Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beloved #2

"124 was spiteful"
The introduction of the book was very interesting. The house is described as spiteful, or angry before the reader even knows what the house has to be angry or spiteful about. Later, the reader finds out that Beloved is angry about her mother abandoning her, and haunts the house out of spite for her murder. Denver is also upset with her grandmother for dying and leaving her with her mother whom she is even more upset with. Early on in the book Denver shows her spite for her mother and blames her for the neighborhood shunning them "it's not the house. It's us! and it's you!" (17) Denver becomes even more upset when Paul D comes to stay with them at 124 because she feels even more excluded, her only friends were her mother and her ghost which Paul D takes away from her. After Paul D tells the ghost to go away, Denver goes outside to eat her biscuit and jam - alone. Throughout the book Denver struggles with spite for her mother fueled by her feeling of abandonment. She continues to be upset with Paul D for staying there because it takes away the attention she gets from her mother, and eventually starts a fight between the two of them out of spite for their friendship. However, Paul D starts taking his "family" out into the community and to the carnival one night which excites Denver. Denver becomes even more excited when her sister Beloved becomes reincarnated in a body and begins living with them, she feels like she finally has a friend - and her sister back. 124 finally has the potential to make everyone happy. Beloved is back, Denver has a friend, Sethe is a loving mother again, However, Beloved's stay begins to anger Paul D because he feels that her staying there is ruining his plans at making 124 his family home. Sethe feels overprotective of Beloved and becomes angry with Paul D for treating her the way he does. Throughout this book anger is a reoccurring theme, the family is never content because "124 was spiteful."

Beloved #1

"The weight of a tree on my back"

Early in the book, the metaphoric weight of a tree is represented to be sitting on Sethes shoulders. Although the "tree" is just composed of scars that have whelped up on her back from a beating when she was fleeing slavery. Throughout the book, the tree is used as a representation of Sethes past, and the story of Denver's birth. She calls it a Chokecherry tree because Amy said it looked like one when she was nursing her back to health from running away, and then helping her give birth to her child Denver. Sethe's scars are a representation of her past sorrows, and it is ironic that they are compared to a tree; trees represent a new beginning, a new life. Although her scars are a reminder of her past struggles, it also is a reminder of her new beginning as a free mother. Amy nurses the bleeding scars back to heath and presents us with the tree image, as if representing a new life for Sethe and baby Denver. The tree shows the weight of Sethes torture on her life until Paul D comes for a visit. When the two are in the kitchen, Paul D attempts to get close to Sethe by holding her breast and resting his cheek on her "tree." It is then that he realizes her struggles and sees the tree that she has been referring to, which upsets baby Beloved's ghost. After Beloved's ghost shakes the house, Paul D establishes his place in the house and tells the ghost to go away. This itself establishes a new beginning for the two, but the tree forever stays "rooted" to her back. The tree will always represent the painful memories for her and her children.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Assignment 6

Louise Gluck
"Parable of the Hostages"
I really liked this one since my boyfriend is overseas. It gave me a new perspective to the war.
In this story the soldiers wonder what they are going to do after the war. I wonder if my boyfriend has ever worried about his life and purpose after the war. The soldiers feel that their life will go back to being boring and repetitive after the excitement and unpredictable war zone. This story gave me a new perspecive about the soldiers, and their thoughts about the war. These soldiers felt significant and feared what their existence would mean back at home. I really like this one because the soldiers felt the calling of the war, and then the calling of the world. They used the war to "avoid profound spiritual questions." This left me with a lot of powerful thoughts about every ones existence, and their place in the world. I really liked this one, it meant a lot to me.

Sherman Alexie
This guy is either a genius, or the worst person ever.
So he opens up a pawn shop and buys the Indians stuff. Sounds okay... I don't really see a problem with that.
But he is putting a cheap price on priceless things to these people, kinda sleezy.. but the name of the game I guess..
THEN he turns the pawn shop into a museum to display his artifacts, no problem..
BUT he then charges the Indians five bucks to see their own stuff?!
OKAY. this raises A LOT of questions to me.
FIRST did the Indians feel forced to see their stuff for money and he took advantage of them by setting up his pawn shop right there on their reservation??
SECOND did he try to be cheap? Did they know he was cheap?? Was he trying to be devious by making a museum??
But its obviously deceiving to then charge them to see their own crap. This guy had some nerve.

