Gender, Economics, the American Dream

Gender is definitely something to discuss for this play because Minnie is the main girl and she stands out among the entire group of guys; she is their central point. Does Minnie possibly represent the American Dream because she is merely represented as ‘The Girl’. That name is not personalized and is very general. Other books that have talked about the American Dream are The Great Gatsby and The Glass Menagerie. This book has in common with The Great Gatsby is that Johnson and Rance both want the girl, and Tom and Gatsby both want the girl, Daisy. A similarity with The Glass Menagerie is that Tom left his home to achieve his goals, despite leaving his family behind, and Minnie and Johnson leave to go away from town to live their lives. However, this play is more hopeful because the couple stayed together and they got to start a life, not many downfalls. Whereas, the other two stories did not achieve what they wanted. The other two stories play on the idea that the American Dream is maybe just a dream or some unreachable thing, whereas this play is more in the lines of supporting the American Dream. The girl is won and they start their life over. This play seems more fictional and unrealistic than the two other stories.

via Gender, Economics, the American Dream.

Foster, “Envoi”

After reading Foster’s “Envoi”, I felt more comfortable when he said “What this book represents is not a database of all the cultural codes by which writers create and readers understand the products of that creation” (304). Foster, even though he does not explain every symbol, made me feel comfortable and confident when reading now because even though I know I have acquired close reading skills, I know its okay to miss a symbol. I have the skills to look for them though. As we dove deeper into the course, I found myself looking for symbols without realizing it and analyzing the text instead of just reading the mere plot. One of the first texts we read was The Scarlet Letter and I feel like that was a good book to read because Hawthorne made it clear to the reader what he/she should focus on, which forced me to look at the deeper elements instead of the obvious ones. This is where I started to grow on my close reading and when we finally got to poems, I feel like the entire class was ready to analyze them because we acquired so many skills up to this point. Foster helped me see that patterns and symbols are a constant element in stories and with the more reading we do, the more we will pick up on them.

via Foster, “Envoi”.

Academic Article

Working Thesis: While Tonkin says “every female figure in [Poe’s] writing was an attempt to revivify his unconscious memory of [his mother],” this paper will use Lewis’s statement that Poe’s writing fades from comedy to horror to argue that he does not always glorify women; he creates stories that have rational, expected endings that express the fact that reality prevails for reasons from “The Black Cat,” “The Raven,” and “The Masque of the Red Death”.

Tonkin, Maggie. “The ‘Poe-etics’ of Decomposition: ‘The Great Cabinet of Edgar Allan Poe’ and the Reading-Effect.”   Women’s Studies 33.1 (2004): 1-21. Academic Search Elite. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

via Academic Article.

Call of the Wild (Ch 7)

When Buck breaks away from the dog pack to join Thornton a couple of chapters ago, I honestly thought how would the story continue because that seemed to be Buck’s high point in life; he had achieved the most in his life. Yet, after reading chapter 7, I see another huge transformation in Buck: his love and admiration for a human and his complete authority over a pack, whereas before he had authority over a pack but still had to obey the rules of his masters. He has also learned morals and to respect those who have respected him by remembering Thornton after he dies. Buck’s pride over beating Spitz seemed like the ultimate achievement but it was only a mere stepping stone to his growth as a character.

I think that his development to living in the wild was overall a good thing because he gained perspective and respect and self-protection, but it came as a cost to Thornton. He left them unprotected while he was trying to ‘find himself’ and gaining his instinct back. We cannot know that if he stayed with Thornton what would have happened and who would have lived and died, but finding his true calling came at the expense of losing Thornton.

via Call of the Wild (Ch 7).

Call of the Wild (Ch 5

The first part we read for Friday (Ch. 1-4) was basically all about Buck’s struggle to maintain authority over the dog pack. This section now seems to still be about authority, but instead of him fighting with other dogs, Buck is struggling with humans. In the first section, Buck says he instantly respected those who were in charge of him; they had everything under control. Now, Buck has three people who are asking for demands that are not possible, which is infuriating the dog team. Buck even says he is disgusted when Mercedes hugs Buck and is trying to urge him on to ride despite his tiredness and soreness. The men call them lazy; whereas, they are only tired. The men are misdiagnosing the dogs and are asking them to carry an absurd amount of luggage. The men are clearly not prepared and unorganized because they are fighting between one another. I see a transformation in Buck from innocence to knowledgable to this point in the story.

At the end of Chapter 5, Buck stays at John Thornton’s, which to me shows his bravery. Yes, he is too tired to anymore running but it showed his courageousness and that he has become wise. His departure from the team was noble and honorable because he knew his limits, unlike the others. When he looked out and saw the others, he saw how tired and worn out they were. He knows what happens to other dogs in the cold during a trip when they cannot go anymore; they die. So yes, Buck is being smart and rational about his decision to stay.

In Chapter 6, you see another transformation in Buck that involves him caring for someone other than himself. He shows that he deeply respects Thornton for saving his life from Hal, Charles, and Mercedes.

via Call of the Wild (Ch 5.

Call of the Wild (Ch 3

After Dolly died after she chased Buck around, it said it was Spitz’s chance to attack Buck so he did. Buck and Spitz are fighting for the alpha spot in the dog pack, but Spitz’s decision to pounce on him after Dolly died seemed weak and pathetic on his part. Yeah, he wants to attack when Buck is least expecting it, but that moment seemed wrong and pathetic because Dolly just died and Spitz seems to be scared of Buck taking the alpha spot so he is willing to attack him at any time.

