Kayla Lesko: November 2009 Archives

Are There Any English Majors in the House?

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From an essay called "The Decline of the English Department" by William M. Chace.

"The literary humanities and, in particular, English are in trouble for reasons beyond their control and for reasons of their own making. First, an obvious external cause: money" (3rd section).

I never really ran into anyone that said, "English? Why are you going into English? There's no money in that." I've heard stories from other English majors about it though. I always wanted to major in English since I was a kid and instead of hindering me, my parents were very supportive of what I wanted to do. But yeah, I realized money could be an issue so I decided to minor in Psychology.

More English majors here...

Well... That was Unexpected

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Robert Browning's poem "Porphyria's Lover"

"In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around
And strangled her. No pain felt she;" (lines 39-41)

Was anyone else totally got by surprise when this happened? I was. This is the turning point in the poem (which Roberts may have already said in Ch. 13) for me anyway. Because strangling your lover is the most logical thing to do in that situation (sarcasm).

You know you want to click...

Unstressed, Stressed, Unstressed, Stressed...

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Ch. 13 of Writing About Literature.

"Poets invite us to change speeds while reading--to slow down and linger over some words and sounds and to pass rapidly over others" (185).

If only we had read this chapter sooner, because I just had to write and do an essay on a sonnet in iambic pantameter. Oh well...

I have to admit that figuring out the meter of a poem is still a little tricky for me. However, from reading more Shakepeare sonnets, I'm slowly starting to get the hang of it. That, and I'm also becoming more of a poetry fan (*GASP*), but mostly the really really old stuff.

To click or not to click... do it anyway

In a Nutshell

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Ch. 7 of Writing About Literature.

"Nevertheless, ideas are vital to understanding and appreciating of literature: Writers have ideas and want to communicate them" (120).

I think that quote just summed up the Writing About Literature class itself. Really, anyone can find something noteworthy while reading, but it does help having an education that helps understand the intended meaning better. This will result in the reader coming up with ways to extend the idea.

<This way? Or that way?>

Love with Just a Snap of the Fingers

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Anton Chekhov's play "The Bear: A Joke in One Act."

"What a woman! How she blushed, her eyes shone...she accepted my challenge! To tell the truth, it was the first time in my life I've seen a woman like that" (390).

I really enjoyed this play, it shows just how random love can be. Actually, (and no offense to people who like them) it reminds me of a chick flick. Guy and girl hate each others guts, then just like that, they end up falling in love. It's a really an over used concept.

No, not Smokey the Bear!

Portfolio 3 (or Good Lord, More Work. -__-)

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This is portfolio 3 for Writing About Literature.

Coverage: Entries on stuff read for class.
Time to Get My Nerdiness On-End of Maus I. Holocaust references in comic books.

Being Emo Shakespeare Style-Shakespeare's Sonnet #30 and the depressing vibe it has.

Metaphors be with You-Ch. 9 of Writing About Literature. The use of metaphors.

Character Depth... Where?-Ch. 6 of Writing About Literature. The use of setting.

Knock Knock, it's Death Again-Poe's "Masque of the Red Death." How Prince Prospero isn't a total idiot.

Pick a Sense, Any Sense-Ch. 8 of Writing About Literature. About the senses.

What are you Looking At?-John Masefield's poem "Cargoes"

Denial isn't just a River, it's a State of Mind-Katherine Mansfield's short story "Miss Brill"

Whatever Works for You-Ch. 18 of Writing About Literature. Doing research for essays.

What a Fancy Way to Say You like Reading-John Keats' poem "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer"

Sarcasm doesn't Work on the Internet-Ch. 11 of Writing About Literature. The use of irony.

Wow, another Poet I Actually Like-Langston Hughes "Theme for English B"

Left with a Sense of...Something-Prologue and Part 1 of John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead

Okay, Take it Easy-Parts 2-3 of John Henry Days

Whitehead and the Novel of Doom-Part 4 of John Henry Days

Wait... That's the End?-Part 5 of John Henry Days

 

Depth: Entries where I did some deep thinking. PFFFFFT

Time to Get My Nerdiness On-End of Maus I. Holocaust references in comic books.


Being Emo Shakespeare Style-Shakespeare's Sonnet #30 and the depressing vibe it has.

Character Depth... Where?-Ch. 6 of Writing About Literature. The use of setting.

Knock Knock, it's Death Again-Poe's "Masque of the Red Death." How Prince Prospero isn't a total idiot.

