March 2009 Archives


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"I am invisible, understand, simple because people refuse to see me" (Ellison 3).

I know this quote is from very early on in the book but it is an effective quote.  It gives us an insight to how he is viewed in the book.  It makes you think why do people refuse to see him? Did he do something wrong?  We know he is black  but does that still mean that he is supposed to be ignored and deemed as invisible?

On page 94 the vet is talking to Mr. Norton:

"He has eyes and ears and a good distended African nose, but he fails to understand the simple facts of life.  Understand.Understand?  It's worse than that.  He registers with his senses but short-circuits his brain.  Nothing has meaning.  He takes it in but he doesn't digest it.  Already he is -- well, bless my soul! Behold! a walking zombie! Already he's learned to repress not only his emotions but his humanity.  He's invisible, a walking personifcation of the Negative, the most perfect achievement of your dreams, sir!

This is talking about the narrator and what they think about him.  The vet is even saying that he is invisible. 

Mr. Norton makes black people feel invisible during his sermon on page 142 when he says: "Who Negroes? Negroes don't control this school or much of anyting else-- haven't you learned even that?"

What's ironic about this is Mr. Norton, the head of the college the narrator attends, is black. Throughout the book he seems like he is racist against his own color and I perceive this as him being invisible to himself. 

" 'If you're white, you're right," I said.  (Ellison 218).

That seems like a big idea of the book.  Like that is what everyone is trying to prove in this book.  It is kind of sad how even black people (like Mr. Norton) are trying to prove that if you're white, you're right. 

Being invisible is something the narrator continues to feel throughout the book and sometimes understands, but other times he questions why people treat him the way they do.  

Sylvia Plath - Morning Song

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"Love set you going like a fat gold watch" (Plath 200).

The poem is about a mother and her new born child.  However, my favorite line of the entire poem is the first line. 

No one truly realizes how much babies cost until they have one.  This is a funny quote because it's comparing the cost of a child to a fat gold watch. 

The line "One cry, and I stumble from my bed..." is sweet because every mother always talks about how they just have a mother's instint.  They know when something is upsetting their child. And no matter in how deep of sleep a mother is in she'll wake up to her child crying. 

It is a sweet poem about mother and child.

Theodore Roethke - My Papa's Waltz

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 From My Papa's Waltz:

"The hand that held my wrist

Was battered on one knuckle;

At every step you missed

My right ear scraped a buckle" (Roethke 13).


"Then waltzed me off to bed

Still clinging to your shirt."


The child knows its father by him being drunk alot.  "the hand that held my wrist was battered on one knuckle" is talking about a father who works really hard and when he comes home he wants to dance with is child.  The child keeps hanging on although his breath is hard to stand. The child doesn't want to let go of its father because they don't want to lose their father.

The first time reading this poem I was thinking drunk father = abuse poem.  But after reading it and trying to understand one stanza at a time made me realize this is just a family poem.  It is sweet how the father waltzes with his child. 

Did anyone else think of it as an abuse poem at first? 


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 "and he's well brought up.  See, he answers

nicely when spoken to.

Man or beast, that's good manners.

Be sure that you both always do" (Bishop 49). 


I like this poem because it talks about manners.  It is about teaching a child manners.  The grandfather teaches the child. 

The fact that he says "man or beast" means that everyone can have good manners, no matter what they do or who they are. 

The poem has a good teaching towards a younger child.  I personally think that teaching kids at a young age manners is a good path to take because they'll remember them.

Elizabeth Bishop must have wrote this poem for a specific reason.  The real reason no one knows. 

Maybe her grandfather is the one that sat her down and said "Be sure to remember to always speak to everyone you meet' (48). 

The fact that the child looks up to of their grandfather is a huge part life.  I know my grandparents a huge part of my life and they have taught me so many things and manners and everything about life. How about everyone else's grandparents? Who did you learn your manners from?

American Dream (Academic Article)

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David Cassuto's article "Turning Wine into Water: Water as Privilged Signifier in The Grapes of Wrath" was very confusing and I wasn't sure what the exact point of it was.  It jumped around to a couple of different ideas.  

One idea, however, that I found in the article was abotu the American Dream: 

"Instead of abandoning the American Dream, the dream itself underwent an idealogical shift" (Cassuto 69).