Adrian Louis
"Without Words"
This one makes drinking seem profound, like its something to live for and there is a unity of the nation.
I kinda liked it, it seems very powerful.. although its talking about drinking?
A certain word choice makes me put a lot of consideration into this work. He refers to the alcohol as "pure" anyone and everyone would describe alcohol as "poison"
Alcohol can destroy relationships, families, careers, and everything a person stands for.. but he says "we have nothing to live for" so maybe the alcohol has nothing to destroy. Although he recognizes that "each day we drink we decompose into a different flavor"
This work is so interesting because it seems to conflict at the end.. like maybe it has already destroyed us..

Martin Espada
This is very interesting to me.
At first I thought that maybe he was upset about the Puerto Ricans taking over the school. He makes it seem like a plague. Although I found it interesting that the culture adapted to them, instead of the people adapting to the local culture. The way he claims the children "devour the stockpiles in the cafeteria" i picture a swarm of kids coming in and taking over. It also gives you a lot to think about.. why in the end does he claim the "Marines tramped" it doesn't seem to fit.. or make sense. There just seems to be a lot going on in these few lines. Look at the last stanza, look at the first.. the work "nostalgic" sticks out, like pride in the statue.. look at the word "graffiti" things are changing, the times the generation, the culture.. this is very intriguing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

assignment 5

John Ashberry
"They Only Dream in America"

I did not understand this at all.
So I looked it up on modern American poetry's website and their analysis said..

"‘They Dream Only of America’" is one of the most clearly structured poems in The Tennis Court Oath, possessing essentially a traditional double plot. The story of the children and the murderer reflects the shadowy story of the narrator’s friend, whose journey to lose himself in America, driving "hundreds of miles / At night through dandelions," becomes more and more terrible, as he takes everything that happens for a "sign" (presumably of impending evil, the broken leg mentioned in the last stanza). He ends, like the children earlier, paralyzed between alternatives of ecstasy and destructiveness: "There is nothing to do / For our liberation, except wait in the horror of it."

First off, it claims this one the most clearly structured poem? I didn't think it was clear at all! and even after reading several pages about a child and a murder I re-read the work and STILL did not get that analysis.

I overall just do not like his work, Street Musicians was all over the place and I have a hard time following the flow of his work.

Philip Levine
"Animals Are Passing From Our Lives"

I take this poem as literally as it sounds. "Animals are passing from our lives."
The immediate mention of "ivory toes" make me picture an elephant being used for their feet/tusks. But later we discover it was referring to a pig, which is also the speaker. The ending of this poem brings pride to the pig in which the rest of the poem dooms him. He seems to dig in his heels from this cycle and finally say 'No.'
I like his work, and especially this one because you have to love the "don't tread on me" attitude.

Adrienne Rich
"Aunt Jennifers Tigers"
I have actually read this one before, and was glad to revisit the discussion.
I remembered her wedding ring was the key of our discussion and seems to be a major factor in the story. The way it is described as weighing heavy on her hand leads the reader to believe she is not happy with her life and uses the quilt to escape her mediocre lifestyle.
At first her hands are described as "fluttering" which displays the image of "light" like a butterfly flutters and that her ring is a heavy weight on her hands as she sews. finally, in the last line that the tiger "will go on prancing, proud and unafraid" seems to run a parallel between Jennifer and her artwork.

Magaret Atwood
"Happy Endings"
This was so much fun. The web all the characters spin is absolutely hilarious. As well as the ending.. whichever ending you choose (although in someway it all ends the same) No matter what end after end after end the characters have, it always has a happy ending. Even though the story may be less than happy, in the end someone is getting married or falling in love. My favorite part about this is the realistic drama the story holds, it is all about happy endings, but it is not all about happy lives. The characters love triangles are very much relatable in a real life aspect. I loved it, I laughed as i was reading it and hoped for certain charters success.. although it never ends quite the way you'd like it to.

