November 2009 Archives

Ghosts Among Us

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""Rise! and walk with me!"... The grasp, though gentle as a woman's hand, was not to be resisted. He rose: but finidng that the Spirit made towards the window, clasped its robe in supplication. "I am mortal," Scrooge remonstrated, "and liable to fall." "Bear but a touch of my hand there," said the Spirit, laying it upon his heart, "and you shall be upheld in more than this!""

Dickens, A Christmas Carol, p. 56.

 

Ghost story, indeed! I never realized just how many complicated words were in this story. It's also a very beautiful story, and I'm beginning to make connections between each of the three ghosts and the three persons of the Holy Trinity. In the two blog entries following on a Christmas Carol, I will examine the remaining two spirits and compare them to each person of the Holy Trinity.

This spirit, though, reminds me of Jesus. How many times in the Bible, have we heard Jesus say "Rise, pick up your mat and go home. Your faith has saved you."? I believe that the fact that Scrooge is mortal and afraid is why it takes such a massive leap of faith to follow the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Also, is it possible that Fezziwig (page 64) is like God the Father? In general he is like a father figure that Scrooge basically never had. "He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that hsi power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune" (64). It can also be said that the Ghost of Christmas Past provides the same amount of happiness and comfort, just like Jesus did. It seems to me that Scrooge has fallen away from his faith a bit, and he's coming to the realization that there is comfort in a God-figure.

Where I've Been

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"During the last four decades, a well-publicized shift in what undergraduate students prefer to study has taken place in American higher education. The number of young men and women majoring in English has dropped dramatically; the same is true of philosophy, foreign languages, art history, and kindred fields, including history. As someone who has taught in four university English departments over the last 40 years, I am dismayed by this shift, as are my colleagues here and there across the land. And because it is probably irreversible, it is important to attempt to sort out the reasons--the many reasons--for what has happened. --William M. Chace, The American Scholar"

 

"Irriversible"? Why? Just because the level has dropped dramatically does not mean that it won't restore itself. I hardly think that the English major will drop off of the face of the planet. I believe that the English major, like everything in the American mindset, is a part of the economy. It's an investment, like all other majors.

Of course, I've seen a shift, as well. It's not hard to sort out the reasons for this particular shift... growing competition with China and others; fast-paced lifestyle; Man vs. Machine. It's indirectly our fault. If we weren't so worried about being the fastest and the best, this wouldn't have happened. However, there is an inevitability about society's progression. We are constantly moving forward because we are blesssed with the capacity to do so. This bless is evidently a curse- the same capacity with which we have created all these amazing machines has also driven us further away from the outlets that fully explain our human condition to us. The appealing nature of Literature (with a capital "L") and history is that they show us where we've been and where we should go. For instance, anyone who's read the John Henry story can attest that the "wonderful" progression of machines will soon be our downfall.

So, do I believe that there has been a change? Yes. Do I believe that SOME of the damage is irreversible? You could say that... We're always going to want to move forward faster than our feet can carry us (that's what hyper speed cars are for). But eventually, all of that won't matter. Eventually, we're going to want to get back to our roots (that ALWAYS happens. Not for everyone, but for most). Therefore, the English major is not going to disappear, nor are history and philosophy. While we can not fix what happened in the past, we can try to work with the future- use technology to our advantage while teaching the Humanities (funny name, right). This way, while we pump out our future scientists and business people, they can automatically know where they're going because they'll know where they've been. 

 

 

Pro-nunt-see-ay-shun

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Dear Roberts,

Hi. Love the book (most of the time). Those chapters (Insert numerous chapter numbers here) on essay writing were wonderful. Additionally, I would just like to reflect on something in Chapter 13, the chapter about Prosody and other awesome English terms. You say that "It is important- vital- to understand the differences between spelling, or graphics, and pronunciation, or phonetics" (185). It pains me to say this, but not everyone knows this. As an English major, I am a huge advocate for spelling, and for once, I completely agree with you. Now, I'm not saying that one has to be a perfect speller in order to be successful at writing, but it certainly helps.

Thank you for your time.
Your friend,
Jessica


PS) If you could write a supplementary chapter that deals with "Methods of Finding the Perfect Thesis Statement," please let me know. I'd be very interested to read that, as would most of my classmates!

