Harris, Uncle Remus Podcast

I believe that Uncle Remus is trying to teach the young boy lessons that he may not learn from his parents during a time of slavery. He teaches him the importance of treating others the right way and how it can come back to bite him if he doesn’t. We all know about slavery during this time period and how whites treated blacks poorly and even treated others in the lower class poorly. Perhaps Uncle Remus is trying to teach the boy about the right way to treat others, no matter who they are. There should be no sense of entitlement. In the stories I think that that’s what his underlying lesson has to do with and that by teaching the boy this at a young age he can begin to learn the right way to treat all people of society.

via Harris, Uncle Remus Podcast.

Essay: Wilson, “Weaving: Breathing: Thinking: The Poetics of Emerson’s Nature”

Fittingly, just as nature dilates and loosens the observer while he breathes, he loosens nature by weaving a metaphor. In turn, if we the readers are attentive, this metaphor further loosens, tenses, and throws us: into breathing. The sound effects of this passage force us to breathe. In the first two sentences, there are frequent voiceless spirants, consonant sounds produced by the breath flowing from the mouth unimpeded by vocal cords and thus entirely dependent on the force of the breath for sound. In the first sentence, [s] occurs in “slender,” “bars,” “fishes,” “sea,” and “crimson”; and the [f] stands out in its alliterative position in “float” and “fishes.” In the second, other instances of [s] and [f] occur, but also [*(This character cannot be represented into ASCII Text.)] and *(This character cannot be represented into ASCII Text.): “From,” “earth,” “shore,” “silent sea.” We must breathe more forcefully to produce these sounds than in making others. However, in the next sentence, the consonants quicken breathing, as there are several [t] sounds, voiceless stops, sounds generated by the breath flowing from the lungs unimpeded by the vocal cords but forcefully stopped and then suddenly released in an explosive sound. These [t] sounds are interspersed with several voiceless spirant [s] sounds to produce the effect of rapid breathing: “to,” “partake,” “its,” “transformations,” “active,” “enchantment,” “reaches,” “dust,” “dilate,” “conspire.” In attending to the passage, we conspire with it, and our breathing onomatopoetically quickens as both we and the passage undergo rapid transformation. We perform the script of nature. Like Socrates in the Cratylus and Thoreau in the “Spring” chapter of Walden, Emerson here tries to create a language whose sounds imitate meaning, leaves breathing secrets of trees.

via Essay: Wilson, “Weaving: Breathing: Thinking: The Poetics of Emerson’s Nature”.

Emerson and Transcendentalism Podcast

Emerson and Transcendentalism Podcast

In the podcast Dr. Jerz discusses the importance of nature and poetry. The concept the stood out to me is that we have a hard time figuring out how to act on abstract concepts, so in order to resolve this issue, poets step in and use metaphors as elaborate comparisons to address them in a concrete manor. One of the examples that Dr. Jerz used is “the lions courage,” this uses our minds’ idea of how courageous the kind of the jungle is and allows us to relate their courage to the courage that the poet is talking about. We observe nature; we take in its beauty and its different qualities. According to Emerson, nature is an act of God and by better understanding nature we can know the mind of God and understand how to address abstract situations. Just as Dr. Jerz said, “everything about nature is poetic and once you understand nature you can read its moral lessons.”

via Emerson and Transcendentalism Podcast.

Emerson (Selections)

3. Nature is the symbol of spirit

When reading Emerson’s Nature chapter IV: Language I struggled with understanding his third section, 3. Nature is the symbol of spirit, so I decided to focus on this one and break it down.  That’s what I decided I wanted to discuss in my blog for this post.

What I gathered from the third section is that Emerson is really talking about the concept of nature as a whole and how it symbolizes spiritual reality and offers insight into the universe. He relays the idea that nature is a metaphor for the human mind. “Parts of speech are metaphors, because the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind (p. 38).” One of the hardest concepts for me to break down and gather is that there is a direct connection between moral and material law and all men have the ability to understand this because this knowledge was the will of God. “This relation between the mind and matter is not fancied by some poet, but stands in the will of God, and so is free to be known by all men (p. 39).” Because of this, man has the ability to understand the laws of the universe. “The axioms of physics translate the laws of ethics. Thus, the “whole is greater than its part;” “reaction is equal to action (p. 38).”

via Emerson (Selections).

Books Books Books


XXI:    A Book.

