Portfolio 2

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This is my second portfolio for my American Literature 1915 to Present class. 

Coverage -- These are all of my blogs after Portfolio 1.
Why Biblical References?
Marked for Greatness
Don't Read With Your Eyes
Water? Academic Aritcle
Invisible Man: Chapters 1-14
I Am An Invisible Man
Musical Eloquence
Flight is Freed
Interpretive Project

Interaction -- These are some of the blogs that received some attention from others:
Don't Read With Your Eyes
Invisible Man: Chapters 1-14

Depth -- Here are some of the blogs I expanded on...
I Am An Invisible Man
Don't Read With Your Eyes

Discussion -- Here are some of the blogs I commented on...
Resurrection Blues! By: Chelsie Bitner
Choosing Your Own Path By: Nikita McClellan
Less Dry By: Julianne Banda

More Portfolios


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Emily: "God, what a mush it all is! Human beings don't deserve this world.  I mean look at this! Look at the glory! ... And look at us."
I liked this quote (and Emily's character) because it really does make sense.  Emily seems to be the "voice of reason" throughout the play.  She really does not seem to want to film the real crucifixion.  Emily seems to struggle with many different job issues because she wants to be respectable, yet not lose her job.
I personally would not want to see a crucifixion on live television.  Thinking of the crucifixion in the Bible, I think it would be horrible to experience that on television.

~What do you think about this?

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Interpretive project

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*This is part of my interpretive project. I created a facebook profile for Helen Jones from Machinal.  This blog contains the comments left on Helen's facebook status by her friends.

Helen Jones is getting married...

Filing Clerk - Hot dog!
Telephone Girl - Does this mean you won't be late for work anymore?
Adding Clerk - To Mr. J? I knew it Congratulations!
Helen - Thanks, I guess...
Telephone girl - You don't seem to excited.
Helen - I don't think I love him
Mother - Oh Helen! He will make you happy!
George - What do you mean you don't love me?!
Helen - umm... I don't know you that well
Filing Clerk - Hot dog!
Mother - George, she doesn't know what she's saying...
Helen - but I don't love him! sorry George...
Telephone - I'll marry you George!
Filing Clerk - Hot dog!

Visit Helen's Facebook Page at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/profile.php?sid=a5573b45e1f723bfd7e15764544124de&id=1771231833&hiq=helen%2Cjones&ref=search

Flight is Freedom

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"These flights of fancy allow us, as readers, to take off, to let our imaginations take flight. (Foster pg 134)

Foster made the point clear that flight is freedom.  After looking over the chapter a few times I started to think maybe Foster was not actually talking about the act of flying when he says flight.  In the final paragraph he talks about the flight allows readers to take off and use their imaginations.  The flight could be one's imagination.  When reading or writing a piece of literature we can get so involved in it we can become part of the story.  Though we are not really in the story, our imagination allows us to be part of the action...Even though we cannot fly, we can still take off (in a sense) and think that we are.  It is all based on our interpretations.


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When I initially began the book, I was a little bit confused by the time travel.  As I read on it was easier to follow along.  It's very interesting how Audrey Niffenegger was able to write this novel with Henry traveling in time and makes it flow so well.  

"It's hard being left behind.  I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he's okay.  It's hard to be the one who stays." - Clare VII

The main theme I received while reading this book was love.  From the very beginning we see the strong relationship Clare and Henry have.  Clare is constantly waiting on Henry to come back to her during his time travels.  Even in the last chapter of the book we see a reflection of the beginning. Clare is 82 years old and she waits for Henry to come to her. She says that, "Today is not much different form all other days. I get up at dawn, put on slacks and a sweater, brush my hair, make toast, and tea, and sit looking at the lake, wondering if he will come today." No matter what she will always wait for him to come because he always does.   

Musical Eloquence

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I found this article to be a much easier read than the last one...
From reading this article one of the things I concluded is that music was possibly an underlying theme throughout the novel Invisible Man.  The essay discusses some of the eloquence of Ellison's writing and that "Emerson thinks of eloquent composition as a process of musical collaboration that draws upon, channels, provides a conduit for energies already in circulation among 'the people.'"  Ellison tends to write in a musical and flowing style.  I believe someone mentioned in class last week that the novel was written in a more elegant and formal style.  Jazz was a popular type of music during the time period of the novel.  Ellison almost hides musical themes and occurrences throughout the novel.  As April mentioned in her blog on Invisible Man, the word staccato is used quite often throughout the novel.  The word staccato is a musical term and means detached and separated or disjointed.  I think Ellison uses many of the musical terms to add to the eloquence of his writing.  