The Ultimate Horror (Love) Story

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"In one long yellow string I wound 
Three times her little throat around, 
And strangled her. No pain felt she; 
I am quite sure she felt no pain."

Porpyria's Lover, Robert Browning.


When I first read this poem, I was shocked and kind of sickened- the man just killed a woman whom he supposedly loved. Initially, I thought that Porphyria may have cheated on the speaker, and this is why he killed her. This could explain her paleness:

Murmuring how she loved me--she 
Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor, 
To set its struggling passion free 
From pride, and vainer ties dissever, 
And give herself to me forever. 
But passion sometimes would prevail, 
Nor could tonight's gay feast restrain 
A sudden thought of one so pale 
For love of her, and all in vain:

The vainness of his love almost surely indicated an instance of cheating to me. However, palness also indicates illness. U
pon a second reading of the poem, I realized that rather than the speaker of the poem killing this woman because of disdain for unfaithful acts, he killed her because he loved her. He wanted to remove her pain due to an illness.


Animal Cruelty at its Finest

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"Mrs. Popov: Oh, how he loved Toby! He always used to ride on him to visit the Korchagins or the Vlaslovs. How wonderfully he rode! How graceful he was when he pulled at the reins with all his strength! Do you remember? Toby, Toby! Tell them to give him an extra bag of oats today" (385).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Mrs. Popov: [lowering her eyes.] Luka, tell them in the stable not to give Toby any oats today" (392).


Well, Chekhov certainly did a great job at portraying the indecisiveness of the human race. Also, I believe he wanted to make a point that human beings have such animalistic qualities about them that they are willing to forsake love after one occurrence of horrible treatment. It's ironic- the man fell in love with the woman after she showed some backbone, and the woman fell in love with the man after his continuous horrific treatment of her. Could this be a political statement? In the 1880's, there was a revolution occurring in Russia which required women to become a part of the labor force. Maybe Chekhov was trying to encourage readers to embrace the role of the new female.

Also, I sort of found that Mrs. Popov is living with her husband vicariously through Toby, the poor horse, further emphasizing Chekov's comparison between humans and animals (with their animal instincts). It's extremely cruel that she didn't feed Toby at all near the end, but I believe that could be for two possible reasons. 1) She could be indicating that she's finally letting her husband's memory go. 2) She and this stranger, since they fell into deep love so quickly, may be going into the barn to do.. you know. I haven't really researched the topic, but I wonder if, along with the social reformation in Russia regarding the roles of women in the working world, there was a sexual revolution, as well.


PS) Brooke has a great entry about this same subject. Check it out:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/BrookeKuehn/2009/11/poor_toby.html

Can You Use That In a Sentence..?

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"Although single words can name ideas, we must put these words into operation in sentences, or assertions before they can advance our understanding."

-- Roberts, Chapter 7, p. 119


'Assertion' is just a fancy word for sentence, yet this fancy term is extremely important for anyone who wants to write a decent paper (particularly a precise thesis statement). Roberts says that "you might state that an idea in Chekhov's "The Bear" is 'love,' but it would be difficult to discuss anything more unless you make an assertion promising such an argument, such as "This play demonstrates the idea that love is irrational and irresistible" (119). While Roberts' assertion about "love" in "The Bear" will not cut it as a thesis, it's well on its way. You have to have clear thoughts before you develop a thesis. If I wanted to turn Roberts' assertion into a thesis, I'd have to make a statement that identifies even more fully with the play in question. e.g) The Bear by Chekhov demonstrates that, while love is irrational and irresistible, (main claim).  

Portfolio 3

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Coverage: This is a compilation of all the entries I've done this semester.

Comparisons and Biblical References (Cargoes)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/comparisons_and_biblical_refer.html
- I wrote this entry about Cargoes by John Masefield. In it, I discuss the historical atmosphere surrounding the composition of the poem.

I Smell a Good Story (Roberts Ch. 8)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/i_smell_a_good_story.html
- In this entry, I discuss the importance of the senses are in creating a writer to reader connection.

Mighty Maus
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/mighty_maus.html
- This was an entry in which I explored some of the prevalent themes in Maus by Art Spiegelman.

My Presentation About Maus (section 2)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/my_presentation_about_maus_sec.html
- We had to complete a presentation in which we close-read a work that we would study during class and provide an additional peer-reviewed article to support this analysis. This blog entry details my process in completing the project.

