MeaganGemperlein: September 2009 Archives

In 1492, Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

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"Every man looks at his wood-pile with a kind of affection. I love to have mine before my window, and the more chips the better to remind me of my pleasing work." (Thoreau Chapter 13 par.15)

I agree with Thoreau. There is something extremely pleasing when you look at something you accomplished. I always have that feeling when I print out a paper I wrote or complete any other big project. When you look at it you think to yourself "Wow I did all of that." and it's a great feeling to create something or do something that wasn't there before. I think that's a pretty universal feeling among all people.


"Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought." (Thoreau Chapter 18 par. 2)

I thought this was a fantastic bumper sticker type saying. To find channels of thought, it takes time and away from other people and activities, like Thoreau spending time at Walden Pond. I think that most of us would like to take the time to just sit and think and observe. I mean who doesn't want that? But I feel like if someone would want to do that, the person would be looked upon as lazy or unproductive by others. It's really a contradiction. People want to take the time to think but they don't have time. And then if they find the time, they are considered lazy. It's a never ending circle.

Well it seems to me...

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"We think that that is which appear to be." (Thoreau Chapter 2 par. 21)

This statement can be very true. Most of the time, we take things at face value and judge things by what they look like at first glance. Kind of like judging a book by it's cover. It takes time to really look into things to figure out what really happening or what something it really trying to say. So really, taking something for how it appears to be is a way to cut corners. Not everything has to be deeply thought about and observed. Some things are better at face value. But generally speaking, if time is taken to really look at something, usually something different from your original reaction to it can be seen.

"Housework was a pleasant pastime. When my floor was dirty, I rose early, and, setting all my furniture out of doors on the grass, ...and by the time the villagers had broken their fast the morning sun had dried my house sufficiently to allow me to move in again, and my meditations were almost uninterupted." (Thoreau Chapter 4 par. 3)

This is a more personal comment but when I read that statment I thought to myself "Wow that's exactly what I do!" I love getting up early before most people to get things accomplished, especially housework. And I love doing housework too! There's something fantastic about waking up when the sun rises and knowing that you have a whole day to accomplish things instead of waking up late and having everything rushed.

Finding Jesus

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How to Read Literature....Chapter 14

"The bottom line, I usually tell the class, is that Christ figures are where you find them, as you find them." (Foster 123)

I like that Foster points out in the chapter that if you find a character that resembles Christ, great but if you don't that's fine too. As long there is some type of data for making the conclusion that someone resembles Christ, the reader is right. This supports the idea that there are no right answers when reading a piece of literaure. It's up the reader to decide that the literary works means (with support from the text of course!)



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The following entry is a Portfolio dedicated to my blogging experience during an American Literature class at Seton Hill University during the Fall 2009 term. All links below link to entries on my blog or my classmates blogs. Almost all blogs are related to works of literature that were assigned readings during the class.

COVERAGE: The following list outlines all blog entries I wrote on my blog.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor- Foster
                Intro - Chapter 3
                Chapter 5 - 7
                Chapter 8 - 10
                Interlude and Chapter 11 - 12

The Masque of the Red Death  - Poe

Young Goodman Brown - Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter- Hawthorne
                Chapter 1 - 6
                Chapter 7 - 13
                Chapter 14 - 21
                Chapter 19 - 24

Bartleby the Scrivener- Melville

The Yellow Wall-Paper- Gilman

DEPTH: The following list displays a few of my blog entries that I went into deeper thought and tired to make bigger connections between characters and/or concepts in the text.

                The Masque of the Red Death
                The Scarlet Letter Chapter 19 - 24
                The Scarlet Letter Chapter 7 -13

INTERACTION: The following lists are links to some of my classmate's blogs that I took the time to comment on before are weekly class meeting.  I commented on these specific blogs because they seemed to have affected my thoughts in some way.

Kayla Lesko- Interlude and Chapter 11- 12 of How to Read Literature...
Katie Lantz- How to Read Literature...Chapter 5 - 7
Katie Lantz- Bartleby the Scrivener
Kayla Lesko- The Yellow Wall-Paper

DISCUSSION: The following listed links are blog entries that lead to class discussions (both in small groups or the class as a whole) or helped me create thesis statements for papers.

