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The Literary Canon changes due to the changes around us. If the "powers to be" did not include more modern, feminist or politically correct works the validly of the list would be in question. What good would an education be without being educated as a whole. If the Literary Canon never changed we would only read works of white racist men and no other point of view. Alas, if there were no change to the "canon" we would read the same 10 authors for centuries. How boring would that be! The times change and so should the Literary Canon list.
The reading in class of Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" was at first confusing. We read it to ourselves as we were instructed. Then we were asked to discuss what the story meant. At first it meant that some noble aristocrat had a painting of his dearly deceased wife painted on the castle wall. But after some discussion we discovered that this man had seemed to kill her because he was jealous of her beauty. He now wants to marry a Count's daughter and is trying to convince his representative to show him in a good light to the Count.
What does feminism mean to me? Everything, whether you are a man or woman, black or white, rich or poor, supporting a feminist society is important to you. When the rights, thoughts and freedoms are taken away from one class of people, it then can happen to any class of people. When I was young, my Mom divorced my abusive father. Her mother told her that it is not right to divorce her husband and she must of deserved the abuse. Feminism to me is the right live a life free to make your own choices. Slavery is unlawful today.
In our readings, we read Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" and discussed what we thought the story meant to us. To me, Mrs. Mallard was a woman not of her time. If she had lived in modern day, she would not have died. Not only with new medicine, but she would not have had to live in a loveless marriage. Her husband may have been on an airplane and or a train it would of not mattered. Today she could of filed for "irreconcilable differences" in a divorced and gotten half of what he had and plus alimony.
One of my favorite television shows is not a mystery, adventure or action show per se, but in "reality" it is just that. "Survivor, Thailand" or any other location is a great show of formula writing. If this is not formula writing, then my understanding of the term is vague. This show has action in every episode. The adventure of how sixteen people are thrown together to live, eat and survive is one of the best there around. And last, the mystery of who will out wit, out play, and out last the others makes for a great television show.
Last night we were assigned to read William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" and discuss if we thought it was a ghost story. Mr. Faulkner himself said it was in an interview. He likened it to a picture that gave him the idea for the story. He stated that a painting of "a single hair on pillow in a abandoned house" was his inspiration. I saw that a painting is a ghost. Suspended in time, never changing and is that not what a ghost is? Something that stays the same over time and never leaves? Emily is that single hair.
The narrator of the short story by Susan Minot, "Lust", is an insecure woman. She starts a pattern very young that in order to be a guy's friend you have to sleep with them. She must not have a close relationship with her father. She is looking for that closeness in many men. The story progresses with her older, still looking for that special relationship. She believes she has to give them what they want, but in the end she has become such a slut that they won't even look at her. They discard her like she has discarded herself.
Several years ago a friend insisted I read a series of books called "Left Behind". Not being an avid fiction reader, they were put on the shelf and collected dust. Last summer I took one along to an appointment to scan through. The next day I finished the book. What an emotional and riveting experience. There were eight books at that time and I didn't stop till I was done. I followed the characters every step of the way. My thoughts went to my religious up bringing. How I had let it slip by. The following week was September 11th.
The "Left Behind" book starts with missing passengers aboard a Boeing 747 en route to Europe. All that remains of these people are rumpled piles of clothes. This happen all over the world, on trains, on buses and in cars, all are left unmanned. Chaos breaks out worldwide as head of states disappear and those in charge are weak to control everyone's emotions. This books chronicles what happens to those left behind and the journey they begin to search for the truth of what has happened to their friends and loved ones. For those left behind, time has just begun.
To continue with the "Left Behind" book series, the second book was "Tribulation Force". This book begins slowly; it rehashes much of what the first book had bore out. It retells the story of how people vanished instantly; it practically retraces the entire first book. It would of flowed better if they had just summarized. Once the story starts again, you become aware that the world has become a little smaller. People who had never met are joined in a force to spread the word that they have come to believe. They witness that the end-times are not far behind.
