Sunday, November 30, 2014

Memory and The Road

One of the themes McCarthy seems to focus on heavily is that of memory. While McCarthy does not necessarily make the memory out to be the best thing, but he doesn't necessarily say "death to memory!" Instead, McCarthy seems to look at memory as being something which takes the characters minds off of survival. When you're reflecting on the past, it is easy to get lost in that, especially during times of extreme trauma. So for the father and the boy, they can't necessarily spare any time looking back on the life they once had, or the things that made them happy; instead, they have to keep moving forward, fighting for survival. I found this to be crucial to the novel. It wouldn't make sense to never touch on the subject of the characters' memories, but too much of that reflection would really water down the work, much in a way I discussed in my previous blog post.

One quote which really stuck out to me is found on page 131: "The cold drove him forth to mend the fire. Memory of her crossing the lawn toward the house in the early morning in a thin rose gown that clung to her breasts. He thought each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins. As in a party game. Say the word and pass it on. So be sparing. What you alter in the remembering has yet a reality, known or not."

Goodness, all of the feels you guys. But in all honesty, McCarthy really killed it here. He relates memories to "party games," more specifically, to Telephone. The more he recalls a memory, the more it is distorted and changed. It's truly sad, because the idea of him remembering his wife until eventually it is too distorted to call a true memory, just breaks my heart.

I'd love to see some quotes about memory that you guys found and what you thought about them!
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Friday, November 28, 2014

The Road

I think that the belief in God would be the man's insistence that there were good people in the world. The man wanted his son to believe in goodness and just maybe a higher being. The idea that a man and his son were trapped in a purgatory world with hope for a better future. I know that the man is dying but he still hopes for his son's future. The God is in the man's selfless sacrifices for his son. I don't see the divinity in the son but rather a salvation for mankind in the boy. The man realizes that he is an alien to his son. "Maybe he understood for the first time that to the boy he was himself an alien. A being from a planet that no longer existed." (Cormac 163).The boy holds the key for constructing a new world for himself. The father is the son's guide and protector while the son acclimates to his world.  The boy still believes in goodness as exhibited by the boy’s concern for the old man and wanting to share their food with him.  The boy continues to look at not the past but the future.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014


For starters I want to apologize for this being late, I'm just had my world turned upside down and it all still doesn't feel real but my husband came home from deployment this weekend and I lost track of time. I sincerely apologize but plan to get back on track and up to speed. But needless to say I've been on cloud nine and collecting my thoughts lately has been near to impossible. Lol 

This story is dark and very bleak but what stands out most for me other than the blantant plot and story line is the way that Cormac McCarthy tells it; with precise word choice, little detial, and specific uses of punctuation or lack there of. From the beginnin of this novel I noticed that at certain times he doesn't use apostraphes. For instance on page 4 in the first paragraph he doesn't use one for the words wasn't or hadn't but in the next paragraph he does use them for the word there'd. (McCarthy 4). I don't know exactly why he does this, picking and choising when to use an apostrophe but I personally think it might have to do with necessity, the idea of only using things when their needed and that parallels the story with the father and son doing everything they can to preserve what they have. But I'd love to hear others opinions on this grammatic error. 

Another thing I'd noticed is his use of precise word choice. While I'm not a linguist by any means I do find myself to be a fairly articulate person, however some words in this book utterly stumped me and I had to resort to asking Siri on my iPhone to define their exact meanings. For instance, when he says, "She would do it with a flake of obsidian" (McCarthy 58). I had to look up the meaning of that word to figure out that he was saying she cut herself with a shard of extremely sharp volcanic rock, but obsidian is certainly not a piece of vocabulary I have sitting idly in my reportoure. Then there's when he's describing the people that pass by them on the road and says that there are catamites in their party (McCarthy 92).  I had no idea what that word meant, so I again resorted to my good old smart phone to help me out. Learning that they are young boys that are used as sexual partners with men. Thanks for that Google. This word choice is odd to me since the rest of the narration is so plain and straight forward yet at the same time it is saying something. I believe it's telling us that the man, the father, was intelligent. He was someone of higher social class and intelligent. I'm not sure if he was a doctor but it's seems to me that this hints at the fact that at this time, those things; social class, wealthy, higher education, those things don't matter anymore. What matters is being able to survive. 

Lastly I wanted to bring up the boys use of the word "Okay" in conversation. A majority of the conversations shared between the boy and his father all end with this sentiment and I believe it says a lot about the boy and his mind set. Children often are not so understanding, they question, the want answers, they constantly ask why. But this boy doesn't, he does have questions but it's not the same necessarily. I think his acceptance of the realities around him is part of his character, he's agreeing to what's being said to him and making peace with that being the truth. He isn't flippant or being passive, he's understanding and in a way the boy is being shaped by the lessons and truths that he's learning from his father, in this strange reality. 

This book is great, the writing style is awesome and there's so much to pull from it besides just what the story itself is saying. There was one more part, I don't know if anyone else noticed where the author actually changed perspective of writing. There's a shift from third person with the narrator being someone not in the story to first person where the father himself is actually relaying to us what is happening (McCarthy 87). It's when they're discussing the child having seen another boy, but the father insists that is was a dog. Instead of the original narrator telling us this, the father directly tells the audience that the boy doesn't remember having seen a child, that he saw a dog and remembers that but not a child. This was strange to be that suddenly the narration changes and the father directly addresses a situation. Was he trying to defend himself, had the child really just imagined it? It's hard to know, or understand why exactly McCarthy chose to do this in his writing at this moment. 

I hope everyone back in STL is safe and that things settle down soon. 

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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Road: Ashen Dismay and Survival

The dystopian setting of The Road is quite alluring. How did the country fall? What gives father and son the will to continue on? The Road entices the reader to question their very being. The cause of the deteriorating world is never formally addressed although the decay is ever present. It makes one question their own reality. Could this happen to me? I’ve always found dystopian novels a little unsettling because many questions arise. If this happened to me, would I survive? The strength of the the father and son astound me. The father’s will to survive seems contingent on his son. His father does seem to understand that their may be no hope. After finding a soda in an abandoned gas station the father gives it to his son and says “ you drink it”(McCarthy23). The boy responds with “it’s because I won’t ever get to drink another one, isn’t it”(McCarthy24). The father’s response is simply “ever is a long time”(McCarthy24). The father knows of darkness to come. The ashen gray is all to expect. Even in his dreams, the father refuses to think of happiness as he knows it will never be. His goal is simply survival for his son. Without his son, I do believe he would succumb to the grayness of the fallen world. To give his son life is his only desire. The question is not how it happened, but how will one respond. Is the father doing the right thing for his son? Is it better to live through the seemingly endless travesties of the world or succumb to the eventuality of fate? 
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Road Pages 1-102

*Just beforehand, I'd like to take a second to say Cormac McCarthy is brilliant, I highly recommend if you enjoy this story you check out Suttree!

