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.