Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chapter 23

I have read plays in high school, so reading Fences was not too difficult for me. In fact, I enjoyed reading this piece of literature more than any of the ones we read so far. What chapter 23 did do for me was introduce me to some specific technical terms about plays or drama. I did not know what soliloquy was, but now I am aware that is basically a character mumbles or talks to him or herself while alone on stage. I was aware of foreshadowing, conflict, crisis, climax, resolution, and exposition. I believe this chapter is very useful even for those who are somewhat familiar with plays because it helps to refresh terms and introduce new ones. It helps one to pay attention to the minor details that may otherwise be left unnoticed. Some of these details can alter the readers view quite significantly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fences by August Wilson

This play is considered a tragedy. Although, I read that this is a contemplated fact, as some people don't believe it is. I can see how some believe the play not to be, because of Troy's character. He seems to be angry, and to make mistakes. When he dies, Cory feels somewhat yet free. Their is not much sadness associated with his death. I would say the most sadness lies in Troy and Rose's relationship. Much of the conflict occurs when Troy cheats on Rose with another woman, and becomes a father. This really takes a toll on their relationship, and it is never the same again. This is noted when Rose states, "And it didn't take me no eighteen years to find out the soil was hard and rocky and it wasn't never gonna bloom" (Wilson 1062).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Learning to Love America

I did not realize this until after my chat circle, but I believe "pure products" is a symbol in Shirley Geok-lin Lim's poem. "Pure products" could represent the variety of races that exist in America. The narrator states "America" has "no pure products" (Lim 1). Thus, it's people come from many, many backgrounds rather than one. This is one of the many reasons listed from the poem of why the author has come to love America. The use of diction in "no pure products" is simple, yet the true meaning is rather hidden. Like I previously stated, I did not note this the first time I read the poem. I believe the author did this in order for her readers to dig deeper to realize the true meaning of her poem.

Mending Wall

I found it interesting how Frost's poem, Mending Wall, referred to such a simple theme. The poem is literally about two neighbors discussing their opinions of putting a fence up. Both neighbor's opinion's differ. Although, if this poem is applied to real life I believe it displays a larger meaning. It says we shouldn't put up walls to those around us. We never know, we may be shutting out people who could affect our lives the most. We may miss out on opportunities if our guard is constantly up. In concern to lite.rary devises, this poem is in closed form or free verse. It does not have a rhyme scheme. Although, it may a blank verse because it has ten syllables per line. For example the first two lines consist of "Something there is that doesn't lovea  wall, That sends the frozen-ground-well under it" (Frost 1-2). Also, the use of diction is quite simple. This goes with the simple theme of the poem.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Facing It-Pathos

I could not help but notice the strong use of pathos Komunkyakaa uses in this poem to capture the true meaning and feelings of the situation for his readers. It is no doubt that this poem as an emotional appeal as it refers to the narrator visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Right as the poem begins, the reader is hit with pathos. Especially in the line "I said I wouldn't, dammit: No tears. I'm stone. I'm flesh." (Komunyakaa 3-5). This reveals an inner struggle between the narrator and fighting to hide his emotions in order to display a strong character. Although, the environment around him flashes against the memorial. This proves the memorial is more to him than just a stone. It represents a fight of which he is emotionally tied to. One that even life's distractions can not pull him away from.

Komunkyakka, Yusef. "Facing It." Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 4th ed. New York: Longman, 2012. 552.Print

Theme of "Two Roads Diverged in Yellow Wood"

Robert Frost displays a very applicable theme in his poem "Two Roads Diverged in Yellow Wood." The narrator is struggling between which path to take. Although, this could be applied to a path of "life." The narrator is not sure which path is best for him, just as often as many of us are unsure which things are right and wrong or good and bad for us in our lives. We often do what most others do, take the easy or safe routes, or simply don't think what is best for us. The narrator is struggling through this very situation. He goes back and forth between the two roads, and wishes to leave and not make a decision. This is displayed through the line "I doubted if I should ever come back" (Frost 15). Although, the narrator is suggesting that one takes the "road less traveled by" as he did because "that has made all the difference" (Frost 18-20).

