JessieFarine: March 2008 Archives

The Panda Says . . . idk.

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"Is this properly 'Lynne Truss' book' or 'Lynne Truss's book'?"
(Eats, Shoots & Leaves p. 55)

This is one grammar issue that has had me confused. I would periodically do one or the other, never sure which was completely correct. However, Truss supplies an answer:

"Current guides to punctuation (including that ultimate authority, Fowler's Modern English Usage) state that with modern names ending in 's' (including biblical names, and any foreign name with an unpronounced final 's'), the 's' is required after the apostrophe:

Keats's poems
Philippa Jones's book
St. James's Square
Alexander Dumas's The Three Musketeers

With names from the ancient world, it is not:
Archimedes' screw
Achilles' heel

If the name ends in an 'iz' sound, and exception is made:
Bridges' score
Moses' tablets

And an exception is always made for Jesus:
Jesus' disciples"

Sweet, here are the answers, right? Some of these just sound wrong to me though (I want to say Jesus's disciples), and Truss goes on to say "However, these are matters of style and preference that are definitely not set in stone...." My Firefox browser has everything ending in "s's" underlined as a grammatical error.

Sweet, I'm more confused. I guess I'll let style be my guide for this matter.

The Panda Says No!

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"Egg's, and it's not even a possessive."
(Eats, Shoots & Leaves p. xiii)

I may be dork for this, but I was extremely bothered by the completely improper use of an apostrophe as well.

One of my biggest pet peeves is improper punctuation. Really, improper grammar as a whole bothers me down to the bones. Computer-speak and text-message lingo makes me cringe. whenever I do peer reviews, I'm always tearing apart the mechanics of someone's paper, adding and removing commas or trying to re-work awkward sentences. I'm not sure if I know the rules of grammar really well or if I just pay close attention to style and flow, but I am a Grammar Hawk (not Nazi, I refuse to associated with that in every way).

I have the feeling I'm going to really connect with this book.

Them backwards Europeans, makin a messa things agin.

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"Mrs. Shortley recalled a newsreel she had seen once of a small room piled high with bodies of dead naked people all in a heap... This was the kind of thing that was happening every day in Europe where they had not advanced as in this country, and watching from her vantage point, Mrs. Shortley had the sudden intuition that the Gobblehooks, like rats with typhoid fleas, could have carried all those murderous ways over the water with them directly to this place."
("The Displaced Person" p.199)

This passage does a good job of characterizing Mrs. Shortley as an ignorant xenophobe. This story had me pretty disgusted by all of the ignorance of the folk on Mrs. McIntyre's farm. Even though Mr. Guizac turns out to be a great worker, behind his back he is viewed as inferior, questioning if "he can drive a tractor when he don't know English." Europe as a whole is viewed as inferior, "mysterious and evil, the devil's experiment station." Mrs. McIntyre, once his biggest fan, turns on Mr. Guizac because he is so different ("The devil you know is better than the devil you don't"). She even reprimands him for trying to get Sulk to marry his cousin. My goodness, he's trying to bring more awful Europeans over! Mr. Guizac is eventually run over by a tractor, set drfiting by Mr. Shortley. I guess he got rid of the European menace. I hate xenophobia.

Learn to tolerate.

The Faith's In My Chest

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"'I hadn't thought,' Ruby said.
'Nobody thinks any more,' Mr. Jerger complained.
'I got to be going.'
'Yes, it's been found,' Mr. Jerger said.
'Where at?' Ruby asked.
'I have drunk of it.'
'Where'd you have to go to?' she asked. She leaned a little closer and got a whiff of him that was like putting her nose under a buzzard's wing.
'Into my heart,' he said, placing his hand over it.
(O'Connor 71)

Besides loving and completely agreeing with the line "Nobody thinks any more," I liked this dialogue. It effectively characterizes both of these people. Mr. Jerger, the wise, old high school teacher is a thoughtful man always searching for knowledge but a genuinely compassionate man as well. Ruby is described as having "get" and seems to be a very realist, utilitarian person. She's all about taking care of herself, which also throws the term "egoist" at her. She wants results that will better herself or her situation. Even more examples of her being characterized this way are found in the short story.

