March 2009 Archives

Language Associated with Babo


"Babo is reduced to that primitive mode of denomination, the fixing or objectifying of the other by means of the gaze, or "evil eye" of envy, mentioned by Freud in his essay" (Wright 396).

I, first, want to say that Angela and I are going to be doing a psychoanalysis of Batman and this essay was very interesting. I understand that it was referring to "Life is a Dream," but we will be doing Batman, if all goes well.

I thought that Wright made a great argument and case about psychoanalysis in "Life is a Dream." This is very true because if we study the language, then we can see how important it is for the characters and how they are represented.

So, is close reading the key to a psychoanalysis reading of a text?

I think that Babo is represented, as described in the quote, as being a very negative character in "Life is a Dream." Why is this and why does it take a psychoanalysis reading to discover it?

Well, on one hand, if we use The Yellow Wallpaper and use a psychoanalysis reading, then we discover that the narrator is becoming isolated based on, John, her husband. Is it the psychology aspect of the story that drives her insane in the end or is it only her isolation. Interesting...

Melville used very specific language in his story, "Life is a Dream" in order to make his characters represent a specific meaning or personality. Captain Delano is described very differently than Cereno. There is also a sense of trust between the two from the very beginning when they meet.

A question for all:

Is psychoanalysis necessary or essential when trying to criticize a specific piece of literature? Or does literature just require close reading and the outcome in order to determine if it is psychoanalysis or not?

Click here for the web page devoted to Wright.

I saw Broccoli in Derrida's Essay


"If one calls bricolage the necessity of borrowing one's concepts from the text of a heritage which is more or less cogerent or ruined, it must be said that every discourse is bricoleur (Derrida 358).

I never even heard of the word bricolage before reading this text. According to our friends at Wiki bricolage is "the construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things which happen to be available; a work created by such a process" (Wiki).

This applies directly to what I wrote my blog entry on which was called Derrida came to the Rescue. My blog, which I recommend, describes how people focus on the old methods of the past instead of focusing on the new tools of the future or each person's personal take on a text.

As the quote states above, how can we "borrow one's concepts?" Or when people do it is it simply called bricolage.

Click here for the course web page devoted to Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms.

Derrida came to the Rescue


"In order to avoid the possibly sterilizing effect of the first way, the other choice--which I feel corresponds more nearly to the way chosen by Levi-Strauss--consists in conserving in the field of empirical discovery all these old concepts, while at the same time exposing here and there their limits, treating them as tools which can still be of use" (Derrida 357).

Well class, I think we hit the jackpot with this one!!

Would you agree that we are doing this now?

Let me try to explain my reasoning. All of the authors and types of criticism that we are learning can be considered "tools" of the past. This is because it has already by researched and published in many Medias and we are focusing on them by applying certain schools of criticism to a text. I think that Derrida is saying that the "old concepts" of the past are still necessary to use in today's literature field, but in order to get new concepts, then we must focus on our thoughts and discoveries.

Does that make sense and have meaning to Post-structuralism?

I think that the human sciences, as Derrida used in her title, let us, scholars and critics, discover new methods or "tools" in literature because we observe, predict, research, and analyze what a text contains.

When Derrida talks about "structure, sign, and freeplay," (362) I believe that he is saying that each category or word determines what the new tool will be. So, if we take structure, for example, and apply it to The Yellow Wallpaper, then we will use the house as a means for representing male authority. Secondly, if we take sign, and apply it to "Life is a Dream," then we will understand that each Captains ship represented a different sign or status of freedom and/or seclusion of slaves. Lastly, if we take freeplay and apply it to any text, then we seem to be not limited to one role or category, but more like any new discovery that we learn along the way.

Wow, this was an interesting text, but it really seemed to represent have certain categories offer certain interpretations and in order to get our own interpretation, then we must take a new look at a piece of literature.

Click here for the web page devoted to Derrida.

Don't Linger on the Past, but on the Future

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"Another troublesome feature of structures emerges when we try to think of their origin and development." (Keesey 345).

I want to begin by saying that this chapter has given me an overview of what we have been studying and applying in our casebooks. When I look at the chart that Keesey illustrates, on page 343, I am now able to connect the concepts together and understand why specific types of criticism are used.

