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Hello everyone! My name is Vanessa. I'm currently in school for my Bachelor's in Social Work with a minor in Juvenile Justice. Life is what we make it so why let "society" ruin it. If you are a part of society and allow it to influence you, this blog is not for you. If not, enjoy reading about hair and products, music, society, relationships, and anything else I can think of.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What Punctuation Mark Would You Be?

Come to think of it...I'm pretty sure no one has ever taken the time to really think about what punctuation they would want to be. But, since I am given the opportunity...I'm actually stuck between the comma and the exclamation point. The comma is put when you want a reader to slow down, like taking a breather and preparing for the next clause. That's how I am sometimes. I find that I pause when I speak sometimes (mostly when I am having trouble explaining myself), like now. I would definitely be the exclamation because it provides extreme emotion to whatever it is you want to say...exaggerated or not. The exclamation point is describes different emotions, like anger, frustration, happiness, joy, excitement, and so on. The exclamation point does so much for an expressive sentence. It also describes my attitude. When I am excited, I yell or shout...just like one would react in a sentence with an exclamation point at the end.

Robin Blaser's "Where's Hell" Part A & B Posts

Part A

Ello everyone...I just wanted to say that this lecture by Robin Blaser was I should say...inter-est-ting...in its own special way...

I didn't really understand what was going on. I knew he was speaking in front of a crowd. He would speak and then change into reciting different poems by different authors, especially when he mentioned he was influenced by Franz Kafka and Borges.

I found it interesting how he brought up Sophocles' interpretation of the compostition of the soul. He believes the soul is like a spider web and that the soul responds to every single movement made on the web. At first I didn't understand why he would compare the soul to a web--and even now I still don't know. But, my theory is that a web is spun with delicate thread from a spider and isn't spun in only a moment. It takes time and possibly even days. When you think of a web, you see the origin, then how it expands, it's like ripples in a pond. It starts off small then bigger and bigger. This is what I thought about when I analyzed a web, but relating it to a soul is a bit out there. My question is how would you comepare this analysis to a soul?

I would also like to know everyone's thoughts on Charlamegne's Alquin when he says that life is the expectation of death and how death is established at one's will? It sounds confusing, yes, but I would like an elaboration?

Part B

I would like to apologize on my preivious post...instead of Sophocles, I meant Socrates. Please and thank you.

Anywhow, I would like to start by agreeing with both Cynthia and Tzivia about how the lecture was disappointing. I also thought that it would be more of a lecture based on different ideas people would have on the topic: "Where's Hell". Although on the otherhand, Blaser did mention some ideas that sort of intertwined with the idea of hell. Using citations from other authors, Blaser touched upon the subject of the soul and life's stages. The soul is what would normally be either damned to Hell or ascending to Heaven. I found that he got more into it at the end around the 55 minute mark. He brought up the Italian man Luigi with an extremely long name from Venice. In the poem, he asked the man where he was living and the man did not respond--until suddenly he said he was living in Hell, in which he demonstrated by raising his hand to his stomach and up to his heart. This part of the body houses the interior being--the soul. He himself, in his own body, was housing Hell within himself.

Now that Michaela mentioned it, about the fact that Blaser didn't come to a conclusion about the question...it could be that it was done purposely. If you look at the way Blaser's lecture was, you would see that he beat around the bush a majority of the time...he was never direct about anything, in my opinion. Also, it could left unanswered because he left it up to his audience [which includes us] to decide for ourselves where hell is, since also there are so many other opinions.

Peter Warshall's "Animal Sounds" Lecture


With the title alone, I wasn't sure that I could elaborate on this lecture as much as I would like to--required to actually. But, I'll certainly try.

I found this lecture to be a little more engaging and relative than "Where's Hell". He kept my attention going with the use of his sound recordings. The first thing that came into my mind was where did he get all of these sounds? But no matter.

I was actually able to agree with Warshall when he mentioned how the study of music is important to poets. This was my first bullet note. I'm pretty sure that almost all of poetry have some type of rhythm. Without rhythm, a poem just sounds boring and readers would just be reading it straight--not sure if I'm making sense...it's a bit hard to explain. For example, a poem can have an AA BB CC pattern--this pattern in itself is a type of rhythm--and this rhythm moves like a beat--and music has a beat! Hope I made it a little more clear? Basically, in order for GOOD poetry to be written, it needs "music".

Another point I would like to address is how he describe white noise--fearsome, awesome, and divine. This was an enormous exaggeration to me because usually, these type of words describe some type of higher power, godly even. But, I changed my mind, especially when he says how people thought that the white noise were from the gods. I compared this higher power to the evolution of sound. His whole lecture is based on how sound has changed and affected the planet. Sound has such a dominating role that it should be described as fearsome, awesome, and divine. Until this lecture, I never realized how sound had such an impact on Earth. From the beginning of time to the present.