I also enjoyed the simplicity of the dialogue. It reflects a quick and simple conversation. You can feel the small talk.
"...the Misfit acts under the delusion that his acts are somehow good, i.e. good for him. Since he cannot make sense of his spiritual condition, he now tries to reduce ethical mystery to a perverse pleasure-pain principle. Initially he told the Grandmother: 'No pleasure but meanness.' Yet his encounter with her touch has exposed his need, his human vulnerability. In his crucial final remark, he shifts from the earlier 'No pleasure but meanness' to 'It's no real pleasure in life.'"
(Desmond 136)

Reading this entire article helped me see this story in a more critical way and see the reasons behind the actions and words of the characters. This particular quote and its context really helped me to understand why the Misfit reacted by shooting the Grandmother when she touched him. I didn't think much of it - I thought he just wanted to kill her just to do it - but I should have known better than that (I think all characters do things in literature for a reason). I can see Desmond's argument explaining this action; the Misfit killed her because she related to him, un-Misfiting him. As Desmond quoted in the article, naming is being.

Tell me that I am one of your children and see what happens.

From Corporate Big-Shot to Rebel Radio

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"Every business, from the smallest entrepreneurial venture to the global giant, needs to communicate:internally, to its employees; and externally, to its customers, prospective customers, investors, the media, federal and state regulators, shareholders, and more."
(Lemire 155)

"Radio stations need writers, editors and editorial-based project managers like any other form of media; bear in mind, however, that these people work behind the scenes of on-air broadcast, which is a world invisible to you as you rock out to the radio in your car or dorm room."
(Lemire 184)

Lemire's book is a real eye-opener; I never thought that these jobs mentioned in this book were so available to English majors. It makes sense, because these jobs require writers, but I just never thought about it. I never thought about the person in the corporation that writes all of the memos, pamphlets, newsletters, and even speeches for higher-ups. I thought radio jobs were mainly for communications majors, but evidently that is not the case. This really opens up the world to me; I really did think that English majors were limited to teaching and writing jobs. I'm glad to hear that that isn't the case.

Thanks Lemire.

Adhere to the system; earn the wage of a slave.

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"Similarly, at Wal-Mart, a coworker once advised me that, although I had a lot to learn, it was also important not to 'know too much,' or at least never to reveal one's full abilities to management, because 'the more they think you can do, the more they'll use you and abuse you.' My mentors in these matters were not lazy; they just understood that there are few or no rewards for heroic performance. The trick lies in figuring out how to budget your energy so there'll be some left over for the next day."
(Nickel & Dimed 195)

Well, for one, I detest Wal-Mart and all of its business practices. "Always Low Morals. Always."

But that's besides the point. I relate to this passage and have learned this knowledge myself. At my current job, I started out with the goal in mind to be the best worker possible; that was the way I raised. I also never had a real job before, so I wanted to impress my first employer. Everyone that I worked with tended to be either lazy or sloppy at their work, and I was like, "Sweet, I'm the number 1 employee by default." I learned why they were lazy and unmotivated: I started this job at the new minimum wage standard, $7.15, which was the same wage my coworker Jon was receiving after working there 2 years longer. I tried being a hero while working, and it wasn't commended, just expected. No rewards, no compliments (more negative remarks than anything, like "You need to pick up the pace"). Almost 8 months later, I have fallen into the same slow, casual pace as the rest of the crew, because I know I won't be getting anywhere. I'm even frequently late (which I will be after writing this), and I don't get reprimanded for it. I guess I can't complain too much!

I have to get to work in about -2 minutes.

Joey Two-Times: "Hey! How ya doin, how ya doin?"

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"Intentional---as opposed to careless or inadvertent---repetition of sounds, words, phrasing, or concepts is used in literary works to create unity and emphasis."
(Hamilton 98)

I've always been a big fan of repetition for emphasis. Always. This is one of my favorite techniques as a writer (of both songs and stories). There's no better way to express feeling in a song than by repeating a special line for emphasis, whether as part of a build-up or as the message of the entire song. In a story, it's a great way to show a character brooding over something, for one such example.

