February 2008 Archives

In the Desert...


"You'd be getting a perment house and a deep well and the most innocent girl in the world. You don't need no money" (O'Connor, "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" p.57).

This passage reminded me of New Testament of when Christ walked in the desert for forty days.  During that time, Christ was tempted by Satan to use his godly powers in wrong ways.  In addition, Satan promised Jesus that if he gave into the Devil's demands, Christ would inherit the whole Earth.  In that same way, Mr. Shiftlet (Jesus) is tempted by the old mother (Satan) to give in to her offer to marry Lucynell.  Here comes the twist: Shiftlet actually gives in to her demand!  A classic example of subversion if there ever was one.

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Allusions: The Lazy Writer's Way to Create Depth

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"An allusion is a passing reference in a work of literature to another literary or historical work, figure, or event, or to a literary passage" ( Hamilton 74).

I think allusions are often used by lazy writers to create some sort of depth in their writing.  Truthfully, allusions do create a layer of depth in a story, but that layer is shallow by itself.  Could you imagine a story filled with only allusions?  The story would be boring to read, shallow, and unoriginal to boot!  Instead, I think allusions should on a suplemental basis, sort of like icing on a cake.  When allusions are used correctly, they help create a well-rounded character or story. The reader best heed my advice lest he or she wants to become the next Thomas Hardy (relax, it's only a joke).

The Road to Wessex   

The Foundation of British Comedy


"Understatement is a form of irony in which a point is deliberately expressed as less, in magnitude, value, or importance, than it actually is" (Hamilton 55). 

As I read this quote, a revelation dawned upon me.  I suddenly realized that all British comedy, past or present, is based on understatement.  The movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail displays many great instances of understatement.  In one sence, King Arthur has to fight a black knight that is blocking the road.  The ensuing battle is hard-fought, but Arthur gains the upper hand and chops one of knight's arms off.  Thinking victory is at hand, Arthur stops the fight, but the black knight seems to want to start another.  Arthur wonders aloud how the knight can continue the battle with such a grivous injury, but the black knight retrots, "Tis only a flesh wound!"  To say this remark was an understatement would, well, be an understatement!

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Trying to Do The Impossible

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"He intended not to fool with preachers anymore but to Baptize himself and keep on going this time until he found the Kingdom of Chirst in the river" (O'Connor, "The River", p. 45).

While some people maybe disheartened by Bevel's death at the end of the story, his action of diving underwater to reach the Kingdom is symbolic of humunity's attempts to reach heaven. Like Bevel, many people believe that they can find their own way to God's Kingdom.  They dive down into a deep sea of religions in order to find a pearl of truth.  The phrase "there are many ways to heaven" describes these peoples' point of view.  They don't care which road they take, as long the road fits their own guide to heaven.  However, O'Connor uses the drowning of Bevel to illustrate the foolishness of this kind of thinking.  Instead, O'Connor seems to point to Chirst as the only road to the Kingdom of God.

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Hello, My Name is...Dirt?

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Opps, I meant to say Ethan!  Actually, my middle name is dirt.  Just kidding. Truthfully, my middle name is Clay.  Anyways, I learned a great number of things since I have joined the introduction to literary study class.  For those of you who do not know, the class discusses and examines works of literature.  The discussion and exmination parts of the class were nothing new to me, but the process of blogging about literature sure was new!  At first, I thought the process blogging was confusing.  Now, I have a better grasp on how to blog.  In order to demostrate my blogging skill, I will provide the articles listed below:


Henchard the Vampire 



Satan the Misfit

The Most Dangerous Waltz


The Big Question


Deadly Sin

The Dark Sleep


Locked up

As always, I will provide my wonderful readers with a link to the EL150 site.


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Falstaff: "Of what quality was your love then?"

Ford: "Like a fair house built on another man's ground" (MWW, 2.2, Lines 209-210).

Ford's love is unhealthy.  What Ford thinks is love is in fact a lustful envy.  That kind of attitude towards love never breds a healthy relationship.

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Prearranged Love

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Shallow: "Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love [Anne]?"

Slender: "I hope, sir" (MWW, p.10).

I laughed when I first read Slender's response.  Then, it made me think about the purpose of many (but not all)marriages back during Shakespeare's time.  In the author's time, marriages were prearranged for financal sercurity.  A women's dowery was the key to achieveing this goal.  As you can infer from the text, love came second, or not at all.  I pity people who are put in that kind of sitution.

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Death is Sleep


"One short sleep past, we wake enternally" (Holy Sonnets, Line 13).  To fully understand this line of the poem, the reader must know a little bit about early Christian theology.  Back then, Christians like Saint Paul believed that death was just a form of sleep.  The "sleep" itself was a waiting period until Christ came back on Earth.  They believed that when he back, Christ would ressurect all those who believed in him, and gave his faithful people new bodies that were free from disease, hunger, and death.  This defintion of death is still held many Christian chruchs.


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She Reeks of Beauty

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"And in some perfumes is there more delight/ Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks" (Mistress Eyes, Lines 7-8).  It is interesting how times have changed.  Back in Shakespearse's time, the word "reek" probably a positive meaning to it.  Now, the word "reek" means something or someone carries a very bad smell.  Can anyone think of another word that once had a positive meaning, but gained became negative meaning later on?

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Learning Through Suffering

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"God's economy causes much suffering his human creations" (Monteiro, Katherine A. "Dickinson's 'Victory Comes Late'.") 