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 19 - 24
The Scarlet Letter Chapter 1-6
How to Read Literature...Chapter 5 - 7
Young Goodman Brown

TIMELINESS: All of my blog entries were all posted by the specified time, but these blogs seemed to be posted the earliest of all other blogs. On some entries, I was the first to leave a comment on the course site.

                The Scarlet Letter Chapter 14 - 21
                The Masque of the Red Death
                How to Read Literature... Interlude and Chapter 11- 12

XENOBLOGGING: The following list is made up of either my blogs or my classmate's blogs that I made specific conclusions from that I did not think of before I read their blog. Others are classmate's blog entries that I was inspired by in some way.

Kayla Lesko - The following entry made me really think about the relationship between the woman narrator and her "husband".


Kayla Lesko - The following blog entry and comments on it really helped me gather my ideas for my Pro/Con paper.


Bartleby the Scriver- A classmate made a comment on my blog that included a quotation I did not see in the text that really supported my thought and made what I was trying to say much clearer.

WILDCARD: The following blogs are how I feel about the class and blogging about four weeks into the semester.

                The Art of Crying
                It's Official...I Hate Blogging


It's official...I hate blogging

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I love technology. I love my cable TV, computer, iPod, graphing calculator, and so on.

But blogging...gag me with a spoon.

It's story time. So I spend a good hour and a half putting if not more time putting together my portfolio for American Literature. I go to find people's blogs I know for sure I commented on...and where are my comments. Oh yeah right. They're not there. Now I mean I could have done something wrong while posting them, but still annoying.

So ok. I just won't have that many entries in my "Interaction" section of my portfolio. Moving on with the story, I go to save and post my portfolio blog entry and then go to find it to comment on the American Literature page...and it's not there. Fantasic.

I'm over this blogging experience. I was so worked up over this I couldn't watch the Iron Chef guy dance on Dancing with the Stars. Depressing.

The Art of Crying

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As I made aware to everyone on the first day of class, as well as other times, this class is not the best of times for me. I find it very difficult to read so many works of literature and write about them. Being a Math major, I'm not used to doing these things.

Because of this difficulty with the class, I'm constantly stressing over it. I never feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do and thinking how I'm supposed to think and so on and so forth. I can honestly say that since the semester started, I have cried about my work in this class at least once a week.

I'm not saying this for pity or special treatment or attention. Nothing like that. I'm just merely stating it. I'm trying with all my might to act like I know what I'm doing and am confident in my ideas when really every class I manage to hold back a meltdown. Generally speaking, I am very to myself and keep my ideas to myself. I find blogging very difficult because I have to put my ideas out there and it's something unnatural to me. I give all English and Literature major so much credit for enjoying the subject because I certainly cannot handle it. I'm very glad that other people enjoy it though.

I'm hoping and praying that as the semester continues I can suck it up go through a week without having a crying fit. So here's to being an optimist!

Don't Mess with Predestiny

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"Gradually I slid into the persuasion that these troubles of mine touching the scrivener, had been all predestinated from eternity, and Bartleby was billeted upon me for some mysterious purpose of an all-wise Providence" (Melville par.167)

The narrator (I can't recall a time he was given a name) is not quick to fire Bartlebyordo something that would harm him is because he's after to mess with predestiny. If he truly believes that Bartleby was put in his life for some purpose, he does not want to mess with that purpose. So he delays correcting him when he is copying things and avoids confrontation with him at times because he thinks that his desitiny depends on how he treats Bartleby.

Narrator + Woman is Wallpaper = Same Person

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" moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be." (GIlman 6)

There is some very obvious symbolism in this statement. The woman who is narrating the story is essentially going crazy in this room and has become obsessive with analyzing the yellow wallpaper. She feels imprisoned in this room surrounded by all this terrible yellow wallpaper. Similarly, the woman in the wallpaper is trapped behind bars in the wallpaper. Both women can very well be the same person. So the narrator is seeing herself going crazy in the wallpaper.

Harry Potter is better than the Scarlet Letter

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"Much of what we think about literature, we feel first." (Foster 106)

Not only does the quotation deal with whether something in a piece of literature is a symbol or not, but also whether a piece of literature interests us. I think in order to enjoy a piece of literature and to have the feeling that you cannot but the book down stems from the feeling you get when you read the book. If the feelings the readtrs gets are good feelings and he/she wishes he/she could be in the world of the novel, then I think the reader likes the book and will have positive comments about the literature. If the reader feeling nothing when they read the book, I think they tend to have negative feeling towards the piece of literature.