The Road is quite an interesting novel. It's a disaster novel, set in a post apocalyptic world, following a father and his son, as they travel the empty roads in search of something better. The story is told in the third person, which I think adds a great deal. You tend to focus more on the father and the son, and McCarthy doesn't have to reveal to much of their character that way. There is an air of mystery over this novel, and too much one on one with a character's thoughts might would instead become more personal. It makes sense they made this a movie, as when I read it, it played through my imagination as a film.
McCarthy's strong point in this novel is his creation of this magnificent, decrepit world. Of this world, some of his descriptions are:

" the mountains they stood and looked out over the great gulf of the south where the country as far as the eye could see was burned away" (14).
"On the hillsides old crops dead and flattened" (21).
"Desolate country" (17).
"The wet gray flakes twisting and falling out of nothing. Gray slush by the roadside. Black water running from under the sodden drifts of ash" (16).

The list goes on. The world McCarthy throws us into—seemingly unapologetically—is so grim, not even the snow is pretty. Everything about this world is so unsurvivable, which makes the story more suspenseful. How does a man stay alive in this world, let alone keep a child alive?

Another part of the novel which may seem strange to those unfamiliar with McCarthy's work, are the lack of quotation marks. I know through literature classes before McCarthy simply found too much punctuation to be clutter, but it adds to his work in a way that one may not realize. When reading the story, you more than likely do it in some voice, whether mental or verbal. The lack of punctuation marks lends to the flow of the novel. Where punctuation stops our eyes, creates a pause, McCarthy continues with just words, leaving it going in a fluid motion, as if he were telling the story orally. I find this trait of his to be very appealing, and makes the reading quite enjoyable.

The lack of explanation over what happened to create such a barren world creates this air of mystery. In the back of my mind, I kept asking, "What caused all of this?" But, simply put, it's not important. The novel is not about that event, it is about the father and the son struggling to stay alive in the aftermath. If McCarthy spent too much time on the event itself, the novel would lose so much of its quality. The ambiguous nature keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. You want to know but you don't want McCarthy to tell you. Really, I think with this aspect, McCarthy truly perfected this work. It has so much mystery, yet still manages to move forward, never looking back. 
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Road

I  think Cormac McCarthy does not tell his readers the exact event that causes the destruction of the United States because the event does not really matter.  It is the reaction of the characters to the event which is the point of the story.  I assume it is a nuclear war on page 52 it says, "A long shear of light and then a series of low concussions." Also, "A dull rose glow in the windowglass." (52) It suggests a nuclear blast also the sun is blocked by clouds and the temperature is always cold even though they are heading south.  But I think the main point of the story is to experience this new existence through the eyes of the man and the boy.  The world is bleak and cold and burnt out and they are trying to remain human and sane in an insane and dangerous world. McCarthy raises some interesting questions like is it good to be a survivor in a world that is so bleak and scary to live in?  Maybe it is better to die and not have to experience grim existence that the man and the boy are living through.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

The first part of The Road

               The Road is one of the bleakest novels I have ever read.  I read the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and it was rather dark but running through it there was hope and ultimate survival against all odds.  In The Road the theme was death all around and all living creatures reduced to survival of the fittest or survival on an animalistic level: cannibalism. The landscape is filled with ash and various shades of gray. The only thing that keeps the man going is his son. I think the man would have succumb to suicide too if not for his son.  His son gives him hope for the future and for a belief in God.  When I purchased this book the sales clerk asked me if I had read it. I said, “No”. She informed me that it was very sad and she just wanted me to know before I purchased the book.

               The Road is a novel which offers an apocalyptic revelation but certainly not where the forces of good prevail and triumph over the forces of evil. I guess it tells of a singular good man trying to bring goodness to his son in a world filled with evil.  
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014


For my second Essay, I am choosing to write about Lorde’s poem “Power.” I feel her work is extremely profound especially with today’s current events. I am going to discuss the racial tensions occurring throughout the poem as well as society during the era in which it was written. I will also discuss the carelessness of the death of a young child still holding on to innocence and the relevance within Lorde’s era as well as our own. 
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dystopian Parents

While reading The Road I started thinking about the differences between it and the popular genre of dystopian novels we're seeing right now.  Books like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Divergent, and even The Giver (a slightly older book but a recent film) are all either lacking supportive and present parents or are completely devoid of parents/adults.  It strikes me as interesting considering all the recent novels are in the Young Adult genre, whereas The Road is considered a "regular" novel.  Now these books weren't written by teens, but they're tapping into something that speaks to them, and part of that is the lack of parenting.  I think for McCarthy, as an adult writing for adults, the idea (and the hope) is that if something like this were to take place, they as the adults could take some charge if only just to protect their child.  They hope that their added years will provide more insight and intellect to help their family survive.  This may just be my age bias, but I feel like it makes more sense for it to be younger people, not children necessarily but the sharp, adaptable young, those who haven't had the years to get used to this world and who (even if they're wrong) believe that there's got to be more out there than whatever they've grown up in.  The older they are (in a dystopia) the more experience they have seeing the rest of the world is no better.  Parents (good ones anyway) want nothing more than to be able to protect their children from anything, no matter how impossible it is for them to actually do that.  As horrible as the events are that are happening to the father and son, it almost reads like a parent's fantasy (again, not a pleasent one) but that despite everything that's happening, they will and can do whatever it takes to protect their child.  We all know, especially in war zones and places like this setting, that's frequently not possible.

Thoughts?  Do you think the teen hero makes more sense in this setting?  Or does experience trump gumption?  
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For my second essay, I figured I would further discuss Kurt Vonnegut's piece, "Welcome to the Monkey House." A story around an overly populated, sexually-deprived society. The topics I will be discussing will focus on Vonnegut's depictions of sexual restriction, given the time period in which is was written, the 1960's—an era of sexual revolution. Another topic I will discuss is the topic of overpopulation in the world, and Vonnegut's depictions of suicide parlors. 
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Fun Home

In the excerpt from Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, is a great example of how graphic novels can be worthy of literary praise. Bechdel takes the idea of a comic elsewhere (in the vein of others, such as Ghost World), and both her images and words are equally impactful. Throughout the piece, she builds the image of a father who is detached. Through her words, as well as her drawings of him; face bland and unoccupied. Each frame is sullen face after sullen face. The passage that especially stuck out to me was the last page, where she writes: "It's true that he didn't kill himself until I was almost twenty. But his absence resonated retro-actively, echoing back through all the time I knew him" (4021). That line just felt so powerful, yet sad, coming to a realization that your father has been absent throughout your life. The worst part is it not being physically absent, but mentally. When she says she ached like he was dead before he died, you see just how isolated he is emotionally from his family.

