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Sep. 2nd, 2008

So Very Busy

In pink because I'm hopeful that makes my stress and worry lower a bit.  Though to be fair there is a lot of exictment there too.  

  • Saw Kathleen this weekend, for what I thought at the time would be our last face to face for a while.   I'm pretty sure I'm going to see her again for a Dar Williams (here's hoping her new CD with "buzzer" is out) concert though (if you read this before I email yes to you, the answer is yes pending on ticket prices).   Anyhow I'm definately going to miss her, it's a little sad to see our college best friendness be stretched, but I suppose it will be good too.  After all going somewhere new and doing something completely different has to be (hopefully will be) at least as good as it is bad.  Maybe I've totally messed that up though.  Meh.  
  • been helping my brother with all of his many summer reading essays and he's not too bad a writer.  My mom made it sound like he was terrible and, well he isn't.  I guess I should have pulled that from my high marks in English compared to my mother's rather acidic criticque of my own work.  Either way, I'm glad it will be easier on him...even if he does fight me a bit on how much correction is required to make the essay actually meet the ruberic AND fit into your basic thesis formed paper.  It's not entirely his fault they wanted him to cram so much info in one essay, personally I think really there should be a summary paper and a reaction paper as opposed to forcing the two together, but that's just how I do things I guess. 
  • I've noticed how some habits you think are dead really aren't.  A few weeks ago my bf was talking to me about how he'd downloaded all of The Killers because they reminded him of me.  Now I like The Killers, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they would remind him of me.  I mean if I were to pick an artist, it would be something less mainstream, like Frou Frou, Loreena Mckinett, Tori Amos, and what have you.  What I hadn't figured in to this equation is that I sing and hum a lot, most often if there is a song to go with like the Killers (which I would be more likily to hear because it is both on my playlist and on the radio as well as on many other's playlists) but I also sing whatever is stuck in my head when I'm happy or when I need filler or when I want cheering up or just because.  I didn't think about that because I didn't think I did that anymore.  My mother hates humming, singing, and whistling.  She always told me I had a terrible voice when I sang that would drive people away (of course none of my friends think this and I have some pretty honest and musically inclined friends, but to each their own).  I didn't want to hear all that so I stopped singing and phased out humming when at home.  Turns out I still do it as long as I'm not at home.  I noticed that at work, since I'm in an isolated area, I'll often catch myself singing out loud and have to stop.  It's just weird to think something like that, which I thought I grew out of is still very much a core little snippet.  I don't know, I guess it just sort of hit me how much I change/shut down when I'm at home. 
  • I've been having really stressful upsetting dreams but when I wake up, there's just that emotion and little snippets of what was going on.  For example, I know that last night's dream was about packing and moving but it was also about hiding from some dream version of Nazis who pretty much wanted me dead.  I know it's just stress from the waking world but it still is unsettling.  I wish the anxiety would leave me be when I'm sleeping.  
  • I'm making a baby blanket for my bf's sister.  I'm trying to hold reiki energy while making it too, but I'm not sure how well that's going to work out for me.  It's hard to be a clear radio as Mrs V woud call it when one is snarking over snarls, tangles and lost loops.  I'll just have to try harder I guess. 
  • My bf started moving into our apartment today.  I know I'm not there and not going to be there for a bit, but I can't help but feel thrilled. The landlady didn't just clean the carpet, but she just put in a new fridge, stove, and dishwasher.  She hadn't mentioned that when we were looking at it (and by we I mean my bf while he kept me informed of course).  I'm glad we stuck with this appartment pick even if the kitched is insanely small. 
  • While talking to Kathleen it occurred to me that I think I really do want to try my hand at getting some of my work published.  I haven't felt this free in years and it's so odd.  I mean on one hand I can see that my slightly emotionally abusive mother has a pretty strong hold on me still because when I tried to tell my bf that I wanted to work on getting published as part of my career goals in WY I lost all basic control to talk and blurted out "what do you want me to do for work when I get there?"  It's the kind of answer I give my parents when they are working on me.  It isn't the kind of answer I should give my bf.  I should be able to just say what my plan is and he should accept it.  Hell I know he supports me, I know he would want me to explore all opportunities I can perceive to the fullest degree and I still choked up in telling him.  It doesn't matter now, I mean I did end up explaining what I meant along with my freeze.  I'm really exicted about the whole chance.  I'm pretty sure I won't get too far, but at least I'll have tried it and seen if it was for me now. I'm going to be posting more about this job and other work related thoughts though, so I'll leave this for now. 
  • I need to throw up a pagan post at some point in time so know that's reserved too. 
  • MUST CLEAN.  Though I'm beginning to see an end, so that's always happy.  I'm thinking about doing the same thing my sister did in regard to packing my clothes anyhow, which will cut all that down immensely.   Still being finicky with books but Gods know I can get through it. 
  • I am THRILLED to give my two weeks on Fri WORK SUCKS.  
  • Saw Barack's speech on Thurs and I soooooo want to be part of his speech team.  Wonderful writing.  Really moving.  
  • Haha McCain you pick poor vp choices

Jul. 19th, 2008

My Week, Let Me Show You

Yeah so Coldplay isn't exactly giving me a glowing example of my taste.  You know though, I really am a bit addicted to "Violet Hill", I'm thinking it's going to be the bf's and my song....not the most hearting true, but not the least either.  I mean the whole snow theme really goes with North Adams and what place is ours more than that?  Alright the rest of it is a bit....

Well there is always trouble for me isn't there.  No point in holding it back.  He called me and the whole graphics art thing fell through.  Everything over there is falling apart for him.  No surprise.  And I'll admit when he called me on Tuesday to explain this to me I was pissed.  Beyond pissed, beside myself might be a better choice, because I want the get the fuck out of here and because if he can't pull his finances together, I can't continue to date him because I can't marry him and we're at a point where if I'm not ready to move towards that, then I'm to connected to stick.  He owes too much money not to have a plan and I'm far too nervous a person to fly blind.  

I guess it pissed me off because there have been so many ways he could have avoided this.  At every chance he got to make a choice he made the absolute worst one there was to make, and I know a thing or two about bad choices.  Man this kid kicks my ass at fucking up. 

But it isn't my life, and he's pulled himself out of things tight spots before.  Not all is lost.  I'm just letting it go however until September and then if he hasn't pulled it together than it's over.  I'll be telling him just that tonight.  I don't want him to talk to me about his jobs or his plans at all until then because it just upsets me.  If he actually wants my advice, we could talk about it, but if he just is going to tell me x, y, and z then no, he can just save it.   I'll hear it all in September.  

It's all good though.  Tuesday I watched a ton of Daira to calm down.  You know I could find it on youtube then and on Friday when I went to show Kyle, it was all gone.   Interesting that. 

Not to mention, I'm not an eggs in one basket kind of lady.  I've got many baskets and many many eggs.  So the boyfriend thing is no good, whatever, when has that last worked out?  