Frost, Robert. "The Road Not Taken." Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 4th ed. New York: Longman, 2012. 555.Print

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Route of Evanescense

I was not sure of the true meaning of this poem until I researched it on the internet. After I found out it was about a hummingbird, I worked to break it down line by line. I believe it speaks of a humming bird that is on a "route" to retrieve nectar. I depict this because it says "And every Blossom on the Bush Adjust its tumbled Head" (Dickinson 5-6). This, I think, talks of the Hummingbird bending its head down into a flower to retrieve nectar. If I would have never looked this poem up, I am not sure I would have been able to determine it's true meaning. This proves how tricky poetry often is, for me anyway.

White Lies

I thoroughly enjoyed the poem "White Lies." It's use of simple diction and imagery really captured my attention as a reader. The reader can really depict the true meaning of the poem when the narrator says "I could even keep quiet, quiet as kept, like the time a white girl said (squeezing my hand), Now we have three of us in this class" (Trethewey 14-18). The author explains a time she passed for being a young white rather than colored girl, which is ultimately what the whole poem is about. The poem is rather sad in the fact that the young girl deeply desires to be just white rather than being a mix of white and colored. It's sad that at such a young age a child should wish this, when color should not even matter at all.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Overall thoughts

After reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, I can say it was very interesting and shocking to learn the conditions and hardships of the camp. Although, I was disappointed with how the novel ended. I would have liked to see Ivan and the prisoners be liberated, or for simply something to happen. I feel as if the author just described the camp the whole time and there was really no climax to the story. Even though, this book did allow me to be more appreciative of my life. I really like the character of Alyosha, and admired his faith as well, especially the section where he explained how he is happy he is in prison so he can be more devoted to God.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Theme of Alexander Solzenhenitsyn's Novel

I believe the theme of Solzhenitsyn literary piece is a struggle. A struggle for what? It is a struggle for things of all sorts. The prisoners at the camps struggle to simply stay alive, to learn new ways of life, to give up their previous freedoms, and to be away from their families. Furthermore, their own human dignity. We all go through struggles in life, but this novel reminds us even when we think we not fortunate, we truly are. We must not take our blessings such as our family or food to eat for granted, as this novel reminds us by taking these things away from the prisoners during the rule of Stalin in Russia. Our "struggles" may not even be considered struggles to these prisoners. They have to fight to stay humanly sane, to learn the tricks of the camp in order to survive, and probably most difficult--to accept the current positions they are in. This novel does teach its readers that with the right mindset and motivation one can make it through struggles, just as Shukov has made it through this unbearable, deathly camp.

Bread/Time as Symbols in "One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Bread clearly symbolizes comfort, nourishment, and happiness in this novel by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. "Rations" are given to prisoners for nourishment. Despite the fact that the prisoners are in awful conditions, they are overjoyed when they are able to eat their rations of bread. Bread is their prized possessions. It represents survival and comfort to their starving bodies.It seems as if it is the one aspect of the camp that can truly make any prisoner happy, and it most definitely makes Shukov happy.
Not only is bread a symbol, but time is a consistent symbol throughout the narration as well. I believe time represents self-awareness and hope. Time is also a prized possession, for prisoners truly cherish time to themselves during meals and during the night when they are able to sleep. In fact Ivan states, "Apart from sleep, the only time a prisoner lives for himself is ten minutes in the morning and at breakfast, five minutes over dinner, and five at supper." Time is also the only thing that brings the prisoners closer to freedom. As they survive each day, they are that much closer to being liberated.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Applying "Greasy Lake" to current society

After reading "Greasy Lake" I realized how much this story can apply to current society. We are all guilty of mistakes and wrongdoings. At some point in our life, we make not so smart decisions--decisions that lead us down wrong paths or dissipate opportunities. Although, the point is these occurrences allow us to grow. Even though they cause negative outcomes, the consequences teach us lessons. Just as the narrator and his friends' careless mistakes caused them to be in this very unfortunate situation, it taught them being "bad" is not all it is cracked up to be. I think this story is a great lesson for all teens or young adults who are growing into their own persons and learning from their mistakes. I am really glad I picked this story to read, because it was a great reminder of responsibility and putting thought into my actions.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Greasy Lake" T. Coraghessan Boyle

I personally enjoyed "Greasy Lake" very much. Coraghessen's use of diction is crude and literal, yet it goes with the theme of "badness" portrayed by his characters. His excessive amount of detail greatly attracted my attention and caused me to be very interested in the story. He uses a numerous amount of similes and a few metaphors as well. For example, he states the "air [was] as soft as a hand on your cheek." In another case he explains how he came at the antagonist "like a kamikaze."  A metaphor used describes the antagonist as a "stunt man" and a "big, grimacing toothy balloon" while he describes himself a man with a "straight pin." These descriptions and comparison assist in forming Coraghessan's descriptive, interactive style. I thoroughly enjoyed the theme of the story as well. It is about the narrator and his friends feeling young, untouchable, bad, and free. Although, by the end of the story the characters have experienced the negative effects of their immature, uncaring actions. The main character has realized the consequences of his actions, allowing him to mature. He realizes he can no longer act invincible, but rather must be a responsible young adult who is aware of the consequences of his actions.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hemingway's style

Ernest Hemingway' style is rather different than the work of most author's I have read. I enjoyed his use of conversation throughout his story because I believe conversations allow the reader to be more engaged and interested in the reading. I find this is most often the case for me anyways. The aspect of his style I did not care for so much was how he did not state his theme in a more clear way. This was probably his point (To have the reader determine the theme themselves), but I feel like somewhere a long the lines a little clarification would have helped me make sense of what I was reading. Although, the interesting effect of this hazy depiction is that the reader is free to take from the story what he or she may like. It leads them to wonder what he means. It forces one to dig deeper not only to understand the story , but also reflect it to his or her own life to decipher the theme as well. What I took from the sometimes life doesn't mean a whole lot because we get too caught up in distractions. Too many distractions makes for a life full of "nada" or nothing. When we forget what means the most to us such as our family and friends or our health and faith, "nada" takes over.

"Dead Men's Path" Irony

Chinua Achebe's "Dead Men's Path" significantly portrays the use of  dramatic irony. As the story takes off, the reader is lead to believe Michael Obi's move to the new school will be a positive result, rather than negative. Achebe describes Michael as young, energetic, full of great ideas, and ready to take on the roll. Michael later states to his wife that their participation in the school will cause everything to be "modern and delightful." Him and his wife seem to be sure their move will impact the school for the better. Although,as readers we get a hint of the dramatic irony that takes place when the wife becomes skeptical of the move. Later, as the confrontation between Michael and the priest occurs, we can further assume something negative will most likely be an outcome. Sure enough, this guess is confirmed when the path is torn up the day the Supervisor comes to inspect. Even so, Michael is blindsided. He believes he has solved the problem and the Supervisor will be pleased. Thus, this is an excellent example of dramatic irony.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Rose for Emily, A Pair of Tickets, Cathedral

A Rose to Emily was a really bizarre story. I'm not really sure what the point of the story was. Yes, as readers we find out at the end that Emily slept next to Homer Barron's dead body, whom she killed by poisoning, but I am not sure what the moral of the story is. It is kind of creepy, although it does keep the reader wondering what is going to happen with all of the bizarre occurrences.
A "Pair of Tickets" involves much pathos. Amy Tan uses much emotional appeal to draw her readers in. The flashback of her visit to China reveals how much emotion is involved with her visit, especially from her father's tearful reactions and and meeting her twin sisters. The reader can't help but be sad when she speaks of her mother, and happy when she meets her sisters. Something about the way Amy Tan writes this short story is very captivating.
Cathedral also uses simple diction, similar to "A & P ." The narrator is also very blunt bout his opinions toward the blind man. For example he says "A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward too." Although this greatly emphasizes the change that takes place in the end of the story as the husband chooses not to open his eyes. The reader is well aware that the husband is feeling some emotional connection to Robert, the blind man. When referring back to the husband's statement about Robert being in his house, the change is even more clear. From not wanting anything to do with the man, it is almost as if he appreciates him by the end of the story. I think the moral of this story is that no matter who or what we are, blind, deaf, short, tall, blonde, brunette, man or woman, we all are humans that require friendship, love, and companionship.
I thoroughly enjoyed all of the readings this week. The one I especially connected with was "A & P" by John Updike. As explained in my forum, the reason I enjoyed it so much is because I feel as if I have been in the narrator's place, being a cashier at my dad's local grocery store. It really is rather amazing how little experiences such as these can teach us not only about the world around us, but also ourselves. I've learned a lot about myself through these "small scale" experiences in life. Working at the store has taught me how I respond to certain situations, what I can work on for my future, and how much effort and dedication it takes to run a business. Just as the narrator feels a connection to the girls, I sometimes feel a connection to customers. I want to help them out as much as possible. When things don't always go right for them, I feel like it is partly my responsibility to help. Also, I appreciated how Updike wrote the story using simple diction. He did not use a mass of huge words, but rather he simply told the short story in a way that is definitely easy to comprehend for to most people. I think this makes the story that much better.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chapter 29 of Backpack Literature

After reading chapter 29 in our textbook, I found the section on prewriting to be the most helpful. The thing that I believe would progress my writing the most is freewriting. I am not sure why, but I have never really been big on this. I usually try to just make an outline before I write a paper, and that is all the prewriting I do. I sit and try to imagine my paper in my head as I make my outline. I think of how to make it sound professional and not make mistakes, rather than just letting myself explore and jot down my thoughts. The actual content of my papers and what I am writing about is what I struggle most with when I am writing. I know how to construct nice, clean sounding sentences and I am pretty good with grammar. Although, my actual content and what I am saying falls a bit short at times. I really believe that freewriting or journaling as the book suggests would help me with this.Another issue with my writing is the editing part. I often do not take enough time to proofread my paper as I know I should. Last semester, I remember I wouldn’t just because I was really busy. Even though, I should have read over my paper’s more, because it does cause less editing that needs to be done later on.
 Last but not least, I liked how the book suggested if you are stuck on a paper, come back to it a different time. I often try to sit there and keep writing when I get stuck, and I end up just babbling on or repeating what I have previously written. I hope if I apply these tips to my writing, I can become a better writer and express my thoughts and opinions more clearly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Nobel Lecture

After reading this link, I can concur that Solzhenitsyn is trying to convince his audience of the importance of literature. He mentions that "art" or literature is not just something we read in books. It is an occurrence in our every day lives, and a constant feature in politics, communication, history, and much more aspects of society. Literature can cause disputes or develop peace throughout nations. It can assist in uniting our world together. One thing Solzhenitsyn mentions that I had really found notice to was his statement describing how we, as humans, often reject or dismiss literature that we are not familiar with. As I read this statement, I couldn't help but wonder if this was true with me? Do I often surpass the work of others if I am unfamliar with it or have no interest in it? Not only do I, but I think we all do this at times. Although, it is important to pay attention to a wide variety of literature because as Solzhenitsyn says, it is how people express their true feelings, thoughts, emotions, and opinions. Not to mention, our world's history is passed down through a form of art:  literature. Without literature history would not be able to be filtered through generations. The past would be an unknowing feature; history would not exist. Truth is a major aspect brought to the surface separated from lies. Alexander Solzhenitsyn firmly states how a lie will not stand in the world of literature, but only the truth can claim its place.