March 2009 Archives

Attention grabber

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"Blindfolded, I could no longer control my motions. I had no dignity. I stumbled about like a baby or a drunken man. The smoke had become thicker and with each new blow it seemed to sear and further restrict my lungs. My saliva became like hot bitter glue. A glove connected with my head, filling my mouth with warm blood. It was everywhere. I could not tell if the moisture I felt upon my body was sweat or blood" (22).

The first chapter of this book I found particularly disturbing. It is some of the most intense writing I've ever read and it made me want to keep reading, but not because I liked what was happening, more because I was disturbed by it. The fact that they were blindfolded and fighting was bad, but when it started talking about the electrified rug, i found it just demented. How can people get pleasure out of this type of abuse?

I started this book not knowing anything about it. This chapter grabbed my attention and makes me want to keep reading to see what will happen next. The author did a great job at grabbing the readers attention right from the beginning.

What did you think about it? Does it make you want to continue reading?


Article about the book...or nature?

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While reading this article I couldn't help but notice how much the article seemed to talk about nature, more than the book. Although Cassuto does use all the talk about nature to relate to the book, he he talking like the book actually happened. Is this not what we were taught NOT to do by Professor Jerz?

"At the dawn of the common era, John offered Jesus his baptism in the River Jordan. Two millennia later, Casy baptized Tom Joad in an irrigation ditch."

Jesus was a historical figure, where as Casy and Joad are not. It bothered me that he was talking about Casy and Joad as if they were real people, not just characters in the book. The article was not an easy read and I had to read some paragraphs more than once just to get the gist of what Cassuto was talking about.

However, like I stated before it seems as though the topic of the book took a back seat to Cassuto talking about nature. I thought is should have been submitted as an article about nature,  no The Grapes of Wrath. Most of the paragraphs were just talking about land and water, not the book. I don't mind Cassuto talking about nature, but please tie it into the book, and don't use the book to make a claim about history, when the Joad family never existed. Thy're just a fictional character that Steinbeck created.


Daddy a Nazi

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While reading Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy" I couldn't help but wonder why she called it Daddy instead of Father or Dad because when I hear Daddy I think of a young child who loves their dad and the undertone of this poem is not that of a loving one. What do you think?

"I have always been scared of you
With your Luftwiffle and your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O you----" (Plath 212).

This stanza stuck out to me because it seems as though Plath is comparing her father to Hitler. Sylvia Plath is a Jew so this is not too far out there. Hitler was responsible for the lived of so many Jews and to Plath, her father is Hitler because she is a Jew and he ruined her life in a way.

"If I've killed one man, I've killed two ----
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you lie back now." (Plath 213).

This stanza also stuck out to me because if you don't get the first line, it can be a little confusing. In this stanza I believe she is talking mostly about her husband, not her daddy. She may have married a man that reminded her of her father and he sucked her dry in a way and weakened her. However, we can believe that in the end she finally reaches freedom because the last line "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through" (Plath 213) is so strong and powerful.


Mind your Ps and Qs

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"My grandfather said to me
as we sat on the wagon seat,
'Be sure to remember to always
speak to everyone you meet.'" (Bishop 48)

I liked Elizabeth Bishop's poem "Manners" because it reminds me of when  went anywhere my mother would always say to me  "Mind your Ps and Qs!" or please and Thank yous, if you've never heard the expression before. Manners are important no matter where you live, and if you have good manners people will respect you as a person more. This poem has a very happy tone to it which is different from most poets who seem to have a depressing undertone to most of their poems.

I don't think there is any other way to interpret this poem other than a child following whatever their grandpa does and learning to follow good manners. But, I could be mistaken. What do you think?


Far from an enjoyable dance

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I found Theodore Roethke's poem "My Papa's Waltz" to be particularly disturbing. It seems to me that throughout the poem he is describing his father abusing him. The fact that he called it a waltz seems ironic because waltz's are meant to be enjoyable dances that you share with a partner.

At first glance the poem may seem to describe a loving relationship between a father and a son, but if you read it closer you can clearly see it is about abuse. His father may have been an alcoholic because the first two lines say " The whiskey on your breath / Could make a small boy dizzy" (13). This suggests that his father had been drinking massive amounts of whiskey if the smell is so strong that it can make a child feel sick. the fact that they "Romped until the pans / Slid from the kitchen shelf" (13) and his mothers face had a frown on it suggests that the father and son were not merely playing with one another, the father may have been pushing the sons around hard enough to make the pans fall from the shelf. the mother was upset because she knew she could do anything about it.