Having a graphic novel was a nice change of pace!
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Since I'm already pretty familiar with some of the other aspects of Art Spiegleman's life from already being a fan of Maus, I think I'd be most excited about doing a contextual essay about In the Shadow of No Towers. I'd like to bring in different elements about his parents being holocaust survivors, and what New York must have looked like pre attacks, and how other schools across both the city and country were reacting. The entire comic book community all had a reaction to 9/11 also, so I'd like to see some more mainstream stuff (Marvel had a lot to say about it) and what those other people said and did as a reaction to the event.
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Fun House

As someone who considers them self well versed in the world of comics and sequential art, I was kind of frustrated with myself for never having heard of Alison Bechdel. I know Spieleman, and was kind of hoping we'd talk about Chris Ware, but wasn't familiar with Bechdel. So I guess shame on me. But I thought this was really interesting. I'm always drawn more toward the smaller slice of life type stories and such (Alex Robinson for example), so this was really my kind of thing. I thought the artwork was fantastic from an acting point of view. The facial expressions mainly. So much emotion conveyed with so few lines. It really isn't very line or ink heavy at all. It's just what absolutely needs to be there but still accomplishes so much more than artists who might need to use more lines. The story is really interesting too. Not really a story though, as much as it was a short examination of the authors relationship with her father. How he acted, how she could interpret it, and then how she did interpret it. All the different variables she had to consider when passing judgement on her father, since it wasn't ALWAYS this way or that, and then the inner conflict those variables caused. It was just a really sentimental piece that really hit home for me. I will definitely be looking up Alison Bechdel's work for my own personal enjoyment in my own personal time.
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9/11 Poems

The first thing that comes to mind about these poems is a sense of frantic somberness (if that makes as much sense as it does in my head). It's a panicky mourning. Like no one can decide if they're more afraid for themselves or sad for the tragedy of the event. I think the ones I found most interesting were the Silent Room and the one simply titled World Trade Center.  They were both fairly simple, but really expressive and both great examples of that frantic somberness. Silent Room kind of reminded me of a Poe type reaction to the 9/11 attacks, just a slow descent into madness brought on by severe trauma. Then World Trade Center felt really honest and I think did a really good job of presenting what being an old school New Yorker was like after the attacks. The author claimed not to really care about the World Trade Center pre attacks, and in general kind of disliked them, but them being gone was ironically the worst thing that could have happened. It just felt real. Relatable to what living in a city is like. I mean, how often do any of us really visit or think about the Arch? When I lived in South Dakota, I almost disliked Rushmore since everyone outside of South Dakota made such a big deal about it, and I lived there so I knew how boring it was.
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rough draft 2nd essay

The effects of 9/11 on American literature is interesting to me.  The inability of authors to capture the moment or feeling or event in some definitive way is missing.  Why is it so hard to write about the event in a way that captures the feeling of the country? In this class we have read some poetry and short stories but there is no one author that has been able to write the one novel that  really strikes a cord with all readers.  John Updike's, Varieties of  Religious Experience, gives the reader a glimpse of different perspectives of the tragedy through the eyes of a religious view.  I think is looking for God to answer the question of why.  Is there a God? Is it possible to have such a senseless tragedy if God does in fact exist?  Is everyone's view of God so different that it can somehow justify the tragic events? Is it a collective, cultural religion which we stand under and is our shelter in times of national tragedy- the candles and flags that Updike mentions? Or is 9/11 a senseless tragedy which cannot be defined or pinned down?
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His Only Outlet

Okay I honestly think that is Alison Bechdel's father was alive now he'd be addicted to Pinterest, most people are and most creative people have hundreds of boards pretaining to their interests. I plan on making one or even two Pinterest board's for Alison's father. I think I'll make one but include both interior design aspects and high fashion. He took the way his family was presented incredibly seriously. So first impressions were important to him. And his asthetic seems to be more Victorian period than modern. Especially since they lived in a Victorian Gothic home. I think creating this board and stepping back from it will show how much design meant to Bechdel's father. How when living a lie, and having only one outlet that feels like it truly is apart of who you really are that becomes key to your identity. Most people dream of having perfect little familes, perfect homes to live in and for appearances sake that's what the Bechdel's had. Their home was a masterpiece, their father made sure each of them dressed immaculately and they were raised by two intelligent parents but all these things meant nothing to who they all really were. It was a mask over their identities. Pinterest is an awesome form of social media because it's a way to share ideas, tip and tricks and so much advice to save people in the long run. Bechdel's father makes a comment about collecting all the piece of art and furniture because they were beautiful and beauty was important to him. We see that in almost ever panel including him, putting on bronzer to improve his image and taking the time to take a photo because everything needed to be perfect. It's not that all these things aren't imporant to him and that he doesn't care about them but they are a mask that he hides behind so nobody sees his true self. But I think it'll say a lot more about who he was and what he was going through, at least I hope so. But humans are complex so maybe it won't work out like I think it would. 

I do wonder who we are to present this to you though, should we just include a link to the pinterset page in our paper, or something like that? I'm a little confused on that part of the paper but I think I've got the gist of how I'm supposed to do this and how it's supposed to go. 
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It's hard to empathize

The relationship between Alison Bechdel and her father is complicated to say the least. I wish there were more to read, I plan on rushing out to get the book as soon as I finish this blog. Knowing her father was a closeted homosexual and herself being a lesbian I feel her writing must have so much more to tell about her life growing up. But the story of her father is tragic, it seems as though his only way of expressing himself openly is through his interior design. Which was so important to him because it was all he had. Which might also be why he was incredibly defensive of it. And why when he felt it were distrurbed by his children playing or moving things he took it incredibly seriously because he felt as though it were himself that was not being taken seriously. It felt to him as an attack on the only part of his truth that he could show. I wonder about his wife because to the reader and his daughter if seems so obvious that something is amiss and yet they had three children together, was she just content to be married, did she live her own secret live of desires. We don't know much about her from this expert but she seems understanding of her husband. Understanding that he's sensitive, that he needs control and that he needed his space. She seemed like she understood enough but I guess once I read the book I'll know more about her. It's sad that she felt the loss of her father before he was gone. I have a difficult time ever relating to people with displaced parents. I didn't have a perfect childhood but even when I talk with my husband, his father had chosen drugs over them when he was a child and spent most of their lives battling his addictions before eventually losing a couple years ago. And I love my husband so dearly yet that's something I really can't empathize with. My parents have always been there for me and my sisters. They stayed married my entire childhood, and still are and were both active in their parenting roles. So I have a difficult time understanding what it would feel like to have a father that isn't really there, a parent you don't really have a relationship with. It's tragic and I feel bad for them but beyond that I don't really understand what that would be like. 
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9/11 Poems

Each and every one of these poems is so deep and full of emotions, from the poem of the lost bird to the poem Silent Room where the subject has become defeated and doesn't have the same life they had before because everything for them has changed. The way that poems ends, "not enough, to convince me, that it isn't plugged in, that everything I am isn't burning." They are still living in that moment, in that day. For many people it was impossible to let go of that day. For muslim families suddenly they were viewed as the enemy, the last poem Palestine gives us insight into the lives of regualr muslim familes now held responsible for the actions of few. They were expected to have answers to be able to explain why when they themselves might have lost friends and family in the World Trade Center. So many peoples lives were changed forever when the two towers fell. And this collection of poems gives us insight on the the many lives that were changed and how they were effected. I think it's a great collection of poems that really gives a well rounded veiw of the people impacted and the different way people were effected by the events of one day. 
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Rough Draft for 2nd essay