Okay, so now onto the quote. Eagleton presented a chapter on Post-Structuralism that was a difficult read, but seemed to over many ideas that relate to post-structuralism. So, it seems that Keesey is trying to tell us that one negative aspect of post-structuralism is thinking about where it began. This is very true because when we think or study something to long, then usually our vision becomes distorted. If we think about where the structures began, then we may begin to imagine certain things or overlook the information that is in front of us.

It seems that Keesey is saying that if what you’re reviewing or criticizing is already in the real world, then why study its past?

Many people seem to think that we must look to the historical aspect of a topic. Well, do we have to? I don't think that it is necessary to always look to the past because the future holds what we don't know and what is to come. In other words, if we are studying how something began, then how can be move forward?

Click here for the web page devoted to Keesey.

A Sense of Great Potential - Derek Nikitas

At the beginning of Derek's presentation he mentioned that "limitations push you beyond your expectations" which was compared to "laser beam eyes." I thought that this statement had a lot of power because it showed us, literature and creative writing majors, how important it is to strive for the best that you can do.

I quickly thought of Literary Criticism and the casebook papers that we are required to compose each week. These exercises are not designed to be frustrating experiences, but they are used to focus our knowledge, referencing limitations, in order to push us beyond our expectations for the topic or course. We must use the limitations as a basis for developing focus, clarity, and purpose.

After Derek presented the Vincent van Gogh painting entitled Starry Night, I heard Dr. Patterson say that "the painting has stillness and movement at the same time." This was an interesting statement because it holds true to the visual learner, but offers a kinesthetic approach by having tangible objects within the picture. We can take the tree, for example, as having movement and mass at the same time.

Furthermore, Derek was asked how he conducts classes and if he requires or requests in class writing assignments. I was shocked and happy to hear that "he likes brainstorming instead of in-class writing." This is something that requires a person to write on the spot without any prior knowledge. This may be a good idea if we are looking for random or unknown ideas, but in order to develop a "good," meaning writing with evidence, piece of writing, then we must take time in our comfort zone and develop a paper.

In addition to Derek's many interesting ideas, I liked that he used The Coasts of Chicago as a focus point when referencing one of the photographs. I found Derek using literary criticism within his presentation when he presented us, the class, with Hans Gindlesberger's Various Stages. I thought, "Wow! This is author intent in reality with evidence." Derek knew Hans and why he took this picture/painting, but it shows us, critical readers, how important it is to understand the author as much as we can.

Finally, Derek said he wanted us to do some homework which I thought represented how a class would be conducted. He asked that we use two medias, as different as possible, and write about them using similarities, differences, technique, and style. This type of assignment may be non-challenging, to the artistic major, but it reminded me of an interdisciplinary teaching approach that I think is important to have whether teaching children or adults.

Overall, the presentation seemed to be a success that was supported with a lot of evidence and learned knowledge. I also thought that Derek was speaking to a student level instead of trying to impress or show his advanced skills. Without further ado, I would say that it was a job well done!

"Erotic Frissons" with no comment!


"They had overlooked the possibility that the erotic frissons of reading, or even work confined to those labeled criminally insane, were an adequate solution, and so had the guerrilla fighters of Guatemala" (Eagleton 124).

While I was reading Eagleton, I wanted to know what "erotic frissons" really was.

According to the free dictionary online, "frissons are a moment of intense excitement or shudder" They also give an example that stated, "The story's ending arouses a frisson of terror" (FDO).

Do you ever read a frisson in a piece of literature?

The quote, from Eagleton, holds true in a lot of literature because any scene that is intense with action or wonder can be defined as a frisson. What about the ending of The Yellow Wallpaper. Would that be a frisson? I think so because it is an intense part of the story and the narrator causes John to become faint and no know what is occurring.

Can you think of an example of a frisson in a text?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Hamilton.

History repeating itself and Literature...hmmm...


Quote #1: "Structuralism is best seen as both symptom of and reaction to the social and linguistic crisis" (Eagleton 122).

Quote #2: "Post-structuralism was a product of that blend of euphoria and disillusionment, liberation and dissipation, carnival and catastrophe, which was 1968" (123).

These two quotes made everything clear for me while I was reading this chapter on post-structuralism.