I also wondered how sounds become a type of seduction and are intimate. But, it slowly became self-explanatory when he reached the subject of male and female--the time of mating. I found it interesting how much sound is put into this type of relation within the animal and human species. This might sound a bit clique, but the way an animal, like the frog example in Warshall's lecture, and a human try to attract a mate are similar. As society puts it, the man who has "more game" into courting a woman usually gets the her. The same way goes for the frog. The lowest and loudest grunt attracts the female frog's attention and he gets her. This is evidence enough to prove that sound alone has an effect on how we all (humans and animals) communicate with one another. One problem I experienced in this lecture was how at the end he states two poetic goals: 1) to take evolutionary history of assertive low pitches and to reverse the sound 2.) to stress high pitches and to turn that into beautiful sounds. What did he mean by this?

Frank O'Hara's "Having A Coke With You" Explication

In Frank O'Hara's “Having a Coke With You”, the speaker of the poem takes the reader into a journey of love through art, in which the purpose of the the poem is conveyed. Frank O'Hara's speaker of the poem uses allusion, aesthetic imagery, and first and second person point of view to bring out the the theme, which is how the everyday things in life can be utilized to express deep emotions, in this case of the speaker.

The speaker of the poem uses allusion in a sense to apply emphasis on his love for this special person in his life. These references to certain paintings, statues, and artists are meant to demonstrate how the simple, everyday things can be compared to such a complex sentiment of love. The art references of the poem are compared to love and it shows how significant these allusions are to him. He mentions specific titles, stating that the person he is writing about possesses greater beauty than most paintings. It's coincidental and interesting how he rather chooses to write “just as at home i would never think about The Nude Descending a Staircase”. This line seems to have a deeper meaning because the title of the portrait itself is a method in representing that he only has eyes and respect for this special person and that he wouldn't take a moment, even while away from her, to imagine “the nude” walking down the stairs. He would not hinder to worldly temptations such as this. It is also possible that certain allusions that he makes are references to other women that he used to occasionally notice. “...at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo and Michelangelo that used to wow me”. This again, is the comparison of the simple, everyday things in life. This quote and also the previous one link together because they express similar meanings of how deep he is in love.

Another technique O'Hara uses is the imagery that the words of the speaker reveal and create in the mind of the reader. The speaker mentions “orange” in the first couple of lines in the poem. This bright, burst of color is not a usual term to describe love, but instead, it is used vibrantly, to insinuate how much joy it is to be in love with this person. The speaker's allusion to the “Polish Rider” furthers this idea because the horseman is wearing orange. It is questionable why the speaker chose not to utilize “red” as the descriptive words because the color red is the most commonly used term when describing love and passion. But, the speaker says, “I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally”. As he uses “except” to break off his feelings, it demonstrates the limits that he has for this woman, which is evidence to as why he did not use red, but instead orange, a relatively close tint. The title, which is also significant, though it is somewhat irrelevant to the comparisons, holds greater meaning to the subject of love. Sharing a coke with someone is a type of communion, which deepens the sense of comfort and simplicity the author attempts and succeeds in conveying in the poem.

Finally, the speaker invites the reader to personally feel what he feels, using second person point of view, on a sentimental journey through art. In almost every line of the poem, the speaker says “you or your”, referring to the woman he loves. This point of view makes the meaning of the poem all that more obvious and relateable. Though at times he is not specific to the particular person he is talking about, the “subject” is left broad and open to whomever. He uses “you and your” as a method to make the purpose of the poem more engaging for the reader. The reader can imagine himself in the location of the “yous” in the poem, a technique O'Hara uses so the reader can see through the mind of the speaker, also known as stream-of-consciousness. First person is also used in the poem, referring to himself and at times inclusive of the woman. But, at the same time, the speaker closes this broadened opening as he says, “thank heavens you haven't gone yet so we can go together for the first time”. He uses both point of views in the same sentence. This line also enables the reader to experience the emotions the speaker is feeling.

Henceforth, Frank O'Hara uses aesthetic allusions, colorful imagery, and stream-of-consciousness of first and second person, to convey his theme of how the simplicities of everyday life, art and unyielding to temptation, can be compared to the most complex, yet also simple, emotions of love in “Having a Coke With You”.

Tom Phillips Explication: Page 186

Page 186

On page 186 of Tom Phillips' A Humument, Phillips creates a contrasting, short poem between the ability of “clairvoyance” and looking forward to a melancholy day ahead. Phillips utilizes imagery, irony, and intricate diction to portray the theme of the poem. He suggests that those who possess the aptitude of clairvoyance (the literal supernatural power to see things that normal people wouldn’t be able to with their given senses) are rare to find and how much easier it is to be more pessimistic, only seeing what everyone else can.

