March 2007 Archives

O'Connor, ''A Stroke of Good Fortune'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"All those children were what did her mother in-eight of them: two born dead, one died the first year, one crushed under a mowing machine."

I thought this was the best story that we have read so far out of O'Connor's anthology. I really understood what was going on, and I thought the symbolism and foreshadowing utilized was very clever. I think the reason Ruby didn't want to admit that she was pregnant was because she was afraid that if she had children she would end up like her mother which, in her opinion, was not a good thing. She thought her mother was "dried out" and old-looking, and that is not what Ruby wanted to be. I picked up on it almost immediately that Ruby wasn't really sick, she was just expecting a baby. I think the first time I picked up on this was when she was talking about Hartley Gilfeet and how his mother called him Good Fortune. Then I remembered that Madam Zoleeda told Ruby that she would have a long sickness ending in "good fortune." I thought this was a very clever way to foreshadow what Ruby's actual affliction was. This story was full of several other clues that pointed to Ruby's pregnancy. I was excited that I was able to guess what was wrong with her before it actually came out in the narration. I'm sure it's not that big of a deal because a bunch of other people were probably able to do the same, but it was kind of cool.

O'Connor, ''The Life You Save May Be Your Own'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"Maybe the best I can tell you is, I'm a man; but listen lady," he said and paused and made his tone more ominous still, "what is a man?"

I have to say that with every story by Flannery O'Connor that we are assigned, I like her less and less. Her work is so hard to read into; they're interesting and well-written, but so twisted, I don't even know what to think half the time. I find myself feeling confused and perplexed after reading one of her stories, wondering if maybe I missed something? I don't know.
I was just totally blown away by Mr. Shiftlet's actions! I couldn't believe he married Lucynell, even though it was apparent he didn't really want to, and then left her at a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. He was a terrible man! I can't even begin to fathom why he did half the things he did, and I am very confused.

Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"In humorous writing, the exclamation mark is the equivalent of canned laughter (F. Scott Fitzgerald-that well-known knockabout gag-man-said it was like laughing at your own jokes), and I can attest there is only one thing more mortifying than having an exclamation mark removed by an editor: an exclamation mark added in."

"In the family of punctuation where the full stop is daddy and the the comma is mummy, and the semicolon quietly practises the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention deficit brother who gets too excited and breaks things and laughs too loudly."

These two phrases really put punctuation into a whole new perspective for me, especially concerning the exclamation point. I never thought I would be saying this, but it helped me relate to punctuation on personal level, which I never thought was possible, seeing as it's punctuation and punctuation being so lacking of personality and everything. It made me wonder what punctuation mark I am most like, and I think that I would be the exclamation point. Truss mentions something about the punctuation mark that is used when the author is laughing at their own joke (whether it's good or not), and I often find myself making jokes that no one else gets and then laughing at them, or else laughing at stupid jokes that other people laugh at that no one else thinks is funny. And then, in another passage, Truss talks about how the exclamation point is the member of the family who is too easily excited and laughs uncontrollably at times; that about sums me up in a nutshell.

Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"But although I still swoon every time I look at this particular semicolon from 1494, it was not, as it turns out, the first time a human being ever balanced a dot on top of a comma."

I never really thought about it before, but since I've been reading this book I've been thinking a lot about punctuation and how it actually came into existence. I mean, it obviously had to be invented somehow. It couldn't have just randomly appeared in print out of nowhere. I seriously wonder who actually decided to make the first mark of punctuation and why they decided it was necessary. Not that I'm saying punctuation is a bad thing, but it sort of made think about this. It would have been suge a huge achievement, not back then, but to think about it now, to be the first person to use a mark of punctuation. I could probably go on musing forever about how punctuation came to be and why and where; it's just such a huge phenomena, but I think I will just play it safe and stop here for now.

Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"It is appalling ignorance."

When I saw that Eats, Shoots & Leaves was a book about punctuation, my stepmother immediately came to mind. As I read further into the book, I am thoroughly convinced that this book was written specifically for her. She will write these ridiculous notes for my sister and I reminding us to do something, and the punctuation errors are astonishing and abominable. Here are some examples of a typical note:

This one is for my dad to remind him about his Sirius satellite radio bill. It is never taken off of the refrigerator.

Sirius' Radio!
every Month!!!

This one is a detailed description of things that she wanted my sister and I do on a particular day last summer:

Can you Please water all the Plant's in the front and back yard To day especialy the one's in the hanging Basket's. Also rember to not do any Laundry until I get home because the Dryer is broken Dont forget to feed the "Dog" and give him Water.
Thanks! Have a good day! Love, "Mom"

That was not even an exaggeration. This next one is my personal favorite. It is a reminder taped to the washer and dryer:

GIRLS! "ATTENTION!!" Do 'not change the water Temperture of the Washer. If "You" wash your cloth's in warm Water your clothse will not! shrink If you Do change it, remeber to put it back to "Warm"! because they will dry Faster. Also rember to clean out the "Lint" tarp. Thank's! "Mom"!

She claims that she had some college education as an English major, but I'm not even really sure how she graduated high school with writing like that. She honestly doesn't know that she makes these mistakes; at least I think she doesn't. I mean, if she knowingly makes these kinds of errors in her writing and did nothing to correct them, there is something seriously wrong with her mind! I never make an attempt to call her attention to this because I'm not really sure how she would react, and I'm kind of scared to find out.