Denial isn't just a River, it's a State of Mind-Katherine Mansfield's short story "Miss Brill"

Whatever Works for You-Ch. 18 of Writing About Literature. Doing research for essays.

Sarcasm doesn't Work on the Internet-Ch. 11 of Writing About Literature. The use of irony.

Left with a Sense of...Something-Prologue and Part 1 of John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead

Okay, Take it Easy-Parts 2-3 of John Henry Days

Whitehead and the Novel of Doom-Part 4 of John Henry Days

Wait... That's the End?-Part 5 of John Henry Days

 

Interaction: Classmates blogs I commented on.

 

Karyssa Blair:

Is He Eyeballing Me?-End of Maus I. Using eyes as a means of expressing.

Set the Symbolism for Dinner-Ch. 6 of Writing About Literature.

Unfortunate, Not Ironic-Ch. 11 of Writing About Literature. How lisening to "Ironic" one time was enough.

Whiteheads Writing is a River-Prologue and Part 1 of John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead. Whitehead needs to take it easy with the metaphors.

 

Aja Hannah:

Not the End-End of Maus I. The nature of Vladek.

Setting and Poe-Ch. 6 of Writing About Literature.

No Shortage-Parts 2-3 of John Henry Days. How John Henry can be heartless.

J and John-Part 5 of John Henry Days. On J. and John Henry not being heroic figures.

 

David Wilbanks:

Arbeit Macht Frei-End of Maus I. Prior to the concentration camps.

 

Carissa Altizer:

The Value of a Dollar-End of Maus I. Vladek and Money.

 

Melissa Schwenk:

Accenting Everyone-Ch. 6 of Writing About Literature.

Cracking Facade-Katherine Mansfield's short story "Miss Brill". Reflections of Miss Brill

The Puzzle-John Keats' poem "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer". How helpful footnotes are.

Overstatements... This is the Best Blog Ever-Ch. 11 of Writing About Literature. How hyberole use to confuse me.

Let's Talk Light Bulbs-Parts 2-3 of John Henry Days.

Eye'll Erase My Name-Part 5 of John Henry Days. What One Eye wrote on the note.

 

Gladys Mares:

Even Money Can't Save You this Time-Poe's "Masque of the Red Death." How Prince Prospero isn't a total idiot.

A Closing Curtain-Part 5 of John Henry Days. The mention of curtains.

 

Josie Rush:

Duly Noted-Ch. 18 of Writing About Literature. I'm not a fan of note cards.

Discovering Literature Columbus Style-John Keats' poem "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer". I wish more people liked to read.

Refusing to Tone it Down-Langston Hughes "Theme for English B"

How to Die Laughing-Prologue and Part 1 of John Henry Days.

 

Brooke Kuehn:

Just Like Blogging-John Keats' poem "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer". Blogging+Poetry=FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO!!!!!!!

Not Respected-Parts 2-3 of John Henry Days. How freelancers are like leeches.

 

Jessica Orlowski:

Was that Supposed to be Funny?-Ch. 11 of Writing About Literature. Just how awesome Avenue Q is.

 

Dianna Griffin:

How We Protect Ourselves-Part 4 of John Henry Days. Humanity can be heartless.

 

Jessie Krehlik:

Holding Out for a Hero-Part 4 of John Henry Days.

 

Discussions: People who bothered commenting on my blog.

Time to Get My Nerdiness On-End of Maus I. Holocaust references in comic books.

Metaphors be with You-Ch. 9 of Writing About Literature. The use of metaphors.
Character Depth... Where?-Ch. 6 of Writing About Literature. The use of setting.
Knock Knock, it's Death Again-Poe's "Masque of the Red Death." How Prince Prospero isn't a total idiot.
Denial isn't just a River, it's a State of Mind-Katherine Mansfield's short story "Miss Brill"
Whatever Works for You-Ch. 18 of Writing About Literature. Doing research for essays.
What a Fancy Way to Say You like Reading-John Keats' poem "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer"
Sarcasm doesn't Work on the Internet-Ch. 11 of Writing About Literature. The use of irony.
Left with a Sense of...Something-Prologue and Part 1 of John Henry Days

Timeliness: Entries posted before class that started a discussion.
Uh... pretty much the above list.