Tom Phillips uses simple imagery to further stress his point on the rarity of people with clairvoyance. In the first half of his painting, Phillips creates a splotch of words with the borders spreading in different directions. The speaker states, “Amplify your/ unhappy/ to-morrow”. In the spreading of the edges of this line, he demonstrates how the feeling of pessimism can be magnified and unknowingly sought out by almost everyone in the world. Also, the meaning can be interpreted as to look beyond the sorrows and the unhappiness that tomorrow may bring, which the speaker expresses by having the border of the lines stretching out. But, at the bottom corner of the painting, the speaker states, “clairvoyance”. This word is put alone, in isolation away from the rest of the poem, and it is also incomplete in thought. It is possible that Phillips purposely isolated the word or also that it was just coincidentally in this location. Not only does Phillips seclude “clairvoyance”, but it is perfectly boxed in, with its rectangular shape. Another interpretation of his use of imagery is how he purposely surrounds the poetry in black color. Not only that, but the lines of the poetry are in white, making it quite legible and visible to the eye. His use of black represents total darkness and the clear or white color of the actual writing in the poetry represents the light. People of the norm are not equipped with the ability to see through darkness, which creates an unpleasant feeling. Hence, the speaker states, “Amplify your/ unhappy/ to-morrow”. The speaker describes the future as unhappy, which relates to Phillips' use of black color to envelope the eyes of the beholder. Society, at some point of their life, will experience pessimistic anxiety for what lies ahead and not knowing makes it even worse. These melancholy views of the future reason with Phillips use of blindness through darkness in color. Spreading the edges suggests to look beyond what is usually given to a person, beyond the darkness.

Phillips' utilization of irony would seem rather questionable by the reader because one would rather seek the optimistic point of view of what holds tomorrow rather than what may or may not happen. Pessimistic human anxiety is a part of mankind that is so inevitable, which is why instead of discouraging the negativity in the future, he encourages it. But, out of random, the speaker includes “clairvoyance” which force the first half of the poem into a state of contrast. This term is supposed to demonstrate a rare power in which one can see what others can't with their normal senses. But, possessing this ability can enable one to see the optimism in the present and future. This is also emphasized with his use of isolation of the word—towards the bottom left corner. Here, his two ideas are those that only see the the negativity in which everyone else is capable of seeing while the other is looking beyond that, possibly the positivity in tomorrow.

Finally, Phillips applies intricate diction in his poem to help portray, literally, the theme of his poem. His use of sarcastic diction makes the poem more intriguing and thought provoking. The speaker of the poem is addressing his message to almost everyone on Earth because he refers to his subject in second point of view when he states, “your/ unhappy/ to-morrow”. Since this poem relates to normal society, it is only appropriate that he uses second point of view. The speaker also uses exaggerated terms such as “amplify” and “clairvoyance”. Amplifying an object or in this case, an emotion, is increasing its size dramatically. But, since that first half of the poem seems to be spreading in all directions of the painting, it is only right to assume that it could spread to clairvoyance. He is probably trying to send out a message that people should seek a way out of the normal, everyday feeling of pessimism to opening up and enlarging the ability to see the brighter side of things—which most others cannot.

Tom Phillips' theme is implied in the poem with his use of exaggerated diction, dark imagery, and irony. His message to society is that clairvoyance is possible to possess if people can only see outside of their negative ideas of tomorrow, though he seems to encourage it—only because society makes it so inevitable since most people think similarly. But, his message reaches a point where the surrounding edges of the lines is making its way to clairvoyance.

Reading Lolita In Tehran Post 5 (A & B)

In my previous post, I noted that Azi believes that she is irrelevant to society. I just wanted to add a quote that I think would branch off from it:

“I wrote, rather dramatically, to an American friend: “You ask me what it means to be irrelevant [I asked the same thing]? The feeling is akin to visiting your old house as a wandering ghost with unfinished business. Imagine going back: the structure familiar, but the door I snow metal instead of wood...Your office is now the family room and your beloved bookcases have been replaced by a brand-new television set. This is your house, and it is not. And you are no longer relevant to this house...” (169).
Before the quote, Azi would talk to anyone who would listen to her. She believes that others she has spoken to feel as if their place in the world was taken away. Though she applies this to others, it also relates to herself. She was living in a country where not all that mattered to a person were limited and she was able to articulate with that, but now, ever since she began wearing the proper Muslim woman attire, her life changed drastically. It seemed to really affect her. “The problem for me was that I had lost all concept of terms such as home, service and country,” (169).