The last stanza's first two lines show the abuse more profoundly if read right. At first it seems like the father is doing nothing more than just tapping on his son's head s the he can keep on the beat any rhythm. But, the fact that the father "beat time" in his sons head hints that he was actually 'beating" his son on the head, and not to keep time in any way.

However, the last two lines of the stanza confuse me a little bit. The fact that the son got "waltzed off to bed / Still clinging to [his] shirt" (13) shows that the son may have gotten dragged to bed, but the fact that the son is still "clinging" to his fathers shirt infers that he still has a dependency on his father. This makes me think that there is some kind of love in this relationship but it is more of wavering, or unstable love.


Imagination is key.

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I particularly liked chapter 25 in Foster this week. It struck me as being more informative than most of his other chapters and I enjoyed it more.

"The formula I generally offer is this: don't read with your eyes" (Foster 228).

I liked this quote a lot because Foster is actually telling us something that will help us understand the book better. The way I take this quote is you should use more of your imagination and not have a one sided view of how things are played out. Also, you should maybe think of viewing it through the eyes of one character, or pretend you are in the story as well. I believe this may help one understand the plot and setting of the story better and make it seem as though you know the characters personally.

What do you think? How do you interpret this quote? While you're reading do you ever think of yourself as a character in the book?


Intorduce Characters!

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"if you want your audience to know something about your character (or the work at large), introduce it early, before you need it" (Foster 205).

I like this particular quote from Chapter 22 because I agree with it completely. It is good to know a lot about a character in your story so that we the audience can feel like we know the character personally. It will make us feel like we are in the story itself and maybe ever are the character if they have similar traits as us. Also, as far as the work at large goes, I think it is good to keep some things a secret and not reveal everything...unless that's what you want to do. by revealing mostly everything about the story you do not leave the reader to use their imagination. When reading a novel I like to think to myself what might happen and almost try to figure out the ending for myself.


Glady's left out?

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Throughout the play, it is evident that this play has a humorous tone to it and is not to be taken all that serious. However, I did notice the parallels to the bible throughout the play. In fact, the characters have taken the roles of archetypes, or models, of Biblical and classical characters. For example, Henry is an archetype of Cain from the bible story Cain and Abel. In fact, Henry's name was changed from Cain to Henry after he killed his older brother Abel. We know Henry's name was changed from Cain to Henry because when Henry is talking on page 24 he says,

Henry: "Mama, today at school two teacher forgot and called me by my old name...Right out in class they called me: Cain." (Wilder).

In the bible story, God favors Abel over Cain and out of jealousy Cain kills his brother Abel. This then helps us imply that George Antrobus represents Adam and Maggie Antrobus represents Eve. Another way I found out that Maggie represents Eve is because throughout the play George refers to her as Eva. For example, in the singning telegram George made up it says,

Telegraph Boy: "Happy w'dding ann'vers'ry, dear Eva; happy w'dding ann'vers'ry to you" (Wilder 20).

However, for the character of Lily Sabine, her parallel role is not so obvious unless you have a little knowledge of Hebrew myths. I myself had to do a little research to find out who Sabine represented and I found out she is an archetype of a myth of Lilith in the bible. There are Hebrew legends that Adam had a wife named Lilith before Eve, but "there is no evidence of this in the Bible" ("Who was Lilith..."). According to legends, Lilith was apparently an evil woman who committed adultery with Satan and "produced a race of evil creatures" ("Who was Lilith..."). However this is all a legend, but there is a passage in the bible that is said to be an occurrence of Lilith. This passage is Isaiah 34:14 which states "The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest." She is the screech owl and in some translations screech owl is translated as being night owl, night monster,  vampires, and even Lilith.
Also, she could be a reference to The Rape of Sabine Women. Legend says Romans abducted Sabine women to populate their newly built town. I thought of this because of the dialogue from Maggie to Sabine when she says,

"When Mr Antrobus raped you home from your Sabine Hills, he did it to insult me." (Wilder 14).

Lastly, I never noticed a parallel for Glady's, yet she is George's favorite. Is there a reason for this? What is her function in the play?


Works Cited:
"Who was Lilith / Lillith? Does the Bible say anything about Adam having another wife before Eve?" Bible Questions Answered. 03 Mar. 2009 <>.

Portfolio 1: To close read and beyond...

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Hi all, This is my Portfolio 1 which shows all that I've accomplished s far in EL267-01: American Literature 1915-Presesnt.


Coverage: Here are all the blogs I have completed since starting this class.


Timeliness: All my blogs have been submitted on time, but here are a few of them.

Interaction: Although most of my blogs have received comments, These are ones that I got a good conversation going.

Depth: In these blogs I feel as though I went most in depth.

Discussion: Here are some other people blogs in which I feel I left good comments.


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