February 2009 Archives

Thomas the Tank Engine

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In Chapter 21 of The Grapes of Wrath the Joad family finds a camp to live at where people are nice and Tom goes out to find work.  A boy named Timothy helps him to find work with the man he works for named Thomas.  Now from how the story is going so far you think well this guy is going to be a jerk because everyone else in California has been so far. However, this guy is nice.  He had been paying thirty cents but since he had to go to a meeting the night before everyone has to pay at most twenty-five cents and he doesn't like it because he says "I've got good men.  They're worth thirty" (Steinbeck 402).  They continue to talk about the camp that they live in and about the dances that are about to happen this coming weekend.  Thomas says:

"Well, the Association don't like the government camps.  can't get a deputy in there.  The people make their own laws, I hear, and you can't arrest a man without a warrant.  Now if there was a big fight and maybe shooting - a bunch of deptuties could go in and clean out the camp."..."Don't you ever tell where you heard... There's going to be a fight in the camp Saturday night.  And there's goign to be deptuties ready to go in" (Steinbeck 404).

Thomas has been my favorite person since they got to California because he helped these boys/men.  He isn't a jerk Californian like the rest they have met.  He doesn't want them telling people who he heard the information from because he could lose his job but he seems to care about people and know that what the deputies are doing outside of government camps is not lawful, not right.  He tells them "I like you people" (Steinbeck 404).

If you were put in this situation being a Californian hiring people for work and you heard about a fight going to break out so the deptuties can get everyone out what would you do?  Do you think you would tell the men who were working for you or do you think you would be the usual jerks they have met along the way?

Personally, I think I would tell them the information that Thomas did because if I would hear a story about the Joads and how they lost people on their trip and how they're glad they finally met nice people I would feel bad and want to continue to help them since they seem like they having good luck here.



Blogging, blogging, FUN blogging!

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This blog is all about all of the blogs whether it be the ones I wrote, the ones I commented on, the ones I wrote with people's comments, or whatever else.  It's blogging about blogging.  Sounds fun!

Many of the blogs are from the books that we have read such as How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Machinal by Sophie Treadwell, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and some poems by Robert Frost.

They are separted into 5 parts.  Some blogs may be in different ones.  The parts are: Coverage, Timeliness, Interaction, Depth, and Discussion.


  • Coverage- All of my blogs were taken from direct quotes from the book.  However the ones that were more about the quote were:

Thunder Love     

Not Everyone Lives in the Same Community

One Story

Thomas the Tank Engine 


  • Timeliness- All of my blogs were done on time.  I am including a few I did early and a few that I have not linked anywhere else in this blog.

Early Entries:

Stones-stones-small stones

Violence is the Answer?

Other on time entries:

After Apple Picking (Robert Frost)

The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost)



  • Interaction- These blogs are ones that had other people leaving comments and continuing a discussion about what I wrote about.  It had different people interacting in some way or another.

Thomas the Tank Engine

Gone Mad


  • Depth- These blogs include ones that frustrated me, inspired me, confused me, and ones that were just more in depth than the others that I wrote.


Not Everyone  Lives in the Same Community

The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)


Violence is the Answer?


How to Read Literature Like a Professor (Foster)


  • Discussion -These are blogs that I commented on of other people's to help spark a discussion.  Some people went off of what I said or considered what I had said in my comment.

Rachael Sarver's Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

Aja Hannah's Kill The Characters

Julianne Banda's Offstage Importance

Alicia Campbell's The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)



Other student's portfolios!


Gone Mad

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"I got to know, Tommy.  Did they hurt you so much?  Did they make you mad like that?"

Tom's heavy lips were pulled tight over his teeth.  he looked down at his big flat hands.  "No," he said.  "I ain't like that."..."All the time in stir I kep' away form stuff like that.  I ain' so mad."

She sighed, "Thank God!" under her breath."

(Steinbeck 103). 


I found it interesting that Ma wanted to know if Tommy went mad from being in prison.  He had been home for a bit and they getting things ready to leave to go to California and he could tell something was bothering her.  She told him the story of Purty Boy Floyd.  He went mad and she didn't want her son to go mad. 

Was she afraid that he would hurt her or anyone else in the family?  Orr was she afraid that he would go try to hurt the people who put him in prison for the past 4 years?

With her son being gone for 4 years and then started to move California I kind of feel like Ma might have gone mad if she had not seen Tommy one last time.  Pa told Tommy "Your ma got a bad feelin' she ain't never gonna se you no more.  She got that quiet look like when somebody died.  Almost she don't want to go to California, fear she'll never see you no more" (Steinbeck, 97).  I feel that the madness questions connect to her she felt before he found them.

Also, continuing with the 'madness' about this story.  I think Grampa starts going a little mad when he keeps saying before they're about to leave that he is staying at Uncle John's because that is his land and he feels he shouldn't have to leave.  But I feel like that is how many older people in this time period would be, not wanting to leave the land where they have lived for so long.   





One Story

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"On one level, everyone who writes anything knows that pure originality is impossible" (Foster, 187).