I'm thinking about going for my divinity license.  My mom wants to quit her job at the church and she thinks I'd be a good replacement.  I know, I know, a pagan running CCD is odd, but I think it might be a good idea.  I don't have problem with teaching any religious doctrine as long as I can specify that this is what group X believes.  I like the age group (bratty pre-teens and young teens are actually right up my ally cause they are just beginning to become aware of themselves and I have a lot of respect for what it does or doesn't take people to become self aware) and really it's more about giving the kids all the info they need to make an informed decision about commiting to the church.  Teaching them the doctrine, is a way to do that.  Also the church needs a youth minister and if I take those kind of jobs, I'll get to help create programs I think the young folk might actually like to do and what not, but I'll get to go to BC for a divinity degree at a 75% discount.  Plus I can keep my other job. 

Anyhow, at the least I'm going to start teaching and understudying, if it works out, then yay.  If I hate it, it won't be a huge surprise either. 

My yoga is really improving.  I'm noticably stronger and more fexible and I haven't even beeing that faithful in my practice, but well, you know how life goes.  You do the best you can.  Since I'm going to be around here for a bit (probably, never can be 100%), I might consider taking a week or two off in Jan if all goes well to get a yoga teacher certification.  Too early to tell, but if progress is steady, I might be very sucessful at that. 

I didn't like college.  I think getting that degree was a waste of time and money, but the degree is providing a base job to help fund some of my little excesses.  Maybe the point of college for me was getting a degree that will earn me seed money for the real career.  I still feel like I'd be farther along if had made other choices, but no one is  happy right after college anyway.  At least I didn't jump right into grad school to buy me time from the real world (not that everyone who goes to grad school is doing than and not that I could get into grad school with my gpa if I had wanted to, but still). 

I did do some writing on Sunday and that was good.  My little detective story is beginning to pick up.  I sort of know where I want to go with that, so that's exicting.  It's odd for me because I'm working with mostly male characters and that's newish for me.  It's not like I shy away from male characters, but the last time I made a man the lead of a story was in 9th grade, and that novel was beyond convoluted.  It isn't even worth salvaging..though goodness knows I tried often because there are aspects.  If the thing was cliche, over done and rehashed to hell, there are a few scenes that are really worthwhile.  Of course I was going through my whole soul mates, one true love, black and white, fate, lord of the rings-you get the idea- phase. 

Wow, I've spent a lot of time this week rehashing older projects.  

Anyhow, the detective thing is cute.  Funny and light, which is exactly what I feel up to writing right now.  I'm in a rambly random mood, you know?  No need to try to write the great American novel, especially if I don't think it's ever going to be publishable.  Publishing isn't something I'm so much pursuing anymore.  I like writing and I'd like it if someone read some of the stuff, but I'm not even really sure books and magazines are the way to go with that anymore, you know?  I've started reading books and magazines again, and most everything I read is still from online.  I read tons of fanfiction and from authors who show something that really was amazing, I read their original work, when they have it.  That's really my big fiction reading push and that's all I feel moved to read. 

This whole Twilight series has me a little bummed though too.  I mean those books sound like utter tripe.  Don't get me wrong, I ate up that tripe when I was of a certain age  ::cough 14-18 cough:: and those books have a place.  It doesn't mean I can't think the books are a little gross.  I mean a girl who's got a vampire admirer who thinks they are soul mates and it too afraid he'll hurt her if he has sex with her?  What the hell?  All my soul mate series books involved sex, that was kind of half the fucking (pun, hehe) idea.

An the whole, "I'm a dude so when I'm in the zone I have no control" so not cute.  Also the whole "must protect womenz from everyone, including my own ill intentions....even if she wants such intentions"  not exactly a picture I want to color in for young teens. 

Might I add that a vampire who has lived thousands of years and never had any kind of love affair sexual or not until he meets this girl is either a liar or the most boring vampire on the face of the earth.  What kind of Johny no imagination thought this up?

Why am I ranting about a book series I haven't read that I'm not going to read that is very similar to most teen books of suck, well cause my sister actually asked me if I wanted to read them!  I didn't say any of this to her because you know it was sort of sweet that she tried to think of me at all, but does she have no taste, does she really think what I read and am into is comprable to this bullshit.  What am I saying, of course she does.  It's alright though, I've got to remember these suggestions come from a girl who read Prep and felt uncomfortable because there were too many similarities between herself and the bad characters in the book.

What bitter, maybe a little, yeah.  But I love writing and I love reading and it's ok if that's all that ever is.  

Speaking of bitter, can I just say that my love for Barak isn't absolute or even close.  I've lost a lot of respect for him since he became the Democratic canidate.  He's no where near the asshat McCain is, but he still sucks a little.  I don't like him moving towards the center at all.  I don't care if its some shitty political tactic (one that alienates his stronghold and I have a lot of doubts that it woos any fence sitters), I don't like it and it either makes him a liar or someone with quite a few views I don't agree with. 

I'm still voting for him.  He's still got good policy on a lot of topics.  Even if he didn't my options are limited, though I already have my second pick all lined up if he fucks up to much.  What, I'm in Mass, not like McCain has a snowball's chance in hell here, I could vote of a car and it wouldn't effect the election and I won't vote for Barak just because he's a democrat.  His speaking skills have left a lot to be desired and his abortion stance ignores Doe (not to be confused with Roe).  

I guess I thought if I read more news and politics, I'd really like him is all.  I thought a lot of abstract things from what I  knew of his campaign that aren't true.  And no I'm not an expert or even well enough versed that I'd be comfortable debating much.  I'm just well enough versed to know there are a lot of inconsistences and a lot of things I don't like in the gaps with him.  I'm very uneasy I guess. 

It's just beginning to occur to me there are things worse than Bush and I think it's possible that McCain is in that catagory--I obviously don't feel that way about Barak, but I don't feel good about him either is all.

Visisted my friend this past week.  He's had an ugly break up and as sad as it is to say, this was probably really stabalizing for me in a lot of ways.  I mean I do feel terrible for him and I'll do whatever it takes to help him back on his feet,  but it doesn't change how this can be reassuring for me.  First off, I like being the spiritual and mental counselor and he always puts me in that position.  A lot of my exes do that for me.  I like to think it's because I'm good at it and this aspect of my personality was something that was highly important for them when we were together and still is valued while we're friends.  But it just could be that I'm quite good a throwing out the right words for the right people

It also helped me come to some conclusions about my relationship as I think best about my relationships when I make them secondary to something else.    And it reminds me why I'm interested in holistic healing and why I would find getting deeper into that so rewarding.  

