledge of what he is painting. The example he has given was that a painter could paint an artist or carpenter but could know nothing about what that artest or carpenter does.

To sum it all up, Plato/Socrates does not like painters--AT ALL! He believes that their work is fake and that it does not serve any purpose whatsoever.

To be honest, I do not agree with Plato too much. A painter may not know too much about what is going on, but they paint it anyway. This painter gives information on what was going on during this time period. The paintings from the earlier times reveal to us some things that could not really be desribed in text. I feel that paintings supply a ton of information for the person viewing it. Plato happened to not understand the educational value of this. The same goes for poetry.

Socrates explains how poets are imitators as well. Homer wrote about the battles (The Trojan War), but did not take any part in it. He did not help anyone fight in this battler, nor is he a hero of this battle. He is honored for doing nothing but imitating, in the eyes of Socrates.

"Passionate and fitfull temper" are easily imitated? I don't think so. It takes plenty of work to put your heart and soul into your writing; I do not feel this is imitating.

I do feel that poetry is the same as artwork. It also gives information on things that happened in the past: what events occurred, battles fought, and how society was, etc. I have read the Illiad by Homer and I have learned so much about the Trojan War, how it started, how the characters felt about the gods and so fourth. I do not agree with Socrates teachings on imitating. Yes, a painter may be making a copy of a 3-D image, but the painting says a lot (in a wat) about the person who has painted it. Yes, a poet may write about ideas or events that he or she was not involved in, but it makes readings understand what has happened from an outsiders point of view.

All of these things that Plato/Socrates are putting down, are valued and critiqued in society. The artwork and poetry must have some sort of meaning or some significance if we are giving them so much attention. Right?

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February 13, 2005

Technology advances...

I always thought a fact was a piece of information. I did not know it is separated from information. In "What Socrates Said to Phaedrus: Reflections on Technolgy and Education," John Churchhill describes how wisdom arrives when understanding occurs, understanding arrives when knowledge is taken in, knowledge is information, information is a fact, and a fact is a relation of all of these aspects. I have never though of these things before, but they all seen to stike me as true.

Churchill goes on to describe how information technology is not where we should end, that we still have yet to achieve all of the other parts of information, such as knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

The author asks a question towards the end of the story about technology ever replacing the classroom. I would never think technology would replace the classroom. I believe that people learn the best by sitting down in an environment with others around their same age and talking to a real person. I feel that if technology replaces everything, social skills are going to go down the drain, as well as teachers' careers.

One idea that jumped out at me while reading this story was (on page 214) when Churchill added "No one did this in the eighteenth century." He was talking about living by alarm clacks and appointment books. I found it interesting how our technology/world is so advanced, but we are still going back and referring to people who lived in the eighteenth century. It is true that if it was not for these earlier advancements, we would not be where we are today, even if they didn't have alarm clocks or cell phones.

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February 10, 2005

Seeing shadows? If so, you may not know the truth

If you are seeing shadows and that is all you are seeing, do you know anything at all? Plato explained in "The Allegory of a Cave" how a man living in a cave was able to experience light and the outside world for the first time. When he would go back and tell the others, they would not believe him. The man saw the truth, and no one wanted to believe his truth, because their truth was the shadows.

First of all I wanted to mention how Plato is always creating one very talkative character and one very agreeable/non-talkative character. I feel that Plato does this so that the reader thinks, "Oh, well Glaucon is agreeing with Socrates, so why shouldn't I." I felt this same way while I was reading "Ion" and "Phaedrus."

While I was reading "The Allegory of the Cave," I felt as though Socrates was trying to say that even though the man was able to see the truth and the light, that he was not still able to see the "real" truth. I understand that the message of seeing the light was a beautific vision, but if anyone knows Plato, they know that seeing other objects under the light are not the true form.

Plato believes in forms, forms and more forms. He believes that the ideal of a certain object, take a chair for instance, is only in your head not in reality. We compare everything to the ideal in our head, which is why we describe a certain object as a chair. If an object matches the ideal table in our head, then we call it a table. Only these forms are the truth to Plato, not the objects.