Anyhow, Jenny, you wrote about Azi's visits to her magician. Before, I elaborate, I would repeatedly get confused about who this “magician” was and her relation with him. I did not want to go back to the text because I was hoping that the narrator would explain his importance. I also agree with you about whether or not Azi “invented” him or not, but I think he really existed because of the scene when she had an appointment with him and did not find him there. I don't think that his significance to the novel was all that vague as you put it. I looked at the name she gave him first, “magician—and at times, my magician”. A magician is a talented person who usually performs tricks, illusions, and provides an entertaining atmosphere to a crowd. In this case, Azi's magician put an air of hope and fulfillment. “This was what was good about him: people who went to see him somehow ended up with some plan or another, whether it was how to behave towards a lover or how to start a new project...” (175). The narrator mentions how he was able to fix situations and how people would come to him for advice. The magician was put there (especially notable during the times of the bombings in Tehran when most people lost all hope) to help bring Azi back on track on her teaching. She left Tehran University because of the veiling law that was passed. I found it interesting about how he described her. “He said later that when friends asked him after our first meeting, What is the lady professor [this is what the magician called Azi, the narrator] like?, he said, She's okay. She is very American—like an American version of Alice in Wonderland...it was merely a fact”, (175-176). He describes her as being very American, where most Muslims in Tehran would probably take as an insult. Instead, she thinks nothing of it—rather she agrees with his statement. He also believes she is like Alice in Wonderland. This movie was a story of a young girl who falls into an unfamiliar world with fictional characters unlike herself, that seem yet adapted to their environment. She travels in this fantasy world, different as can be, and befriends the most unusual creatures. She's lost in this land and must find a way back to her world; same as Azi. She is in a world where she is unlike the others, she's lost (because of the veil she's wearing) and tries to find a way back to her purpose (teaching back at the university).

Ashely, you asked if Nafisi could be a Christ figure. Like Jenny, I understand where you're coming from because, yes, she has disciples that like and don't like her classes that she teaches. I don't really see the relations of Christ within her except that she has followers. But, then again, I see that she represents Christ in other ways, too. She seems very devoted to her books, just as Christ was with the Bible, and doesn't seem to care what others think about her, just as Christ felt when others denied him as prophet and instead as a hoax. Then again, at the end, she conforms to wearing the veil because she has to in order to continue teaching, let alone walking in the street, which Christ did not conform to, instead he remained faithful to God and His plan, was crucified, and died, but rose again.

Jenny, to answer your question about losing contact with the other students, I just believe that it was meant to happen. Many of her students were either jailed or executed, and many just chose not to come to school or had joined the fight against Iraq, especially with the war that was going on. Even before the war, Azi was losing contact with many of the students As to it being a symbol of leaving the past behind, I see your point, and I find that I agree. She left for the United States in 1997 as she stated in the Epilogue. After all of her experiences in Tehran, Iran, I believe that she left to a land where she could be herself, her true self and not worry about what the Islamic regime had to say about it.

Reading Lolita In Tehran Post 4 (A & B)

I know in my last post I mentioned I was beginning to lose interest in the novel suddenly, but I must say that I take it back. The idea of the book turning into a war story in some ways forced me to disengage with the text only because it wasn't what I wanted to read or expect. But, I realized that the war between Iran and Iraq was actually significant to the book.

“So he had formulated an ideal of me as a Muslim woman, as a Muslim woman teacher, and wanted me to look, act in short live according to that ideal...No, I could tell Mr. Bahri, it was not that piece of cloth that I rejected, it was the transformation being imposed upon me that me made me look in the mirror and hate the stranger I had become,” (165). This was my first quote that I chose for the the fourth part of the book because I finally got a sense of what she really thought about the veil, what she really felt about being covered, head to toe, in a black chador...in her own words. It's pretty obvious that the veil is an extremely important aspect of the lives of Muslim women in Iran—especially the narrator, Azi. The idea that she applies about the veil was a way that I never thought of it before. I always thought she opposed the idea because she was a rebel and hated conforming to the government, and would rather live her life the way she chose to rather than the way “they” chose to.

Jenny you noted that Nassrin, one of Azi's students, lives in a society where women are considered to be subordinate and they mustn't show any trace of individuality or identity. The narrator is living in the same one. This world that the Muslim women are living in contradicts Azi's beliefs that wearing the “piece of cloth” would turn her into a stranger within herself, which I agree with. I can't imagine her in a thick black chador of endless layers that block her from personal expression. Wearing the veil would mean a dismissal to, according to Jenny, “her identity and individuality”, most of her beliefs, her lifestyle, and her behavior. In other parts of the book, she calls herself “irrelevant”. Azi's irrelevance to society is because she is so different. The university believes she is different, too. This came to be after the veil was required in most accommodations in the country. Also, most of her favorite book stores were closed down because they sold too many “Westernized” novels that they believed were poison to the country. “Sometimes, almost unconsciously, I would withdraw my hands into my wide sleeves and start touching my legs or my stomach. Do they exist? Do I exist...Unfortunately, the Revolutionary Guards and the guardians of our morality did not see the world with the same eyes as me. They saw hands, faces and pink lipstick...” (168). This relates to Azi's previous statements because as before, she is not the average woman living in Iran. I couldn't believe when I read over the passage that she was wearing the veil! I was shocked and a bit angry because I saw it as defeat, but then again, it was necessary in order for her to return to teaching at the University of Tehran. What she said foreshadowed this quote because the cloth did make her a stranger. She would walk down the street and question whether her existence was true or false. The Islamic regime only saw what their minds and eyes forced them to see. They did not realize how wearing the veil would rape these women of their individuality (according to few of the characters).

