Sunday, November 13, 2011

Flash Fiction (Link)

Bats are flying around on the third floor again. Trapped. We live on a hill, so the height attracts them. Like a belfry. My husband is gone again. The beans he planted in the garden during the full moon are wilting. I’m not tending to the new shoots in this July heat. Like the jungle, he says, this heat. The news is bad lately. More troops killed this month than in any other. I keep the paper away from him, but he watches the reports on TV. This new war brings the old one back. In his sleep, he fights with the chain that hangs from the overhead bedroom light. He is always waging some past battle. Sometimes his hands find my throat. He leaves after these episodes. To be alone. At least he doesn’t wander the streets, like some. Doesn’t get lost permanently. He always comes back. Till then, I live with the bats. They flutter their wings of skin against the screens, while I lie in bed, staring up at the ghost of a light.

When I first read this, I immediately went back to The Red Convertible. There are some obvious connections, but instead of it being between two brothers, it is between a wife and her husband. This gives us another view to consider. We never really realize how many people are affected by certain actions. In this case, the wife (who is nameless) is struggling to keep her family together. She tries to hide the war from her husband, but he finds information about it anyway and it brings him back to when he was in the war. "Sometimes his hands find my throat," reminds me of when the eldest brother jumped into the river. They are not coming out and saying, he chokes me or he committed suicide, they are letting the reader experience the act, but describing it in a delicate manner. It's very effective in making the reader really "feel" the work and become a part of the work. 

As we talked about with the Red Convertible, the government plays a huge role in both stories, yet it is not mentioned at all. "This new war brings the old one back." That statement is very powerful and it gives this feeling of empathy toward the narrator, we want to help her, we feel for her, but we can't do anything because everything has already been done. Within these two stories, you feeling a sensation of defeat like, "Okay government, you win, take over," which leads to novels like Feed and Brave New World. 

Flash Fiction is an interesting genre, though it is very new, I think that it will be a great addition to the literature family. I like this story because they say so much without saying too much at all. It is much like poetry, where every word counts and in Flash Fiction, I feel like every word counts. 



Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Red Convertible

The Red Convertible
In this story we have these two brothers who seemingly have a tight bond. Because they both came across a bit of money, they were able to purchase a “red convertible” in which they drove all summer long together, “road tripping.” They met a girl and drove to Alaska and lived care-free. But then things changed and one of the brothers got called to War, the Vietnam War to be exact.  After he came back he was a different person.  The narrator tried to help his brother by destroying the red convertible so that he could fix it up, which worked for a while. Sadly, at the end of the story, the brother killed himself due to the post effects of the war and the narrator let the car run into the river.
Where to start?  In the beginning of the story I was thinking that this was going to be just a story about Native Americans in the “Americas,” but we learn quickly that it is more than that. First of all, we see a different time compared to now. These brothers decided to just take a road trip for the summer. In this trip they had no cares or worries, just free-falling in a sense.  When they met the girl from Alaska, I was thinking that she would become a part of their group and maybe be a bigger part of the story.  Her and her family really was just another story to tell.
I want to back track for a second. Let’s look at the beginning of the story, when the younger brother was talking about his luck with money and his job. I think that this is kind of foreshadowing because he is talking about how he “always had a way to get money” and basically he said that he was a little luckier than his brother. Which he brings this up again, when they get back from their road trip and his brother gets called to war and he says that he was luckier with numbers.
You really don’t see the ending coming at all. I mean it makes sense though. This kind of work was probably not given the respect that it should have been given during the time that it was released because people didn’t want to hear about the negative stuff in life, like everything we read in the beginning of the semester about Slavery, etc.  This story really sheds light on a couple of different aspects of  “American life,” even these kids aren’t exactly  “Americans” they are still subjected to the effects (negative and positive) of the “American” government.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Charlotte's Web

It has been such a long time since I read this book, that it brought back so many memories. A quick synopsis of the reading is that Charlotte is dieing and she teaches Wilbur how to be a good big and upon her death he saves all her babies and brings them back to the farm.

To begin, I want to point out that I hate spiders, but I think that Charlotte was not a spider, but something of a guidance counselor or spiritual guide.  She reminds me of a fairy god mother from Cinderella.  Charlotte is the wise old grandfather in a family (or grandmother). Something she said that really stuck out to me was, "We're born, we live a little while, we die." I think that what she is saying is that we need to take time to really smell the roses enjoy everything, bask in everything, and take advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves to you. It in a sense its the same as the poem we read for Monday, "Blossoms," We lived like death wasn't in the background.

Poor Wilbur has no idea what is going on until she finally comes out and says that she is going to die. His desire to carry on their friendship through her children (millions by the way, ewy) is interesting. As I was reading, I was asking myself, how would we classify Wilbur in today's society? He reminds me of the "good/nice guy" that none of the girls want to date, ya know the guy that would do anything for you, but because of that exact quality we (girls) don't want him.

