February 2009 Archives

More Biblical Imagery in the Grapes of Wrath

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In the second half of The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck drifts away from the Joads' drought and dispossession and begins writing about their journey to California. He designates Tom Joad to lead his family down Highway 66, "the main migrant road," which is "the path of a people in flight, refugees from dust and shrinking land, from the thunder of tractors and shrinking ownership, from the desert's slow northward invasion...from the floods that bring no richness" (151). This corresponds to God's promising the Israelites freedom from their misery and then choosing Moses to lead them "into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (The Holy Bible, Exod. 3:7-9). 
 Steinbeck relates Tom to Moses, considering them both as leaders of their people. For example, when Tom kills a man who speaks badly about Jim Casy, his action closely resembles Moses' killing of an Egyptian who is beating a Hebrew slave. 
 Ironically, both families journey to their promised lands through bodies of water. The Colorado River, which the Joads bathe in before crossing the ominous desert, parallels the Red Sea, which the enabled the Israelites to put their old life behind them.  
 As the Joads near the end of their journey, they begin to hear rumors of a depleted job market in California. One migrant tells Pa that two thousand men show up for every eight hundred jobs and that his own children and wife die of starvation (Steinbeck 244-245). Although they realize the many obstacles ahead, the Joads brush the rumors aside and continues to head west (248).  
 The Californian rumors, as told by the Joads' fellow Okies, strongly resemble the Canaanite reports from Israelite spies - that the land is a land that devour it's inhabitants, and all the people that they saw in it were men of great stature.  
 After hearing the false reports, the Israelites, like the Joads, choose to ignore them and persevere on their journey to Canaan/California.
 In chapters nineteen through thirty of The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck parallels the end of the Joads' journey to the end of the Israelites' exodus and relates both of their troubles upon their arrival in their so-called promised lands. As the Joads enter California, they are met with much hostility. Overcrowded camps full of starving migrants, along with the many locals harboring anger and fear toward the flood of Okies, paint the unpleasant picture of the California scene. Slade explains that persecution comes from the cruel California officers at the border who try to send back migrants and cities which refuse to let Okies enter --- except when labor is needed. However, this persecution is simply modernized from the cruelty of the Edomites, Moabites, and Amonites toward the Israelites trying to enter Canaan.  
 Despite the suffering occurring in both California and Canaan, both of these promised lands remain symbols of hope. Throughout the novel, Steinbeck utilizes grapes to symbolize this undying hope, thus relating the fruit's significance for the Joads to its significance for the Israelites. Grampa Joad best expresses his hopeful dreams about California when he says, "Gonna get me a whole bunch a grapes off a bush, or whatever, an' I'm gonna squash 'em on my face an' let 'em run offen my chin" (Steinbeck 107). In the Old Testament, when Joshua and Oshea bring back a huge cluster of grapes from their first expedition into the rich land of Canaan, grapes represent the hope of "plenty." The Bible further explains that this cluster was so huge "they bare it between two on a staff" (Num. 12:23). Therefore, not only do the grapes remain a symbol of plenty and richness, but also just a simple sign of hope that the Joads and Israelites will experience less pain and suffering in their lives.
 Another symbol of hope within the novel is California, which remains the Joads' main destination throughout their journey and, consequently, symbolizes their dream of new life. In his analysis of Steinbeck's novel, Owens endorses this idea.
  The book began with the prose rhythms and images of Exodus, and now the bibli- cal flood seems to be rising over the corruption of California in a promise of a new beginning. The final lines of the penultimate chapter connect the rains with a faint but unmistakable hope for that new life: "Tiny points of grass came through the earth, and in a few days the hills were pale green with the beginning year." (72)
 Steinbeck effectively relates the Joads hope of new life in California to the Israelites dreams of Canaan. The Israelites receive their hope from God, who promises them better lives if they will simply obey Him.
  Worship the Lord your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span. I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. (The Holy Bible, Exod. 23:25-27)
 In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck enlarges the significance of the Joads' experiences by associating them with the Israelites' adventures in the Old Testament. From the title to the final scene, Steinbek's novel depends greatly on the universally known stories of the Bible.  

