MarieVanMaanen: April 2009 Archives

A Humane Race?

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"EMILY: Tell me Henri, as a truth-loving philosopher- wouldn't you gladly resign from the human race if only there was another one to belong to?
HENRI: Oh, of course.  But are we sure it would be any better?"  (56)

I don't know what I was really expecting this play to be about, but once I caught onto what the focus of the play was, I was shocked.  Felix and Henri began discussing the crucifixion, and it seemed that Felix's big argument for the crucifixion was that it would bring money to the country.  I understand that this is supposed to be a very poor third world country, but it is still crazy to think someone would let a crucifixion be filmed just to get money.  Realistically though, there are some people in the world like that.  That's why I really liked this quote.  The things that humans do to one another is horrible.  It's hard for me to understand how it doesn't bother people to hurt others.  Still, as Henri points out, do we really know that another race would be better?  We don't really know if we're alone in this universe, but if we aren't, while it's a possibility that we're the most inhumane race, isn't it equally possible that we're the most humane race?  Sometimes things seem bad, but we have to remember it could always be worse.
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Hidden Sex

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"Tall buildings? Male sexuality. Rolling landscapes? Female sexuality. Stairs? Sexual Intercourse. Falling down stairs? Oh my." (135-136)

I think this chapter It's All About Sex... was actually very interesting. Face it; we're in college. Sex is all around us. How often do you hear a "that's what she said" joke? I'm used to people making sexual innuendos, and I usually pick up on them. However, when Foster was talking about some of the symbols used for sex and sexuality in this chapter, I was completely surprised. For instance, his rocking horse example- in the context of this chapter I had some idea where he was going with it, but if I just read that on my own I never would have thought that way. I find that when I'm watching movies and there's that curtain blowing in the breeze scene I wonder- well did they? I don't think I've ever really had that thought with waves crashing on a beach though. Relating to Foster's next chapter though, I think that these subtle images of sex are more effective than trying to write out some sexual scene. I've found that when reading, trying to put words to it just takes away from the scene somehow. Instead, when it's just lightly implied, the scene doesn't take away from the story at all. Also, I like how Foster mentioned that putting sex in more subtle terms protects the innocent. Have you ever watched a Disney movie or some other kids movie when you were younger and then watched it now years later? I know I have, and there's definitely some things I didn't pick up on when I was younger. Now though I notice them, and I'm almost amazed they're in a kids movie. These sexual implications are depicted in such a way though that children don't notice, but mom and dad maybe aren't as bored with the movie.

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Writing At All Ages

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"We have pizza and Cokes and fruit salad for dinner, and Mrs. Heppworth made a big cake shaped like a unicorn's head with Happy Birthday Mary Christina! in red icing and we sing and Mary Christina blows out all twelve candles in one blow."  (60)

I think one of the things I noticed most about this book is the writing style. As Niffenegger switches between the narrators of Clare and Henry, she must also change the style in which they speak. This is further complicated by the fact that the characters are constantly changing age. As we age, we tend to speak differently. I think one of the perfect examples of this is comparing the 20 year old Clare from the beginning of the book to the 11 year old Clare at Mary Christina's birthday party. The way that Niffenegger portrays Clare's thoughts and writing pattern at each age really gives you the feel that she is these different ages. For instance, in the birthday scene, there are run on sentences, and the entire entry is just one big, long paragraph. Everything, including the descriptions, sounds like a child. When Clare is 20, her descriptions and writing have definitely changed and portray an educated young woman.

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