Today I went to the flower show with my mom.  That was good.  I finally just up and told her everything about my career plans and my intentions with my boyfriend.  It might have gone well, I'll see in a few weeks. 
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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

So I read Persepolis about a week ago and last night I saw the movie.  First impression:  if you're in it for the story hands down the book is 10 times better.  As with any book to movie, the book has more content.  They did what they could to keep the big bits, after all Marjane was the author of the book and a co-director.  I suppose it was what was more important for her, but what really hit me and what really brought Persepolis home for me wasn't included in the film.  A lot of the extra time with her uncle and all the lies and stoicism of the family was cut too short for me.  The fronts were really big in the book and were cut for the mos part in the movie.   Another thing is that the humanizing scenes in graphic novel.  Parts where we saw Marjane did stupid things or falter.  Scenes that pointed out her own and her family's hypocrisy, almost none of those made the movie.

If you're looking for the art though, the movie is the way to go.  Beautiful.  I wasn't expecting it from the graphic novel.  I mean the art wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything to write home about.  As far as comic style goes, I'd have rated the book fairly low, but the movie was amazing.  I found the art and the music just went so well together.  I was moved by quite a few of the scenes that didn't have the same impact without the sound and the movement.  There were a lot  more flowers in the movie and it made a tie in with the Grandma that way which was nice.  The graphic novel fell just short of that. 

Another thing that I like is that there were aspects that seemed to pronounce the whole French film thing.  I can't tell if it's a built in stereo type I have or if it's the kind of French movies I watch or if it's consistent in French films, but I'm used to certain love themes and certain portrayals from French movies that I really like.  Meh, I've always been a little too interested in all things French though.

Like always the graphic novel was much better than the book, but the movie was still a good take.  Just my thoughts though.

Jul. 8th, 2008

Review of Escape by Carolyn Jessop

So I just finished reading Escape  and I would definitely put it at a must read status for anyone who has ever wanted an insider's look at FLDS (Fundamental Latter Day Saints).  I'm not going to go through a huge break apart of the book right now, let me just throw out a few highlights (I'll warn you before I post spoilers so don't worry).  

Summary: 

Escape is an autobiography about Carolyn Jessop's life and escape from FLDS.  We follow her from a lover of her faith to a point where she is willing to and risk everything to escape FLDS with all of her children.    Since the book was written at all it isn't really a spoiler that she gets out, I won't say anymore about the how or why though. 

What I liked: 

-I really got an insider look at the FLDS.  Carolyn covers what she was taught as a child vs doctrine that Warren Jeffs decided to add on.  I could see the community going from something I would label as "fringe" or "not for me" to something that was "terrifying" and at least for me completely unbelievable to happen in the USA. 

-I found Carolyn's parallels's to other cults, methods of brainwashing and what not made it not only easy for me to identify with her but identify with many of her enemies. 

-To me, this book made it clear how terrorism is born and it solidified to me that terrorism is alive and well here as well as overseas.

-The book was really empowering and inspiring for me.  That someone in such a desperate situation who had been raised to think that her situation was un-changable and God's will could reject those notions and get out gives me hope.  I need to believe that more people can do that. 

-I felt like I got to know her, her children and some of her family.  

-Jessop kept the scenes of violence and abuse frank and shocking without getting so detailed that one felt like she was getting too in depth in details I'm not sure I could have read.  The story is horrifying without a play by play.

-THIS POINT IS A SPOILER:  Jessop makes a good point about what can make the FLDS more insidious than other cults.  While many other cults tell one not to trust the outside, people in the FLDS have no other experience.  They think what they are experiencing is normal or better than the outside.  They have no outside contacts to help them get out.  They have no skills that can help them once they've left the group.

- I think this quote by mdott922 over at http://mindlessmeandering.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/book-review-escape-by-carolyn-jessop/
sums up everything I'm trying to get at here:

" There are actually two stories told in this book.  The first is Carolyn Jessop’s own life story.  She was raised in a polygamous family, married at the age of 18 to someone 32 years her senior, who already had 3 wives, and went on to have 8 children in 15 years before fleeing polygamy.  The details of her life are sordid and, if I daresay unbelievable if the YFZ raid hadn’t brought the FLDS (Fundamental Latter Day Saints) to the forefront of American media.  In fact, her horribly abusive husband is currently in the news as the leader for the YFZ ranch.

As disturbing as the details of her life air, the other story Jessop tells is far worse.  With an insight that few outside the FLDS have (and no one inside the FLDS will share), she details the rise of Warren Jeffs and how he has turned a culture that was once fringe to something akin to the Taliban.  For those who look at places such as Afghanistan and say, “That could never happen here in the US,” you need to read this book.  She is even gives one of the most heartbreaking testimonies of the insidious power of cult behavior imaginable."

The only point I'd argue is that the polygamous aspect wasn't as focused on is mdott92 seemed to make it.  It was there and constant and undeniable.  But it was part of the life and culture.  What was really suffocating, shocking, and terrible was  the depiction of the FLDS of which polygamy was only one aspect (and for me not the one worth emphasis)." 

Downsides and Nitpicking: 

-It's a fast read but in many places it is a hard to read.  There were a few times where I cried or was on the verge of tears.  I know the USA isn't some amazing safe place immune to the terror, torment, and poor living conditions, but this was hands down this is the worse community I had ever read about inside the borders of a not third world country.  Even though there were constant references to world events and outside towns in the area it's hard to remember we're talking USA here.  Every now and then I'd remember all of it was happening in American and I'd have sort of a moment of shock.  I've read  other books that were pretty unsavory.  There's Jesus Land and They Cage the Animals at Night for a few, but I think in many aspects this book was more shocking for me.

-The book is an auto-biography and I think in some areas Jessop is too defensive about her membership (though more of this probably has to do with being an inexperienced author than her actual defensiveness).  When she talks about her childhood and introduction to her faith, I don't think that she needs to constantly explain why she believed as she did.  I mean I think most people believe what their parents tell them when they are kids.  Heck for a while I was convinced the moon was made out of cheese because my grandfather told me so.  The myth might be more common, but it isn't more ridiculous than some of the beliefs explained to us.  Add a community of believers to back up the thoughts and I feel that Jessop did such a good job showing why she'd believe such she didn't need to tell.  

Over all the book is well written though, it's just a slight blip for me.  

-SPOILER IN THIS DASH Jessop's older daughter, Betty went back to FLDS.  I know it's a true story and I know Jessop was probably more crushed than I was, but it still hurt by it.  Another aspect about Betty was that at her birth Jessop mentions that Betty was Merrill's favorite daughter and that would mean something she couldn't begin to imagine.  I saw how it made Betty loyal to FLDS, but I just couldn't see why.  Did Merrill spend a lot of extra time with Betty or was she getting some nice perks.  I don't know I really wanted Betty's story, but I know Carolyn couldn't give it to me and I doubt Betty is interesting in telling it.  I guess my interest is more a tribute to how involved the book made me  feel, but I did want more.

-I would have liked to know more about Carolyn's children's lives and the lives off her step children...but I understand that this isn't in Carolyn's ability or perhaps moral code (it's her children's choice to disclose or not disclose their experiences to the public) but I still wanted more. 