Portfolio 1: An Introduction to Blogging

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American Literature 1915-Present is a class unique from all others.  Students are challenged to read numerous novels, choose passages within them to close read, blog about these passages, comment on classmates blogs, write reflections each week about their blogging insights, and, a few times each semester, write papers about certain longer passages (1-2 pages) within the novel.  Sound like a lot of work?  Well, to be honest, it is the most time consuming class I have taken yet in college.  However, the large amount of work we do outside the classroom provides us with the knowledge needed to have rather interesting class discussions.  In this class, if you want to earn participation points, you MUST read and put effort into your blogging.

In the beginning of the semester, Dr. Jerz explained that he didn't want summaries of each of the readings.  He wanted our own insightful close reading of each passage.  Thus, our blogs throughout this half of the semester falls under 5 categories: coverage, timeliness, interactions, depth, and discussion.  

Coverage
Though all of my blog entries included a quote from the analyzed passage, some of the quotes were slightly more relevant to my chosen topic.  The blogs Yesterday's Stories are Today's StoriesWhat Actually Happened? We'll Never Know , and It Seems Like Foster's Got Catholocism Covered epitomize this concept of basic analysis on a particular quote.  These blogs also provide a direct link to the course web page devoted to that reading.

Timeliness
Throughout the majority of the semester, all of my blogging was completed by Friday each week.  However, for the past two weeks, I have been extraordinarily busy and have had no time to keep up on the blogs as I would like to.  Regardless of my busy schedule, I have always finished my blogs and commented on my classmates blogs before class on Monday every week. My blog Why Does He Love Her? was posted exceptionally early, and consequently had more comments than any of my other blogs.  Back to the Basics and Want a Best-seller? Use Christ as a Literary Figure also exemplify my timeliness as the semester progressed and illustrate how timely blogs receive sufficient comments.

Interaction 
I'm ashamed to admit that this is one category in which I did not truly embrace.  I found it very difficult to comment on my own blogs when I had given all of my insight in writing the blog and my classmates would simply agree with my opinion.  Or, even if they would disagree, I just would not feel strongly enough about my argument (or in most cases, I was too mentally drained) to retort back at them.  However in Biblical Imagery in the Grapes of Wrath, I finally felt compelled to write a response to a comment challenging my views.  Taking this plunge into new waters has hopefully provided me with the confidence to continue this necessary part of blogging. 

Depth     
Scholarly blogging is much different from Facebook or Myspace blogging.  Rather than simply writing the first thing that comes to mind, you must carefully contemplate each thought you put into words.  An Unlikely Apple Picking was my first attempt at an insightful blog.  Fortunately, my blogging depth continued to improve as the semester went on.  In Anti-feminism Apparent in the Great Gatsby and Biblical Imagery in the Grapes of Wrath, I took knowledge from other sources and integrated them into my analysis of the passages in order to create a strong intellectual stance.  

Discussion
For each blog I posted, I commented on two of my classmates blogs on that same reading.  In Aja Hannah's A Turtle in Disguise, Josh Wilk's I'm No Meteorologist, and Nathan Hart's Insects I significantly contributed to the conversation concerning these particular blogs. 


Overall, thus far I have found blogging for this class entirely worthwhile.  By reading what my classmates write before the class, I have more openmindedness in class discussions.  My goals for the next portfolio are to keep my blogs coming in on time and to often respond to comments left my blog.  

 

Becca Marrie's First EL 200 Portfolio

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1. Freshman Helps to Relieve Production Week Stress

Wednesday, February 11 - With temperatures reaching nearly 60 degrees for the first time this year, the inhabitants of Seton Hill University (SHU) were taking advantage of the surprisingly warm weather.  Students who had remained holed up in their dorm rooms for the duration of the brutal winter finally ventured out into the glorious sunshine.  However, for a few dedicated newspaper staff members, the weather remained irrelevant.  Their calendars reminded them that they had committed to spending the entire afternoon indoors.  Today marked the beginning of Production Week - the dreaded, stressful time in which the newspaper articles must be copy edited, changes inserted, photos edited, and layout complete.  And all of this has to be completed in a minimal amount of time.  