Reading Lolita In Tehran Post 3 (A & B)

So, third part of the book so far: James. Just like Ashley noticed, Nafisi is engaging more political influence in the novel. It was a jump for me because I guess I could say I didn't expect the story to become so “involved”. When Azi, the narrator, would tell her readers to “imagine” something or a scene she is replaying for them, I would just read along. But, unlike Ashley, who insightfully did so, I realized I was missing out on the book. Therefore, I went back a few pages and reread only that passage and I felt the sudden “sympathy” of what these women would go through. I could never really place myself in the shoes of these people and feel what they experience as something so normal a part of their daily lives. One scene that I particularly felt haunted by was the scene where Azi actually participated in the revolt. There were men armed with guns and knives ready to attack and murder any of those who opposed or caused destruction. As women were the subordinate sex, I would be extremely fearful for my safety because they would probably consider me just one less woman to worry about in the world—plus they had no mercy for even the teenagers they killed. Now, Iran is at war with Iraq, posing an even more political threat for the people.

Certain aspects that fluttered in part one of Lolita have emerged in James, part three. The situation with women being their own person—individuality, and how the head scarves create an enormous blend of bland women, all the same, and how once they remove the hijabs, they become themselves and unique in their own way. As I mentioned before in the previous paragraph, there have been revolts and a war in Iran. The revolts included a women's protest against veiling, which they obviously lost. So, women are to have the heads covered when entering the workplace at all times and there were no exceptions. But, “'I am authorized to stop any woman who—at this point I interrupted him. I am not any woman! I said with all authority I could muster,'” (161). This statement was from one of Azi's friends, Laleh, who was cut off from working further at the University of Tehran because of her refusal in adapting to the new law of the veiling of women. The italicized words are meant to stress the earnestness in Laleh's voice. She believes that women should be able to freely express herself and the new law would disable her from doing so.

I think Jenny answered her own question in her analysis of the novel. She asks at the end, “what should fiction accomplish?” I agree on almost all of her analyses. I think fiction is meant to accomplish anything and everything. The certain glitches one may have when reading a novel is normal and only means that the brain is engaging with the text, if one has any questions. Also, I think fiction is meant to make one think and question what is around him and also question reason. I remember reading in my history book that philosophers would write endless books with different meanings of life and theories as to why this is this and that is that. I think fiction functions in a similar way because Gatsby for example portrays an average American man with big hopes and dreams that all come crashing down at the end. I think it was meant to force us to question human ability in reaching goals and to expect the unexpected. The only opposition I have is that Jenny believes that “she indirectly praises the works of literature”. I personally don't believe that she indirectly praises literature, I believe its the other way around. I figured this because 1) she held secret meetings at her home every Thursday afternoon for those devoted to literature 2) she went on trial in defense of the shunned book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, which is considered an abomination in Muslim society because of its “immoral teachings” and 3) she just seems so dedicated to literature that I couldn't imagine her not directly praising the work otherwise.

Almost there...

Reading Lolita In Tehran Post 2 (A & B)

Hello again!

So far, my perspective of this book has changed only because I noticed I began losing interest in the story. As I was reading Part 2 Gatsby, I was wondering what happened to the secret literary meetings Azi was hosting at her house? I guess I would have just wanted to see more of the meetings throughout the book. But, the techniques Azi used to steal my attention in her book was clever.

First off, I noticed an interesting point Azi applied into the book. She states, “I had become a wayward and unruly child and could not be controlled,” (88). The reason I found this interesting is because she puts this later on into the novel. This quote reflects her character ever since the beginning when she introduced herself and the others around her. She wears her hair down, without the shall and her style of dress does not demonstrate the way the Islamic Republic would want her to dress. I also think that Azi is a courageous woman because especially at the time she is living in Iran, things would be extremely dangerous for her—not obeying the proposal and all. This also relates to her statement addressed to her class in Tehran University, “I told them I was going to a protest meeting, to oppose the government’s attempts to impose the veil on women and its curtailment of women’s rights...I was determined not to miss any more,” (111). It’s pretty obvious that she is in favor of women’s rights and independence, but, it seems to me that she is living at the wrong place, and definitely the wrong time to possess these sort of ideas. She lives in Iran. This most likely took place in the seventies or early eighties. Azi is her own person and she is risking her life for a cause she finds particularly significant for her. I mentioned that she is living at the wrong place because Iran is an Islamic country and anything that has anything to do with Western influence is shunned and extremely opposed, especially during a time of revolts. I think Azi purposely puts this statement here so we could create our own image of her and having this put in was most likely just a confirmation.
BUT what made me question this is the scene of the riot where Azi officially participated in. She states, “Then there were the intellectuals like myself, who did know a thing or two about demonstrations...two of them took photographs of the crowd, jumping menacingly from side to side. We covered our faces and shouted back,” (115). Why did Azi and her friend cover their faces? Were they trying to protect themselves from the photographer taking pictures of the public (probably ends up in newspaper) or were they covering their faces because they could not be seen. I’m not to clear on that...

I would like to bring up a question about the Gatsby section—hopefully it can be answered. What do you all think about the Gatsby section of Nafisi’s book? I did not quite understand how this related to her life or political life in Iran—though I do have a hunch. I’ll take a chance at it:

I think it has been established that the theme of The Great Gatsby is the American dream and what it consists of. Gatsby’s dream was to have Daisy’s love again, to be with her forever, just as they used to before he was sent off to war, which he almost succeeded in. Also, before the war, he had goals in becoming wealthy, which he succeeded in already, illegally, might I add. All Gatsby was missing was Daisy, but her unfaithful husband Tom Buchanan was in the way. Gatsby faced many obstacles to obtain this “American dream” which led to his fall, his death. So I am guessing that the Iranian regime is establishing this dream, too, except anti-American, in hopes of Islam dominating over Western culture and democracy. Is Nafisi trying to conclude that this hope of Iran, or Muslims (Islam), trying to gain this dream is hopeless and will lead to their fall? What do you think?

Reading Lolita In Tehran Post 1 (A & B)

Hey everyone. Let me start by saying that we must have already figured out that we have more reading to do than was expected because the book is actually longer than we thought it was. Happy reading! Anyhow, I am actually surprised that I have a lot to say about this book. The first thing that caught my eye would definitely be the cover. The title includes "Tehran", which I figured to be a Muslim city, especially with the two girls in the front. This also brings it to my point because the girls are wearing veils, or hijabs as some might call it. The particular thing about it is that their hair is not fully covered, and from my knowledge, it is sinful to display the slightest of hair.

It's pretty straight forward that the setting of this memoir takes place in Tehran, Iran. From the beginning, Azar Nafisi gives us background information about the book. "I chose seven of my best...students...to my home every Thursday morning to discuss literature. They were all women--to teach a mixed class in the privacy of my home was too risky, even if we were discussing harmless works of fiction," (Nafisi 3). I chose this quote because it portrays the distinct Muslim culture and how greatly it affects society. I also found it interesting when she mentions that even with something as so innocent as discussing literature, trouble could engulf herself and her students. Another interesting point I would like to cover is about the robe. In Iran and probably Muslim society in general, women are to wear dark colored robes with dark colored head scarves. "I could not get over the shock of seeing them shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color," (5-6). I discovered two things and one being that her opinions on the Muslim attire is inserted in this--and many other passages. To Nafisi, it seems that she opposes the use of the scarves. The second thing I noticed was how she terminated the sentence. It seems as though the everyday Muslim woman attire is dull and made into a black and white scene, where every woman is the same, and no one is unique. But, the last part of her sentence, "burst of color" and the "shock" she experienced when they removed their 'costumes' shows how each student became an individual and added different colors to the once black and white scene.

An important aspect that I realized while reading this book is Nafisi's constant use of color when she is describing something. As I said before in the previous quote, as the women removed their dark outer clothing, vibrant colors splashed into the room. I see that color is essential in these women's life--a way in which they can take themselves away from what seems so dull and gray, to a reality in their minds. "...her paintings were splashes of rebellious color", (11), "How many people get a chance to paint the colors of their dreams?" (11), "...until I finally settled on a red-striped shirt and black corduroys jeans...put on bright red lipstick...I fastened my small gold earrings," (12). There are of course numerous examples of Nafisi's use of color in her book. The fact that she uses these colors demonstrates the emphasis for the need of color in the lives of these women, especially the rebellious narrator and also author, Azar Nafisi. Not only does Nafisi dislike the robes but it seems that her students aren't too fond of them either. "...two restless hands, which, were constantly in motion, as if trying to escape the confines of the thick black cloth," (15). Nafisi was describing Nassrin, one of her more mysterious students. Though she probably meant it in a literal sense, I took this quote to a deeper extent. She describes the robe as being thick and black. Indeed, the robe is thick, but at the same time, it could mean that escaping can be so much as impossible. When one attempts to penetrate a dense material, it isn't an easy task and one probably won't be successful.

I wanted to pose a question. What do you all think about Sanaz's experience walking home everyday (This is on page 27 depending on which copy you have. It is the moment in which the narrator introduces a scenario to the reader in a way to personally experience the everyday life of a Muslim women)?

