March 31, 2005

Characters

Compelling, depressing, disturbing.....etc. These are just a few of the adjectives I could use to describe the characters in Galatea. After further reading Lentz and Richard have now moved passed Imp B, to C, from C to D, from D to E, or G, depending upon how far you've read others may have gotten further in the text.

Though it is still very interesting to watch the development of these imps, I still find that the characters surrounding the story line are most appealing. Not the characters themselves, but the issues that they all have internally. These internal conflicts of course affect them externally and they effect how the respond and relate to those trying to get close to them.

For example, Richard's flashbacks with the infamous C. are so deep and sad. I really actually get slightly depressed just reading it.

"Each narrative riddle, each mental raadsal was an awkward, tenderfoot bow I tied for her, for the pleasure of untying her." (page 106)

Richard wrote that book, not for himself or for the money, but for C. and her affections. How strange is that? And C. herself is a puzzle that can not be put together, well so far in the story that is. She was so paralyzed by the guilt of simply being away from her parents that she couldn't be happy anywhere. She couldn't sit still, she couldn't allow herself to be given anything, like job promotions or compliments. She was mentally messed up, because she felt undeserving of anything, because she did not go home with her family.

And C.'s affect on Richard is so apparent that he is not allowing himself to get close to any other woman including of course Diana who has some of the most special children ever created. The story continues on with Richard finding out something about Lentz, Lentz is also of sad character, but makes the plot all the more interesting to me.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2005

An Intro to Galatea 2.2

This novel by Richard Powers can be described as many things, however, after reading the first 88 pages I can honestly say that I am somewhat intrigued by the characters relationships. Particulary the main character, who just happens to be named "Richard" (hmm). And also be a writer (hmm). And doesn't want to write an autobiography about himself (hmm again).

Still, the relationship between the impartial and pessimistic Richard, to the hyperactive, distant, Lentz is interesting. In the middle of all the technological language and assumed knowledge of background information, this is where I can understand the concept of the story.

I also found the flashbacks by Richard to his beloved relationship with "C." is confusing sometimes but brings an emotional depth to Richard's character and the plot of the story, proving it's not just all about the creation and science.

I also mentioned in class the reference to Eliza another chatbot. Who can be extremely annoying after awhile, but it seems that the characters here are on to something a lot more entertaining.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

More of the "Adventure"

In the essay, "You Are Standing at the Beginning of a Road: Examining Will Crowther's "Advent", both the history of the game and Crowther's himself are explored. Debate about when Crwother's created the game and when Woods actually got hold of the game and made his changes, to me still seems shady and I don't think anyone is really sure of any dates or times. Funny, these are smart people who were apart of a historical original and they can't remember any dates?

It basically goes on to talk about the puzzlements in the game and the contrast between Woods and Crowther's within the game. I found that to actually be interesting. Anytine to different people put their unique ideas and perspectives into something it's going to be conflict, "Nelson notes that the tension between the contributions of Crowther and Woods is part of the games charm. "Stretching a point, you could say that there is a Crowther and Woods in every designer, the one intent on recreating an experienced world, the other with a really neat puzzle which ought to fit somewhere."

Posted by Denishia Salter at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Interacting with computers

For some reason, anytime there is a mention of interactive fiction games, chatter boxes, and those of the sort. I tend to use words like, frustrated, intrigued, annoyed, unique, and confused.

One of the original pioneers of interactive games is, “Colossal Cave Adventure” originally created by Will Crowther in (c1975) and then updated by Don Woods in 1976.

According to an excerpt from Dr. Jerz’s blog, “"Adventure" (also known as "Colossal Cave Adventure") is a forerunner of virtual reality, and as such, is a forerunner of hypernarrative. For a game that is so unfair, stylistically inconsistent, and frustrating, it has been tremendously influential. This was the first of its kind -- using words to create a rich simulated world. Nobody had seen anything like it; it spread quickly across the Internet.”