    The "dungeon" of the McKenna Center is the chosen place in which this stressful process starts and ends.  Surrounded by two working computers, out-dated pictures, and a large plate filled with expired cookies, three students diligently copy edit fellow classmates articles.  For freshmen Becca Marrie this was her first opportunity to work for SHU's student-run paper, The Setonian.    

    "Though I wrote articles for my high school newspaper, I've never actually done the behind-the-scenes work, like copy-editing," said Marrie.  "It's so much fun!  I can't believe I've been missing out on this all of these years."

  Marrie, a member of the EL200 Media Lab class, was required to contribute to the production of the student paper.  However, her enthusiasm and dedication far exceeded any predisposed ideas of the type of attitude exhibited in required help.

     "Although, last week was the first time I met Becca, she came to the office and ambitiously copy edited at least 5-6 articles, completely clearing out the paper work for the day," said sophomore Tiffany Gilbert, Editor-in-Chief of The Setonian.  "When I told her she did not have to edit more than three, she voluntarily stayed in the office to complete more work. She is already showing much-appreciated responsibility in the office."

    Marrie also took it upon herself to bring her own qualified personnel to the event.  She enlisted the help of a previous high school editor and current English major, freshman Melissa Unger - who had her own underlying reasons for contributing her valuable time and skills to The Setonian.  

     "I did it because, well, I like to proofread and I have a penchant for grammar," said Unger.  "Punctuation is my pal."  


2.  With adequate resources and time, The Setonian Online could be respected rather than mocked.  A more "flashy" and interactive web-page would entice students to read the articles on the site.  Online polls and quizzes would give students the opportunity to share how they feel about certain aspects of the school.  Also, articles (which have not been previously published in the last issue of the Setonian) about actual news both on and off campus are necessary for a successful online student paper.


3.  Between now and the next portfolio assignment, I want to write a news article for the Setonian Online which will not be published in the printed Setonian.  I will find an intriguing story about something off-campus which will make students aware of the world around them.  If my plan falls through, (though there is no reason why this would happen), my back up contribution would be to design signs advertising the Setonian Online, get them approved, and then hang them around campus.   

4.  In order to achieve a successful online student newspaper, it would be most helpful for you to hire a professional web site designer and someone who could teach us how to make online polls and quizzes and post the results on the site.     

5.  The SHU journalism program needs to provide transportation for reporters to reach the off-campus events which they will write articles about.    

6.  A realistic class project for EL200 would be to write actual "news" articles for the Setonian online, create online quizzes and polls, and come up with a new design for the web site and then implement it.  Granted, the online polls, quizzes, and design would require the assistance of a professional, but since you said that the Setonian has a significant sum of money, this should not be an issue.  


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"A world without primary reporting will be literally less human. Talking to actual, live human beings, as opposed to reading documents or commentary or what they say online, has an innately moderating effect on one's approach."

I find that this quote directly contradicts the entity of the article.  Yes, a world without primary reporting would inevitably be less human, however, primary reporting can and does exist online.  While a newspaper can state quotes from an eyewitnesses account of an event, the internet enables the actual eyewitness to state his or her own account of the story.  Webcam enables viewers to hear and see what the source has to say, rather than simply what the reporter wanted to write about it.  It's similar to the whole "why read the book when you can watch the movie" debate.  Except that in this case, the video would be the first hand account of the story, and the newspaper article the second.  

Online news, if properly executed, has the potential to provide readers/viewers with multiple accurate accounts of an event.  No do reporters have to sit down to an interview and then choose what quotes they want to include, but simply record the entire interview on camera.  This way, viewers can here verbal answers and see nonverbal ones.  Online journalism is a modified television broadcast; excluding commercials and meaningless news stories.  Rather, news seekers can click on a couple minute long video and here the account of an event in a minimal amount of time.  Online journalism epitomizes convenience.  