I related post-structuralism to the history of the United States.

The first quote reminded me of how our society poses a problem or stereotype and then they also represent the social crisis. Would you agree?

Now onto my second quote. I think that post-structuralism displays signs of how our 20th century was formed. We have disillusionment because people, in the early 1900's, were unsure of what the future would hold. I am referencing technology, the economy, and government policies. We have a period of liberation that brings people to invest and believe in the culture and people of our society. Finally, we have catastrophe on September 11, 2001 and also recently when the stock market melted down by over 50%.

Now would you agree that post-structuralism is similar to our history?

I also feel that post-structuralism authors focused on specific areas of interest. This would include slavery, race, and government. Eagleton refers to Barthes as "analyzing, acting, and changing the structures of society" (123). We saw/heard people just like this. Take Martin Luther King, Jr. and Maya Anglou, for example, who analyed, acted, and changed parts of the world.

This text, by Eagleton, made me realize how important literature is to our history and future. We have based our way of thinking, in a literature viewpoint, upon how society reacts to events that we have to encounter.

So, is post-structuralism a representation of history or does it give authors a starting point for writing and criticizing a text?

Click here for the web page devoted to Eagleton.

Critic Gaston Bachelard and the Female Sacrifice

While you probably are wondering why I am writing a blog about Bachelard since it does not relate to this week's readings (March 18, 2009).

This blog is designed because of the amount of material that is necessary in order to develop a great presentation in class. This blog is additional information that I wanted to use in my presentation, but due to time constraints, I will have to explain it, to the best of my knowledge, in this blog.

Gilbert and Gubar talk about the critic Gaston Bachelard and how he relates women to objects and/or houses. While reading this section of the text, I thought about how women are related to objects throughout their entire lives.

Let me try to demonstrate what I mean:

Pregnancy = The womb

Childhood = Doll Houses

Adulthood = Caring for the house

Death = usually in a house

Now this is very interesting because it shows how females are involved with a house in one type or another. Now when referring females to houses, we do not have to actually mean a "house." It can mean a womb, a toy representating a pleasure activity, or the chores that come with adulthood.

So, the life of women is referred to houses throughout their entire life.

Do you think that an intertextual reading implies this reference or is it our culture/society that makes author's write with such emphasize placed on houses?

Now how about this...

Look at the first letter of each word that I listed in order to describe a female's stages of life. They are listed as P, C, A, D. I mixed the letters up some and came to a very interesting conclusion. First, I put the letters in a specific order such as P, A, C, D. Next, I related specific words to these letters which spelled "Painful association causes death." I thought of this term in reference to The Yellow Wallpaper. Do you think that this relates to the text? And why?

Click here to return to Literary Criticism.

Presentation: Male Control vs. Female Sanity


Article: Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar from Keesey's Context for Criticism

Date: 19 March 2009


A lot of poetry and literature have stressed the concept of male authority and its effects upon women. Gilbert and Gubar stated that "houses were primary symbols of female imprisonment" (Keesey 260) which shows that women were being imprisoned. Most males, in early history, provided the money for shelter, food, and necessities. The concept of females being related to houses can be seen through an interdisciplinary approach. Anne Sexton, a 20th century author, wrote a poem entitled "The Room of My Life." This poem will be distributed at the beginning of my presentation because it displays a similar approach to the isolation of women.

Gilbert and Gubar also present three interesting terms called anorexia agoraphobia, and claustrophobia. These terms are considered attempts of "suicidal self-starvation" (260) and "social confinement" (260) which women who are imprisoned usually have.

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, discusses the effects of "a haunted ancestral mansion" (260) which can be related directly to The Yellow Wallpaper. The second sentence in The Yellow Wallpaper states "A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house" (Gilman 531) which shows a correlation of female insanity from the very start.

Gilbert and Gubar state a "distinction between metaphysical and metaphorical" (260) which separate male and female authors. There are different metaphysics related to male and female authors because male authors begin "recording their own distinctively female experience, then define their own lives" (261). This statement moves directly into my next point of female authors and their description of female inferiority. Gilbert and Gubar stated "women seem forced to live more intimately with the metaphors they have created to solve the "problem" of their fall" (261). So, why did Charlotte Perkins Gilman write The Yellow Wallpaper? Was it to explain the "fall of women" or was it to show the pain that she was living with? We may never know because this would involve author intent, but we can infer that Gilman was writing about a woman who had no control and gradually lost her insanity.