I myself am actually pretty familiar from last semester’s class of Writing for the Internet. I was assigned to play and critique interactive fiction games of my choice. Some of them were ok, and most of them were frustrating. However, none of them were as confusing as my favorite, Photopia.

Another frustrating experience interacting with computers would be our good friend Eliza, created by Joseph Wiezenbaum in 1966.

“Eliza is the first chatterbot” a chatter bot is “a computer program that mimics human conversation.” And let’s just say Eliza does not mimic a human very well, or a conversationalist. Eliza is modeled like a supposed psychiatrist. Let’s just say that if Eliza was your psychiatrist, you’d have more problems when you left the office than before you got there.

What is the point of discussing these technological puzzles? Am I to focus on the wonders of technology and the effect that it has on how computers and humans interact now? Is there a beauty in here that I have not found? The beauty of creation would be my best guess. And the originators such as the “Adventure” and Eliza are the ground breakers of such programming beauty.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)

Expressionism

Anne said that, “I agree with Amanda on this one--I had no idea what expressionism was until I read "The Americanization of Expressionism: The Hairy Ape (1922) and The Adding Machine (1923)" written by Dr. Jerz. It simply means an artist is showing their feelings--expressing themselves (you can look at Amanda's blog for further details on this term). I also found out from Wikipedia that "expressionism centers on the artists vision rather than on the viewers impression."”

I also agree with both you and Amanda. I wasn’t familiar with expressionism either, until reading this article or essay and having the definition presented to me. I now understand that expressionism is about the artist and not about the viewer.

To me this is what I was talking about earlier in the semester, about how some artists create their work for their own purposes not for the response of the audience. However, this artist may be well aware that his/her views on something will be seen and heard through their work and the audience will have opinions about it.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2005

Metropolis

Besides the fact that I found Metropolis to be one of the longest, most tedious movies I have ever seen in my life; I actually found some points in the movie that peaked my interest.

I found it interesting that they had the city divided into parts. It reminded me of the class system but somewhat harsher. There was the master of the city and his family at the top of the city, his employees, and then the workers city at the bottom of that. And it seems as if the workers worked to keep the city moving. They worked 10 hours a day and then another set of workers would substitute in for them.

What I found most interesting about the workers and the great machine that they worked on was the clock they had. The clock which was manually moved by a worker for 10 hours was only a 10 hour clock. I thought that was very depressing.

I was annoyed with this movie throughout but I was trying to focus on important aspects and what I am supposed to get out of it. I think that the best statement of the movie was when Maria stated to the workers that “there must be a medium between the planners of the city and the hands that created the city.” I thought this was an extremely true and relevant statement. Not only in the 1920’s but in today’s society also, just because you came up with the plans doesn’t make you better than the people who have the ability to make your plans come to life.

I was happy to see, not only the ending finally, but what occurred between the workers (who really didn’t care about their children) and the master of the city. A happy ending to a real sad but somewhat true story of society.

In an essay written by Dennis Jerz he states that, "Metropolis" influenced other films about technological advancement such as, Hugh Ferriss's "The metropolis of tomorrow" and Geddes's Horizons".

Influencing these artists "not just in the design of urban skyscrapers but also in the manner in which they emphasized temming masses of humanity moving through the streets-less like blood through networks of veins, and more like a vicous fluid pressed into tightly regulated streams, lubricating a great urban machine."


Also related to the topic of futuristic technology in America, is T"he Americanization of Expressionism: The Hairy Ape and The Adding Machine."

Here we discuss America's expermentation through plays in order to explore the technological advancements of the future. On page 17 they discuss robots versus man and the robots role in the playwright Karel Capek's R.U.R (Rossum's Universal Robots) which also "draws on the madness of science but specifically observes that an obsession with material productivity occludes consideration of the soul from the moral philosophies of capitalist opporunitites and radical labor agitators alike."

Which reminded me of Frankenstein and how the scientist became obsessed with playing God and creating a living creature that he claimed to be a human being. But in the end was the nothing but a monster and turned on him anyway. So that leaves the question with all these advancements in technology, is man going to far? Will it turn on him too?