It Seems Like Fosters Got Catholocism Covered

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"Like baptism, drowning has plenty to tell us in a story.  So when your character goes underwater, you have to hold your breath.  Just, you know, till you see her come back up."

This quote provides yet another of Foster's numerous biblical references, including communion, baptism, the Bible, and Christ.  I for one, find this incredibly refreshing.  In this day and age, with everyone trying to separate church and state, it seems like Foster's effectively doing the opposite.  

In correspondence with this topic, I found a multitude of biblical imagery in the Grapes of Wrath.  Steinbeck seemed to have paralleled his characters obstacles with that of the Israelites in the Old Testament.  However, I also am convinced that if you look hard enough, you can find biblical imagery in any literary work.  

Biblical Imagery in The Grapes of Wrath

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 When writing a novel, an author generally adheres to one of two common practices. The first emphasizes basing a fictional story on a first-hand historical event, while the second focuses on blending information from a nonfiction source into an otherwise imaginative plot. However, in The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck drifts away from the usual; rather than following just one of the common practices, he utilizes both. Whereas the Dust Bowl remains the major historical event in Steinbeck's novel, the Bible prevails as the main nonfiction source. As the key to unlocking the parallels within the novel, the Bible allows Steinbeck to enlarge the significance of the Joads' experiences by associating them with the adventures of the Israelites in the Old Testament.
   In chapters one through twelve of The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck focuses on the many similarities between the drought and dispossession ravaging the lives of both the Joads and the Old Testament Israelites. Illustrating these similarities, he creates a fictional family and parallels it to the Tribe of Judah, which ironically consists of the twelve tribes of Israel, much like the twelve Joads. The Steinbeck's Joads represent not just Americans on the move, but rather they symbolize the ancient Israelites who set out against enormous odds, in pursuit of a dream. 
  Before the drought and dispossession destroy everything the Joads have worked so hard to earn, they are enjoying relatively peaceful lives in Oklahoma, much like the undisturbed existence of the Israelites before a new king arises and creates turmoil for them. Both the Joads and the Israelites suffer from the wrath of a "monster." Although the Joads' monster takes the form of a changed economic order, it is quite similar to the Israelites' monster which represents itself as their hard-hearted Pharaoh.  
  Steinbeck indirectly compares the dust infesting the Joads and the rest of the Okies to the plagues attacking the Israelites. In Chapter One of his novel, he best implies these similarities.
 
The wind grew stronger, whisked under stones, carried up straws and old leaves, and even little clods, marking its course as it sailed across the fields. The air and the sky darkened and through them the sun shone redly, and there was a raw sting in the air. During a night the wind raced faster over the land, dug cunningly among the rootlets of the corn, and the corn fought the wind with its weakened leaves until the roots were freed by the prying wind and then each stalk settled wearily sideways toward the earth and pointed the direction of the wind. (5)
 
These words correspond to the Bible's description of the plagues that forced the Israelites into Exodus.  
 
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt--on people and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt." When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields--both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. (The Holy Bible, Exod. 10:22-26)

 By paralleling the dust to the hail, Steinbeck intensifies his point in creating modern day Israelites.   
Steinbeck's Joads' represent homeless and persecuted people, like the Israelites.  They are portrayed as fleeing from oppression, wandering through a wilderness of hardships, and seeking their own Promised Land.

From the Eyes of a Fellow Facebook Stalker

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On Sunday morning, I headed out of DeChantel.  I had a perfect morning planned; first work out at the Greensburg YCMA and then attend mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.  However, as soon I set foot outside, my RA, Lauren Shoemaker, prevented me from going any further.  She informed me that we were on lockdown and wondered why I didn't get a text or email.  Good question, I thought to myself.  I mean, my phone wasn't working at the moment, and I hadn't checked my email at 8 AM on a Sunday morning.  How exactly was I supposed to know I shouldn't be leaving the dorm?  I proceeded to ask Lauren why we were on lockdown, and she explained that a student had a gun off campus and was threatening his housemates with it.  Good enough  reason for me to head back into my safe haven aka suite. 

