May 05, 2005

Portfolio #2

I know that my last portfolio was sub-par. I hope that this one will be better. Again, for background information (since I noticed most people put it in). I am graduate student here at Seton Hill University. I am studying Music Education, having graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, minor in History.

Cover Blogs:

You're Ugly, Too - I really didn't understand this one much. As if that should really come as a suprise. I focused my response on Zoe's fascination with the musical the King and I.

Blood-Burning Moon - As I said in this short blog, I didn't understand real well of what was going on in the story. I wrote that I understood that the moon was an omen, but beyond that, I understood the racial tensions and the two deaths.

Greenleaf - After rereading this story it makes much more sense to me now. I am just not very good with fiction.

Here We Are - I received the most comments about this blog. I suggested that maybe it really isn't a story. If I recorded a phone conversation and removed names and published it, is it really a story? There were comments for and against.

The Best Girlfriend You Never Had - This was a typical blog from me, The story of Leo and Lucy and the bad relationships that they had.

Half Skinned Steer - This was just a strange story! It was very unbelievable, and the author really didn't research much about fact.

Italy to try Three Former Nazis - I put my opinion into this one the most. I firmly believe that these men should be extremely punished. Their acts of unspeakable nature perpatrated against other human beings, can not be forgiven. They can not repay their debts to society. There is no statute of limitation of war crimes.

The Miracle at St. Anna - I didn't write much personally about this book. I honestly read it kind of fast. That was a very busy week for me with performances etc... Plus, I am not a big fan of historical fiction. While I do like actual historical works.

The Secret Life of Bees - This was by far my most substantial blog, I really put a lot into this blog, since I am presenting on it.


The Secret Life of Bees

Italy to try Three Former Nazis

Here We Are


Here We Are


Entry for Moira

Entry Discussion for Tammy

Entry for Tiffany

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May 04, 2005

Secret Life of Bees

It is pretty obvious that I am not a literature person. I am probably the one who understands the least in the class. So I apologize if I make glaring errors for this presentation or miss key underlying story plots.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd was first published in 2002 by Viking Penguin Publishing after having started the work in 1997 and later released in Trade Paperback in 2003 by Penguin Books. The Secret Life of Bees has sold more than 3 1/2 Million copies and is translated in twenty different languages.

Sue Monk Kidd is also the author of the newly released novel The Mermaid Chair and The Dance of the Dissident Daughter among other works. She has received numerous literary awards for both fiction and non-fiction works.

Sue lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband Sandy and their black lab aptly named Lily. She has a website giving a little background information as well as information regarding her books. It is

The Secret Life of Bees is about a 14 year old girl named Lily living in Sylvan, South Carolina with her father Terrance Ray, whom she refers to as T. Ray. T. Ray owns Peach orchards and sells peaches. Lily has a house attendant named Rosaleen. Lily's mother Deborah died ten years a go during a scuffle between her and T. Ray. Lily believes that when T. Ray knocked the gun out of Deborah's hand, she picked it up and caused it to discharge.

Lily really likes Rosaleen and she has daydreams wishing that there was no color barrier and she could be adopted by her. She even mentions that if they lived in a foreign country like New York, she could be adopted.

T. Ray has violent tendencies. He strikes Lily a number of times through out the book. He also has an unusual punishment forcing her to kneel on dry grits. T. Ray never mentions his wife and becomes agitated at Lily if she brings up the question. He also tells her that she killed her mother by acident which along with Rosaleen's imprisonment, causes her to run away.

Rosaleen was imprisoned after going into town to register to vote, she gets in an excursion with three men playing poker and pours the contents of her snuff bottle on their shoes. She is arrested, and the men are allowed to assault her while in police custody. Lily breakes her out of the guarded hospital and they run away. Lily is determined to take her to Tiburon, South Carolina because a picture that belonged to her mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary pictured as a black woman has the named of Tiburon on the back.