-Because Carolyn is the story teller and obviously she portrays what's going on as abusive, I sort of want a more rounded story.  I know the FDLS is abusive.  I don't doubt that the abuses she lists are true, I just want to hear how other's interpreted or saw her actions.  I mean in some ways she seems too good...but the other hand is that a lot of it was all for survival.  Maybe it had nothing to do with right or wrong and everything to do with surviving. 


I really liked this book and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in religious zealotry, domestic abuse issues, or cults.


Jul. 6th, 2008

Long rambly entry that pretty much covers internet and real life in odd patches

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.

Sep. 28th, 2007

Oedipyus play production

There are a lot of different things going on in Oedipus Rex that a play production would want to bring to the forefront through different costuming, acting, casting and backdrops. I have never really been part of a play production, so I am not entirely certain how to best put on a play or accent certain themes. Still, there are themes and certain aspects I see a certain way and would like that represented on stage. A production of Oedipus I put on would emphasis a lot of humor and over the top aspects written in the play. I would not attempt to take the play too seriously because in a lot of ways Oedipus seems to have a lot of humorous elements that could be played with.
The setting of Oedipus does not feel to be heavily open to interpretation. There are lots of people who can easily adapt plays or works to be set in modern times or someplace else other than how it is originally intended, but I just see Oedipus happening in ancient Greece. I can't help but picture people wearing togas and some obscure roman columns framing the scene. I wouldn't want the set to be very elaborate at all. Maybe I would just allow the curtain, preferable something either light blue or neutral gray with a roman column or two for the background. I don't think Oedipus was meant to have too much heavy scenery detail. The focus is supposed to be on the actors and the drama they portray, instead of the scenery telling the story.
To that effect, I think that the portrayal of the chorus is very important. How one does or does not work them into the background can do a lot for the scenery. Part of what's always caught my attention about Oedipus is how much he allows to go on in public. To some extent, I think being open and honest with the public is very important, but Oedipus is too open with the public. He releases information and paranoid concerns the the public without any censorship or thought to how that might affect his people. The way he acts in front of his subjects paints a picture of an unstable, though well intentioned king.
To highlight the fact that the play mostly takes place in the public eye I would want the chorus on stage acting like citizens. In the first act Oedipus, the priest and the chorus would be on stage. In this scene the chorus would act like priests or priestess going about in the background lightning incense, or praying and just sitting about to the sides of the action making more quiet gestures of everyday life. I don't want these actions to over shadow the drama and dialog between Oedipus and the priest but I want it to feel like Oedipus is intruding on the temple's routine, and not the other way around.
When Creon enters the scene I want the extras to stop pretending to be involved in their normal tasks and listen to what is going on between Oedipus and Creon. I would like there to be a feeling of the chorus as part of the audience of the drama going on. An “all eyes on Oedipus” sort of feeling to help to accentuate Oedipus' feelings of self importance. The focus on watching and on eyes is also a theme I want to draw out over the play too. We, as the audience, know Oedipus takes out his eyes, and I want to use the visual aspect of the stage to continually draw attention to sight to help to reemphasize the inevitable ending.
I'd like it if the person who played Oedipus was taller than the other actors in the play. It's a small detail, but I want the audience's eyes to constantly be drawn to him. I want there to be an authoritative look that I think having a height advantage might help to get across. I also want Oedipus to be the only person with any color on his costume. Along with a traditional white toga I want him to wear a dark red sash. I like the choice of red because it foreshadows blood, but red also is used to symbolize temper and violence. We know Oedipus is violent because he did kill Laius and five attendants without much provocation, and he later shows these same aspect when he bullies Teiresais. I would like Oedipus to have something in his costume and bearing that echoes this recklessness. I also want the only color on stage continually drawing the audiences' attention to Oedipus. He is the king and the important figure. His sash in some ways also helps to represent this.
At first I wanted to carry the theme of “blindness” and seeing further in Oedipus' wardrobe too, but I was unsure of how to do so without being too obvious. There are a lot of allusions in the script to sight, and I want to compliment these instead of over playing them. At first I though maybe adding some thing that looked like or resembled an eye on Oedipus' clothing might be interesting, but I wasn't sure what I could do that would be subtle and make sense with the Greek costume theme. I considered hiding eyes in the scenery, but then I thought that the combination of the chorus milling around on stage as part of the public and eyes in the backdrop might be too much distracting from what is actually happening in the play. Too much visual is worse than not enough visual.
Instead of altering costumes or backdrops to give more of an eye effect, lighting might be more appropriate. I would see if placing Oedipus in the spotlight when oracles directly address his future or present, might help to drive across both the themes of sight, especially the sight of Divine fates. The spotlight might also be used when Oedipus speaks directly to the chorus in the play to show how he places himself in the public eye.
Another character I would like to have a very specific look is Teiresais. I want him to look very old and frail. If he could be hunched over and heavily leaning on his cane that would be even better. Because he is blind I do want to exaggerate this trait by making the actor look around in different spots when talking or listening. It would be even better if he started forward a few times towards Oedipus, but was moving in slightly the wrong direction. I want him to be exaggeratedly weak to make Oedipus' bullying even more outrageous.
Before Oedipus gouges out his eyes, I want him to remove the red sash. This is symbolic of how he is stepping out of the public eye. The removal of the sash also swaps us over from a symbol of Oedipus' violence to the actuality of it.
When Creon enters and finds Oedipus without his eyes, I want him somewhere in that process to pick up the sash and put it on. This foreshadows the events of Antigone, but it also shows that Creon is taking control and becoming King. Even though earlier in the play he insisted he did not want the scrutiny, he easily subjects himself to it for the good of Thebes, a sentiment that Oedipus claimed to feel earlier in the play.
Over all, one of my main focuses in Oedipus would be to work not to over dramatize what is going on. There is a lot in character and dialog. I would want to draw attention and heighten some aspects, but I would want to leave space for actors, costume designers, and scene artists to do their job and contribute their own parts to what is happening. While I would want these themes and ideas echoed in a production f Oedipus I would put on, I would also rely heavily on other officials to help fill in gapes in my own thoughts and help make my ideas a working success.

Sep. 25th, 2007

The Question of Race from the Writer's Perspective

I can't help but notice that race and how it is portrayed is currently a hot issue in the fandom. The discussions I've read pertain to reactions to the lack of race in shown in different shows, but I want to talk about race as a person who writes novels, screen plays (now apparently), plays (also new), and short stories.


I'm white and I come from white bread suburbia. I go to college in a predominately white college town. This isn't to say that I don't know anyone of another race, I just don't know many people. I do know that most of the time white is not the overwhelming majority and there are a large proportion of other races which should be represented.


Still, I was looking back and a lot of my own works lack diversity. Some of this is because the locations of these works don't lend themselves to race ( two of the main novels I'm working on now are located in mostly white places, in fact the kind of racism bred in the area as a result is one thing I'm addressing in one of the novels).


