February 2007 Archives

Lemire (skim Ch 2-7) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"If you are considering teaching because you can't think of anything else to do(regardless of whether teaching is a career you plan to stick with your whole life or a job you intend to try for only a year or two) stops."

While teaching has always been somthing that I've wanted to do, this book has made me think of all the other options that are open to me as an English major. Teaching high school English is definitely the direction that I want to go with my career. For other English majors who aren't sure what they want to do, it might still be a good idea to get certified for teaching to have it has a sort of back-up job. Of course, teaching is not a job that everyone can do, or wants to do, but it allows you to support yourself while doing freelance work or pursuing your dream job. I myself might also look into other jobs just to see what else I can do. I will feel better doing this knowing that I can always teach.

Poetic Performance

Bethany Bouchard
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Jerz, ''Poetry is for the Ear'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"If you find yourself automatically pausing at the end of every line, regardless of whether the meaning of the poem calls for a pause at that point; or, if you depend on predictable, overused rhyme pairs, your readers may find little pleasure in your work."

This reminded me of my Advanced Drama class in high school. We always had a Shakespeare and poetry section every year where we would study how to perform poetic works. Our teacher always told us just because we reached the end of the line doesn't mean there is a pause there; we were only supposed to pause at spots designated by the proper punctuation. It definitely made what we were reading more effective and meaningful.

Too Cute

Bethany Bouchard
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Jerz, ''Poems: Short but Effective'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"Just as a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, a few good lines of verse can pack as much emotional content as a whole paragraph of ordinary prose."

While I agree that short poems can be cute and bring amusement to their readers, I still think they are a little too shallow for my own personal reading tastes. They are very cute though and catchy.


Bethany Bouchard
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Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (198-225) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"The recurrence of rhythms is basic to human life: tied to our breathing, our heartbeats, and such natural cycles as the ebb and flow of the tides and the processes of birth and death."

I never knew how big of a deal that rhythm in poetry really was. I mean, I knew it was important to the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a poem, but I didn't know it went into all these meters and foots and stresses and unstresses. It's pretty crazy. The rhythm of a poem can make it or break it. It is life or death for the poem where rhythm is concerned.

Tiny Tots

Bethany Bouchard
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Poetry Selections -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"There was a little turtle. He lived in a box. He swam in a puddle. He climbed the rocks."

This particular group of poems didn't really have any emotional effect or impact on me whatsoever. It sort of reminded me of nursery rhymes, and I had difficulty finding the deeper meaning in them. I actcually don't think there was any deeper meaning in them. It was just like reading a little story that rhymed, but had no plot. They kind of reminded me of those little spongy books that someone would by for an infant or a two-year-old, the kind with a sentence on each page that goes something like, "See Spot run." Next page, "Spot runs fast." I think you get the idea. I am not really sure what the intended age for the audience of poetry this shallow was, but if it was intended for young adults, it was definitely not impressive.

Portfolio 1 -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
This is my first online blog portfolio. I have never done an online portfolio before, so this should be interesting. This portfolio includes blog entries on assigned readings, entries of my peers that I have posted comments on, entries that have provoked class discussions, and a plethora of other entries concerning different concepts discussed in class. I had never done any kind of blogging before I took this class, and I must admit it is sometimes a hassle to post them on time, but effective for classroom discussions in the long run.

This section contains links to all of the blogs that were posted as agenda items, or responses to the assigned reading. An agenda item consists of a quote from the reading that provoked some sort of response or idea about the reading and then an elaboration on the said idea.















I haven't really had any reason to go as far indepth with my blogging as to do research outside of the assigned reading. One entry was an exception, though. I was using Charles Dickens's Great Expectations as an example to reinforce a point I was trying to make, and I felt compelled to search on the Internet and find the name of Miss Havisham's house because I forgot it.