Lily and Rosaleen hitchhike a ride close to Tiburon and Lily discovers that the picture she has is on the lable of honey being sold in a local store. They go to the pink house of owners of the honey. There she meets the owners the Boatwright sisters, May, June and August. She also mets there hired help Zack and June's future husband Neil.

Lily and Rosaleen help the Boatwright sisters with the honey business and household chores. Lily falls in love with Zack. She learns that her mother had been to the very same place. Zack tells her that he wants to be a lawyer. She meets the lawyer Mr. Clayton Forrest and makes a collect call to her father from his office. Zack is eventually arrested, May committs suicide when she discovers this. The sisters tell Lily about stories of bees coming back to life after death. June gets married to Neil.

Lily talks to August about her mother, even though she lied at the beginning of who she was, the Boatwrights knew. August told her about her being her mother's nanny and how she came to South Carolina from Virginia to be close. About how she married T. Ray because she was pregnant, even though she was not happy. About how she did run away from Sylvan and went to Tiburon and went back to get her daughter, the day she died. Lily flips out and smashes honey jars in her honey house room.

T. Ray comes to get her, the collect call from the law office told him where. He hits her again. After fighting back, she refuses to leave and he decides to let her stay there. August says that she is the heir to the honey business. T. Ray says that he would be lying if he didn't say that she killed her mother. Lily in her mind finally forgives, her father, her mother and most importantly herself. In the end she was looking for her mother who was gone, and finds a family.


The $64,000.00 Question - who shot Deborah. Was it really Lily? Did she shoot herself? Did T. Ray shoot her? Was it an accident, or was it murder?

When T. Ray leaves Lily at the Boatwrights house, did he have a change of heart or was that he feeling all along that he wanted better for his daughter? Lily said that he never said I love you. Did he show it by his actions?

Lily shows the difference in thought between norhtern and southern states by saying going to a "foreign country like New York. Where the differences that glaring that people viewed other states as being foreign countries?

Did Lily have to come to terms with her mother's actions or did she just have to come to terms with herself?

Lily describes Zack as "one of those drum majors for freedom on page 231. It probably doesn't mean much, but I picked out this line since I was Drum Major of the University of Pittsburgh Varsity Marching Band.

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April 14, 2005

Miracle at St. Anna

I think it is emminent that I am not a literary person. I do read a lot, but this stuff I don't necessarily comprehend very well. Well maybe I do, if the grades from the papers are indication, maybe I get more than I realize. As for today, McBride's story, I don't have much to say. It involves a number of issues while talking about the four soldiers; the racial issue, conflict and resolution, and mostly the importance of GOD. Maybe I will have more to say in class, to tired to think right now.

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Italy to try Three Former Nazis

I have very strong feelings on this type fo subject. There are people who would say that these are old men, and this happened a long time a go. So many forget that all of the attrocities committed in nazi Germany under Hitler were not directly done by Hitler or senior members of the nazi party. There were many willing accomplices-average, ordinary people who believe in what they were told. These attrocities are some of the worst acts of human beings against other humans in all of history! These men did not commit petty crimes they violated the basic human rights of millions of innocent people. These are crimes that can never be repaid! No amount of time can forgive a man for these type of actions committed. I truely believe that these men, even though they are 80 years old should be extradited, tried, convicted and executed. Justice knows no time limit, ultimately these men shall receive the justice they rightfully deserved from 1945.

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 04:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 07, 2005

Half Skinned Steer

Just as the previous story, this one does not make any sense to me. I understand that he was related to Rollo, who has died. Or, better said killed by an emu on his ranch in Wyoming. But other than that, the story tells of a half skinned steer walking away?? And then the drive to get to Wyoming and all the trouble. Ending with the car breaking down after it had been stuck and he was followed by the half skinned cattle?

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 03:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Best Girlfriend You Never Had

Thias story does not make any sense to me. The narrator who is a woman named Lucy, who is a freelance photographer by trade talking with her friend Leo in San Francisco. But beyond that it doesn't make any sense to me. All I read was their stories about bad relationships. The phrase "I am the best girlfriend you never had" was out of the blue and and doesn't make any sense. And the ending was abrupt and didn't conclude much of anything. I guess that's why I am taking this class.