The question is often asked, "why did God allow this to happen?"  My answer: sometimes suffering, as painful as it may be, teaches valuable lessons. I will use the American Civil War as reference.  Let's say that God snapped his fingers and never allowed the war to happen.  What do you think would happen?  That's right, nothing would happen!  Most African Americans would still be slaves, and that would be a far greater injustice than war.  By allowing the war to happen, God effectivly tore away the rosy veil that covered slavery.  Before the war, the south was convinced that slavery was just a form of spiritual gruardianship.  By the end of the war,  slavery revelved its true form: a disgusting and inhumane business.  Without suffering, the world would not be a better place.

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Victory at a Cost

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VICTORY comes late,    
And is held low to freezing lips    
Too rapt with frost    
To take it.    (Dickenson, Lines 1-4).

This quote made me think of people that try to force their way to success.  They will do anything to attain power; when they finally obtain that power, they are too emotional or spiritually cold to take responsibility for the power.  An example of this kind of transformation would be Macbeth.  Macbeth used every trick up his sleeve to gain power, but in the end his soul was "too rapt with frost" to take up the responsiblities of being king.

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 73 "I should have been a pair of ragged claws
 74  Scuttling arcoss the floors of the silent seas"
The man in this poem is obviously going through a midlife crisis.  He wishes he could be something he is not.  Now, isn't that a good message for valentine's day?

Different Experiences

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"Every reader's experience of every work is unique, largely because each person will emphasize various elements to differing degrees" (Foster 103).  This quote reminded me of the poem "My Papa's Waltz."  From my modern viewpoint, I viewed the father in the poem as abusive.  I focused in on the father's whiskey scented breathe and his rough behavior with the child. Meanwhile, a person from around the time the poem was written might have considered the interaction between father and son to be playful.  It just goes to show you how times have changed.

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The Gluttony of Shakespeare


"[Shakspeare] is everywhere, in every literary form you can think of" (Foster 38).  Western society always uphold Shakespeare as some god-like figure in literature.  The people proclaim him to be a savior because renewed interest in the classical plays of old.  The people will also gave him the title of wise teacher, for Shakespeare's words are not just a collection of words, they are also tools meant for instructing others.  Let me add another title to the list: glutton.  To me, Shakespeare is the great consumer of ideas.  To put simpler terms, Shakespeare took all that ever was and ever will be in inventive literary thinking and gobbled it all up for himself. Because of Shakespere, a writer has very little wiggle room to think creativity.  All a writer can do nowadays is to knee down before the throne of Shakespeare and accept the bard's regrujetation of ideas.  Western literature would be much better off if that blasted Englishman had not had not come along!  BY THE WAY, THIS WAS A JOKE, SO DO NOT TAKE IT SERIOUSLY!

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"No pleasure but meanness" ("A Good Man is Hard to Find" P. 21).  In a way, Misfit represents Satan.  All the signs are there.  He drives a hearse, which smybolizes the coming of death.  His scolarly look betrays his true intentions.  Satan does the exact same thing.  The bible says that he masks himself as angel of light in order to trick people to do his bidding.  Also, Misfit and Satan take the same pleasure out of making people suffer.

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Slapstick vs Satire

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Unlike low comedy, satire aims to redicicule flaws in the hopes of reforming those vices.  Satire is usually a battle of wits, and does not rely on physical humor.  Meanwhile, low comendy usually falls back upon the time-tested jokes about sex and toilet humor.  One has meaning and the other does not.  Which kind of comedy do you prefer?

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Why Ask a Question That Already Has an Answer?


"Why would your reader bother to think about what is going on, if the author carefully explains what each and every line means?" ("Short Story Tips").  Before I read this article, I did not understand the benefits of making a text mysterous.  I always thought the straightforword texts were the most effective, but now I see the error of my ways.  If the writer explained to the reader every single question about the setting, characters etc, what would there be left for the reader to answer?  That my friends, is a retoricol question.

EL150 Site

The Real Killer


"I wonder how it would seem never to have had any children around. (Pause.) No, Wright wouldn't like the bird--a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that, too."  While the reader never truly figures who the killer of Mr. Wright, the real killer of the story is actually Mr. Wright himself.  Just think about: Wright basically murdered his career as a singer when he married her.  Interestingly, this not the only death in the story.  In fact, the whole story filled allusions of death.  From the death of a kitten to death of a child, death surrounds the women of the story.

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Spring: A time for birds, bees, and... work?

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"The idea [of the festivals] was to purge all the built-up bad feeling of winter from the populace... so that no negativity would attach to the growing season and thereby endanger the harvest" (Foster 182-183).  My first reaction when I read this passage was... the greeks worked in spring?!  I mean, it would have make sense to grow the crops in springtime because they needed food for the harvest time, but this did not make sense in the modern world.  These days, people view spring as only a season of rebrith, and not a time of back-breaking labor.

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Grain and Blood

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"Sometimes the really scary bloodsuckers are entirely human" (Foster 17-18). Micheal Henchard was the first name that popped into my head when I thought of vampire-like humans.  The drunkard-turned-sucessful grain merchant-turned-worker fits the description perfectly.  For instance, Henchard's irresponsible action of selling his wife to the sailor destorys his wife's usefulness.  In other words, by selling his wife, Henchard is basically branding her as second-hand goods which in turn reduces her usefulness to society.Click here to enter a land of magic and wonderment (EL150 site)

Past Possessive

The context of this quotation presents a very interesting role reversal. The fact that Marjorie considers Warren to be her property is the complete opposite of how women viewed men during the time period in which this story was written. During that period, men often considered women to be property. Prehaps the quote was meant to shock the reader.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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