But some of it is just because I don't think about it. For example I have a series of shorts that take place across a made up continent and everyone in the continent whether they are native to the desert, jungle, mountain, or more mild area is white. I don't know why or how this made sense to me when I started writing these shorts. Looking back on them now, it seems stupid to have not have thought about ethnicities or what colors people's skin tones should be for a more natural flow.


Of course this series of shorts doesn't often actually provide descriptions for many of the characters. It is quite possible that when others read them, they make assumptions about the skin tones that I haven't necessarily added.


Part of my problem with adding race into a story is that I'm not 100% how to do it. I don't often use physical descriptions, and I hate being jarred out of a story by someone suddenly mentioning character X is black. I felt that way about how the Animorphs made Cassie black. She was just moving along doing her thing, and then out of no where someone mentions she's black. It didn't change how I felt about her in anyway, it just interrupted the flow of my story. I mean people don't often say anything if you're white and if all a character is doing is going “hey, this character is black by the way”, that isn't exactly a good way to throw that information in. In my young naivety I didn't realize that maybe it should have changed how other people treated her too. Not that people are run by completely racist mindsets, but even in my limited direct experience, I have seen discrimination. Even if the discrimination isn't overt there is a difference in tone, the way one person will stand, other things like that.


Plus, in Cassie's case she was a black person with predominately white friends and lived in what seemed like a mostly white town. Her parents worked as vets at Bush Gardens, and when I think back on it I think about what a plethora of experience and effects that could have had on her character. There are some basic shapings there, a dislike of violence and desire to help nurture (ideas that help foster the potential that maybe Cassie knows something about violence and what it makes you to use it in excess), but there is no backstory. There is nothing to connect the two beyond over active imaginations. I know the Animorphs is a kids series, one I adored, and I know that there was a primary fight between aliens and humans going on in it, but I feel like either you should incorporate race because it is part of life or if its too big to tackle you should leave it out completely. Half assed attempts to “diversify characters often leaves them being less believable. Even though at that time I couldn't figure out what was off in Cassie's character I realize that part of it is that her color is just painted over her skin. It is hard for me to think of good words to describe it, but when I read black or Asian or Hispanic characters in novels or see them on screen, I want that color to enhance the experience and not just be there to diversify. A lot of times I feel like the token person of color might as well be white for all the thoughts about different struggles, concerns, and experiences a writer has put in.


I mean whether or not I like it, each race has its own experiences and trials. You can't take a white acting character and suddenly make them Asian. Like it or not race plays into nuances of a story greatly. When I think about that sometimes its little wonder that I did just imagine everyone in my stories white.


I guess my questions to you f-list is to what extent should race affect a character? How do you sort of drop the race without jarring everyone from the story they are in? Should race be obvious based off of hints on how the character is treated and how they interact (or does this lead into too much stereo typing)? How do I and other authors avoid being racist when adding race or is this more of a trial and error sort of thing? Are authors justified in avoiding racism altogether by putting in limited people of color who function as well in the world as white people? Do you think that seeing these kind of token characters in works makes people less sensitive to the struggles we still face involving race?


I don't think avoiding race is not the way to handle these problems, but when I think about all the subtleties that need to be incorporated (without turning something into a racist work) and when I think about how the same character white would be fine but add color and now they are racist....it can be overwhelming. I can see why mainstream media might avoid adding more than the token black friend. There is a lot of room to accidentally or inadvertently anger people.


Now my third major work takes place is a slightly futuristic city. I know I'm going to have to deal with the issues involved with PoC if I want to make it even a little believable. It is part of why I am thinking so much about race in fictional works now instead of later. Currently the only character who's race I've defined is white. There are currently two other major characters and I'm trying to figure out what ethnicity I should give them that won't hit a stereo type. It's an interesting little challenge, especially because I know that I am not the most aware of what does or doesn't constitute as offensive or racist and well f-list, its just something I thought, with all the recent journal entries, that I would throw out to you as thoughts about what can make diversifying something difficult. Because of course we as writers should incorporate all the different issues we see in life, but just like there are problems dealing with it in the real world, there are problems dealing with it in a fictional one too.

Sep. 17th, 2007

My life right now post

Today has been alright. I really do like playwriting, even if the actual assignments are things I am going to struggle with. (Still have no idea what to do for my one act and I need to make up a monologue for Fri). I can't wait for the writing days on Wed and Fri. I really like her prompts and I feel like the exercises are ones that won't just serve me well now, but that I'll come back to later.

PR crisis management was disappointing. I thought we'd get to watch more China Syndrome and we aren't right now. The movie is really interesting and I really would like to finish it...that and I don't like how we are breaking it up in pieces. I like seeing things all at once. You know, I feel like its dangling in my mind and I'm going to have sort of forgotten it all by the time we get to look at it.

I also feel a little embarrassed about pr. Today the professor had been talking about a news article talking about Nazi youth in Israel and then he asked us what a progom was. I answered a little to excited about progoms being attacks on Jewish people that happened before WWII but became more organized and worse after Hitler came to power. He was of course talking about progoms as foreshadowing in PR that something bad is coming...which is of course what a "progom" was for Jewish people too, well it was bad stuff but it did foreshadow (for hundreds of years) the Holocaust too. So, yes it was embarrassing for that kind of thing to just spilled out and have everyone give me the "your weird" look or the "I would laugh at you for that response if what you described wasn't so serious" face. Stupid brain making stupid leaps.

I also wrote a little today towards my werewolf fic, which I fully plan on getting back to now. Have poetry at two. There will probably be a bitchy post about how much I don't like that class and why afterward and perhaps there will be another prompt to be added to my odd little assortment.

Which reminds me I really want my script writing thing back because it would make a great meme but also because it is a great thing to fill out for characters you've created.

Sep. 16th, 2007

List of a whole bunch of stuff I've been meaning to write

List because I like them and because sometimes life isn't easy to sum up


  1. Have a bunch of little things to post for my own collection will be sorry to clog the f-list list that but, meh, I can be that way sometimes.

  2. I have been paying attention to international peace month I just haven't had time to post prompts or really write myself. For those who want a prompt, though unfortunately I won't be able to respond myself, todays prompt is Tranquility. When have you found it? What does it mean to you? Where or how do you get it? Do you think it would get boring if there were too much of it? Is tranquility synonymous with static/homeostasis? Any thoughts of feelings you have or that come to mind with it. Again doesn't have to be about you. Can be a character or a poem or just a block of text.

  3. Must post in </a></a>[info]writers_cafe all these nifty new character creation prompts. They are really helpful and really neat and want to share.</strong>

  4. Straightened my hair for the first time in years, must show the sister the pics....must talk to the sister at all because I wonder about her from time to time.