This is my blog:

Here is the link to the website where I found the name of Miss Havisham's house:

This is the paragraph containing the information that I was searching for:
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Satis House
In Satis House, Dickens creates a magnificent Gothic setting whose various elements symbolize Pip�s romantic perception of the upper class and many other themes of the book. On her decaying body, Miss Havisham�s wedding dress becomes an ironic symbol of death and degeneration. The wedding dress and the wedding feast symbolize Miss Havisham�s past, and the stopped clocks throughout the house symbolize her determined attempt to freeze time by refusing to change anything from the way it was when she was jilted on her wedding day. The brewery next to the house symbolizes the connection between commerce and wealth: Miss Havisham�s fortune is not the product of an aristocratic birth but of a recent success in industrial capitalism. Finally, the crumbling, dilapidated stones of the house, as well as the darkness and dust that pervade it, symbolize the general decadence of the lives of its inhabitants and of the upper class as a whole.

In this section I have posted some of my peers' blogs on which I have commented. It is important to comment on peers' blogs because it provokes classroom discussion. These are not all of the entries I have posted on, but of course I didn't print out all of the blogs I left comments on like I should have, and this is the result of a lot of hassle and pain-in-the-butt searching.

On Matt Henderson's:

On Bethany Merryman's:

On Lorin Schumacher's:

On Derek Tickle's:

On Diana Geleskie's:
This one doesn't provide a direct link to the comments. I don't know why, but I commented on the first entry I Say Potato, You Say Potato-Let's Call The Whole Thing Off!!

These are some of my blog entries that classmates have left particularly discussion-sparking comments:





Timeliness with blogging has definitely not been one of my strongpoints so far; it is a rare but existing phenomena, consisting of only two to four entries that I have actually posted on time (a.k.a. twenty-four hours before class). Most of my entries have appeared anywhere from half an hour before class to a day or two after the class, although I usually have all the reading done on time. This is not a good thing, and I really must try to post on time. However, here are the few entries that will make this the saddest section of my portfolio:






Okay...So there were five...Still, very sad....

This section displays entries from classmates that I was first to post on




Wild Card:
This is just a random entry that I thought was a particularly good one. I've already posted it a couple other times in this portfolio, but I think it's definitely up there with one of the best.


O'Connor, ''The River'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"He went in the shack and picked out a peppermint stick, a foot long and two inches thick, from the candy shelf, and stuck it in his hip pocket. Then he got in the car and drove slowly down the highway after the boy."

This story was very confusing. I'm not sure if I really understood it. The plot was very random and sporadic, and it was hard for me to follow what was going on. Whenever I was reading the part that I quoted above, I thought that Mr. Paradise was going to lure Bevel/Harry with his peppermint stick and kill him. I was surprised that Bevel brought his death upon himself.

Secrets In The Setting

Bethany Bouchard
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Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (98-111; 150-166) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"As with other aspects of narration, and author's choices about time and place exert an important influence on a work's tone and meaning, which the reader must infer."

I found this particular point made in Hamilton's text quite interesting and likewise verifiable. I don't know why, but while I was reading this section I found my mind dwelling on the description of Miss Havisham's establishment in Charles Dickens's classic, Great Expectations, one of my personal favorites. In this part of the novel, it is implied that the condition of Miss Havisham's home is also the condition of Miss Havisham herself. Everything is old, rotting, and decayed, and there is the ever-present sense that time has stopped once one enters Satis House, which is only reinforced by the fact that all the clocks throughout the manor are stopped at twenty minutes to nine. This would be a perfect example in demonstrating the greater importance of setting than just the standard "time and place" of the literary work.

Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (68-97) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"Prufrock envisions his own severed head, made ludicrous by its balding state, exposed to public scrutiny and earnest endeavors amounting to 'no great matter.'"

Before reading this section of Hamilton's text, I was not aware of the extent to which Eliot used allusion in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. When I first read the poem, I caught the allusion to Shakespeare's Hamlet; it was a more obvious reference. However, I was not aware of the allusion to John the Baptist and Prufrock's own severed head. I just found that interesting.

Anonymous, ''Everyman'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"All earthly things is but vanity: Beauty, Strength, and Discretion do man forsake, Foolish friends and kinsmen, that fair spake, All fleeth save Good-Deeds, and that I am."