Gilbert and Gubar mention Gaston Bachelard, a critic, who "shows the ways in which houses, nests, shells, and wardrobes are in us as much as we are in them" (261). After reading this, I immediately thought about when women have children. What is the location of where children are born? I bet you are thinking hospitals or houses, in previous history, but this is another connection of women being related to houses or structures.

We are all thinking about women being related to houses, so is this born within females? Would you agree if I said that most female children play with doll houses? I would think so and this may involve psychology because female children play with doll houses, marry to care for a house, and, usually, die in a house. Wow, this is beginning to connect. In addition, Gilbert and Gubar state that Erikson said that "a female's womb is a child's first and most satisfying house" (261). So females are born in houses (wombs) and have connections with houses throughout there entire lives.

Let's talk about the male culture now because most men in early history, to the present, owned the home. For example, the male's name is usually first and then the female's name. Gilbert and Gubar also stated "to believe that as a house she is herself owned by a man" (260). Since I have been talking so much about women and houses, I think that we should look at a painting of women in the 17th century as an example. Bartolomé Esteban Murillo painted "Two Women at a Window" which quickly took my attention because the women are in a house. Many references can be made about women in houses, but why has this reference been so vivid in paintings and literature?

Simone de Beauvoir stated "the confinement of pregnancy replicates the confinement of society" (261). This statement is interesting because it does not specifically say females are isolated, but it implies a unified gender approach which includes males and females.

Now let's move onto the text of The Yellow Wallpaper and see what is really going on. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was "treated for a similar problem" (262) which probably would have been some type of mental illness. So, is this why she wrote the text? But wait, Gilbert and Gubar stated that Perkins was "treated by S. Weir Mitchell, a famous "nerve specialist" (262). This man was not only a doctor, but an author. The link for him lists all of the books that he published.

So, I bet you don't know what a medical paternalistic physician is? Well, this is my own blog that I wrote about when reading Gilbert and Gubar initially. It links to what a paternalistic physician is and offers my insight about this topic. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defined paternalism as "the interference of a state or an individual with another person, against their will, and justified by a claim that the person interfered with will be better off or protected from harm" (Dworkin 2005). This reminded me of what happened to the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper.

As a result of women being entrapped within a house, we can begin to connect the ideas of what really happened. Gilbert and Gubar referred the sickness with "bars, paper, figure, and haunt" (262) which can be related to someone who is losing insanity or has been excluded from society for a long time. While reading these terms from the essay, I quickly thought of the movie production called "The Grudge" where a woman (deceased) has been contained within a house for years and a new family moves into it. After a while, this creature or person with has lost their insanity begins to try to get the people who are in the house. This movie can be related to the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper because both characters are female and, both, have been isolated and the result is illness and a look of "a monster" (262).

It seems that the more I relate different authors, movies, or facts, then the more everything seems to fit together. Finally, since the narrator has been isolated because of John, there seems to be a twist at the end. John faints when he sees her and this can be seen as the narrator proving that she is only becoming insane because of him.

Click here for the course web page devoted to March 26, 2009.

MLA Works Cited

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. Contexts for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. New York: McGraw, 2003. 531-38.

Sexton, Anne. "The Room of My Life." The Complete Poms of Anne Sexton. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981. Poetry Foundation. 2009. 15 March 2009. .

Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban. "Two Women at a Window." National Gallery of Art. 2009. 15 March 2009. .

NNDB: tracking the entire world. "Mitchell, S. Wier." 2009. 15 March 2009. .

Other references include wikipedia,, and Online encyclopedia

Lend a helping hand of Freedom, Forgiveness, and Fertility

While "Benito Cereno" comes from and reflects on the debates and conflicts of the 1850s, it stretches out from that history to offer itself as a meditation on the problematics of a certain kind of revolutionary situation, on American history (by which I mean the history of the Americas and therefore necessarily the history of Europe and Africa)" (Swann 321).

While reading "Benito Cereno," I never thought about relating it to history and much it makes sense.