The “Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich is culturally significant in the writings of Native Americans. The reading of this short story is typical of post-traumatic stress syndrome of a Native American man and the lack of resources that would have helped Henry cope with his stress. The US government has a long history of marginalizing native people.  The government is not the only ones that have taken advantage of Native Americans.  People assume that the first slaves in the New World were African Americans but that is not true. Native Americans were the first slaves of the New World. Squanto the famous Indian who helped the Pilgrims navigate their first successful year was captured as a young boy and was enslaved until he returned to his people. He was fluent in English and probably can be credited with the survival of the Pilgrims that harsh first year.  
There are many such examples in American history of the disenfranchisement of the Native American. The time period of this short story is during the Viet Nam war with many Americans criticized the war and the climate was one of hostility toward returning veterans.  The government asked a young native man to go to a country where he was unfamiliar and fight in battles with enemies that were not his enemies but enemies of the government.
The red convertible in this story represents to me the importance of the horse to the Plains Indians. The introduction of the horse to the Plains Indians was momentous because it meant greater freedom for the nomadic hunting tribes. The Native Americans were able to move unrestricted in search of hunting game.  This is major because before Henry goes to the Marines, Henry and his brother, Lyman take a trip throughout the United States and even up to Alaska where they stay with Native Americans from Alaska.
The Henry, that returned from Viet Nam was a silent shadow of the young energetic man full of promise and hope for his future.  He was used and then when no longer useful sent home.  Henry is full of shame and nightmares about his service to a government that only rejects Henry.
Henry’s last line is “My boots are filling up.” (Erdrich 3394). Native American People normally wore moccasins. Are the boots the last anchor of the white man in weighing the Indian down?   
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Saturday, November 15, 2014


"Flight," by Miranda Beeson, is a captivating poem, following the events of 9/11. In the poem, Beeson does not merely give overly-depressing descriptions of the events which took place. Instead, she uses a finch to signify hope after that tragic day. The finch shows up, quite mysteriously, and Beeson describes it as possibly hailing from "a pet store in the shadow of the towers," or "a tiny door unlatched by the blasts." Beeson follows with "We pondered dark scenarios." This seems to catch the mindset of everyone following September 11th. We were negative, we felt this defeat on our shoulders; a feeling that we are vulnerable to the troubles of the world around us. Yet Beeson doesn't think we should keep those negative thoughts prevalent. She describes the finch as being "more important than anything else we could think of those first few weeks," which seems to shed a positive light. While there is all of this chaos, disorder and tragedy, there is still light; we still have this beacon of hope, this finch, which seemingly survived these events, to represent our strength, our spirit. This poem was beautiful, and it resonated throughout my mind all day after reading it. 
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fun home and good times

Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” is a tragedy with black comedy in the mix. It starts out with the daughter stated that she is the opposite of her father. “I was Spartan to my father’s Athenian.”(Bechdel 4013). The whole family life is a sham. In one part of the comic it shows the whole family going to Mass and the line above it declaring, “He used his skillful artifice not to make things, but to make things appear to be what they were not.” (Bechdel 4014). “That is to say impeccable,” (Bechdel 4014).  But the fa├žade hid pain and perversion. “But would an ideal husband and father have sex with teenage boys?”(Bechdel 4015).
               The children soon learn to avoid their father’s mood swings by saying nothing and showing affection to their father resulted in extreme embarrassment for the children.  The father masking his emotions with the reasoning that they are not a physically expressive family. “The embarrassment on my part was a tiny scale of my father’s more fully developed self-loathing.” (Bechdel 4018). Even though the interactions between child and father were guarded and limited, the children seemed to love their father because of fleeting moments of kindness mixed with dark tantrums. It reminded me of a child with an alcoholic parent. On one hand there is denial and the need to hide the illness from other people because of shame. The child missed her father before he committed suicide. The analogy of the warm water and then the “sudden, unbearable cold of its absence” (Bechdel 4020). The father’s attention and then the cold rejection of the father. Who was too wrapped up in his own self -loathing not seeing that his children needed him?
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Free Yourself: Conventionalism and Oppression

War. Terror. Anger. Conventional Belief. 

Societal views may improve or destroy the lives of innocent civilians. After nine eleven, Muslims were brought under great scrutiny. As terrorism was a huge fear of Americans, the blame was quickly placed as a means to have some “control
 over the situation. Once loved members of the community were ostracized. In reminiscing the past, it is said where is “the cinnamon-skinned woman for whose roti people lined up halfway down church, the falafel cousins who remembered how much hot pepper you preferred?”(Andrea Carter Brown). Innocent men and woman who were once a respected part of the community are rendered dangerous because of an irrational fear of all Middle-Eastern people. I saw the fear and hatred first hand. My best friend growing up was Israeli. She had the “cinnamon-skin” and long dark hair. I remember the day she came home crying. She was suppose to fly home to Israel to see her family for the first time in three years. Within minutes of waiting in line at Security, her family was asked to step out of line and follow two different, frightening men. Her family was then taken into a back room and questioned for hours. Her younger sister was a newborn and her mother was not allowed to leave the room to breastfeed. After hours of questions because of her father’s Moroccan background and arabic speaking mother, the family was asked to leave the airport. She was denied a seat on the plane because of her appearance and ethnic background at the age of eleven. I remember seeing the pain in her eyes. She mourned not only the loss of her family visit, but also the prejudice she faced. Andrea Carter Brown’s poem brought up many old memories I had suppressed. It is amazing the lessons we, as humans, learn at such a young age. We must learn from past mistakes in order to flourish in the future. Teach your children tolerance. Teacher your children love. Set the conventional beliefs free and rid yourself of the ability to oppress others. 

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Poetry after 911

I was moved by the poem “Alabanza” which I had to look up on my Spanish dictionary to be sure what was the meaning. Roughly it means “in praise”. This poem to me represents the diversity of the victims of 911.  These people in the poem were working people. They did not have executive jobs with big pay checks just people trying to make ends meet. “Ecuador, Mexico. Republica Dominicana, Haiti, Yemen, Ghana, Bangladesh.” (Expada 18-19).  These working people might have been immigrants coming to America for a better life.  They had no political agenda or power to control America’s policy toward the Middle East.  Some of the restaurant employees might have been Muslim too.  The last stanza where the smoke from the towers and smoke from Kabul is powerful. The idea that the Muslim and Americans can learn from one another. It is the least powerful people who suffer both in America and Afghanistan. Alabanza to all people!!
“The World Trade Center” poem talks about the transformation of a universally agreed ugly building and turns it into a symbol of America.  People begin to appreciate its uniqueness and associate it with New York. It is no longer viewed as architectural monstrosity. “My whole attitude toward the World Trade Center Changed overnight. I began to like the way.” (Lehman 16-17). This all happened because of the World trade bombing.    
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Sunday, November 9, 2014

His Experience

Art Spiegelman has a very interesting perspective of 9/11. He was there, many writers have shared their ideas, and feelings of what happened to this Nation but I truly believe that for those that were there it's different. The things he talks about, the images he displays give an understanding. This wasn't just about those people in the towers, or the people running in as hero's it's about the everyday people. The children still in school unaware but only blocks away, it's about the parents rushing to get their child, filled with fear and anxiety about the life of their own child being so close to something so terrifying. Spiegelman's comics have always said something to me, his ability to not only tell a large story in the development of the Twin Towers and their collapse but to tell about his individual experience and how he felt. He makes something incredibly vast so personal and I absorb it everytime. The image of the frame work of the tower was mesmerizing and his story about how this image that he clearly saw, that stood before him was never captured and how for him it was the most important image to share. I loved it and I wished there was an image in real life of the towers this way. 