  5. Should email the brother to encourage him again.

  6. Have to call parents sometime tonight *le sigh*

  7. Have lots and lots to do. Feel both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the tasks. Am exicted and annoyed. Have been stalling and am not quite ready.

  8. School is over whelming. Not a good think or a bad thing, just a thing. I like my classes and still find them a chore. Got my first A/ first grade back. Am pleased about it and at the same time I wonder if its earned of if the teacher's an easy grader. I can't help but doubt, me good or they are just easy?

  9. Have been reading so much news and yet really nothing. Wanted to do a write up on the woman in West Virgina (or Virgina?) who was raped. But there is nothing to say, I mean, just wow. I'm surprised what happened isn't an auto hate crime, and I'm surprised about the victims bravery (she allowed her name and her mother's name to be printed). Don't know if that's ignorance or bravery. One thing to put your name there and say yes this happened to me yes I am not a faceless person and no I am not ashamed, why should I be ashamed. I was attacked, brutalized, and tortured. On the other side I feel like this woman might have allowed or been coerced to do something she wasn't ready to do or that wasn't in her best interest. I feel like the papers can be animals, especially towards people who aren't used to them. Everyone wants their gore. They aren't really interested in a story or in anything but increasing the human fascination with pain and destruction. But as much as I am sunshiny in person, I am very dark in my heart. Perhaps the papers had the best intentions, perhaps she hasn't put herself in danger through the information. Perhaps her whole life isn't about to be stripped bare and scrutinized within an inch of her life because she was abducted, held for a week, forced to each feces and drink toilet water, stabbed repetitively, raped, and strangled. People so easily lose sight of this to focus on something like “Well she wasn't living with her parents so...” or “well she did wear that...” or “well look at how many lovers she had” or even worse, “She was prone to abusive friends and relationships, maybe its time she really learned about abuse”. I get so angry when people say this, try to rationalize something that doesn't have rational. I know its a defense mechanism for some “She did these risky behaviors and I don't so I'm safe” or something to try to justify, but there is no justifying this. This was something she didn't want something that she didn't deserve.

  10. I want to talk about the 16yr old threatening to rape a 12 yr old, but I don't know what to say. The coaches of the track team want to stress how good the girls were, and how composed they were. They stayed together as a group while running, they took down the license and they called the police. The police want to stress how sorry the 16yr old is now that he realizes that the girl was upset....HE SHOULD NEVER HAVE FUCKING SAID THAT!!!! It is always inappropriate even if she wasn't upset, rape is serious, it isn't something to joke about or trivialize. One in four men would rape if they knew they wouldn't be caught, and this little stat makes me sick, but it also makes me prone to believe those “I'll rape you” jokes. Sure I know they won't rape me, I don't really ever give people the chance (never am alone, always have a locked door...blah blah you name it I'm doing it to avoid that) but that you would joke about it, that you would find it funny or harmless, to me that makes you the one of four who would rape if you knew you'd get out of it. Seems though now a days discussing rape isn't serious, and the kid, with a juvenile record already, who last month was shooting paint balls at the same track team, who at the very least has anger issues and DOES seem to prey on younger girls got a slap on the wrist. No actions taken...what does this say to those girls now track coaches? That you can do ALL the right things and STILL be threaten, humiliated, and scared. Police will do nothing.

  11. Southwest Airlines officially sucks. I mean come on. Neither of those women were wearing anything that is past the norm and you are hassling them for their outfit. I, like many others, can't help but notice that these women have large chests. As a buck some woman I can tell you that there is no pleasing people who accuse you of being provocative because of your chest. You wear a conservative button up shirt and everyone is whispering about how the buttons are straining. Where a turtle neck and people complain about how the fabric stretches. Wear a potatoe sack and you don't “care about you appearance” and are sloppy. What do you want any of us to do. I'll match the look that is appropriate but someone has to point it out first because there is no way I can help looking top heavy.

  12. Lots of story idea. For Lauren I have a scene in the pediatric office. For my hunter I have a scene with him confronting a pack, and with Lily there is a nice drinking scene and then one at thanksgiving.

  13. Got a poem too something about my desire to become one with the bed. “Desire to meld with the mattress” “Lying like a Log, Laziness in mind” “Desperate desire to escape into the oneness of a dead world” depressing I think might be the over all theme here though and I want funny or harsh or ironic or even a bit cruel. Don't want this sad self pitying lay down and disappear bullshit. I am worth more than that (really). There is something worth being here for (hopefully). I am not suffering (well not compared to other years, this one is really probably the best I've had since freshman year and in some ways its better). Its just that anger is easier to fuel me than a quiet desperation. Anger hurts and cuts but it pushes and demands. It numbs better that tender carefully guarded hope. Guess there isn't anything wrong but you know my own worries, concerns for things I am helpless to stop. I'm just waiting for it to fall in a few months. I hate being so completely pathetic. A year ago (sept 25) my friend wrote a poem for me, one that I still think applies (sadly). From my comments in lj that sadly don't carry over here:

    Jess, just:

    She wishes she were lesser
    and lesser, lesser still.
    She knows she could be so much more,
    The juxtoposition makes her ill.
    Impassioned, truly, for nothing...
    But yearns the unity passion suggests--
    She can fake it, oh she can fake it
    (But it's a heartache nonetheless.)

    Perhaps the restlessness will never leave?
    Inquisitive, objective...has a price.
    Life's a struggle, breathe just breathe...
    Tis a... comforting! No! Ineffective! Device...?

    Stop the analyzation.
    "But my saving grace would fall!"

    "No wait, but if, You see,
    A piece of you and them in me,
    Energy mine in those and this and of us all..."
    You shh, just shh, if shh
    Fuck it all///.

  14. I'm thinking a lot about individuals. My energy has been focused on Kim because I can't decide how to feel about her. No question she is nice enough I will always be friendly to her, but what do I think. On one side she is friendly,easy to talk to, and she makes people feel welcomed like they belong. She has this passion and energy and still she isn't doing anything. She “works” many jobs where she doesn't do anything but place hold. I really value work, and while she's got a lot of good points I can't help but wonder if the action bely the words. Is she really empty and trying to convince people she's full? Does she really deserve the awesome recommendations she will get even though she didn't do the work? Are people who do this for her helping her or hurting her in the long run, because really if you aren't working and if you aren't helpful, shouldn't someone tell you that? After all it isn't really entirely her fault if no one has ever stopped and told her. Though to be honest I'm not big on sparing people's feelings for the sake of “kindness”, I think its really a disservice to that person. They have a right to know the truth and even if they hate you for it later, at least they can grow and move on. This “kindness” bull crap is why we have so many terrible want to be artists. No one has the balls anymore to say, “Hey you should scrap that, its great it means something to you but it isn't marketable and will never be marketable”, “You don't seem to have the skills”, “IF you want this you should do this” and so on. Everyone is all fake “its nice”, “I like it”, “it shows you and how you're feeling and therefor is art”. Just no, art is to some degree in the eye of the beholder but being a recognizable artist or actor or whatever is some degree talent, some degree luck, some degree connections, but also some degree managing to make something that is MARKETABLE that OTHERS like and value. It has personal meaning, great, I'm the public and I'm telling you it sounds terrible.

