Buck starts out as a dog that’s living the life on Judge Miller’s estate. That is, until he was kidnapped and introduced to the world of the Klondike. “During the four years since his puppyhood he had lived the life of a sated aristocrat; he had a fine pride in himself, was even a truffle egotistical, as country gentlemen sometimes become because of the insular situation.” But what we learn is that even though he was one spoiled dog with the judge, he was never weak. He is not afraid to fight for survival and he won’t give up. “And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again. The domesticated generations fell from him. In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed. to the time the wild dogs ranged packs through the primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down… Thus, as token of what puppet thing life is the ancient song surged through him and he came into his own again…” He learns his lessons quickly and his inner instinct start to wake up to continue to help him through it. Chapter one highlights the difference between the civilized world and the primitive one. Many people who live a luxurious life would not be able to adjust or survive in a quick transition to a primitive one. But Bucks ability to do so shows us just how truly strong he is. The question is, is it all instincts or is it also his character?
Earlier in the year when we were reading The Scarlet Letter I discussed the idea of adversity among the different characters during class. I decided to draw on this topic for this blog post and potentially for my term paper. This led me to explore the characters in The Scarlet Letter. The main character in the novel is typically associated with Hester Prynne since she is the one that had a child out of wedlock, is turned from society, and is forced to wear the scarlet letter A. However, The Scarlet Letter is primarily Dimmesdale’s story, not Hesters. In The Character of Flame: The Function of Pearl in The Scarlet Letter I read that Hester is pretty much just a secondary degree to the book, after the first scene she basically becomes an accessory figure. This is why the relationship between Pearl and Dimmesdale becomes so important.
via Academic Essay.
Cas: What is the matter with you, Legree? What is there in a simple curl of fair hair to appall a man like you—you who are familiar with every form of cruelty.
Leg: Cassy, to-night the past has been recalled to me—the past that I have so long and vainly striven to forget.
Cas: Has aught on this earth power to move a soul like thine?
Leg: Yes, for hard and reprobate as I now seem, there has been a time when I have been rocked on the bosom of a mother, cradled with prayers and pious hymns, my now seared brow bedewed with the waters of holy baptism.
This act shows the development and change in Legree. When he opens the letter with a lock of hair it opens up a part of Legree to memories that he has long locked away. A man so enraptured in torture and cruelty transforms as his mind revisits soft memories of his past. This is interesting to me. Kind of seems unrealistic that such a large shift happens so suddenly. I understand that a token of the past could bring memories back but it seems hard to believe that they would cause such a forceful shift in nature in Legree so suddenly.
via UTC VI.
Leg: Well, here’s a pious dog at last, let down among us sinners—powerful holy critter he must be. Here, you rascal! you make believe to be so pious, didn’t you never read out of your Bible, “Servants, obey your masters”? An’t I your master? Didn’t I pay twelve hundred dollars, cash, for all there is inside your cussed old black shell? An’t you mine, body and soul?
Emmeline rebels at Legree’s intentions and he orders Uncle Tom to flog her. When he refuses Legree whips him, demanding, “Ain’t you mine, body and soul?” Uncle Tom declares his soul is beyond the tyranny of Legree, and he is ordered flogged “within an inch of his life.” Her we see Legree lack of religion and how religious Uncle Tom is. It took bravery and guts to stand up to Legree the way he especially with how overtaken with torture and hatred Legree is. Uncle Tom is clearly not afraid to stand his ground and stay true and loyal to his beliefs and morals.
via UTC V.
St. C: How do you know there is, Tom? You never saw the Lord.
Tom: Felt Him in my soul, mas’r—feel Him now! Oh, mas’r! when I was sold away from my old woman and the children, I was jest a’most broken up—I felt as if there warn’t nothing left—and then the Lord stood by me, and He says, “Fear not, Tom,” and He brings light and joy into a poor fellow’s soul—makes all peace; and I’s so happy, and loves everybody, and feels willin’ to be jest where the Lord wants to put me. I know it couldn’t come from me, ’cause I’s a poor, complaining creature—it comes from above, and I know He’s willin’ to do for mas’r.