The third book in the "Left Behind" series, "Nicolae", again rehashes the first two books. When reading the first several chapters you are eager to skip them and read from the back of the book. By the third book you know who the main characters are and don't care to read about where they came from. But still you can't help yourself and read on. This book focuses on Nicolae, the man who at a young age takes over the United Nations and soon the world. His character is formed well and you realize why this man is so powerful.
The fourth book of the "Left Behind" series is "Soul Harvest." This book takes us to Iraq and back to America. It tells the story of how this man, Nicolae, has brainwashed or hypnotized, and even some think devil empowered a city of people. He takes these people to underground shelters, in the desert sands nears the Tigris River. The story gives us an insight of the inner workings of this man. It starts to show his true colors and what he is willing to do to gain the trust of the world. The story shows a search for truth.
"she being Brand" by e.e. cummings can be viewed in a couple of ways. If you think he is writing about a new car, what car do you think he is referring to? Would it be a foreign import such as a Toyota? Or could it be an English car such as a Rolls Royce? Some may say the car is a fast autobahn rider such as a BMW. Think as you wish but I believe he describes a Ferrari to a "T". If you have never driven one you slip gears and grind all the way down the street.
In Sharon Olds poem, "Sex without Love", tries to answer if there is such a thing. She weighs out both sides of the issue. First of all she wonders aloud, "How do they do it, the ones who make love without love." But think to yourself what is this she describes. In my opinion sex without love is animalistic? Or is sex without love rape? I have known some married people who would argue this is just marriage several years after the wedding. These people just believe it is a chore that has to be accomplished. What do you think?
Point of View Has anyone ever ask you what you thought of something? Where you stood on a particular subject? Or did they ask you if you saw a particular event? What they are asking is your point of view. They want to know what you thought of the act, subject or event. Now, did this same person who wanted to know this then get upset that your point of view was not theirs? These are the people who would change the story if they were asked to pass it along. They also would make horrible witness in an accident.
Irony Isn't it ironic that politicians use this literary device more than those who write for a living? They contradict themselves from one day to the next. Sometimes I think their teams of speechwriters live in different countries. Then I think these politicians are so puppet like they just stand there and move their lips. Wouldn't you want to make sure what you are saying is what you believe? When someone is sarcastic with you, as long as you are not at a comedy club, you turn off everything they say after that. Isn't it ironic we elect these people?
Style The Webster's Dictionary defines style as, "the distinctive and unique manner in which a writer arranges words to achieve particular effects." When I asked my thirteen-year-old neighbor what she thought style was the first thing she said was, "it is wearing fashionable clothes or how I wear my hair." Same thing, it is they way you organize something. In writing it is taking an idea and explaining what it means to the author. You also have to arrange the message in a well-organized structure so the readers will understand the meaning. I am learning this in my English class.
The setting of John Updikes story, "A&P", is the cornerstone of the story. I don't think we would have gotten the same meaning of the story if the setting had been, let's say, the seven eleven. There would have been no sheep herding in the store. The meat counter would have not been there so the symbolism would of faded. The local seven eleven does not have "Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream." The setting plays an important role in all stories. If you can find setting the rest of the story will be easier to figure out.
"The Birthmark," written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, shows how some men can say one thing yet mean another. When Aylmer first meets then marries Georgiana, he sees no "defects" that offend him. Soon after they marry he changes. This rite is not only a woman's. To change ones mind is not so uncommon or wrong. But to change your mind when feelings of the heart are at stake hurts more than just yourself. Georgiana does what most women do, she accepts how her husband feels and allows him to perform an experiment on her. This is all with knowing the outcome.
Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken," is written mainly in past tense. He tells of a journey where he had to make a choice. He could take the high road or the low road. He tells why he made the decision to take the "other" path. It was want wear. This path had no under-growth to navigate. He was sorry he could not take both, but then that would have been like having your cake and eating it too. The last paragraph is written in future tense, wandering to what his grandkids would thought of his choice in life.