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March 31, 2005

Here We Are

I am really questioning whether this was a story or not. It was a conversation between a young married couple going to there honeymoon. All they did was fight, and it never went anywhere, it was the same arguments, presented in the same way, with the same answer everytime. "Here we are, aren't we?"

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 05:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


Not just in reference to this story but also to the previous story, there seems to be much reference to racial tension, and prejudices and dividing racial barriers. There is also mention of death in both stories. The ending with the bull is a little confusing. What exactly happens. I know that Mr. Greenleaf kills the bull but does she die? And who is talking to the dying bull, Mr. Greenlaef, or Mrs. May?

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 05:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Blood Burning Moon

I had a harder time with this one. The southern accent is always harder to read. I understand what happened, but I really don't understand what happened. The moon was an evil omen, but was the song coincidental or a preminition of what was to come?

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 05:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

You're Ugly, Too

My question is a simple one, asking why there is mention early on about the musical "The King and I" then no further mention of it in the short story? By a quirk of fate, I performed in the pit orchestra for a production of "The King and I" six years a go. It just seemed strange that twice that particular musical was mentioned, with an illusion given to some importance then, never mentioned again.

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 05:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 15, 2005

Streetcar Named Desire

Set it New Orleans in the 1920's. Fitzgerald really must have liked jazz. It is at least a subliminal theme in a few of his works. The characters and their conflicts are intriguing to say the least. Blanche relentlessly clings to her ways of the past and the money and status that she once had, even though she is just as poor as the others, she still looks down on their living conditions and way of life. She has almost no real solid grip of reality. She also displays much contention for her sister Stella and her sister's husband Stanley and their relationship. She refers to him as a "Polack" and often degrades him yet in the same turn, she is jealous of the Stella and Stanley have. There is no real decency among the characters. They are always "stabbing each other in the back." There are even references to future betrayals that are to come. Lastly, the physical streetcar named Desire is both ironic and important to the story.

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March 03, 2005

Blog Portfolio

This is a first for me, I have never done a blog portfolio, so I hope that it is satisfactory. I noticed other people included a little information about themselves. I am a grad (post-baccalaureate) student here at Seton Hill, working on my music education certification. I am a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in general music, minor in History. I have to say, five years of college is enough, that and I think that 22 credits is catching up to me.

Blog Entries
I don't know if I have a set of great blogs. I just hope that they are acceptable. Here are a few links to my best work.

Bernice Bobs Her Hair

A Jury of Her Peers

The Great Gatsby (Chapters 1-6)

The Great Gatsby (Chapters 6-End)

Compare and Contrast Pound and Crane

Compare and Contrast Lehman and Plath

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 05:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Compare & Contrast Plath & Lehman

I found these two stories to be a bit disturbing. The Lehman poem over the World Trade Center is a bit ironic, probably not so at the time it was composed but in the current light it is. I do agree with his conclusion after he realizes that the World Trade Center symbolized American greatness, even though the architectural style was not as ornate as the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. The Daddy by Plath was definately disturbing to me. I may be way off the mark here, but it seems that the narrator is talking to Hitler, at least I think. I was a bit puzzled, because I don't think Hitler had a daughter. She spoke of killing and mentioned the suffering of Jewish people in the concentration camps. I also see a reference to Dracula in this poem, especially when she says about vampires and then at the end states there is a stake in the big black heart.

Comparisons of these stories, I find that both authors use a tragic events to make their points, the Holocaust and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Both make reference to the fact that they were wrong and then changed their opinions.

Contrasts of the stories include, the relation of the author to the story. Lehman was a passive observer, while Plath's character was an active participant, related to the Nazi party. Lehman speaks of a building, while Plath speaks of the German Air Force, torture, death, and destruction. Far more graphic and violent.

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 03:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Compare & Contrast Pound & Crane

Sorry for the delay, finally got the computer problems fixed. I hate computers yet they are so ingrained into every day usage that I can't do without it.