St. C: [Grasping TOM’S hand.] Tom, you love me!
Out of this big paragraph from Tom about God and his love the largest thing that stuck to St. C grabbed from it was that Tom loves him. I found that interesting because originally he’s questioning how Tom knows that the Lord is real. All it took was a couple sentences and then he didn’t question God’s existence again.
via UTC IV.
St. C.: What makes you so bad, Tops? Why won’t you try and be good? Don’t you love any one, Topsy?
Top: [Comes down.] Dunno nothing ’bout love; I loves candy and sich, that’s all.
Oph: But, Topsy, if you’d only try to be good, you might.
Top: Couldn’t never be nothing but a nigger, if I was ever so good. If I could be skinned and come white, I’d try then.
St. C.: People can love you, if you are black, Topsy. Miss Ophelia would love you, if you were good. [TOPSY laughs.] Don’t you think so?
Top: No, she can’t b’ar me, ’cause I’m a nigger—she’d’s soon have a toad touch her. There can’t nobody love niggers, and niggers can’t do nothin’! I don’t car’!
What I found interesting here is that Topsy believes she doesn’t deserve any sort of love because she’s black which is why she doesn’t try to be good. I think she enjoys being bad because she believes she can be.
Act II: 4
Eva: Oh! Topsy, I love you! [Laying her hand on TOPSY’S shoulder.] 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. [TOPSY looks astonished for a moment, and then bursts into tears.] Only think of it, Topsy—you can be one of those spirits bright Uncle Tom sings about!
This part shows just how truly innocent and pure hearted Eva is. Eva’s love goes far to make an impact and help reform Topsy. No one has ever shown Topsy kindness before which is why the love that Eva shows towards her really resonates and makes a difference.
The play opens up with…
George: [Bitterly.] I wish he’d never been born! I wish I’d never been born myself!
Eliza: [Sinking her head upon his breast and weeping.] Oh George!
Geo: There now, Eliza, it’s too bad for me to make you feel so. Oh! how I wish you had never seen me—you might have been happy!
Eliza: George! George! how can you talk so? What dreadful thing has happened, or is going to happen? I’m sure we’ve been very happy till lately.
Geo: So we have, dear. But oh! I wish I’d never seen you, nor you me.
Eliza: Oh, George! how can you?
To me this just screams melodrama from the beginning of the play. It sets the stage for an emotional roller coaster throughout the play. I wouldn’t typically picture a man acting that way when faced with something upsetting. This beginning leads me to believe that throughout the play every turn will be faced with different hardships and will consider the different approaches that the characters take as they are in different places in life. From the beginning we are introduced to the social setting and the struggle that Negros faced during the time.
via UTC I.