Did you think that Captain Delano's character was quite interesting in the text? Why did he trust in Captain Cereno? Would you?

As a reader, Melville is using history as a basis for showing how people should conform within society. This approach holds true throughout society and is important to consider when relating to criticism.

When using intertextual criticism, a reader can compare this text to any text that has wars or debates that involve ships or slaves. Were previous societies trustworthy and that is why Captain Delano had so much faith in Cereno?

Melville seems to be trying to use Captain Delano as a figure that society should be instead of never trusting anyone. Can we "really" trust anyone in today's society? Well it depends, right?

Many World Wars within the United States or in foreign countries have been based on debates and disputes between people. This may be because of religious laws, political force, or simply a dispute between races. Melville is presenting readers with a text that allows unity between people that do not know each other. When using my critical lense to evaluate this text, I begin to question whether Delano was used as a distraction or as an illustration of how society should begin to act.

It is interesting that you do not see this type of "lending a hand" in "The Yellow Wallpaper" or in "Ode on a Grecian Urn." This type of text is providing a view of how society will conform to changes or how it will be in the future. Well, lets look at society now. Do many people lend out a helping hand? I would say that usually people do because it is the "right" thing to do.

It is also mind-boggling when you place emphasize upon a particular character. Take Captain Delano, for example, and put Captain Cereno in his place. Would the trust still be there? Would there be slaves?

My overall critical view is that history, as we usually relate to, has a way of containing teachable moments or viewpoints that readers need to consider. I did not think of historical criticism while reading "Benito Cereno," but now I have another lens to evaluate the text.

I will leave you with an online posting that relates "Benito Cereno" to history and uses White, an author, as a comparing point.

Click here for the course web page devoted to Swann.

Existentialism, Women, and Authors


"Judgments which evaluate a character's authenticity are tooted in the extensive body of Existentialist theory on the subject" (Donovan 225).

I think that in order to gain an understanding of why women are demoting or utilized in literature as objects of the world, then we should understand what existentialist theory is.

According to wiki "Existentialism is a term that has been applied to the work of a number of nineteenth and twentieth century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, took the human subject — not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual and his or her conditions of existence — as a starting point for philosophical thought" (Wiki 1).

This definition gave me, as a reader, a great insight into why women are used in literature so much. Women since the beginning of time, to my knowledge, have been demoted and used in negative ways. I think that many early 18th and 19th century authors used women as their basis for writing. This is because they put the female's feelings apart and started with "philosophical thought."

So can we assume that feminist criticism is based on existentialism since authors used female (humans) and their use/placement in society?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Hamilton.

Is Literature an Illusion or...

"What we think of as reality is illusion: not all of us are realistic in the criminal way that Antonio is, but, as Prospero's great speech at the end of the masque says, in our world everything that we call real is merely an illusion that lasts a little longer than some other illusions" (Frye 302).

I think that Shakespeare's plays are excellent, but they present the reader with difficult scenarios and concepts that need criticism. Is the criticism of Shakespeare's plays an illusion of what he intended it to be?

As you know, and I do too, we will never know the author's intent because we cannot talk to him, but we can assume and present criticism is the best way possible.

Are Shakespeare's plays based on reality or are they a form of "nature" (302). I think that we can use intertextual criticism to present The Tempest in any way that we see it. There are several pieces of literature that presents similar concepts as Shakespeare does.

If Prospero's speech an illusion or is it intended to distract the ideal reader?

How can an audience apply formalism to The Tempestt if several scenes are based on illusions?

What if Claudius in Hamlet killed his brother because it was used as an illusion in order to present another concept of intention? The audience would be taken away by this and they would be distracted from the point of the illusion.

I think that Frye presents a great case about The Tempest, but, as a reader, I think that reality can be understood as an illusion, but how can we distinguish the two apart?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Frye.

Stereotypes about Women, but not Men?

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"Much of our literature in fact depends upon a series of fixed images of women, stereotypes. These reified forms, surprisingly few in number, are repeated over and over again through much of Western literature" (Donovan 228).

Why does literature seem to rely on stereotypes of women?

Just as I have always stated in my blogs, I think that women are used as a gender that cannot justify their place in society. I think that women are just as worthy as men in all aspects of life and culture. I think that a woman can do the same job as a man can do.