I'm conflicted writing this now, Eleanor wrote such a beautiful, moving post about her experience during 9/11 and I feel for her. And I know that for us that weren't close to the impact we reacted differently. There was this fear, and feeling of insecurity but we didn't live in it. We didn't smell it everyday. We don't have to question the health of our family member based on their proximity to the crash site. It's hard for me even to understand. The complexity of an event like this isn't something we can easily absorb. I remember 9/11 and I remember the day Osama Bin Laden died, I was woken in the middle of the night. My boyfriend's (now husband's) best friend was blowing up our phones, he just kept calling and when I answered he said to turn on the TV and wake up Dylan. I didn't know how to feel, the same as when I was only 9. I was unsure what to think about all this and I remember thinking back to that day. Thinking back and feeling that same uncertainty. I don't think we're meant to ever understand things like this. I don't think when tragedies happen we are supposed to be able to understand them to the fullest. That's probably one of the most difficult aspects, that we still don't understand. Even if we had all the fact, if it was a conspiracy, if it was something bigger I just don't think it'll ever be something we can say we get. Death isn't something we really ever understand. I don't think we are supposed to. Idk I'm rambling now but this assignment is one of deep reflection and it's hard to gather your thoughts on something so painful. I guess it's just hard to know what to say because there isn't really anything you can ever say to make it better or to change things. The world changed after 9/11. People, a nation and it's art; everything changed. Was that change for the better? Was it for the worse? Are we the "Greatest Country in the World anymore? Or are we a shadow of that former glory?
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Forche's Women

I used to study fashion and I still find costume design extremely interesting and informative.  Using the website Polyvore, I want to create looks showing the difference and loves of the different women that Forche depicts in her poetry.  She paints quite the picture of the vivacious free young women, some of whom are less than free later in life.  And the bookish friends who develop late but travel to Paris.
I made a set after reading A Good Man is Hard to Find, showing the grandmother and the mother - based off of the heavy descriptions O'Connor provided.

A Good Man is Hard to Find

A Good Man is Hard to Find by eleano 

Examining how the characters are depicted is easier in later works because more care is paid to describing them because there's so much difference to what they can wear.  Particularly when a woman is writing about other women because she knows firsthand just how to consciously decide on their looks.  I want to examine what pysical differences are presented to show the women's overall difference in character.  

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Reading Alison Bechdel's comic, I was reminded of the character assassination that Sylvia Plath wrote specifically to "kill the memory" of her dead father (Daddy).  I do not doubt that what Bechdel describes did happen and is an accurate portrait of her father, unlike Plath's story.  It is interesting how these women, who live(d) outside the realm of the expected feminine ideals, attribute much of their identity to the early deaths of their fathers.  Sylvia's father did not directly kill himself, but refusing medical care and examinations led to his early grave.  Bechdel's father did have a sordid life of secrets and problems, which the author writes about candidly, clearly still working out her own feelings on his parenting and her affection for him.  Unlike Sylvia who seemed to genuinely look up to her father in life but whose death and her experience with her own older, suffocating, husband, led her to seek release form his memory.  Some of us cannot escape the influences of our past, like Plath, and other choose to continually grow and learn from it - the look for it's influence in their adult lives and try to remember more or see things differently, like Bechdel.  Did you notice any other similarities that I missed?  
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In The Shadow Of No Towers

I'm a big fan of comics and the art of sequential storytelling, so getting to read something by the legendary Art Spiegelman was exciting to me.
First off, the art is amazing, it plays a lot with the line between iconic and abstract (as defined by Scott McCloud). He's also great at making his characters act. Characters all have very expressive and recognizable looks on their faces with intentional body language. There's a direction with the way everyone holds themselves that relates right back to the characters situation at the moment and helps drive the story. Spiegelman also has great taste in his panels and panel structure. I love the effects he adds to the Maus caricature of himself smoking. He's talking about how he's anxious and scared and it has him smoking, and there's an effect with the smoke even coming in front of the word balloons, really emphasizing the what he's talking about. It makes this empty scenery of just Art talking more moody and tone defining by making the smoke make even the panel feel more anxiety ridden and panicky. I also really love the metaphor at the very beginning with the shoe dropping. It made me laugh at how clever it was, but it made me uncomfortable that I laughed.
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It seems that all modern literature can do is bear witness to the tragic events through stories about individuals.  the events of 9/11 cannot be understood from a sensible aspect. How can Americans understand what other countries think and feel about us and our way of life?  How can we understand the extreme hatred that some people feel towards us?  The writers in this cluster wrote about individuals and how the events of that day impacted them.  But, like DeLillo writes in, In the Ruins of the Future, "For the next fifty years people who were in the area when the attacks occurred will claim to have been there.  In time, some of them will believe it.  Others will claim to have lost friends or relatives, although they did not."(4036)  This is one of the limits of the individual mind to bear witness.  We become caught up in the tragedy and sometimes the events become so real to us we think we are involved in them.  "This is also the counter-narrative, a shadow history of false memories and imagined loss." (4036) The further away we get from 9/11 the more people feel the need to hold onto the stories.  There is a need to remember individual lives and not have them reduced to political rhetoric.
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Saturday, November 8, 2014


I've been having a lot of trouble with this weeks assignment and I'm going to assume that I'll have a bit of a different perspective than most of the class on the events of 9/11.  I was in the 3rd grade (like Kayla wrote about) but I was also living in New Jersey with both parents working in New York City.  We were told at school that anyone who had parents working in the city who picked them up was to come to the office after school, that was all we heard.  I remember I was supposed to go over to my friend Miru's house afterward school so I didn't think about it.  Walking out with Miru we saw both of our mothers waiting for us at the entrance; I ran to mine, excited she was there (I usually went straight to an after-school program so my parents never picked me up at school).  My mom told us what happened, point plank, she couldn't hold it in, "The Twin Towers are gone, you can see the smoke from our house - you guys are going to be okay.  Dad is walking home from work."
None of it made sense, why would someone do that?  Why the Twin Towers?  Why was dad walking?  It would take forever and he'd have to walk across the George Washington Bridge?  I couldn't grasp it - but over the next few days, weeks, and months, I sure started to.  You see, my mom worked across the street from the World Trade Center, only a short couple of weeks before, she'd stopped working Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Miraculously enough, despite her building's proximity, the most damage done was having the windows blown in.  Her office, which she and her friend were always complaining had no windows, was shook up badly, but otherwise unharmed.
We did see the smoke from our house, we could see and smell it for days  My dad walked about 15 miles up the length of Manhattan, randomly running into my godfather along the way and walking together, crossed the George Washington Bridge and walked the rest of the way (a couple miles) home.  No phones, no trains, no buses.  It was a long time before either of my parents went back to work.  Two years later my mom was diagnosed with cancer, we always wondered if her going back to work when she did had anything to do with it - our beautiful city had turned toxic.

