February 2007 Archives

My word this week is Paradox. I see and hear this word all the time. I will be honest and say I never truely know what it ment.
Paradox: A statement that seems self contradictory or nonsensical on the surface but upon closer examiniation may be seen to contain an underlying truth.
Sounds like some of the critics we have been reading in class.
Even more interesting and a little further down the page is some more definition of a paradox. As a rhetorical figure, it is used to grab the readers attention and to direct it to a specific point or image that provokes the reader to see something in a new way.
If you ask me that sounds like our critics.

"that Keats is not an escapist living in a pleasent dream"
True that Keats probably was not an escapist but he did have a vivid imagination. He also did not have the greatest life. Quite a few of his family membors died when he was quite young. He was an orphan and ended up being raised by several different people. He also knew he was dying at a young age. Isn't it possible that he could have been trying to create a nice world after death? A world that is sweet, filled with song, and enjoyed by a loved one. Maybe Keats was just trying to create something for people to think on. Maybe he was trying to help people have something to look forward to. I have to wonder if the scene on the urn is what he hoped to find when he died - that is, spending a blissful eternity with Fanny Brawne, his love interest.

Aside from all of this I feel that Austin is over analizing way too much. I think it's great to understand or make sense of a poem or piece of literature but talking about every little thing that Keats thought is a little too much. This article turned me off to further critical readings of authors and poets. I just wanted to enjoy Keats's poems or anyone elses works for what they are. Is there something so wrong with that?

"When the historian investigates the question whether the figure of Shylock in THe Merchant of Venice represents an antiemetic view, he regards the question as hardly distinguishable from a question about what Shakespeare and his first audience would have thought of Shylock"

I really like this quote, and I honestly think this opinion is true. Thinking back on my other english classes of the past, the class has almost always looked at that piece of literature in the ways and traditions of today. I realize how wrong that is, you can't compare the Elizabethian times with today.
I'm starting to think that it may be more important to look at the time period, the history surrounding the author opposed to the biography. We should understand the history, not because we want to know if it influenced the author, but because we want to understand we are reading in a better way. The author's life is important, but history is even more so.

I have to admit that this text just seemed to go over my head. Everything I read just seemed to go around in circles. As much as I was dazed by the texts there were a few quotes that jumped out at me. One quote was "it may be asserted as a general rule that whenever a reader confronts two interpretations which impose different emphases on similar meaning components, at least one of the interpretations must be wrong"
So they say one opinion may be wrong but how do you know which one it is? The other thing that bugs me is that everyone always seems to have a different opinon of a poem. I have been in class discussions where three different people say that the poet is saying something different. Does that mean that two people are wrong and one person right. Unless there is evidence, how can any of these three people be wrong. Doesn't opinion matter. If only one answer is right, what is the point of discussing what is going on in the poem?

My word of the week is Homeric epithet. If you are wondering why I picked it, I mentioned Homer in one of my blogs and thought I would check it out. So here's what it means.

Homeric epithet: A short descriptive phrase, often involving compound advectives, repeated so often that a more or less permanent association between the phrase and noun it was originally meant to modify is created.

Appearently he used this in quite a few of his poems/stories whatever you want to call them. I think that's kind of interesting. I guess it's true that you learn something new everyday.

"We have the pausible assumption that authors will be affeted by the intellectual currents and social conditions that surround them."
I totally agreed with this quote from Kessey. I would think that the world and times would be influencial to authors or to anyone in general. But then later Kessey talks about how this isn't true at all. He says that the world wouldn't be an influence at all to the author but a "special language" and possibly a great use of imagination. I would think that even if the world isn't influencing the author and his or her works I would think it would still be interesting to know what was going on when that author or poet was going for instance, even though we don't know that much about Homer and if he was influenced by his world, it would be interesting to know what was going on around him before he died.

EL312: Ghostly Wallpaper

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I think that each time I read the Yellow Wallpaper I have a new observation. I still think that the narrater is the woman in the wallpaper. I'm not starting to think the people in the stories are ghosts. Maybe it's a little far fetched but little things seemed to jump out at me. In the beginning the narrator says something about the house having a haunted effect. She (the narrator) also never seems to leave the house usually ghosts are stuck to one place. This story makes me think of the movie The Others. Nicole KIdman's character think all of these strange things that are happening due to ghosts but the strange things are happening because of Nicole and her kids. The narrator could possible not know that she is a ghost.

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