Good-Deeds was the only one to make the complete pilgrimage with Everyman. Nothing that you have or accomplish in life will matter in the end so much as one's good deeds. But, just as in Everyman, no good deed goes unpunished. Even the few charitable acts that traveled with Everyman came with some consequence. Though Good-Deeds brought Everyman Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and Five-Wits, all abandoned him in the end. Everyman was rewarded for his good deeds, but in the end he was punished when all of his vanities left him to Death. It made me think of the Broadway musical, Wicked, when Elphaba sings, "One question haunts and hurts, too much, too much to mention. Was I really seeking good? Or just seeking attention? Is that all good deeds are when looked at with an ice-cold eye? If that's all good deeds are, then maybe that's the reason why no good deed goes unpunished...."

Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (112-149) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"If the protagonist is himself evil however, like Shakespeare's Macbeth, the antagonist-in Macbeth, Macduff serves that function-is portayed as a sympathetic character."

I always thought the protagonists were the good guys and antagonists were the bad guys. My whole literary belief system came crashing down around me when I read that sentence in Hamilton's text on antagonists. Since when were antagonists ever good? Their job is to be bad, to antagonize. That's their job. I have never heard of a "sympathetic" antagonist. It just totally blew my mind, but I'm open to new ideas. Hamilton put things in a whole new perspective for me when it comes to protagonists and antagonists. Never again will I assume that just because a character is a protagonist, that they are the good guy.

Brave New World

Bethany Bouchard
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Forster, ''The Machine Stops'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"We created the Machine to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It was robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it."

To borrow the title of Aldous Huxley's novel, the Machine definitely depicts a "brave new world." Though I am not an active reader of works of science fiction(as in I never read it on purpose or for entertainment) I have to say this was one of the better ones as far as the genre goes. At first, I thought Forster's story was scary and weird, but as I kept reading it caught my interest a little, especially when Kuno came into the picture. The whole scene in which he tells Vashti about his visit to the surface was so poignant, and it really spoke to me. That is why I chose the above quote as my reference. It made me think of the end of humanity as we know it and how our society could become very much like the one that lives during the reign of the Machine within the next century or two. It is a scary thought; to never walk the surface of the earth, to never experience love or friendship except through the Machine. It was like the people in Forster's story weren't even people; they themselves were just machines.

Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (1-31) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"A poem is a composition written for performance by the human voice."

I am one of the people who enjoy poetry. Even if I do not always understand the meaning of a particular poem, I still think it sounds pretty. Before reading what Hamilton wrote about the conventions of poetry, I never really noticed how complicated it is. There is more to a poem than just being a poem; there are different types of poetry, different rhyme schemes, patterns, etc. I just found it interesting.

Foster (6-9, 11, 14) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"I often tell my students that reading is an activity of the imagination, and the imagination in question is not the writer's alone."

Once again my reading of Foster's text has left me feeling more enlightened and more confident in my own abilities to analyze a literary work. I always like to read the literary work before reading the assigned chapters in Foster to see what I can make of it on my own. After I make my own theories on the deeper meaning of a piece of literature, I then turn to Foster. When I read the text in Foster, my theories are either an almost exact prediction, similar, or polar opposite of what is said in Foster. But other points are made that still make my opinions valid; points like there being multiple interpretations, and symbolism is left to be depicted by the reader's imagination. Reading Foster's text is like a little ego boost, and it helps me to feel more comfortable in voicing my interpretations of a literary work.

A Confused Misfit

Bethany Bouchard
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O'Connor, ''A Good Man is Hard to Find'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"It's no real pleasure in life."

I found this story a bit confusing. As I read though, I found myself empathizing with the character of the Misfit. I don't think he was really all that bad. I mean, yeah, he killed people and had people killed, but I don't think he meant to. He was just confused. At one point in the story he was talking about the first time he was put in a penitentiary and about being buried alive and how he didn't remember the crime he had committed that put him in there in the first place. Then he talked as though he was trying to justify his most recent and heinous crimes by committing the crimes to make up for the ones he couldn't remember committing. I don't think he got any real pleasure from killing; he just thought he might as well commit what he had been accused of. This can be proved when at the end, after he shot the grandmother, "without his glasses, his eyes were red-rimmed and pale and defenseless-looking," almost implying that he was crying. I mean he was obviously a cuckoo bird, but that doesn't make him a bad person, just criminally insane. I think in the end, he did feel bad and got no real pleasure from the crimes he committed.