I have a really hard time talking to people (especially those who weren't here) about my feelings about the whole situation.  I'm extremely liberal from a family of the same values, but when Osama Bin Laden was killed, I didn't know what to feel, but I knew no one could tell me how to feel about it.  My neighborhood in NY now, (about 15 miles uptown from the WTC) is filled with blocks named after dead cops and firefighters who didn't even die in their precinct, they died in 9/11.  This is why I can't talk about this, I still don't get it.  I still don't know what to feel every anniversary.  On the 10th anniversary I went down to the firehouses that are closest to the World Trade, I stood with many people who had the same idea, reading the names of brave men and women I didn't know.  I wept watching an old former fireman salute a flag.
Tragedies like this belong to the people who lived through them - people who saw, and lost, much more than I did.  Kids from my school lost parents and family, and a giant monument is up in my hometown, one that's on the other side of the Hudson River from where it all happened.  I can't really feel much for pieces on this because it's one person's heartache, and I still don't understand mine.

Many people try, I think with the best of intentions, to inform others of what they are, or should be, feeling - and this just doesn't work.  Why do we do that?  What makes us think that we have the authority and can formulate these thoughts better than others?  Are we merely helping ourselves work through our own pain?

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Violence in the World

In Baudrillard's piece from The Spirit of Terrorism, he makes one point that especially sticks out to me. He says on page 4024, of the towers falling, how they seemed to be "committing suicide in a blaze of glory. For it is that superpower which, by its unbearable power, has formented all this violence which is endemic throughout the world, and hence that (unwittingly) terroristic imagination which dwells in all of us." The imagery of the towers committing suicide leaves such an appalling image, one of a nation that has lost faith in the system. In a world that is so obsessed with violent, we can't help but imagining these terroristic events. He progresses, noting that we cannot avoid "dreaming of the destruction of any power that has become hegemonic to this degree" (4024) [hegemonic - meaning to be dominant in a political sense]. This makes sense, as everyone at some point refuses, in some way, the government. So to say everyone has imagined this great fall of the system is fair. Yet it was terrifying, it visualized a rejection of our government. I found his ideas great, and this was by far my favorite piece over 9/11 I've read.
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Varieties of Religious Experience

All casualties matter, none matter more or less than any other, but each event has a different impact on us individually and as a nation.  The difference with the attacks on 9/11 is that it happened in our country, on our soil. We, as a nation, had to face that fact that we were not invincible.  John Updike's story, Varieties of Religious Experience, gives the reader a glimpse of how the events of 9/11 effected a handful of lives.  Even though the story is fiction, I think Updike gives a good idea of the terror and anguish that some of victims must have experienced in their last moments. I felt pity for victims in the story. Jim Finch and his last phone call to his wife was so sad.  And Carolyn who in her last moments says, "Dear, Lord, have mercy."  Updike makes the victims real people that the reader cares about, not just casualties of some tragic event in history.  The characters in the story represent the real people who died.  They had lives and families and friends. The moment these characters realize they will soon die and for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time adds to the terror and the shock of the event.  The casualties matter to the families and friends that have been left behind to come to terms with random senseless violence, in a world that at that moment does seem to be Godless.  The number of casualties does not matter.  The heart does not feel more sadness or pity because the casualties are higher. Updike has two of the terrorists stories included does he want the reader to feel sympathy or pity for them?  Why did he include their story?
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"Does reality actually outstrip fiction?" -Baudrillard

“Does reality actually outstrip fiction?”(Baudrillard4027). Reality is the basis of our world. Factuality defines us. When does the idolization of violence trump the dissidence of verity?  The human mind feasts upon the the travesties amid our world. It is in a sense, our own personal cinema. Although mostly unconscious thought, the globalization and detriment of it’s failures brings forth a sense of excitement. The collapse of the Twin Towers for the world represented the fall from power. “Whereas we were dealing before with an uninterrupted profusion of banal images and a seamless flow of sham events, the terrorist act in New York has resuscitated both images and events”(Baudrillard4026).   The event of terrorism brought a sense of realism into the minds of many Americans, which quickly transcended into “the act of violence.” September eleventh become a spoken date throughout all American households. It ascended beyond a historical event into a symbol of Patriotism and disparagement against United States soil. The glorification created a sense of mysticism encompassing the event. It was no longer history, but yet a cinematic production. “This is our theatre of cruelty, the only one we have left-extraordinary in that it unites the most extreme degree of the spectacular and the highest level of challenge... It is at one and the same dazzling micromodel of a kernel of real violence with the maximum possible echo”(Baudrillard4027). The dramatization of the Twin Towers will forever embody the fall of American. The greatest power was brought down. The collapse will be continually exalted as the day America felt true violence; the day terrorism ceased American power. 

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

I Was Only in Third Grade

Reading the multi-media presentation on 9/11 was rough. I was in third grade when this happened, I didn't really understand what was happening. We were TOLD it was a tragedy, we were TOLD it was a devastating, but we couldn't really understand. As a wife, listening to the message of the wife to her husband immediately brought me to tears, I can't imagine anyone listening to this message, and not being moved emotionally. I think this presentation puts us in the right frame of mind though. I don't want to say brings us back to that day because for most of us in this class we were very young and didn't really understand like we can now, instead it gives us the ability. To finally understand, to really feel what the rest of a nation felt. The vulnerability of a Nation that thought it was indestructible, that calls itself the greatest country in the world. I went through this presentation before doing the readings so I wanted to make my feelings clear before sharing my thoughts and opinions on the texts.  