However, just as I was settling down to eat an apple on my couch, Lauren knocked on my door. As I opened it, I realized how clearly shaken she was and asked her what was wrong.
"We're not in lockdown anymore.  The police had to shoot him;" she said.  "And I knew him." 
I offered her my sincere apologies and continued with the morning I had planned before it was abrubtly interrupted.  Nevertheless, the entire time I was walking toward the YMCA, I was weary of each and every car/person who passed me.  What if they have a gun?  And, if they shoot me, when would anyone find me?  This unfortunate incident opened up my eyes to the fact that even attending school at a private, Catholic university in basically the middle of nowhere doesn't guarantee safety.

Upon returning to the dorm, my suitemates and I decided to find out for ourselves about the student shooter/victim, Joseph Briggs.  Naturally, Facebook was our first destination, and our most fruitful.  We checked out his profile, and ironically, not only was he holding a gun in his profile picture (which someone changed a couple hours later), but he was also majoring in criminal justice.  He was a senior, extremely close to graduation.  Why would he have wanted to end his life right before he was about to earn his degree?  Perhaps he was afraid of entering into the "real wold."  Personally, though I am well aware that Briggs was heavily intoxicated during the shootings, I believe he had been planning this even for awhile.  After careful examination of his Facebook wall, I realized that for the past couple weeks, he had been messaging people he didn't converse with on a regular basis.  "Hey, how's it going?  I haven't talked to you in forever!" were the most common wall posts.  As an avid Facebooker, I realize that while this is a common wall post for relatively new Facebook members who have basically been excluded from the lives of anyone other than the people they see on a regular basis, this is an extremely odd sight for the wall of a veteran Facebooker.  I believe it indicated that he wanted to touch base with all of his old friends and aquaintences before pulling his videogame-like stunt.  (As I mention video game, I should also note that he was a member of the "Call of Duty" group - one of the most violent and gruesome of all video games.  Need I say more?)

Amazing what a person can infer from a simple Facebook profile, isn't it?

The New Setonian

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After taking a look at the Setonian Online, I can only describe it with rather unflattering terms.  No offense to Jeremy of course, since he is only a mere human trying to man an entire website alone.  However, I believe that with some cooperative people with creativity, the Setonian can become an award-winning online newspaper.  I have a few of my own ideas to contribute to this endeavor.  Imagine an entire article which containing words, pictures, and even sounds.  Here's and generic sample of this novel idea:

On Tuesday, February 17, at Corpus Christi (insert picture of building here)._______________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Joanne Boyle said, (insert podcast of her speaking her)

etc.

This method would bring back the childhood concept of using different senses to "read" a story. Wouldn't a story like the one in the example make more of an impact in your life than simply reading words on a dull webpage?

Color is another necessary component for a successful website.  Unfortunately, The Setonian Online lacks any and all color.  Articles in written in gray, black, and white tend to discourage readers rather than entice them to read the content of the article.  

With some bright colors, podcasts, pictures (in color, of course), as well as well-written articles, The Setonian WILL stand out amongst numerous collegiate newspapers' websites. 


Want a Best-seller? Use Christ as a Literary figure!

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"Still, no matter what your religious beliefs, to get the most out of your reading of European and American literatures, knowing something about the Old and New Testament is essential."

I found Chapter 14 of Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor rather enlightening.  I had never before considered Christ as a literary figure, but now, as I contemplate the numerous literary figures who have have exemplified Christ's most well-know characteristics (sacrificing themselves, unmarried, celibate, tempted by the devil in the wilderness, etc.) I realize that this is a common concept in novels from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the series' of Harry Potter and Twilight.  Christ seems to be a constant in these ever-changing times and will forever be a figure people are familiar with.  People enjoy relating to the story on a level separate from the words on the page and using Christ as a literary figure is almost necessary in order to create a best-seller.  

What Actually Happened? We'll Never Know.