 The American Dream was a big part of life in the early-mid 1900s.  The American Dream came up when we talked about The Great Gatsby.   I think that the same concept is in this article and deals with The Grapes of Wrath

People didn't abandon the dream, like Cassuto says, the dream took a shift.  The shift was people wanted to move to the dream of what California brought to them.  The shift was from the nice house, numerous friends to the money from California.

seX, sEX, SEX

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"For those who remember a time when the movies not only didn't show people "doing it," they also didn't show people having done it or talking about having done it, those curtains might as well bear the following printed legend: yes, they did. And they enjoyed it." (Foster, p. 137).

I found this quote interesting because I don't remember the time when there was no sex in movies.  I find it disturbing how every movie has to have a sex scene in it.  It's like the producers and directors are not "cool" if they don't include a sex scene.  I feel as though movies should include sex scenes when it is relevant to the point of the story, not just to throw one in there. 

My grandparents remember the 'time' in which Foster was talking about.  It's funny with older people when they haven't been to the movies or haven't seen a modern day movie recently and when they watch one they are astounded by the content of the movie.

"Part of the reason for all this disguised sex is that, historically, writers and artists couldn't make much use of the real thing." (Foster, p. 141).

Writing a sex scene or acting out a sex scene was extremely hard according to Foster.  Well, if it was so hard why is in most of the movies that are out there now-a-days?

Imagination Station

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In Chapter 12 of Foster he states:

"Imagination isn't fantasy.  That is to say, we can't simply invent meaning without the writer, or if we can, we ought not to hold her to it.  Rather, a reader's imagination is the act of one creative intelligence engaging another." ( Foster, p. 107)

Imaginations are a huge part of a writer.  Thinking of things in their heads make great books.  Having a reality tied in with an imagination makes a phenomenal book. 

The quote above ties in with a quote from Chapter 25:

"The formula I generally offer is: don't read with your eyes." (Foster, p. 228)

Not reading with your eyes and reading with your imagination or your ears or mouth or something else.  Being an imaginative person rather than a plain boring person is better.  Not reading with your eyes makes you look at things in a different perspective, makes you think more and I think that is what Foster means by saying don't read with your eyes and to have an imagination. 

Make a DIFFERENCE in the World

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"Things have changed pretty dramatically in terms of equating scars or deformities with moral shortcomings or divine displeasure, but in literature we continue to understand  physical imperfection in symbolic terms.  It has to do with being different, really.  Sameness doesn't present us with metaphorical possibilities, whereas difference -- from the average, the typical, the unexpected -- is always rich with possibility." (Foster, 194).

Sameness is boring to people.  Sameness, likeness, is boring to me personally.  I believe people need to be different.  If we were all the same it would be a boring world, right?

Being different makes you rich, not literally as in money, rich as a person, an individual.  Differences make many possibilities, many actions you can take, many DIFFERENT  paths to take. 

Writing the same stories over and over again can and will eventually become boring.  Writing the same type stories with some differences can be better.  But writing completely different stories will be better in every way for the writer.  Being able to be diverse goes a long way.

Be different, it is "always rich with possibility." 

Save the Family!

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Mrs. Antrobus:

"My husband says that the watchword for the year is Enjoy Yourselves. I think that's very open to misunderstanding.  My watchword for the year is: Save the Family.  It's held together for over five-thousand years: Save it! Thank you."

(Wilder, p. 54)


Mrs. Antrobus seems to be all about family.  The family needs to stick together always.  She never wants to be without them and wants them to be involved.  When Mr. Antrobus comes home from work she wants her children to look neat and tidy and look like good children. It seems as though she needs to impress her husband with her children and how well she had raised them. 

In Act 2 the Fortune Teller tells Mr. Antrobus to get his family together and get on the boat.  He responds by saying:

"My family? I have no family. Maggie! Maggie! They won't come." (Wilder 85).

When he becomes President he doesn't seem to want a family.  He wants to be independent and not have to worry about them but then when they don't come he does worry.

Later in the story he doesn't care about Henry.

This story just confused me in a lot of ways because it was like Mr. Antrobus was back and forth on the family issue.  He wanted a family and then he didn't and then he did again. Just make up your mind! 

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