Dear Prince Prospero,
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/dear_prince_prospero.html
- In this blog entry, I wrote a letter to Prince Prospero, the main character in Poe's Masque of the Red Death, and questioned him as to why he acted in the way that he did.

If You Can Spell "Verisimilitude" Without Peeking, I'll Give You a Cookie
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/if_you_can_spell_verisimilitud.html
- I elaborated on the importance of a setting's realism in the creation of a story.

"Who is Making the Distinction, Then?"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/who_is_making_the_distinction.html
- In this entry, I elaborated upon the use of music as a unifying factor in Hughes' "Theme"

"Was That Supposed to Be... Funny"?
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/was_that_supposed_to_be_funny.html
- I used a song from a popular musical in order to convey the concept of humor in Roberts.

"The Hitler in Every Generation"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/the_hitler_in_every_generation.html
- I compared the "Angels" in Colson Whitehead's "John Henry Days" to Adolf Hitler's Holocaust.

What Makes a Poem a Poem?
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/what_makes_a_poem_a_poem.html
- In this entry, I describe the importance of simile and metaphor in the writing of poetry.

Fried Fish... Not Something I'd Wear Every Day
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/fried_fish_not_something_id_we.html
- I analyze Miss Brill's relationship with her beloved fur.

Footnotes... The Bane of My Existence
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/footnotes_the_bane_of_my_exist_1.html
- Not only do I state my distaste for the overuse of footnotes, but I also analyze the use of simile and metaphor in Keats' "On First Looking."

Only But a Memory Away
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/only_but_a_memory_away.html
- I analyzed Shakespeare's Sonnet 30: "When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought"

What's in a Name?
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/whats_in_a_name.html
- In this entry, I made speculations as to whether J. in "John Henry Days" returned to continue his junketeering record or if he went to New York with Pamela.


Timeliness: These are the entries that were submitted on time

Comparisons and Biblical References (Cargoes)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/comparisons_and_biblical_refer.html

I Smell a Good Story (Roberts Ch. 8)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/i_smell_a_good_story.html

Mighty Maus
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/mighty_maus.html

My Presentation About Maus (section 2)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/my_presentation_about_maus_sec.html

The Hitler in Every Generation
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/DiannaGriffin/2009/11/it_makes_no_difference_to_me.html

Who Is Making the Distinction, Then?
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/who_is_making_the_distinction.html

Was That Supposed to Be... Funny?
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/was_that_supposed_to_be_funny.html


Depth: These are the entries that I put a little extra effort into.

Comparisons and Biblical References (Cargoes)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/comparisons_and_biblical_refer.html

Dear Prince Prospero
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/dear_prince_prospero.html

My Presentation About Maus (section 2)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/my_presentation_about_maus_sec.html

The Hitler in Every Generation
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/the_hitler_in_every_generation.html

Only But a Memory Away
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/only_but_a_memory_away.html

 

Interaction: These are occurrences during which I contributed to a classmate's blog

Cody Naylor's "The "Mask" of the Red Death"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/CodyNaylor/2009/10/the_mask_of_the_red_death.html
- I questioned Cody's opinion on the identity of the narrator in the story, and this spurred a discussion between the two of us.

Melissa Schwenk's "A Ghostly Alternative"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/MelissaSchwenk/2009/10/a_ghostly_alternative.html
- I contributed to a discussion between Melissa and Josie by refuting Josie's argument about ghosts and offering an opposing viewpoint.

Karyssa Blair's "Masquerade! Paper Faces on Parade..."
 
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KaryssaBlair/2009/10/masquerade_paper_faces_on_para.html
- I agreed with Karyssa's claim and posed some interesting questions about the subject of Divinity in Poe's short story.

Josie Rush's "You Can Judge an Editorial by Its Title"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JosieRush/2009/10/you_can_judge_an_editorial_by.html
- Though I agreed with most of what Josie said in her blog, I also raised some opposing claims and contributed to the discussion on her blog.

Karyssa Blair's "Of Golden Leaves and Furry Things"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KaryssaBlair/2009/10/of_golden_leaves_and_furry_thi.html
- In this blog, Karyssa talks about the symbolism that appears in Miss Brill. I add to her thoughts and state some additional thoughts as well.