Posted by Denishia Salter at 02:16 PM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2005

New York, New York

I have been to the state of New York several times in my life, for basketball games and tournaments. But I have neer been to the infamous New York City. I've heard so much about it, I see it on television all the time. I hear that it's a great place to be a writer and all the best editors and publishers are right smack in N.Y.C. I hear about the rappers there and most important to me I hear about the street basketball players and games played there and in Harlem and Brooklyn at the legendary Rucker Park.

To get to my point, I have never heard anyone speak of the Brookyln Bridge.

Johanna said, "The Brooklyn Bridge is often considered one of the most beautiful bridges ever created. At its completion in 1883, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world."

I envy the fact that she got a chance to experience the Brigde first hand, so I guess I just have to settle for the poem, "To Brookyln Bridge" by Hart Crane. This poem really does seem like the author is depicting different individuals not just one person, on his/her way to the Brookyn Bridge coming from Manhattan or Brookyln Heights.

Another big part of the beauty or ugliness of N.YC depending on I guess who you ask, is or was, the World Trade Center which of course was destroyed on 9/11. After visiting Dr. Jerz's blog on, "World Trade Center
Literary and Cultural Reflections."

The quote that stood out to me was by,
David Lehman

"The World Trade Center" (1996)

I never liked the World Trade Center.
When it went up I talked it down
As did many other New Yorkers.
The twin towers were ugly monoliths
That lacked the details the ornament the character
Of the Empire State Building and especially
The Chrysler Building, everyone's favorite,
With its scalloped top, so noble.
The World Trade Center was an example of what was wrong
With American architecture,
And it stayed that way for twenty-five years
Until that Friday afternoon in February
When the bomb went off and the buildings became
A great symbol of America, like the Statue
Of Liberty at the end of Hitchcock's Saboteur.
My whole attitude toward the World Trade Center
Changed overnight. I began to like the way
It comes into view as you reach Sixth Avenue
From any side street, the way the tops
Of the towers dissolve into white skies
In the east when you cross the Hudson
Into the city across the George Washington Bridge.

(From "Valentine Place" [Scribner, 1996]. Originally published in "The Paris Review." [source -- text not verified] )

I found it sort of sad that he never really liked the WTC until after it was gone and he then realized it's beauty and significance. Like they always say you can't miss anything until it's gone. Ok, I don't know who says that but it was relevant.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

Poems and Paintings

Those who write or paint know for a fact that inspiration is all around us, it's just a matter of time before we see it.

According to Christopher J. MacGowan, William Carlos Williams wrote in his autobiography that he was inspired to write, "The Great Figure" after being inside a friends studio and seeing a red fire truck blur past with the number 5 on the side of it in gold.
He said that, "the impression was so sudden and forceful that I took a piece of paper out of my pocket and wrote a short poem about it."

When I first looked at the painting by Demuth, that was made to depict the image that Williams expresses in his poem, I didn't understand the painting or the poem.

But after reading why it was written and what the motivation was behind it I'm glad I seen it. It's actually very interesting, it's as if Williams is trying to recapture that forcefulness and suddeness of the impression the truck made on him and share it with others and make them understand the experience. But what makes it more interesting is that he didn't stop with just the poem Demuth's painting also enhances the writing and vice versa. I'm one of those people that need to see and hear things in order to understand them best.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 01:39 AM | Comments (1)

March 14, 2005

Sounds and Solitude

In chapter four, Sounds, Henry David Thoreau examines the sounds around him. It seems that he wants people to not rely so much on learning from what’s in books and on paper. He thinks we should look around us and learn from our own experiences more. He asks the question, “Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer?” He talked about how he didn’t read during the summer he “hoed beans.”

Well this way of life gave him the opportunity to sit and think and observe his surroundings. He just discusses what he sees and hears everyday. He describes plants, water, the hills, hawks…etc.

He then discusses the railroad and how the “the earth had got a race now worthy to inhabit it.” Emphasizing how man has grown and now they are developing their own elements.

