August 2012




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Sep. 26th, 2008

Since th BF won't get up and I've been left in a lurch...

I saw "No Country for Old Men" last week before I left for Wyoming and it was really really disappointed.   

I mean I had reservations.  It never really looked like my kind of movie,it seemed like the kind of thing you're either into or your not (and I'd be the type that is not).  Still, it was reviewed well and pitched as "my kind of thing".   Quite a few (and by that I mean two out of like four) of my friends really liked it and thought the world of it.  They claimed the whole thing would make me really "disturbed with life" and the world for a bit.  Maybe part of the problem was too much build up.  

So when my family decided to watch it, I stayed because, well you know, good reviews, might like, nothing better to do.  

I don't like.  In fact, I think a big problem is that I don't at all get.  For me, I pick up dialog clues and color visuals.  If that isn't part of the "clues" or whatever, I'm not going to pick up on it no matter how "masterfully" it was done. 

My mother pointed out that there was a geometric circle thing going on, which I noticed a could of times, but without her mention of it, I'd never have pulled together.   I saw (SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON...THIS WAS THE WARNING)   the repeat cycle in how the "hero" got into the car accident, and then paid for a jacket and beer and how at the end the "villian" was in the same position.  I also noticed how weird it was that the villian had what I thought (and I don't know a lot about weapons or camera angles) a ridiculously large silencer on his gun...or how the shots really made the silencer stand out.  I also thought it was odd that when the "hero" found the tracking device in the money and was shot at, he jumped out the window he actually went back in the hotel to see the dead clerk and through the back door, what logical reason was there to make that move?  Some of that came together a bit when my mom pointed out the other "circles" and repetitions in the move that seemed to in her mind "heavy handedly" and in my mind not pop at all bring the viewer to the conclusion that what was happening in the movie was cycliar and would keep going on.  

She thought the message for the cop was that the whole, cycle and chain of evens was something he could work all his life to effect and would never touch.  The movie proved how little he'd done and drew him to the conclusion that you either die in chain or remaind outside it.  This is of course what drove him to retirement and lead him to conclude that this is "no country for old men".  

My problems here:

-I would NEVER have come to that conclusion without someone else drawing me that picture, because for me, that's not how I'm hardwired and the clues left to bring me to that conclusion were completely lost on me. 

-Even if that is the message and intent of the movie, I don't relate enough to the cop or the cop's experience to care.  I don't get him or his position.  I thought we'd have a couple more illuminating moments for him, but I found his scenes disjointed, choppy, jarring, and confusing.  It puzzled me how someone who could follow a killer's waste so well and have such a complete understanding of what was going on there, didn't seem able to take that info and make an impact.  I mean there were a lot of things he could have done to get the wife to talk to him, he did't do that.  That scene where he talked her made me think that he actually wasn't interested in helping her or her husband of solving the case.  I wondered if he was purposely trying to put the whole mess out of his hands.

-There were tons of nuances and suprefolous scenes for my way of thinking.  We didn't need that whole coin flipping aspect in the criminal.  We didn't need the business guy who hired the other guy to stop crazy villian man.  That made NO SENSE to me at all and if didn't add good dialog or a shade of understanding that the characters didn't already had.  I didn't get how crazy villian knew who the other guy looking for the money was or how he got back to suit guy.  I didn't get the Mexicans involvement, for my money that was just a chance to stereo type Mexicans as drug dealers and incompetent ones at that.  I don't get the scene where the sheriff goes back to the hotel where the main hero was killed and the crazy dude is behind the door and doesn't kill the sheriff.  Why is it there and what did it mean.  

-The only person I even sort of related to was the guy who took the money and ran from crazy villian dude.  When he died,  I couldn't figure out why the movie was still running.  Wife was clearly a prop that would die now that she wasn't useful anymore.  Some might argue that her death was a mercy considering the crazy dude had already taken everything from her (family, money, job, ect)

-What was crazy guy's connection to the money?  I mean was he just like crazy obbessed or whatever?  Do Not Get.

Over all this movie really made you work for a pay off I don't think (can't be sure of course) I would have appreciated or resonated with.  Next time you want a bunch of working class, white male hicks obessed with drugs and money to resonate with me for a larger purpose-actually don't bother.  Either make it a good action flick where I might be entertained by you know the action. give me ANY relatable character, or you know throw me a clue I can master.  Don't rely on your repuation and a disjointed, jarring, poor story line construction to lull me into amazement.  And certainly don't expect my lack of understanding to equal being impressed or awed.  Way too arrogant for that kind of bullshit here, thanks.

Overall no country for old men is also apparently no country for anyone who watches movies for entertainment or a good little jaunt or thinking without mounds of effort or understanding of "symbols".

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, 2005

Lit Themes Journal Final and 4th Part

“I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen pg 367
I am really angry at this mother, when I finish the story. Why did she have other children? She had a chance to fix the gap between here first and herself, and instead she only made it worse and foisted responsibility onto Emily too young.
I see the mother's pain and hurt in the early years, and how often she did things she did not want to because she had to pay for food and a home somehow. I can understand some of her difficulties and I sympathize with her plight, but for me where she really messed up was when she had Susan, why didn't she embrace Emily now that she had the time? Why did she leave a five year old home a lone in a bad part of town? How could anyone think that is old enough to leave a child home alone. How could anyone just give up on one of their kids? I think that the narrator did not fulfill her obligations to Emily as best as she could.
Certainly some of the mistakes were not her fault. At that time, one was supposed to listen to the officials on how to raise a child, so her timely breast feedings and her sending her child away to a home could not necessarily be helped. Also there were certain pressure for food that forced the mother to put Emily in temporary care situations.
In a lot of ways too Emily is a very strong and good kid. She will get through tough things that the other children will break under. Emily is used to hardship and she will be able to blaze her own path in a way the other children won't. Still I can't help be resent Susan. Part of that is because Susan has everything Emily doesn't and she gets the better cut of everything, and the other part of it is because in a lot of ways Susan and Emily's relationship is a lot like my sister's and mine. I was the quieter child who stayed in the back ground while Emma was the one to grab others attention and mesmerize them with feats and songs. Emma, much like Susan, could never keep her hands away from her my things, even though we had pretty much the same of everything, only Emma would break her toys and then take my toys and break them too. I would be livid at her and I can understand some of what Emily might have felt. It wasn't enough that Emma was center of attention, but then she would have the nerve to rifle through my toys and break them.
I also find it unacceptable in many ways the the mother has given up on Emily reaching her full potential. She has so very much to offer. She is very precious and a wonderful person, why wouldn't the mother do her best so that Emily could become her best. How is “Well, we didn't quite make it, sorry, it was fun trying.” an appropriate answer?

“Oedipus the King” by Sophocles pg 495
Ah such a long work, with soooo very many themes. I could go one forever, but I”m not going to. I'll try and tackle what will be most pertainate to this class without too many side tangents.
Family wise Oedipus is fascinating. There is a huge resemblance between family members. For instance bother Oedipus and his father have the same pig headed stubbornness and fiery temper. Who fights to the death instead of yielding way to the road, seriously? I mean depending on the importance of what I was doing, but I would never actually get into a fight. Why didn't one just yield to the other, probably because each had a strong sense of self importance and a stubborn streak in them. Certainly Oedipus' dad was on a very important mission to the oracle, but I bet that he waste more time arguing with his son than he would have if he had just yielded the way to him. As for Oedipus, what was his rush? Didn't he remember the prophecy that he had just been told by the oracle, that he would murder his father? Shouldn't he have made some sort of vow to not kill anyone, that would certainly keep him from killing his dad wouldn't it? No instead he gets into a heated fight with some guy on the road and kills him so he doesn't have to wait for his party to cross first.
As for the likeness to Jocasta, that is rather uncanny as well. Both have same sort of arrogance which makes them believe that they can defy the Gods. Jocasta jokes about fate and the will of the Gods and how easy it is to escape fate, all she had to do was kill her child and all Oedipus had to do was run away from home. Even as the two praise the Gods and pray to them for favor they place their own abilities and talents ahead of the Gods divine will.
I also think it is interesting how distrusting Oedipus is of everyone surrounding him. He thinks the worst of everyone and at first I wondered why. Then I realized that he is power hungry scum of the earth and he probably believes that everyone is as arrogant and as cut throat as he is. If that were true, I guess a lot of his accusations and jumped conclusions about people wouldn't be too far off.
Everything Oedipus does is to excess, this is especially true with his emotions. He is really awesome or really terrible and no one can sway his mind once a decision is made. Oedipus' judgments are also a lot like this too. For instance in the beginning of the play he very much talks about how much he loves Jocasta and how much she loves him. He talks very publicly about how he and the previous King are almost like brothers because of how much he loves the Queen and how much the Queen loves him. This line is rather sickening for the readers because we realize that the sexual reference is disturbing more because the previous King and Oedipus are actually father and son, and Oedipus' Queen is actually his mother. Though later we see how fickle love and loyalty are to Oedipus when he seems to turn on the Queen and accuses her of loving him less because Oedipus could have a low birth. That was far from Jocasta's meaning and it shows that Oedipus' version of love is weak and only there for convenience. We also see confusion of love because his wife is also his mother, which is just strange.
Also, while Oedipus claims that his love for his two daughters is strong and unerring 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.
As far as fate goes, this play and its lesson of fate have interesting connotations to work. If one really can do nothing to change one's fate and it will happen one way or another then why work? What does struggling and fighting mean if one is ruled by fate? Is anything really a reward or punishment, can anyone earn anything under such a system? In my own opinion fate doesn't exist. I could never see a world where everything happened out of my control, and if one day I found out that fate miraculously really does exist, I would be rather disillusioned and OI would probably stop all efforts immediately because I would know that the work had no meaning and that whatever happened would happen no matter what I did.

“Araby” by James Joyce pg 828
I want to like James Joyce because one of my favorite English teacher really had a strong appreciation for him, and I want to be able to see what she sees in him, but we generally don't get along. Regardless, this short story is interesting in many ways, one is Joyce's signature attempt at stream of consciousness. The story is written from the perspective of a man looking back on an event that happened to him as he was ten. He tries to maintain the feeling of a ten year old narrator, but interrupts himself often to explain things that the en year old con not have with sophisticated language.
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, and if he does know it, apparently her name is not important enough to include. Also the boy doesn't know much about the girl at all, only that 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. As he approaches a both the stall girl their probably is about the same age as Megan's sister and she is flirting with other men when she turns to him with disinterest and asks if there is anything he wants the boy probably just looks at her and shakes his head weakly. 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.

“Somewhere I Never Traveled” by E.E. Cummings pg 815
This could be taken many ways. One could take this poem to be first love which is fragile and precious and must be taken slowly and carefully cause the love could be easily scared off. It also goes through the phases of love with the good times and and bad times.
This could be taken as more negative poem, where instead of “fragile gestures are things which enclose me,” as in all her tender gestures wrap the speaker in love and peace and goodness, it could be taken as the girl being like “but I need you and I can't go one without you and your owe me this...”. Instead of the “slightest look easily enclose” the narrator might mean that he worries over her disapproval because he doesn't want to hurt her. Instead her look of disapproval weakens the narrator and threw him out of her range filling him with dread and unraveling his ability to actually function. What worries me most is “or if you wish to close me, i and/ my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,” and it worries me about the narrator's help. I am afraid that the narrator loves the girl to the point of excess where she can abuse him and hate him, but if she ever left him he would kill himself. That sort of relationship worries me and makes me worry about his health and the health of their relationship.
Parts of this poem also confuse me, like how can fragility be a power? That also worries me to, because it makes me think that one is trapped under his weaknesses. That doesn't sound healthy and I hate the idea of being trapped by anyone. It sounds to me as if this woman has power through manipulation, weaknesses, and faults.

“Immature Love” by Nathaniel Branden pg 964
This piece was really interesting from many perspectives. After all, it is Ayn Rand's lover. I have to agree with all these immature view on love. I know so many people who use love to try to use love to complete them and who do stupid immature things in love. In “Love of My Life” their love was immature and poor. They two of them were trying to be movie couples and act as a couple should instead of showing genuine features of love. I also 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 know people in clearly verbally abusive relationships who just allowed the significant other to continue a abuse them insisting that they “love” the other person and that their significant other has been misunderstood and is hurting inside.
I don't understand all these people with partial feelings of love and that he or she doesn't come to terms with his or her own problems. F someone just fixed their own life first he or she could have genuine love and feelings for the other person.

“The Ache of Marriage” by Denise Levertov pg 1006
This is an interesting poem. When I first read this poem I thought that the term “ache” had negative connotations. 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 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 religious reference for complete 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.
I thought the occasionally use of the word “beloved” was possibly sarcastic, or maybe it was a last ditch attempt to hold onto this idea of what the narrator had.
Though, in class a new idea was presented that I found interesting, where the “ache” of marriage is really the longing to get married. That the woman loves this man and for whatever reasons she can't get married to him. He loves him and as she searches for a communion with him she is turned away. She wants to be consumed with the responsibility and know the secret joys of marriage, and she wants to be saved. She aches for passage onto the ark with her love.

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver pg 976
Everyone has different idea on what love is. I think what is most amusing about this story isn't each person's opinion on love so much as who believes what. I think the fact the Mel has a divorced wife that he wants to die, but at the same time he claims to be a love expert is hilarious. He lets his hatred of his wife keep him from seeing and talking to the kids. I think its funny that his last marriage went so far south that his last wife refuses to get married again out of spite to Mel, and she has him paying child support through the nose. I wonder if maybe she doesn't do it for spite so much as she forces him to pay the child support in attempt to keep him tied to his children, that he apparently hasn't seen in forever. I also am confused about how someone can go from loving another person to hating them. Mel seems insistent that all the people in the table are in love, but if the other died then the people would move on and go on to love others. He was so callous about it, it almost sounded like he wouldn't care if Terri died. Even has Mel talked about his love for Terri he continued to insult and bicker with her.
Terri's idea of love is also messed up. I don't think that loving to the point of not being able to go on without them is a good thing. Suicide over break up=unhappy and immature love. Terri seems rather childish in general. I wonder if Mel married her because she was so simple and he was tired of working for love. Terri doesn't seem to care about how Mel treats her or what she says and does.
I found the story depressing in that everyone at the table was divorced at least once. I also thought it was depressing that Terri thought her abusive boyfriend loved her, I was surprised that she found that a kind of love. I also was surprised that she wanted to sit with him as he died. I would never have anything to do with someone who tried to kill or just me. I think that I am a very low matainence kind of girl who is easily pleased and lets a lot slide, but I draw the line a physical and emotional abuse.
The old couple was cute, but I don't know exactly if that is how I would classify love. I think that if I was in love with someone and I died and would want them to continue to live life to the fullest and be happy, I wouldn't want them to be sad for me and I wouldn't want them to kill themselves for me.
“Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold pg 1073
My discussion about Matthew Arnold in high school has lead me to certain preconceived notions of “dover Beach” which may or may not be accurate. 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 sound grating makes people shudder at the noise, 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, and the lies that their happy perceptions once were.
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.

“A&P” by John Updike pg 833
I think the kid was stupid for quiting his job. This is another kid without confidence who is looking for someone else to complete him and raise him to a level of prestige and self respect. No one can make one respect oneself. I don't know why one would quit one's job over those girls. I don't think they were upper class like the narrator thought. I think they were some scuzzy girls who were too lazy to put some clothes on before going into a store. I would NEVER go into a store in just my swimming suit ESPECIALLY if it was only a bikni. Its just bad taste to run into a store, unless its a beach shop right on the beach, in just one's swim suit. Haven't they ever heard the phrase “no shirt, no shoes, no service”, seriously what did they expect.
I also thought it was really stupid to quit for those girls because he couldn't decide whether or not he liked them, he just thought they were better than him At first he calls all the girls pretty and regal and compliments their looks. Then one of them becomes fat and even the one he calls Queenie loses some of her appeal at some point in time.
I think that this story and the narrators quiting really didn't have anything to do with those girls, and everything to do with his own self love and self image. It was a class deal, like 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 important and worthy of respect as I am”, 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.”

“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot pg 851
Man this was a long poem... alright that's off my chest on to actual meaning. There seems to be the feeling of apathy in the beginning of the poem as if to say “well ok then lets act like lovers”. So they go through the actions of walking down these abandoned streets and sleeping together in cheap dirty hotels. They do it all without thinking, feeling or concern. The narrator actually tells his lover “Oh ,do not ask, “What is it?”? Let us go and make our visit.” He avoids the whole topic of what love is and what is the meaning behind their nightly escapades.
The tone goes from this seeming apathy to a much darker and depressing hue where the narrator is quick to judge himself and the abstract of love. I'm pretty sure that the narrator has a very bitter view on love. He doesn't feel that there is to be any love for him or that there is love for others. The courtship act is simply one that men go through for sex and women go through to enjoy themselves without being looked down on by society.
He becomes especially harsh on himself when he states he is not Hamlet, but Polonius. Polonius is a stupid no nothing jerk who gives bad advice and can do nothing for himself, while Hamlet is the lead in the play, Prince of Demark, and filled glib remarks that are far too witty for the dim witted Polonius to get. I personally hate Hamlet, but if I had to be compared to Hamlet of Polonius I know that I would want to be like Hamlet, at least he has some good qualities and isn't just a babbling pawn of the King.

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner pg 969
Emily is insane. Who kills someone and then sleeps in the same bed with their corpse? Really who does that, and that black servant, he never said anything. If I were working for someone who slept next to a dead man nightly and I ever found out, you can gaurentee I would NEVER go back, in fact I would call the police and convince them to go up and at least take a look. How could you not know she had killed him? One day he's walking around town and occasionally chilling with Miss Emily and then one day he just stops coming into town and no one sees or hears from him ever again... that is really just strange. The servant must have know, I mean he spends the night in Emily's house and then never leaves the bed room again, that's messed up.
Who sells an off kilter woman poison anyway. The guy knew the Emily was a weird shut in, and she refused to tell him what the poison was for. It was far too strong for just rats, he must have known something was up. Yes, the town thought it the poison was for suicide, but did the town really want to aid in the intentional death of a woman? I'd be afraid that she was really insane and going to poison the town water supply and take us all down with her. I would insist in knowing a reason why she wanted the poison. I mean seriously, she can't think of a good lie? Where is her tact? I want to know how she ever roped any guy at all with that lack of social finesse.
I bet the father didn't chase suitors away out of possessiveness, but because he knew his girl was crazy and wanted the burden some poor guy with her. I bet she was a shut in by choice, crazy weirdo. Poor father has this reputation as some sort of mean cruel guy, when really he's just trying to take responsibility for this girl.
I don't think that Emily loved her “finacee” you don't murder people you love. The town probably loved talking about Emily and her eccentricities because if they hadn't love them they wouldn't have enabled her continue to live in that big house without contact with people and without paying her taxes and all of that jazz.

“Night Ferry” by Mark Dotty pg 1075
There is a lot of darkness in this poem. I think the “night ferry” is really the fabled boat that carries people from the world of the living to the world of the dead. The narrator is seeing someone off on the into death, and he is saying his good byes. He will eventually see him again, but it will be a long time from now, and he knows it. This is the love to let go of those we love. It is the strength to go on with life after a tragedy. It is a sign that even through sadness one is going to live his or her life to the fullest. It is the love to wait to be reunited with a loved one, and it is a love of patience. It shows the timeless unstoppable blindness in love to cross worlds and wait years.

“To Speak of the Woe That is in Marriage” by Robert Lowell pg 1005
This poem is interesting because the narrator of the poem is a woman where the author of the poem is a man. I don't think that Lowell created a woman that made any sense. If 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 its funny that the wife keeps the ten dollar 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.
I don't like the alternate interpretation of the reading of why to keep the ten dollars and car keys in which the wife is prostituting herself out to the husband to force him to perform his duties. I would never degrade myself in such a way. I would be humiliated to have to stoop so low to get my husband's attention. If I didn't do it for him then why did he marry me as I think sexual attraction is part and parcel of any healthy marriage and I would not settle for less than a health marriage. When he married me he promised to be faithful and that's really all there is too it.
The elephant metaphor just made me laugh. All I could think of was “trying to pretend the elephant in the room doesn't exist”. Then I thought about having someone stalled over me like an elephant and I realized how annoying that would probably be. I mean if an actual elephant stalled at, there would be no way to get it to move again, one can't push it out of the way, one can't go through it, it would be hard to go around or over it depending on where one was. One would just have to wait until the elephant felt like moving again. Then I thought of how the wife seemed to know all of this and I thought that like and elephant, she would never forget how he stalled over her and was unable to perform his duty to her that he was running into the arms of prostitutes to satisfy. If that was my husband I would kick in the balls and then divorce him fast. Leave him to the whores I deserve and will have much better.

“True Love” by Wislawa Szymborska pg 816
I love this poem ^_^. The narrator questions and demands things about true love in such a way that i places it even higher on a pedestal and makes it even more precious and desirable.
To answer rhetorical questions placed into the poem. 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 ones 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 are 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 because 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.

“To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell pg 849
I have mixed feelings on this poem. It is funny because its this big come on to some poor girl that probably doesn't even know this guy's name. Its 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 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 feeling 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.

“Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald pg 986
Most of Fitzgerald's characters are confused on what exactly they want and Dexter is no different. He becomes obsessed with this really mean girl who is twelve at the time he meets her and he is immediately star struck. This girl was a brat, she tried to attack her nurse, she threw temper tantrums and believed herself to be better than everyone else. It was the fact that the girl treats everyone poorly that attacked Dexter to her in the first place. He quits his job so he won't be considered an inferior, but simply because he would never treat anyone as badly as the girl treats people, he will never be of “equal” class and she will always look down on him as “lesser” because she won't have the proper attitude.
I don't know why one would be interested in that brat, and i don't know what about the misuse of power attracts people so much to others. I guess part of what it is is that the misuse of power better illustrates the exact degree of power one has and this measurement of perceived attracts others. A reoccurring theme of these short stories seems to be that men do not know what they want in women and they chase women to have objects, place holders, symbols, and standards. How come there aren't more stories of a similar nature where the woman is the main character? I think that part of the reason is that women are less likely to fall into the classic Romeo trap as easily as men... perhaps it is just taboo for a woman to talk about being sucked into a love for the wrong reasons.

“The Storm” by Kate Chopin pg857
This is an interesting story. It seems to imply that cheating on one's husband sovles everyone's woes. The wife is calmed by the interlude and does not yell at her husband and son for messing up their clothes and leaving her home alone. Meanwhile the lover allows his wife to stay on vacation with the children longer because he wants his house empty a while still. I want to know if they continue to keep on having an affair. How long do they think it can go on before they get caught? What will Calixta's husband do when and if he finds out? What will happen if Calixta gets pregnant with Alcee's kid.... is Bibi Aclee's kid. It was unclear to me whether or not the last time Claixta and Alcee met they just messed around or they had sex. Its new that the woman cheats on the man, usually one hears about the cheating husband leaving his knocked up wife and five year old kid high and dry while he runs off with some floozy. So Chopin's take is new and interesting. Has Calixta been attracted to Alcee for a while or was it a heat of the moment thing? Do Alcee and Calixta love each other? Why did they marry other people if they wanted each other?
Doesn't Calixta's husband wonder why she is acting so strangely? After all, he seemed to be expecting tirade, but instead he just got a woman happy to see him and her son home safe.

“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin pg 862
Ha that's actually really funny. They think she died of happiness, but she died of sorrow. She had tasted freedom and lost it. It was too much for her to have all this new hope and joy removed from her so quickly. She had been trapped by his tyranny and control too long, that at first being free was a pleasant shock, then just as she was recovering the shock and really beginning to enjoy her life and praying for a long one she moves down the stairs and sees her husband enter. The cruelty of it all, he's supposed to be dead! Its not fair he can not rise from the dead to come back and continue to control her! I wonder if the husband was even upset by his wife's death. I wonder how they make such a mistake to start with?

“Desiree's Baby” by Kate Chopin pg 864
That was great, I love the twist ending. That guy is a huge jerk. He's the one with “tainted” descent and he forced he wife to be the one to endure the cruelty and torture of being accused of having tainted bloodline.

Lit Theoriy Journals Part 1

“Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” by James Wright pg 3-4
This land probably doesn't belong to the speaker, because the title shows that it is “William Duffy's Farm”, not “My Farm”. So he is relaxing on someone else's property, which maybe he's paying to stay there for vacation, but the fact that it is a farm sort of suggests that the narrator is slacking or possibly sneaking onto the land.
The color of the bronze butterfly is significant in that, bronze is the color of the third best place. Third place hangs over the narrator's head out of reach. Then the use of asleep on a black trunk seem to indicate the death of the butterfly. Sleep is often a metaphor for death and black is the color of death, sickness and evil. In this the butterfly might not just symbolize the narrator's rank for more, but also his hope and freedom to achieve as butterflies commonly symbolize freedom, beauty, spring, and good times.
The fact that the butterfly is being blow around like a leaf could show the careful random path of the butterfly, but this sort of travel is also purposeless and futile. It shows a lack of control and a life like animation after the passing of the creature. The shadow brings in the idea of darkness, close to light, sort of a depression while being surrounded by affluence or perhaps a teetering on the edge of life and death or good and bad.
The next line about a ravine and an empty house seem to repeat this feeling of emptiness and uselessness. A ravine is a drop off in the land or a hole in the earth, and then an empty house sort of speaks for itself. Either there is no family or they have all left the narrator. Maybe they are working while he is resting. It could be, since in all likelihood the speaker doesn't own the land, that he is some sort of vagabond who waited until the family went off to Sunday church or all went out to work in the fields so that he could sneak onto the land and sit here in someone else's hammock. It's unclear, but I know that many are often depressed and afraid of being alone. Maybe this symbolizes how other's passed him by.
Far off we hear the first sign of life beyond the speaker and the butterfly. It isn't human voices of even animal sounds, but cowbells. In some ways I think that adds to a feeling of lonely isolation. There are no people, not even animals in this world that the narrator is describing. It is a still world on the edge of light and dark. Even these cowbells can be heard in the distance moving away from the speaker until they fade into the distance, as the next line of the poem clarifies for us.
I think when I first read this poem, it was here that the feeling of dread and nervousness for the poem broke into all out concern. I had felt something off kilter in the poem prior, but when the narrator talks about “The droppings of last year's horse” I knew this couldn't possibly be a happy poem. Feces is not a topic of happy poems, especially when all that is in the field are droppings. Where are the horses? Have they died, are then in for the day, where are they?
I was expecting all sorts of things to be in the field highlighted by the sun, but poop had never crossed my mind. The fact that the narrator calls the droppings “golden stones” sort of shows that his “gold” is cleaning up horse droppings. Maybe this is a hint as to who he is, he is a farm hand, who should be working cleaning horse droppings, and instead he is resting. Maybe he is happy about the horse droppings because they symbolize work for him to do and that he is still needed or maybe he is happy for the droppings because they are older droppings that indicate that the horses have died or been sold. Its very sad, and for me it was sort of alarming too.
The next line is about darkness over coming him. He leans back, which sort of made me think of those trust building games where on says “falling” and your partner responds “fall away” and then you lean back and begin to fall and you need to rely on the other person being there to catch you. I was always worried that when I fell I wouldn't be caught by my partner, and here is the narrator leaning back, and we already know that there is no one else there to catch him. The darkness coming on makes me think of the shadow extending and reaching out to consume him into darkness, which could symbolize death. As a kid, in the summer when the sun began to set and the shadows would slowly grow over the law I would try to stay in the sun as long as possible, and I'd play a game where crossing over into the shadows was dangerous, perhaps this is part of what the author wants the mindset of the reader to be like.
For me a chicken hawk is sort of a meaningless bird. It would be cool to see up close, but beyond that, its connotation falls a bit flat on me. Though I do see how it could be a bad omen for farmers, who have to protect their animals from the bird. The idea that even a negative creature is lost and looking for a home.
To me the narrator has wasted his life by not striving for his best. He didn't go after success, and he settled for what he had. He was to afraid of failure to even make an attempt and not that he has lost everything and is sitting on someone else's farm, he sees what was missing in his life. He knows he could have had and been more. He sees too late the error of his life and what living in fear of failure brings. He wishes that he had more than poop and that he had tried for greater accomplishments.

“Dear Micheal, Love Pam” by Michael Lohre pg10
As far as I can tell this poem was originally a letter written by Pam to Michael, which Michael turned into a poem in response to her request at the bottom of the letter.
The narrator here 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 still tries to go out and have fun with things like Swing Dancing lessons. 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 brighter 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 a cruddy job. Did she get a bad settlement with the divorce? Does she have children to think of?
The poem takes place maybe late January to early February. This holds minimal significance, only that on Valentines Day Pam is going out to eat with a chemical salesman, though she's wary about the date.
What is really interesting and significant in this poem is Pam's view of “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota”. Pam doesn't think the narrator wasted his life sitting in a pastoral area and admiring the scenery. Perhaps when she read the poem she thought of herself sitting in the hammock after a busy day reflection on her life. I know at least for me, in those sort of quiet times when I am reflecting on my life my feelings are mixed. Sometimes everything is wonderful and my life is the best, other times I feel very melancholy and I wonder where all the time has gone. Pam, may take “Lying in a Hammock” as one of those moments where one is filled with regret and bitterness over how one has spent his or her time. She thinks he hasn't wasted her life partly because he is worried about it and has realized his past mistakes. If one recognizes past errors that means one is conscientious about how one behaves, which indicates that more often than not that the person probably does the right thing. She also wants to go easy on the narrator of “Lying in a Hammock” because she doesn't want anyone else to judge her life as a waste.
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, I feel the words are much more for Pam then they are for Charlie. In the poem she has taken in inferior position to Michael in education, understanding, work, and social standing. She feels she has a lesser job and a lower understanding of poetry. It sounds as if she wouldn't even read any poetry if it wasn't for Michael sending it to her. She continues her inferiority feeling when she talks about her date for Valentines day, and her hope that Michael is doing better. At the end of the letter, she professes that though Michael doesn't even know Charlie he could write something about him better than she could.
In some ways Michael is continuing the theme of Wright's poem, to not settle for the place one is in. No matter one's background one can create art and one can better oneself. He doesn't want his sister to sell herself short, and he doesn't want her to look back and think that she wasted her life.

“The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake pg 18
Blake does a great job showing the horror of a working child's world with very little description. I like that a lot because it gives the reader a chance to imagine his or her own fates. The only action mentioned specifically is that Tom Darce's curly blond hair was shaved off and he cried over it.
The rest of the poem is really dedicated to a dream sequence where all of Tom's friends are dead and locked into their coffins before and Angel with a bright key comes and lets them out. Then the boys start to leap in green fields and the could wash in the river and be happy. The boys rise into the clouds naked and clean. The dream finishes with the Angel telling Tom that good boys go to heaven and are eternally happy.
There is a lot of interesting imagery in this dreaming portion. The fact that the boys are in dark coffins, which probably resemble the chimneys that they clean for a living. It is also interesting that the coffins are locked. Does this indicate that the rooms the boys stay in at night are locked so they can not escape? The color change is also significant because the darkness in the poem would coincide with the dark soot that the boys work in, and the green field would be a strong difference from London's regular background colors. The washing in the river may also be a symbolic washing away of pain and hardship as much as it is supposed to wash away the soot. It is cold and harsh in reality, but in the dream things are soft and warm.
I think the poem isn't about Tom or the speaker of the poem. The focus is on neither Tom or the narrator but on Tom's dream, and the bittersweet message found in it. It tells all boys to work hard and be happy because while all their life they will suffer, death will come swiftly to them and release them. This is a morbid thought that there is no joy in life, only in death can these boys discover happiness. What perhaps is worse is that this dream really seems to encourage the boys to work hard. Its sick to think that the world can hold nothing but the escape of death.
I think that Blake does not endorse this dream at all. I think Blake scorns the dream's message and doesn't believe in it. Part of the irony of the poem is that everyone knows that Tom's comfort is the sick and twisted truth. The point of the poem is to make others feel bad for these children and their hope for a swift death where they may finally be freed their hardships.

“Hard Work” Stephen Dunn pg 19
This is a a wonderfully sad poem. It seems to be a sad sort of warning to not grow up too quickly. The author has been disillusioned about the nature of work and what it really takes to make a man.
At first we hear about how the narrator's friends are all at camp, and he wishes he could have gone to camp too. The narrator tries to comfort himself even now by stating that the money was good and that “hard work, my father said,/ was how you became a man”. There is an immediate switch in the next line from the set up of the narrator's situation to the reality where he says “I saw a man for no special reason/ piss into a coke bottle”, his use of the word man is significant here. When one thinks of the word man one generally thinks of the fatherly figure who goes out to make the money for the family and sets family policy. This is also the kind of man that the narrator's father was talking about when he said that hard work created him. The narrator though, talks about another kind of man in the next line though. One that seems to also be made out of hard work, only this man isn't a protective provider but a bitter and angry.
He talks of this job as a soul stealing joy wrenching lifeless job, and he talks about how the job makes him hunger for companionship to stop and aching sense of lost isolation. He talks about the idea that he and others from his work purposely break bottles with a conspiring glance. At first, he couldn't understand these hostile actions, but it was not long before the monotony of the job wore at the narrator. 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.
The poem has a sense of helplessness, and unchanging in it. This comes part from the fact that all of his “hard work” is gone in a month and it also stems from all the acts of destruction he and his coworkers participated in that affect nothing. However, most of this feeling of hopeless work comes from the change in topic when the narrator discusses how his job is probably phased out “though someone for sure/ still does the hard work of boredom”. He speaks of how technology actually further trapped people into work because they can no longer show their personality through the destruction of some of the product.

“What Work I Wouldn't Do” by Dorianne Laux pg 20
The speaker is very preoccupied with a job that gives a service to others. Her first job her working at a fast food joint. She served people meals and while not all of the customers were effusively showing their greatfulness to her, she was providing a wanted service to others. In her next job at the laundromat she was again providing a needed and wanted service to customers through giving them quarter that were needed to start the machines. Even when the speaker worked at the bakery and interacted with many of her customers she was still providing a needed and useful service to others through making donuts. He job calling people as to try and sell telephone books was not a desired job. People didn't come to her wanting what she had to offer, she pestered them from their usual life to try and sell them something.
I think the narrator is too sensitive. She couldn't stand to hear the hope in other people's voices that she was someone important? That's sort of a silly thing to have a problem with. A minimum wage job is a minimum wage job, and really its an in between work until one can get something better. There are reasons to quit those sort of jobs, one has a better job, the pay isn't good enough, the co-workers are really mean, etcetera. I'd understand if she was being paid commission and she wasn't selling enough phone books to make the bills. I would also understand if she didn't like talking on the phone as she probably got yelled at a lot by people and taking that abuse daily would wear on anyone, but to quit for such a silly idealistic reason... she must not have really needed the money.

“Shoplifters” by Maura Stanton pg22
This was a funny poem. There were a lot of different ways to look at it. On of the first things I had wondered was where did she get all this information about the shoplifters. At first I had considered that perhaps she was making everything up, as that is one of the wonderful things to do with first person narratives, make up everything that goes on in them. Some of the things are so random that I wondered where she had gotten the ideas. I also wondered if anyone was stealing anything or if was just a slow day at the register and the narrator was creating interesting musings to keep herself entertained.
Eventually I thought that her ideas are too random and strange to be just pretend, so I began to wonder where she had heard the information. I thought maybe she was one of the people who had to watch for shoplifters and bring them into the security room to talk with the managers. I could see some people breaking down in frantic confessions begging for forgiveness and I could see other people stating with conviction that they needed and deserved the goods. I could see other people asking what harm one less can of tuna would be while others would blush in shame and admit that they had no money.
I like how the manager is watching everyone at the end and his intensity is so strong that he makes the narrator nervous. I wondered why the manager's glare would make the narrator nervous. Was she allowing people who were shoplifting to get away with it? Was just the intensity making her nervous? Was she suspected of stealing something or had she been stealing from the store and now she is afraid she will be caught? I remember that we had a Christmas employee we had suspected of stealing cash from another employee and we watched the man like a hawk and fired him at the first chance that we had for a stupid reason.
I also know that people shoplift all the time, and I personally don't do anything about it. What do I care, I'll be paid regardless of whether or not some toys are stolen, so why should I risk my personal safety for the sake of a corporation's wealth?

“When I consider How My Light Was Spent” by John Milton pg37
Ick, alright, I'm done venting my feelings now on my supreme dislike of this poem, now down to actual analysis. This was a very difficult poem to try and find meaning in. I don't agree with this poems basic values and beliefs, and perhaps this is why I had such trouble trying to read through it.
The narrator was a preacher who had spent his time reading and writing God's work, and now that he is going blind he doesn't know what to do. His contrasts and symbolism between light and dark are interesting. The first line “When I consider how my light is spent,” could refer to many things. People don't have a literal light built internally into them. Often we refer to the good in people as the “light” sometimes it is a reference to the soul contained within one's body. In this case light could symbolize his life, or it could symbolize his talents, or perhaps light symbolizes time in. The next line talks about how half of the narrator's life was spent in “this dark world and wide,” which is an interesting phrase. Is it half of the narrator's entire life, as in “I'm twenty right now and I will only live to forty. These first twenty years I have been protecting and spreading my light through the dark world” or does it mean “I'm twenty and ten of those years were spent in me traveling the dark perils of this world”. Also what exactly is this darkness, is it evil or Satan, is it death or disease.
The next two lines really just confuse me more. I don't know what talent that only death can take, perhaps it is one's ability to do what is right or one's ability to struggle with the devil in this world. What I consider talents can often be easily lost. The ability to read through blindness, to be a good speaker could be lost through some vocal cord damage and so on. Even the powers of the mind could be lost through brain trauma, and many believe in death one is able to still think and act as an individual being, so death could not take away the power of the mind or soul. Maybe the narrator is referring to the body, as in death one does lose its body, and in a Christian belief system one is never restored to another body but remains for all eternity in Heaven or Hell. Still I don't know how spreading half of one's life in the darkness of the world could be a talent that death could take away, one will have still spent half of one's time living in the world's darkness.
However I understand in the next line that one of the narrators strongest talents will soon be trapped within him and useless to the world. He is suffering from this knowledge and he will suffer from the loss of his special talent. The narrator wonders if God will still expect him to do His work when his “light” or his talent is gone. The narrator does not know what to do or how to continue on. He reminds himself that God does not need anyone's talents or gifts to do his work, which I guess is part of really annoys me. If God doesn't need preachers and He really won't care one way or another if he has them, they why do that sort of work? Why not go somewhere where one's efforts will be appreciated and desired, forget some crappy God who is so pompous to think that He doesn't need his shepherds or followers. Show him who's really in charge. I have no love or interest in working for someone who doesn't value me.
What might annoy me most is the last line “They also serve who only stand and wait.”, no they should not serve those people. 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 and should not be saved. Doing nothing should be the same as doing evil. One can start out with good intentions and bungle them, but to sit in fear or laziness and do nothing is more wrong than those who actively go out to hurt. 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?

“Night Waitress” Lynda Hull pg 40
This poem is about a woman who is a night waitress. She is an older less attractive woman of ethnic descent. The language is wonderful. “pies/ look like clouds drifting one my shoulder”, its such an odd image. I would never have thought of pies as cloud like, and yet its is a wonderful way to illustrate the way that the pies are floating on the top of the tray that the woman is serving. It also gives the poem a dreamlike quality.
Its also interesting this theme of self consciousness that is brought up in the beginning of the poem when it states “I'm telling myself my face has character,/ not beauty.” Many people would prefer to have beauty and not character. Most woman I know would immediately argue with the narrator insisting that she is a least pretty, even if she is hideous. Its one of those strange female vanity aspects that seems to be turned on its head in this poem. Though the narrator spends a great deal of time in this sort of self conscious negative image of herself. Later in the poem it says “At this hour the men all look like/ as if they'd never had mothers./ They do not see me.” Again she is making herself unimportant and unworthy of notice. Before she had “character” but no beauty, and now she has nothing at all worthy of notice. Later in the poem the narrator again brings up how invisible she is in the world around her “I would not stop him/ if he touched me, but its only songs/ of risky love he leans into.” The narrator is so invisible that this man does not pay attention to her. Also the idea that she would not stop a strange man from having his way with her shows how little the narrator thinks of herself. She believes that this work and this world as a night waitress is the best that she can do. Perhaps the most poinagnt part where one sees the waitress' feeling of low self worth is when she leaves the restaurant and goes out into the daylight. “”I'm fading/ in the morning's insinuations/ collecting in crevices of buildings,/ of frail machinery.” The speaker feels she does not exist in the world of the sun. She realizes that her job is sleazy at a bar and that there are all sorts of whispers and implications about what a woman would be doing working at night. No matter how innocent the job may truly be someone else will always have some sort of dirty thoughts on it.
I also loved how she worked in her culture and family in the poem. All the transitions are so subtle and meaningful in this poem in general it is wonderful. Where she brought in her mother was particularly poinagnt for me. She made her sound as a Slavic woman who had just gotten off the boat and went into the first place she came to for work. I saw this haggard old woman working the same restaurant her daughter now works. I could even seen the two of them working side by side. I saw the mother on her hands and knees washing and muttering Slavic prayers as her daughter walked by with a tray of coffee and pie for the customers. I can see the daughter frowning as her mother ages and wrinkles. She must ache from the process of stooping and scrubbing the floors. I wonder if the job is better than what she could have had at home. I wonder if the pay actually gets her more here than her last job. I wonder if what the mother really wanted for her daughter was to go into the same line of work. I am also curious about the narrator's seeming lack of faith. Her mother seems to be fairly religious as the image of her that the narrator conjures up of her has her praying, but the daughter does not seem as faithful. She calls her mother's god “her god of sorrows and visions” which seems to tell me that this god is not the narrators. It is also interesting that the narrator compares her mother to “the Black Madonna”, which she capitalizes, but then the narrator does not capitalize the word god when she refers to who her mother prays to. Also using sorrows to describe the god seems to imply that this faith and loyalty brings nothing to the mother but hardship. The daughter also states in the poem that this god is not present tonight. Usually when god is not present is considered to be a bad thing, but I wonder if with a “god of sorrows” if this could be considered a good thing instead.

“The Solitary Reaper” by William Wordsworth pg 46
It is an interesting poem. The narrator is passing by on is way to some other area when he hears the beautiful melody. It is coming from this young woman who is singing in the field as she cuts and binds grain. He is just amazed with the incredible song this girl is singing while she does this difficult work. Cutting and binding grain must be really hard. I imagine that a sickle is sort of unwieldy and that the grain is probably hefty once one binds it up. I can just see her smiling and singing this song and laughing almost as if instead of work she were at play. I think of the term “whistle while you work”. I also wonder about the disposition of the narrator. Was he weary from his journey? Where is he coming from? Where is he going. Is this like a journey into town or is he just traveling around the country side?
This girl seems to have a lot of meaning for the narrator and I don't know why. She's just this girl going about everyday work. She's probably lower middle class, and she is probably singing some folk song from her town, which suggests to me that the narrator is from out of town. I mean its great that the song is really neat and so all encompassing, but that seems like a little journal entry personal thing not an idea for a poem that actually can be sold for monetary compensation.