Xenoblogging: Blogs where I was the first to comment.
Set the Symbolism for Dinner-Ch. 6 of Writing About Literature.
The Value of a Dollar-End of Maus I. Vladek and Money.
Setting and Poe-Ch. 6 of Writing About Literature.
Accenting Everyone-Ch. 6 of Writing About Literature.
Refusing to Tone it Down-Langston Hughes "Theme for English B"
How to Die Laughing-Prologue and Part 1 of John Henry Days.

Wildcard: Random entries. Sorry folks, no And so it Comes to This... entry. 1. There's one more portfolio after this and anything longer than a trilogy is too much (except with Star Wars) 2. I don't think people would find how I feel about blogging at the moment very nice.
Denial isn't just a River, it's a State of Mind-Katherine Mansfield's short story "Miss Brill"

 

Whitehead and the Novel of Doom

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Part 4 of John Henry Days.

"They needed bodies. They were set to launch in six weeks and needed all the bodies they could get as they vamped up for launch" (287).

The novel has a "blood as payment" theme to it. In order for something new to fully take effect, someone has to die. It's a morbid way to think about things and I can't help but feel the above quote applies to the theme.

More doooooooom...

Okay, Take it Easy

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Part 2 and 3 of John Henry Days.

"It's just something to pass the time" (131).

This is said by both Alphonse and his wife, Eleanor, about their hobbies. It seems like most of the characters in the novel are preoccupied with something. For J., it's food and finding receipts, Pamela: angsting about how much John Henry ruined her relationship with her father, Alphonse: stamps...and causing chaos, Eleanor: whatever interested her at the moment, One Eye: taking his name off the List, Josie: the ghost. Besides J. and maybe Pamela, the characters take their interests to the extreme such as Josie having the urge to knock on someone's door at 3am just to tell them about the ghost.

Crazy people I tell you...

Wait... That's the End?

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Part 5 of John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead.

"The song never said wear black, wear blue so she wore blue" (371).

The whole chapter shows just how much she loved her father. The fact that she's willing to wear a dress just because of the song really says something. The only reason she couldn't stand her father was because of his obsession with John Henry. So after his death, she wanted to show how much she loved him.

Other Part Fives...

At the End

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Last chapter of How to Read Literature Like a Professor called Envoi.

"There comes a point in anyone's reading where watching for pattern and symbol becomes almost second nature, where words and images start calling out for attention" (280).

This just doesn't happen to me while reading, it sometimes happens when I watch something. I'm not saying it's bad or anything, I enjoy pointing things out to people. It's just that sometimes, I just want to be entertained and not have any deep thoughts. Foster was a good read. Some things I already knew and some I didn't and there were sometimes where I didn't agree with him. I'll most likely keep the book in case someone I know wants to learn how to close read.

Vrooom...

I'm a Jerk to Everyone Equally

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This is from an essay called "'There's More Honor:' Reinterpreting Tom and the Evasion in Huckleberry Finn" Kevin Michael Scott.

"Guided as he is by the rules, Tom sees no effective difference between Jim and other free men when it comes to the treatment he should receive from society" (199).

Kids have this innocent view of the world and that's what I get from Tom. He imagines going on adventures and includes anyone around into his fantasy, meaning that they're going to put through a kind of torture. For Tom, the main thing is that he has fun and that it's done in style.

I said use the mouse to click it...

Just Shut Up and Do It!

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It's interesting how many slaves named themselves Washington after they were free. Maybe it's because George Washington was the only Founding Father to free his slaves after he died (sorry, had to put that since I'm a Revolutionary War fan). This quote is from "The Atlanta Exposition Address" by Booker T. Washington.

"No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem" (para. 6).

I thought that Washington's writing style was a little easier to understand than Du Bois. The main point Washington is trying to get across in quote is that in order to make a living for yourself, you have to work, whether it be academically for physically (but then again, that's what I get from it).

Stuff...

We're All to Blame

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First off, I had no idea that W.E.B. Du Bois lived to be so old. I like history, but I was never really into the Civil War and the periods after it. Anyhoo, this is from his book, "The Souls of Black Folk."

" In his failure to realize and impress this last point, Mr. Washington is especially to be criticised. His doctrine has tended to make the whites, North and South, shift the burden of the Negro problem to the Negro's shoulders and stand aside as critical and rather pessimistic spectators; when in fact the burden belongs to the nation, and the hands of none of us are clean if we bend not our energies to righting these great wrongs" (para. 25).

Du Bois certainly doesn't pull any punches in his essays. Booker T. Washington was more about criticizing his own race than everyone. I think I have to agree with Du Bois though, in order for change to happen, everyone has to be involved.

Point, Click...