In John Updike's short story (Novella) "Varieties of Religious experiences" we literally experience so many perspectives of 9/11. From a father losing his religion in his worry about his daughter, to a muslim in a strip club contemplating his trip to paradise and his reward of virgins. Which on a side note never seemed like much of a reward to me. I'm not sure I'd want to have sex with a bunch of virgins, none of them would have a clue what they're doing. It sounds more awkward and boring than anything, but I digress. Hands down the most striking of all the stories is of the married couple on the phone. In my annotations I just kept writing "oh my god" I couldn't say anything else, and then the wife in the story started to say it too, "Oh my God, Jim." (Updike 4054). And again right after again Marcy cries, "Oh my God." (Updike 4054). Tears literally filled my eyes, it was unbearably hard to read a lump formed in my throat as he gave her permission to live, to enjoy her life. To not spend the rest of her days mourning. This unwavering love, this phone call that began as a normal conversation asking your husband to pick up something from the store ending in the revelation that you will never see him again, you will never talk to him ever again. This is it, your last moment with him on this earth, over the phone. Completely helpless, hearing his fear, seeing the burning building he's trapped in with your own eyes. What I do remember from 9/11 is my teacher crying, I remember we went into a room where there was a TV and we watched, at first stunned in silence and then I heard her gasp. I didn't know why she'd gasp until I heard the adults murmuring under their breathe to each other, in disbelief that they were jumping. And if you looked at the TV you saw specks of black floating from the tower to the ground, we didn't know what it was until we heard their revolution. People jumping to their deaths, they had no other choice than suffocation.This story was rough, like I said I was young when this happened but that doesn't mean I don't remember it. That day sticks out from every single one in my elementary school years. I don't remember my science fair projects, I don't remember who I had a crush on. I remember the day we all got up, and went into the same room as all the other third graders and the teachers just turned on the TV's. No explanation, nothing, just let us witness history. Were we too young, maybe. But so was Dan's granddaughter. In the end of the story it's clear she'd changed, her innocence was gone. It happens to every child. You can't fight it, the moment they no longer see the world through rose colored glasses. My husband's mother talked about seeing it happen to her kids when their father walked out, when they realized he wasn't coming back. She saw an immediate change in them. This happened to an entire generation of kids. That all lost the remainder of their innocence on the same day, at the same moment. When American was no longer "The Greatest Country in the World" when they were no longer infallible, when we no longer felt safe.  Like I said this story encompasses so much. It's impossible to discuss it in one blog. But it's important to read, it's important not to forget, what people went through, how this country changed. We can never go back to before, that's not how it works. As Dan says at the end we must learn from our mistakes and move on. But American's don't go back, we move on. We just can't forget. 
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Maus II

Maus II was definitely an adult visual story.  In the story I wasn’t sure what kind of animal or man was the narrator.  Everyone wore a mask. Did this signify that people wear masks all the time and no one can clearly be recognized?  The narrator is a commercial success but feels depressed and has survivor remorse because his dad survived the holocaust.  He sits at his desk as the bodies pile up. The even bodies do not have human faces they are only emaciated corpses. Spiegelman needs to see his shrink who also happens to be a survivor.  The narrator has issues with trying to understand his dad and what he went through in the concentration camps. “No matter what I accomplish, it doesn’t seem like much compared to surviving Auschwitz.” (Spiegelman 3772).    The only character that I saw that didn’t wear a mask was the German soldier beating the Jewish prisoner, Appel. Is the German soldier revealing his true face? I think that the adult comic/visual book helps the reader to visualize and comprehend the horror of the holocaust.
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In the Ruins of the Future

“In the Ruins of the Future” Delillo has captured the disbelieved and horror that this could happen to the United States.  The idealistic nation woke up to a nightmare on 9/11.  I too thought when I first saw the news reports that a plane had struck the tower and that the pilot must have been drunk or high to not have missed such a large target as a building. Never did it cross my mind but of course when the second tower was hit there could be no mistake.  The terrorists did not see Americans as human beings only enemies of their religion. Zealots thought to be heroes if they killed Americans.  The survivors of the attack worked together to help their neighbors and pulled together to survive.  The TV coverage was intense. “When we say it was unreal, we mean it is too real, a phenomenon so unaccountable and yet so bound to the power of objective fact that we can’t tilt it to the slant of our perceptions.” (Delillo 4040). The hard truth was someone unnamed and unknown had planned and executed over three thousand men, women and children.  The last part of the story where the Muslim woman is praying is revealing in that the greatness of New York and America is its ability to accommodate diversity in the human race. “But the dead are their own nation and race, one identity, young or old, devout or unbelieving-a union of souls.” The dead unite the living.
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

New York Day Women

In Haiti when you get hit by a car, the owner of the car get's out and kicks you for getting blood on his bumper.
I see a parallel between the car owner and the narrator and the victim and her mother.  The narrator can't help but feel ashamed of her mother at times, she feels like she's suffered due to her mother's cultural differences and eccentricities. She blames her mother, if subtly and sometimes unconsciously, for some of her own struggles in the US. Really her mother was the immigrant who had to make it on her own much of the time, she had to raise a child and be without her family and people like herself.  Her mother suffers quietly, with dignity and grace, while the daughter sneaks away behind a Sweden Tours bus.  I don't completely blame the daughter, she has it hard too, she doesn't hate her mother she just doesn't understand her.  She doesn't realize any pain she might have or why she does the things she does.  But she does blame her mother, she definitely does, her Haitian blood is on her bumper and now everyone can see the stain and just how clumsy her mother is.

Do you see other quotes from her mother that are oddly fitting? Which ones? 
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As Children Together

I can't get the last stanza of "As Children Together" out of my head:

If you read this poem, write to me
I have been to Paris since we parted

It's amazing how childhood dreams and promises stick with us - how they seem more important to fulfill.  Everything that has gone on between these two women, everything that's happened since they last saw each other - I can completely understand this to be one of the most important things that's transpired since their last meeting.  I immediately think of the plans my childhood best friend's and I made, the pacts we made when we also declared to be friends forever, I'm sure we've all said that to people it ended up not being true with.  I had a similar encounter with my best friend from kindergarten, we hadn't spoken since maybe middle school but in our senior year of high school - she called me up just to tell me she got into Harvard.  When we were little kids all her Barbie's "went" to Harvard and she'd tell all of our teachers throughout elementary school that that was where she would be, barely knowing at the time what that meant.  After all that time she remembered how I knew that about her, how after she'd moved a few times no one at her current school understood that like I did.  I've talked to her maybe a couple times since, that was four years ago and she graduated back in May.  We didn't talk directly again but I said congrats on Facebook and she thanked me.
I think of the promises I've made to my best friends now, the ones I've known for 2, 5, 10 years - the plans we've made and how many or how few have gone through.  I still take those oaths very seriously.  One of my closest friends I only met two years ago, but we were roommates on a study abroad trip to London.  I'd never been on a plane before that and she'd never been out of the country.  We're both broke and could barely afford the trip but we made it happen.  I've promised her dozens of times that we'll go together again, and I intend to keep that, no matter how long it takes.

I do wonder though, am I doing this for her, or more for me?  Is it important to us to keep those promises not only to our friends, but to our dreaming childhood self?  
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Day Woman

I think it's a pretty amazing thing to be able to see your mother for the woman she is and not just the parent that she is to you. This story encompassed that moment that you first see your mother in a new light and you're able to process part of who she is outside of your personal relationship. Although the narrator is specifially describing her mother I think she purposefully included attributes that make her mother relatable to all mothers. "My mother, who talks to herself when she peels the skin off poultry" (Danticat 3847). This reminded me of my own mother, she always hums while she bakes. Not very loud but it's something I could always hear from our playroom. I love the way she describes her mother though, and the set up between the mothers actions and things that the mother had said throughout her life that connected to those things. "Why should we give to Goodwill when there are so many people back home who need clothes? We save our clothes for the relatives in Haiti" (Danticat 3847). The mother has great advice and of course as a child the narrator sees her mothers good intentions but also sees that her mother has a garage full of things to give to relative in Haiti. But that's the character of her mother and a lot of moms. To put family first and to take care of yourself second. When she stops to look at the clothes for her daughter, my mom loves to buy me things even though sometimes the gift isn't my taste I know that my mother had the best intentions in buying it for me and I love her for that. I love the discoveries made about the mother, eating a hot dog, being a nanny. Her mother is apart of this whole world she knows nothing about. It's pretty amazing, and of course she is. Her mother had a life before her, why wouldn't she maintain her own life. I think moms need that, some work, some have hobbies. But mothers need an outlet, something that's for themselves. This weekend I saw a glimpse of my moms awesomeness. She takes care of kids for a living, she's a children's psych nurse and it amazes me how much she cares about them. She collects unused make up and makeup bags for the older girls, she organized a big Halloween party since the kids aren't allowed to leave their ward, and she has this connection to all these people I will never meet but it brings her so much joy and give her purpose and I love that she has that. I'd love to have this opportunity, to see my mom in her element. I don't know if I'd follow her for so long without saying hello, but I think it's mesmerizing for a child to be able to truly see their mother in her own element. With her independence and without any outside influence. 

