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January 2005 Archives

January 26, 2005

Foster Sections: 1-3 & 5

The sections that I read in the novel How to Read Literature Like a Professor were rather different than anything I could have anticipated. They seemed to take a very unique and light hearted look at the way students and teachers view literature. The point Foster made about high school teachers not being able to truly 'teach' due to lack of time was very true. I can remember sitting in some classes where teachers would praise students for their 'summary of the selected text.' (As Dr.Jerz said) I hated that as I grew older and more appreciative of literature's value.

It is frustrating to be a teacher in that type of atmosphere but in the same regard imagine how it feels to be one of the students that actually wants to excel and learn more than a 'summary'. Luckily there are Advanced Placement courses with minimal amounts of students that can analyze and disect literature at their own leisure. I found that to be the most challenging and rewarding part of my own secondary schooling.

In the chapters of this reading selection, Foster discusses the idea that there is almost always some type of symbolism in literature which I think can be heavily debated. I can totally agree with Dr.Jerz's comment on Moira's blog about authors not intending to put in symbolism in stories and then a reader finding it anyway. Many times when I read I wonder if the author really intends on making me think more about the underyling messages and symbols rather than spelling it out clearly. As I have written for both personal enjoyment and for an audience I think back to if I put symbolism into my stories subconciously. I don't know. I feel like if an author purposefully adds it to a story its like they are commercializing their work and getting too techincal. When I think of technical writers I don't think of fiction but rather news stories/journalistic writing.

I can also agree that each reader has there own interpretation of someone's writing. There are times that I come up with something that sounds like I pulled it right out of my a** but I can assure you that a lot of time and thought has gone into that analysis. Literature really must be written to stand the test of time and that is what amazes me so much about Shakespeare. Although he is very much writing for the time and audience in which he lived, there is an immense understanding and relationship to the world today.

Read More: Foster's How To Read Literature Like A Professor ASN.

January 27, 2005

The OC

Has anyone seen the OC lately? I have become addicted to watching it once again. I think first term I was on hiatus from it because I never had a chance to watch it at school. I always had lax study hall or something stupid to do that required my full attention. Olivia Wilde (Alex Kelly) is on there now. She was on another doomed FOX show entitled "Skin". I think it ran maybe 3-6 episodes or something like that. But it really wasn't making it big with the family audiences. I found out she is also in the movie "Girl Next Door". Watched Mischa Barton in Lost & Delirious the other day once again. Gotta love the Marissa because of her new found rebellion against her mother.

She really reminds me of one of my friends that her parents split up and she went on this downward spiral pushing everyone away from her that she valued and cared for. I can honestly say that the character of Marissa so perfectly characterizes the path that many adolescents take in response to a family spilt coupled with the even more devistating failed reuinion and then re-marriage to another person that is supposed to be the 'new Dad or Mom'. Ryan and Seth seem hardly as interesting this season and the writers are to blame in that regard. Ryan has in fact turned into everything that he hated before (he's become Seth). The writers even joked about it in an episode earlier this season in which Seth retorts to Ryan something to the effect of, "Do you like my wife beater? I'm becoming more like you, a rebel and you're gonna be more like me. We're switching places!" (Ryan responds with a look of detest)

It is true though that Ryan doesn't even dress the same anymore. He's gone soft. Tonight is supposed to be a very good episode judging by the previews from last week. Caleb walks in on Alex and Marissa, and Sandy's ex comes into play as it is revealed he still loves her...Catch the OC at 8pm on FOX Thursdays.

Great Mischa Pic

January 28, 2005

A Good Man is Hard to Find!

As I read the short story "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor I tried to keep in mind the writer and her background which surely influenced the story. This was evident in her references to the South, particulary Tennessee and Georgia (even Florida). I have to say that in general I enjoyed the story and didn't find it to be too long or difficult to understand. In the begining of the story O'Connor used a bit of foreshadowing about 'The Misfit' as she mentioned him two separate times. The first time was to Bailey as the grandmother warned him about going to Florida and then again at the diner/road house. Because of that I wasn't really surprised when he showed up later at the site of the car crash.

I thought it was intruiging how the grandmother was just refered to as 'The Grandmother' and the same went for how the wife was talked about. It was like they never mentioned their real names and I found that interesting and obviously intentional. I'm not quite sure why at this point though the author did that. In class we discussed the feeling that the grandmother almost was like a ghost because she was so isolated from the rest of the family and going on that premis I can conclude that just calling her 'The Grandmother' was done to emphasize her loneliness. This could also present the idea that the family didn't even care enough about her to mention her by name. As for the mother, I am still not sure why O'Connor did that. I can guess that she may not have been in need of a name because she wasn't really a main player in the story directly.

