Portfolio 3

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Timeliness and Coverage:

The Literary Technique You Didn't Know You Knew

-Imagery is so intricate in literature, sometimes we read it without even recognizing what it is.  However, there are a few difficulties in creating our own imagery that this blog covers.

The black and white, cat and mouse, Jew and German truth.

-Spiegelman writes with unflinching honesty, not sparing the readers the loss of humanity often suffered in the Holocaust.

A Bump in the Road

-This entry covers one problem I initially had with Maus; Spiegelman airing his authorial concerns in the text.

This Poem was Written Only For People Who Can Pronounce and Define Quinquereme

-What happens when a reader doesn't recognize 3/4 of the words in the opening line of a poem?  The confusion over allusions in "Cargoes" is discussed, as well as what makes this poem enduring. 

Setting the Mood

-Poe's careful wordchoice guarantees that the moods of his stories stay consistent, even when he's talking about supposedly "pleasant" scenes. 

On Second Thought...

-An extra entry, written because I reaccessed my previous entry concerning Maus, "A Bump in the Road."  After class discussion, I changed my perspective on Spiegelman's inclusion of authorial concerns in Maus. 

You Can Judge an Editorial by its Title

-An entry on an editorial where the author's stance is clear from the begining, yet the tone is not too forceful or insulting. 

Miss Brill Presentation

-Just an overview of what I planned to discuss in class for my oral presentation.  This included a brief overview of reductive imagery, and a link to the article I found on the topic.

Discovering Literature, Columbus-Style

-A rather sentimental reaction to a poem by Keats.  Why this poem reminds me of my own reactions to literature.

The Self-Pity Sonnet

-Shakespeare writes about enduring themes, but a common problem discussed in class is that students are often fuzzy on what exactly the man is trying to say.  Here I summarize a sonnet and opine that while Shakespeare gets criticized for using cliches, when in fact Shakespeare used these terms before they were actually cliches.

 Roses are red, violets are blue, all my metaphors have been said, so what should I do?

-In our class textbook, Roberts explains the importance of metaphors.  I noticed a few examples he gave were over-used, and used this entry to remind myself and my classmates of the importance of originality.

Very Fictional Fiction

-"Miss Brill" was a popular story with the class, and while I enjoyed the imagery, I couldn't help but feel the ending was somewhat contrived.  This entry discusses whether that belief is supportable, and if it is, how much that contrivance takes away from the text.

Duly Noted

-A technique for writing reports is keeping notecards of sources one is using.  Here I also recommend the method, citing past experience.

Miss Brill Presentation

-Just an overview of what I planned to talk about for my oral presentation, along with a link to the academic article that corresponded with my topic.  Reductive imagery is briefly touched upon here as well.

The Opposite of Irony? Wrinkly.

-Why we love irony, and when irony is "appropriately frustrating."

Refusing to Tone it Down

-Hughes' poem "Theme for English B" takes on an interesting tone of respectful authority.  How does Hughes manage to write in the voice of a student sharing some hard truths with his professor and never cross the line of cordiality?

 How to Die Laughing

-J.'s would-be death scene had me laughing.  If that sounds insensitive, you really need to read this entry.

But What Cometh Before Pride?

-John Henry Days reveals motive and exposition slowly.  While I enjoy this style, it also leaves the reader to wonder about motive.  Here I notice that Whitehead seems to name pride as a corresponding motive, but what is pushing the pride?

The Character I'd Pick Out of a Line-up

-We know about the shooting that takes place at the end of the book, but who is the actual shooter?  This is my guess.

Depth:

The Literary Technique You Didn't Know You Knew

-When Roberts tells us images range from "river" to "hot dog," I note that imagery is a not the obscure technique students sometimes take it for.  However, this doesn't mean imagery, a tool that is subtle and subjective, does not have it's own risks.

The black and white, cat and mouse, Jew and German truth.

-Vladek tells his son that when the Nazis came for his grandparents, he and his family handed them over in the interest of self-preservation.  This honesty is what I feel makes Maus so impressive.  In this entry I explore the quesitons this type of truth can bring forth in readers.

A Bump in the Road

-An inclusion of Spiegelman's authorial concerns interrupted my smooth reading of Maus.  I list some reasons why I initially felt this section was unnecessary. 

This Poem was Written Only For People Who Can Pronounce and Define Quinquereme

-Roberts states that "Cargoes" was written for a specific audience, one that would understand the allusions of the poem and be able to grasp the imagery.  As I stated in several comments on my peers' blogs, I relied heavily on the footnotes of this poem.  Yet I found it's theme intriguing.  What kept "Cargoes" from becoming out-of-date? 

Setting the Mood

-Why, when Poe places his reader in the middle of a party, do we still feel unsettled reading "Masque of the Red Death"?  My theory is Poe's control of mood dominates other literary aspects like setting. 

On Second Thought...

-I paid attention to my classmates' opinions, heard a little about part two of Maus, and did some research.  All this led me to the conclusion that....I was wrong.  This is an entry that reconsiders my original stance on a particular section in Maus. 

You Can Judge an Editorial by its Title

-How can one be confident and convincing without turning away those whom he/she is trying to convince?  Why even bother with the people who disagree with you in the first place?  This entry answers those questions, and gives examples of how this can be done. 

Discovering Literature, Columbus-Style

-Since most of the people who read my blog are interested in literature, I did not feel bad getting a little sentimental about literature.  Sure, Keats beat me to it, but we all know how it feels to "discover" literature...Even if that literature has had a large number of readers for years.