I find that "In the Old Age of the Soul" by Ezra Pound to be a very short story about the yearning of an old warrior for an age gone by. He is not content with being a an old man, an advisor. He wants to directly take part in the action.

"To Brooklyn Bridge" by Hart Crane is a longer and more modern poem. There being the first contrast that I will make, the refernce of time. The Pound poem has no time setting, it could describe one from thousands of years a go almost to a present time. The Crane poem mentions specific objects, namely the Brooklyn Bridge as in the title, but also of modern activities such as cinema and also modern luxuries such as using an elevator or traffic lights.

Personally, I am not a poetry person, so reading each of these poems generally leaves me asking what on earth are they saying. but a few general comparisons that I noticed, come from the tone of the poem, both have a sad sort of somber feeling. The writer conveys a sense of sadness and yearning. They both desribe going places, Pound describe aging, while Crane dercribes going to the Brooklyn Bridge. A main difference then arrises from that statement, where Pound si describing a moving of time, Crane is discribing a moving of place.

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 02:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 16, 2005

Great Gatsby 6-End

I am sure that Dr. Jerz will mention this in class, if someone else doesn't bring it up first. If I remember right it might have been touched upon during the last class. My agenda item for the week is, is Gatsby really great? In my honest opinion, I believe he is. Sure he tells little white lies and strecths the truth from time to time. If the definition of great should mean a "perfect character," no character in any literary work qualifies. Everyone has flaws and short comings. Despite his I believe Fitzgerald was really trying to display Gatsby as great.

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February 08, 2005

Great Gatsby

Any time I ever hear the title Great Gatsby, it reminds me of Back to School starring Rodney Dangerfield. When asked, "how do you characterize F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'Great Gatsby." He replied "...well, he was...Great!"

On a serious note, I have a few questions about the first couple of chapters. Nick lives next to Gatsby, who lives in a mansion, I a bit confused as to when Nick lives in a cheap rented house surrounded by mansions? Perhaps someone knows the answer, either that or I just missed some important detail. Second, I know that Nick is related to Daisy and her husband Tom. Tom and Daisy are obviously wealthy, especially when Fitzgerald explains the amount of moving that they have done, just out of a matter of complacency. But my questions is, Nick seems to me that he is portrayed as not being wealthy, so why is he "hanging around" all of these well to do people.

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February 01, 2005

Adding Machine

It has been a while, but I believe that I have read the Adding Machine before. Rice was portraying the difficulties of workers and their families during the time that unions were coming about and the struggles of working families.

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Jury of Her Peers

Personally, I was a bit more confused by this story than any of the others. There was no specific date mentioned, but by the wording and descriptions, I picture an older midwestern town in the nineteenth century. I do believe that it mentions the city of Omaha as being close by. I am clear on the fact that story is a murder investigation, however, I am uncertain with many of the details that Glaspell was trying to convey. Examples would include the bag of flour on the kitchen counter, they kept mentioning that it was half sifted, but I never remember hearing a reason for this or any resolution. References to the quilt pattern was also very unclear to me. The birdcage was another detail that I was unclear about. It is clear that the bird was killed by a broken neck. Beyond that it doesn't specify much else about it other than the fact that the other women were hiding the bird's broken neck from the sheriff and attorney. The ending, I feel left a lot to be desired. There was no closure in my opinion. It just ends with the ladies saying it was a knot.

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 10:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Personally, I found the written version to be far more detailed and intricate than the movie portrayed. Perhaps it is just my observation of the movie, but I got the feeling that very little was given about the other members at the dance. Fitzgerald goes into much more detail with the both the people and the setting. I could be mistaken, but I don't remember even hearing many names in the movie. Fitzgerald describes each one in the story. I also noticed differences such as the fact that in the story Warren dances with Bernice, in the movie this event does not occur. The biggest difference between the movie and the story was that the story was told through the point of view of a narrator, the movie lacked this perspective and therefore gave a different outlook on the characters.

Posted by ChristopherParfitt at 10:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)