My impression of all the characters in the immediate family (comprised of Bailey, the wife and the children) was that they were all rude and very disrespectful towards the grandmother. Their deaths really didn't phase me like the death of the old woman. Honestly I thought 'The Misfit' would spare her that surprised me completely when he shot her not once but three times. It was an almost brutal murder, once probably would have done it, yet 'Tthe Misfit' adds to the violence of the kill. One thing that I noticed towards the end of the story was the similarities between the grandmother and the cat 'Pitty Sing.' The father Bailey, disliked the cat and showed no real emotion towards it. He even throws it up against a tree when the car crashes out of anger towards the grandmother for bringing it. Bailey takes out his anger for his mother on the cat that represents her.

When 'The Misfit' kills the grandmother the cat remains in the area and even brushes up against the murderous outlaw. As the grandmother tried to find the good in him (The Misfit), the cat knows that deep down there is something still pure in this man and does not react harshly towards him. Any normal cat would flee at the sounds of gunshot. 'The Misfit' would relate better and bond more with an animal than a human, but I think it has a lot to do with his character flaws. He feels as if the only ones (people etc) he can trust are like him, either evil human beings that give into their animal instincts to kill or in fact animals (hence the cat) that would kill to survive as well. Killing is all he has ever known. I think the author almost wanted the audience to like 'The Misfit' and take pity on him because there is no doubt he has had a hard life.

There is a hint or irony in the story due to the fact that the grandmother was the reason in which the entire family was murdered. She wanted to go down the sketchy old dirt road to see this beloved plantation which she later remembers isn't even in Georgia but rather Tennessee. I'm not quite sure if there is a moral to this story that I can directly comprehend but I would like to try and identify a theme: The past was better to live in than the present. More specifically, the past in the South was better to live in. There is a slight reference to Sherman which is an obvious allusion to the Civil War which consequently was followed by Reconstruction, a time in which the South was forced to change immensely from their old ways and traditions.

"A Good Man is Hard to Find" ASN.

Foster Sections: 6-9, 11/14

Thomas C. Foster writes very in depth about the relationship between popular novels/literary works and television/movie premises that reflect classic works of literature such as Shakespeare and the Bible. I can definitely agree that there are sole works of literature that act as the prompt for every other storyline created from that point on (these being the Bible and Old Willy Shakes). From a popular culture standpoint I can right off the bat name several modern day adaptations of Shakespeare's plays. There is always a slight adaptation of the plays that we know and the new stories that are emerging.

I thinkVanessa's entry regarding this topic reflected very well on the use of Shakespeare and the Bible to write new literature. The most commonly used Willy Shakes play is 'Romeo and Juliet' which has been applied to every type of story over the years. A tale of star crossed lovers...that can even describe the cartoon Disney movie 'Lady and the Tramp'. Today on most Soap Operas and television dramas there is almost always a tale of two people that want to be together but are being kept apart by their families or due to the fact that they come from different backgrounds.

It is amazing to me how timeless Shakespeare has become and this poses a very interesting question regarding the evolution of literature. If Shakespeare was where it all began, then where will it all end? Such a complex group of tales, along with a much different dialect seems as if over time we have dumbed down our literature and way of speaking. We as a society have gone a step back to a simpler time yet the most influential works of all time are written in the old English as was the King James version of the Bible.

Foster, How to Read Sections 6-9, 11/14 ASN.

January 31, 2005

To Build A Fire again & again & again!

Wow! Ok lets just get to the point, I liked 'The Call of The Wild' when I read it years ago but for some reason this story (To Build A Fire) was a little bit dragging and repetitive for my liking. I cannot express the feeling of frustration that I was overwhelmed with when London continually referenced the same things over and over changing only one world to add diversity and variation to his sentence.

The first sentence of the story reads "DAY HAD BROKEN cold and gray, exceedingly cold and gray,"

Paragraph 2 pg 1, "curved and twisted from around the spruce-covered island to the south....and that curved and twisted away into the north where it dissapeared behind another spruce-covered island."

Paragraph 3 pg 2, "A foot of snow had fallen since the last sled had passed."
Paragraph 3 pg 3, "but a dozen inches of snow covered the marks of the last runners."

Obviously there is supposed to be an emphasis on nature and the cold but I just found it to be very annoying when it was done constantly. I see that London may be trying to show the bleak and unchanging scenery of the Yukon area but I cannot be for sure. It is very very very cold and this we can gather from the setting as well the use of the world COLD so many times through out the story. I wonder if you counted, how many times there would be the word COLD or a variation of it such as COLDER?

I don't know what it is but there is also something very strange about stories comprised of only descriptive text rather than any (or very little) dialogue. I guess that is fitting for this story because the man doesn't very well acknowledge the dog at all. I think that the leaving the man's name and identity anonymous was done so that he could act as a faceless representative of every man in the human race.

To Build A Fire: Jack London ASN.

EBSCO Host Article: London

I didn't know what to make of this article so therefore I decided to post what I learned in class about it. So I am basically going to go over a few notes that I made. Romanticism translates to that we are better than animals but Naturalism refers to the fact that we strive to be like the animals.
London EBSCO Article ASN.

About January 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in January 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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