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I am an Invisible Man

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"And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone's way but my own. I have also been called one thing and then another while no one really wished to hear what I called myself. So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man." (Page 573)

When I first read this quote in the epilogue I took it to mean that the narrator made himself invisible and not the characters around him.  The narrator has allowed his identity to be limited by the social expectations and others because of their prejudices toward other people.  He simply followed the Brotherhood without developing his own opinions and thoughts and making himself a unique individual.  In the epilogue, we learn that the narrator has learned about his own identity and that if he wants to be free and no longer wants to be invisible, he must simply be himself, not what others want him to be.  Rinehart is a character we see that has many different identities.  He is the one who tells the narrator how he can vary his personality.  He is not the best example of this though because he is not genuine.  

Even though the narrator still claims to be an invisible man, it is a different type of invisible than he alluded to at the beginning of the novel.  At the beginning he claimed others could not see him, but now he understands that his invisibility is inside of himself and is really there even if no one else sees it.  As long as he knows it is there it is not that important if others do not see it.

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Invisible Man: Chapters 1-14

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"Our white is so white you can paint a chunka coal and you'd have to crack it open with a sledge hammer to prove it wasn't white clear through" (217).

I found this quote spoken by Lucius Brockway in chapter 10 to be a part of the theme throughout the novel. The narrator has a job at the Liberty Paints plant, and Brockway is describing the elements of the "Optic White" paint that he oversees being made. This quote demonstrates Ellison's use of the Liberty Paints plant as a metaphor. In both Ellison's descriptions of the paint-mixing process and the relations between blacks and whites in the company, the Liberty Paints plant can be seen as a symbol for the racial dynamics in American society.  Brockway says the main part of Optic White is its ability to cover up blackness and that it can even whiten charcoal, which is used to make black marks upon white paper. This dynamic suggests the larger idea that the white power structure in America, like the white paint, tries to threaten and smother black identity. Prejudice forces black men and women to adapt to white culture, to hide their true thoughts and feelings in an effort to gain acceptance. We can also see this on page 218 where the narrator and Brockway are discussing the company slogan, "If It's Optic White, It's the Right White." After learning this, the narrator reiterates to Brockway, "If you're white, you're right."  These quotes demonstrate how the narrator and others are invisible.  They believe they must accept the white culture and forget their own feelings, making them invisible.

I think this is a theme we first see in the title of the book itself and then again on page 3 in the quote, "I am an invisible man...I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me" (3).

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Water?(Academic Article)

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Reading through this article I was quite confused most of the time.  I understand the connections author David Cassuto is making between the novel's themes and water.  However, I'm not sure I understand what most of them really have to do with the Grapes of Wrath.  When I read the Grapes of Wrath, I took one of the main themes to be about the American Dream and the family's struggle to be successful.  I did not find water to be a theme, but to be something more symbolic.  I did draw from the article the many Biblical themes Cassuto mentioned, which were related to the Bible, such as the baptism and the flood.

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Don't Read with Your Eyes

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"Too much acceptance of the author's viewpoint can lead to difficulties." (page 234)

I found the section where Foster describes the dangers of reading in another viewpoint interesting.  Many people have discussed the quote "don't read with your eyes." I completely agree with Foster on this quote.  When reading a work, we need to read from different perspectives which allow us to relate with the particular time period or issue that is occurring.  When reading works such as the Great Gatsby and the Grapes of Wrath, it would be very beneficial for us to imagine Gatsby or the Joad's views.  This way we could understand where they are coming from and why they make their decisions. 

However, we need to take into consideration Fosters dangers of accepting the author's view.  Just because an author like Pound discriminates against a certain group of people, doesn't mean we need to follow them.  Just because one person believes Jello is bad for us, doesn't mean we should all stop eating Jello.  I think it all depends on the reading, and our own personal beliefs mixed in with the author's.  If it is a novel like the Grapes of Wrath we should look through that point of view to understand what is really going on and accept the decisions made by the Joad family to go to California, but if it is a book like Cantos, we do not need to accept what he is saying.  We should use it as a learning experience to help us understand his views better, but we do not need to accept every little thing he says. 

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