What are words? Is it how much in quantity or is it how much it is in quality. Words can be small or large. Words can have profound meaning or not much at all. Words are use to warm our hearts. Words are used to hurt. Words are used to explain complex projects. Words are used to speak in pig Latin. There are some words whose meaning is unclear. There are some words whose meaning is unmistaken. There are words that mean several things. There are words that only mean one thing. But all in all they are only words.
"To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," authored by Robert Herrick was written with the point of view of a man. This poem tells the story of a man trying to convince his girlfriend or lover to have sex with him. This is not a desperate pleading tone, but one that is relaxed and casual. He tells this woman that she should have allot of sex while young. When she gets older she won't be able to have sex. This is untrue, he may not be able to get it up, but she will be able to enjoy sex.
Andrew Marvell's poem, "To His Coy Mistress," tries to desperately persuade a girlfriend or lover to have sex. Unlike the poem, "To the Virgins, to make Much of Time;" this guy is trying to talk her in to bed. He tells her that he will take his time with her and not rush anything. He tells her that she is the love of his life and don't put off their sexual union. He warns her that everything will end with death and that time is of the essence. I think he is older and she younger. This explains the urgency.
When reading Diane Ackerman's' poem, "A Fine, a Private Place," it shows how women have control in a relationship. The poem starts out with the man asking the woman not once but twice to have sex with him. This shows the power of a woman. She blows off his sexual desire quickly. He continues to beg her for some attention. She is physically attracted to him. After the woman toys with him awhile she allows him into her bed. What the man doesn't know is this woman was interested in him the whole time and played him like a drum.
An aubade is a musical composition, such as a love song, usually sung at or around dawn. Richard Wilbur's poem, "A Late Aubade", is a story told of a man explaining to his lover why she should be in bed not doing other things. He is uninterested in daily chores or work. Reference to the title is instead of singing this song in the morning it is not wrong to sing it later. He wants her to come up to bed to make out. He points out all the negatives of doing anything else but what he wants to do.
When asked which poem I thought was the most romantic of the four choices given I would have to choose Richard Wilbur's, "A late Aubade." The poem tells how a man is so in love with his girlfriend, lover or wife. He doesn't want her to be away from his side. He asks that she not shop for clothes, garden, meet with friends for lunch or train her dog. He wants to have her all to himself no one else. This man is in love with her to the end. It is a true love story. Or is it fiction.
The poem, "Dover Bitch," is a parody of the poem written by Matthew Arnold, "Dover Beach." Mr. Arnold makes fun of them standing on the beach saying their good byes before he goes off to sea. "And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad all over, etc., etc." Making light of their separation. He puts forth that here is this educated woman who would not be all mushy with the departure of her man friend. Nor would she sit quietly and do what her man wants her to do. He writes like a feminist without any feelings.
The two poems by William Blake, "Lamb" and "Tyger" are like night and day. They are the difference of heaven and earth. The "Lamb" asks a question then give answers. The "Tyger" questions are never answered. In the "Lamb" there are soft, gentle, and happy things throughout the poem. Not the case with "Tyger." This poem talks of fire, chains and terror. The final difference between them is their names. Lambs are soft and meek. Tigers are flesh-eating hunters. I see that one represents good and the other represents evil. Just like in the world there are some of each.
Walt Whitman's poem, "One-Self I Sing", the narrator speaks of "a simple separate person." In this line you begin to see where this person is speaking of freedom. The poem goes on to speak about freedom in several different forms. The poet speaks of a woman's right to be free. In the line "The Female equally with the Male I sing." What I find amazing about the meaning of this poem is that is not written when you would of thought. Walt Whitman, a man, wrote this poem in 1867. Women's rights were a tiny little movement at that point.
I had read a poem written by Langston Hughes entitled "I, Too." The gender of the narrator is unknown but you know it is someone of African heritage. You further know it is someone who was a slave. It does not matter what the color of your skin you can be an American, Mr. Hughes points out in the poem. And he shows the passage of this slave from the kitchen to eat, when company comes, to the dinning room. The narrator puts the shame on the company of treating him different. He says they will be ashamed, aren't we?
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