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May. 25th, 2011

Insidious and Hoe it's Lead me to Possession/Other plane Reflections

TONS OF SPOILERS FOR INSIDIOUS DO NOT READ MORE IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS!!!

About two weeks ago my friend and I saw Insidious. We’re completely obsessed with exorcism/possession/devil involved horror movies. Good ones, bad ones, no worth mention: we want to see them all and we have long talks and thoughts about them afterward.

Insidious was one of the good ones. At first glance it looks like it’s going to be Paranormal Activity meets child possession, but the movie strays from that formula into something new and different that the previews didn’t give away before we got to the theater (and that’s saying something because we saw this movie very late in it’s theater life).

Early on, it’s clear there is not something right in the father’s childhood that he or his family has intentionally kept hidden from his wife and children. We were five minutes in and my friend and I we pondering what could be wrong. He’s not real/a ghost: no because too many people have interacted with him who are not family. He’s has a hereditary haunting: no because weird stuff really doesn’t happen around him personally. He’s secretly a physical manifestation of evil in physical form: no because that’s his bio mom and his bio kids and this evil take over probably would have started way earlier since timing hasn’t seemed to be important in the film so far.

Turns out Dad’s an astral projector into the world called “other plane” where apparently lost souls and malevolent spirits chill out together, son has inherited this talent and “gotten lost/trapped” spiritually. These others want control of his body because they envy the corporal apparently and the longer the kid is gone the easier he becomes to possess.

We just started laughing there. How could Grandma have not worried for her grandkids if she had gone through something similar with her own son? Even if she was too worried to mention it when they go married or had children, when the kid falls into a “not comma” that science can’t explain, don’t you pull mom aside and talk to her about some shadowed past? Do you wait three months for things to get desperate? Hell no, you protect yours any way needed!

Ok so child rearing and family loyalty thoughts aside, as a pagan this movie stirs a lot of questions for me I thought I’d just throw out because.

1. Why to “demons” and malevolent spirits always want to possess of physical body? What can we do here that they can’t do there? I know the line is that they envy the living, but why specifically? Why the focus on pain and chaos and how come they can’t achieve these goals as they are?

2. In horror movies do you always view what entities are doing as scary or malevolent? I mean it often escalates to that “evil” vibe, but often these beings seem to start out in ways that I’d consider them just attempting communication? Is there a way to talk to them or to appease them before things escalate?

3. Traditionally I think of our world as the most physical of the worlds, but is there is one that is more material based, would you want to find it and invade it or otherwise alter it? Why or why not.

4. Are our views on demonic possession a reflection of our vanity? That our world is best, most special and that we are somehow envied or chosen? Does this attitude carry over to paganism and your practice?

5. As pagans we often seek to astral project or to interact with other realms, states of consciousness or beings beyond the physical, what are your goals? What are your preparations/protections? Do you think these beings view or have you ever encountered beings that view our communication as scary and threatening as we view their reaching out?

6. Horror movies often ask the audience to accept that we are both helpless against the supernatural and more powerful than they are for example: in Insidious the family could not banish the spirits or pull their son back while in our world, but once the father entered the other plane he became more powerful than the spirits were there because he was alive, it’s an odd contrast between power and helplessness, especially considering the ending—where does your faith stand on this?

7. Almost all modern day possession movies take the Catholic stance that naming acknowledging evil gives the evil power. They are not to engage demons in conversation while attempting to exorcise it, they are not to ever name the demon by name, they are to ignore supernatural tantrums that happen while trying to force the being out and yet, ultimately they have to attack the being directly to force it out. Pagans generally try to start a conversation and acknowledge the being from the beginning, and proceed differently depending on how things develop. Which way do you lean and why?

8. It seems widely acknowledged that the living have more power than the dead in these movies and that trickery or the living person surrendering power to the dead is how spirits and evil triumph—what do you think? Is the physical more powerful than the immaterial? Is experience and wisdom that many ancestors have if they chose to use it so immaterial in a fight? Why wouldn’t a being that knew it’s realm be more effective than an interloper?

9. With Insidious specifically the “other plane” seemed very like a fairy realm, what additions, subtractions, or rule alteration would those who saw the movie have made to the rules of astral travel and that plane if any?

10. Who here wouldn’t love a movie portraying a person’s struggle through the fairy realm? I mean that movie would be the best and it could be sold as an action/horror/fantasy.

Nov. 12th, 2010

Teen Books, The Nook and Very Little Else to Talk About

Apr. 17th, 2010

Kickass Deserves Some Awards

If you can't guess, last night I went to see Kickass. No real analysis this early in the movie viewing process, I just want to say damn, this movie rocked. It's the first movie since The Golden Compass and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang that I've seen and really been like "this movie was the bomb, I had a great time and there's nothing I'd change/want more of/wish wasn't there." (not entirely true with Golden Compass, I loved it so much I read the book and then there was stuff missing from the movie I'd have wanted).

Some things that took me by surprise in a good way that are not spoilers:

1. The fight scenes are beautiful. None of that jerky m-tv bullshit that screams "I don't know how to make a fight seen but wanted one in my damn movie". These were clear pretty easy to follow scenes with some wonderful, if a little stereo typical moves.

2. The differing levels of intensity between superheros really helped balance the messaging and thoughts about the whole concept.

3. Use of cell phones, social networking pages, gps was smart and funny and modernizing.

4. The music was perfectly timed and added significantly to the movie.



Conclusion: this movie needs motherfucking awards maybe as one of the few movies that is actually viewable out of all the shit usually produced. I don't know but it was very funny and it was a cute little action film. It's not a movie I'd recommend to everyone (the violence is very graphic and anyone with a sensitivity to childhood abuse will probably find Mindy/Hit Girl to be triggerish and there are many other pc problems I could think of if I wanted to but am ignoring for a moment of squee) but it was a refreshing change to other stuff I've seen and been told to like.

Mar. 22nd, 2010

Pokemon Pokemon Pokemon

Feb. 27th, 2010

Still Watching the Watchmen

Nov. 9th, 2009

1984 Thoughts so Far

"V for Vendetta" both the movie and the graphic novel did it sooo much better. "1984" is one of those books that so far (I'm only a fourth of the way through part three) could have benefited from major editing. I mean this tome goes on and on and on on on about doublespeak. I got the concept the first eighty times. Seriously, the book dedicates over twenty pages and two separate sections to the idea of doublespeak.

Also, I love a good metaphysical discussion as much as the next person, but how long can a dude talk about the realities of history? Some of it might just be that I don't think our current history records or our current reporting styles are so pristine that I can get too worked up about the Ministry of Truth's work. It's bad sure, I don't know if destroys objective history (as such a thing doesn't exist) or if it would bring every aspect of my life and personal thoughts into question.

Whole swaths of women's history and non-white people's history is still trying to be pieced together and learned. Whether or not we know it or understand it doesn't change that it happened.

In the neo-pagan movement one of the many questions that has to be faced if you want to use British witch-craft as a source or Wicca outer court material is whether the history matters. After all, the creations there are new with faked older lineage. If the material is valid regardless of age the good for you and if it's not good, then it's just not going to work with you.

Winston is horrified by something that we all deal with to a certain degree. Maybe it's just one of those horrors you have to be there to really understand-though if that's the case then maybe 1984 shouldn't have relied so heavily on it.

On a completely different note, how come all these super controlled societies are run by men and questioned only by men? I know what you're going to say, Juila is the catalyst for Winston's true rebellion. Without her, Winston would have just gone on being unhappy and frustrated and probably would have one day given himself away without ever experiencing any of the joy of rebellion.

I like Julia. She sneaks around eating good food pilfered from the elite's store. She sleeps with whomever she pleases. She knows where the safe areas are to go to talk or relax. She knows how to hide in plain sight and she can pick out others who are probably doing the same. Why the hell didn't we start the book off with someone who was frustrated with society and doing something about it the way Julia was? Seriously Winston is just a hopeless little whiner before Julia comes along and he would have stayed that way without her.

What gets me the most about the whole situation is even though Winston "loves" Julia and even though he would be nothing without her, he still looks down on her. She doesn't "care" about The Party's motives or larger goals. Julia doesn't get into a froth over who the party is at war with. She's not surprised that they go back and change information to suit their goals and needs, but she's not horrified either.

Of course, Julia doubts the reality of a war at all, something Winston never even considers. She believes The Party is a bunch of liars but she just doesn't care about what the truth is as it doesn't affect her. Julia believes these things are nebulous and far away compared to immediate concerns over the quality of life.

Winston is on such a high horse about the big issues. Something has to be done. The truth has to be preserved. Would he even care if his quality of life hadn't been impacted?

Beyond that, realistically what is Winston going to do? What can anyone in a society set up as Oceania do? Julia is smart enough to see that her acts of rebellion are probably the limit. You could escape into the proles maybe and then create unrest among them strong enough to cause a revolt, though it seems unlikely as Winston doesn't have the skills or the understanding he'd need to do that. You could stand up publicly in the middle of Oceania against Big Brother and be taken and hope other would follow you example, hope somehow that enough people would protest that the thought police couldn't take them all.

It's a hopeless scenario, sometimes surviving and surviving with some private joys has to be enough.

Another thing why would you trust Charrington? Seriously has Winston ever been in another party building without a telescreen? Did he really believe that The Party let people choose to install them and you know Charrington never found the time or didn't have the money or something?

And why wouldn't Charrington have brought Winston in when Winston first bought the journal or when Winston came back for the paperweight or the first time he and Julia met in the room? How much thought crime did he have to show before he got busted? I thought these people just pulled you off the street for looking at people wrong and now they take their sweet time messing with Winston before they take him in. Heck why didn't O'Brien bring him in at his apartment? It all seems really pointless to me.

Winston seemed far too afraid of pain to really be interested in a change. He cowers at the sight of the thought police. He obeys them even though he knows death and pain are unavoidable. I guess fear can do that to you, but all those words about going down swinging and doing anything to attack at the party seem really hollow when he won't even show rebellion or resistance in the face of what is certain death. How long has he been insisting that he is the dead already only to be suddenly afraid all over again when he has to face it?

Some of the torture seems uninspired and I think that Orwell didn't give human resistance enough credit. He made the human spirit's will to live unbelievably strong and yet it's ability to resist change through brutality is unexplored. I don't know, maybe Orwell was on the ball and people completely collapse all the time the minute torture is implemented. I've been led to believe that torture doesn't work partially because people won't give up correct information or any information even.

One thing Orwell did really well was talk about how once someone breaks they will tell you anything to stop the pain. I liked that Winston just confessed and confessed and confessed. I also like the scene where the one emaciated dying man begs to avoid room 101 and says he will tell them anything so long as he knows what to repeat to them.

It's still a chilling read and it's worth the time, I just think it could have been edited some is all. The book really only has 150 pages of plot and general thought in it worth reading the rest of it seems be be repetition because Orwell thought we should be beaten over the head with a concept that is easy to grasp.

Nov. 8th, 2009

Dollhouse: I think I know what upset me so much in the most recent ep.


Jan. 21st, 2009

Defiance Review

I caught Defiance last Saturday with the mate and a few friends.  The mate wasn't particularly interested in seeing it as war movies don't hold much appeal.  I personally have mixed feelings on war movies, though generally Holocuast movies interest me to some degree (though taking the Holocuast class and watching all those movies with original footage from death camps has really dampened my need to ever see anything similar). 

I wanted to do a write up sooner, but I was taking time to digest.  My immediate feelings were something along the lines of empty.  I mean how can I watch something that's even loosely based on a true story and enjoy it?   After that thought comes the "how much is true"?  Usually I feel comfortable to watch a movie "based on a true story" and consider it fiction more or less, but with any kind of war story, especially a war as gruesome a World War II it becomes difficult to know where the facts and fiction start.  

I did some quick reading up on the true events and it seems to me that the movie has some very muddled areas, but the aspects most striking and horrifying are not far from the truth.    Things they left out include the Naliboki massacre where 125 innocent villagers were killed.  It's unknown whether or not the Bielski group participated along with the Russian Soviet in these attacks.  While I understand some people's anger on this topic, I see why a film would leave out the controversy.  Cinematically sainting a set of purescuted people is popular.

  Others have also been critical of the distinct Russian prescence along with the lack of Polish presence.  I believe that like any war story the complexities going on in real life and all the differentiations were too much for a movie were they cut it down to major players.  The Russian Soviet army was more major the the Polish Resistance groups in this story.  Still, I personally found it confusing to the story.  I knew we were in Poland.  I knew some basic background material about Polish Jews and the Polish people during the war, and found the Russian element slightly confusing  If I'd been on the story board, I'd have probably altered the story at this point.  Differing Polish resistances would have become the main factions and the Russian Soviet would have been cut.  The few places where the Russian Soviet and the Bielskis interact could have been handled by Polish factions.  I mean resistance fighters are resistance fighters, plus the Polish fighting for their own land, freedom, and people would have been more powerful than the Russians. 

Perhaps the most glaring inaccuracy (maybe since the facts on this one are a bit scattered) is the level of forest people to military confrontation.  In actuality, the camp was constantly moved and always ran rather than faced any military movement.  The Nazis made a few concentrated sweeps of the forest, but the Bielski's relocated deep enough into the forest to evade these troops.  I can think of a few scenes in the movie that probably didn't happen, and then some are still in sincere controversy in my mind.

SPOILERS START NOW.   

Tags: ,

Aug. 23rd, 2008

Wii Fit and Rockband

About two weeks ago my mom decided that our family needed both games and got them.  Why, I'm still very shaky on.  She doesn't like video games...or at least she's never shown any interest and has often shown contempt for them any how.  She's never bought a system or game before (my brother and I have done  the buying or gotten them as joint Christmas gifts).   She often shows annoyance about the space, care and storage of them. 

What I do know though is that about a month ago she started asking about them.  She started with DDR (which we have 1 and 2 for the ps2 and still play often).  Of all games, she seems most indifferent to those two games, perhaps even interested from a technology standpoint.  How sensitive is the pad, how much weight can it take, what are the differences between pads, how about the lag time from tv screen to game console (there isn't any for us, there was some briefly when out gaming tv got a mega upgrade, but I have a geeky friend or two and now my brother has a few tech loving friends who were more than happy to come explain what was wrong, fix it and show us how to fix it should we need to again.  I know the new games have easy ways to go and do this, it was a little tougher with an older game though).

I was more than happy to jump from DDR to Karaoke Star and from there to Guitar Hero and while neither of these games are my thing I was more than happy to go into geeky in depth detail about their equipment, reviews, pros and cons, fan base, what impact these kind of games had for video games (as I see it) and what now.  Which my mother not only endured but seemed interested in and of course eventually lead to Rockband.  I suspect that she was always only really interested in Rockband and Wii fit, but wanted to make sure that her reasons held true by someone who, admittedly knows more and has more experience and more access to other gamer thoughts.

Of course while I don't like Guitar Hero I love Rockband.  My reasons for this are mostly about the team/community thing with Rockband, but they also relate back to me not enjoying the fake guitar thing at all.  I love the drums and singing, but I won't do the guitar if at all avoidable.   In my opinion, Rockband is the superior game because there are different ways to play, because there the whole fantasy band thing going on and what not.  It also helps that while in Guitar Hero I constantly fail out and struggle to figure out the mechanics, in Rockband I have time not only to learn what I'm doing on drums but to relate that to the sounds of different parts of drums, and really be able to pick that out and break down aspects of the songs in the game and songs I just hear around on the radio. Rockband doesn't deserve all the credit on this of course, I have years of competitive training on the French horn and trumpet in a band setting, marching band setting (one that was a the time the best in the northeast), woodwind quartet, brass quartet, and French horn quartet.   Still, my rythem and ability to pick apart percussion is with a lot of help from Rockband.  It makes me wonder if I should give the guitar another shot because if I could pick it up, I'd probably be able to pick out distinctive chords when I was done (assuming that the relation to button pushing relates to chords and notes the way drum tapping does).

I don't think the singing component is as advanced on Rockband as either drum or guitar, but it's still nice.  It's always pleasant when a machine or person confirm that I'm not tone deaf and can do a decent job matching the actual singer most of the time.   It was also neat because what I thought I could do voice wise was pretty much exactly what the game told me to do.  I'm no singer, I don't have the range or the voice for it, but at least what I think I hear probably is about what it is.

Another comment, I might make just because, is that Rockband seems more geared towards men and women than just men too.  I think the representation of male to female characters is more or less even and the women aren't always or even usually (from what I've unlocked which isn't the whole game or even near it) dressed in skimpy clothes.  I mean there are more songs sung by men than women and there are more bands made up of mostly or all men than there are of women, but the main stream industry is very much the same.  They did feature a couple of women's hits too, though I was disappointed to not have found any of The Cranberries or Kittie so far cause I think both could be fairly called mainstream, but maybe they are too old?  And a lot of people seem to not like The Cranberries, even though they kick ass and a lot of people's problems with the band would go away if they listened to the right Cranberries song.  Ah the peril of being to versatile a band, people hear one song and assume you don't have anything to offer.

My mother had more reservations about the Wii fit and I understand why that  would be.  She is very overweight.  Plus when we introduced her to DDR and how many people used it for weight loss, she tried it, but found the cheap dance pads we bought too nerve wracking to use and the more expense ones cost prohibitive.  Add to that my mother's complete lack of rythem, beat, pacing, tempo, or timing and DDR qucikly becomes another overly frustrating work out regime. 

She was worried Wii fit would be like that for her too.  I pulled a couple of articles I'd read from sources that are consistently helpful for me about other skeptical overweight buyers who really liked the game.  They found the  board steady enough for them and the games were challenging without being exhausting and almost all the reviewers found one game to be their "work on it" game and one to be their "good at it" game.  

It must have done the trick for her because the next day my brother was setting up the game.  We've had it a week and my mother loves it so far.  To be fair, my mom tends to work on a diet or exercise anywhere from a week to a month and a half before giving up so we'll have to see.  On the other side, my brother, father, and I are also rather enchanted with the game.  I have to be honest, I was pretty skeptical of the whole concept.  I love DDR, but I felt like the Wii Fit might just be stretching with the wole "it's a Wii, look at all the nifty different things it can do"  nifty and new do not mean good, fun, or worthwhile.  Don't get me wrong I love the Wii and for the most part I like the games too.  But I found the promo Wii Sports CD to be too gimmicky and I sort of felt that Wii fit would fall into that category.  

It doesn't I love so many different aspects of the Fit.  

First of all the board is a huge improvement over the soft DDR pads.  I know they had hard ones to but creating only hard pads for the Fit was a smart move.  The look makes it match right in with the rest of the system and what not.  

Another thing I like is that you can download the Fit program into the Wii so no matter what other CD is in there, someone can always get to the Fit.  This is especially important for people like my mother and father.  We let our game CDs get mixed into the wrong cases and they sort of scatter everywhere and what not.  My parents are still adjusting to playing on a game system at all, they don't need the aggravation of tracking down a CD, finding the right equipment form to play (we have controllers everywhere for anything from the 64, ps2, cube, or wii and we have several different kinds of we controllers and steering wheels for different systems and DDR pads and that crossbow thing...tons of stuff , what can I say my brother and I can't not try it).  I know it's a little thing and my parents are very technology savy, but it's still a lot to get used to and if you aren't sure about something that little whatever can be off putting. 

And the layout!  The game is so clean, I really like every aspect of that.  I like the cartoon wii fit board.  I like it's little voice.  I like how clean and crisp everything is.  I love the loading area where they have that cute androgenous body being scanned and the green light that shows where your center of balance on the pad is.  I love the choices of personal trainers and I think that both male and female trainer walks the fine line between pleasant graphics and voice and creepy/ too human/ too inhuman.  I love the little piggy bank that tracks your quality hours on the system, it's so cute. 

   I like the little games and challenges.  I love that I can go head to head with the rest of my family (minus my sister who thinks the Wii Fit is only for people who don't want to do real exercise) over scores and un-lockables.  I am the hula hoop champ by the by and I just reclaimed my balance superiority in the bubble challenge.  I even like the Wii step even though I hate the stair master and think that comparisons to DDR and Wii Step game are unfair both to DDR and the Wii Step.  (I still like DDR better, but the step game is still cute and endearing in its own way).

The only thing not to like about the Wii Fit is the price and even that, for what it is, isn't too bad.  If I were going to pick a game, it would be the Wii Fit, but some of that has to do with the fact that I don't have enough friends to make as much use of Rockband as I would like to and I don't really enjoy playing single player.  My bro and I still play and sometimes my mom or dad will join in if they are in the area.  While that's nice, it isn't always what I'm looking for.  It's weird to be the expert and the best at the game.  I'm used to being that one subpar person who you know, is tolerated partly because of other redeeming qualities and partly because you know I make everyone feel good about their ability.  Le sigh.  Well, when I move in a few weeks I know right after I get a job it will all be about a video game system and making friends to play with.  I love gaming with the bf, but I love having a larger gaming community too.  Something I'm bound to miss now that I'm out of college and away from easy gamer access.  

Aug. 16th, 2008

Guess who saw The Dark Knight about One week ago o Tues?

A couple fanfic writers I've been caught up in

Yeah, yeah this post is as much about the icon as it is about the actual content.  You were warned.  Anyhow, if you couldn't tell from the icon above I've been reading a lot of harry/draco.  This started off as an interest in harry/snape that sort of moved into a harry/draco pairing.  Let me tell you there is a lot of really really really really bad fanfic in both of these groupings, but I've found two authors who I'm a little in love with at the moment.   

It started with Arsenic who [info]elfwreck introduced me to in a post that wasn't really at all related to fanfiction.  I started reading arsenic's work and now I still think her work is really worthwhile.  It isn't just harry/draco or harry/snape either.  There are literally tons of pairings and cross overs.  Plus arsenic has plenty if other fanfiction from not hp fandom.  Don't take me at my ramblings though go now and read a few fics for yourself.  Some of my favorites include:  An Eye for and Eye (the fic that started this all draco/harry/snape) , Collateral (hp angel crossover), Lines Undrawn (hermione/snape and harry/draco), Origins of Myth (this one is an amazing ron/draco), and Remind You What You Did When You Wake (harry/draco).

These of course made me go hunting the interenet for other hp fanfics because for me good fanfiction makes me yearn for more and new different takes.  That's how I found fourth_rose (over on lj).  Her comments seem to imply she has other fanfiction but I'm really there only to read Not in the Hands of Boys.  It's a work in progress and it appears to be updated once a month.  Follows the deathly hollows ending but ignores the epilouge and picks up with the old Hogwarts crew in Hogwarts finishing their missed seventh year.  Possibily my favorite take on Harry and Draco immediately after the war.  Also this fic has made me want a luna/harry fic quite badly and I haven't been able to find anything, anyone have suggestions on where to look for one of those?

All of this leads me to lemonaaeren.  The fics are all (except Kestral which is a really nice when Harry's an adult Snappe/harry fic.  A little disjointed for my taste but not bad) harry/draco.  She updates regularly (though right now she's moving so there's the possibility of less regular updates).  My feelings are her fics vary some.  There are ones I'm completely in love with like A Reckless Frame of Mind and it's sequel A Determined Frame of Mind.  My favorite is The Changing of the Guard.  I think what I like best about her work are the twists and turns.  The characters are the main focus, but she keeps the plot moving.  Characters have to face themselves and surrounding events at the same time.  I also like that she has so many different takes on the same characters and most of those takes I find completely possible and probable even given the source material.  I do like her novel lengths better than her one shots, with the exception of A Year's Temptation, which I just don't really care for period (more personal problems than actual style problems though).

And that is my recent fanfiction reading promotions  I'm also reading a couple inuyasha fanfics, but that fandom area has really slowed down a lot in the last year or so.  Also I'm finding it harder and harder to find fics I'm interested in reading from that genre. 

Anyhow go poke at those fics if you're into hp fanfiction.  And feel free to drop some suggestions.  As far as pairings go I like anything snape, anything with draco, I'll consider almost any harry or hermione pairing though right now I prefer harry/draco, harry/snape, harry/luna (though I can't find any I do think this would be a great pairing) hermione/draco, and ron/hermione/harrry.  Of course simple adventure hps without pairings are welcome too.  And random recommendations for not hp fanfic is good too, I read it all, even if I don't know source material on occasion. 

Apr. 28th, 2008

Lit Themes Journals Part 3

For Strong Women by Marge Piercy pg 182
Woot feminism I love it all ^_^. This is a great poem. I love the repetition of the word “strong” within the course of the poem that seems to reinforce the image of a strong woman standing defiantly in all her glory.
Some of what I like in this poem is that part of what makes up a “strong woman” to the narrator are characteristics that are rarely thought of as those the “strong women” would have. For example, the whole second stanza is about how a really strong woman has a voice in her head repeating discouragement and insults at herself. I think that it is encouraging to other women to know that they are not the only ones with doubts in themselves or what they are doing. The narrator seems to be saying that if a woman, or anyone really can still continue on her course when her own mind is thrown into self doubt, worry, and questioning, than that woman is one with lots of courage an inner strength. It can be hard when other denounce us, but it is even harder to continue a task if we denounce ourselves. In today's world, women are still not equal. There are still things that are frowned on if a woman does, and there are still pay separations and stereo types. No matter how independent one is, one can't help but be affected by society's belief system and wonder, “What am I doing? Why have I spoken up? I should sit down again. Where did I get the nerve?”, to be able to rise above these confining beliefs it does take true strength in a lot of ways.
Another unusually image of strength I enjoyed was where the narrator said “she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf/ suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but sh/ enacts it as the wind fills a sail.” I think that these ideas are unique and beautiful. They show a different kind of strength and one that has a more female mind set than the the idea of being strong like a rock, that is the kind of physical strength that fewer women possess, but many are able to expose themselves to others as a wolf must to feed her young. That takes its own kind of strength. The idea that strength is in a person is a common idea that one either has the ability or one doesn't I prefer Piercy's take on it where strength is not in the strong. Strength is an action that any person can pick up to move things forward. It is a beautiful idea.
I also like the idea of strong people shoveling muck and mire because it is also unusual. When I think of people actively cleaning sewage and other unfavorable jobs, I think of the caste system that used to be in India and I think of the untouchables. People don't often consider the untouchables a strong group of people. They are the lowest of the low and one is not supposed to talk with them or touch them. They have been incarnated to such a lowly station for punishment, they were weak and did something wrong in their last life. One thinks of Brahmans as the strong caste, because they have all the power and they are the most likely to break away from the cycle of reincarnation and reach freedom. However, if you thing about it, I would imagine that it takes more strength to face a terrible fate than a good one. I think it would take more will to shovel sewage for a living then it would take to sit on pillows and meditate. This idea seems to speak that even the lowliest of people can be strong, and that power=/=strength.

“the Market Economy” by Marcey Piercy pg184
Ah a feminist and an environmental activist, my kind of author. I love the message of technology as a price. One needs to know what one is buying. Too often people want or have ridiculous items for no particular reason. It is wasteful to have something one doesn't need, and the truth of the matter is that with the creation of every slight conveniences we have destroyed areas of land to get the natural resources and we have poured chemicals into the air. I like this poem because it shows a direct correlations between being sucked into modern day conveniences one doesn't really need and diseases such as lung cancer. The conveniences start out as just niceties that most people in America today have like color TVs, or plastic cups, which while wasteful are often used. Then what the narrator is offering is just extravagant and absurd such as ten year's worth of frozen dinners , whatever happened to simple cooking. Is one really too busy or lazy for that? I also like how the diseases start a bit far off for my taste, like a baby being born with a crooked spine as a result of a colored TV, I don't think that that actually happens, and it is a bit outrageous. Then a left lung rotted with cancer, is fairly feasible as is the idea of one's colon shutting down, so each thought slowly becomes more and more reasonable.
I also like the narrator's response to the silent reply of “if you don't like it don't use it.” She begins to talk about how so many people have no choice. There is no where else to work and a job is needed. One needs a home and if the only play is under a “yellow sky” no one is going to turn that away. My favorite line has to the be “ Don't read the fine/ print, there isn't any.” I think its funny because it isn't that there is no down side, its that the fine print can be read in the yellow skies and all the sickness around the factory. There is no fine print because the dangers are self evident facts all around us.

“What's That Smell in the Kitchen?” by Marge Piercy pg185
It has a feel of passive resistance to it, tee he a touch of Gandhi or Martin Luther King Junior in it that makes it an interesting poem. All over America, the narrator tells the reader, women are burning their dinners for their husbands. I don't understand why the women don't just get a divorce. IT seems like so much work and if the men can't pay attention to their wives and treat them right then let them make their own dinner and clean their own house. We don't need them.
Still setting side my differences with the poem for a minute the comparision to food is really fantastic. I have cooked quite a few meals before and I have to say I really appreciate the cooking analogy. Its rather interesting. When the narrator says “Anger sputters in the brainpan, confined/ but spewing out missile of hot fat.” I actually cringed while reading that line. One of my favorite things to cook is chicken in the frying pan, and one of its largest downfalls is that oil and meat fat sizzles and splatters on the oven and on the person. It really burns to be hit with even a little hot fat. My mom actually had to go to the hospital once because she got the hamburger meat's juice splattered across her hand when she was cooking it. So this explanation for the anger and how it acts in the brain is really clear, because while it is contained from the men for the most part, the “bits of fat” fly out and burn the men's dinners. I also like the idea of “carbonized despair” because despair, like soda can be explosive when too much pressure is put on it. People in general only can tolerate so much depression before a person snaps and lashes out against themselves or others. Carbonated soda can only take so much shaking and when it is opened it explodes. I think its clever that the narrator works in grilling the husbands, since the women are burning all their cooking they really want to burn their husbands, its a rather clever way to say the whole thing.
I also like the use of the grotesque image of feeding a rat to someone. It has shock value. I think the addition of the bomb really helps to show how strong the feeling of the women are, and it also shows the explosiveness of the situation.
The cooking metaphor is held all the way through, even as the women explain why they are angry. “Look, she says, once I was roast duck/ on your platter with parsley but now I am Spam.” That really illustrates the deprecation and devaluation the husbands have for their wives. To go from such a good meal to such a gross one really help to display the problem. Why would the men take their women for granted in such a way? Why would they just stop valuing their wives? Why would the wives want to be any kind of meal for their husbands, I want to be more than a good dish to the husband I might one day have.

“After Apple Picking” by Robert Frost pg 189
This is an interesting poem. The two-pointed ladder sticking through the tree could be like a stairway to heaven, or it could be like the tower of babble that humans tries to create to get back into the Garden of Edan, but God struck it down and damned the people by making them each speak different languages. I alos wonder if the apple is supposed to symbolize the orginal forbidden fruit and orginal sin, is this waste of the last apples some sort of core sin?
There is a clear change of seasons coming on. It is the end of fall, which could symbolize the end of life. A lot of things give the poem a dream like quality or the thought that the narrator may be falling in and out of sleep. The narrator keeps insisting that he is tired, and he also seems adamant that there is no longer a need to work, though there are still apples in the tree and there is still time to pick them.
Some of the images, could be everyday occurrences or strange dreamlike things. For example “I cannot rub the strangeness form my sight/ I got from looking through a plane of glass/ I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough/ And held against the world a hoary grass.” could just be talking about the narrator scooping some ice that had frozen in the water trough over night out of it and dumping it on the grass. Or the narrator could be in some sort of dream sequence where there is glass in the water trough and once he pulls it his vision becomes distorted and warped? It sounds as if the narrator has worked had, and while there is more to be done, he is too tire, which suggests that he is in an altered state or preparing for his own death. Very rarely would one leave apples left unpicked before the winter, as every little bit would help with food and money. The only reason I think one would not pick the apples were if one were sick or if one were dying.
Other references to this strange state of consciousness include the entrance of the woodchuck. IT is just this random animal thrown into the mix and I'm sure what it is supposed to do beyond confuse everyone. It is interesting and confusing all at the same time.

“My Papa's Waltz” by Theodore Roethke pg 346
This poem is filled with violent images hidden in the facade of surface level playfulness. The father works at lower level job where his hands get “caked hard by dirt”, then afterwards he goes to bar where he drinks until the whiskey on his breathe “Could make a small boy dizzy”, and then he goes home. The narrator is someone who is reflecting on an event that happened in his childhood many times, it is an adult telling the child's story because the language is too difficult for a child to manage with.
The poem makes me fearful. On a literal level one could take the poem to be a drunk father coming home and playing with his kid after work. Since the father is drunk, he has less control over his actions and he tends to accidentally hurt the child and make things fall over. The boy “hangs on to him like death”, I wonder if this is because of a fear for himself or for his father. I'm sure the father comes home too late for the boy to see him on many occasions, and I'm also sure that even at this young age the boy may be able to sense that the father is going to die from his addictions. On the other hand, perhaps the boy thinks that the closer he holds his father, the less likely he will fall victum to a “misstep” or a falling pan. He might just be holding on to his father because he is scared and he wants his dad to protect him the way father's should.
I wonder if the waltzing pair is just knocking down the pans or if the pans are falling on them. If the pans fall on either the boy or the father, they could be hurt, which might be one reason that the mother “can not unfrown herself”. Though its more likely that the woman wants to smile at the father's and boy's antics, but can't because the father is drunk and hurting her son in this rough housing. She wants the scene to be a happy good one, but she can't see it as one as long as the father is drunk.
The father holds the boy's wrist logically because the boy is too small to hold his hand and to help the boy in the waltz. On the other side, the holding of wrist trapped the boy into the waltz. The battered knuckle of the father could suggest many things. It might have come from work, or it might have come from the bar where he got into the fight, or if one choses to look beyond the literal meaning of the poem the battered knuckle could come from the father beating the boy. The boy must be very small or the father very tall for every missed step to make his ear scrape the father's belt buckle. I couldn't help but feel that this line was beyond literal and meant more like every mistake the father made, that lost the family money, the boy suffered the consequences of moving, or going without food, or not having the sort of opportunities that he deserved.
I cringed at the first line of the next stanza. My first though about the phrase “beat time” was to think of marching band. The is this plastic block called a gauk block, which the drum major beats time with a drumstick into to help teach the band the tempo when one is rehersing the moves. I remember seeing the drummajors hands after beating the gauk block, a good hour of it and the hands were read and swollen just from the vibrations, and when they regained feeling the drum major 's hands would ache from the effort. I can remember the band director screaming at the drum majors to bet time harder, and all I could think of is if it hurt the drum majors so much to beat time into a gauk block so much then what would the little boy have felt against his hand when the father beat time on his head. I couldn't understand the last line of why the boy would still cling to the man's shirt, but then I thought maybe he seeks protection from the man who hurts him. Maybe this sick love and abuse is all the boy knows and he longs for what attention he gets. Maybe it really is just a poem about a father who comes home drunk and while he intends to be playful he accidentally hurts the boy and both are pitiable in their plight, though I tend to think that the poem is about the boy's relationship with his father as a whole and how aclohal ruined all the potential good times the two could have shared.

“Sonny's Blues” By James Baldwin pg 404
This was a really interesting short story. I liked how the separation between the two brothers didn't automatically disappear. I want to say that Sonny will stay off heroine but I'm really not so sure. I think that he is doing better, and I think the ending with Sonny playing the piano so well without the drugs is a positive note. Maybe if Sonny stays with his brother and his family things will end up alright for him. I wonder where he ever got the money for heroine in the first place?
I wish that the narrator had tried harder to stay in touch with Sonny in the beginning. He seem so self focused, and uncaring about his brother. I wonder why the two were never close. One would think that in that sort of neighborhood family would really mean something and one would stick together because one knew that he or she could trust family. I know the two of them are very different, but I still wonder how one escaped without any addictions and the other one fell into drugs. Why didn't his brother warn him? Why couldn't Sonny see the problems for himself.
I have a lot of problems with this story in some ways because I am the oldest in my family. My sister, Emma, is two and a half years younger than me and my brother, Kyle, is five years younger than me and we are very close. I stand up for Kyle and I defend. Even now, when I am three hours away from them, I am the first to know what is happening in their lives, and I am the first one that they come to for advice. I talk to my siblings much more than I talk to my mother or father. My sister and I are as different as day and night. I can remember the first time my band director met my sister. I was one of his favorite students, so he was thrilled that he was going to conduct an event where he would meet my sister earlier. When he came back from meeting Emma the first thing he said to me about the meeting is “Your sister is significantly different than you are. Are you two really even related?” I laughed and nodded at him.
My point though, is that even though the narrator and Sonny are very different and they are farther away age wise, there is no reason why the two shouldn't be closer. They could have done so much by pooling together their separate talents and weaknesses. I also don't understand why the mother and father did not speak of the father's brother sooner. I think that would have been something very important to have told both Sonny and the narrator. It shows the importance of brothers and family, and it also tells both of them that they don't have to go looking to get in trouble. It might have helped both of them to understand the importance of sticking together.
There is a serious lack of communication between the two brothers, and that really annoys me. I don't think that people communicate in a clear and meaningful way often enough in stories or in real life. I always try my best to say exactly what I mean in the best and mot frank way possible. Sometimes the situation calls for more tact and diplomacy than complete disclosure would allow but it still is important to speak one's truth. I really think that if Sonny and the narrator had communicated more clearly than things would have turned out better. They might have never seen eye to eye, but at least they would understand one another and be able to better respect the other's challenges and difficulties.
I feel that if I have been able to get my feelings better across to my mother then maybe we wouldn't have the rift between us we do to day. I tried to in as many ways as I know how, but my mother and I are very different people who operate in very different ways. I love her very much, and while I understand what she thinks, how she reacts, and I have reasons towards why, it is much harder for me to get across why I feel and act as I do to her.

“Daddy” by Sylvia Plath pg 350
This is a beautiful poem that I have trouble relating to. My Dad and I have a pretty good relationship for the most part. There wasn't this struggling anger, accusation, or hurt that seems to be in Plath's poem. When I was younger I idolized my dad and I clung to him when he was home. Then he was home less and working more, and I began to hate work for it, how dare they take away my father. After I while though, I understood my father's responsibilities at work and really just learned to appreciate what time we had. As kids, my sister and I would fight over who could sit next to my father anywhere we went. We held his hand when he walked even though we had to run to keep up with his long strides. I did a lot of things that I would have been too scared to do because my father offered them to me and I wanted to be close to him. I also did a lot of boring things for the sake of spending time with my father. I tried to get along so long with my mother for my father's sake. I think that I would have had nothing to do with her a very long time ago if my father did not love her so very much.
My dad and I have always been able to talk easily. We have been open with thoughts and feelings and there is little we don't share. Certainly lots of our thoughts are from complete opposite schools and our opinions on many things hit opposite ranges of extremes. We have fought ugly battles over who is correct and what so of obligations I do or do not owe my parents for raising me, but at the end of the day we can walk away respecting our difference of opinions and compromising on a course of action.
I think the angriest I ever made my father was when I told him that I was not Roman Catholic and that I did not believe that Jesus Christ was our Savior. My father is very religious and our family goes to church every Sunday, I went to Religious Studies weekly , my mother is part of a bible club, and God is discussed in great detail all the time. It was a very big shock for him to find out that I had rejected that particular faith system and was searching on my own for something else. I can still remember the hurt and the betrayal. We talked for hours, weeks, and even years about why I did not believe in Christianity and what I did believe. I know today he is still not really thrilled with this, but we get around it. I go to church with my family weekly out of respect for their beliefs when I am home, and I will hold a discussion on any faith I know enough about to talk on.

“Heritage” by Linda Hogan pg 490
So very interesting and cute. The narrator is talking about what each member of her family gave her. She has her mother's wrinkles, as I have my mother's nose. Her mother taught her to bake bread. She has her father's eyes and a memory from the year that locusts destroyed the crops. Her uncle created wooden carvings she still has, and she learned the old chants from her native culture from him . Her grandfather taught her old supertions and how to fear an inablity to communicate through his own silent ways.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the poem isn't about the traits that the narrator has gained from her family, but the shame she feels that she carries in the family line. Somewhere in her family line, children were had between the native people and white people. The narrator carries that heritage with her in shame. She feels it is a stain on her native culture and who she is supposed to be. She values her heritage and loves all that is Native American about her family. She clings to family traditions and believes folk remedies and learns her old language. It is clear that the narrator's white heritage is a mark of shame to her.
I can't relate to this feeling of shame in heritage. I want to say that one shouldn't be ashamed of one's background but accept it and celebrate what one can of it, though I guess that it should be expected that there is a lot of prejudice and hate against one's heritage if there was a rape one could remember in one's lineage. Its a whole part of being a rape child I had never considered. I had thought about how both the mother and the child could potentially get over the trauma of how the child was conceived and the child could be loved and well cared for, but I have never thought of the child's father. I guess that I thought the child's dad and his heritage would drift off into obscurity, but if the rapist was of a different ethnicity then I suppose it would be easy to fall into the trap of feeling ashamed and guilty for one's background.
It would be especially easy to feel very self consciously away of one's lineage in the late seventy in Oklahoma where one doesn't fit in with either the other Native Americans or the white section. One is discriminated because of one's Native American heritage, but one is not accepted into the Native American community because of one's white blood. I couldn't image what that is like.

“The Mother” by Cwendolyn Brooks pg 583
I know this is a terribly sad poem and I should have more sympathy for the narrator... but I just can't muster it. I am sorry that this has happened to her, but she really did it to herself. It makes me so angry, but I am strongly against abortion. I do think that it is wrong. I don't know, for me abortion never will be a solution, but I respect other's choices to do as will. I try not to judge others for their own choices regarding abortion because it is such a personal topic. I try to avoid conversations about it, but of course it is everywhere, and people do dislike my take on the situation. I don't know, now that I personally know people very well who have had abortions, I struggle more and more with it. I don't like it, it is wrong. In the cases I know of abortion, I don't think I can forgive the person who had one. She was having unprotected sex, what did she expect? How could she just kill that potential? I couldn't watch all that life bleed out of me, I have too much respect for it.
I'm sure there are millions more abortions that have been performed for good reasons, perhaps the child will be born with a genetic disease that will savagely kill it, maybe the mother will die in child birth if she carries the baby to term, or perhaps the mother was raped and can not emotionally deal with the child she is carrying in her. I am sure there are more abortions for this reason than there are because people are irresponsible, but I can't stop from hating the act for the minority.
I don't know this woman's full story. I have no idea why she killed those children and all that potential. I can weep for what could have been with her because I am so conscientious of it as well, but I have trouble feeling sorry for her. I am sorry for her potential children. I am sorry for what the world could have had, and I am angry at her. So many families want children and can't have them, and then there are those who have abortions. There are many mothers who lose their child to miscarriages, who's children don't survive their birth, or who are dead before they are born, and this woman finds write about those she threw away. If I ever get old and try to have children but am unable to for whatever reason, this is the sort of poem that would make me cry in my own frustration while I detested the narrator for her words.
I guess what I am saying is that I am glad that she is sorry about what she did. I am glad that she has sorrow for what could have been. I think I would be angry if I got through this and found a “ham abortion solves everything without regret or mixed emotions”. How could anyone hope to forget a life?

“Two Small-Sized Girls” Minne Bruce Pratt pg 630
I feel bad for the narrator. She shouldn't have lost her children. She sounds like she is a good and capable mother, but the courts did not want a lesbian to have the children. I wonder if the husband is nice. I wonder how people get to a point where they have children and are married, only to realize that they had a different sexual orientation.
I wonder how the husband took it, and I wonder how the family took it. Was it a bitter divorce or just a sad one? Is the narrator allowed to see her children now or are all her rights removed? Does the grandmother know of her daughter's lifestyle choice? How does the grandmother feel? I think the grandmother must know about her daughter's decisions, and I hope she is there for her. She seems to be there.
She gave birth to those children. She nursed them as babies. She taught them how to speak, and now because of one life choice, which has no bearing on her mothering capabilities she has lost her children. That is terrible.
It is interesting how the two girls who grew up as almost sisters became a lesbian couple in their poem. Ones who are going through the same trials to try and keep their children. I don't know what I would do if I have children and they were threatened in such a way. I think I would stay with my husband to keep the children close. Perhaps that would be lying to myself or dangerous to my health, if I have children they will be my primary concern in life.
The corn dolls are sad and I'm not quite sure what to make of them, in the beginning the two girls were making people out of corn dolls, and in the middle they had made real children with their ex-husbands and lost them, then in the third part they burned their corn dolls and all their gardens. Is this symbolic of the girls being unable to keep what they shape. Has society ripped everything from these girls hands that all that is left for them is self destruction? Or is burning the doll a form of control and power over the enemy, a “you took our children, but we won't let you take everything even if it has to be destroyed to keep it from you. I would rather the destruction of my creations than the possession of what I love be in the hands of a stranger.”

“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams pg 437
That was terribly sad, but I suppose it is a classic Tennessee William thing to do. After all, what is a play without at least two insane women. I love Laura, and I feel bad for her. I like the little world she lives in, I like the fact that she seems so entranced with art and beauty . Her child like wonder is something to be marveled and appreciated. I love the fact that how hard she tries to make her mother and brother happy. I feel bad for the brother, but I feel worse for Laura. I want to know what is wrong with her. Why isn't she working a common laborer job as her brother is? Why is she so shy? How come she seems to be so quickly and easily started. In some ways her sensitivity bothers me a little. I want her to learn to stand up for herself. I want her to love herself. She is too delicate for the world she lives in. In many ways she reminds me of the vulnerable piece of Blanche from Streetcar Named Desire.
The mother was so demanding and bitter. I think she drove her husband away as she drove her son away. She didn't want what was best for her son she wanted what was best for herself. The mother really never stopped to think about what was best for Laura only about trying to relive her own life, only without all the mistakes of her former life. Parents seem to do this so much more than they should. I feel like my mother tries to improve her own perfection through me sometimes and that really isn't any of her business what I do or do not do.
I don't understand why the family stayed stranded up north when the father left. Certainly the mother must have made friends when she settled in the area, and if for some reason she had difficulty making friends, why didn't she go back south where friends and family could have helped her. She should have collected herself for the sake of her family. I wish she could have pulled things together for their sake. I feel like Tom's dreams were crushed before they even had a chance to take off. He was burdened with a crippled sister and an insane overly controlling mother. I don't understand why the mother felt she had any authority over Tom if Tom paid all the bills for the family's existence. She reminded me of Mrs. Readren, who also tried to force her son to take care of the family to his own destruction. It was never Tom's responsibility, and while I don't think that I could have left my sister to starve and suffer as Tom inevitable has, I am glad for him. He has a chance to be happy, and out of everyone in that family, he is really the only one with the chance to be happy. Laura, while I want to cradle her and protect her really doesn't have the resources to become happy. She doesn't have the resolve to leave the house, she doesn't have the drive to do anything. I wish she wasn't to delicate to exist in this world, but she really is one of those glass trinkets that is constantly being cracked and broken by the smallest bump. Both Jim and Tom break her and her will in so many ways and it is so sad that Jim was engaged and could not help Laura out of her shell. I wonder if he is just lying to her about the engagement to not hurt her feelings. I wish that there was someone in the play to relate to Laura, but there isn't. I think Tom comes the closest to really understanding her, and Tom is too bound and gagged by society himself to help Laura. It makes me very sad and hurt. In someways it reminds me of my sister and my relationship. I know she is at home struggling with my mother in many ways similar to those I struggled, and I want to help her, but I can't. I don't know what to say to her, and I don't know how to keep mother off of her. I can't give her success and understanding for her anymore than I could find those sort of things in that house.

“The Running Man” by Loren Eileley pg 335
The mother is a character. I love that she is “stone deaf” and still independent enough to go from farmers house to farmer's house cleaning, cooking, and sewing for jobs. IT only makes it better that she is “paranoid, neurotic, and unstable.” I have to admit in the beginning I laughed at this intro where she was staying with her sister, who took her in out of charity, left to work odd jobs in the farm because she was fed up with dealing with the sister. I also love the lines “It comes to me in retrospect that I never saw my mother weep; it was her gift to make others suffer instead.” I laughed then too. It sounded so much like the typical mother introduction, the one who doesn't cry but just yells has her son(s) and/or daughter(s) about how useless and pathetic they are. “Do you know how much easier my life would be without you?! Do you know what I sacrificed for you? I don't know how yet, but somehow this is all your fault!” I could just here the woman shouting these... though she is def so she probably can't talk either. I wonder exactly how one knew that she was trying to make you bad, I mean all you'd have to do is close your eyes and she would effectively be blocked out from your life. I know so very many people like this in general, not just mothers but group leaders and scared children who don't want to face the reality of life and the responsibility that one day they will have to claim.
The stream of consciousness reminded me much of Faulkner's work, and I found it a little confusing. I know I lost a lot of it in pure confusion and inability relate. I know that his mother died, and I think that his father left him. I get the feeling that his mother and himself were wandering and living outside in the cold wilderness. I think that at one point in time they both almost died in a pile of leaves from cold and pure exhaustion. There are a lot of references to the “American Man” which admittedly I have trouble placing. I wonder if this is him trying to be the all American Man or if this is his way of mocking the American Man.

“The Love of My Life” by T. Coraghessan Boyle pg 612
These kids are retarded. You just don't have sex without a condom or some form of birth control. As crude as the saying is it fits this short story “no glove no love”. I was just so angry at this couple. What were they thinking? Life is not a cliché love movie. One can not expect it to be filled with the wonder and and magic of one. China and Jeremy are so stupid, I hope that both of them got locked in prison forever. The baby wasn't a thing, an it or and alien, it was a person, it was life, it was pure potential in its most precious form.
If she didn't want the kid there was the option of abortion. China's family was friends with her doctor, he would have given her a late term abortion, even her dad had said so. What annoyed me most about China and her family was that the parents weren't really properly upset with China. They were concerned for her, but they weren't angry in the right manner. They didn't seem to care as much as they should have about how significantly she had failed her responsibility.
Jeremy was just insane, how could he take a living, breathing child and look at it in the face before throwing it into a dumpster to never see the kid again. It was his daughter, even as unwanted as the child was, didn't he have some sort of respect for the child and for life and the meaning of life? Didn't he feel any pull of obligation?
By then end of the short story, it was clear that China and Jeremy had lost everything, including their sanity. They were in an immature and unhealthy relationship, where apparently they couldn't talk openly about sex, clinics, what they would do if a China ever did become pregnant. They were school smart, but as far as life knowledge goes, they were children playing privileged adults from their favorite movies. When the events didn't fit the script, they didn't know what to do.
I think one aspect of the short story is where Jeremy talks about how China is selfish and used to getting her way and now he sees and resents her for it. I want to laugh in his face at that statement. She's selfish and childish, what about him? Is he any better? Does act any differently? He should have insisted that she someone to either get an abortion or an adoption. He should have known that not talking about it won't make the baby go away. One can't dispose of a living creature as one can dispose of trash. Jeremy should have used China's fear of exposure to his advantage and threatened to tell everyone about her pregnancy if she did not get an abortion or if she did not come to a realistic plan about what to do.
Their love is a twisted immature love where the two look to the other to support and keep themselves safe. They don't really love each other so much as go through the motions. I think Jeremy might have cared for China as a friend cares for one another, but I think what he liked best about China was the sex in their relationship. As for China, she was finding a man to wave around and show how perfect and how much better than other girls she was. She was obsessed with Jeremy and didn't know what to do or think without him by her side. Her obsession is unhealthy and part of what drives her crazy by the end of this short story.

Oct. 28th, 2007

Major Barabra REview

Major Barbara

There are a lot of things about a play that really come out when one views it on stage. The viewer really begins to get a chance to scrutinize the dialog, characters, and flow of the play. When I viewed Major Barbara I noticed a lot of things that I wanted to keep away from in my writings.
The first thing that stunk me was how long the characters talked. This may have stood out more for me because I am often too long winded too. Still, I felt like often the characters went on and on about the same things or things that could have been summarized. Timing is really important, and messing it up is an easy way to turn an audience off to your work.
Even in the first scene between mother and son, there are too many words. Some of this can be excused because it seems the mother is always rather round about, but even then I was watching the first scene wishing it would rap up. I found that after the first minute of this kind of speech between Mom and son I didn't really care what was going on anymore, I just wanted the play to keep going.
Another aspect that would have helped to cut down dialog is all the reexplaining that happened on stage. The son and audience learn that dad is coming home and then the children come on stage and learn, surprise surprise, dad is coming home. Why couldn't those characters have already known dad would be home? Why did we need to see an almost non-response from them over this change of events? Wouldn't their thoughts have been clear based off of how they acted when he arrived? Neither of the characters are very stoic.
Something else that got tired fast of the repetition of how “special” Barbara was. I mean if she's that special how come, I as an audience member can't see that on my own or with little prompting. The play is called Major Barbara, do we really need to beat a dead horse by having a conversation at least once a scene about how special Barbara is. This is especially frustrating to me, because as far as I could tell from what was presented Barbara is the regular humanitarian who is blinded to everything except her cause. Nothing about her naivety or passion seems special, unique, or particularly valuable.
We could have also lost all the scenes where differing characters confront Barbara's fiancée about how much he loves her. He always admits it. He always references a time someone else mentioned it and he admitted it then. Why is this important?
These areas move on to the importance of having interesting and relatable characters. Major Barbara's characters were relatable, but they weren't particularly interesting. Charles is funny, but really straight forward. There is no surprise or mystery there. What is most interesting is that the mother tells her son she likes Charles best, but she is always reprimanding him while complimenting Adolphus. Since this thread never goes anywhere though, and Charles remains a nice but oblivious comic relief guy, thre is little to look at.
I liked Adolphus until he became far too wordy in the second act of the play. Part of what I liked was his brevity. It showed he was a truly intelligent man to sum up so many ideas so succintly, when he got so wordy in the second act I lost a lot of interest. Another aspect I like on him was that he was a little amoral. It was clear in the first act that he'd been part of differing religions, and he also showed acceptance of morality when presented in a logical way. Then suddenly he grows concerned about dawning certain moralities or accepting certain ideas. It isn't the same scholar we saw before and he officially becomes boring.
I didn't like how incredibly convenient it was that Adolphus was technically a bastard child. I don't like how everyone accepted it and I don't like how it was just poof, clean story resolution. To me it reeked of deux ex machina. What would have been interesting would have been the son not only realizing that the father's work is brilliant but wanting the plant. It would have been neat to see him struggle to earn it or to see if the father would reconsider. Since the son is so bumbling and self righteous it would have been interesting to watch him quite likely fail and hate himself for working there.
Something else I noticed about Major Barbara is that the play happened over at least three days. Day one is the father's return, day to is the salvation army, and day three is the gun factory. I'm not sure how I feel about that. As the audience I felt the length. I felt like that play was never going to end. I wonder if some of the perception of length has to do with how many different days were in the play and how it stretched across about half a week.
Something else important to consider is theme. Major Barbara is largely a morality play. Since I wasn't a fan of what was being presented, it made it harder to enjoy the play. There are lots of problems with the Salvation Army besides funding, one of which is my strong anti-proselytizing sentiments. Since this is a period piece I don't really expect them to address this, but I feel like a lot of what is going on is out dated in a lot of ways. Since making guns is necessary, same as a garbage man, or a sewer cleaner, I don't see the big deal. War is part of our life and I can't help but be annoyed at the Victorian righteousness against someone who makes the weapons. Maybe that was a big problem for me on a personal level. I really couldn't stand the self righteous airs of the characters or the presumptuous themes offered to the audience. This probably has less to do with this play and more to do with my personal taste. Themes should be wide and open to a lot of audiences, but it is really difficult to make a play that everyone will enjoy or agree with. There is a fine line between a morality play and an entertaining one, for me this crossed the line, but really the lesson here is just to be very careful. Things can get preachy very quickly.
Over all, Major Barbara probably wasn't my style of play. I still learned a lot about things to watch out for and things I didn't want to do, but as a viewer I have to be careful to walk the line between looking at things that did and didn't work and looking at what I liked or didn't like. In some cases this can be the same thing. In other cases I need to be careful to try and acknowledge other's styles and desires. It is important for play writers to make sure their plays don't become too stylized or stuck up in their own personal meanings.

How I learned to Drive Essay

How I Learned to Drive

One of the more interesting things in How I Learned to Drive is how Paula Vogel takes an unsympathetic character like a child molester and turns him into a character with feelings and thoughts. Uncle Peck is more than just a simple good or bad guy in How I Learned to Drive while one can agrue that we see these sides because the victim is telling the story, it still does not explain how this kind of development came about. Careful tracking through the play though helps to reveal little pieces of who Peck is in an order that make our sympathy grow for him until we see the end scene.
One aspect of Uncle Peck's attract is that he can be kind to Little Bit. Sometimes he looks out for her, stands up for her, and in some perverse ways attempts to give her confidence. This is more than we see anyone else in the play do. Little Bit's mother attempts to give her sex advice, but really it's about the mother continually confronting the Grandmother about how she didn't help her enough in that department. When Little Bit most needs her mother's help and protection from Uncle Peck, Mom turns her back on Little Bit, using the same words her Grandparents used on her “I hold you responsible” (913).
Little Bit's Grandfather is a mean old pervert who endlessly insults Little Bit's body. While Grandma scares her with stories about how much sex will hurt and how “a girl with her skirt up can outrun a man with his pants down” (902). The viewers don't know much about Little Bit's Aunt until her dialog where we learn that she knows Uncle Peck is molesting her niece. Instead of protecting her, she blames Little Bit and wants her husband back from her. Even other strangers in the play always seem to be harassing Little Bit by calling her names, grabbing her breast, or otherwise sexually degrading her. It becomes clear through all these scenes that even though Peck is the worst offender, he's also the only one who treats her somewhat kindly when he isn't fondling her. Peck is also the only one who gives her any “choice” in the matter.
Peck isn't perfect though. The first scene opens to reveal a man and a young woman in a car involved in something nefarious. In the beginning I didn't think very well of the male and I noted that the woman was nervous and didn't seem to want to be there. Still, I reminded myself that the was seventeen and probably getting some kind of compensation if she was out here with this man. I wasn't completely disgusted and outraged with just Uncle Peck until I realized that he was the Uncle of Little Bit. Even though these first moment impressions are brief, Vogel is already leaving an opening for people to give a kinder interpretation of Peck. She hangs out the idea of choice by excluding choice information, and later in the play this scene and the idea of choice will repeatedly reoccur. Depending on the scene we may or may not come to be more sympathetic for Peck.
The second and third scene seem to be dedicated to showing us that Peck can be a good person. In the second he tries to stop the family from teasing Little Bit. They are picking on her breast that he moments ago was pawing up and praising. When she runs out of the house, Peck is the man who talks to here and convinces her to come back in. It seems to me that in that scene Peck took on the role of a mother. In some ways it highlights how disgusting and convoluted their relationship is but in other ways it shows that Peck on some level may care about Little Bit's feelings.
The third scene is a celebration dinner taking place between Peck and Little Bit because she has had her first successful cross country trip. Here we view a lot of conflicting information. He really has thought about where to take Little Bit that she might like. He knows that she is interested in history and places with stories and he knows what to recommend for her to eat that she would enjoy. On the other hand he seems to be getting her drunk. It is hard for the reader to tell Peck's intentions when he gets her drunk. At first we assume Little Bit is getting drunk so Peck can take advantage of her, but he doesn't do that. He insists that nothing will happen if it isn't Little Bit's choice. This is really an odd scene because at this point we've decided that Peck is a molester and can not be a good character. Peck has gotten Little Bit drunk and nothing good can come from that. Still, at the same time, Peck has tried to defend her against taunting. Peck has shown thought and concern towards her likes and dislikes, and even though Peck got her drunk he didn't take advantage of her.
This scene where Peck doesn't abuse Little Bit is starkly contrasted with a monologue where Peck seems to make it clear that he molested Little Bit's cousin. This scene chills readers. It makes us wonder how many children have fallen prey to Peck so far. How many more will? Is all his kindness and thoughtfulness an act? Vogel seems to be intentionally making it hard for us to have strong feelings for Peck one way or the other. He is definitely a child molester and he is taking advantage of children, but is he really any worse than everyone else surrounding them?
Another monologue that is very telling about Peck is Aunt Mary. She obviously lovers her husband. She shows him to be a kind and gentle man who sits with her, listens to her, and helps do the housework. Part of my mind wonders if Aunt Mary is telling the truth, but another part feels bad that she does seem to really feel like she's lost a strong presence in her life. We have seen that Uncle Peck does seem to think about the women around him. He does do the dishes for everyone after Thanksgiving dinner. He does agree to stop drinking because Little Bit doesn't like when he does. That he makes this agreement and sticks to it seems to imply that Peck cares about the people around him and he wants them to be comfortable.
Another interesting aspect of Mary's speech is that she mentions that Peck has done this before. Again Little Bit isn't the first, but everything changes after her. Peck's marriage falls apart and he literally falls apart as a person. He drinks himself to death. It is hard to decide if the drinking or if Little Bit's refusal is what ruins Peck's marriage. One could say that Little Bit's refusal allowed for the drink, but it is hard to decide whether or not he is falling back into addiction or he is drinking just to forget. What is interesting though is in Mary's speech she insists that she has a lot of patience and that she will wait for her husband to come back to her, and then she divorces him. She should have been through this before, since Little Bit is not the first, but somehow it seems she is different. Is all the stress and kindness Peck gave her new and different. Are the feelings Peck claims to have for Bit actually genuine? Does that really matter if he's still abusing and hurting Little Bit?
Perhaps the biggest turn is when we see Peck pining for Bit and Bit being almost cruel to Peck. Peck has showered her with gifts and notes and Little Bit doesn't respond. She avoids him whenever she can. When Bit finally meets him, it is to reject his advances. She goes from being reluctantly uncomfortable with his advances to being creeped out and hostile towards them. It is like those months away finally cleared her head and made her realize what was going on was very wrong.
The other side of this is that Peck becomes the weak and pleading side of their relationship. In some ways the viewer feels like Little Bit should have more consideration for Peck's feelings. He is completely exposed in his “love” for Little Bit and she shoots him down. It made me wonder the age difference between him and Mary. It made me wonder if Peck would do the same to Little Bit later if they got married. Mostly though it made me feel a little bad for Peck. I wondered if he wasn't at least somewhat of a victim too.
That's why the closing scene where we see Peck's first abuse of Little Bit is such a shock. It reminds us that he is a sick man. He terrified a girl who trusted him. Little Bit loved Uncle Peck and she defended him against her mother's accusations. She stood by him when others would not, and Peck took advantage of that young girl's trust and innocence. He hurt Little Bit in a way that she will feel for a long time to come.
Peck's character is complex and hard for the viewer to get any definitive feelings on. One would like to hate him and just dismiss him as evil, but Vogel won't allow for this. She shows us humanity and hurt and possibly some goodness in him. Then we would like to consider him more kindly, but again Vogel doesn't allow this, we see Peck abusing Bit, Bit's cousin, and it is implied that there were others. She takes a monster and makes him a man only to shift him back into the form of a monster.

Apr. 28th, 2005

Lit Themes Work Essay

My Work Ethic as Interpreted Through the Literature
One of the many ongoing themes in literature is one of work ethic and what it means to work hard. Often, people make the mistake of referring to work only as a job that produces income so that they can live the rest of life comfortably. Yet with this mindset, they miss the complexities and nuances of different definitions and implications in the term. Work is not only a job one goes to in order to make money. Work is what a student does in school, it is daily chores, the duties one fulfills as a family member, and the hobbies we practice. Basically,work is anything we decide to put effort into.
As such a broad part of human life, work is a common ongoing theme that people try to classify, as expressed in many works of literature. The literature that was studied this year was no exception. I was presented with many pieces that helped me to solidify my own feelings on work and its importance in my life.
Even before I read the literature this year, work was one of the most basic and crucial criteria I have always used to judge a person. In analyzing the people in my life, I take in a series of questions pertaining to their work ethic. Does that person work as hard as he or she can? And if not, why? If a person isn't working as hard as he or she can why not? Does that person put in more effort if he or she is being paid? Do he or she think less of those jobs that do not receive pay? Does one put off a job or cut corners when he or she does not like the job? Is one's work in alignment to one's words? If one's actions do not reinforce one's words, is his or her message truly valid?
There are only two kinds of work ethic that can be well examined by a hypothetical situation. My ex boyfriend once described the two by using the task of mowing a lawn as the example. One can either mow the lawn by his or herself, or one can sit in a lawn chair and instruct on how to do the work, I recognized immediately that he was the instructer, while I myself, have always been more inclined to be the doer. Why would I want someone to do my work for me? Only I would know how I would want it done. To instruct, to me would just lead to a more frustrating, as well as time consuming task. My ex would argue that by instructing, a skill would be taught, and less physical and mental effort would have to be exerted. I immediately understood this to mean that the ploy of the instructor was to make the motives behind a task only seem selfless by covering up truly selfish goals. I considered this to be one of my ex's biggest problems, though. He was always inclined to take action for pure self benefit while preaching to others that it was "for their own good."
The conflict between these two kinds of people are exemplified in the struggle between Dagny Jim Taggart in the novel, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Dagny was the doer. The one who wouldn't think twice on mowing her own lawn. Her brother Jim, however, sounded suspiciously like my ex boyfriend when he passed work off to others and called it a "public good." When Jim's ideas fail, or when things go wrong, he blames it on others. The reason that there are no new tracks is because Orren Boyle doesn't have the steal to make the rail. Instead of looking at the business aspect of creating a new line in Mexico, Jim trusts others judgment and validates the loss of the rail by stating that at
least the railroad was the best for the "public good". Jim forgets his premises, much like my ex forgets his premises. He is the president of a railroad company, not a public charity. His goal is to make money efficiently, not to take losses for the "public good".
Eventually, I would regret allowing someone else mow the law for me. One day I would realize that I was settling for inferior work and an inferior quality in my life. Sloppy grass isn't the end of the world, it does grow out, but a sloppy lifestyle is something that can never be undone. One day, I would get out of my hammock, look at the world around me and be filled with the same dissatisfaction that the speaker of James Wright's "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota" is filled with.
The first poem we read, “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” by James Wright, really forced me to confront one of my strongest fears throughout my work. I worry that one day I will look back at my lift and see that I have been settling for a certain standard of life and that I have wasted my life settling, as the narrator of “Lying in a Hammock” has wasted his life. Many people are surprised by the last line of the poem, but I was not one of them, because I first personally felt that the poem builds up to the end very nicely. Some clues includes the idea that the land the narrator is on most likely doesn't belong to the speaker because the title states “William Duffy's Farm”, not “My Farm”. Since farms are not exactly vacationing areas, this seems to imply to me that the narrator does not have his own land. I also find the “bronze butterfly” a huge symbol of discontent and settling. The color bronze symbolizes third best place, and even though hangs over the narrator's head. The travel mode of the butterfly is blow around like a leaf , which while it is a care free random path, it also has this purposeless and futile path too. It shows a lack of control over one's path and a pointless wandering. For me the biggest indicator that this was not a happy poem is when the narrator mentions “The droppings of last year's horse”. The fact that the narrator calls the droppings “golden stones” sort of shows that his “gold” is cleaning up horse droppings. For me these indications and
others were the build up that shows the reader is is dissatisfied with his life.
In class discussions on “Lying in a Hammock”, the class seemed to lean towards the idea that the narrator “wasted” his life simply because he was not happy. It was interesting to hear my peers talk about how happiness was all one really needs to make life meaningful, but it is not something that I necessarily agree with. I would argue that while the narrator is unsatisfied with his life until this very point, when he realizes that his life is a waste, he has been content. The narrator is sitting in a hammock on a pretty and pristine plane with a beautiful sunset in the background. There is nothing in the poem to suggest physical or financial discomfort. The man has probably lead an uneventful life where he had no real failures, but no real successes. For the most part he may have felt a nagging sensation occasionally that something was not quite right, but he probably shrugged it off and went back to business as usual. For me the key to this poem isn't just happiness, one can be fairly happy most of one's life and still have wasted it. One has fun playing with food, but that doesn't mean that the food hasn't been wasted when one is done with it. To not waste one's life, one must do the best with what they are given, even if to get the best potential outcome one has to risk one's immediate happiness for the long run pay off of future joy.
This message struck a deep cord in my because it is one of my greatest personal fears. I want to do my best in life, I want to go as far as I can, and I want to end up the best at whatever I do. Unfortunately I also have a set of conflicting emotions that fears change, instability, and failure. What if in striving for my best I fall? It is possible that I will lose all I worked for. It is then that people fall into the same trap as the narrator of the poem where one decides to just stay put where one is instead of risking a possible loss. I have done the same thing as the narrator on many occasions in my own life. In girls scouts there is an award called the Gold Award, which is the highest award one can win within in the scouting program. It has a sister award the Silver Award, which is the second highest honer one can strive for. I earned my Silver Award, and instead of going on to work for my Gold Award, I decided that I was happy with my success and that the Silver was close enough for me. I had done a lot to earn the Silver there were a lot of tears and close calls where all my work had been threatened to turn into worthless garbage. I did not want to do a harder version of my Silver Award again. I was afraid I wouldn't have the time to finish it, or that I would finish the work only to present it to the council and they would decide that my efforts were insufficient. I let my fear stop me from going after the Gold Award and now I see what a waste of opportunity I gave up because I was afraid of failure.
“Dear Micheal, Love Pam” by Michael Lohre is an interesting poem to have follow “Lying in a Hammock” because even though it has significant differences from Wright's poem, its over all message is the same. Both of the narrators' in these poems have lower self esteem and seem to be worried about taking risks in life or in work. The narrator in this poem is female. She works most of the time, it sounds like she does some sort of overnight shift, where she needs to fit in odd hours of sleep. She is a divorcee, and while she hopes for love, she thinks the actuality of it is very slim for her. She is writing to her brother about her life. Her brother seems better off and more educated. While the narrator seems
like a blue collar working person, her brother seems to have gotten higher education. She alludes to the fact that he is a poet, and we also see that he is sending her poetry to read. The reaction to the poems he sent are intense and largely appreciated, which shows potential in the narrator to do more. One wonders why she is working what seems to be
working a job beneath her and expecting less than the best from life.
Perhaps the most important part about the poem though is why the author wrote it. This is presumably a letter that Lohre got from his sister that he alters the format and make it into a poem. Lohre's motivation in this endeavor seems to be where Pam asks him to write something for Charlie, a local entertainer who died and she feels the need for something to be said about him. She says “I don't know how all that poetry stuff works.” Lohre's response seems to be a resounding “yes you do know how it works”. He turns her letter around into the words that he wrote for Charlie. Though, the words are much more for Pam then they are for Charlie. Lohre doesn't want Pam to believe that writing and higher endeavors are out of her reach. He wants to give her confidence in herself, and he wants her not to make the same mistakes as the narrator in Wright's poem. He in many ways is saying the same thing that Wright was trying to say. Lohre doesn't want Pam to waste her life because she is settling for less or believing that she is only capable of less.
In my own life I have had many role models who have helped give me the confidence to do more, much as Lohre tries to give is sister the confidence to continue to take risks in my life. Mrs. Perkis and Mrs. Gowthrope, my girl scout troop leaders were some people who really helped to support and encourage me to take on more risks and responsibilities. I was always willing to help with volunteer work and help to lead stations, but for a time, I had been hesitant about actually planning and being the leader of girl scout events. Mrs. Perkis and Mrs. Gowthrope helped to slowly place me into roles of more responsibility and power until I saw that I really could lead and began to take up more leadership and planning positions in troop activities. I finally grew to a point where I was the leader of the girl's comity for planning camping trips, and if anything were to go wrong or something had to be changed, I was the first girl the others went to. I am sure today that one of the reasons that leadership is one of my top five signature strengths is because of all the opportunities I was given through girls scouts to step into a leadership position and handle problems that arise with that kind of responsibility. Today, I have more confidence in my abilities to succeed no matter what because of all my experience handling problems
that would arise on those girls scout camping trips.
Moving away from fear that prevents work and into views of work, “Hard Work” by Stephen Dunn analyzes two contrasting views of work. The first thought one hard work is introduced to us by the narrator's father when the narrator tells us “hard work, my father said,/ was how you became a man”. Here the reader pictures a teenage boy's father lecturing the teenager on the value of work. I can see the father wagging his finger at the son who is complaining about how he wants to go to camp this summer. One immediately begins to draw this mental image of the ideal hard working man who works for his family's comforts. This sort of man comes home from a hard day's work, the children run up to hug him, and the wife stops cooking dinner to come give her triumphant husband a kiss on the cheek. This image gives work and the man it shapes honor and integrity.
The next line is an immediate shift to the actuality of work for the narrator and what a real man is when he states “I saw a man for no special reason/ piss into a coke bottle”. Work here becomes this soul stealing, joy wrenching torture that drives men to act of disobedience. He feels rage at the meaningless task that fills his day. He quits the job before the summer is over, and the money that was “good pay” and took him two months to make is squandered in one month.
When I worked at KB Toys I saw this angry destruction of property by many of the workers present. I will never forget the first time I saw deliberate destruction of the toys, I was shocked. One of the assistant managers, Craig, was helping me straighten the store after closing time. Our manager had left specific instructions for us to straighten the stuffed animal wall. To straighten that wall, one must make a space for each different kind of animal on the wall and order them in straight columns behind the initial animal facing. There were a lot of different kinds of animals and not nearly enough space on the shelf, but that's when it is the employees' job to “get creative” and “make it work”. While I was down on one side of the aisle pondering how to neatly cram more furry creatures back on the shelf, I heard “Aw, its a shame what some careless customer did to this wonderful toy”. My head snapped quickly toward Craig, he was the most apathetic of our managers when it came to condition of the toys, and I was startled by his sudden concern. I turned my head just in time to see him hurl a fat ugly battery powered ape with slick googley eyes be hurled to the ground and stomped on until all the little pieces came out of the ape and the googley eye juice was splattered across the floor. I don't think I have ever laughed harder
before.
It was this gesture of declaring freedom from the KB Toys establishment. I loved that job for the most part. The people were decent, the pay was very good for the work, and I was very good at my job, and still sometimes I just was frustrated with the endless monotony of the day. Sometimes I just wanted to lash out at the customers or put items back here they didn't belong.
“Hard Work” reminded me of the dangers of letting that feeling of hostility over take one's good sense and drive one to act out against the company. Destruction of company's property does nothing. All the “defects” that we found in our store and all the stolen toys never made a dent in our store's profit. There is nothing one lone person can do to affect a big company, and I think in the end acts of destruct really help to demoralize the worker more than the company. All it shows is that the company doesn't need you, a good job or a bad job performed by one lone worker or even a group of workers changes nothing.
This was also an on going theme in Atlas Shrugged where when the union threatened to ban their workers from running the John Galt line, Dagny shrugged and told them that she would do it herself if she had to. One idea behind Atlas Shrugged is that the people who make companies successful don't need all the lazy destructive workers, those workers need the heroes of the book to run the economy for them so there are lower jobs to be had.
One of the reasons I am here at college right now is so that I will eventually have the ability to rise to a higher position in the work force. I do not find it a problem that the workers in “Hard Work” are plagued with this angry defiance, I think that feeling is only natural. However, I also do not have a problem that those workers are stuck in this sort of monotony. I don't want to have to work in such a place, so I am doing what I can to avoid it by going to school. If those workers want to escape the work they do now, then they should take steps so they can advance in the work force. These workers seem to be interested in lashing out until others see that they need more and give it to them.
In the last line of “When I Consider How I Spent My Light” by John Milton, he seems to be supporting the workers' choice to wait for others to help them instead of changing their own lives for themselves. The narrator states “They also serve who only stand and wait.”. The “They” Milton is referring to is God and the angels. He seems to be telling others not to worry about their problems, because if they wait God will come down and take care of all their worries. Part of my problem with this might be that I am very opposed to waiting.
My top signature strength is my spirituality and I find that my faith helps to drive me forward in a way that Milton's Christian beliefs allow for passivity. I am of a strongly Pagan faith. I believe that the Divine is in everything, and that nature is a manifestation of the God and Goddess. We have everything right here on earth to create perfection if we work to create a balance between nature, man made creations, and spirit in life. My feeling on a Higher Being is not that they do the work for me, but that they provide the material and I have to do the rest.
Unlike Milton I would argue that no one should just wait for things to happen. When I want something I make a plan and I go after it. I do stop and think about what I want, and I stop to evaluate my progress and the effectiveness of my plan. On occasions all one can do is sit and wait, but if one's key to salvation is just to sit and wait for God to save them, then that person is sorely mistaken. A crime even bigger than intentionally doing wrong is better than sitting and doing nothing. This ties back to “Lying in a Hammock” and the idea that by doing nothing one is wasting one's life. If one wastes his or her life, and in the Christian religion that is a souls one and only shot, then the person does not deserve to be be saved. There is so much one could do and so much one could be, why waste it all? Why would any God reward someone of being wasteful?
Going back to the father's original view point in “Hard Work” where hard work is what makes a man, “We Did Not Fear the Father” by Charles Fort depicts the kind of man I initially thought hard work should make. In this poem the children seem to learn about work and duty through their father, who goes through a series of jobs and teaches the children each. Through out the poem, the father is a good person and solid provider who is able to do many kinds of work. The boys seem to be in awe of him a bit through most of the poem.
However in the last stanza, the tone changes into a darker sound. The speaker talks of the one time that he feared his father. It was not for expected reasons. The speaker doesn't fear his father's yelling, rage, or discipline. He is fearful when his father's will seems to be broken, through a night job at a factory, where inhuman machines make ungodly noise, and the man fears the dangers of the job. The speaker fears for his father's health, he fears for his father's exhaustion and the bent state he comes back in. The boy is also scared because these machines are the “future” and he will probably have to work the same kind of job as his father. He will have listen to the noise up close while avoiding the maiming claws of the things there.
I can understand the narrator's fear in some regards too. I will never go into business because of how hard my dad works for his company and how poorly he is treated. I love my father, and I respect him more than he will ever imagine for all the incredibly long and difficult hours he works. I would never want to do the same. I see him come home dog tired and get on his computer at home to do more. He works weekends and vacations, and is still in constant fear for his job as his company keeps constantly firing people and reassigning my father an ex-employee's work load as well as his own. I don't want a job that takes that much from me, and I don't want to work somewhere that I feel my job is in constant peril. I want to be appreciated for all that I contribute because I have a lot to offer any establishment and should be valued as such. Thankfully I have more options than the children from “We Did not Fear the Father”, but I still feel significant pressure from my mother and father to go into business. They want me to give up my “childish” fears and go into the cooperate work force. I know that it will be harder on another path, because my parents know business and not others kinds of work, so I will stumble a bit, but I'll find something and I will not sacrifice who I am to a job for anyone's sake.
While “We Did not Fear the Father” begins to hint around at family's influence on work ethic and job choice, “What Work Is” by Philip Levine begins to dig in and focuses on work in relation to ties. The narrator is an agitated man who is looking for work, and it seems that he has been searching for a job for a while. At first one can't see why the man is so out of sorts, but it becomes clearer to the reader when the narrator speaks of his brother. We learn that his brother is attending some sort of classes and working night shifts at Cadillac . One begins to understand the agitation and frustration of the narrator, he has been
looking for work to try and help is brother get by and be able to fulfill his dreams. He loves his brother and wants to help him, as most of us want to help those we care about. He feels that his brother is so much better than him for doing all this work and that he doesn't have
the right to tell his brother how much he loves him until he has a job. I also think part of the reason he can't tell his brother how much he cares is because he wants to show him since actions do speak louder than words.
About two years ago, I felt a similar pull like the narrator's to try and be more for my sister. While Emma is younger than me, she does a lot, and at the time was highly motivated to be a dancer. I wanted to do something for her, and the more I tried to help, the more in many ways I felt underfoot. I would give her rides to dance, I got a job to help pay
for my activities so my parents could dedicate more of our free spending income on Emma's dream of dancing. Often though, the more I tried to help, the more angry my mother seemed to get at me and Emma's wish to dance. She would yell at me for all the money that had to be spent for my needs that could not go to Emma, when at the time I was involved in only Girls Scouts, which I paid for, weekly counseling sessions that was a ten dollar co-pay, and the car insurance, which while very high I did pay half of it. I did not know what else to do, and I was frantic to pick up more slack somewhere. That frustrated nothing to be done feeling was one, which I could not rid myself of, and in spite of my efforts, some of my sister's dance lessons were cut. I blamed myself partially, and felt that some how by being unable to help her, I had betrayed her.
I like the shift in “To Be of Use” Marge Piercy from working for another to working for oneself. I really appreciate what she has to say regarding work and think that the author did a very thorough explaining all the different aspects of work.
The first stanza swimming metaphor is really interesting. I liked how well swimming worked for one cutting through the bulk of work. Instead of getting hung up in details or “dallying in the shallows” one presses right by and swims right out of sight. I can see an office employee getting caught up running around in little office games and getting access to everything instead of cutting through the water games of Marco polo, splashing kids on rafts and swimming out to the big fish. I can see the stroke of a pen coming down as decisively and efficiently as the stroke of a hand in water. Some people might even claim to have “oceans of work”.
I also like how the author compares people to seals because seals are playful and generally friendly. I like the idea that one can be a good hard worker but not be a cruel human being. I also like the idea that fun is incorporated into work. I think that most work is fun if its done correctly, and certainly that feeling of success is wonderful.
The next image of a beast of burden is very different than the last. This part of the poem talks about the less enjoyable aspects of work. I liked the image because, just as that sort of work is not fun, the image of an oxen isn't flattering. Very few want to be a big lumbering beast trudging through the muck with a heavy weight in toe, and yet a really
dedicated worker must eventually endure some sort of strain and unpleasantness for the sake of his or her work.
I think my favorite lines in the poem are the last few where the narrator tells us “But the thing worth doing well done has a shake that satisfies, clean and evident./ Geek amphoras for wine or oil,/ Hopi vase that held corn, are put in museums./ but you know they were made to be used./ The pitcher cries for water to carry/ and a person for work that
is real.” The beginning echoes my own feelings on work , where I believe that if one is going to go through the effort to do anything, then it should be done well, otherwise why would one bother. It seems such a comfort to me when the narrator talks about how good jobs really do last throughout time, it makes me smile and gives me hope that my hardships
will withstand storms and be there for my later use. My favorite part though must be when the narrator states that all human beings really want to do work that “is real” or has meaning to them. For me there can not be a more true statement. One of the ways that I show something is important or it means something special to me is that I do something for
the cause. This narrator makes much more sense that Milton, who thinks that even those who stand and wait get salvation, this author tells the reader that all of us call out for work that has meaning to us personally.
“The Mill” by Edwin Arlington Robinson echoes “To Be of Use”'s over all theme that one must do work that is real to them or perish. It is an interesting thought about work, that there is no longer use for the services one provides, one is better off dead.
When I was battling depression, part of the reason that I had turned to the potential of suicide was that I felt that all of life was terrible monotonous work devoid of joy or pleasure. I thought the social system put in place for current use had no place or need for people like me. I had no doubt of my own value, I knew that I had lots of skills and talents, I just did not feel that there was place or need for them.
My mother had yelled at me often about how the world did not accommodate to the individual, the individual needed to accommodate to the world. She yelled at me for resisting the system. I wasn't resisting so much as floundering, much like the miller was in “The Miller”. My mother was inadvertently acting as the market's decreasing need for the miller was signaling that there was no need or place for him in his world. He reverted to suicide, just as I had once considered it. I feel bad for the miller though, I wonder if he had stopped and really been forced to talk about his worries with someone and consider all of his options and choices if he would have eventually found his way and a place much like I did. Suicide in general is really more an act of desperation than one of a thought out rational being who has a place in the system where what one does matters.
It is not just a simple miller or myself who fall apart when we have no place in society. In Atlas Shrugged Dagny also felt lost and incomplete the first time she left Taggart Transcontinental. She did not know what to do and focused on shingling roofs and building a path into town. I think that it was her loss of purpose that drove her back to Taggart Transcontinental more than the actual disaster of the collapse of the tunnel. She just didn't know what do do with herself if she wasn't running trains.
Over all I am a very passionate worker. I love to do a good job and I attack every task that I am assigned with the firm resolve that I will do my best and give it my all. I always think that by doing my best I will succeed, and while this is a naive and time proven falsehood, it does continue to move me forward. My work ethic is one of my strongest qualities, though at times is can also be a bit of a flaw. Sometimes I am not sensitive enough to others who are not as successful as me, and I have been known to be too short with some people. Sometimes I forget that not everyone believes working is one of life's highest goals. I believe it is only through work and progress that one can be happy. Like
Dagny, I am unable to relate to those who slack off, are lazy, or take other's work as their own.
I find that the literature we have read this year has reinforced my first thoughts toward work and helped to clarify my feelings. It is interesting to read all sorts of different views on work and the place it should have in people's hearts. I believe the single piece that has affected me most must have been Atlas Shrugged because it gave me the most to think about and integrate into my own life, but all of the pieces made me thin and reflect on the opinions I held about work and how I approach work.

Lit Themes Love Essay

My Impressions of Love Based Off of the Literature
Love is one of the most prevelant themes in all of literature. No one single definition or pattern can be applied to it. Often I've just thought of love as something being without need for definition or clarification. It was the whole “I'll know it when I stumble across it” deal. If anything, the literature has taught me that there are four different types of love. Love is defined in relation to how one feels not only toward a romantic partner, but to their friends and families and themselves. It is also important however, to realize love is not always positive. An obsession for instance turns into what is called an unhealthy love.
The most interesting idea of love came from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The idea that love is an exchange of equal value. I had always been taught about unconditional love that could never be altered or taken away. I had been raised to believe that I owed my family love and respect. I had been taught that when I fell in love in a romantic way, I would only fall in love once and it would be an eternal love, and that no matter what happened, it would not go away.
Of course I could not reconcile these sort of ideas as I've learned of abusive family or boyfriend relationships. If people treat one another like trash, then there should be no obligation to feel love. Therefore, If other people abuse me or take me for granted I should not have to love them in spite of it.
I think my biggest problem is that Atlas Shrugged denies the idea of unconditional love, and I want to love unconditionally. When I sat down to consider this concept, I realized that the literature was more logical. I will never be able to say I can love unconditionally. People and situations are fickle,and are almost guaranteed to change over time.
“Immature Love” by Nathiel Brandon, Ayn Rand's lover, really speaks to the logical part of me and my feelings of love. This piece was really interesting from many perspectives. I know so many people who use the word “love” as something that completes them,and do stupid things while in love. I've witnessed people whose ideals fo love are such, that they refuse to move on to other stages in life on the crutch that the peoplearound them need to give them more. These sort of people really do go around looking to marry their mothers of fathers. The whole “I couldn't please daddy, so I will try extra hard to please you”, philosophy was very prevelant in high school girls I knew.
I have a friend who wanted her boyfriend to take away all her problems and take care of her, which made me angry. I've also known people in clearly verbally abusive relationships who just allowed the significant other to continue to abuse them, insisting that since they “love” the other person and that they are only hurting on the inside.
I am generally very hesitant in throwing around the word love, and have seemed to fortunately miss a lot of this immature love stage. I can't think of any unhealthy friendships or relationships I have had.
In “Love of My Life” by by T. Coraghessan Boyle the two main characters love was immature love. They two of them were trying to be movie couples and act as a couple should instead of showing genuine features of love. When an unexpected pregnancy came up, the two had no idea what to do, because none of their movie star romances have scripted actions for that situation. The two of them panic and cave in on themselves. They attack each other and harbor resentment for the child.
I think Jeremy might have cared for China as a friend cares for one another, but I think what he liked best about China was the sex in their relationship. As for China, she wanted a man to wave around and show how perfect and how much better than other girls she was. She was obsessed with Jeremy and didn't know what to do or think without him by her side. Her obsession was unhealthy, and part of what drove her crazy by the end of this short story.
I don't personally know any relationships that have turned this twisted, but I know that this is a sort of love that I do not want to ever experience. I hope that all of my friends are mentally stable enough to stay out of a relationship like this as well. If I ever perceived any friendship or romantic relationship becoming as artificial and showy as China and Jeremy's , I would hope I could drop it quickly.
While “The Love of My Life” discusses a brand of immature love, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver discusses two varying views on love. One view of love is that of Terri's, where she believes the hallmark of true love is that the person is willing to die for their love. The partner will destroy himself and his significant other to keep from losing their relationship. To me this kind of love is dangerous and unsettling. I see no romance in a Romeo and Juliet ending to a relationship. I would classify this relationship as an immature one and would bolt at the first signs of these sort of dependencies.
Mel, Terri's husband, agrees with my opinion that Terri's ex is insane. His opinion of love is that it is something purely spiritual and that two souls connect deeply on a spiritual level but there is no mental or physical piece to his relationship. I like the idea of connecting spiritually with a loved one, but I think that for romantic love one must also connect on a physical, mental and emotional level. Even the love for a friend must be on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level. I do not know any love that connects simply on a spiritual level. I think that a love of that sorts would be unbalanced and end in a unhappiness.
I think the story about the old couple Mel tells is cute, but I don't think I would want to be involved in a love like that either. I want to always be able to pull myself together and continue to live and be happy with or without the person. Obviously if a person I loved died I would mourn quite a bit, and I would be devastated, but that wouldn't stop me from living my life. I would move on and I would be happy again, partly because I want to live my life to the fullest and partly because I think my love would want me to enjoy whatever amount of life a was given. It sounds to me as if the old man could not survive without his wife.
I would hate to be sad and mopey, like my grandfather has been since my grandmother died. She died four years ago, and while I would always mourn the passing of a husband, after a good year I would want to be back up on my feet. I wouldn't marry again, but I would cherish the friends and family I had left. I would continue to adventure and take what life would give me.
While “ What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” talks about love for others “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles talks about self love and the fickleness one has for the love of others. Oedipus really thinks very highly of himself. He thinks that he outsmarted the Gods and their fate for him. He feels that he has gained his right the the thrown through nobility saving the Kingdom from the Sphinx's grasp with his infinite wisdom. Oedipus loves himself more than he loves the Gods and more than he loves his own people.
As far as my own self love, I feel that I have a less hubristic amounts of self love. I do not think I am the best thing ever, and I do not stare at my image all day long. I can take constructive criticism, unlike Oedipus. I think that I have a pretty good grasp on my own personal faults, and that keeps me humble.
Oedipus' love for others is very fickle. He claims to love Jocasta, but the moment she asks him not to hear the Shepard boy's information about where he came from, Oedipus immediately decides that she must not love him any more because he could have low birth. He never considers that Jocasta might really love him and be trying to protect him from damaging information.
Even his fatherly love is limited and overshadowed by the importance of himself. while Oedipus claims that his love for his two daughters is strong and unwavering, we see how he never thinks of their well being or his parental duty to help provide for them. He selfishly and impulsively gouges out his own eyes and demands that he be banished from the town. Never does Oedipus worry about his children until he can do nothing to help them. Even then, instead of comforting them and trying to give them strength is curses their miserable lives and puts fear into their hearts with dark words and warnings. It isn't enough he has left them to fend for themselves, he must tell them of exactly how damned the two children are. It is also interesting the Oedipus is completely disinterested with his male children. He has no wish to see them or have them cared for, and considering what happens in the Antigone perhaps he should have worried more about his boys than he did. Oedipus' disinterest in his own sons echoes the disinterest that his actual father showed in him in some degrees, because as Oedipus' father literally cast his son out of his life and sentenced him to death, Oedipus casts his sons out of his heart to die at each other's hands later.
I care much more about my family than Oedipus does. I have concern for their feelings and I take in their opinions as much as possible before trying to make decisions. I do not let my own self love hinder me from making decisions that are the best for all involved. I think part of that may be because I don't have the privilege that Oedipus has of being King and completely unquestioned.
“Araby” by James Joyce is another story about the love of a strong ego instead of the love of an actual person much like “Oedipus the King”. I don't take the story to really be a love story, as the main character is not in love with anyone in the story. He claims to be in love with “Megan's sister”, but he doesn't even know the girl's name. Also, the boy doesn't know much about the girl at all. He only knows she is pretty, and it seems that even with his small infatuation with her, he doesn't really pay attention to her.
As far as Megan's sister goes, I don't think that she knows the narrator exists. She seems to be a common little girl. The only time we ever hear her talk she seems whiny and bitter. She wants to go to the Araby but can't and she is annoyed about it. The ten year old boy doesn't notice this, and I can see a sullen look on her face as she talks about an annoying convent trip and I hear the whine in her voice as she tell the narrator “It's well for you,”.
The narrator is in love with the idea of love much like Romeo he want to play the knight in shining armor on an epic quest. He sets himself up a mission to get her something at the Araby, and then he prepares himself for it like a knight readying for battle. The adults who forget about the fair and just don't understand his needs are his dragons that he must battle with so he may go to the fair to get a token for his love.
The kid has built up this quest larger than life, and he comes to the fair in a rush ready to finally win his girl's affection, and when he gets to the fair he is completely disenchanted. Its the end of the fair, the grounds are probably dirty and everything has been picked over. Everything is probably gaudy and cheap looking. The people there are probably drunk and dark looking. He realizes that his quest is all an imaginary game and silly folly. He sees that Megan's Sister probably isn't slightly interested in him and doesn't care if he exists. The narrator grows up a lot in this short span of time and suddenly he is completely disillusioned with his sense of “love” and “loyalty” to this girl. He realizes that he wanted this sort of nice accessory so as Megan's sister as an ego boost and status marker. He wanted some knight in shining armor fairy book fake that just doesn't really seem to exist in the real world.
I think everyone has had these fake Romeo “in love with love” crushes where one wants the feeling and not the actual girl or boy one claims to be interested in. In first grade I had a crush like this on the poor kid, Colby, I smothered him with love poems and flowers and all sorts of romantic endeavors. His friends made fun of him and he would blush like crazy when ever I walked by. Eventually he worked up the guts to tell me to stay away from him, and it was then that I realized I didn't even know him. I just wanted someone to love.
“A &P” by John Updike is about a kid who unlike Oedipus is in need of some self confidence and self love, unfortunately he is looking for love from others instead of love from within. I think the biggest part of the narrators lack of respect is a class struggle and a feeling of being lower. He uses the girls as the “other” upper class group to compare with even though they are probably on the same level as him.
These upper class people have fancy pool parties and matching glasses, while we have these rinky dink cartoon mismatched glasses. They have fancy food and we have burnt hot dogs. They are so rich and privileged they feel they can come into a store in just their bathing suits without repercussions. They probably don't need to work a crappy summer job for money, in fact they probably have a great car while I have to work this low class crap job and I have a crappy are, or no car at all. They have the privilege of affording friends who will sympathize and understand them while I am stuck striving for some artistic and spiritual accomplishment that no one understands or respects.
The worst part is that as the narrator tries to make his stand to say “I deserve better and I am as important and worthy of respect as they are”, but he simply confirms that he is out of step with his peers and trapped in isolation. The girls don't care about him and he loses them. His boss will get a replacement in a week or so and he won't even be missed. No one will understand why hie quit and he will be teased and mocked for it. Quiting had no impact on anything and it only helped to reassert the “they are better than me” feeling as well as the “what I think, feel, an am has no affect on others.”
For a while I had trouble feeling good about myself, and I too tried to assert my quality by getting others to tell me how good I was. It took me years to realize that the only one who can boost my self esteem is me, and that no amount of overly kind friends, hanging around “cool kids” , or collecting “cool stuff” could make me love myself.
Novalee also has to learn a lesson about how to love herself in Where the Heart is by Billie Letts. At first Novalee is a scared girl who avoids her problems and doesn't know how to manage things on her own. Slowly though she gains confidence as her needs are met and she begins to have successes.
Novalee is also slowly able to find love from others through a caring community of out casts. These out casts help to give Novalee a home to fit into and be comfortable in. They get her through the hard times, and are their to celebrate the good times with her too.
I think that love is all about helping support people in their time of need best one can. Everyone can only do so much for one another, but he or she should still do whatever is possible to help. When my friend, Keo was going through a bout of depression, I sat with her every day and tried to cheer her up. I reminded her of good things and good times. I made her laugh and held her when she cried. Real love has that sort of support to it.
Unlike Where the Heart Is , “the Ache of Marriage” by Denise Levertov seems to be heavy with what unhealthy love does to a person. I thought that this person had built up expectations of marriage and had gotten married for the wrong reasons and now she was unhappy and angry about it. I saw the beginning part to be talking about how kisses, communication, and sexual relations are heavy with this ache or unhappiness. I took it to mean that something was wrong in the relationship and that the person didn't know what to do with it.
In the next stanza I thought that the use of communion was a religious reference, where in the Christian religion one receives the “body” of Christ and becomes one with gone and complete. So I thought that like in “Immature Love” this narrator was looking for completion in her partner and this connection and feeling of oneness only to be turned down. I also thought communion could be a reference to the marriage ceremony and how even during the marriage the completion the narrator was looking for what was missing. I also considered that the narrator might be talking about actual communion and connection with God. Since she has been married she had been unable to seek this connection to God, so the marriage is so bad that even God has turned her away.
I thought of Pinocchio at the reference to the leviathan and how the two were trapped in this monster of a commitment searching for the fabled “joy”, only to find there was none.
At last, I saw the ark as a complete religious reference. Yes, the animal chosen two by two to go on the ark we saved, but they were became the only ones of their kind and even more isolated and unable to back out.
Both “The Ache of Marriage” and “The Woe That is Marriage” by Robert Lowell speak towards my fear being trapped in a bad marriage. I hate being trapped in things, and with all the unsuccessful marriages now a days I am very wary of the idea of ever getting married.
If I were the narrator of “The Woe that is Marriage” and I knew my husband was doing drugs and going to prostitutes instead of me, I would leave him. I would not stand it, and our love would not last through unfaithfulness or willful addictions.
Though admittedly, some of the poem is quite humorous. I think it's funny that the wife keeps the ten dollars and the car keys with the whole sort of “I know you're going out to get cheap ten dollar whores and if you want it to continue you need to come to me for the keys and money”. I like how she tries to force control back to herself, even though I think it only highlights how she has no ability to even shame him into faithfulness.
As far as family love goes, the poem “What Work Is” by Philip Levine defines love through actions. Even though the narrator clearly says that he has not hugged his brother in a long time and he has not said he loves his brother, we know that the narrator loves his brother. If someone is willing to stand hours out in the rain for a job to help out a brother follow his dreams, then that is true devotion.
“The Gift of Sweat” by Rebecca Brown shows the same devotion in “What Work Is” to a complete stranger. Rick, a sick elderly man sacrifices his health to walk down town to get a cinnamon bun for his cleaning lady, simply so he can thank her for her kindness. I wish that I could have done something so touching for someone else, but I have never felt that strongly or been in such a situation that would allow for me to risk my health for one I love. Rick is really just a very caring, contentious sweet old man, and I hope one day I will become friends with someone that caring.
Words By Heart, by Ouida Sebestyen introduces the idea of loving people for the best they can be. Ben is a very happy, peaceful man and he has profound respect and a feeling of brotherhood with all his fellow humans. It would be wonderful if one day I could grow into seeing the “Jesus” inside of people and love them for what they can be. If everyone in the world could view people in this way the world would probably be at peace.
My own personal words by heart about love spoken by “True Love” by Wislawa Szymborska. The narrator questions and demands things about true love in such a way that it places it even higher on a pedestal and makes it even more precious and desirable. True love is perfectly normal and anyone who looks for it will find it. Soul mate love of one's perfect other half may or may not be serious, it really depends on the person. When I find my soul mate he's going to have a good sense of humor and we're not going to be too serious about anything, because being able to laugh is really the key to happiness and all of life. As long as one still has humor, one has the single most valuable tool against the world's evils. True love practical? Please! Nothing could be a larger indulgence and less practical and insane than true love. It is out there waiting and one day it will just grab a person out out nowhere and consume their very being. It has no rhythm or method to it at all.
The world gets two happy people with their own unique view on things. Others are drawn to happy couples and enjoy seeing them because we are attracted to that sort of positive energy and we want that kind of relationship for ourselves. We are happy for people we care for when they find that special someone. We want those we care about to have someone who recognizes how special and valuable that person is and cares for them as they should be cared for. We also want our friends to be happy and it pleases us to know that they are happy.
My favorite paragraph has to be at the peak of the narrator's own seeming bitterness. She seems to despise other's happiness demanding that those in love fake a little depression and use less clear language to express their feelings. This is rather amusing because what more does anyone want in a relationship than happiness and clear communication. What she is denouncing about true love is what most people want most about it.
As for the destruction of religion and poetry, just because one is in love doesn't mean that the world is all peachy roses. Even the closest couples fight, and have their moments of anger and questioning. Not everything would be the same happy boring work there would be a lot more happiness in the world if everyone had his or her soul mate, but I don't think that this would destroy poetry and art. People can still be in love and bad things can still happen. One's love can die or be in an accident. Some people will still be poor and mistreated while others will be rich and privileged. People will still be bigots and prejudice, there will still be plenty of pain and torture, but there would be more comfort and love. I would think that having one's soul mate by one's side would give something to really believe in. The whole someone did create me with a divine plan and I have a perfect compliment to myself, there must be a God out there to do this for me sort of belief. Besides someone would still have to be blamed for the death of those we love and some form of afterlife comfort would still need to exist, so religion would really only be helped to be proven if everyone suddenly had his or her soul mate.
Just as my ideal thoughts on love are contained in “True Love”, my greatest doubts are within Mathew Arnold's “Dover Beach”. I feel that it is a poem filled with inner and outer turmoil. Arnold does not know what to make of the world and its changes. In the beginning he starts the poem out with this beautiful description of the ocean and the shore line, but certain word choice begin to underlay the peaceful feeling of the poem. “grating roar”, “pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling” “The eternal note of sadness in.”. These sounds are not happy or positive. Grating sounds makes people shudder. Fling has an angry child like frustration to the word, and eternal sadness is somewhat self explanatory.
Arnold brings a feeling of eternity into the depths of the poem as he talks about Sophocles' time and even then the ocean was a sea of “human misery”. In the next stanza, Arnold ties the feeling of spirituality and religion that was in the first stanza by calling it the “Sea of Faith”, and even here there is some significant sadness and loss as it was “onces. Too. At the full, and round earth's shore/...But know I only hear/Its melancholy, long withdrawing roar,”. People are losing their faith in religion. They are losing a connection to God and the beauty and enchantment that was once in the world.
I've always taken the next stanza to be a sarcastic “Ah, love, left us be true” as if mocking the situation. I thought Arnold is talking about how the world we once knew is receding and leaving us faithless and lost in the sharp reality of what is. Even in Sophocles' time there was this foreboding feeling of the truth behind illusion, but now the truth has been revealed we see the ugliness of the world without the protection of faith and belief in goodness, truth or love. I don't think that Arnold is pleading with his love, I think he already knows that she is deceiving him and that he is mocking his once trust in her, saying how can we be in a world with “neither joy, nor love, nor light/ Nor certitude, nor peace nor, nor help from pain;”. In a world without love, Arnold has broken his own plea. How can he have love in world devoid of it? I think Arnold believes there is no saving the world and that this illusion that is the ocean has been pulled back. For the first time people see what is beneath that dark ocean and they see their own darkness. Arnold is appealing to the loss of what he would have called love. He is also talking about the love of illusions and that love in God and faith is nothing more than a love of lies and deception.
I worry that I love in a world of illusion as Arnold once did, and the curtains will one day be pulled to reveal the horror that is in the world of “Dover Beach”. When I am depressed, I tend to agree with “Dover Beach”'s analysis on how the world looks. I lose hope for the present of the future.
Andrew Marvell's word's by heart when it comes to love are men's traditional come ons from “To His Coy Mistress”. I have mixed feelings on this poem. It is funny because it's all about this big come on to some poor girl that probably doesn't even know this guys name. It's funny how little men have changed in all these years; they are still only after action. I can just picture some desperate guy going around and saying this to every girl in the desperate attempt to get some action.
For example the narrator starts of with the whole, if I had all eternity I would court you forever. I would spend a hundred years talking about your eyes along and we would take the whole thing as slow as you wanted to. It would be romantic and wonderful and everything you wanted. Even in the beginning here he throws in a dirty joke with “vegetable like love” referring to how his erection would grow “vaster than empires” but their actually sex would last longer than the rise and fall of such empires.
Of course he can not keep up this sort of talk for long, because of course the two do not have eternity, they have only this one life to live, and time is moving fast. Soon this girl is going to get old and if she hesitates to have sex now because of old fashioned feelings about virginity, then worms will be the only thing trying it, which if you ask me is just gross and doesn't belong in any sort of love poem. Then again, men are crude and think those sort of images are funny.
So then the rest of the poem is a come on about how since the two are short on time they should have sex right now and “get it on”. This amuses me quite a bit especially when I picture some guy going around and repeating this poem to every single lady in court trying to persuade her. I can't help the laughing.
On the flip side this poem is also somewhat dark. The last part is vicious and violent in the word choice. It have the classic rape psychology with the you know you want it I can see it in your blush, which could just be a blush of embarrassment. I don't think that the poem is supposed to imply the potential of rape of significant pressure on the female, and this attitude is undoubtedly the domineering attitude of the time, but it still has some menacing undertones. I would not want this as a love poem, it might be a funny joke if I really knew my partner and knew that he was joking with me, but beyond that I would feel a little scared and threatened if someone seriously presented this poem to me as a love ballad.
My thoughts on love based on the literature are scattered and few. Really, what I think I learned most was that I have very little knowledge of love and what love is. I push people away from me and keep to myself in fear of being hurt or becoming dependent on another. I know lots of words from the different literature pieces we read, but I do not have the experience to choose which set of thoughts would be mine.

Lit Themes Journals Part 2

“Four Secretaries” by Ted Kosser pg 72
This poem is about the sort of caring community these four women have created around there jobs. The four female secretaries have created is caring atmosphere in the office. Where they gossip while they work and they fight with each other as well as comfort one another when in pain. IT occurs to me that this is a rather unprofessional way to act in the office, even if one is a secretary, which is a lower job. I would probably talk with my co-workers if I was in the same position, but I would do it in beginning hours before work or after works or during break. I wouldn't want to slack on my job. IT sounds like the central thing these secretaries do is gossip, I wonder if that's why there are four of them. I would like to think that these women could do their work and gossip, but I wonder how less affective they are because they gossip, fight, and cry when they should be aggressively typing at their jobs instead of stacking bills and papers to the side while idlily talking.
At the same time the question of persecutors comes in. The narrator is clearly an outside to the group. Whether he is another secretary who is left out of the group and sort of jealous, another office worker with a near by cubical or if he is the boss is hard to tell. I think that he is probably another worker in the same office who doesn't have direct jurisdiction over the secretaries, because I would expect more professionalism from my secretaries than these women seem to have. Then again I guess setting plays a large role in this too. A smaller company where people are more friendly and supportive or a school where the secretary position is taken a little more lightly may make the secretaries behavior more acceptable and appropriate, where a large high powered office would expect a higher level of discipline form their workers.

“The use of Force” by William Carlos Williams pg 80
It is a beautiful story. I love the way the narrator speaks. The whole scene is very realistic, with the mother apologizing and to the doctor and admonishing her child but doing nothing to help and the father trying to help, but his own emotions and worries getting the better of him, so he hinders the doctor almost as much as the child. What really makes the story is the child in all her savage wild beauty. I can just see this picture perfect child, who's eyes are glassed over from fever, and her body is covered in perspiration as she sweats wrapped in blankets and her father's warm arms. I can almost feel her unreasonable defiance, and her hatred for the doctor. When I was little I had strep throat a lot, enough so that every time I was sick I had to get a throat culture, for fear that it was strep. I always hated them, and I knew the moment that I fell ill I would have to take one. I used to go one for weeks pretending I was fine, just so I could avoid the doctor and the throat culture. I can remember actually collapsing a few times in class from sickness, because I had not told anyone I didn't feel well, in a blind hope I could avoid the doctor.
Unlike this girl, I never fought the doctor over a throat culture, but I used to fight the doctor tooth and nail over shots. Once I actually hid around the office for a half hour in attempt to avoid the on coming shot. When they found me it took three nurses and a doctor to get me out and administer the shot and I was screaming blood murder the whole time. I spooked over half the office, and all the babies were crying when I left. My mother was furious, ashamed, and appalled by my behavior.
I was shocked when the child in this story screamed at her father that he was hurting her when he held down her wrists. I couldn't believe that the child would sink so low. That must have ripped the father apart, and hurt his heart. I know children who do this, I just had always thought of them as spoiled monsters. I was caught completely off guard by her attack on the doctor, I would have never been so bold as her, and my parents would have hit me for something so in excusable.
I was also really surprised by how into it the the doctor was becoming. He wanted her to struggle and fight. He wanted to hurt her. That's the kind of doctor that children have nightmares about. It was amazing how quickly a grown man can sink down to the level of a child. She is growling and kicking and screaming at him, and instead of backing down and trying to calm her and the parents, he is fighting back with her, holding her down and snapping at the parents and forcing the child's jaw open with his hands. In his fervor to get a diagnosis he abandons the Popsicle stick and goes for a spoon that the mother provides. I was like “woah, doctor using an potentially unsanitary object to get his outcome, I didn't know doctors did that”.
The doctor was somewhat condescending from the beginning though. He puts both the mother and father in a very bad light. He scolds them for not getting their kid to a doctor sooner, he looks down on them and the fact he has to make a house call. He winces inwardly when the mother tells the child that the doctor won't hurt them thinking to himself that the child may never have thought of that possibility without the mother's prompting, and while that may be true to some extend, at that age most kids know doctor=some minimal pain.
"A Visit of Charity" by Eudora Welty pg 82
This was a disturbing story. It hits so many places in my heart. I remember the first time I went to visit the elderly. I was a daisy and we went to sing to the old folks as a whole troop. Even then I had been scared of the old people, and I knew I would never go there alone or talk in depth with any of those people. I was afraid someone might try to talk to me, and I was petrified at the thought that one of them might touch me. I wanted to leave the moment that stepped into the home.
Nursing homes depress me. They aren't as well kept as they should be, and the people are physically frail and mentally failing. It's embarrassing to see them in such a dilapidated state and one knows that if they had any presence of mind they would be humiliated to be seen in such condition. I hope I die before I get like that. I want to die the moment either my physical or mental health fails me perminatly. If my body gives out it means I'm not meant to continue on in this realm, it's natures way of telling my soul that I have finished my journey here.
The old women in this story were scary. One was angry and bitter, while the other was overly friendly solely in the hopes of gaining money. It made the story sadder, than none of these people really wanted the girl there, and the girl didn't really want to be there. She was only there for her own personal gain, and the whole situation is sick. The girl should have never gone to the nursing home for such childish reasons. The elderly are people not some animal at the zoo that one get credit for seeing, and shame on the child for acting that way.
Part of what I liked best is that there was no act of charity in the whole short story. The title had one looking for a turn around in the main character's personality, maybe some kindness from the nurse, maybe if some sort of kind act from the old ladies, but none of that is true. The girl goes on the pretense of charity, but it is all about her getting the needed points to move on to her next badge. The nurse could have been kind and given her some sane older ladies, but she gave her a volital pair of women, and then instead of staying with the girl to make sure that the old ladies are a good match and the girl is comfortable and well settled, she just leaves. The old women could have been kind to the younger girl, but they were horrible. It was funny just how terrifying the two of them are together.
I love how the girl hides the apple in the bushes before she goes into the nursing home. Its just shows exactly how selfish in that she leaves the apple outside because she does not want to share it with anyone. The apple also has a Alice in Wonderland feel to it the sort of “eat me” thing and normalcy of some altered state of reality. In this case the apple is sort of used as a transition form the reality of the nursing home and the idea that the girl will probably one day be in a nursing home and also she is escaping her personal ordeal in the home.
"The Gift of Sweat" by Rebecca Brown pg 86
A touching story. This could be my Grandfather's cleaning maid, and the old man could be my grandfather one day, and that thought scares me a lot. I really like the narrator a lot, she's very compassionate, and I am immediately drawn to her and her warmth. I also like Rick, he's a sweet old man, who is either a hippie or very religious. I wish I knew which, not that it really matters, either way he is a suffering human. I want to know what his disease is, I thought it was AIDs, but the story never really tells us. I want to know that Rick lives and comes back to him home. It feels like a small piece of a much larger story, and I fear that Rick dies, or even worse, Rick lives, but he has to go to a home. I don't want Rick to go to a home.
I could sympathize with the narrator's hesitation to go into the kitchen. If I were her, I wouldn't know what to do. I wouldn't want to eat the breakfast, but I wouldn't want to not eat it either. I might have cried at the sight of it. I might have left the meal out, as disgusting as the meal would get, reluctant to either eat it, or leave it. The idea of Rick struggling down so early in the day towards Hostess' to get the best sticky cinnamon buns for the narrator and himself at the risk of his health, and then for Rick to get sick... it is just so sad. It shows how trapped he really is in his own home. How this kind and fragile man just wanted to do something small to show his greatfulness for the her company, and how something so small can be so large to someone else.
I like the cleaning lady's courage too. I'm not sure I would have it in me to hug Rick. I'm awkward in those sort of situations, unsure of how to give comfort but wanting to all the same. I tend to hover over people nervously when they are sick trying to get them things and encourage them to sleep and what not. I'm not good at knowing how to talk to people when they are hurt or how to allivate their pain. I think that I only intensify it by being nervous and pacing and what not.

"In Crever Coeur, Missouri" by Rossanna Warren pg116
Roar I hate all this sad poetry! WHY?! I don't like it, so this photographer is going around following incidents and trying to get a good picture of tradgety, and then the fact that he submits this picture of a young naked girl being pulled from a fire is dying, and he doesn't the decency to respect the privacy of her last few moments. The photographer exploits this intimate painful moment for his own gain, and there is something primarily wrong and corrupt with that which no amount of artistic value can justify. The sick words of the narrator as he calls the event a fine surprise, when is a fire and the death of a young child ever a "fine surprise" its very sick and wrong. The narrator describes the child as a "laundry pulled too soon from the line," and its so dehumanizing. The reason the photo is good is the fact this girl is so sad and moving and she pulls at one's heart strings, but the very humanity that makes this picture touching should keep a photographer from using it in a contest. I just think exposing others, especially in such personal moments, like their last, to a group of people is a wrong and unforgivable act.
The idea of going into the picture is interesting. After all the picture is just one single shot, and the story going around the making of the picture can not be seen from the view's perspective of the picture. It helps to shift the reader int between the scene of the photograph hanging in a gallery on display to to the actual night that the photo was shot. I wonder how young the photographer was. How could be be so cold as to get a shot of this young girl in her last moments and have felt nothing towards it? I bet her parents were screaming in the background, calling out her name, reaching out to her, and screaming in terrible agony as they slowly watch their child die, and here's a photographer snapping pictures away as if the scene has no affect on him.
I wonder what Dagny would think of this photographer. As much as the lack of respect of the young girl's life bothers me, I'm sure the photo would be very moving. I bet that the photographer has been training forever to try and get some sort of shot. I suppose she would like the work and admire its quality, and she probably wouldn't mind him entering the work into a contest, after all Dagny values quality and money, not human life without a will of its own and joy. We can not tell if the girl was once willful or not, she seems to have once had joy from her description, but still now she is a lifeless little shell of what she once was.
"We Did Not Fear the Father" Charles Fort pg116
Well this poem is interesting. I guess that the speaker is one of the children and he is reflecting on his childhood. Perhaps people were talking about when and why they were scared of their parents, and this speaker stopped and realized that for the most part, he had always loved and cared for his father. His father had always been a kind and friendly man. During the day he worked in a barber sharp with a strict regimented stance on work, and when he closed he taught his son how to clean shop and filled his pockets with licorice treats. With this act we see that the father is really a kind and good man who balances work with reward. He cares for his children mental and economic well being. The man goes on to talk about how he doesn't fear his father as the head of the family because he was a good man and they all worked together to improve the house. I can picture a man with a huge genuine grin on his face hard at work next to his son as they work to improve the house. In the last stanza, the tone changes into a darker sound. The speaker talks of the one time that he feared his father, and it was not for expected reasons. The speaker doesn't fear his father's yelling, rage, or discipline. He is fearful when his father's will seems to be broken, through a night job at a factory, where inhuman machines make ungodly noise, and the man fears the dangers of the job. The speaker fears for his father's health, he fears for his father's exhaustion and the bent state he comes back in. The boy is also scared because these machines are the “future” and he will probably have to work the same kind of job as his father. He will have listen to the noise up close while avoiding the maiming claws of the things there.
"What Work Is" by Philip Levine pg 117
Its a confusing poem. The tone starts angry and hostile, the narrator speaks directly to the reader, and he tell us that if we can read we are old enough to know what work is, and then he goes on to say we may not work, which seems to make the narrator feel an irrational anger that we may not work or we may not need to work or that we may be too lazy to work, and he feels this sudden intense disgust where he pronounces "forget you". I like the line, it reminds me of a lot of my teen years, where a lot of times I would start to tell my parents something calmly and slowly explaining and detailing, and then they would suddenly ask a question, or perhaps it would just be the look in their eyes and I would realize that they don't really understand a word I'm saying and that they will never understand what I'm trying to get across. I never actually said "forget you" but in my head I would think that, and I would be filled with this sudden irrational anger at the loss to communicate and for one to comprehend what I wanted to make clear.
When the narrator talked of the light misting rain, I couldn't help but think of Niagara Falls and how it had been when my family went. I wondered if Ford Highland Park was like that. I wondered where Ford Highland Park was, and I wondered what time period the poem was written in. Its clearly a time when many people were jobless, and my mind automatically wandered to the great depression, but the date says 1991, so perhaps not.
I wonder what the poem is about and how exactly this man does not know the meaning of work. Does he not know the meaning of work because he's never held a job, or because his brother works harder. Does the narrator hate the Wagner because his brother works so hard for it and it makes him tired or does he hate Wagner because he has differing taste in music? I don't know why one would need to know the meaning of work to tell a sibling that they loved them, and I don't know why one couldn't give their sibling a kiss. Is it the guilt that the brother works so much harder, or a feeling of uselessness because he can't get a job, or guilt because the brother supports both. My understanding seems to be lacking, but I think that most people know the meaning of work because there are all sorts of work and even if one hasn't held a job, one knows about work. I also think as long as one is putting in the most effort that they can, then they haven't failed or let anyone down. Perhaps I am mistaken in my thinking though.
"Singapore" Mary Oliver pg 118
Ok, maybe I'm the only curious one, but why is this woman washing ashtrays in the TOLIET as part of her job? She could at least use the sink, and don't they have some sort of back room cleaning type area in an airport. It brings a whole new level of general grossness to the idea of smoking for me. I didn't know that they allowed smoking in airports in 1992. This woman also seems slightly obsessed to me with what a poem should be. Poems aren't all about flowers, and if they are then the material we've been reading and calling poetry in this class is highly unusual in the world of poetry. These trees and flowers and rivers she talks about aren't real, they aren't poetry, she blends the two together in a beautiful way that I know I couldn't possibly understand in any coherent form. Sometimes I'm just at a loss to say. This narrator's use of light and dark are interesting in that the darkness was "ripped from my eyes" what an interesting way to say it. The light and dark reference is echoed again in the last stanza where the narrator tells us that light can only shine out of a life, what is she saying? Is she telling us that this run in with a woman cleaning ashtrays in a toilet suddenly brought light to her life, is she telling us that Kingfisher's definition of poems that are filled with flowers and trees are meaningless because they hold no humans and therefor no light? Or is she trying to say that light leaves a physical person but that no person can take in this light, and in this way we are all slowly going dark and dead? Or are the flowers a metaphor for beauty and within this poem there is something beautiful about this chance encounter with the cleaning lady where she is washing the cigarette trays?
Why was this one woman her focus? How does one woman doing such an odd job make such a profound statement and create so much light?
"Blackberries" Yusef Komunyakaa pg119
I remember picking berries when I was little with my mother in the summer. It was one of my favorite pastimes. At that age I loved fruit more than candy, so picking berries was one of my favorite pastimes. There were always two for me and one for the bucket, and I still managed to fill my bucket with the sweetest most delicious berries. I loved those summers with my grandmother, mother, sister, and brother. We were out in fields picking either blue berries, black berries, raspberries, or strawberries. When I was little the call of pies and baked goods was less, so there was nothing better than spending a day in the warm sun eating my fill of berries.
I don't really seem to understand a lot about this poem. There is some interesting religious symbolism, but I am still confused on how the poem fits itself together. He narrator has some sort of guilt that is articulated when he taste that his hands are stained like a imprinter's thief that has been caught and fingers have been blotted by the police. IT makes it sound like there is something corrupt about eating the blackberries, little the apple in the story of Adam and Eve. He talks of earthly pleasures as “Terrestrial sweetness”, but tat the same time he talks about “The damp ground was consecrated,” Is this some sort of reference to the consecrated ground of Edan, where the apple grew, and that's fruit's sweetness drew Adam and Eve into corruption and more dark earthly pleasures? Then there is the garland of thorns, and all I think of is Jesus and the crown of thorns he wears when he was crucified.
There is a lot here going on I don't understand. I don't know why the boy needs forgiveness. I can not seem to learn what he did wrong. I know that he has guilt and I know that something about the blue car makes him really nervous. There is a sense of what he wants is out of his reach. Is that because he does not have all the privileged of the children in the back seat of that car, is he stealing the berries that he is trying to sell. Is he trying to run away or has he run away from home with just those berries to make money off of?
"The Mill" Edwin Arlington Robinson pg 120
Um... ok. This poem sounds like it should have been written a long long time ago. I was thinking 1800's, but apparently it was written in 1920. Robinson must have been going for a style sort of thing. He is talking about a miller and his wife. The miller felt for work and we enter in on the poem with the miller's wife waiting up for the miller to come home. She had been waiting a while and was nervous, the miller had said earlier that day that there was no long a need for millers. The wife is of course nervous and disturbed by her husband's destination and odd behavior so she goes to the mill and sees her husband hanging from a beam on the ceiling. So the miller's wife, decided to drown herself in the river so that she would not have to suffer alone here.
It is an interesting thought about work, that there is no longer use for the services one provides, one is better off dead. Is this a warning of what technological advancements will do to society, take jobs and drive ex-workers to suicide? Will families die as the price of advancement? Perhaps the author wanted to demonstrate the price that we have paid in the past for advancement, or maybe he wants society to begin to help support displaced workers so that they do not feel the need to resort to suicide.
The time the piece is written in is interesting, the roaring twenties. Decadence everywhere, but the depression follows its heels, the poem is almost a foreshadowing of massive job loss and starvation... though the industrial revolution is not what is to blame.
"Many Rivers to Cross" June Jordan pg157
This was a horribly sad story and it just left me asking "why?". Why would they put up with this in the book ? I don't like stories with family problems in them that are some how brought on by the child's actions. There are several things I don't understand either, for instance why did the father hate the daughter so much? Did she get pregnant with another man's child, is that why her husband wanted to divorce her, because she was cheating on him.
Initially I got the impression that the husband went to grad school and started to cheat on his wife, and before long he fell out of love with his wife and filed for a divorce. It was my impression however that the wife had one of his children and was pregnant again? Was that with another man, or with the husband as a last attempt to get him back, or maybe I read that entirely incorrectly, time jumps a lot in this story.
I suppose the father could be angry at the daughter for the divorce and blame her for it, though it makes limited sense to me, still it could have been a different time. Its unfair to take the anger out on the child and on his own sickly dying wife, that was horrible of him. Why wouldn't he love and help his own flesh.
I don't understand the mother's suicide either, its just one more painful thing for the daughter and one more reason for the father to hate his daughter. She did not seem unhappy in the story. She had just finished playing with her grandson. Yes, the mother was in pain and dying slowly, but there was no indication that the mother planned any form of suicide. It was cowardly of her to end her life in that way. Her daughter had a baby and another one on the way. She needed her mother's help and support. Certainly neither her daughter's ex-husband nor her husband seem willing to help. I don't understand why not. IT isn't the daughter's fault she is pregnant, and the woman is doing the best that she can to get back up on her feet, but she needs help.
Why isn't the narrator's ex-husband helping her? Doesn't he have to give child support for his children? Doesn't he feel any sort of responsibility for HIS children? Doesn't he want to see them and know how they are doing?
As for the father, how could he not know whether or not his wife was alive or dead? Why would he subject his daughter to that sort of discovery? Why didn't he immediately call 911? What did the wife have in her will that would have made the father so angry? How could the father not have visited his own daughter in the hospital, and how could anyone blame the daughter for being in the hospital? Did the daughter have an abortion in the hospital illegally while her injuries were being tended, did she have a miscarriage because of the attack on her person, was there any sort of loss of baby involved or am I seeing something that isn't there?
I think that this whole piece is the narrators explanation of events that happened in the past that were overwhelming and now she is still hurting and struggling to make sense with them. She was burying her mother and explaining why and how she died as well as learning how to cope with her mother's death
"In Search of Our Mother's Gardens" Alice Walker 163
Clearly I have missed the point to this piece. I have trouble relating to this story partly because it is about black oppression and one's need to break from oppression and spread one's own thoughts and creativity. Of course we should all spread our creativity regardless of one's history. Perhaps if I have the ancestors as a slave somewhere I would feel I had a greater need to share my own voice and force myself to be heard for the sake of all those years of silence. I would want to show my view on the world and I would want to stand up for my forced silent mother and father. Perhaps I would try to call others to do the same so that our woes and experiences in all their beauty could be viewed and shared by those of all races. Words and art do give power and understanding to others. Writing can release someone from his or her own mental prison and it can help to self actualize one's own rise in the world.
However I find nothing particular moving in this piece. There is nothing that does not seem self explanatory or thought provoking with in the work. The truth is that in all of history there is an oppressed race and while the people may have been over flowing with talent, male or female, they can not respond as they wish. This is just the way it always has been throughout history. It is sad, and its not fair, but its not unusual either.

“To Be of Use” Marge Piercy pg180
The narrator is expressing her like for strong hard workers in the poem. Her word usage is very interesting . I like how she used “jump” instead of “dive” or “hop”. Dive is to precise and perfect, while hop doesn't have the energy charge that jump has. I can just picture someone doing a big belly flop into the water from the word.
The whole swimming metaphor is really interesting. I liked how well swimming worked for one cutting through the bulk of work. Instead of getting hung up in details or “dallying in the shallows” one presses right by and swims right out of sight. I can see an office employee getting caught up running around in little office games and getting access to everything instead of cutting through the water games of marco polo, splashing kids on rafts and swimming out to the big fish. I can see the stroke of a pen coming down as decisively and efficiently as the stroke a stroke of a hand in water. Some people might even claim to have “oceans of work”.
I also like how the author compares people to seals and not to sharks, or dolphins. IT stays to to the idea of a person jumping into work as they do water. Also seals aren't considered fierce or mean, but playful and generally friendly. I like the idea that one can be a good hard worker but not be a cruel human being. I also like the idea that fun is incorporated into work. I think that most work is fun if its done correctly, and certainly that feeling of success if wonderful.
The next image of a beast of burden is very different than the last. This part of the poem talks about the less enjoyable aspects of work. There are always less pleasant tasks of a job that any person must slog through to reach success, and I really like the idea of someone being an oxen pulling the heavy cart. I used to feel bad for oxen because of the heavy loads that humans had forced them to carry and the whip used liberally on some of the animals backs when the oxen couldn't manage. I couldn't help but think of the game “Oregon Trail” that I used to play when I was little . It was a game about crossing the prairie on wooden wagons, and I remember a lot of my oxen would fall sick or die over the course of the game because I packed in too much weight or forced them to cross muddy river banks. I liked the image because, just as that sort of work is not fun, the image of an oxen isn't flattering. Very few want to be a big lumbering beast trudging through the muck with a heavy weight in toe, and yet a really dedicated worker must eventually endure some sort of strain and unpleasantness for the sake of his or her work.
The next paragraph doesn't hold the same steadiness of an image, but it does remind me of a few different kinds of work. At first I thought of traditional rice harvester. The women wade into the water to collect the grain, and then I considered a fireman who passes the bucket from person to person until it reached the fire where it is dumped out onto the fire.
I think my favorite lines in the poem are the last few where the narrator tells us “But the thing worth doing well done/ has a shake that satisfies, clean and evident./ Geek amphoras for wine or oil,/ Hopi vase that held corn, are put in museums./ but you know they were made to be used./ The pitcher cries for water to carry/ and a person for work that is real.” The beginning echoes my own feelings on work , where I believe that if one is going to go through the effort to do anything, then it should be done well, otherwise why would one bother. It seems such a comfort to me when the narrator talks about how good jobs really do last throughout time, it makes me smile and gives me hope that my hardships will withstand storms and be there for my later use. Mu favorite part though must be when the narrator states that all human beings really want to do work that “is real” or has meaning to them. For me there can not be a more trues statement. One of the ways that I show something is important or it means something special to me is that I do something for the cause. This narrator makes much more sense that Milton, who thinks that even those who stand and wait get salvation, this author tells the reader that all of us call out for work that has meaning to us personally.

Death of a Salesman Essay

Death of a Salesman Essay
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is an unique tragic play because the main character are normal, everyday people instead of Kings or other people of importance. One of the aspects that makes this play so timeless is the character development that helps others to identify wit hand pity the characters in the play. The discussion about Biff that goes on between Willy and Bernard and then the following conversation between Willy and Charley on pages 1253-1255 is a crucial scene in the play because it fleshes out Willy's character. We get to see that Willy's main defining characteristic is his need to escape reality and that Willy's main conflict is with Biff's glaring lack of success.
This passage outlines Willy’s main conflict in life is Biff's lack of success. Willy is obsessed with Biff. He ignores his wife and his other son Happy and focuses all of his attention of Biff. One can see this at the beginning of the play when Happy and Linda tell Biff of Willy's odd behavior. They stress how Biff is the only one with an effect on it. Later we observe that both Linda and Happy seem to be unable to pull Willy out of his lapses while Biff has significantly more success. When Happy, Biff, and Willy meet for dinner, for example, Biff is the one to drive Willy into one of his past memories, and he is the only person that Willy will pull himself out of his illusions to talk to.
We also immediately glimpse how even in Willy’s reflections, Happy is only a second small shadow. Happy is always vying for attention by saying things like, "I lost weight, Pop, you notice?" (ln 536 pg 1232), but Willy never responds to Happy’s prod for attention. Happy is a self sufficient, dutiful younger son who doesn't seem to hold any place in Willy's heart, even though he constantly defends Willy from Biff's anger. After Willy's death, Happy is the only family member who remains loyal to Willy and still tries to believe in Willy's dream.
Linda's unimportance to Willy echoes in the beginning of the selected passage when Willy tells Bernard he is the only one he can talk to. Why doesn't Willy talk to Linda? After all, Willy is talking to Bernard out of concern for his and Linda’s son; shouldn’t she have some valuable insight on the matter? There are other areas, where we see just how unimportant Linda is to Willy. For example in the beginning of the play, Willy snaps at Linda often and tells her to be quiet when she is only tying to ease tension. He often cuts Linda off in the middle of her thoughts, or ignores her entirely. Too often, Willy's delusions are more important than either Happy or Linda, the only one who seems allowed to intrude on them is Biff.
The importance of this particular scene is shown by Willy's uncharacteristic directness. He asks what he wants to know upfront instead of dancing around the topic as seems to be his more common approach through out the play. Instead of easing his way into or around the question Willy abruptly asks Bernard "Why did he lay down?" (ln 309 pg 1253). It is an odd question to ask. Willy is Biff's father; shouldn't he know why Biff gave up on life? It has been implied in the play by both Biff and Willy that Willy already does knows the answer to this question. On second glance, this seemingly direct question is another facade. Willy doesn't want answers; he wants assurances that he had no hand in Biff's collapse.
The actions between Bernard and Willy are interesting. Bernard is calm and reflective to the point of being condescending toward Willy. Willy is his father's age, but he constantly is calling Willy "kid" and telling Willy to take it easy. Willy, on the other hand, is expressive and agitated. We hear Bernard go through Biff's time line in an orderly and chronological manner. While Bernard is a foil to the physically absent but much talked about Biff, in some ways during this scene Bernard is also playing a foil to Willy. His level headed focus and order help accentuate Willy's chaoic and flamboyant manner.
Bernard confirms various implications in the play that imply that Biff's life begins to go sour when he flunked math, and Willy exclaims "That son-of-a-bitch!" (ln 311 pg 1253) in response. Who Willy is referring to is unclear. It could be the math teacher for failing him, it could be Biff for failing, it might even be Bernard for not giving Biff all of the answers, or it might be himself for not pushing Biff.
Bernard is straight forward in is analysis of Biff. He talks of Biff not giving up at the F, as Willy seems to believe, but he gave up after Boston. This is not what Willy wants to hear. Instead of either getting reassurance from Bernard that Biff hasn't given up, or a new yarn that guarantees Willy has no blame, the guilt is thrust back on him.
Willy is furious and immediately defensive. He demands to know what he has to do with anything. He insists that Biff's failures are not his own. Willy hates failures and giving up. He wants no part of Biff's troubles. "If a boy lays down is that my fault?" (ln321-322 pg 1254) Willy demands of Bernard. He is right, Biff's lack of motivation is not solely his burden, but he had a part. Even as Willy tries to shirk responsibility, he takes it by pronouncing his guilty feelings.
Bernard's words-"'If at first you don't succeed'" (ln326 pg 1254)- bring forward Willy's mast tragic flaw. He can never stop trying or give up. Stubbornness is usually considered a good quality, so it is odd that one would consider it a flaw. In American culture the idea that if one works hard and sticks to a decision he or she will become successful and happy, is an almost universally accepted premise. However, Willy has focused on the American ideal with almost a cult like fanaticism, and he is unable to see the harm in his ways. He thinks that he must eventually persevere. Willy does not see that sometimes one has to try different methods, and other times one must realize that one can not get what one wants. No one can make Biff succeed if he chooses to fail. Sometimes it is best to just give up, but Willy can not see this He pushes Howard to give him a job in New York, and instead of getting what he wants Howard fires him. He pushes Biff to be something, but it only makes Biff more angry and resentful. He tries to make enough money for his family's needs and when he can't, he kills himself to get the money through the insurance company. Willy is pitiable in his inability to walk away. He clings to a twisted version of the American dream, and hopes that his stubbornness and self delusions will win against reality. He can't stop being a salesman, he can't stop living lies, and he can't accept Biff's failures.
It is with Charley's entrance that both Willy and the audience learn that Bernard is going to argue a case in the Supreme Court. Willy is surprised, humbled, and pained by Bernard's success. He wants to know why Bernard did so well and Biff, who he sees with so much potential, is a bum. Willy is even more pained over Bernard's success because while Bernard's father, Charley "never took an interest in his boy", Willy constantly took an interest in Biff, and he still is unsuccessful.
When Bernard exits Willy mentions that Bernard never even told him he was going to trial at the Supreme Court, and Charley responds that one doesn't have to say it if one is going to do it. These words bring the reader back to the beginning of the passage where Willy is telling Bernard of Biff’s imminent success. It foreshadows Biff's failure in his endeavor and begins to frame all of Willy's success stories as lies. We see trail after trail of bragging as hollow words with no truth behind them. One goes back to the entrance of the play where Willy and Linda are talking about all the good Willy does for his company and begin to check their initial premise. Charley's words make it clear to the reader that all of Willy's bravado in his flashbacks are in reality only actually meant to keep others from seeing the truth about his family's failures and short comings. It is no longer a surprise to the reader that Willy would seek suicide to avoid the reality of his world, where there is no room for his exaggerations and lies.
At the end of the selected reading reality breaks through Willy's attempts to cover it again as he begins to talk of extra money needed for the insurance. Willy tries to cover up the reality of his need for the money by insisting that he has money in the bank, and the only reason he doesn't want to pull it is so that Linda won't know the family is short on money. However, we know from Linda's conversation with Biff that Linda knows Willy isn't making money. She also knows that Willy is going to Charley and bringing home checks from him to make it look like he is still making money. Linda also tells both Happy and Biff that they have no money in their bank account.
The audience already knows that Charley must be aware Willy's dangerous state because earlier in the play he was present when Willy went into one of his delusions. He knows that Willy has been having trouble traveling to see his clients, and Charley has gone as far as to offer Willy a job. It must be clear to Charley that Willy isn't making any money. He can't do his job and he has been going to Charley to "borrow" money for months now. Clearly Willy is sparing no one but himself with all the lies he places up.
At every turn Willy tries to escape the truth, and wanders into delusions and lies. The closer that Willy's words align with reality the farther away he is trying to keep himself from it. He is a man drenched in guilt and confusion over his family's constant failures. Instead of choosing a new methods to achieve his goals, Willy doubles is fruitless efforts and pretends that he is going somewhere. The clearer it becomes that Willy has failed in his dream and in his hopes for Biff, the further he retreats into reveries and the more insistent he becomes about his lies. We can see clearly here that whenever the idea of reality is brought in Willy reacts almost violently as he voices his denial. Yet even as Willy tries to shape his reality with only words, the force of his pleas seems to show that Willy is aware of his own failures. When Willy agrees with Bernard that i at first one does not succeed, then one should try again, he is also unconsciously admitting that he has made mistakes. Even as Willy is asserting that he has a winner's mentality and he is successful, he is admitting that he has failed and is failing. Willy can not accept the fact that Biff is a failure, nor can he seem to find the proper word formula to hide it from himself. As hard as he tries, he can not remove the stain of guilt he feels from killing Biff's ambitions, and it is becoming increasingly harder to keep the rest of his shortcomings from himself.