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FIRST REPORTER (writing). Under the heavy artillery fire of the State's attorney's brilliant cross-questioning, the accused woman's defense was badly riddled...
SECOND REPORTER (writing). Undaunted by the Prosecution's machine-gun attack, the defendant was able to maintain her position of innocence...

The contradicting views of the reporters in Machinal are rather intriguing.  This simple passage epitomizes that we, as mere naive bystanders, have no idea what is actually going on in society.  Everyone has their own biases, and, for reporters, this is evident in all or their written work.  Imagine if their news stories on the young woman's trial were published in rival newspapers.  What would people's response be?  Many a dinner conversation would include this topic; and everyone would have their own take on it depending on where they got their information.  I would venture to argue that it is impossible for a citizen to be well-informed in a society where news is as fickle as Pennsylvania weather.  No one can really know the story unless they were actually present at the event.  

Thus, if the young woman had simply kept her mouth shut and not confessed to the murder, no one could have charged her as guilty.  Without concrete evidence, in the eyes of the law, the woman was innocent.  Granted, each of the reporters would have had their own view on the outcome of trial, which correspondingly would mean that the entire town would have known exactly how their respective reporter witnessed the trial.  But unfortunately, no one would ever know the real story.  In fact, since the actual murder wasn't written into the play, even someone reading the play wouldn't know the real story, only what the author implied.

Journalism vs. English. And the Winner is ....

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I have perfectly good reasoning for wanting to take a journalism course rather than an english one.  Though I find no difference in the difficulty of writing articles and essays', I find the former to be much more enjoyable than the latter.  When I write an articles for a newspaper, I'm writing for the general public.  I have to make it as interesting as possible so that numerous people will want to read it.  Creativity is a necessity in journalism.  
On the other hand, and english essay doesn't have to be remotely interesting.  As long as the facts are accurate, grammar perfect, and content relating to the prompt, then an A is almost guaranteed.  With an english essay, I'm writing for a teacher, not a large number of people.  The essay can be as boring as I would like.  I mean, it has no chance of getting published.  How many other people have written essay's on the exact same topics as I have?
In journalism, each article in the paper has to be different.  No one will read the same take on the same topic more than once.  I love the creativity aspect of journalism.  When I write an article, I feel proud of my innovative ideas.  However, after I write an essay, I feel like taking a nap. 

Want High-Quality News? Don't Venture Online...

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"The greatest threat to mainstream media is not technological advance but the threat to our ability to provide a high-quality news product."

For a journalistic venture to become a success, much hard work and creativity are needed.  Mainstream journalists take the time to find out a potential stories background, interview knowledgeable sources or eyewitnesses, and get all of the facts straight before actual publication.  However, news bloggers have a much larger temptation to bypass some of necessary steps for writing an accurate story.  Since the internet is a seemingly less permanent structure than an actual newspaper or the traditional evening news, inexperienced bloggers may forgo the creative, intriguing aspect of the writing to quickly get the story published as soon as possible.  This can lead to the horrific problem of providing false information to the public because a story was published too quickly, without having adequate information from multiple sources.

Personally, I don't think that online news will ever be as accurate as mainstream media.  

Want High-Quality News? Don

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"The greatest threat to mainstream media is not technological advance but the threat to our ability to provide a high-quality news product."

For a journalistic venture to become a success, much hard work and creativity are needed.  Mainstream journalists take the time to find out a potential stories background, interview knowledgeable sources or eyewitnesses, and get all of the facts straight before actual publication.  However, news bloggers have a much larger temptation to bypass some of necessary steps for writing an accurate story.  Since the internet is a seemingly less permanent structure than an actual newspaper or the traditional evening news, inexperienced bloggers may forgo the creative, intriguing aspect of the writing to quickly get the story published as soon as possible.  This can lead to the horrific problem of providing false information to the public.

