Carissa Liberty Altizer: December 2009 Archives

It's Elementary, My Dear Watson

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Oops!  It looks like I was so caught up in preparing for my presentation that I forgot to write a blog about chapter 7.

"As you analyze works for ideas, it is important to avoid the trap of confusing ideas and actions" (121).  

I think this is a basic idea that readers learn at a relatively young age.  It is the difference between retelling the plot of a story or explaining what the author intends for the reader to take away from the tale.  I have yet to take an elementary education classes, but I'm going to take a guess that children begin to make this distinction during the same time that they are able to understand Aesop's Fables.  Every single fable is written to teach a lesson.  If the child is able to distinguish the moral from the story without simply retelling the tale, they can distinguish the difference between ideas and actions.   

Portfolio Four:Merry Christmas!

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Carissa Liberty Altizer

Dr. Jerz

Writing About Literature, EL 237

December 4, 2009


Portfolio 4:

It looks like the class is coming to a close and we all get a nice long break!  Sorry guys, unfortunately I won't be blogging to you about whatever book I happen to be reading, so don't check my blog for updates ;)  It's been a great semester and I look forward to seeing you in the spring.  Merry Christmas!

Coverage: I wrote a response for every article, poem, and work of literature that we have read thus far.

Chekhov -- Also spelled Tchekhov. Who knew? -Getting ready for my presentation

1836 CSI Screenplay - A look at "Porphyria's Lover"

Sorry, no convenient restrooms, you have to pee in the woods.  English majors aren't exactly taking the easiest roads to job security...

Missing the Eight Count Dancing and poetry, two things I love -- but will I ever be able to actually count the beats for a formal dance or hear the stress and unstress of iambic pentameter?

Is "A Christmas Carol" an Original Idea? My church has always explained sinners as men and women who carry around sins like chains dragging behind them.  Did Dicken's classic give them the simile?

New Movie Trailer Yet another A Christmas Carol in theaters.  Check it out!

Another Scrooge/Sinner Comparison Why exactly did Scrooge change his ways?

Papa Don't Preach, I'd Rather Hear a Story. Growing up surrounded by symbolism and allegories and why we need them.

It's Elementary, My Dear Watson Distinguishing the difference between action and theme

2. Depth: These are what I believe to be my best blogging samples.  

Chekhov -- Also spelled Tchekhov. Who knew?

Sorry, no convenient restrooms, you have to pee in the woods.

Is "A Christmas Carol" an Original Idea?

Papa Don't Preach, I'd Rather Hear a Story.

3. Discussion: These articles have sparked comments or discussions from my peers.  

Another Scrooge/Sinner Comparison

Is "A Christmas Carol" an Original Idea?

Sorry, no convenient restrooms, you have to pee in the woods.

Chekhov -- Also spelled Tchekhov. Who knew?

4. Interaction: These articles are examples of blogs where I either disagreed with the opinions of my fellow classmates or added a meaningful comment to their blog discussion.

Just Words? - Melissa

One Thing I Can Tell You -Aja

How Much Food Does One Ghost Need? - Karyssa

Selfishness Prevails - Karyssa

The Ghost of Economic Hardships - Glady 

5. Xenoblogging:


Comment Informative:

Just Words? I suggested I'm an English Major, Now What? to give Melissa a few ideas about the different job opportunities for English majors.

Comment Primo:

Just Words?

How Much Food Does One Ghost Need? I found a movie clip with the ghost of Christmas present and added a link so Karyssa could check it out.  

Comment Gracious:

Selfishness Prevails Karyssa's link inspired my own blog.

6. Wildcard:

New Movie Trailer

7. Timely

Submitted at least a day before class:

Chekhov -- Also spelled Tchekhov. Who knew?

Sorry, no convenient restrooms, you have to pee in the woods.

Missing the Eight Count

Another Scrooge/Sinner Comparison

New Movie Trailer

Submitted before class: 

Is "A Christmas Carol" an Original Idea?

Class Comments

Papa Don't Preach, I'd Rather Hear a Story.

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What makes a story worth retelling?  How many fairy tales and parables have only lasted one generation?  What keeps a narrative alive, and how do people decide which protagonists live on to entertain, lecture, and preach for centuries after the original was written?

"To study a work of literature in historical and cultural perspective is to determine the degree to which the work belongs in, and perhaps transcends, its period" (132).

Most every well known parable, fable, myth, poem, and novel include symbolism or allegorical statements commenting on religion, politics, social situations, or morality -- some are blatantly obvious while others are so ingrained in our minds from childhood that we never even realize it.  

Let's take a look at a few examples, the first is Little Red Riding hood.  Before the young girl heads out of the house alone, her mother warns her to stay on the path and go directly to grandma's house.  We all know how the story goes -- little girl stays, meets big, bad wolf, and as a result she and grandma almost die.  On a simple note, the tale warns children to listen to their parents and never stray into the woods.  If one were to look further into the moral and possible religious aspects of the story, it is clear that Red's wise mother is telling her to stay on the well-lite path -- the road to righteousness.  Straying will only lead to temptation, sin, and possible death.

Charles Dicken's The Christmas Carol is an allegory on morality and possibly Christian religious beliefs.  Although, if the time of year is changed (as the class suggested) Muslims preach giving alms to the needy as one of the five pillars, so I suppose A Christmas Carol could be renamed and considered a religious allegory to several different religious faiths.

Gulliver's Travels is an example of a political and social allegory written because "The threat of censorship and the danger of political or economic reprisal have often caused authors to express their views indirectly in the form of allegory rather than to name names and write openly, thereby risking political prosecution, accusations of libel, or even bodily harm" (152).  Swift's satire and wit ridiculed wars, leaders, and religious fanaticism. 

Dr. Suess has underlying political statements, while The Wizard of Oz warns people to be grateful for what they have.  So, why exactly are all of our favorite stories pumped up with lectures, political stances, and morals?  The answer is easy -- because nobody wants to listen to political speeches and moral lectures!  Parables and allegories explain possible consequences to undesirable behavior in a fun, memorable, less preachy form.  It's like the difference between telling a kid to choose between watching their favorite movie or going to church.  Which do you think they would choose?

These stories become a part of our lives and are passed down to new generations because the stories have something to say to the reader.  The clock in Edgar Allen Poe's The Masque of the Red Death illustrates a common symbol that explains how short life is; once the minutes tick away, they are never coming back.  Sparkly red heels remind us of the joys of going home to Aunty Em, and the ghost of Christmas future reminds us to not be greedy.  Great stories connect people.  Not only do they help us understand the world around us, but they give us all something in common and they help us to understand each other better.   

December 2009

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