The whole time I was reading "The Allegory of the Cave," I thought that Socrates was trying to say that we as humans are looking away from the truth. We are the ones in the cave looking at the shadows, which I compare to the objects in reality. We do not understand that the truth is the ideal, or perfect, object in our minds.

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February 02, 2005

If I know how to blog, why don't I do it?

I have had a weblog for a long long time--well, only for a little more than a year now. I only wrote about fifty entries. I feel that I should have way more than that. What can I say, I am a traditional girl. What I see in print is what I like. Reading the newspaper is comforting to me, reading a blog seems like work to me. I have to admit that I enjoy writing in my blog though. I have always enjoyed writing, and it is interesting to see it on a webpage. I also want to admit that reading Julie Young's entry on tips and Amanda's update was not of help to me, but could be of help to a newbie.

I already knew the basics of blogging. I, for one, do not write swear words in my blog. When I am furious, I will still try to be a nice girl. I never once used the word homework--for my first entry I may have, so don't quote me on this (I was just learning at that time)--even though I use my weblog for mainly academics. I try not to be boring, but what can I say, I live a pretty boring life. If it's not boring, then I'm just too busy to write about my excitement (I do find myself in the Setonian office for many (many, many) hours during production week).

I wish I could keep up-to-date with my blog, but I tend to get sidetracked. I used to keep journals when I was younger, but after about a week or so, I started to skip some days, then skip more days, and more days, etc. until I comepletely stopped. I tried to do it again, but my journal just seems to turn into a poem handbook or something. I can't seem to write about my life. If I do, it turns into a poem. I guess a poem is better than nothing.

Maybe I will start keeping up-to-date with this blog, but I don't want to promise anything. I want to say congratulations to all of those who do keep it up to date, especially Amanda (the blog feen). It is very hard work (or so I feel) to keep this alive, and all of you are doing a great job at it.

Posted by Anne Stadler at 10:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Seeing is believing?

The story "Cathedral" written by Raymond Carver was so intense that I could not take my eyes off of the words. I have never felt this eager to keep on reading before to find out what happened next.

(If you want to read another persons ideas about this story, I found a pretty cool website that seems to describe the story and it's connection in detail.)

In this story, a blind man's wife had just past away. While he was visiting relatives he decided to visit a woman who worked for him about ten years ago. The blind man, Robert, and the lady kept in close contact by sending each other tapes of their lives during the time they didn't see each other.

This was the very beginning of the story. The rest of the story started to upset me a little...

The ladies husband was being a real jerk. He seemed to not have any respect at all for the blind. He had this stereotype in his mind that was very disturbing. He was not at all excited about a blind man coming to his house to visit. He thought about Richard's wife and how he felt sorry for her. This was the part I was furious about. The husband said that the wife must have lived a horrible life knowing that her husband had never saw her face. He thought about how he could never see the expression on her face and how Richard's wife probably never received a compliment from her.

This, I believe, is not true. A blind man can see by using his hands. I'm sure this blind man has touched the face of his loved one every night. He could very well give her a compliment.

The one day I was working at the YMCA, I had the blind man come up to me, the one I mentioned in my previous blog, and said that he liked the way I smelled. He said he liked the smell of my perfume. I felt very flattered and thought that what he said was a very nice compliment.

In "Cathedral", I kind of took it personally when the husband was thinking these things. He is discriminating against people who he doesn't even know. He was amazed when Richard had a beard. He thought that blind people don't have beards. I wanted to smack this guy so hard.

Towards the end, the husband was drawing a picture of a cathedral, with Richard's hand moving over the pen with his, to explain to Richard what a cathedral looked like. Richard told the husband to close his eyes while he was drawing. When Richard told him to open his eyes, it seemed as though he couldn't--or he didn't want to. To me, I thought he was amazed with being able to see--without really seeing.

The last thing the husband said was, "It's really something." I was happy to read that last quote. It was as if the whole story came together to give the reader the point of why it was written. A man who has completely stereotyped and who seemed to despise the blind, was actually focusing on something he had never experienced before. He was beginning to see what Richard saw, without really seeing it.

Posted by Anne Stadler at 09:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack