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.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Twain: Huck Finn (31-43)

Huck Finn: Twain
Section 3 (Chapters 31-43)

After a while, we all get tired of Tom, we’ve established that. I do think though that Tom has good intentions, but he’s just a boy with an imagination. He doesn’t realize that his “imagination” is affecting the real lives of Huck and Jim. Jim being sold into slavery by the con artists shows the readers that those men were bad from the start.

Twain uses these last chapters to really do some human being damage. What I mean by that is, throughout the entire story, humanity has been put on a pedestal and mocked. It has been shown how cruel and terrible Americans were to people. Humanity does not exist in this world for Jim and Huck and Twain does a good job of making the readers really feel the pain. After we learn of the softer side of Jim, we see he has HUMAN emotions, which for people back in those days, these didn’t think that slaves were even human (which is just crazy because they were living just like them).  

During the time when Tom is helping Huck get Jim out, I realized how stupid Tom is… he yells at Huck for doing or stealing stuff, but yet he steals all this stuff for the “adventure” even though they do not need it because Jim is not guarded.  I don’t know if Twain is just playing up the story here or really what he wants us to gain from this section of the novel, but I start to really despise Tom and literally start cheering for Jim and Huck.

So to fast forward, Tom goes above and beyond with trying to free the already free Jim. When he gets shots and disappears the family (Phelps) are sad. I am confused here because I thought this was all made up.  Either way, they see Jim and a hero because he helped to save Tom. Jim is again given human like feelings and is finally considered a “man.”

I love how Twain ended on a happy note. I think that if this story had ended any other way it would not have been affective. I think that Huck and Jim being the “underdogs” help great importance to the overall “affect” of the story. I can understand why this novel would have caused trouble during its era because it really opens your eyes as to what the American life was like. Twain dibbled his fingers into every lifestyle during this time and showed how fake it was or how “unreal” is. The only real people in this novel were Huck and Jim and yet they were the most uneducated and less respected persons of the entire plot. Crazy huh? Kudos Twain.. Kudos.

Twain: Huck Finn (16-30)

Huck Finn: Twain
Section 2 (Chapters 16-30)

Okay, after reading all this… all I want to say is… WHAT?  To sum up everything… they meet these two con artists and the next few chapters are them taking over revivals and working at a printer store? So I had to keep telling myself that this is the “adventure” part of the book. This is actually a sad section of the novel because it shows how ridiculous the American society was during this time and also how naïve people are.

Huck and Jim get separated for a little while and poor Jim is left to fin for himself while Huck is living at the Grangerford house.  Then it jumps to another scene where they meet the “Duke” and “Dauphin” who are the con artists. So basically, this is where I wish I could instant message Twain and ask him okay, what? Haha, He threw me off here.  Honestly from this chapter on I didn’t really enjoy the book that much.  Partially because Huck gets theatrical with his descriptions, but these two men just start running things in a bad way. I want to tell Huck and Jim to get away quickly because these bad men are going to get caught up with. Especially when the men take over the revival and get all that money from those people. It just shows the joke in which Religion is to Twain. Like we’ve read in other stories throughout this semester, if the Religion was filled with true believers rather than imposters, than this story would have been a lot different.

Okay, so I want to talk about Sherbern.  He goes on about the mob-mentality of these people and how they are not going to lynch him because they are cowards. He goes on his long thought of mob-mentality which is a common theme in our classroom.  These people are going with the flow of things. Sherbern killed a drunken man who was being obscene and rude. Though, killing him may have been a bit extreme, he was just the town drunk. Only his daughter will really miss him. And Sherbern knows this and he points this out in his little “tangent” about the mob-mentality (which many of the writers we have seen so far have talked about) and basically everyone is like, well yeah you’re right, and leave.

Twain is an interesting writer.  These few chapters remind me of “realismo magico” which is associated with the Boom in the Latin-American writing culture.  Basically this is where the line between reality and fantasy blurs and no one any longer can see the difference. Twain does that here. He goes from the river to these strings of events that lead Huck and Jim into terrible circumstances.

But wait, then Twain throws up back into reality. Huck learns of Jim’s family and his love for his family. This shows us the softer side of both, Huck and Jim. Allowing Huck into his life, Jim is building a relationship with Huck in hopes of him understanding him more. Though Huck doesn’t understand how the black man could love as much as the white man. As we discussed in class, this is crazy because Huck’s dad beat him. He wasn’t loved at all by his white father. Twain really does create some serious oxymoron’s that allow the reader to think, to really think.

Twain: Huck Finn (Chapters 1-15)

Huck Finn: Twain
Section 1 (Chapters 1-15)

In the first few chapters of the book we are given some pretty important information. We meet a bulk of the characters. When you read the back cover of the novel you learn that “Jim” is one of the main characters to partake in this adventure with Huck, but in the first few chapters, Jim is not around. At first I was confused because it gives a lot of information on Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer and the gang and Huck’s dad, etc., but the only mention of Jim is through his “encounters” with witches, etc.  I feel like Twain did this on purpose. He wanted to set up the “confidence” we have in Huck.

Let’s dissect Huck for a moment: In the first few lines we (the readers) can see that Huck is not “sivilized” as others wish him to be and his writing skills are less than par, but that is what sets Huck a part from the others (like Tom Sawyer).  One of the major turning points for me in this novel was when Huck saw the markings of his fathers shoe in the snow.  The fear he expressed made me realize, this “little” boy is all alone in the world. Even when the boys were talking about their gang and they said that the rules can’t apply to Huck because he doesn’t have any parents. It breaks my heart a little bit because this boy has no support system or love (or so we are led to believe).  Again, I think this is all a ploy (not in a negative way) from Twain to gain the readers trust for Huck.

In the chapters 9 and 10 or around that area, Jim and Huck are on the peaceful island away from society. This section of the novel shows the readers the connection between Huck and Jim. They are both running away from the society in which is hurting them; Jim getting sold, Huck getting beat up by his dad. In these sections, Jim portrays his adult/father figure towards Huck. Jim uses his wisdom to “protect” Huck from bad things (the dead man in the houseboat).  The dead man reminds them the ugliness from society and that even on this island they can’t break away from what society can do to people.  Jim can’t use his wisdom to hide that fact from Huck though. 

One thing that got to me was the morality of Huck. He would do something bad and instantly feel bad for doing it and then in return give something back. This is explored in the chapters 13 ( i think). They are on the river and they steal things, but they feel bad so they give back. This is Twain again building the character up (of Huck). Twain is using time to let us know that even though Huck and Jim are technically fugitives (sort of) they are still human beings. This goes back to what is a man? Twain is giving human qualities to Jim and Huck, allowing the reader to feel something towards them.

In this first section of chapters, over and over again Twain uses the innocence and "childlike" personality of Huck to allow him to get in trouble with puts in danger his life and the life of Jim. This is again proven when Huck goes on the boat of the robbers. I think that the "fatherly" attribute of Jim starts to stick out because Jim and Huck get into a little argument when Huck plays yet another trick on him about being separated. I think that Huck is realizing that he is wrong (again the play on the morality) and says he is sorry.  I think that Jim feeling a some kind of "love" for Huck, forgives him.

This first section really opens the eyes up on which Twain uses his characters to make some really interesting points. As we've talked about in class, the separation of society while on the river and while in civilization. This is repeated over and over as Huck and Jim start their journey/adventure.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Frederick Douglass


I would like to start of by saying that this is the longest piece of work that I have read in a while where they repeat themselves over and over.  I want to say that I think he makes some serious points that really makes the American mind think. In the beginning of the text he celebrates the "founding fathers" and talks about how wonderful and smart and brave they were. As I was reading I found myself thinking that he really is commending them in their actions and efforts. I was waiting for him to come out and say that he hates them and that they were all liars, but he never did. Well.. instead he just goes on and on about how brave they were. Then he presents a question to the readers that I believe is noteworthy, on page 8 right before he has the insert about the evil that men do he has a paragraph about claiming that so and so is "our father" and makes a reference to the bible and Abraham. He basically is saying that we call on our founding fathers and claim to "in relation" to them, but do not act as they do.

Then he starts the long process of talking about slavery. He poses another question that really makes one think.. what is July 4th to a slave? While we are all celebrating our freedom, slaves get to sit there and wonder.. well what the hell is really going on right now? Everyone is celebrating freedom, yet these slaves are living in this free America and aren't free.  At this point, learning about the history of America has really put a damper on my patriotism. Douglass uses his language and his skill as a writer to portray an America that is very hypocritical. Again, we are reading two different stories like Stowe.. Where in the beginning you think of happy things and happy endings then we are slapped in the face with reality.

Lastly Douglass talks about religion. He basically is saying that religion is just as to blame because they didn't do anything to stop it as well. He says to bring on the atheism, etc because it serves to confirm more infidels.

It all goes back to the nature of man and the American identity. The nature of man is clearly TERRIBLE. In this time frame America wanted freedom and made all these claims against "The British Crown" for being a terrible government then we turn around and put people into slavery.

Question: what does he mean by this on page 20: "To palter with us in a double sense: And keep the word of promise to the ear, But break it to the heart." He quotes this in his work.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Harriet Stowe

In this text, I have found that I enjoy this type of "writing" better than the previous works we've seen. I say this because as we read we get to really look through the text and see the underlying message that Stowe was trying to portray.

In the first "story" we meet these young children playing and doing work for the family. Dick talks about liberty and giving up everything for liberty. As Grace throws her cap in the air, the wind takes its. Dick says that this is okay because it is in the name of liberty. I think this is significant because it shows the American mind-set and how they wanted to have freedom and would give everything  for it. The scene where all the family is at home and sitting around waiting for the dinner to be ready, they talk about the letters from their dad (or husband, son, etc) and in these letters he instills in them the practice that they should give everything they can sacrifice for the name of liberty. I think one of the scenes that sticks out in my mind is the little girl giving her stockings over to the men even though they know that no one can wear them.

I think that this particular story is significant because it shows the America as a united whole. I feel like this viewpoint of America really makes me proud and kind of sad because it is shining light on a positive side of America rather than a negative side (as compared to the next story). I think that also this story sheds light on the fact that women run things in the household when the men are away. It doesn't go into too much dept about that, but it is obvious that the women is the man in the household while the man is out fighting a war. This story (in my opinion) sends the message that Liberty and freedom were taken seriously during this time period and the Americans were fighting for it on the battle field and in their homes as well.

The second story completely contradicts the first story. In all honestly my heart broke when I read this story. I did not see the ending coming at all. Stowe paints this pretty picture of how wonderful their lives are and everyone is happy and praising God then BOOM. It all ends. I think that this is a part of American history that just tears my nerves to pieces. I want to defend the men that were this evil to other human beings because they are Americans as well, but at the same time I want to disown anything that I have in common with them, but how can I? I think this goes back to our discussion in class about how far are you willing to go for what you believe in? These men found justification for their actions and people let it continue. It is just mortifying to think that this way going on our backyard. I think that cruel, evil and insane are just a few words that flow to mind while reading the ending of this story. Our past keeps reiterating how there is no happy ending in our lives. It's very negative.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Civil Disobedience: Thoreau

This will be the second time I have read Civil Disobedience by Thoreau. I think that this time I have a better understanding of what he was saying. Question: Was Thoreau the guy that went in the woods and out of society for a year or so to write? I believe it was him and if so it made sense because he did talk a LOT about nature. So I realized I could just Google this and I did and yes it was him, thank you Google.

In this text, I get the idea that he (Thoreau) greatly dislikes the government. In the first line he says: "That government is best which governs least." I could stop right here and say that is all that needs to be said because it does pretty much sum up the text, but if you take a closer look I think that Thoreau is calling out to be people to take action rather than just talk about what you want to do. For example in Part 1 in section 10 towards the end ("There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery...") he says basically that if you say you disagree with slavery, that's cool and all, but you have to take an action against it so that people will hear you.

One thing that I'd like to point out is that the title of this work is called "Civil Disobedience" and Thoreau definitely tells people to go out and break the law. I found that rather humorous, but of course he said if the law caused you to cause harm on someone else then don't do it, but if you look outside the context clues, it's kinda like hmm.. really? He goes on these tan-gits in the text that are strictly in question form normally towards the end of a section. These questions are quite thought-provoking elements that enhance the overall tone created by the author for the reader. 

While reading this, I pictured this guy in my head that was standing around smoking a cigarette just rambling on and on about the government and how they are behind all the bad things happening in the world. I got this sense of "smart-ass" (excuse my French) from him, especially in Part 2 page 8 and 9, "..The State, having thus learned that I did not wish to be regarded as a member of that church, have neer made a like demand on me since; though it said that it must adhere to its original presumption that time. If I had known how to name them, I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to; but I did not know where to find a complete list." How funny is that? At least I giggled while I read that. 

Lastly, there is one thing in here that reminds me of Emerson, in Part 2 towards the end he says, "I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society." That just sounded so much like Emerson when he was talking about giving a dollar to the poor. 

Lastly, #2: At the end he says "If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies: and so a man." Now my question is what is a man's nature?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Elizabeth Stanton

In her text she takes the time to really push her points across, but not in a manner that you feel as if she is just "complaining." She uses her literary wit to inform the readers of the problems of the woman race. I think that this text is interesting because she really challenges the readers. For example, she presents an argument that was made to make women look bad or look like the enemy and then turns it again and forces the reader to look at something from a different angle.

