SarahDurham: October 2009 Archives

Portfolio 3

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So far this class has opened my eyes not only to literature that I haven't yet read but to entering further into the technological age by blogging. I am still trying to expand on the idea and am getting better but still finding it somewhat difficult. Although I do learn something new each time I log on so I hope what I have written will be of some interest. Enjoy.

Coverage: (These entries represent all of the reading assignments thus far in the semester)
          "Introduction to AHF"   
           AHF Ch. 11-35
          "The Bad-Boy Boom"
          AHF - Final
          Foster - Ch. 23,24
          "There's More Honor"
          "Huck, Jim, and American Racial Discourse."
          Foster - Ch. 25, 26
          "John Henry"
          "Booker T. Washington"
          Foster - Envoi
          Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Depth: (These entries are examined more in depth)
"There's More Honor"
           "Huck, Jim, and American Racial Discourse."
           Foster - Ch. 25, 26
Twain, "AHF" (Ch. 1-10)
Foster, "How to Read Literature..." (Interlude, 21-22)
           Walden, chapter 2
           Walden, chapter 13
Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter" (Ch. 1-6)
           Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter"  (Ch. 14-21)
           Gilman, "The Yellow Wall-paper"
Interaction(These are entries where I made comments on my peers blogs)
          Jessica Aspitch -
Outside Sources Should Serve as a Means to an End
          Jessica Aspitch -
Foster is Still Forcing Me To Grow as Reader          
          Jessica Aspitch -
Disappointment in the Characters, but not the novel.
          Jeremy Barrick -
Leave it to Tom
          Jeremey Barrick - Ugh! I'm dying!
          Jeremy Barrick -
See and be seen   

Discussions: (These are comments made by my peers on my blogs)
"There's More Honor"
          "Huck, Jim, and American Racial Discourse."
          Foster - Ch. 25, 26

Timeliness: (These are entries I made before the due date, hoping to spark discussion)
"There's More Honor"
          "Huck, Jim, and American Racial Discourse."
          Foster - Ch. 25, 26

      Comment Primo:
Jessica Aspitch -Foster is Still Forcing Me To Grow as Reader
Jessica Aspitch -Disappointment in the Characters, but not the novel.
                                  Jeremy Barrick -See and be seen
            Why the Gold Road and Silver Slippers?

Portfolio 2

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Well I think I have gotten the hang of the process of blogging, now I just need to work on the content of my blogs. I find it so difficult to expand on ideas that I have when I read or about what the author is trying to convey.

Coverage: (These entries represent all of the reading assignments thus far in the semester)
             Walden, chapter 2 & chapter 4
             Walden, chapter 13 & chapter 18
             Foster, "How to Read Literature..."
(Ch. 13-15)
Edgar Allen Poe, "The Raven"
Edgar Allen Poe,  "Science and Fairyland"
             Emily Dickinson, "Time and The Garden" "A day just for me"
             Foster, "How to Read Literature..." (Ch. 18-20)
Aiken, "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
             Twain, "AHF" (Ch. 1-10)
             Foster, "How to Read Literature..." (Interlude, 21-22)
             Twain,"AHF" (Ch. 11-35)         

: (These entries are examined more in depth)
Twain, "AHF" (Ch. 1-10)
Foster, "How to Read Literature..." (Interlude, 21-22)
            Walden, chapter 2
            Walden, chapter 13
Interaction(These are entries where I made comments on my peers blogs)
           Jessica Pierce, Such Beautiful Words   
Discussions: (These are comments made by my peers on my blogs)
           Meagan Gemperlein: "A day just for me"
           Heather Mourick: "Do they mean more or are they just a love?"
          Jen Prex: "Do they mean more or are they just a love?"

Timeliness: (These are entries I made before the due date, hoping to spark discussion)
Walden, chapter 2 & chapter 4
Edgar Allen Poe, "The Raven"
Edgar Allen Poe,  "Science and Fairyland"
           Emily Dickinson, "Time and The Garden" "A day just for me"

Xenoblogging & Wildcard:
    A Comment Informative: I became very interested in Thoreau and did a little research. There is a link in this blog to the wiki page for Thoreau.  