Templeton, Templeton, Templeton. I wanted to break through the story and just give him a punch in the face. How funny is his role because in society everyone is always looking for the recognition in which they feel they deserve. "I notice that it's always me you come to when in trouble. But I've never heard of anyone's hearty breaking on my account. Oh, no. Who care anything about old Templeton." Though our perception of him is bad, what I see in this is that he just wishes to be loved or at least he just wants a little attention. It's like when my dog, Biggie, needs to go outside or something, he runs from one end of the house to the other, multiple times and cries at each door. Haha, it's not very subtle, but it def. catches our attention. Like, Templeton, in his abrupt way, he just wants some attention.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Langston Hughes

Theme For English B/Harlem

Langston Hughes

Both of these poems are simply structured as compared to the other authors we have read lately. I personally love Langston Hughes so I am partial to his writings.  I used Theme For English B as an ancillary material for a unit I did in another education class. I think that poem is an amazing piece of writing. He is 22 in his classes in Harlem and he is the only black person in there. His assignment is to write a paper, just write and let it flow so “it will be true.” He takes Harlem and connects himself to it. He says Harlem I hear you. He says he likes the same things that people who are not of color like. He presents a complex argument, which is partially while I love this poem; he says that if this paper is a part of me then it will be black, but when you read it, it will become a part of you and you are white. Then he says, “That’s American.” Bam. He just took away color all together and made a category in which they are equal, American. He shows us that we learn from one another and because of our different backgrounds we bring something different to the table.
In the poem, Harlem, I don’t quite understand the title and the significance to the poem, but I think that because he went to school is Harlem is relates back to “dream” he had of being educated or something along those lines. I think that he might be saying that a dream that isn’t pursued will dry up into nothing or it will keep bothering you like a sore. I think these references are very graphic because they are easy to imagine, “rotten meat” and “crust and sugar over.” Then he ends with “does it explode?”  I find this to be a little wild and absurd because your dreams can’t explode, but at the same time it is very dramatic.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Countee Cullen

Yet Do I Marvel

I think that Cullen is playing with the concept of justice and what is right and wrong. He is playing with the power of God by saying, I doubt not God is good, well meaning, kind,etc BUT he made me black and a poet AND I'm getting my work out there.

He is bringing up examples of these "Gods" that did wrong and had to suffer for it. I think that this is significant because it makes me think that Cullen thinks God should suffer because he made him black. I am not sure if that has anything to do with it. Cullen may not even be referencing to the color of his skin, but I think it has something to do with the significance of this poem. 

His references threw me off and half the words I had to look up, but after googling them it started to make sense. He is quite different then Eliot, but both authors portray meaning to society, uprising us to really question what is going on.

ALSO- I'd like to point out that in the second poem, Heritage, he says that he has no ties with "Gods and Goddesses" or people who worship the devil, yet he sure does talk about these other Gods in his works. Just saying.... (haha)


Because this poem was a little longer, it got really confusing. I want to say that he was talking about his past in Africa, but I feel like duh that is exactly what he is saying. In each stanza we find a different piece of information about him. In the first line he talks about the sun and the people and the colors of everything. In the second stanza he talks about the animals and the drums that he doesn't want to hear, and it goes on. I think it is a pretty poem and a nice ode to what he believes is his heritage, but towards the end he changed his adjectives to darker sounding words, for example, dark, mortal grief, quick and hot and anger, etc.

I have a few questions, what is the significance to the last stanza in italicizes?  Also, the first two stanzas end with a few lines in italicizes. What is this significance?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

So just in case you weren't confused with the other poem by T. S. Eliot.. he wrote this one.

Basically we have this guy and he is very insecure. He contemplates the many decisions in life that we make to either LIVE life or watch life walk on by. In his case.. he let's life walk on by.

Many times he is asking the readers, is this worth it? Eliot presents this poem as if it will have a meaning in the end that encourages people to live their life almost like a carpe diem, but he doesn't actually end like that. He simply says "till human voices wake us, and we drown." Ha-Ha.. oh oops this isn't funny. Okay wait what?!

I need an explanation because I am struggling here. I have read this poem so many times that I can almost recite it, but ask me to analyze it and I draw a blank.

I get it that he is chasing after this woman or the idea of love, but he never actually steps up and actually makes the move. What is this suppose to signify? Well if we consider the quote from Dante in the beginning of the poem then we can infer that Alfred is opening up to the readers because we have no one that we can tell. He says the line, In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo. I think that he is saying here that the women aren't giving him a time of day or talking about him at all.. or are they?

I think that he thinks that all these people are judging him, but as life as taught us, we are our own worst critics (say that five times fast).

The Waste Land: T.S. Eliot

Weialala Leia
Wallala Leialala

T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," is like a square trying to fit in a circle, it's just absurd. In this poem, we find the many faces of the world that have been exposed to one thing or another. He puts this poem in sections, each with a different title that may or may not relate to what is actually going on in that particular section. He opens with the seasons (which btw, I love this first section) and personifies them with humanistic values ( Spring was cruel, Winter kept them warm, Summer surprised them, etc).  Then leads straight into an interaction among the "narrator" and another character. This humanizes the poem for the reader which allows the reader to be able to connect with the poem.

Sometimes while reading, I got so lost. I re-read sections probably 3 or 4 times just to get some kind of inclination as to what in the world he was referencing. Then, I realized.. he isn't really referencing one thing.  I'm sure that the had something specific in mind while he was writing this, but as with every writer, it is open for interpretation (okay.. maybe not EVERY writer).

Beginning with line 43, Madame Sosotris, Eliot is talking about an encounter someone had with this clairvoyante. This section in particular sticks out to me because it draws out what is to happen with this person. Every situation this person will encounter is going to be "deadly" or so it seems. That is the impression in which Eliot gives off as he does with the rest of the poem. It holds a "gloomy" and "eerie" feel over it, as if you are reading it under a gray cloud.

Another section that caught my attention was under the section II. A GAME OF CHESS. He describes this women using phrases and words that incorporate your senses, especially smell. He talks about her satin cases poured in rich profusion and vials of ivory and coloured glass. This kind of writing puts the words on the reader, meaning that they can experience the poem rather than just read it and see the words, they can feel them and smell them etc.

Though T.S. Eliot writes in crazy circles and sometimes makes no sense at all, at the end of it all he brings it back together making the reader cognitively think and yet still appealing to the senses.