I wonder though if it's weird the author never acknowledged her mother. Even at the end she didn't go up to her mother and say hello. I think that's so odd but maybe the author did this for good reason, to say that is wasn't the mother she new but the day woman she'd never met. I'm not sure but that's the one part that threw me. I thought at some point she would but instead she just kind of stalked her mom for a few blocks and then went back to work. 
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Saturday, November 1, 2014

"Daddy" Essay Pre-write

Pleats of frozen tundra encompass the the barren land. The tint of crimson smirches the odious, earthen decay. Monotonous circulation of sentry survey the domain. Thump. Thump. Thump. Is it the trudge of the covetous mercenary or rather the palpitation of a blackened heart? As the stream of consciousness emanates amidst the movement of locution, a transference of setting becomes apparent. Auschwitz befalls the nameless town of Polish decent. The rivulet of German tongue intertwines within the torrent a young girls adolescence. As Sylvia Plath capitulates the obligatory reverence of her overbearing father within her poem “Daddy,” a sense of retribution is bestowed upon the once daunted child through literary deliverance. Plath necessitates the emancipation from within the brooding womb of her father’s callous constraint using metaphors, diction, negative capability, and an ever flowing stream of consciousness  throughout the pith of a single poetic meter in saying “if I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two- the vampire who said he was you and drank my blood for a year, seven years, if you want to know. Daddy, you can lie back now. There’s a stake in your fat black heart and the villagers never liked you. They are dancing and stamping on you. They always knew it was you. Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through”(Plath3055).
The immensity of the inhumane nature of man holds vast significance as humanity encompasses both darkness and warmth. The influence of brutality imposed upon a credulous daughter as she ascends into womanhood can be beheld through the metaphoric nature of Sylvia Plath’s interpretative stanza. Satirically, Plath delineates the inherent disposition of her father in saying “the vampire who said he was you and drank my blood for a year”(Plath3055). Through a metaphoric state, Plath equates her father to that of a blood sucking vampire. She does so to relate the noxious influence her father held within her life. He forced upon her values in which womanhood became on obligation. In using metaphors, Plath brings forth the reality of her oppressive father in such a way that it becomes tangible. Plath affirms her sentiment in sayings “there’s a stake in your fat black heart and the villagers never liked you”(Plath3055). Plath’s father becomes gluttonous amid the power of man. The fat black heart also characterizes the moonless sky in which her father’s soul wanders perpetually. Never will he see the light of day, the strength of womanhood, nor the fortitude of his own kin. It his through the metaphoric nature of Plath that her portrayal of a crude patriarch manifest into a discernible man.   
The exaggerated, poetic diction Plath entails within her poem “Daddy” brings forth a raw portrayal of the lasting effects her father’s tyranny held within her life. Plath illuminates the monstrous nature of her father and his everlasting effects in saying “if I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two- the vampire who said he was you”(Plath3055). Through diction, Plath compiles her necessity through meaningful, elemental writing to subdue the immortality of her father’s invective cruelty. She composes her work in such a way as to concentrate her hostility on effects of her father’s provoking fallacy involving  the bondage of the female psyche. Plath concludes in saying “Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through”(Plath3055). The use of profanity emanates the abhorrence felt for her father. The explicit diction, too, depicts the respect no longer held for her father. There was a time in which he was respected out of fear, but now she is liberated. Through diction, Plath renders herself free from under the oppressive hand of her father.  
The ambiguous mind also finds room for doubt. Throughout the poem “Daddy,” Plath depicts the malice ways of her father, yet through all her tales of deceit, she entails the continuation and contemplation of her fathers wrong doings. It is as if Plath is unable to separate herself from ensnarement of her father’s psychological restraints. Negative capability becomes entangled amongst Plath’s liberation. The stanza concludes in saying “Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through”(Plath3055). Plath declares herself independent from the wrath of her father, yet there is still a question as to if she withholds a piece of his reign within. It is uncertain as to how Plath will continue. Can she uncouple the ravenous lies feasting upon her weakened vitality?  The irresolution within Plath’s work adds a sense of Romanticism as it explores further into humanity. Her inability to cease all thoughts of her father result in the questioning of her ability to move forward successfully in life. Plath has overcome much oppression in her lifetime, but will she ever be capable of relieving herself of her father’s hatred in such a way that it no longer impacts her state of being? The hesitancy and inability of Plath to diminish her father’s lasting effects delineates negative capability. What is to become of Sylvia Plath?  
The mind continuously revels in the inquisition of the world. Seldom are the thoughts made tangible. It is when the thoughts begin to manifest beyond the mind, that humanity feels the anguish of fellow man. Plath depicts a sense of stream of consciousness within her work to create a palpable visualization of her father’s cruelty. As Plath succumbs to the hatred within, she declares her father in a vampiric state in saying “the villagers never liked you. They are dancing and stamping on you. They always knew it was you”(Plath3055). The thought uncoils itself from deep within. The words flow steadily from the cortex through the nerve endings onto paper. Her thought is raw. It is matter of fact. It is with Plath’s transcendence that her emotions come to life. Her thought is tangible. Her words powerful. The realization of Plath’s stream of consciousness creates a sense of realism to her story. She once lived and felt. Her words became a statement; a statement of freedom. With her cry, a single woman was heard. With her voice, she set the oppressed free. Unbeknownst to Plath, a nation was liberated. 
With a dream that one day woman will no longer be woman, but yet humans, the need for equality to prevail above sexism began. Fathers began ascertaining the necessity to teach their daughters to become formidable. Ascension into womanhood became a blessing, not a curse. Syliva Plath laid the stones for the pathway to justice. With her works, she engaged a war in favor of woman’s rights. “Daddy” began a movement. Plath depicted the oppression of woman through the malevolent misdoings of her own father. From a young age Plath endured the persistence of her father’s psychological disparagement. Her father depicted femininity as an impairment. It was through turmoil that Plath rose. Although, her father passed at a young age, his reign become forever entrapped amidst her cognition. It is though Plath’s depiction of metaphors, diction, negative capability and stream of consciousness that she was able to bestow her views on the oppression of woman. The writings of Plath precluded the continuation man’s reign.   

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