Dianna Griffin's "It Makes No Difference to Me"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/DiannaGriffin/2009/11/it_makes_no_difference_to_me.html
- Dianna and I were involved in an interesting discussion about "racism" in Langston Hughes' "Theme."

 

Discussion: These are my blogs that spurred discussion among my classmates.

Dear Prince Prospero
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/dear_prince_prospero.html

Was That Supposed to Be... Funny?
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/was_that_supposed_to_be_funny.html

The Hitler in Every Generation
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/the_hitler_in_every_generation.html


Xenoblogging: How I contributed to the blogging community

Comparisons and Biblical References (Cargoes)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/comparisons_and_biblical_refer.html
- I completed extensive research on not only the historical background of the time in which the poem was written, but also on the footnotes of the poem.

My Presentation About Maus (section 2)
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/10/my_presentation_about_maus_sec.html
- I was able to spur a conversation in class about section 2 of Maus.

Was That Supposed to Be... Funny?
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/was_that_supposed_to_be_funny.html
- I pulled song lyrics from an outside source in order to prove my point about "humor" in Roberts.

Karyssa Blair's "Of Golden Leaves and Furry Things"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KaryssaBlair/2009/10/of_golden_leaves_and_furry_thi.html
- I provided an additional link concerning the symbolism in "Miss Brill"

Dianna Griffin's "It Makes No Difference to Me"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/DiannaGriffin/2009/11/it_makes_no_difference_to_me.html
- I left a rather lengthy comment on Dianna's blog entry. I was also the first to comment on her blog.

Karyssa Blair's "It Makes No Difference to Me"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KaryssaBlair/2009/11/unaccepted_nonacceptance.html
- Karyssa mentioned two of my blogs in her entry, "Mighty Maus" and "My Presentation About Maus."


Wildcard:


The Hitler In Every Generation:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/the_hitler_in_every_generation.html
- This entry is my favorite entry because I have a profound interest in the Holocaust, and I was glad that I could make connections between "John Henry Days" and an interest of mine. Also, the reason this blog is under Wildcard is because a lengthy discussion ensued, and I believe it showcases not only some of my best blogging, but also thoughtful response to those who commented.

"Who is Making the Distinction, Then?"
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/who_is_making_the_distinction.html
- Somehow, this never showed up on the course website, and I believe that I made some interesting assertions about Hughes' poem "Theme" and how he used music as a symbol of humanitarian unity.

What Makes a Poem a Poem?

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JessicaOrlowski/2009/11/what_makes_a_poem_a_poem.html
- I wrote a small poem that I think you may find interesting to read.

What's In a Name?

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"She asked one last hting when they came down the mountain. When they came down the mountain she asked, what's the J. stand for? He told her" (389).

- Colson Whitehead, John Henry Days.

Throughout the novel, we've all wondered what the J. stood for in J's name. Obviously, it could stand for John Henry, but it could also stand for "John Smith," one of those general names exactly like the generality in John Henry's name.

Regardless, I was a very disappointed and jealous reader- why did Pamela get to know J's name, but I didn't. I've been growing with J. this entire time. Why can't I get into his head? Well, then I realized that the answer to this doesn't really matter all that much. Regardless of what J's real name is, the fact that he told Pamela kind of makes me speculate that he went to New York with her in the end. It seems like he trusted her enough to tell her his name. Also, his coworkers don't even know his real name. This could mean that he's ready to move onto something other than junketeering.

Only But a Memory Away

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"But if the whilte I think on thee (dear friend)/ All losses are restored, and sorrows end" (lines 13-14)

This poem is a beautiful description of the bittersweet nature of the passage of time. Initially, I thought that the speaker in Shakespeare's Sonnet "When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought" was contemplating the passage of time in his own life. There is a clear indication of this in lines 1-4:

"When to the sessions of sweet silent thought,/ I summon up remembrance of things past,/ I sigh the lack of many a thing I shought,/ And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:"

These lines present the speaker as a bit self- absorbed. He or she is contemplating his or her failures and wasted time and opportunities. However, from line 5 on, we can see a clear connection between the speaker and a friend who had passed away. Clearly, the speaker is crying when he or she states in lines 5- 8:

"Then can I drown an eye (un-used to flow)/ For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,/ and weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,/ and moan th'expense of many a vanished sight."