Donovan touches upon the same topics that are repeated throughout history and literature. Why does literature continue to repeat these stereotypes? Is it because we do not know of another gender that has been demoted and demoralized over time?

So, if stereotypes of women are repeated over time, then will gay and lesbian stereotypes be the next trend in literature. I think that there is too much emphasize put onto women because the gap of discrimination has been almost closed, if not completely, and women are able to achieve anything in today's world. The 2008 Presidential elections, for example, included Hillary Clinton and this shows the power that women can attain within society.

I also like the chart that Donovan listed about dualism. Donovan stated the word "virginal ideal" and it is immediately related to a "sex object" (228). Is sexual desire or the psychology involved with it a basis for our culture when it comes to writing literature?

Or are there not any other stereotypes that authors can write about?

I think that moral criticism is a great way to explain how women are presented in literature. The reason being is that a lot of literature teaches us a message about women throughout society. This may not always be good or bad, but there definitely is a message.

So class, are female stereotypes a reality or is it complying to mimetic criticism since it is an actual depiction of the real world?

Click here for the web page devoted to Donovan.

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe...

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Frye stated "It seemed to me obvious that, after accepting the poetic form of a poem as its primary basis of meaning, the next step was to look for its context within literature itself" (283).

Did you like my title? Well, if you didn't then its okay, but I used it for a reason.

As I was reading the essay by Frye, I began to think that he does not like traditional criticism. It seems to be systematic rather than words without trust.

If we base criticism off of "myths" or untrue statements, then we may be able to develop a new insight into a piece of literature because we are not studying a true statement or fact, but something that allows everyone to contribute.

I am, by no means, an expert of literary criticism, but I can say that certain critical views are easier to use than others. I think that psychological criticism is harder to use than historical criticism, but, then again, you may think the opposite.

So, if Frye does not "approve of" traditional criticism, then how can he say one is better than another? How can anyone say that one type of criticism is better than another when all of them contribute to an overall view of a work.

If historical criticism is based off of history and formalism is based off of words, then how do we know that "archetypal criticism" is not based off of history since history has given way to the study of psychology and society? This has also resulted in the composing and studying of literature.

Frye was right when he said "The Critical Path."

Real Life vs. Eternal World

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"A common complaint about the psychological analysis of character is that it does violence to the literary values of fiction by reducing the novel to a case history, the character to his neurosis" (Paris 222).

Do you think that this is true in real life? How about when a psychologist does a case study or when they analysis someone who has had a mental disorder? I believe that the point that I am trying to make is that by analyzing a character based on psychological views will result mental destruction or disillusion. It seems that we, readers of literature, analysis a character or subject in too much detail which results in an explanation that is very far from the original argument or study.

I thought that when Paris said "We must recognize that literature and criticism belong to different universes of discourse" (222) that it was true.

This concept applies directly with my title about the real world and the eternal world. Literature and criticism are separate divisions because each term represents a different role or study of material. The real world imposes many problems on a daily basis that can be fixed or not which results in humans trying to determine the value and meaning of the eternal world. In other words, the real world is obviously different from the eternal world because we can only question the eternal world.

But wait...

If we can only question the eternal world, then it would be like criticism because we can only offer our opinion of a piece of literature. There is no right or wrong answer just as there is no right or wrong answer of the eternal world.

Do you believe that psychology focuses too much on the internal message of characters or scenes? Or do you think that it provides us with another option in order to create a specific type of criticism?

Click here for the web page devoted to Paris.

Can you translate that for me?


"Linguistic conventions and the literary conventions most closely bound to them, such as meter, rhythm, and rhyme, are notoriously difficult to reproduce in another language. But devices of strucutre and plot, techniques that most of the Western literatures, at least, have in common, and these easily cross linguistic boundaries" (Keesey 270).

Before reading this quote, I had never thought of this before, but it really makes sense. I think if you know another language, such as Spanish or French, then you will be able to write better. I thought that writing poetry with rhyme and other literary technquies in another language was the same as writing in English.