For instance, when reading The Scarlet Letter, I felt nothing and couldn't wait until I was done reading it. If someone asked me how I liked the book, I would say I hated it. On the other hand, when reading the Harry Potter series, I wanted to be a student at Hogwarts and never wanted the series to end. So I have very positive things to say about the series.

"It was the same town as heretofore: but the same minister returned not from the forest." (Hawthorne 195)

It's interesting to me that in order for the minister to change, he had to go into the woods where to found Hester and Pearl and spoke with them. I think getting lost in the woods and coming out as a changed person is a continuing them in many works of literature. For example. the title of this blog is a song lyrics from the musical "Into the Woods".

Dimmesdale didn't necessarily go into the woods to "find himself" but after leaving the forest he came out a changed person and knew things and felt things that he did not know or did not feel prior to going into the forest. He had some type of hope for the future, whether good or bad. If he had not ventured into the forest, the story probably would habe had a different ending and not worked out the way it did.

Free At Last

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"She had not known the weight, until she felt the freedom!" (Hawthorne 182)

It interesting to note that you can't truly expereince something until to experience it's complete opposite. For example, you can't understand the concept of being relieved if you have never been under stress. The same concept applies to Hester. She had not known how much the scarlet letter was bringing her down until she took it off and experienced the freedom. In order for her to realize the weight, she had to experience the opposite- freedom. It works in the opposite direction as well. In order for her to feel free, she had to experience the weight, even if the weight was painful.

Yay for Children's Literature!

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"We may not know Shylock, but we all know Sam I Am." (Foster 59)

It's the truth. We all know children's literature. And adding children's literature to a discussion always makes people pay attention more. As soon as Shakespeare is mentioned in a discussion, I bet most people's ears turn off and they feel no need to continue listening and taking part in the discussion. (We all least most people) But if someone says Sam I Am, then people are interested because it's something fun and that the are very familar with. So not only is children's literature an easy to use to create comparisons in other literary works for general audiences, but it also easy to hold people's interest.

A Demon Child Always Makes For A Great Story

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"..and observing some of her odd attributes, had given out that poor little Pearl was a demon offspring..." (Hawthorne 90)

The fact that Pearl is viewed as a demon child follows a concept that Foster has mentioned in his book about vampires. Although Pearl is not a vampire, she has some of the same characteristics with respect to Hester. At times, it almost seems like Pearl is sucking the life out of Hester, constantly reminding Hester through her actions that she is has an letter on her chest. For instance, she'll point to it or put her hand on it. On the other hand, Pearl may be giving Hester life and giving her a reason to keep living her life no matter how the public views her. Whether Pearl is giving life or taking away life does not matter so much as the fact that one person seems to be feeding off another person, which is exactly what a vampire does.

Hatred vs. Love

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"Hatred, by a gradual and quiet process, will even be transformed to love, unless the change be impeded by a continually new irritation of the original feeling of hostility." (Hawthorne 145)

I'm not exactly sure how this quotation ties into the point Hawthorne was trying to make in this particular chapter, but as soon as I read it, I thought it was worth thinking about. At first thought, I assumed that Hawthorne was referring to how the public viewed Hester. She hated how the public viewed her, but as time passed, she kind of became used to it, or "love" it. But when the public continually reminds you of why they do not approve of you, it becomes difficult to ignore them. Or maybe the hatred could be towards the letter she wore?

A Divine Revelation Perhaps?

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"There's no such thing as a wholly original work of literature." ( Foster 29)

I absolutely agree with this comment. People take other people's ideas, reuse the themes and change their story. In the next few chapters of the book, Foster had mentioned that most ideas and themes are from Shakespeare or the Bible. Again, I can totally agree with this comment. My question, however, is that if there is no original piece of literature, where did Shakespeare and the Bible get these ideas? Is there an some main base where all writings, new and old, started from? Like some divine revelation or they just fell from the sky? I mean with the Bible, sure maybe that idea works, but otherwise, not so much.

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