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March 30, 2008

EL-336. Orwell, Final Chapters. To be alike is not the same

"Various writers, such as Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Byron, Dickens and some others were therefor in process of translation; when the task had been completed, their original writings, with all else that survived of the literature of the past, would be destroyed." (Orwell, 256)
The philosophies of The Party turned the citizens of Oceania into hate mongers, nationalists, just as the Nazis had. To take the writings of such established writers and destroy their works is just one other way of control. To translate their works is a slow and difficult process. But why ruin what was already adhered by readers all around the world. These writers suffered under many constraints to publish their works, in turn, they have become history, well-known, and established. Years of work for what? To be translated to fit the criteria of a mind controlling government, and then their final resting place, destruction! I hope that our country, the USA, never has to be forced into such degradation like that of Oceania. 1984 really freaks me out. Now that I look back, the Reagan years were compared to Orwell's book by extremists, radicals who felt that our country was in decline. "If you survived the 80s, you probably were not there."

March 24, 2008

EL-336. Orwell-1984. I always feel like, somebody's watching me, and I got no privacy

"they'll shoot me i don't care they'll shoot me in the back of the neck i don't care down with big brother they'll always shoot you in the back of the neck i don't care down with big brother-" (Orwell 1984, p.20)

Orwell's discontent for totalitarianism shines vibrantly in 1984. Oceania, what a place to be stuck. I dug the names of the Ministries-Truth, Peace, Love, and Plenty, how ironic. It's rather humorous how Big Brother control their people, they give them homes to live(which are shacks), a place to work (which benefits the government), and entertainment(selections by the Party), which all comes to restrictions. The Party members live in pyramid like structures that surround the brain-washed citizens of Oceania, so they are unable to escape. I feel that this is a optimistic look into the future of America, and where it's heading, into extinction. 1984 is orchestrated mechanically. Orwell's style puts the reader as a shadow of Winston. I was put into the story by a combination of images, fear, and hatred.
No laws meant a harsh government that provided love and peace, if the citizens adhered to them. I did find the passage on p,9 distasteful- "...but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punishable by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labor camp." All that for even the mere thought of keeping a diary? How restrictive. Winston was enthused about keeping a diary for future generations, that may hinder them from having productive lives. His entries might have caused the future of Oceania to have a grim, bleak outlook on their government.
Big Brother had turned a meager group of people into a group of biggoted nationalists.
One connection that I may have made with 1984 and EL-336, the theme of History and Future of the Book, is that the same 'the book' of 1984? A book without a title, mentioned on p,15., that Goldstein authored.

March 12, 2008

EL-336. McLuhan (180-263). Sitting, waiting, and Willing

"Moreover, thanks to printing and the multiplication of texts, the book ceased to seem a precious object to be consulted in a library: there was more ans more need to be able to carry it about readily in order to refer to it or to read it anywhere at any time." (Febvre and Martin p,207)
The book is much like that of a work of art, it no longer sat on a shelf in an institution collecting dust and the occasional reader, the book became portable; like that of an easel. To deinstitutionalize something meant to set it free from the confines of isolation. Readers also used the book for other purposes other than to be enjoyed, they used it for research and other educational purposes, the book became accessible.

March 9, 2008

EL-336. McLuhan (91-180). Weght Lifting is for Barbarians

"Media which emphasize time are those which are durable in character such as parchment, clay, and stone....Media which emphasize space are apt to be less durable and light in character such as papyrus and paper." (Innis, p.115)

Things that are concrete will preserve time. Words could be written and saved on objects that would forever stay and not fade away. Paper and papyrus, on the other hand,are able to be trashed and thrown away, as light objects, they serve no purpose other than taking up space. I feel otherwise about this comment. Without paper, there would be no manuscript or printed book. How is it possible to write a complete novel on a stone? You would have to carry 200 rocks around with print on them. During the early centuries, it was feasible to write on concrete items, as that was all there was around. Technology, as I stress it, has made it possible to have something a little more less weight and easier to write on. It lightened the load for journalists and writers alike.

March 5, 2008

EL-336. Calvino, Not All Italians are Mobsters

"Reading is a discontinuous and disrupted fragmented operation."(Calvino,p.248)
If On A Winter's Night A Traveler was never meant to be read from beginning to end, the story was in the chapter's titles. I felt as thought the author put my mind at rest, as what I perceived the books underlying meaning was that everyone has a different agenda when approaching a book. no one is right, as everyone is wrong, there's no real answer. The novel is a non-traditional one, Calvino leaves it to the reader to come up with their own conclusions. It seemed as though the author knew that the reader would look for key words or phrases, in the attempt to solve the clues; while some went straight to the last chapter to find their answers. I never felt interrupted or disrupted during this read, only satisfied.

March 2, 2008

EL-336. Calvino. Chapter 1, Inconclusive

"You cast another bewildered look at the books around you (or, rather: it was the books that looked at you, with the bewildered gaze of dogs who, from their cages in the city pound, see a former companion go off on the leash of his master, come to rescue him), and out you went." (Calvino, p.6)

It was as if I wore the author's eyes. I was immersed in a world of grays and blurs. I was a nobody watching everybody. I like how the author almost hypnotizes you into the story. He fumbles and clogs words so that the reader goes onto the next sentence to make sense out of the previous sentence. It was almost like a "Where's Waldo?" book. hat's in the suitcase? It reminds me of a "Choose your own adventure" book. I was torn of the era that the situation was taking place and the people involved, they sort of hid behind an imaginary curtain. Visible but invisible. I enjoy the author's style.

EL-336. WM Douglass. Lifestyle Changes

"I observed a marked difference, in the treatment of slaves, from that which I had witnessed in the country. A city slave is almost a freeman, compared with a slave on the plantation. He is much better fed and clothed, and enjoys privileges altogether unknown to the slave on the plantation." (Douglass, p.97,98)

I think that we take reading and writing for granted. Many people did not have the opportunities that we have today. Slaves lived such harsh, condemned lives that they were forced to work instead of becoming educated.
The passage tore me because Douglass took the negative and made something positive out of it. A slave is defined by Webster's as "A person wholly subject to another; a bondman; drudge" So a slave is someone that is held against their will to serve another. In the passage, Douglass compares city slaves to plantation slaves. He states that city slaves are free. I believe he overcame his misery and travesties by becoming literate and learning to write. That is much the accomplishment for a slave, let alone a person who is not held confined. Either a city or a plantation slave, they still had to follow orders and guidelines by their masters. They had to go through so much to accomplish so little.