In my blog post Call of the Wild Chapter 7 I analyzed the beginning of the book to the end. I drew a lot upon what was happening in chapter 7 however I used the development and growth from all of the other chapters in order to grasp the ending of the book and make connections between the parts that all revolved around the central theme of civilization versus the wild. In another one of my posts, Academic Article, I used the peer reviews article, The Character of Flame by Anne McNamara. Here I used the scholarly article to define the relationship between Pearl and Dimmesdale in the Scarlet Letter. I talked about why their relationship was important and how it proves that the novel revolves around Dimmesdale more so than Hester. This was the main article for the topic of my first research paper topic. In this post I went into a lot of depth and really utilized the academic article because I felt it helped me better understand my paper topic and gave me a good basis to start from. However, I did end up changing the topic of my paper which I covered in my post Term Paper which gave a rundown of my new topic. Here I discussed why I changed my topic and covered my new topic about Hester and the feminist qualities that the book has. In two of my other posts, Creative Critical Progress Report and Updated Report I went into a lot of detail about my original project and my new project, why I chose the interpretations that I did, and why I edited my strategy. In another one of my blog posts, Foster “Envoi”, I drew upon what I learned from STW freshman year and compared what I gained in that class to what I have learned to this class. Reading Foster has really helped me develop as an American Literature student and I focused on this in my post, comparing my first Foster post to where I am at now. Canvas Poetry Workshop 1
Over the course of the year timeliness has been one of the things that I have struggled with most. I spread myself too thin with classes because I knew I wasn’t going to be here next semester and I didn’t want to get too far behind. Because of this I don’t have as many posts as I should to include in this section of the portfolio but ones that I would like to focus on are Uncle Tom’s Cabin Act 1, Act 2, Act3, Act 4, Act 5, and Act 6. I made sure that all of these posts were on time. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was something that I struggled with so the majority of my posts were generic and just briefly tapped into a topic. I found myself going back to these posts during class time and adding more after discussion. Another post that I had done early was the Academic Essay and once again it became a post that I went back to during class when we broke into small groups to discuss. A post that I did that I didn’t have to do was my Updated Creative Critical Project. In the middle of the creative critical project I found that I didn’t like the road that I was going down because it was too time consuming, I wasn’t knowledgable about how to use blog pages, and it didn’t analytically interpret my Dickinson poem enough. When I decided to take a different path I created the new post with my updated project and attached my new finalized project.
This unit of the semester I found myself taking more risks than I had all year. I believe this to be because I am not very good at reading plays and all of my posts concerning Uncle Tom’s Cabin were a risk to me because I wasn’t sure if I was reading and interpreting it correctly until discussion in class. Specifically in Uncle Tom’s Cabin from Page to Stage and Uncle Tom’s Cabin Act 1 I took my larger risks conceding the play. Another risk I took was with my Creative Critical Project and using technology to display my illustrations. I like to consider myself moderately tech savvy but when it came down to my plan of linking all of my illustrations through different blog pages this was a big risk. In the end this risk did not pay off but it did teach me that goals are important but I need to keep them reasonable especially with a project and time management. In my post Creative Critical Project Progress Report it talks about my plan with technology and my reach goals and fallback plans. In the course another large risk I took was changing my topic for my research paper which I explain in my post on the Canvas Bibliography and Thesis discussion forum. I liked my original topic but I could not find enough scholarly articles and evidence. When I changed my topic I knew this was a big risk because now it cut me short on time. However I think this was a risk that paid off because I feel my paper was tens times better than it would have been if I had remained with my previous topic.
The majority of my successful discussion points and comments for this unit were done in the Canvas Discussion Forums. In the Canvas Poetry Workshop Discussions I feel that I did a good job in my first initial post which helped elicit meaningful and insightful conversations. In Canvas Poetry Workshop 1 my post brought on a lot of discussion about the theme of religion in the poem. In Poetry Workshop 2, and Poetry Workshop 3 there was also a lot of discussion between my class mates and I about my posts and their posts.
In Call of the Wild Chapter 7 I incorporated a video from an outside web source in order to help me better understand all of the central themes in the novel and how they are all interconnected. In my blog post Foster “Envoi” I made comparisons between my first Foster post and my recent one. With doing this I linked my first post into this post. Also too in my post about my Updated Creative Critical Project I linked in my final product so that after reading the post about everything that I changed and why I did, viewers could go on and see my video. Since this unit revolved a lot around societal and gender roles and issues I connected my post Gender, Economics, the American Dream with a previous post about Uncle Tom’s Cabin which showed how both works represented social issues.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was something I really struggled with blogging about. Many times the posts were created with very little content until after class or after the next act when I could draw upon my point further. But still, the points that I made in these posts were not as insightful as my others were. The Call of the Wild Chapters 1&2 and Call of the Wild Chapters 3&4 were two posts that I went back to and added to because I did not have anything substantial prepared for class time. I created my post in Poetry Workshop 3 discussion forum on Canvas on November 6. I then went back in on the 7th to add more to my post before class time after I thought of more to say that my classmates could take away from the discussion.
