Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pinterest Links for Final Paper

Alison Bechdel's fathers public board

Alison Bechdel's fathers private board
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No Hope for the Hopeless

McCarthy ends his story in a very bleak way. Before reading the articles about Hemingway I didn't know he was illuding to a second piece of writing but after reading the excerpt it's clear what he was trying to say. McCarthy makes this comparison to Hemingway because he wants there to be a drastic difference between the way the stories end. For Hemingway the image of the trout in the river meant hope, it meant new life. It encourages the reader to look beyond their immediate surrounding to find the good in life and what it's worth. Then there's McCarthy's ending, McCarthy specifically talks of a time when the man remembered trout in the river, it's a memory for him, not something that is current. He wants the reader to understand that there's a difference between the world there was and the world that there is not. He wants to reader to feel the hopelessness, to understand that the world will never be the same as it was ever again and that they have to accept that. That's similar to the world after 9/11, it changed things for American's and the entire world. People lost family, a city lost their beakon and a country lost thier sense of security. America was no longer infallible and that was a hard pill for an entire nation to swallow. When wars start in other countries now people legitimately worry about another attack, because 9/11 was not only a warning to us of our weakness but to our enemies that our weaknesses are there. 

I think the story is about 9/11 in the way that it's not about what happened but how people have to deal with it.  The relationship between the father and the son is something showing the difference in generations, the children still filled with hope and goodness but the parents, old enough to understand what happened and become jaded by it all. 
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Sunday, December 7, 2014


In the article there's a line; "Hemingway often voices this pessimism, but it is nowhere to be found when his protagonists are in the natural world" there's an interesting connection between masculinity and the connection with optimism and hope in nature.  I'm reminded of The Swimmer where nothing brought Neddy more joy than thinking he was exploring un-mapped terrain and swimming this great river.  His illusion came crashing down and it was reveled that it was all artificial and factory made.  The sadness of the destruction of his hometown isn't a hopeless sentence to Nick when he sees the fish swimming freely nearby.  In The Road, it is never revealed whether or not the catastrophe that turned the world into what it has become was natural or man-made.  I feel like an natural disaster explanation lends itself more towards this narrative.  Now it is not Man's fault that we are forced back to nature and savagery, it is a betrayal on the part of nature.  And once people are forced back into the wild, it becomes harsher still.  This takes the humanity away from the population,  the ties that bind them are meaningless when the world around them has rejected their way of life and forced them into the wilderness.

What are your thoughts on what happened to the world?  
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Dinosaurs and Crows

The man describes a dream, on where he's visited by a being not of his own world. And when he wakes up he makes the realization that he is the alien. He's from a world that's nothing like the one he lives in now. His son knows nothing of what he grew up with other than the stories that he's told him. (McCarthy 154). That's an odd realization that the man makes but it echos throughout the rest of this portion of the story. When the man and his son are discussing crows, the boy asks him whether or not they still exist, whether he'll ever see a crow for himself. For us seeing a crow is just a matter of looking out the window but in this new post apocalyptic world seeing a crow is as unlikely as walking down the street to see a dinosaur, they're all gone. They're dead in the ground and they'll never be anymore of them. Except in books. "Just in books? Yes. Just in books." (McCarthy 158). To me that's astounding, the boys entire world almost exists in a fairytale, at least his dreams. His reality is so grim, so barren that he lives off of the truths and the memories of his father. Stories of animals that have long since ceased to exist, stories of his mother, and a world where people weren't just good guys and bad guys. Where there were doctors and lawyers and teachers, none of that exists anymore except for in the mans memories and his sharing of these stories with his son in a way keeps them alive, because eventually they won't be anyones memories anymore and the only thing that will exist is the vast expanse of nothingness and the eventual demise of humanity. McCarthy does a great job of reminding us how important the trust the boy holds in his fathers stories really is. In a conversation between the two of them the boy expresses just how important it is that he believes everything his father tells him. "I always believe you. I dont think so. Yes I do. I have to." (McCarthy 185). It's such a matter of fact statment but it's because the father doesn't realize that if the boy doesn't trust him, if he doesn't just accept what his father says as honest and true that he couldn't trust anything because all he knows is what he's been taught by him. Why there are bad people, why his mother died, why they can't care for and take in everyone and yet are still the good guys. He's too young to fully understand but he knows that his father is ultimately looking out for their well being and only taking care of him the best that he can. 

Is is wrong for the father to fill his sons mind with stories of a world that will never exist again? Should he give him this false hope or is it something else? Do the stories give the boy an innocence, a drive in imagination? Something to keep going in a world so bleak?
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The Natural world of Hemingway and McCarthy

The parallels between Hemingway and McCarthy never occurred to me but after reading the short story “The Big Two-Hearted River.” I can see how closely both authors seek answers in nature.  Nick’s spirit is nurturing in watch the trout and how they keep steady in the face of a current. The analogy of the current could be the adversity of life. McCarthy’ father figure reminisces about the pre-destruction of earth.  Hemingway has always been influenced by naturalism.  Hemingway accepts that the forces of nature rule the world.  In the “Road” nature as we know it is destroyed but it still rules the world in the Darwinian way of survival of the fittest. The strong survive and sometimes it isn’t pretty but necessary. The man tells his son the way of survival too but in the terms of good and evil.  The boy will never see nature as it once was but only can rely on his father’s memory. The boy’s natural world is evolving, changing and survivors must redefine their roles in the new natural world of ash and destruction.  In Buddhism there is a Goddess named Kali and she is Goddess of Time, Change, and Destruction. Kali destroys but she also brings about rebirth like the phoenix rising out of the ashes.
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Monday, December 1, 2014

The Road pg 103-198

McCarthy's style in, The Road, is bare bones.  He does not give big wordy descriptions of scenes or events that happen in the book because he is letting the reader get a feel for the sparse the world is and how father and son are using all their energy to survive.  Father and son do not have the time to just sit and chat and even if they could there is not much to really talk about.  On page 153 as the father wakes from a dream he thinks to himself, "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.  The tales of which were suspect.  He could not construct for the child's pleasure the world he'd lost without constructing the loss as well..."  Memories of father and son are different. The father is aware of how good life was before and the son has no idea of what kind of world his father comes from. Their shared memories are dismal and bleak.  The father shares very basic things with boy regarding the past because of that fact. I think McCarthy is trying to give the readers the feel for how hard it would be in that situation: fighting daily to stay alive, trying not to be seen by the "bad" guys, trying to find shelter, trying to find your way to a safe place.  It is tiring and there is not much time for idle talk and talking about past memories of a better world.  Are the memories really important? Does the boy need to hear any of it?
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