Not only is the speaker informing the reader that he or she had not shed many tears in the past, but this also indicates a long-gone lover of some sort. Additionally, the reader may perceive that the speaker is at fault for his or her friend's death in saying that "Which I new pay as if not paid before" in line 12. The occurrence may be coming back to haunt the speaker.

Then, in the final two lines, the speaker states "But if the while I think on thee (dear friend)/ All losses are restored, and sorrows end," which makes me believe that the speaker could be referring to not a lover, but a close friend that unexpectedly passed away ("For precious friends hid in death's dateless night" -line 6).

Footnotes... The Bane of My Existence

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Before I get into the actual meat of Keats' poem, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," can I just say something? I absolutely detest when a poem refers to a section of footnotes that is longer than the poem itself.

Anyway, I really love Keats' use of metaphor and simile in this poem. It's not possible to one of travel to "realms of gold" (line 1), but can't you just picture hills bathed in glorious golden sunlight (the footnotes refute this claim, but oh well). Also, Cortez does not have actual eagle eyes, but I can picture his sharp vision.

Footnotes... The Bane of My Existence

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Before I get into the actual meat of Keats' poem, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," can I just say something? I absolutely detest when a poem refers to a section of footnotes that is longer than the poem itself.

Anyway, I really love Keats' use of metaphor and simile in this poem. It's not possible to one of travel to "realms of gold" (line 1), but can't you just picture hills bathed in glorious golden sunlight (the footnotes refute this claim, but oh well). Also, Cortez does not have actual eagle eyes, but I can picture his sharp vision.

Fried Fish... Not Something I'd Wear Every Day

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"It's her fu-fur which is so funny," giggled the girl. "It's exactly like fried whiting"" (Roberts, 351).

According to Wikipedia, whiting are common fish, most usually cod. When the little girl said that Miss Brill's fur looked like "fried whiting," a picture can be painted in our minds. Can you imagine Miss Brill sitting on a bench, wearing fur that looks like fried fish? I can. It makes her look silly and confused, strange in a dazed world. The fur can symbolize Miss Brill's connection to the past (as Karyssa states in her blog: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KaryssaBlair/2009/10/of_golden_leaves_and_furry_thi.html). So, the girl is criticizing Miss Brill's old ways and destroying a piece of her in the process.

What Makes a Poem a Poem?

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"Metaphors and Similes are based in imagery, which is the means by which literature is made graphic and vivid" (Roberts, 140).

To answer the rhetorical..ish question in my title, I believe that metaphors and similes are, as Roberts says, the means by which literature is made graphic and vivid. The reason that similies and metaphors are crucial to poetry is because of the abstract nature of poetry itself. Poetry is made to paint pictures in our heads. This is why I love to use these two devices to make my poetry come alive:

A heavy quilt of sky
blots out the sun's light,
like a contorted hand
covering both of my eyes;
a cage of stars holds captive
all of my thoughts as they
attempt to break free.

I have no idea how to continue this poem, but as you can see, similes such as "like a contorted hand" and metaphors such as "a heavy quilt of sky" help the imagination to paint a vivid image.

The Hitler in Every Generation

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"From anyone else- on that day, in that scene, or anywhere else, for that matter- what he did would have been a simple kindness, but I looked into his teeth and knew he was trying to tell us that he could have run us over or not and it would have been the same thing."

John Henry Days, 93.

 

Since when did it become alright to inflict sheer, unabridged terror on other human beings? It is this sort of basist thinking that led to tragedies such as the Holocaust. Whitehead didn't even need to mention that one Angel, "with his long dark greasy hair and dingy club leather, astride this massive chopper" had a "little square of black hair underneath his lip that was almost, but not quite, a HItler mustache" (93). The fact that the Angel could have run the kids at the Stones' concert over but chose not to is a distorted "mercy," actually not mercy at all. It shows a disregard for human life that places the Angels down at the bottom of the humanistic totem pole.