Left with a Sense of... Something

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John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead is certainly... interesting. At least it has a plot... to some extent. The jumping around to different characters was a bit annoying at first, but neccesary. And I have to say that the characters are actually tolerable.

"J. experiences an involuntary physical response to the red light and begins to salivate" (69).

I really have nothing to say about the rest of the book, so I'm just going with this quote. Why? Because what J. experiences in this quote deals with psychology. Now, I realize that J. is only "a representation of a real person" but you know what? What he's experiencing is a real psychological fact. In psych terms, J. is having an uncontrolled response to salivate because of the red light, which would be the controlled stimulus. This would only happen to him if he was saw the red light along with the presence of food, which he does earlier in the book.

Actual literary responses...

 

I Heart You

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Ch.23-24 of How to Read Literature Like a Professor.

"Aside from being the pump that keeps us alive, the heart is also, and has been since ancient times, the symbolic repository of emotion" (208).

Amazing how this hasn't changed. I don't think I'd ever be able to associate the heart with something else besides emotion. The heart in its symbolic sense is emphasized in some of today's media: books, video games, movies, etc. I think it's pushing it a little bit with having hearts on almost everything though.

>>>>>>.....

It's All About the Money

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This is from an essay by Steven Mailloux called "The Bad-Boy Boom."

"When cheap reprints of popular classics began to flood the market in the late 1870s, the dime novel needed more than its low price to attract readers" (44).

I found this quote interesting because it tells about the origins of 'bad-boy' novels. That and the fact that finding anyway possible to make money certainly hasn't changed since then. And what better way to attract more male readers than stories with violence? I can't help but feel that people are simple minded acting a certain way based on what they've seen or read.

Stuff...

I Choose You, Irony!

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From Ch. 26 of How to Read Literature Like a Professor.

"In other words, Burgess reminds us that for goodness to mean anything, not only must evil exist, but so must the option of choosing evil" (243).

First, let me just say that I still need to read/watch A Clockwork Orange. Anyhoo... It seems like everything seems to have an opposite: light and dark, black and white, good and evil. One can't exist without the other. Where would the conflict be if there wasn't good and evil? Okay, I'm going to get a little nerdy now, but this same conflict is in the Kingdom Hearts video games. Sora (main character) is under the assumption that once he defeats the Heartless, they'll never do any harm again. However, he is told that evil and darkness can never be destroyed, only weakened. What? It ties in with the quote I used, so there.

More serious thoughts...

Twain and the People He Confuzzled

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This is on an essay by David L. Smith called "Huck, Jim, and American Racial Discourse."

"To become civilized is not just to become like Aunt Sally. More immediately, it is to become like Tom Sawyer" (368).

When I read this quote, my thoughts were that Huck being like Tom would be a very bad idea. Tom and Huck seem to balance each other in a way. Tom makes things extra difficult just so he can add style to it while Huck seems more realistic (or maybe that's just because he lacks an imagination?) about things. Huck automatically thinks Tom's always right just because he is civilized. Maybe deep down, Huck knew what becoming civilized actually meant.

Better thoughts this way...

 

Wow, Another Poet that I Actually Like!

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Langston Hughes poem, "Theme for English B."

"Somtimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that's true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me--
although you're older--and white--
and somewhat more free" (lines 34-40).

I felt that I had to type this all out so that people who randomly come to my blog which why would someone take the time to do that? so they won't be confused on what I have to say.

Hughes seems very surprised by his own statement. Earlier in the poem, the instructor says, "And let that page come out of you--then it will be true" (lines 4-5) so the fact that Hughes mentions the fact in the first quote seems... ironic? I don't know, I didn't really have anything to say anyway.

Clicky clicky...

Sarcasm Doesn't Work on the Internet

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Unlike most of the chapters in Writing About Literature, I found Ch. 11 actually interesting and informitive.

"Authors recognize that readers participate in the creative act and that all elements of a story-word choice, characterization, allusions, level of reality-must take readers' responses into account" (165).

Even though this quote is about literature, I think that it can be applied to mostly anything that's made for people to enjoy (movies, anime, video games, etc.). Authors knowing what readers want can be a good and bad thing. Good because the author doesn't have to sit there for long periods of time to figure out what readers are looking for and bad because of the same thing. An audience knows the conventions for stories, etc. so the author has to find a way to give the audience what they want and find a way to make it fresh at the same time.

Yeah, I can't help but feel I rambled on this entry. Oh well...

This way to... you'll see