March 2008 Archives

19 _______84

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1. "Was he, then, alone in the possession of memory" (Orwell 52)
2. "Its a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. " (Orwell 45)
3. "When there were no external records that you could refer to, even the outline of your own life lost its sharpness" (Orwell 30)

     These quotes, along with the 93182 million other ones, all can relate back to the power of text, not only as a power of communication, but also of memory and unity, as well as individualism (Think of the passages by Ong and so forth). In fact, this whole book is an argument against Socrates and the power of oral culture. Although Socrates dwelled in a more open intellectual environment, his support of oral culture is whip lashed in 1984.  The first quote reveals Winston's ability to recall events that occurred but were now being altered to fit the Big Brother propaganda. Winston's analytical and skeptical approach to the totalitarian government can partially be attributed to his interest in books (Again think of the various passages from WM). Second quote is perhaps one of the benchmarks of the entire novel (It screams Orwell!). The government is revising text, and as such, revising thought. Grammatical principles are applied as not only system of unifying thought, but it also allows its author to express oneself in a detailed and concise manner. To remove the adjectives and so forth is to remove the spice/flavor/ pudding?. Emotions become seen either as black or white. But this is the purpose of big brother, to remove complex emotions and create a new, robotic being the exists to help perpetuate the dominance of its governments superpower. The diary of Winston directly rejects these principles, as he is constantly conveying inner emotions using a vocabulary far greater than prospective future of Big Brother.  Third quote: Ok i think ive said enough,so... to all my millions of fans, your assignment is to look at the third quote, buy me lunch, and then tell me why the quote is important. Thanks

McLuhan cont.

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"As the book market enlarged and the gathering and reporting of news improved, the nature of the authorship and public underwent the great changes that we accept as normal today." (McLuhan 257)

"But the book was beginning to be merged in the newspaper as the work of Addison and Steele reminds us. Improved printing technology carried this process all the way by the end of the eighteenth century and the arrival of the steam press." (McLuhan 257)

This brief quote documents the arrival  of the modern day newspaper. The passage goes on to explain the differences between the primitive newspapers and the ones we use today, but the basic principles were still there. The founders of the newspaper wanted the public to be able to access the current events, and therefore this opening the public to become involved within the politics of their society. This was a major step in the development of print, and its impact reflected all aspects of culture. Newspapers/ periodicals are powerful in that they can convey potent, important bits of information to the general public at a relatively low cost.   

Peanut Galley

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Nothing is more alien to medievalism than the modern reader, skimming the headlines of a newspaper and glancing down its columns to glean any point of interest, racing through the pages of some dissertation to discover whether it is worth his more careful consideration, and pausing to gather the argument of a page in a few swift glances." (McLuhan 88).

The filter in which we analyze and read is extremely different from our medieval counterparts. Our culture revolves around multi- tasking, looking at pieces of information quickly and determining which sections are important. As example in the quote shows, everyday we glance over articles first, then if it captures our interest, we dive further into the text. The medieval reader was at more of "muttering child learner" (McLuhan), in which "each word was for him a separate entity and at times a problem which he whispered to himself when he had to find the solution." Overall, the practical uses of reading/education was quite different during the medieval ages.

Calvino n at

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  This book so far has been careful to leave open to the Reader who is reading the possiblity of identifying himself with the Reader who is read: this is why he was not given a name, which would automatically have made him the equivalent of a Third person, of a character (whereas to you, as Third person, a name  had to be given, Ludmilla)..." (Calvino 137) 

    Calvino, an underappreciated genius of perspective, depth, originality, form, psychology,etc., is now referring to the reader, the development of the reader, whom they have become and what experiences brought them to the present. How they fit into the context of the novel, and how he expects the reader to continue to mature and question all that they are presented with.  Calinvo is sculpting his audience into what he wants them to become, he controls how you feel and perhaps why you feel that way. His understanding of his audience, or perhaps his understanding of what he wants you to become, is constantly reinforced throughout the novel until the reader cannot help but become engulfed in the world that Calvino has created within the conscious and subconscious.  


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"Long novels written today are perhaps a contradiction: the dimension of time has been shattered, we cannot love or think except in fragments of time each of which goes off along its own trajectory and immediately disappears." (Calvino 8)

   Not only does this quote reflect the flow of the novel, its also comments on how print culture has affected how we recount our past, and also how we tell/shape stories (Movies also play on this tendency).  When one tells personal stories, there is often a clear beginning, middle, and end, even though most experiences are not that concise. Because the majority of our culture revolves around stories (such as the news, the Bible etc.), our perception of time is largely affected by novels/stories. Memories are often scattered and illogical, while most novels read in a very logical and predictable manner. Novels, such as the one he is attacking, do reflect life because life does not follow a logical, seamless progression.  Yes, certain novels focused on the lesson or idea the author is trying to convey, but it takes place in a pseudo reality we often confuse as our own.

WM Douglas

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"The idea as to how I might learn to write was suggested to me by being in Durgin and Baileys ship-yard, and frequently seeing the ship carpenters..." (WM 101)

  This quote relates back to the passage in Brookfield, and how the earliest forms of writing were done by carpenters and craftspeople. On a larger scale, this reflects how the power of any tool lays in the hands of the crafter. Print culture relies on the progression of thought, and this was only made possible by those brave enough to express ideas which were pure and powerful.

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