He goes on to tell us how he listened to an owl and tried to imitate it. How he thought the owl was “idiotic” and then he finishes with the sounds of a rooster and is assured that even if all these animals weren’t there his house would still have many sounds.

In his next chapter, Solitude, Thoreau continues his love affair with Nature. On what he calls a “delicious evening” he talks about how he returned to his house and found gifts from visitors who stopped past. He says that his house is so distant from the others that it is like living in “Asia, or Africa as New England.”

He talks about how when he first came to his home in the woods that he felt very alone and maybe slightly insane. However, instead of finding comfort with another human he found comfort in his solitude with Nature. The rain drops and sounds around his house made “the fancied advantages of human neighborhood insignificant.”

Later on in the chapter he talks about how you can be surrounded by company and still be alone. This part of the chapter captured my attention because I can relate to this feeling and I understand it. I have many times been surrounded by lots of people in a room and felt like no one understood me, or related to me, and just basically I felt like I was the only person there. I think this is very depressing to be surrounded by many people and feel alone especially when they are your friends.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

Part 4 The Poet and the People

Still, the artist is merely recreating the beauty of what they see and how they interpret life. They are not trying to manipulate the world. Those with the ability to contemplate and think for them will see that and seek the truth if lies are being presented to them.

Plato presents valid and substantial points. By producers doing their simple task diligently and doing them well, they are acting morally and bettering the community by doing so. And yes they are acting justly and can find happiness from this to a point. And even still the community may be happy as a whole. Yet, as individuals they cannot possibly be completely happy, because they are not striving to the ultimate happiness.

In The Republic, Plato even states that, “Happiness is circumscribed by a number of properties-freedom…” (Plato128). Here he says that freedom is substantial in happiness. How can one be happy if they cannot explore their freedom of free will and contemplation? I assure you that the farmer is happy for his community, but, is he happy with himself completely? He is working all day and night completing his task for the community; yet, he does not have the chance to contemplate anything else.
This idea of specialization is a very legitimate theory and may be applicable for the community but it takes away from the individualism in the society.

In conclusion, we must contemplate and rationalize, “For this activity is the best (since not only is this intellect the best thing in us, but the objects of intellect are the best knowable objects); and, secondly, it is the most continuous, since we can contemplate truth more continuously than we can do anything else….” (Aristotle 318 ). And who better to help us contemplate and rationalize than those who can provoke in us the ability to do so, such as poets, writers, painters, and musicians? Plato does not reject rationalization and contemplation. However, he would rather the philosophers, not the artists, be the ones to help guide human beings in society as a whole. And if poets are going to write any poetry it needs to be informative, scientific, and factual. Still he argues that the only way to get this achieved is through philosophy and not poetry.

“Clearly, the philosophical anthropology emphasizes the soul over the body, truth over opinion, and the divine over the earthly (Titanic), because the philosopher thinks that the life of reason—the erotic pursuit of sophia, and its object, tw` o[nti o[ntw~ (Being)—is the most blessed (makavrio~) life a man can live.” (Dennis 1)

Posted by Denishia Salter at 11:44 AM | Comments (2)

Part 3 The Poet and the People

To be happy is to rationalize and search for more knowledge. Plato argues that, poetry questions the morals and the form of good in the republic, “…[Poetry] makes us indulge in emotional feelings which hamper reason…poetry does nothing to establish an ordered, moral inner constitution, and if one is already established, it threatens to subvert it.” “…We must be extremely wary of them” (Plato 235). Again I have to reiterate that thinking and contemplating is what makes us humans most happy. Poetry does not impede our ability to reason, it provokes am intimate thought process in the mind, motivating us to search for the answers and the truth, and humans need contemplation to be satisfied. Instead of hindering the minds of society, let them learn and understand the ideas of the world around them.

