April 2009 Archives

Vein, Greed and "Perfection"

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"...I am convinced now apart from being fed, most human activity...has not other purpose than to deliver us into the realm of the imagination." Spoken by Henry in Resurrection Blues by Arthur Miller, Page 76.
I found this line interesting because it seems to set a bit of basis for the play. It is basically stated how vein and out of touch with reality the humans of this play are. Throughout the entire play, there seems to be a distinction made of those who are vein and greedy such as the General, and Skip. Money and power seem to dominate most of their decisions instead of morals. Emily seems to be torn both way and wants to try to be an individual but is often lead by others instead. Jeanine and Stanley are the followers of the god identity, "the good ones" if you will. However, that is ironic in Jeanine's condition since trying to commit suicide is something that is usually frowned upon. Henri is the only one in this story that tries to be on both sides at once. He wants everyone to come to terms and he really puts himself out there to do it. However, he is dealing with people who keep swaying one way and then the other. For Skip, as much as his morals disagree with the crucifixion, he wants the money and wants to try anything to keep it happening including convincing the entity (named Charley at that point) to go through with it. It is quite sickening that money would mean more than a life, but some people do come to such greed.  
 However, I was slightly confused at the end. I assumed that the entity did decide to leave and never return but I was not quite sure. What is your take on it?

Art and Fruedian Sexual Ideals

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"Suddenly we discover that sex doesn't have to look like sex..." How to Read Literature like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster Page 136
I found this quote to be of interest because it does not only apply to literature. I also applies to art. Many artists in the early 1900's were very in Freud's Psychosexual view on dream and the unconscious thinking placed on images. Many paintings used different themes to resemble sex, but you would not know it was sexual at first glance. Instead you would only thing that it is portraying a dream, which it also may have been doing but Freud believed that dreams had to deal with sex. Actually, most things had to deal with sex when it came to Freud. Anyway, take for instance a paint that has a train coming through a fireplace (Yes, this painting actually exists but I cannot remember the artists name or the title of the work at this moment). Think of the sexual context. I just found it interesting that I could relate literature once again to my field of interest.

"Wacko" is your diagnoses

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"'After the performance she just gave what am I supposed to do? Henry can see for himself that she's wacko' he isn't stupid--'my voice is rising and Alicia opens her door and puts her finger to her lips. 
'Your mother is 'wacko,' my father says sternly.
'Yeah, she is.' Alicia affirms, joining the fray."  
The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger Page 186
At first, after reading this section, I was angry. I literally had to put the book down before I threw it. How could the daughter's of this woman be so insensitive to their mother's disorder? Manic- Depressive disorder, now called Bipolar Disorder does not make you a "wacko". Her mother would be considered ill. I could not believe that Clare and her sister Alicia felt like this about their mother. I thought that with all the money this family has, the mother should be getting help for her disorder. She should be going to therapy and possibly be prescribed medication to control the depression and the mania. 
At that point it dawned on me that I was falling into a trap of think in the year 2009. I then realized that I needed to look at the situation in the perspective of the year 1991 which this part of the book takes place. Not much was known about manic- depression and there were very few options for medication and most were either ineffective for the side effects were so horrible. A person would basically be a zombie. The disorder still is not completely understood, but it has come a long way. Take for instance, if you look back to about the year 2003, the most that was understood in the way of treatment for manic- depression was the use of an anti-depressant and lithium (lithium also had that numb, zimbie like effect). Also, this the time that much research was going into finding other cures. About a year or so later, an experimental drug came around that was promising but not guaranteed and could be used in place of lithium. Now days, there are name medication that have been found to work, one being seizure medications such as Depakote. 
Obviously as you can tell, I have looked into Bipolar a lot of the years. The reason is irrelevant but needless to say, it goes to show that sometimes, we just need to step back and think of the logic of what it being said in a book. Many times, it is the that you may be thinking in this time period and you need you think of it in that time period. Once I did this, I could actually accept that Clare and Alicia did not understand enough about the disorder and for that reason, in their eyes, their mother could very well seem 'wacko'.  

Choosing your own path

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"...the most powerful obstacle to self-reliance is indeed our tendency to imagine ourselves beholden to our past statements and formulations, to imagine that we are simply what we once were, and that only." Eloquence and Invisible Man by Christopher Hanlon page 87.
This is like saying that you are just holding yourself back or that you are only limited to what you limit yourself to. Otherwise, the options are infinite. I found this interesting because I really didn't think about this in Invisible Man, but the narrator did only limit himself. He relied on others and what he was taught by them and then he did not progress into another direction until he had no choice. He stayed to blind to the actions of Dr. Bledsoe until he was made to read the letter and then he still did not want to accept it. Why? Because one: the person he looked up to would then seem like a fool and a fraud and two: Fear. Where would he go on now? He was not ready to take a new direction. He thought he had it all figured out and he wanted to stay in the ignorance of that one path. He had no choice to change that course because the one he thought he was on was already dead and gone. It is not always easy to accept a new direction on your own and this is precisely why so many take the narrator to a new path instead of him doing it for himself. But, in the end, he will not have a path that is right for him until he chooses the path that best suits his needs instead of what everyone wants from him. And that goes for any one real or a character. A personally chosen path is usually better.

Thank you for Confiding in me.

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"'And inside me I said yes; all that water and mud and rain said yes, and I took off.'" Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison page 378. 
These words stuck out to me for the fact that it just shows so much emotion. I can sense the way it may have felt for Brother Tarp to experience this. It makes me picture him sinking into the mud and possibly falling a few times, but never giving up. He had such a strong will to be free; that is something that when one is broken down enough can possibly be lost. He instead tried his hardest and succeeded. 
I also found it interesting that he had never brought the experience up to anyone else. He only tells the narrator. That takes a lot of trust to confide in someone, especially someone that one has only known for a short amount of time. 
I cannot help but think that there is more to Brother Tarp telling his story. I am sure that it is a warning but about what I am not certain yet. As I finish read, maybe I will figure it out. Tell me your thoughts if you have any. 

May 2009

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Christopher Hanlon on Choosing your own path: Nikita, I think you've got Ell
Sindhu on The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost: Well, I personally don't see a
ezra G on With out Manners: i think manners did not change
Christopher Dufalla on Vein, Greed and "Perfection": It is indeed sad how vain and
Matt Henderson on Vein, Greed and "Perfection": Yes, I agree that "Charley" or
Alyssa Sanow on Vein, Greed and "Perfection": The cut throat mentality that
Chelsie Bitner on "Wacko" is your diagnoses: I was thinking about how durin
Alyssa Sanow on "Wacko" is your diagnoses: This passage could easily be a
Nikita McClellan on "Wacko" is your diagnoses: Carlos, I never meant to say t
Carlos Peredo on "Wacko" is your diagnoses: The 90s weren't that long ago,