February 2009 Archives

Gender roles

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After Casy dies at the end of chapter 27, it is evident how Ma keeps the family together. When Tom Joad offers to leave as to not cause the family any more trouble Ma suggests that a way to keep him covered so that no one will recognize him while they travel out of harm's way. You can tell the power has shifted from Pa to Ma when Pa says,

"Seems like the man ain't got no say no more. She's jus' a heller. Come time we get settled down, I'm a-gonna smack her" (400).

Ma decides that they are going to hide Tom between two matresses and she also decides what is best for the family. Pa is pretty much just a figure head at this point and does not posses the power in the family that he once had. Ma seems to be assuming more of the 'manlier' roles of the family by looking over them and suggesting what is best.

Do you think Steinbeck meant to portray the women in the novel and the 1930s as more cabable than just doing "women's" work?


Geography is useful!

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The chapter on geography was the first chapter in the book I actually enjoyed reading. I always like learning about symbolism in books and geography always symbolizes something. Also, the talk of geography ties in with The Grapes of Wrath because Steinbeck uses so much detail in describing the geography during the Dust Bowl. On page 166, Foster says "geography is setting, but it also (or can be) physiology, attitude, finance, industry -- anything that place can forge in the people who live there." This statement reigns true in The Grapes of wrath because geography is everything in the book. The description makes us believe that the psychology of the people living in the Dust Bowl would not have been positive because of the drought and everything was turned to dust.




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I found it interesting that so many things in the novel were described as being yellow in color such as Joad's shoes, the belly of the turtle, and the dog. Why is this? Is this to just make an image in your head of the landscape and only seeing yellow dust? Not only does he describe objects as being yellow Steinbeck also describes the Oklahoma landscape as being "yellowing, dusty, afternoon light put a golden color on the land. The cornstalks looked golden" (Steinbeck 26). However, when I think of golden and yellow I was think it might symbolize money and that the land used to be rich and profitable. Now, the lands that used to be so rich in corn have been taken over by cotton and has been bled dry and are not profitable. Trackback

Fishing for compliments?

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I found the Interlude in How to Read Literature Like a Professor very interesting. In a way, it seemed like he was trying too hard to explain himself and make it look like he does all this work. It seems to me that he is fishing for approval and praise. He even says, "The few pages of this chapter have taken you a few minutes to read; they have taken me, I'm sorry to say, days and days to write" (85). By saying this it seems like he is almost complaining, like writing this book is so hard to do and we should appreciate it for what it is. I don't like this because we all know it takes authors months and months to perfect a story, but we don't see them complaining about how long it took them to write a couple pages. Even if he doesn't mean for this to be complaining, it comes off as 'I am better than you because I spend all this time on one book so you can read and interpret literature better.'

This is just what I think, what about you?


Offstage importance

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I found the offstage 'scenes' in Episode Two of the play Machinal very interesting in context to the conversation happening between the Mother and the Young Woman. It was interesting that whatever was brought up in the conversation was almost acted out in a way through the voices off stage. For example, when the Mother and Young Woman were talking about her father and the Young Woman asked her Mother if she ever loved her father. Offstage there is a 'scene' between a Wife and a Husband where the Wife is telling her husband to not do "that silly kiss" (18) and in response to her Husband asking "Silly Kiss?"(18) the Wife says, "You look so silly - oh I know what's coming when you look like that - and kiss me like that - don't - go - away - "(18). This conversation between a Wife and Husband could be a flashback in the Mother's mind of her and her husband. This shows that she could have loved him at one point. The offstage scenes might also serve to give us insight about what is going through the Young Woman or Mother's mind when they bring up these topics. 

Another thing in Episode two that jumped out at me was when the Mother was talking about to marry someone you do not have to love him. the Mother even says, "Love! - what does that amount to! Will it clothe you? Will it feed you? Will it pay the bills?" (17). This was a topic that was also brought up in The Great Gatsby. This shows that the attitude of most women in the 20s was that they only wanted to marry for the money, and love was just something that could possibly happen on the side.


Setting anyone?

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In chapter 10, Foster makes the point that setting plays an important part in literature. Did we not all learn about this in elementary school when we first started learning about literature? You must always evaluate the setting that the character is in. Saying "It's never just rain" (75) is always true. the rain has to do with the mood, isn't that why almost always in movies and stories it is raining during a funeral or break-up, it's because when it is a rainy day we often say it's a dreary day, or depressing day. I guess this chapter is more for people who either didn't pay attention to English and literature class ever in their whole lives.



Blunt statement.

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One thing I found surprising was when Gatsby met Tom at the party one of the first things he says to Tom is, "I know your wife" (102). It also says that he said it aggressively. It almost seems like Gatsby wants to attack Tom and get the point across that he is in love with Daisy. Maybe he wants to get on the subject of how how he knows daisy and pronounce his love for her to him and in turn it would make Daisy admit that she loves Gatsby. Gatsby must have been disappointed when Tom just brushed it off as if it didn't really matter. I think it is almost stupid of Tom to not realize what this statement means.



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