The Self-Pity Sonnet

-Here I break down a sonnet by Shakespeare (Shakespeare is moping, but he still has a friend!), and explain my belief that Shakespeare helped establish many cliches.  Thanks, Will. 

Roses are red, violets are blue, all my metaphors have been said, so what should I do?

-Yes, metaphors are important.  Despite Roberts' great work in the chapter concerning metaphors, I felt the need to question some of his examples, and explain why originality is important.  "She was as happy as if she'd won the lottery" is a little overused.  Surely we can do better than that. 

The Opposite of Irony? Wrinkly.

-Irony celebrates our lack of control over situations, and invites us to laugh at our mistakes.  You've got to love a tool that invites us to not take ourselves so seriously. 

How to Die Laughing

-An almost-death-scene in John Henry Days earned my laughter.  It also echoes some questions my classmates and I have shared over the application of the term irony, and, more importantly, it is an example of the developing tone of the book. 

But What Cometh Before Pride?

-In a book set up like this, one has to wonder about the motivation of the characters.  Whitehead mentions pride as an overall quality, but what is motivating this hubris?  I wonder about the driving force behind this very powerful flaw. 

The Character I'd Pick Out of a Line-up

-One creepy scene too many has me suspecting Alphonse as the culprit of the upcoming shooting.  However, is Whitehead just throwing us for a loop?

Comments:

Must Have More Historical Graphic Novels - Karyssa Blair

-Karyssa lists some reasons she loves historical graphic novels, especially Persepolis and Maus.  I comment, first listing my own reasons, and then suggesting some other good historical fiction.  This conversation lasts a while, as everyone seems to have a favorite type of historical fiction, and I can't help coming back and recommending different items.

The Authenticity of Mice - Melissa Schwenk

-A discussion about the necessity of Mala's character in Maus, a concept that I have a more encompassing view on: While Mala is important, the story could still be told without her.  My comment tries to lace together some opposing views.

A Ghostly Alternative - Melissa Schwenk

-Melissa has a theory about the narrator in "Masque of the Red Death," but she's not entirely sure if it makes sense.  My comment goes over several reasons why her theory fits perfectly within the logic of the story.

Want Pot?  Get a Prescription - Aja Hannah

-Aja, Dave, and I have a discussion about how, depending on the author's intention, it may be prudent to be overly forceful in an editorial.  Nothing attracts readers like drama.  Yet, if one wants to do more than complain and insult, if one wants to persuade, it's best to keep a collected, calm tone.

What is True? Jessie Krehlik

-Here I give some examples of how Hughes' concept of begrudged unity still applies today.  I also throw in my opinion on how our environment shapes who we are.

Whitehead's Writing is a River - Karyssa Blair

-My first comment is an agreement with Karyssa regarding the confusion the very extended metaphors are causing in John Henry Days.  My second comment answers a question about J.'s line of work.

The Hitler in Every Generation - Jessica Orlowski

-Jessica draws some great parallels here between J. and John Henry, and a concert and Nazi Germany.  I give my opinion that the sacrifices aren't over, and try to show how this belief matches with the theme of the novel so far.

Xenoblogging:

A Ghostly Alternative - Melissa Schwenk

-Here I list several detailed reasons why I believe the narrator in "Masque of the Red Death" is a ghost.  I attempt to answer the questions in Melissa's blog precisely.

Finding a Lifeline - Melissa Schwenk

-Gladys posts a comment that has some questions about editorials and our classmates' reaction to some of them.  I give a little background on the purpose of editorials, and try to answer her.

Anned One More Mention - Karyssa Blair

-Just an example of comment primo, basically.  Also, here I list some differences between the metaphor Karyssa gave, and the metaphors Roberts provides as examples.

Whitehead's Writing is a River - Karyssa Blair

-In a comment, Carissa questions the nature of J.'s career, and why, if he's relatively successful, he is so cheap.  I share some of my knowledge about the nature of freelancing as a job, to try to clear up some confusion.

The black and white, cat and mouse, Jew and German truth. 

-Here I link to Cody's blog, since he also discusses the techniques Spiegelman uses to portray the Holocaust.

Duly Noted

-Aja also writes about using notecards as a tool for research papers, so I link to her in my entry.

How to Die Laughing

-Since J. is confused about irony, and a conversation that covers the same topic takes place in Karyssa's blog, I link to hers.

Discussion:

The black and white, cat and mouse, Jew and German truth.

-This blog provoked discussion about honesty in Holocaust literature, and the enduring question, "What would I do in that situation?"  Also, many book suggestions are listed here.  We couldn't help ourselves.

You Can Judge an Editorial by its Title

-Dave, Aja, and I talk about tone in an editorial, and remembering one's audience.

The Self-Pity Sonnet

-Brooke, Aja, and I agree that even though Shakespeare is sometimes a little over our heads, he knew how to pick enduring themes.  We also question why the turn of the sonnet takes place so late and is so brief.

How to Die Laughing

-First there's the initial bonding of those of us who have found our grasp on irony a little less stable than we'd like it to be.  Then there's some understanding.  Also, the discussion contains a choking anectdote, and some different opinions on J.'s character.

But What Cometh Before Pride?

-A discussion of what motive the characters could possibly have for the things they do.  What drives these people?  My classmates have some very astute theories.

Wildcard:

On Second Thought...

-This is an example of my willingness to go back to an issue that I've changed my mind about, and share my new thoughts.  I actually felt so strongly about my change of heart, that some of these concepts are a part of my final paper for this class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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