Also, it didn't help that the Angels' pets were German Shepherds or something, and that one of the primary Rolling Stones songs during which they terrorized the crowd was "Sympathy," a song that described how listeners should have sympathy for the devil and during which Mick Jagger strutted like the devil himself. Whitehead was obviously making a correlation between the evils of the Holocaust and this prior rock 'n roll Holocaust. Whitehead describes how the children in the rock 'n roll counterculture had to pay a sacrifice "to the culture. The kids had brought a new thing into the world, but they hadn't paid for it yet. It had to be paid for" (99). This can be compared to the Holocaust of World War II. The Nazis attempted to bring a new, purified race into the world and eliminate other races. The sacrifice that the Nazis "paid" was in the name of the people they were killing. With the counterculture of the 1960's, the "Angels" were deified killers, murdering the innocent in the name of 'rock 'n roll.' Also, like the Nazis, after the Angels killed the young black man (ironically nameless), they "split" (100).

Hitler killed himself, escaping the horrific crimes he'd committed. Initially, he thought that he possessed power over those he killed. Likewise, the Angels thought that they had power over the crowds, but they didn't at all because they ended up fleeing. 

Was That Supposed to Be... Funny?

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"Seeing a person slip on a banana peel and hurtle through the air may cause laughter but only if we ourselves are not that person, for laughter depends on insulation from danger and pain." (167, Roberts).

 

Alright- How many of you are guilty of laughing at another person's dismay? That is also known as Schadenfreude (as made popular by a song from the musical Avenue Q). It's only funny when it can't happen to us. This sad statement is so incredibly true... I also know someone who uses laughter as a coping method. Why are horrible things funny, though? Anyway... here are the lyrics from "Schadenfreude" that I adopted from letssingit.com:


Gary:
Right now you are down and out
And feelin' really crappy.

Nikki:
I'll say.

Gary:
And when I see how sad you are,
It sorta makes me happy.

Nikki:
Happy?

Gary:
Sorry Nikki.
Human nature-
Nothing I can do.
It's Schadenfreude
Making me feel glad that I'm not you.

Nikki:
Now that's not very nice Gary.

Gary:
I didn't say it was nice,
But everybody does it.
'Dya ever clap when a waitress falls
And drops a tray of glasses?

Nikki:
Yea.

Gary:
And ain't it fun to watch figure skaters
Fallin' on their *****?

Nikki:
Sure.

Gary:
Don't you feel all warm and cozy
Watching people out in the rain?

Nikki:
You bet.

Gary:
That's

Both:
Schadenfreude.

Gary:
People taking pleasure in your pain.

Nikki:
Oh. Schadenfreude, huh? What's that? Some kind of Nazi word?

Gary:
Yup. It's German for 'happiness at the misfortune of others'.

Nikki:
'Happiness at the misfortune of others'
That is German!

Nikki:
Being on an elevator when somebody
Shouts 'Hold the door!'

Gary:
Oh yea!

Both:
No!
Schadenfreude...

Gary:
**** you lady!
That's what stairs are for!

Nikki:
Ooh- How about:
Straight A student's getting B's...

Gary:
Exes getting STDs...

Nikki:
Waking doormen from their naps...

Gary:
Watching tourists reading maps...

Nikki:
Football players getting tackled...

Gary:
CEOs getting shackled...

Nikki:
Watching actors never reach...

Both:
The ending of their Oscar speech!
Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude!

Gary:
The world needs people like you and me
Who've been knocked around by fate
'Cause when people see us
They don't want to be us
And that makes them feel great




Sorry about the profanity. The song, however, explains the concept of happiness at the misfortune of others better than I ever could.





Who is Making the Distinction, Then?

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"or records- Bessie, bop, or Bach." (line 24, Theme For English B- Hughes)


For a very, very long time, human beings have used music to express themselves. No matter what language one speaks, most humans are connected through music. While music solders a bond between people of different languages and backgrounds, it also promotes distinction; jazz music is primarily associated with people of the African American ethnicity, while country music is associated with those in the southern United States. However, where did these distinctions come from? In his poem "Theme For English B," Langston Hughes attempts to question these distinctions, then tramples on them, showing that music should be recognized along with its most basic purpose- to unite human beings.

One of the most interesting lines in "Theme for English B" is line 27: "So will my page be colored that I write?" This relates to lines 4 and 5- "And let that page come out of you-/ Then, it will be true." I believe that Hughes is attempting to show how important writing had become to him. He implies how he feels completely controlled by the assumptions people place upon people of his race, and then, by Bach, a composer associated with Caucasions, Hughes attempts to shock the reader. 

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