In his article, Plato's Philosophy of Education: Dialectical Poetry and the Art of Healing, Dr. Graham Dennis states that, “The unflagging demand for entertainment that the public places upon his art encourages extravagance and intemperance. Consequently, he imprudently awakens and nourishes the Titanic nature in man. Whereas philosophy practices care for the soul and the cultivation of the divine nature, mimetic poetry “gratifies the soul’s foolish part.” (Dennis 1)

According to Plato, poets are nothing but mere imitators of what they think is reality but is actually not. Plato continues stating that painters are only imitators of the “creations of artists.” (Republic)

It is shown that Plato firmly believes that poets and artists are simply creating art to manipulate and seduce the reader or viewer into believing that what they say or create is real or the truth. He believes that they do not have good intentions and therefore are improper influences.

In Book X of the Republic, Plato points out that, “Then the imitator, I said, is a long way off the truth, and can do all things because he lightly touches on a small part of them and that part an image. For example: A painter will paint a cobbler, carpenter, or any other artist, though he knows nothing of their arts; and, if he is a good artist, he may deceive children or simple persons, when he shows them his picture of a carpenter from a distance, and they will fancy that they are looking at a real carpenter.”

Plato stated:
Plainly the imitative poet isn’t naturally directed toward [the noblest] part of the soul, and
his wisdom isn’t framed for satisfying it—if he’s going to get a good reputation among the
many—but rather toward the irritable and various disposition, because it is easily imitated
. . . for he is like the painter in making things that are ordinary . . . and he is also similar in
keeping company with the part of the soul that is on the same level and not with the best part. (Dennis 1).


Posted by Denishia Salter at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

Part 2 The Poet and the People

Philosopher Aristotle in his work Nicomachean Ethics argues that, “If happiness is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence; and this will be that of the best thing in us” (318).

Aristotle points out in Ethics:
Whether it be intellect or something else that is this element which is thought to be our natural ruler and guide and to take thought of things noble and divine, whether it be itself also divine or only the most divine element in is, the activity of this is in accordance with its proper excellence will be complete happiness. That this activity is contemplative we have already said (318).

Humans, animals, and plants all have certain functions in common. They all can nurture and reproduce. Both humans and animals have locomotion. But what separates humans from animals and plants? What unique qualities make a human truly a human? This is the ability to contemplate and freedom of will (Aristotle 294).

Contemplation is what separates us from other creatures and ultimately makes us superior; pursuing this rational contemplation should be our natural function and this will make us most happy (Aristotle 294).
Furthermore, every human activity goes towards some means that we think is good (Aristotle 290). “Happiness, then is something complete and self-sufficient, and is the end of action” (Aristotle 294). Happiness is the highest end to action, and then we pursue this for a life time because we believe that it is the ultimate good. And if rational contemplation is the ultimate good, than this is what is to be pursued by each individual. Rational contemplation is good and what makes us most happy (Aristotle 294).

In The Republic, Plato, through Socrates, states that, “So it follows that productivity is increased, the quality of products is improved and the process is simplified when an individual sets aside his other pursuits, does the one thing for which he is naturally suited, and does it at the opportune moment” (125).
Plato implies through his theory of specialization that, all humans should do that which their nature best suits them, and not concern themselves in any other business; which is for the good of the society as a whole. (Plato 125). It seems that this theory is focused entirely on the community as the whole and not on a person by person basis. The good of the state is more important than the happiness of the individual (Plato 124).

As a result, the producers should produce or more specifically; the farmers should farm, especially when they are inclined to do so by nature. Of course, practical matters are important in the happiness of daily life and should be handled accordingly. I agree with the concept of leading a practical life and obeying mortal virtues. This I too believe is necessary in leading a good life.
However, the “good” on its own consist mainly of contemplation. A life of contemplation and reasoning is the ultimate happiness (Aristotle 318). Performing an everyday task of farming or fishing because you are naturally good at it so you can feel that you are acting justly for the community and therefore feel good about yourself is not leading a life of contemplation or pursuing individual happiness.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