Another interesting point is how Nafisi stresses that the women are NOT Lolita, which she introduces later in part 1. The thing is that I can't help but compare their lives to this specific character Lolita. Lolita is a bound character, by force, under a man named Humbert. He takes away her past and gives her a new future according to his desire. I imagine Humbert as the Iranian government officials. I do this because some of the girls don't want to be bound by this Muslim attire, but only oppose it in their minds and by action. They only do it because society/religion expects it of them. These factors contribute to their bound stages in life in which their future depends on what "society" chooses for them--just like Humbert in Lolita.

Nevertheless, I want to say that I am really enjoying this book so far. Again, happy reading!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Review for Poetry Festival

Vanessa Gaston
AP English Literature
Mr. Gallagher
October 12, 2008

Poetry Festival Review

Art and literary poetry are one of the things that I never really appreciated or enjoyed, as a matter of fact—until October 11, 2008. Who would've thought that me taking a like to these things would have just been taking an hour drive to a city far from Malden, Massachusetts. Lowell was where all of this took place. I've never actually been to Lowell. That morning, I haven't even reached the poetry festival and I began to notice art and history within the city itself. Honestly, it was amazing and I'm not just saying that to get a good grade on this assignment. But anyhow, it was a little boring when we first got inside the art gallery—when Ed Sanders was speaking. It was dragged and he had no enthusiasm, of course my opinion. I lost interest fairly quickly and I was relieved when Mr. Gallagher allowed us to leave and roam about for about an hour. I went down the mini-staircase that led to the art gallery. I was impressed. I thought going to art galleries were for squares, old people, and rich folks. But, when I looked deeper into the picture, I was...I'm not sure what word to use. I experienced a mixture of emotions: shocked, baffled, warm, and imaginative. I was shocked because I didn't expect a painting or a mere photo of for example to old women from a distant country to make my mind explore through the possibilities of the meaning of the photograph.
I'm pretty sure it was just a typical thing in the coffee shops in Lowell to have poetry readings aloud by the locals. But, even though, I thought it was interesting how people who most likely didn't know each other could gather in one place and share their ideas—that's how much poetry had on people, which leads me to the poetry festival. Just like the coffee shops, the poetry festival brought many people from all over to gather in different places yet at the same time, to share the similar ideas. At the high school, where Ed Sanders and Marjorie Agosin read out their literary work, brought many interesting types of people in one place. I think our group, from M.H.S., was the youngest group out of all the attendants, which was fine with me, because it made us look even more intelligent. Marjorie Agosin's poems were in my opinion, historical, and at the same time, cultural. My two favorite poems by her were “Dear Anne Frank” and the poem dedicated to a woman's granddaughter. “Dear Anne Frank” was in its own way inspirational because this woman, the writer, is from Chile, and she wrote a poem about Anne Frank, which her experiences occurred in Germany. It just goes to show how much of an impact Anne Frank had on the world. I liked the other poem by her because I thought it was sweet. This old woman is looking at a picture of her granddaughter and reminiscing on old times she used to have with her. Next, I liked Mr. Gallagher's introduction for Ed Sanders because it was humurous in it's own way. He looked like he enjoyed reading it. Both Sanders and Agosin were different in their own way. Ed Sanders seemed more down to earth, because some of his work, especially from Poems from New Orleans, was more relatable to society, especially with Hurricane Katrina and the most recent one. They were depressing because the themes for all of them were based mainly on how everyone lost their most prized possessions and also each other. I thought it was a little out there with his William Blake's “Song of Innocence”, which was the laughing song. It was comical, a little scary, but still a little out there. I personally enjoyed his “Send George Bush to Jail” poem. It just proves how in school we are taught that writers sometimes instill their opinions on politics into their work—except Ed Sanders made it quite obvious. All-in-all, the poetry festival was a good experience because it opened my eyes into a different perspective. I never liked art or literature based poems where an assignment would be given to analyze it or writing about it—especially when half of them don' t make sense. Now I see that not all of them are like that.

Memoir Project (CD Tracks/Metacognition)

Vanessa Gaston
Period 2
AP English Literature
October 9, 2008

Metacognition: Mixed CD for Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki

Track Listings: 1. Miss Independent 2. Dangerous 3. Get Money 4. I'm In Love With A Dancer 4. Soldier 6. Realize 7. Is She the Reason 8. I Don't Wanna Know 9. Take a Bow 10. Dance With My Father

I loved this part of the project. I realized that this might actually be the easiest assignment Mr. Gallagher will ever give us...let me take advantage of it, is what I thought. Just like the previous assignment of creating a flowing conversation between Ernst Hemingway and William Faulkner, it was a little difficult to choose songs that would relate perfectly to the memoir. It was possible to find a few songs, not the full required ten tracks, so I had to go way back—old school, couple of years ago type of music to incorporate into my soundtrack, which I decided to name: “It's A Hard Knock Life: Geisha Style”. But, I finally found ten tracks that I thought fit well with the events and emotions that occurred in her life.