“He ate and drank the precious words,

His Spirit grew robust;

He knew no more that he was poor,

Nor that his frame was dust.

He danced along the dingy days,

And this bequest of wings

Was but a book. What liberty

A loosened spirit brings!”

Dickinson has a habit of using books as a theme in poetry and how they have the ability to take a person far away from any stationary place in life, teach them new things, and how a book can open a person up. After reading the poem “A Book” I immediately thought of another one of Dickinson’s poems, “There is no frigate like a book.” These poems are not identical in the message that Dickinson is trying to convey however there are overlapping similarities that we, as readers, can gather. “A Book” discusses how a book can change a person and their outlook for the better. Reading a book gives meaning to a person and always them to identify this. Her other poem “There is no frigate like a book” overlaps with the same quality that books are able to transport us. Both poems talk about being poor and how books don’t judge our social status. “He knew no more that he was poor” (A Book, verse 3) was all because of a book which anyone no matter their position in life can posses, “This Traverse may the poorest take without oppress of Toll-” (There is no frigate like a book, verses 5-6).

Dickinson Selections: Love

XVII. The Wife

“She rose to his requirement, dropped

The playthings of her life

To take the honorable work

Of woman and of wife”

In this poem I feel that Dickinson uses strong words in verses 1-4 to stress the importance of the job that a wife has. She “rose” to the man’s needs and had to grow to be a women, drop the “playthings” in her life so that she could focus on the important matters and take on the “honorable work” that wife must take on. They are large responsibilities and Dickinson sets the scene to emphasize the sacrifices a young lady must make to take that step into womanhood and be a wife.

via Dickinson Selections.

Dickinson Selections: Life


I.               Success

“Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne’er succeed

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host

Who took the flag to-day

Can tell the definition,

So clear, of victory,

As he, defeated, dying

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Break, agonized and clear!”

In this poem Dickinson compares success to defeat. In the verses 1-4 Dickinson really stresses the fact that we don’t know how great success is until we are striving for it. I connected with this by comparing it to a soccer match. Victory is so much sweeter when I ache for defeating the other team. Then, when that moment comes, the feeling of winning is something that can’t be replicated by any other feeling. I think Dickinson makes the comparison to nectar because we all know or have experienced at some point the ache of thirst. When you finally get that glass of water how good does it taste? Pretty great, you never realized just how delicious water is. A hunger for success emits the same feelings and once you finally reach that success you realize there’s nothing better. Dickinson’s final verses 9-12 also emphasize this concept again, comparing success to success to a defeated and dying opponent. As we defeat this opponent we can hear the sounds of triumph break through the struggle and then we can bask in our success.

via Dickinson Selections.

Dickinson Podcast

One thing that really stuck out to me in the podcast is when Dr. Jerz talks about Dickinson’s form of punctuation and grammar. He tells us that she is famous for her habit of using dashes at the end of verses, leading into the next verse. She is also famous for her creative use of capital letters. Out of the entire podcast this was the most prominent thing to me because it was one of the first things I noticed when reading some of her poems. Both of these literary devices present a challenge to me. The dashes tend to throw off the way I read the poem; they force me to read through it a couple times in my head to get the sentences to flow the way she wants (which in the end I’m not even sure I correctly figured that out). The capitalized words aren’t so much as a challenge but rather they just make me pause and really analyze the reason why Dickinson capitalized it and what she wants us to get out of her doing that.

Does anyone have any recommendations for me about how to read her poems that incorporate the dashes so that I’m doing it in the correct way?

via Dickinson Podcast.

Dickinson Selections: Biography and Preface

At the beginning of the course we analyzed and talked about some of Dickinson’s work and I recall talking briefly about her biography and the effects her life had on her work. Therefor, when reading the Preface and the Poetry Foundation’s biography of Dickinson I connected with the concept of her isolated life and how that was transcribed into her poetry. She hid from the world in her house that never became a prison, and from this Dickinson “created in her writing a distinctively elliptical language for expressing what was possible but not yet realized” (Poetry Foundation’s biography of Dickinson). This was a point that Thomas Wentworth Higginson made in the preface as well. He felt it was important to tell the readers that Dickinson lived a life of isolation and that while he corresponded with her for many years he only met with her face to face twice. Even though she was a “…recluse by temperament and habitat,” her poetry broke all conventional rules and had a “…rigorous literary standard of her own” (Preafce).

via Dickinson Selections.