Aristotle vs. Plato: The Poet and the People Part 1

Aristotle vs. Plato: The Poet and the People

Poets, writers, painters, sculptors, and musicians are all creators of beauty, whether it is the beauty of the word, knowledge, or music. These aesthetics aid in the happiness of the individual self. Artists and poets contribute substantially to the happiness of humans. Poets help create this happiness because they push us to use our minds and our senses to think and understand; or to explore and imagine. According to Aristotle, our ability to contemplate is what separates us from animals and therefore is what makes us most happy. Poets, writers, and painters help us do just that, however, Plato would argue against these claims. Plato views poets as “dangerous” to society and they actually threaten our happiness as a society. In this paper I will explore a contrast between Plato and Aristotle on what makes us as human beings most happy and prove that poetry and art help us more than it hurts us as a society.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

Aesthetics Part One

Here is a list of links to the blog entries that involve the discussion of Aesthetics. Inside you will find topics on Plato, Aristotle, T.S Elliot, Oscar Wilde, and others, enjoy.

Pygmalion Old vs New-After reading the 17th century and the 20th century translations of the of the Pygmalion legend I have noticed several differences between the authors and their emphasis on certain things in their versions.

Pygmalion the realist edition-Have you ever read the legend of Pygmalion and the Statue? If your a college student I am betting you have read at least 2 different versions. In this entry I examine the perspective of this new but old tale.

Academic Blog-Here I view both Amanda Cochran and Julie Young's basic tips on blogging.

Blind Man's Bluff-This entry dicusses the journal entry's by Mike May's and my perspective on what it means to be blind.

Recycle Recycle-Here I examine the Allegory of the Cave in Plato's Republic and talk about the issues in the tale.

Ions and Ions of Reality-Socrates, in his oh so annoying, questioning way of teaching or whatever you call it. More like to me making people look like idiots and then manipulating them into thinking that your not as smart as you are and the answer was in front of them the whole time....as you can see this entry is about Plato's writing and the story of Ion.

Creator, Imitator, Interpreter, Liar-Do artist's create art? Do they simply imitate a half truth? Do they interpret reality? These are some of questions examined from my own perspective and my interpretation of Plato's.

More Poets-Contrary to Plato’s beliefs that poets are simply imitators and are thrice removed from reality; Aristotle exclaims in Part II of Poetics, which he believes that poetry is about the qualities that build human experience. So in other words poetry is based on the reality of humanity and not a mere imitation of it.

Is it talented to be traditional?- The title speaks for itself. T.S Elliot explores what it means to be a traditional and still have an individual talent.

Wilde and Crazy-“To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.” This is a sentence from the Preface of, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This sentence is one of the few sentences I enjoyed reading in the excerpt. It made me stop and think and then analyze not only my own writing but the authors I have read. After thinking about it I really thought this was a perceptive and intriguing statement; yet it’s so….simple. Unfortunately, not the entire excerpt by Wilde is this smooth.

Technology over the classroom-This entry examines the question posed by author John Churchill. Should technology replace the education in the classroom?

Alexander Pope: An Essay On Criticism-In Alexander Pope's, Essay On Criticism, he critiques the critic. He examines the nature of the critic and critically analyzes the reasoning behind the critic.

The Man Behind the Picture-This entry is about the novel written by Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. It discusses the characters and my interpretation of them and events in the novel.

The Aesthetic Realism of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray-In the essay, The Aesthetic Realism Of Oscar Widle's Dorian Gray, the author's Waldrep Shelton explore Wilde's placement of his work. The main "cultural movement" that Wilde's work was charcterized in was decadence.


Posted by Denishia Salter at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2005

The Aesthetic Realism of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray

In the essay, The Aesthetic Realism Of Oscar Widle's Dorian Gray, the author's Waldrep and Shelton explore Wilde's placement of his work. The main "cultural movement" that Wilde's work was charcterized in was decadence.

Decadence according to dictionary.com was a literary movement of the late 19th century France and England, characterized by refined aestheticism, artifice, and the quest for new sensations.

