April 2009 Archives

Resurrecting Dreams

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"He says the Russians have always had more ideas than any other people in history and ended in the pit. The Americans have no ideas and they have one success after another. I am trying to have no ideas". -Resurrection Blues p. 2


This statement by Jeanine in the Prologue reminded me of the topic I am currently writing about in relation to The Skin of Our Teeth. I was able to conclude from that play that the American Dream is not really about success and achievement; it is about the acceptance of flaws and the willingness to show the world imperfection. I was drawn to the character of Jeanine because I feel she fits perfectly with this theme. While she may not have been trying to fulfill an "American" dream, she seems very accepting of the fact that she is not perfect. By jumping from a window she shows this - then she accepts it and learns to embrace the new outlook on her life she now has. The statement her father told her also shows that Americans may not have all the best ideas, they may not be the brightest or the most advanced in all fields - but the population accepts that fact. They use mistakes as an opportunity to learn. The imperfections of everyday people let them be successful in life.


Other Blogs...

Fly Away Home

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"In general, flying is freedom, we might say, freedom not only from specific circumstances but from those more general burdens that tie us down". (Foster p. 127)

Foster makes a connection between flying, yet not really leaving the ground, and spirituality. As he says, we all know that humans, on their own, cannot really fly. That is an ability that we just do not possess. Being able to "fly" is being free, not being forced to stay in one place all the time. It is being able to spread your wings. When someone has every aspect of their life grounded in one place, or one situation, things may not always work out for the best. Flight allows us to make decisions, to experience new things. In books when characters are able to have flight, they are much more relatable and really are able to be more complex, interesting characters.

Other Thoughts...

Free Will vs. Determinism

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"I thought free will had to do with sin."
     I think about this, "No", I say, "why should free will be limited to right and wrong? I mean, you just decided, of your own free will, to take off your shoes. It doesn't matter, nobody cares if you wear shoes or not, and it's not sinful, or virtuous, and it doesn't affect the future, but you've exercised your free will."
     Clare shrugs. "But sometimes you tell me something and I feel like the future is already there, you know? Like my future has happened in the past and I can't do anything about it."
      "That's called determinism," I tell her. "It haunts my dreams." (Niffenegger p. 75)

Arguments between free will and determinism have always intrigued me. It seems as if Clare has the power of free will. She is able to do what she wants, when she wants to do it. She has the power to decide if she wants to meet Henry or not. Yet, it seems as if her determinism is controlled by Henry. Because he is able to go back and forth in time, I would conclude that he is the events that determine her future. The actions that take place in the future are determining the things that take place in the current life she is living. Because Henry seems to be a constant in both times in her life, I would say that he is the chain of events controlling her. The idea of determinism is based on the idea that control of the future is directly related to the past and the present. Henry talks about how he cannot change anything, yet he does, in my opinion. He is changing everyday what Clare does in her young life, because she does things for him. If he stayed in the future, she would not be doing these things. Now, when it comes down to free will and Henry, I think it is safe to say that he does not really have any. He is not able to come and go as he pleases, or always do what he wants. This is because he does not know when he will time travel again. He says that determinism haunts him, and I can see how this is. While he is often not able to change the future or the past, he knows what will happen. He cannot change what is already determined, again because he does not have the free will to control his time travel.

Blogs From Other Students


Becoming Human

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"There is much irony in the narrator's statement that this speech for the

Brotherhood has effected his transmogrification, has allowed him to become

more "human," especially since though the protagonist's audience recognizes

and values this moment of becoming, the Brotherhood itself largely does not" (Hanlon p. 4).

I chose to write about this quote, because it is exactly how I envisioned the narrator while he was giving his speech. He seemed to be so different, so free. And while I am not sure that he really meant everything he said (and I do think he will later come to regret it), usually when someone is able to stand in front of a group of people and speak off topic - they are usually able to make a strong point. And I think that his is what the narrator did. He talks about knowing what despair is and not trusting the world, but learning to change - and suddenly the Brotherhood must interrupt. By this you can tell that he was moving away from what the Brotherhood felt - and the message they wanted to send. I already feel that by this point the Brotherhood has brainwashed him, and I felt that by this speech, and their strong reaction, you can see things will soon get worse for him. I hope that after his speech, and his new sense of "human" qualities, he will see how destructive being in the Brotherhood could become.

Other Thoughts...

Blind Sight

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"For now I realized that I meant everything that I had said to the audience, even though hadn't known that I was going to say those things" (Ellison p. 353).

       In his speech, the narrator talks about how people see individuals like him as blind. They view people of other races as un-common. He continues to make references to blindness as the speech goes on. He calls the brothers one-eyed. He tells the audience to look at him, and to take back their eyes. All the references to sight in this speech were so obvious; it encourages me to look into them more. I was able to conclude that the narrator's speech was pretty much "the blind leading the blind". The narrator can't see the audience - he even says that "red spots danced before my eyes" (p. 347). He was trying to teach and lead people he couldn't even see. He is blind to what is going on around him. He is preaching about things that he himself really does not even believe in. He may have said he meant everything, but he does not seem to really practice what he preaches. He seems to hold some of the same negative feelings toward his "brothers" as the individuals he despises. Then he gets ridiculed for the things he says by the brotherhood. It seems that that narrator has become way over his head, and is reaching the point where he will never get out.

Thoughts From Other Students

May 2009

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Recent Comments

Rosalind Blair on Resurrecting Dreams: I agree with both of your inte
Christopher Dufalla on Resurrecting Dreams: This is a very intriguing pers
Alicia Campbell on Resurrecting Dreams: I appreciate your interpretati
Rosalind Blair on Free Will vs. Determinism: I never thought about how Henr
Alicia Campbell on Free Will vs. Determinism: I, too, find this debate very
Rosalind Blair on Free Will vs. Determinism: It is possible that Clares fre
Joshuawilks on Free Will vs. Determinism: THis is something that really
Aja Hannah on Free Will vs. Determinism: I agree with this Henry not ha
Rosalind Blair on Blind Sight: The recurring theme of darknes
Rosalind Blair on Becoming Human: Chris, I liked your reference