In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," The Misfit is mentioned repeatedly throughout the story, up until the point where the family encounters The Misfit himself. It's an effective use of repetition, getting us to keep The Misfit in mind and foreshadowing events to come.

Get outta here, outta here!

"Nursing home" is a misnomer.

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"A report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in July 2000 found most nursing homes dangerously understaffed, especially profit-making nursing homes, such as the one where I worked. among the consequences of understaffing, according to the report, are increases in preventable problems like severe bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, congestive heart failure, and infections. While I never saw a patient neglected or mistreated in the dining area where I worked at the Woodcrest, it would have been easy for an aide to make a life-threatening mistake, such a serving sugar-containing foods to a diabetic. I consider myself---and my patients---extremely fortunate that I did not inadvertently harm someone on this day when I fed the Alzheimer's ward by myself."
(Nickel and Dimed 105)

I have experienced nursing homes since 1999 when my grandmother whom I lived with had a stroke and spent the rest of her life in the care of nursing homes. I have seen her drenched in her own sweat, afflicted with unexplainable wounds which had trouble healing because of her diabetes (one of these wounds resulted in her leg being amputated), and various other things that caused my mother to raise a fit with staff members of the various nursing homes she stayed at. It was beyond me how she was treated like this when there was supposed to be a staff of people "caring" for her.

So she survived for eight years, lasting through more strokes taking away more physical and mental abilities, a leg amputation, and pneumonia which put her on a breathing machine for her final several years. The last home she was at had the most problems. My mother would visit her at this home, and there were repeated incidents where my grandmother was sweating, dehydrated, and the like, and my mother complained, and there were no results. She only lasted no more than 3 or 4 months there. Of course, it could just be a coincidence and that she just couldn't make it anymore, but what kind of place has a staff that tries to console a grieving daughter with,"It's okay, they tend to go in two's or three's here?"

I don't think the problem with nursing homes is just a lack of staff but a majority of improperly trained and neglectful staff members working in nursing homes.

Let's get away from this "nursing" home.

Taste of innocence.

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"'Will he heal me?' Bevel asked.
'What you got?'
'I'm hungry,' he decided finally."
(O'Connor 26)

This is an obscure passage, I know, but it made me think and reflect once again on the innocence of children. I enjoy that and now that I'm older, I really miss and value that innocence. This kid wants the preacher to heal him of hunger. What do we ask preachers to heal or save us from? Keep us from losing our jobs, help get us through a divorce, get us over a loved one's death, and generally help us cope with some sort of inner strife and turmoil. Bevel just wants to stop being hungry. So simple, but I appreciate it so much.

Go back to the River.

A Tale of Two Futures

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"Once, after a class, a few of my best students invited me to attend a festival of some kind the school was holding that weekend: They seemed really excited at the prospect of my coming and hanging with them. Politely, I declined. Other teachers may disagree, but the best policy (and safest one for all parties) is for you to see your kids in the classroom and in office hours---period. This is true whether you teach grades K-12 or college. Anything else risks a compromise to the teacher-student relationship, and down that path lies madness. And lawyers."
(Lemire 21)

I have been flirting with the possibility of becoming a teacher after I graduate from SHU (or graduate school, depending). One of the things I thought about was relationships between student and teacher, and I thought I'd be really cool with my students at the beginning (I plan on teaching high-school, so right after college I wouldn't be too  much older than my students). I always thought about having some punk kid in one of my classes and telling him/her about cool local shows and possibly seeing this person at the show and chatting with them. I guess it is improper for students and teachers to be too cordial outside of class. This disappoints me.

"I am finishing up my dissertation, which is about 150 pages long."
(Lemire 65)

I've considered graduate school being a part of my future. I knew obtaining an advanced degree would require some tedious work, but 150 pages is pretty intimidating. I don't know if I'm discouraged over this or emboldened to rise up to this challenge yet . I'll find out sooner or later.

And I thought college was rough enough.