Which in The Picture of Dorian Gray, the main character Dorian is influenced by Lord Henry to lead a life of Hedonism and selfishness, in order to experience life to it's fullest.

Other cutural movements Wilde could have been placed in were, Realism, Romanticism, Formalism.

Realism is the representation in art or literature of objects, actions, or social conditions as they actually are, without idealization or presentation in abstract form. (Dictionary.com)

I would argue that The Picture of Dorian Gray as far as the portrait of Dorian and it's portrayal of who he really was and the evil that he was doing, was Realism.

The romanticism factor would have to be played in by the character Basil and the character Sybl they were very emotional and were both artists. But I don't think they rebelled against any type of social rules or conventions, except for the fact that I believe Basil was in love with Dorian and that was not acceptable.

Other possible cultural movements that many try to place Wilde's work in are Aestheticism and Naturalism.

I think that Oscar Wilde was a contradictary and I personally wouldn't know what category to put him in.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

The Man Behind the Picture

The Picture of Dorian Gray was actually a very engrossing novel. I enjoyed it, hated it, and at the end of the day was happy with the death of Dorian Gray.

I thought Oscar Wilde to be a very witty author. His 3 main male characters were all interesting.

Basil- the artist and friend who is obsessed with Dorian Gray and his beauty. Dorian's beauty inspires his art and in turn causes him to create a portrait of Dorian which turns out to be Basil's masterpiece and Dorian's downfall.

Dorian Gray- A naive, shallow, and stupid young man, despite his amazing apperance. Because he is so gullible he becomes influenced by Lord Henry who swears the only purpose of human beings is to experience new sensations no matter if these experiences are immoral or moral it doesn't matter to him. And after Basil tries his hardest to prevent it, Lord Henry gets Dorian wrapped up not only in himself but in the world of "sensation" and it's all down hill from there.

Lord Henry- my favorite character, so manipulative and calculating, however, also obsessed with Dorian Gray not for his beauty like Basil, Lord Henry was obsessed with what he could do to Dorian Gray mentally. He influenced him throughout the whole book because he wanted to see how far he could go in imposing his own thoughts, values, and even his spirit onto Dorian. And in the end he did succeed.

The problem I had with this novel was the worthlessness of the women characters. They were not as in-depth as the men character's nor were they as romantic. If the men and women in this novel were considered a pool, the men would be the deep end and the women would be the shallow end. Oscar Wilde game them nothing. The only woman character who had any depth at all was Sibyl Vane.

Sibyl Vane- she was a beautiful actress who lived in the slums that Dorian was visiting when he entered the playhouse and saw her acting and fell in love with her acting. (He did not fall in love with her, he fell in love with her ability to act) And so when she met him she of course fell in love his beauty even referring to him as Prince charming.

She fell in love with him and lost her ability to act out the art of love because it paled in comparison to real love and then when she stopped acting Dorian dropped her like a yesterday's trash and then told her she was nothing without her acting. That hurt's.

My point is Wilde does give her depth but only on the account of Dorian and then he demeans her. I really feel like our friend Oscar had some serious issues with women. I mean if he liked men so what, don't demean and downplay women because of it. But then again I'm sure that was his point and he was trying to get his beliefs out. I still didn't like any of the woman characters, especially Victoria, don't even get me started on her, or Mrs. Vane. I personally think it was her fault that Sibyl got into the position she was in with Dorian because of her mother's alterior motives.

Other than that I found the book entertaining and it's obvious that the novel is mostly fixated on Wilde's philosophy of "Life imitating art or Art imitating life" In my opinion I think that the art was imitating the life because Dorian was committing all these ruthless acts and participating in leading a life of self gratification due to the "yellow book" giving to him by who else but Lord Henry.

His portrait depicted him as ugly and aging with all his evil while he himself remained unaffected. This could go the other way, but for me I interpreted it as the art imitating what was real. Because Dorian was doing such a good job of pushing away his emotions and morals the painting reflected the truth for him. This was such a fascinating concept.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 11:23 AM | Comments (2)