Overall I think I have improved in almost every category. What I really noticed was how my ability to read and analyze literature has changed and developed. In high school I hated reading poetry because it wasn’t the easiest thing for me to understand. Now at this point of the year I feel I am able to analyze poems just as good, if not better at times, as short stories and novels. This can be scene through my post in Poetry Workshop 1, in my Final Paper, and my Creative Critical Project. If I were to have attempted these three different assignments at the beginning of the year they would have been very different, and not in a good way. I can honestly say that I have shocked myself with how much this class has done for my development with reading literature. I am very pleased with the way that these last three assignments turned out because of my ability to analyze and interpret literature.
While I have definitely seen an improvement in all of the categories of my portfolios throughout the course of the term, I realized that my categories that have improved the most were Riskiness and Intertextuality.
In my depth category my best post was in portfolio four, John Henry (Folklore Character) where I went into a lot of detail about John Henry and did outside research to learn about Joe Louis and make comparisons between the two in order to make connections.
In the timeliness category I would have to say that my best post was Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” This was a post that I created early. It was not a long post or one that was very in depth but instead I made a simple post about the story then asked several questions at the bottom about the ending of the story. Because I created this post early my classmates were able to read my post and respond to my questions on my blog and in class. This really helped me understand the story better in the end which is why consider this to be my best post for this category.
My biggest risk this term was changing my topic for my paper. My post Term Paper Rundown and my post in the Bibliography and Thesis discussion forum discuss the new topic that I selected. Although my risk wasn’t necessarily within the blog post I still feel like this is my most important and successful risk that I took during this term.
The best discussion that I had revolved around my post in Poetry Workshop 1. I feel that I made a great post about the poem and broke it down in a way that some of my classmates gained a new perspective from. My analysis created a lot of discussion and I feel that it one that I got the most from and that I provided the most for my classmates. I think that’s important because it showed the quality of my initial post and my comments.
I have two favorite intertextuality posts. The first one is Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In this post I incorporated textual citations and an animated clip that portrays Poe’s short story. It was a video that I had found on youtube after searching for a long time. I thought it was a great clip that provided a good graphical and voice analysis of the story to go along with my post. My second one is a post about another one of Poe’s short stories, Hop Frog. Here I found a great comic strip from another blog site that depicted the happenings throughout the story. The reason that I incorporated this was because the beginning of the story confused me. Since I am a visual learner it was hard for me to grasp what was going on when I couldn’t picture it in my head. By finding this comic strip it helped me to understand the story better. Based on the comments and feedback from my classmates I found that including it in my post helped them too as some were also confused about the beginning of the story.
Coverage is a topic that I stayed pretty static with throughout the term. It was a section of the blog that covered the posts that I originally didn’t know what to talk about and then went back and added more too later on either after class discussion or comments from my peers. If I had to pick one post from my coverage section that was the best it would have to be my most recent one, Poetry Workshop 3 because I was able to go in and add more to my original post before class, leave comments before class and then go back in and leave more comments after class.
Conclusion. Coming to conclusion there isn’t one portfolio that I would say had a better article than the other for this category. Rather it’s my development of my ability to analyze literature that has progressed throughout this category. This is a part of the objectives for this course and now coming to the end of the term I can definitely say that I have developed as an American Literature student. At the beginning of the year I didn’t have a very good understanding about how to do a literary close reading. And now I feel it’s what I immediately and automatically do now when reading literature. I think this shows throughout all of the conclusions in my portfolios.
Something I found interesting from this article was the way the critics attacked the play and called it weak and racist. Saying that the weaknesses did not derive from the stage limitations but from the script itself. What I think is that the play was fearless. It attempted to focus on the issues associated with slavery straightforward. It didn’t hide behind camouflages like distant settings. Instead it attacked the “most moralistic of social evils” and got straight to the point. Yes the play is a melodrama and therefor exaggerated many scenes but I still think it was a fearless attempt to shine a direct light and a present issue that was always around. The elephant in the room was now brought to the forefront to be confronted and contemplated.