Raymond Carver
"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"
This one really got me thinking. I loved how the whole thing seems to be comparing new love to old love.. and it seems to be very one sided.
As the two couples sit and drink their gin before dinner you begin to see the drastic differenced between the newly weds and the 2nd marriage couple. Compared to "Happy Endings" the realisitc perspecive is certainly there as well.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Assignment 4

John Berryman
"77 Dream Songs is a hazardous, imperfect book. One would need to see the unpublished parts to decide how well it fills out as a whole. As it stands, the main faults of this selection are the threat of mannerism, and worse—disintegration. How often one chafes at the relentless indulgence, and cannot tell the what or why of a passage. And yet one must give in. All is risk and variety here. This great Pierrot’s universe is more tearful and funny than we can easily bear." -- Robert Lowell.

I actually really liked this one. Although it was kinda random like Howl.. i liked it. I don't exactly know what it is about, or trying to say, but the reaction i get is a good one. Its weird when i read this because I cant analyze them.. i just image the dreams of the writer flashing different images and I feel like that's the point. Dreams are never able to be interpreted, they are what they are and I compare that to this reading.
"but never did Henry, as he thought he did, end anyone and hacks her body up and hide the pieces, where they may be found. He knows: he went over everyone & nobodies missing. Often he reckons, in the dawn, them up. Nobody is ever missing"
this was my favorite section because I became more eager to read. I don't know why this is so intriguing to me, other than the fact that it makes me think of dreams. Henry could of had a dream he killed someone, and believed it to be true but realized in the morning no one is missing.
Everyone could relate to having a dream that seems so real, you wake up and really believe you did that. That's how I take these stories. The 77 dream songs.

Sylvia Plath
This poem means NOTHING until you know that her horses name was Ariel. So this would be one of the times footnotes DO help!
ALSO, there are references from other works that would help you greatly!
I read it once, read the footnote, read it again and took a whole different look at it. Although, I still don't get all of the poem, I understand the concrete "horse facts." Being a horse rider helps me gain insight to the text, as well as some of the emotion. Plaths other works describe a hard life with her father and husband, so this would be a "happier" piece. But it wouldn't be Plath if there wasn't some mystery.

I can just imagine her standing on the hill looking across the open field for as far as she could see, "Gods Lioness" was the name of her horse she rode. Standing on the "furrows" that were ready to be planted and the arc of her horses neck ready to run. Then the poem seems to change paths, instead of running through the field she now is describing blackberries "black sweet blood mouthfuls" and the "hooks" being their thorns. (from the poem Blackberrying). Then the way she says "something else hauls me through the air" it almost seems like something unexpected happen and the thighs and hair i literally picture her thighs and the horses mane (where the hairline meets the withers where a rider would sit) And when she uses the term "I unpeel" I feel like she means from riding, from her horse and then she has "dead hands" But the last part I still don't understand..

Anne Sexton
Her Kind
The writer is describing everything she has done, and every "kind" of woman she has been. She seems fearless, and powerful. At this time society would have been threatened by "her kind." The three stanzas seem to describe outcasts, and I wonder if she felt like an outcast because she was not the typical woman. I feel the power behind the writer in this poem, she seems proud to be "her kind"

John Updike
This was interesting. The vivid descriptions of every single detail was what kept my interest. All the way down to the register noises, he described every detail.
The first thing I think is "are these children!" I cannot picture anyone over the age of thirteen walking around a quickstop at the beach in their bathing suits. When its a child, its not that big of a deal.. but I just pictured 13 or 14 year old which kinda makes this story sick. But then again, whatever. The cashier tells his story of the three girls coming in the store and he watches them walk around the store until they come to pay. The scene where the manager comes up is the best. I just wondered, they are already here at the register, let them get their food. Crazy concept. But instead this cashier is going to quit his job because they were asked to put on clothes? they didn't even have shoes, they shouldn't be in a grocery store with bare feet. What was he trying to prove? did he think these girls would care what he did. This is just an interesting story. I like it, but it wasn't life changing.