I think

Extraordinary Positive News

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Whenever I see a newspaper within reach, I get my hands on it.  However, I don't just start reading it as I would read a book, beginning at the top left corner and continuing down the page. Rather, I scan the paper for any titles of articles or pictures which interest me.  Celebrities, locals, and "extraordinary events" are the subjects which most quickly catch my eye.  I don't enjoy reading about disasters of any sort, and I especially disagree with the saying, "if it bleeds, it leads."  I, like Aja, prefer reading positive news articles to negative ones.  The only problem with this is that oftentimes positive articles are rather a bore.  Many reporters fail to follow the rule "extraordinary events: the more extraordinary, the more newsworthy."  If I want to read an article, I don't want to read one titled "Local Food Pantry Feeds the Hungry."  It's a tad bit too obvious for me, and I would more than likely no read past the first word.  However, they can write a "personality type" profile on the pantry, and explain how it began, as well as HOW they are able to help those in dire need of food.  Perhaps "Local Food Pantry Takes a Bite Out of World Hunger" might be a better article, one which I would actually be interested in reading.

Positive events don't have to be snoozeworthy.  It just takes the right kind of reporter to take an ordinary, taken-for-granted subject and turn it into something that's extraordinary news to the general public.


Why Does He Love Her?

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"I can't describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her, old sport...Well,there I was, way off my ambition, getting deeper in love every minute, and all of a sudden I didn't care.  What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?"

At this point in the novel, Gatsby finally "grows up."  He realizes his life doesn't have to be the "happy go-lucky" style which he was previously living.  He finds his true love, and consequently, realizes that he would rather spend the rest of his life with her than simply fulfilling his childish dreams.  While serving in the army, he becomes consumed by thinking of her, and ends up devoting the rest of his life to finding and marrying her.  

Since Daisy is a rather whimsical young woman, I can't figure out why an intelligent man like Gatsby would be so in love with her.  She's rich, pretty, and basically a wallflower.  So I now pose this question: what do you think Gatsby saw in Daisy which made him love her ?  Was it simply the fact that she was his first "love," or was it something more?

Back to the Basics

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"Who ya gonna call? .... Ghostbusters" 

Though this quote is undeniably an excellent attention getter to begin this chapter, it fails as a timeless story association.  It is true that "people in 100 years" may not be "conversant with this film comedy of the 1980's."  In fact, if the majority of our grandparents were asked to relate that question to a tv show, they would more than likely not guess the correct answer.  

Though current film and television shows may work fine as a frame of reference, this is an extremely time-limited approach.  If an author wants to make a lasting impression on readers for many years to come, he must take a more traditional approach.  As Foster says, "kiddie lit" is perfect for writers to use for parallels, analogies, plot, structures, and references.  

I find that many authors of today fail to take advantage of this practically flawless method.  Books like "Gossip Girl," Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs," and "Summer Boys" are just a few of many current day, forgettable novels.  Without using infamous analogies, these are, in fact meaningless works.  If authors truly want to make timeless novels, they need to go back to the basics and forgoe whimsical analogies.          

Yesterday's Stories are Today's Stories

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"There's no such thing as a wholly original work of literature."

Fosters statement, though undeniably true, is one that I had never before contemplated.  Each book ever written is based on concepts from either prior books, poems, movies, plays, or previous life experiences.  From the Bible to the Lord of the Rings triology, the ideas of good and evil, treatment of minorities, love, etc. are evident in all forms of story-telling.  

However, I find that the earlier "classics" are significantly more often referenced than modern-day novels.  One might see that the infamous characters and plots of Shakepeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Fitzergerald, and Hawthorne are much more well-known than those of newer authors like James Patterson, James Brown, and Nora Roberts.

Though some might say that the former authors were more talented than the latter, I beg to differ.  I believe that it is not the quality of the novel which makes it so utterly irresistible, but rather the content.  Earlier writers had the opportunities to capture day to day life experiences as well as common views at the time and innovatively place them into a context with their own added "flare."  Today's authors have the same concepts to work with, so thus no matter how creative their story is, it can always be traced back to prior works of literature.    

Thus, today's author's, poets, and movie writers have amazing option to use infamous works of literature and incorporate them into their works.  This aha!factor, as Foster calls it, is what draws readers to not only finish the book/poem/movie, but also gives them reason to read/watch more of the writers creations.