Some respect

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" All right, then, I'll go to hell" and tore it up. It was awful thoughts, and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head; and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and other's warn't." (ch. 31)

At the beginning of the letter it almost seemed like Huck was going to do something good and tell Miss Watson where Jim was, then you finish and see he was only trying to get money from her. Tearing up the letter shows a little respect for Miss Watson, but Huck, as he says only knows wickedness. I think Twain makes Huck an interesting character because of the behaviors he has at the age he is supposed to be. If kids during our time left on raft trips down the river, there would be a search party out in a few hours. But Twain allows Huck to behave older than his age and with that he shows Huck trying to do more complex things that normally only adults would do, like extortion.


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"Topsy: No none on'em -- never had nothing nor nobody. I's brack -- no one loves me!
Eva: Oh! Topsy, I love you! I love you because you haven't had any father, or mother, or friends. I love you, I want you to be good. I wish you would try to be good for my sake. Only think of if, Topsy -- you can be one of those spirits bright Uncle Tom sings about!
Topsy: Oh! dear Miss Eva -- dear Miss Eva! I will try -- I will try. I never did care nothin' about it before.
Eva: If you try, you will succeed. Come with me.
Topsy: I will try; but den, I's so wicked!" (Scene IV)

Topsy, knows she's wicked and in this scene Eva gives her a reason to start being good. As she points our through out the story, Topsy is wicked and never had parents or friends or love. She is always being wronged because she is a little black girl and its expected of here to be bad. But Eva gives her reason to be good by accepting and loving her. Although as the story continues she still speaks her mind freely simply to upset St. Clare.
As we discussed in class and many have discussed on their blogs, Topsy and Eva are similar to the good and bad of Pearl. Topsy behaving fiendishly evil and laughing about the reactions of others, and Eva being sweet and innocent, like Pearl just before she gets upset with Hester.

Do kids really play these games?

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"It swore every boy to stick to the band and never tell any of the secrets; and if anybody done anything to any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to kill that person and his family must do it, and he mustn't eat and he mustn't sleep till he had killed them and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was the sign of the band." (p.9)

Twain gives such detail I couldn't help stopping in horror of the detail in the oath. I know its a story but are these the things that the young boys of that time were playing. Becoming such serious criminals and seeming so serious about it, I could have been more relieved to read just a few paragraphs more to see that it was all pretend. But being so early on in the story you wonder (at least if this is a first read) if the characters are really going to end up "taking stagecoaches and murdering all of the people on them."

This quote also kept my attention, and kept AHF from being "one story" even if only for a few pages. It kept my interest and made me want to keep turning the pages.

I knew, I knew it, I knew it

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"One story. Everywhere. Always. Wherever anyone puts pen to paper or hands to keyboard or fingers to lute string or quill to papyrus. They all take from and in return give it to the same story, ever since Snogg got back to the cave and told Ongk about the mastodon that got way." (p. 186)

And I'm sure that mastodon was "this big." Foster points out something I think we have all struggled with, at least I know I have for years. More so with movies, mainly because I am able to learn the beginning, middle and end all in one sitting. But  they are all the same, a Hero guy/girl is introduced not meeting their full potential. Someone or something happens or comes along and gives them new direction. A challenge comes up and things look grim for the hero. Then they come to a realization of how they were being stubborn or "blind" to something or they conquer an opponent or fear. Along the way there's some kind of gushy love story (which is even more predictable than the rest of the story). Then they all live happily every after or at least in acceptance of what has happened. Most of the time all in all, its BORING! So its incredibly important for writers to make the story exciting, using surprises and twists and humor, suspense, etc... Without those things to make it all differ, it really become all the same.

So that's why.

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"Okay, so here's the general rule: whether it's Italy or Greece or Africa or Malaysia or Vietnam, when writers send characters south, it's so they can run amok." (p. 171)

Well I wish someone had asked me to read this earlier, but maybe I can still somehow make this excuse apply to me. I guess this is the one all of the spring breakers used, as literature and media tend to model our behaviors. But all joking aside, it makes sense in so many of the stories I've read or heard, the characters would travel, most likely south, before feeling over confident or making a poor decision and stumbling along the way. With all of the running amok comes the lesson in their journey that they must learn. So it's safe to say that running amok is something that can be expected in all characters' journeys no matter how long or short or how far south they travel.

I want to fly.

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"It's really pretty straight forward: flight is freedom." (p. 128) Foster

Obviously flying through the air would be the most free a person could be, with nothing to hold you back, just flying through the clouds. But since we aren't able to jump on our bike with ET and fly away, flying takes a different meaning. Satisfying our "fancies of flight" can be done by getting away on vacation and day dreaming on the beach somewhere. Or by curling up with a good book that has a story so intriguing that we allow ourselves to live the exciting story along with the characters. Our "flights" can be many or few, all depending on how we can simply allow ourselves to become detached from the world around us and enter into the world the authors create on their pages.