Keesey also mentioned "like conventions of language, they have meaning only to those who have learned them" (270) and I would have to agree. Put yourself into the shoes of a foreign person who was writing poetry. I, for one, would not even know where to begin because I do not know their language or meaning of words. On the other hand, if I knew the language, just as I know English, then I would be able to understand why they maybe used that comma, semi-colon, or repetition.

Do you think that intertextual criticism is only appreciated by the people that know their language?

So, what if we did an intertextual criticism of "Life is a Dream" since it was translated from Spanish into English. Would we understand the Spanish meaning that was translated into English since we are not familiar with that language? I read the play in English, as we all did, but what if we compared it to another Spanish play? Would the result or criticism be the same as if we compared it to an English play?

I think that intertextual criticism is very interesting because it makes the reader think that "poems do not imitate life; they imitate other poems" (265).

Click here for the course web page devoted to Keesey.

A Portrait of Survival: Azar Nafisi


I thought that the speech from Mrs. Nafisi was excellent and it deserves a continuing applause.

When she began her speech, I notated a quote from her that was "A book makes connections and puts you with the people you should be with." Would you agree?

Just think about going to a bookstore and where you navigate once you go inside. You move towards the books that are in your interest area and something that you want to read. This allows you to be with people that have similar interests, but, most importantly, it puts you with developing characters that let your mind escape from the problems of the world.

Mrs. Nafisi also added that "Living in isolation gives others knowledge of what happened" and I compared this to "Life is a Dream." I thought of Segismundo and how he was isolated from society because his father did not appreciate or want a son. In this case, Segismundo could not "give others knowledge" of what happened because he was secluded from the public or any members of society - excluding the servants. If he was let out, then he was told (drugged) that it was all a dream.

Lastly, Mrs. Nafisi made a great point about our current society and the events that are occurring with the economy. She stated "In order to learn a country, then you should start with its history - not the television." This is what is happening today! People throughout the United States are tuning into the television in order to capture the most important events of the day whether related to the economy or not. People need to not go to television because channels like Fox Business or CNN present a view from a Republican or Democratic Party, in most cases, and this can change or persuade a viewer. So, if you want to know when the stock market will try and reach a bottom or when our unemployment rate, currently at 8.1%, will begin to fall, then we need to study our history and the recessions that we previously have had. I know that this current recession is one that we had never experienced before because of the events that are occurring at our federal, local, and state government. We will make it through these hard times, but it is going to take time and time and history will only decide the outcome.

So "have a critical dialogue with the author" and try not to base your opinions off of our stereotypical society and television, but off of history and the author's intent or background.

Comedy and Fear = A Neutral Approach

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First I want to say that the play "Life is a Dream" at Seton Hill was EXCELLENT!

While reading the text, I did not understand the comic lines or scenes within this play.

I thought that Matt Henderson did a great job in portraying how a serious play can have a lot of emotion with laughter.

At the beginning of the play, Matt gave up his sword to the guards and said "here is my sword even though it is imitating." I heard the laughter echo throughout the room.

On a more serious note, when Segismundo becomes Prince he questions how he got it. He said "Is this a dream or not?" This made me wonder how Segismundo knows when he is in reality or in a dream.

Lastly, Astolfo mentioned about reaching for the stars. This made me wonder how reaching for the stars for a figurative statement and cannot truly be accomplished.

Overall, this play was excellent and I thought that the SHU actors and behind the scenes workers did a terrific job and I congratulate them on an excellent job done!

After seeing the play, I was able to connect the text with an image and between the both of these I have been able to understand the text in a better way!

Click here for the course web page devoted to "Life is a Dream."

Click here for my other blog entry entitled What if your Life was a Dream of Reality.

Participants: Derek Tickle and Angela Palumbo

EL 312 - Literary Criticism

Dr. Jerz

5 March 2009

For our project, we would like to use formalism and author intent to prove how the movie Pirates of the Caribbean was such a box office smash in 2003. We happen to have a first draft of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, which is the movie that we would primarily deal with. Angela and I noticed that the writers used very complex sentences and gripping, but confusing scenes to draw the viewer in. We believe that this may be to encourage multiple viewings either in the theater, on DVD, or Blu-Ray. It is also written, like many Disney movies, to be both appealing to children and parents while having elements of comedy, action, and romance.

We will bring a printout of our proposal to class to turn into Dr. Jerz.


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