The slavery of the fogs can obviously be compared to the slavery of African Americans, but if you continue with that connection, when did slaves ever try to be the ‘alpha’ in the group of slaves. The dogs have a status within their slavery, but the slaves did not from what we have read so far. Unless you examine how older slaves are respected more by whites because they cannot cause harm or escape because of their age. Slaves could only be compared, from what I read, by separating them into either one of two categories: those who fight back, like George did in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or those who accept who they are and sometimes rely on faith, like Tom did.

Furthermore, I want to point out that I did not expect a story about dogs to have such an important life quote in it: “the paradox of living,  this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive”. Since Buck experiences his peak of life out in the wild, is London saying that we experience great moments when we are free from boundaries, forced to experience the flight-or-flight moment, and are out of our comfort zone? Who knew a dog could teach us the peak of life.

via Call of the Wild (Ch 3.

Call of the Wild (Ch 1

First of all, this being a dog story, I found it weird that when it said “a little weakened man who spat broken English and many strange and uncouth exclamations which Buck could not understand”. Even though it is meant to be understood that Buck understands most of what is being said by humans, I found it funny that London wrote this sentence because dogs cannot understand what we are saying most of the time, and he stated this sentence like its common of dogs to understand.

I think the kidnapping part that happened in chapter one should not have come as a shock to the reader, because in the beginning, it is mentioned several times that Buck was always the dominant figure and always had the authority. I feel like at some point his authority would be tested, so the beginning was foreshadowing. Plus when Buck was faced with force and violence by the kidnappers, I could tell he had never been challenged before because he panicked and could not calm down. Yes, it was an abrupt event but his reaction showed that this was the first time he had been challenged.

In chapter two, you see Buck transforming into a more uncivilized animal, undomesticated. His senses and strength become stronger. Obviously this is good since he needs them to live out in the wild, but does this mean he will let his strengths get the better of him or will he be able to control them when it comes to working with the other dogs?

via Call of the Wild (Ch 1.

Foster, “Intro”

The first time I read the Introduction I talked about pattern recognition and how I saw a pattern in a book I was reading in my Major Writers and Genres class. However, this time around, I wanted to focus on how Foster talks about conventions. With practice, we, as readers, can recognize these common threads among texts and stories so that we can pick up on certain techniques used by writers. My Major Writers and Genres class  and this class has taught me that when we discuss a poem or story, there are several different ways of looking at it, especially with poetry. Yes, professors do have more practice and they can pick up on certain techniques authors use,  but I have learned that no matter how much practice you have, someone else can come and think of a whole different analysis of a text; it does not make either one wrong.

via Foster, “Intro”.

Academic Essay

Edgar Allan Poe was known for the horrific stories that he created. But is his works only read to scare his audience? Lewis, the author of the article I read, proved that Poe has used “comedic strains in his tales and poems”.  Now you may think, Poe’s stories have never made me laugh; how is he being funny? Well, some stories are more obvious than others. “Hop-Frog”‘s comedic scene is when the dwarf gets back at the king for his constant mockery by having “the king and ministers to burst into a masquerade party dressed as chained ourang-outangs”. But the twist is that the dwarf later sets them on fire and that is what instills fear in the audience. Lewis explains that Poe starts out with comedy than transforms the story into fearful. Poe’s stories are not comedic in the way of laughing out loud, but they are ironically funny. “The Black Cat” is ‘funny’ because the narrator is someone who for some unknown reason likes his cat more than his wife. However, the story makes the audience feel fear when the narrator starts harming the cat and killing his wife. Poe shows the readers that “we follow the decline of characters who learn through painful experience that a monstrous world cannot be laughed away”. I believe Poe uses this transition from comedic to fear to show that reality cannot be denied. No matter how much we try to push it away, which is shown by laughing it off, reality always resurfaces. The narrator in “The Black Cat” first cuts out Pluto’s eye, which instills some fear but the comedic sense does not fade away just yet. As he becomes more violent, the comedic part is finally washed away. The reader and the narrator must realize that his actions are insane and reality cannot be denied no matter how much we want to avoid it. Using comedy helps show the audience that we, as people, do not like facing serious situations seriously until we ultimately have to.

Lewis, Paul. “Poe’s Humor: A Psychological Analysis.” Studies in Short Fiction 26.4 (1989). Academic Search Elite. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. EBSCO Host.

via Academic Essay.

UTC VI

First of all, was it common to keep a lock of someone’s hair after they died? And why did Legree take a special liking to Cassy?

In this last Act, it seems like death is like a victory in a way. By dying, Eva, St. Clare, and Tom were able to escape the cruelty that is slavery. Even though Tom died, he was victorious over Legree because Tom never broke his faith to God, which was Legree’s goal. The play showed that even though white men had control over slaves through violence and lack of education, slaveholders could not break the slaves’ relationship with God. Their goal to break this relationship of faith showed how inhumane the slaveholders really were. Tom and Legree contrasted each other so much that it was clear that Tom symbolized good and righteousness and Legree symbolized evil.

via UTC VI.