So obvious yet so profound

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"The universe is wider than our views of it." (ch. 18 - 1)

I wonder if Thoreau mean this statement to be as profound as it can be taken. Sure it is obvious that something so large as the universe is wider than our views of it, but do we really remember that in our day to day lives, existing with in it? He begins this chapter talking about many different locations and how animals travel the country, and the journey the wild geese take from the far north to the south but all of these locations are nothing in length when compared to the sheer size of the entire universe, even the world. This got me thinking of the differences in the perceived size of the universe from Thoreau's time and ours. It' almost like, by making this statement, he was somewhat aware of the vast discovery of the world and space that would be made.


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"The wasps came by thousands to my lodge in October, as to winter quarters, and settled on my windows within and on the walls overhead, sometimes deterring visitors from entering. Each morning, when they were numbed by cold, I swept some of them out, but I did not trouble myself much to get rid of them; I even felt complimented by their regarding my house as a desirable shelter. They never molested me seriously, though they bedded with me." (ch. 13 - 3)

In this paragraph Thoreau does seem very pompous (as we discussed in class). After re-reading though, I wonder if he meant to come off as cocky as he does, or was he trying to laugh at his accommodations and make a sarcastic joke at his own expense? He does begin the paragraph with what any reader would assume to be an exaggeration, as the wasps "came by the thousands." So the chances of the tone being more sarcastic regarding the quality of the lodge in which he is living are fairly good.

a day just for me

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"There came a day at summer's full entirely for me;
I thought that such were for the saints, where revelations be."

A day just for me. Is Dickinsons saying we aren't entitled to a day to ourselves, that we haven't done enough good or worked hard enough to be given a whole day? It may seem like a small thing, but ask yourself, when is the last time you had an entire day to do whatever you wanted. No plans, no commitments, no emergencies or even basic tasks that we don't even count. Maybe entire days are meant only for saints, we simply don't have the time.

Time & the Garden

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"I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given."

"I have not told my garden yet,
Lest that should conquer me;
I have not quite the strength now
To break it to the bee."

This stanza made me think of Foster and his reference to so much of literature has hints of the bible. You can tell Dickinson has some kind of faith in God and is very comfortable with what will come when she passes. She also give insite to a hobby of gardening that will be missed when she is gone, but she can't bring herself to "break it to the bee" This almost seems like she is ready to let happen what may but can't bring herself to bare it all.

Science & Fairyland

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Sonnet to Science - "Who woulds't not leave him, in his wandering..."
Poe must have some respect or a deep hatred for science, as he describes all of the things science, in a sense, takes away from writers and dreamers. Because it can prove a lot of the imagination and creativity that is being dreamed up, wrong or impossible, science take the fun out of everything. It takes the fear out of things, because its been proven 98% of the time to be safe or impossible. Let's face its like Poe is competing against the Myth Busters.

Fairyland - "Now deep shall be -- O deep! The passion of our sleep! For that wide circumference In easy drapery falls Drowsily over halls-- Over ruin'd walls -- Over waterfalls, (silent waterfalls!) O're the strange woods -- o'er the sea-- Alas! Over the sea!" (p.57-58)

Is Fairyland a dreamland? The description reminds me of the feelings you can barely remember when trying to wake up from a dream. Like the silent waterfall, sometimes all of my dreams are silent, no sound at all, and you feel like you're in completely different world but in the most familiar place that encompasses everything.

The Raven

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"But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of your--
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of your
Meant in croaking "Nevermore." (p. 4)

In this passage it appears Poe is entranced or overcome with what the Raven means by saying "Nevermore," almost causing him to laugh as though he were insane. But with all of the horrible things he has to call the bird why is he trying to be closer to it?

"Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by angels whose faint foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "they God hath lent thee -- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, of quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore." (p. 4)

Lenore is obviously a great love that has been lost by break up or death. (I assume death because of Poe's description of the angels.) Poe's grief has him blaming the angels and "thy God" for his pain. But it seems like he is almost comforted by the sadness because he isn't making any attempts to move on, just staring at the raven  and allowing his mind and his thoughts to take him where ever they may go.

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