I think that I liked this work because I didn't feel like she was just talking to be talking. I'm not quite sure how to word this, but for example , "They do not divide heads according to sex but they call all the fine heads masculine and all the ill shaped feminine, for when a woman presents a remarkably large well developed intellectual region, they say she has a masculine head, as if there could be and the affections inordinately developed they say he has a woman's head this giving all glory to masculinity." When she writes her use of choice words radiates her beliefs in a positive manner, yet still firm. I think that this part of the text is a great start for the rest of her text because it sets the mood like, "Okay, you want to play with fire, well be prepared to get burned!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harriet Jacobs

Blog: Harriet Jacobs

To begin: I want to remember to talk about two things: Flowers and women

I think that this might be a long blog for me just a little warning. Anyway- To start my thought process off I want to say that this text was terrible. Not in the way you might be thinking, but it broke my heart into little tiny pieces. I hate reading about this time period only because it shows Americans as terrible people. How could someone treat someone so poorly? I really just find it hard to fathom, but then even today there is still racism alive and booming and it literally kills me on the inside. This text really takes an in-depth look at what WOMEN as a group (not mentioning color yet) went through and how far we have come. If we take a step back and look at this text from a different standpoint, we have made great steps in how women are perceived in the world, but at the same time some of these qualities that she and the “mistresses” possess are still going on today. For example, the mistress marries her “husband” and thinks that life is going to be all “flowery” as Jacobs said, but then finds out that life is nothing but dealing with their husbands’ cheating and looking away as they do it and get mad at the slaves (craziness).  Today we have that same problem where women turn a cheek as their “successful” husbands betray their marriage vowels or where women want to blame other women for their men’s mishaps.  Also, men like Dr. Flint still mentally and physically abuse women today and the women stay because they are brainwashed or whatever the reasons may be. This text does shed some light on the matter that these “practices” (for lack of a better word) are still being used today.

Secondly, this piece of work really shows how heartless mankind can be, but how strong we can be as well. I think that my opinion has changed after reading this text that mankind is innately mean. I say this because even with rules the people who were in charge used their power to take advantage and savagely ruin other peoples lives.  This text gives the readers an insight as to what life was like on all levels. I think I would love to have an account of Dr. Flint for he was a very important character in this text. Though throughout the reading I could feel the sorrow and the guilt that possessed Jacobs I never really felt hatred, except for when she actually said it. I think that if she were to "run into him" nowadays she might just say a prayer and keep it moving. I find her strength in this text very moving. I think that her courage for writing this was enough to inspire other women to make a stand, no matter the reason.

Things I wanted to point out: Jacobs brings up an element in her work which is her association with "flower." When she uses this word she is almost always referencing a white or "fair" women and her marriage or a happy moment in life. I think that this is significant because I feel it shed light on her feelings of happiness and how she see's what she wants in her happiness or in her marriage. I am not sure if that made sense.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Walt Whitman Blog #6

Blog: Walt Whitman
Songs of Myself

To begin: I had quite a few questions. In the first section at line 12 he said:
 I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, Nature without check with original energy.
What does he mean? Before these two lines he talks about “creeds” and “schools” being in a state of temporary disuse. So is he talking about schools not being in session? 

Also, line 121&122:  I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women, And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out their laps. A few lines later he says that they are alive and living well, during this part of the poem I really started to get confused as to what he was referencing. 

Lastly, in section 9 he talks about big doors of the country barn and then he says he is there he helps, but what is he helping? 


I really enjoyed this poem. I remember reading Leaves of Grass, but did not focus on it that intently, but I am really regretting that I didn’t. Whitman gives such a portrayal of what he sees in America. As I was reading it I felt that he was not talking down as I did with Emerson.  I think that his vision of American is as one mass. He talks a lot about being “one.” For example in the second line of this poem he says “And what I assume you shall assume For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” It makes me think of Emerson because he didn’t agree with this, but yet him and Whitman are both transcendentalist. I think they had the same idea just different ways to reach it because Whitman throughout the poem makes these scenarios of all kinds of people.

He talks about slaves a lot and how “I” the narrator helped him get clean and on his feet so that he could continue his travels to the north. So I am assuming that he was against slavery. When he is in the midst of his descriptions he uses language that is not demeaning as we have seen in other works. For example when he talking about the “negro” who holds firmly the reins of his four horses, he says that his “blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast” and he says “his glance is calm and commanding.” In all of these descriptions he doesn’t use belittling language, if anything he is talking about how strong physically and mentally is this man.
My favorite line of this poem is in section 3 line 52: Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.  I feel like that is a very relatable quote. To begin, I think that he saying (from the context around it) is that he is clear and sweet, but at the same time he is not. He’s heard what the people have been saying about the beginning and the end, but he talks nothing of it. He is content because he sees, dances, and sings. 

I had a question as to who he was talking to in this text, but I think that he was talking to everyone or talking for everyone. If you look on line 82 he says:  I believe in you MY SOUL…”  

Lastly, in section 15 this is the section where he talks of all different walks of life, but yet they are all doing the same thing; living their life.