When I write I know I think of things that have happened to me but I also am thinking about other stories I have read.  "Everywhere you look, the ground is already camped on.   So you sigh and pitch your tent where you can, knowing someone else has been there before" (Foster, 187).  That quote is perfect because it is true in everyway.  All kinds of literature has been written about all ideas and experiences in life.  

Writing is a difficult thing to do, solely because you don't want to repeat something that has already been written.  There is no "one story"  There is no word to use that no one else has never used.  The same thing goes for movies as mentioned later in the Interlude.  "The movies you have seen were created by men and womenwho had seen others, and so on, until every movie connects with every other movie ever made" (Foster, 190).  So nothing is original but everything is has it's own twist to make it different.. 

I always find it interesting whenever I see movies or read books that are very similar but are different at the same time.  You usually know what happens at the end if you've already seen one of the same kind but you still want to see or read it, which is a good thing or the authors and producers would not make much money. 

So in reality, there is one story for each subject, but told in different ways.   




Violence is the Answer?

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"Voilence is one of the most personal and even intimate acts between human beings, but it can also be cultural, societal in its implications.  It can be symbolic, thematic, biblical, Shakespearean, Romantic,  allegorical, transcendent.  Violence in real life just is." (Foster, 88).

Right now I am asking myself how in the world can violence be romantic and how can it be one of the most intimate acts between human beings?

Violence to me is bad in every way. There is nothing good about it and nothing good comes out of it.

It says its symbolic.  "Here's the problem with symbols: people expect them to mean something.  Not just any something, but one something in particular." (Foster, 97). 

But how is violence symbolic? To me it symbolizes bad behavior and rash judgements about how to handle a problem.   

Bringing violence into a lot of books, movies, and television shows pushes people to do more violence I believe.  But in Foster it says that in literature violence usually means something else so does anyone have any idea what violence means in literature?

Stones-stones-small stones

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Helen Jones kills hers husband with small stones in a bottle which is foreshadowed in Episode 7:

Voices: Stones - stones - precious stones -

Lover: Had to get free, didn't I? Free?

Voices: Free? Free?



The Young Woman, who we find out is Helen Jones, hears about someone killing someone with an bottle full of stones to be free.  That gives her the idea how to "do away with her husband".

The whole book foreshadows. 

Episode 7 talks about the moon and how she says she cannot sleep with the moon.  She says she never sleeps.  During the trial in Episode 8 The Young Woman says "I heard a noise and I awoke..." p. 65) but she says later on page 68 when asked about how she saw the blood on her husband that "I couldn't sleep - I can never sleep in the bright moon. I never can." She keeps contradicting herself about the details.

When talking about love in Episode 2 the Young Woman says "I've always thought I'd find somebody - somebody young - and - and attractive - with wavy hair - wavy hair - I always think of children with curls - little curls all over their head - somebody young - and attractice - and that I'd like - that I'd love - But I haven't dound anybody like that yet - I haven't found anybody - I've hardly known anybody - you'd never let me go with anybody and -

She says she wants love and has an idea of who she wants to marry and how she wants her kids to look.  So she did want kids, which I found surprising because when she had hers she didn't seem to want to be around her kid.

However, when the Young Woman talks about love with her mother her mother just talks about how love doesn't give you certain things.  So she is only after her husband's money like Daisy was in the Great Gatsby.


Not Everyone Lives in the Same Community

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Foster states in Chapter 9 It's Greek to Me that "Every community has its own body of story that matters" (pg.65).

I believe he is right about this.  I think many authors write about something that has happened to them or someone that they know (maybe in their community).  If everyone lived in the same community life would be boring.  Just like if all books were written the same way about the same thing just with different names it'd be boring.  My community and yours are different and because of that we each have expierienced different things and have our own bodies of stories.  What happens in my community matters to me, such as classmates being in a car accident, when it doesn't matter to you because you're not from my community to understand or really care about the story and vice versa.  Sometimes when reading books we may wonder why the author thought to write about this and we might ask if they're even speaking English because we don't understand them (which is where the title of the chapter 'It's Greek to Me' is saying).  We need to understand each other and respect other's community and matters so when our own body of story comes out it does matter, not just to the person who belongs to the community but people outside as well.

Thunder Love

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In Chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby there is a long paragraph that quotes: 

             "Outside the wind was loud and there was a faint flow of thunder along the Sound.All the lights were going on in West Egg now; the electric trains, men-carrying, were plunging home through the rain from New York.  It was the hour of a profound human change, and excitement was generating on the air..."


It seems funny to me that this "faint flow of thunder" is mentioned and I think it is foreshadowing the the day when Tom figures out what is going on between Gatsby and Daisy, Daisy's wreck with Myrtle, and Gatsby's death.  I think throughout the story the thunder gets closer and closer and louder and louder.  Thunder represents a storm so thi's thunder represents some "storm" so to speak passing through the Buchannan family.

"It was the hour of a profound human change" seems to me like it's talking about Tom and Daisy's relationship.  Tom is realizing he doesn't know who Daisy knows and what she does when she's off on her own.  It is a change for him.  The quote also foreshadows the end of the book when Tom and Daisy leave the city because they needed a human change. 

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