  15. Thinking a lot of Ian too. He and eye are similar. He has more talent and he's crashed more than me, but we are the same. So much potential, so much smarts and talent and we are wasting it all. We probably piss the hell out of people. Ian just makes me sad because he is suffering and I know it. I know why, and in my secret heart of hearts I agree with what he feels. I feel it so deep in my own being, and it has cut me in the same way its broken him. He's better with wording it, but he caught on later than I did. This little dark cloud has been part of me, an idea forming since second grade. Couldn't name it then and I certainly can't really articulate it now, but for Ian its been all at once. Some time I'll have to quote him because I know that pain. It makes me sad that he sees it because it is a confirmation that I'm not crazy but that there is something wrong, and it makes me more sad because the realization is destroying him and he could give and be so very much. There's nothing I can do about that though, try to be there if he needs me I guess.

  16. Haven't seen AJ much and want to keep it that way. In small doses he can be colorful but large ones he is a depression. Plus I don't have to worry about him too much, he's doing well in school, he's always doing well in school.

  17. Saw Kevin Friday at a party. I was all dressed up and he looked right through me like I didn't exist. Of course I was giving my scared as hell deer caught in the head lights, hide behind or in the bf face. And honestly he does scare me. He is violent and I know that being with Pines could have only encouraged this. He is a drunk and I know he is a cruel one. He has hurt me in ways that I'm not sure will ever heal. Zac seems to sense these kind of things because his whole body posture changes. No matter how drunk or sober we are, he seems to recognize the threat this boy and the whole frat/sorority is in my head (possibly in real life there have been confrontations, but none of them have been so bad that they justify this throat closing sweat inducing terror). They don't confront me (haven't actually since early November of last year). They don't acknowledge me at all actually, and I don't acknowledge them. Sometimes this is sad because friendly acquaintances have joined this group after our break up and gone from willingly holding conversations with me to giving terse and hesitant nods. Sometimes I wonder what he says that does this to them. Sometimes I am afraid I know. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just being too sensitive. Though if I'm sensitive to this, my bf is more sensitive because once in a while (it is rare because I am such an observant paranoid person) he stiffens before I do. He pulls me close and his eyes get guarded. It's these times that I know he isn't reacting just to me and how I react but to the actual presence and stare of these people where I get most sad. It would be more tolerable if I could convince myself that its all in my head.

  18. Anyhow, we left Friday's party early. This is part from Pines, part because we had a friend who was new to the scene and wanted to leave (we'd have left with her just because she wanted to go, but it certainly helped that I wanted to get the hell out), we left because suddenly I didn't want to be in a crowded dark place drinking gross punch and pretending to be someone I'm just not. We left because the cigarette smoke was so thick in the air I thought I'd be sick. We left because Zac is a good boy and all I have to say is that I want to go and we should tell the others before taking off and he handles everything for me. He never questions the distress, just lets me babble happily with my friend while we walk home while I wonder what happened and why I got like that. Later when everyone is in bed he just holds me and lets be be comforted by his presence. So good not to push me to talk about things he wants to know, questions and insecurities I may have placed in his mind that he deserves better than.

  19. Lucky's b-day was significantly less emotional an affair. On Wednsday we went out and just had a good time at the bar. Played some games got the guitar to place “Sweet Caroline” and “Journey” because everyone's first night as 21 drinking should include these songs. Drank sex on the Beaches, two to be exact and was very much drunk. Had the boy finished the last one and we left. Asked Lucky to come back with us (lives with me) but she wasn't ready to go. Learned later we should have insisted. Knew she was drunk but thought she should take care of herself, make her own choices. She got back alone (not cool) and then was sick by herself (even less cool). If we'd taken her at midnight she could probably have avoided the sick and the walk home alone, even if it isn't a long one, is one no one should do late at night. Still it was nice to have the boy to myself. I like being places with him and sharing him but I love having him all to myself. I am such a sappy girl with the adoration of cuddling close and whispering little secrets and he seems to be satisfied with just that too. I've never dated a boy who's been so patient, who completely lacks a set of demands or an agenda. I really like it.

  20. Want to talk about Harry Potter some, but I'm still working on it </a></a>[info]the_willow has inspired it but its still all jumbled and senseless. Maybe I'll hit that in a list later.</strong>

  21. Saw the “unknown” works of Claude Monet. Some of these “unknowns” were really famous and well known even to me. Some of them were charicterures though and I thought those were pretty cool not only because it was early on in Monet's life but because some of them were copied from the paper, other were clearly inspired by a cartoonist and still others were just done for himself. It was interesting to see Monet's hand at cartoons. Was surprised by all the crayon drawings, I know they were just a tool before Crayola came along and stigmatized them, I really still adore crayon now, there are a couple neat things you can do with them (though I suppose that this isn't anything that would be “great” art. Also the Clark is really a place for rich people. I come to this conclusion because well there were so many really expensive cars. I recognized the BMWs and Mercades and the arrogance in the drivers.

  22. We talked about Porches, which is a hotel in town that is one of the top ten hotels in the world to stay at. It is weird to think about that because well, its in the least well off part of town. It is facing this worn dead mill and the houses in the surrounding area are run down and some of them are clearly running drug operations. I wouldn't walk alone on the streets there, and somehow this is a nice environment for a hotel....I don't know I mean I like to feel safe at the hotel and on hotel grounds and I want to see something pretty, Porches fails these. Though apparently rich people like this whole thing. They want to see squalor and I don't enjoy viewing from behind glass where they eat their gourmet breakfast, whatever, its weird.


Think that might be all I have right now though. Meh. There you are tons of words for you all to enjoy and possibly marvel at or not. Just some of the endless thoughts I didn't know how else to get out. Hope this takes the edge off me a bit.

Aug. 24th, 2007

Meh

Yeah I did write more to that short.  I think this new piece has some funny parts too, but not at the same level.  There's a little more tension I think.  Though some of it reads a lot like the first short.  I'm trying to decided if they are too similar.  I'm also trying to fix the tenses because right now they are a little out of whack.  I'll post it after I get a few more corrections under its belt.  

I really want to write a short about Spike, but I'm a little too scattered in where to go or how to take it at the moment.  I think he rocks as a character, but pulling him together can be tricky.  He's complex, but that's part of what makes him worth writing. 

On a related note, I've been thinking a lot about different Clamp works, and its brought me to an interesting question.  In a lot of Clamp's works it seems that there is a central love theme that pushes the idea of soul mates or the ability to only fall in love once.  People who know me, know I think that's complete rubbish.  People who know me know that I've fallen in love in a few relationships I've been in and even though I still do love those people to a certain extend, I realize that romantically and realistically there isn't enough to build a mutual life on.  

I'm wondering what other's thoughts on the soulmates bit is.  I'm also wondering if people really think that the idea of soulmates makes for good literature.  I mean its sweet and I get caught up in it, but there is always this part of me that is almost resentful of how often the idea seems to be unwilling shoved into my face.  Part of me finds it boring and cheap.  Part of me is a little obsessed with when these relationships fail or how to complicate them.  But again those are all just my random thoughts.

Another thing I've noticed in Clamp is that while love is a theme the idea of pure love (love that for whatever reasons does not and/can not have a carnal aspect).  I wonder what other people think about this too.  For me part of love is intimacy on a physical and mental level.  Certainly things "intimate" acts can be done without stronger feelings behind them, but I wonder if love in the romantic sense really exists without some level of physical pull or desire.  Sure you can love and care for a person, but if you aren't attracted to them then what are you doing?  I realize there are medical and practical reasons to not have sex or be sexually intimate, but short of those reasons, but even with those there should be some kind of desire.  A spark or a want, and if that want could in no way be fulfilled, then why would you stay with that person?  Sure a relationship isn't all about the O or the aroasal, but I would tend to think it was a factor.  Certainly I've found it to be a factor in mine relationships, even though it is central it makes the worth considering list. 

I don't know though.  Maybe that whole pure love thing is great.  Maybe I just don't understand a love so strong that it surpasses desire or attraction and still somehow classifies as a romantic interest.  Or maybe I'm just thinking too much about Clamp.  You decide f-list.

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 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.

Nov. 28th, 2004

Hormy Roomates

Persuasive Essay

We all have negative experiences with roommates. There is always some sort of petty drama about personal space, food, and bills. These problems seem insignificant in comparison to having a promiscuous roommate. Promiscuous roommates make living in the room uncomfortable and unsafe. Initially I thought having a more sexually active roommate would not really be a problem. To be honest, I thought is would be hilarious to watch a roommate pathetically throw herself at everything and anything. I could not have been more wrong. My roommate, Jill, was initially just obsessed with talking about boys, and while I found it annoying I did not think more of it. Then one day I woke up and Jill had some strange guy I did not know in her bed. I was startled at first, then I thought the incident was rather amusing, and harmless enough. When I really thought about it though, I realized how disturbing it really was. Jill let in a strange guy, I did not know in, while I was asleep, and she was under the influence. So many bad things could have happened that night, and the idea made me very uncomfortable.
I am not the only one with a negative experience that involves a sexually active roommate. AJ, my friend, also has similar roommate problems. His roommate, Matt, has a steady girlfriend who spends all of her time in his room. At first this sounds inconvenient, but again if one looks closer into the situation then one can see there are many really difficult problems. One problem is that Matt and his girlfriend often get very intimate while AJ is in the room. This makes AJ very uncomfortable. He has accidentally walked into his room while his roommate and girlfriend were being in a compromising situation, which again is terribly embarrassing. Since Matt's girlfriend is constantly in the room, AJ has to go to the bathroom to change. When AJ goes home for the weekends, he comes back and finds out that Matt's girlfriend has rearranged the whole room, including his side of it. Clearly AJ's rights are being violated by Matt's girlfriend's constant presence.
AJ and I are not the only two who have these problems with roommates. All around college one will hear problems of similar nature. I know one person who has caught their roommate having sex on her bed, and another story of a drunk roommate trying to convince someone into the room to have sex with them. Perhaps the most amusing, but also most awkward story I have heard is one where drunk roommate wrote a letter to someone and signed it with the room number she lives in. Now every time the guy walks by he looks at my friend strangely because he thinks that she wrote the letter. In all of these stories one roommate's rights and level of comfort in their own living area is being critically compromised. This is wrong and entirely inappropriate.
I, like many others, have strived to find a fair and correct solution, which would not be too insensitive to anyone's needs or rights, and I believe I have found an adequate solution. Every time a promiscuous roommate comes back with someone else with the intention of having sex with them, one should kick them out of the room and force them to have sex in public. Forcing roommate to have sex in public will be best for everyone involved. One wouldn't violate their fellow roommate's rights, because they would still be allowing the roommate to have sex if they wanted, just not in the room. This solution would guarantee that the other roommate would no longer feel uncomfortable in their own room. Also this would help the more promiscuous roommate think more before jumping into bed with someone, because they would know that anyone and everyone could be watching. Lastly, and perhaps most satisfying, the promiscuous roommate would be embarrassed and made to feel as uncomfortable as they made their roommates feel.
One of the best parts about forcing the sexually active roommate to have sex outside the room is that the other occupant of the room will no longer be forced to sit uncomfortably in the room and try to do work while their other roommate "attends to more primal needs". It is unfair for one roommate to monopolize the room without some sort of forewarning so the other person living in the room an find somewhere else to stay. It is inappropriate to get that intimate with someone while someone else is in the room is clearly disturbed by the activity. Now, the other occupant of the room is left to work in peace, and no longer has to worry about what he or she will find when he or she opens the door.
This approach is good for both roommates, because while one can enjoy the sanctity of the room, the other will gain the ability to think over his or her decision more clearly. If one had to have sex in public, one would think more about what one truly wanted. One would be forced to think about the consequences and implications of their actions, because one's choice would suddenly become open to public commentary. Often times, the offending roommate would probably be immediately snapped to his or her senses if he or she was pushed into seeing exactly what he or she was doing to their body and them self. One would realize how risky anonymous sex really is, and perhaps one would learn to respect his or herself more.
Not only would the offending roommate begin to potentially see some of the vices in their ways, but he or she would most likely also be incredibly embarrassed. There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing the shoe placed on the other foot, and forcing one to have sex in a public place, would indeed be a very embarrassing and awkward experience. Perhaps it would help to illuminate to the promiscuous roommate the wrongs of what he or she was doing to the other room occupant. The person might walk away from the experience a more sensitive and reasonable person. If nothing else, once the promiscuous roommate walked through the dorm halls the next day with everyone looking away and blushing in embarrassment for him or her, it is sure that they will have a new perspective.
My solution, as many other solutions, is not perfect. Certainly it would nearly impossible to force a hormone crazed roommate out of the room with their significant other in tow. I also doubt that anyone would want to see two people having sex in a public area. The scene would be vulgar and disgusting. There would also probably be massive censorship problems, as no one would want a child or minor to walk by while two people were having sex.
With some work and earnest consideration though, I am sure one could over come these challenges. For example perhaps one could have muscle bound "escorts", who would help remove a troublesome roommate. These same "escorts" could keep on the look out for younger children and redirect them safely around the scene. Once these problems are over come, the world could finally take proper measures to help protect roommates from feeling awkward and out of place in their own rooms. The world is uncomfortable enough without anyone having to go home worried about what they might find their roommate doing.