To start it, I thought about different songs that would fit major experiences she had throughout the book. The first track I chose was “Miss Independent” by Kelly Clarkson. The lyrics to this song are self-explanatory hence the title. Mineko Iwasaki is very independent, since the beginning to end, child to adult. She did everything basically in solitude, she literally stated in her memoir that she didn't like people, she liked to be alone and do things for herself. The second track is “Dangerous” by Kardinal Offshall. I thought this song fit perfectly for her. As Mineko Iwasaki's career grew and she became popular, everyone thought she was a beauty and she was a threat to other opposing geisha...dangerous...hopefully one can see how it relates. The third track, “Get Money” by 50 Cent is another self-explanatory choice. She made quite a lot of money, especially for her age. She was considered the best geisha in centuries. Her debut was amazing. Thousands of people were awaiting to see her first appearance as a maiko, the first step before becoming a geisha. She would receive tips and then give it to others. That's how much money she brought in. The fourth song, “Soldier” by Destiny's Child is about how a girl wants a man that can keep stable, someone that's there for her, who can stand up for her, basically be a man. Mineko Iwasaki wants the same thing, but in almost different terms. She wants an intelligent man that will sweep her off her feet. The fifth song, “I'm In Love With a Dancer” by T-Pain is the clean version of the original name. The maiko is art, a women who dances. While Mineko Iwasaki throughout her career was a maiko, many men proposed to her and she rejected all of them. The sixth song is “Realize” by Colbie Caillat. As independent as Iwasaki was, she finally found someone persistent enough to tare down her walls. She fell in love with a man that fell in love with her first. She rejected him numerous times and she made a proposition with him. The proposition was fulfilled and they began to go out. They realized that they were meant for one another, until he cheated on her...

The seventh song I chose was “Is She the Reason” by Destiny's Child. As I mentioned in the previous song, the man she fell in love with cheated on her. It was a mutual understanding that he was already married, but he claimed to disown his wife, that they had no feelings for one another—and also promised that he'd divorce her in order to be with Mineko. One day, she goes into the hotel room they usually spend time together in and finds female belongings on the ground and realizes that it was his wife's items. So, she decided to end the relationship with him. The eighth song, “I Don't Wanna Know” by Mario Winans also relates to this particular situation. He knew that she knew about what happened, but he acted as if nothing ever did with her. So, when she ended the relationship, he was sad and wanted her back, but Mineko wasn't going to have that at all. The ninth song, “Take A Bow” by Rihanna is also for the same reason I chose “I Don't Wanna Know”. She made a fool out of her ex-fiancé. He called her house a ridiculous amount of times and he still didn't get her back. He got what he deserved. Finally, I chose “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross. Mineko Iwasaki had an extremely close relationship with her mother and father. When she lived in the okiya with the other girls, she couldn't help but feel a sense of nostalgia. She looked up to him and would quote him when she was in a predicament. He was her sense of encouragement at times. So finally, I didn't really have a thought process for the assignment. I just chose songs that I thought would relate to the memoir.

Characterization Essay

Vanessa Gaston
Period 2; English AP Lit.

Characterization Essay: “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker

In the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, two totally different, yet vital characters are purposely put into a story battling the roots on heritage traced straight back to a family of three, Dee, the mother, and the youngest, Maggie. Alice Walker utilizes a flat and static character, Maggie, and a round character, Dee, who at the same time can be considered dynamic, to build up her story, using them as her foundation to create the meaning of her short story “Everyday Use”, which in fact is the clash between two different worlds who are two different sisters, when at the same time grow up in the same household.
One of the characters addressed in “Everyday Use” is Maggie. She is the youngest daughter the mother, who is not given a name, has. She probably isn't given a name because she isn't as significant to the story as the two sisters, where the real meaning is brought through. Maggie used to look up to her older sister, but would always be uncomfortable when Dee would come by to visit. “Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: she will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed...eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe,” (Walker 91). This is when the type of characteristics Walker uses to describe Maggie comes into significance. Maggie remains the way she is described throughout the whole story. But Dee is not. Dee is a round character and she changes from the start and end of the story. The cultural clash between Maggie and her mother against Dee is ironic. The cultural difference between them is apparent because all three lived in the same “house [is] in a pasture” (93), but then Dee leaves. It has been known that two sisters usually come out differently, in most cases. Walker makes this known. For instance, Dee is intelligent in her studies and Maggie isn't. For Dee, “she used to read to us without pity...burned us with a lot of knowledge,” (92). But, as for Maggie, “she knows she is not bright. Like good looks and money, quickness passed her by,” (92). Dee went off to school after her mother was able to pay off her tuition with the help of her local church, so she was able to get a hold of a proper education. In contrast to Maggie, who probably had to stay home or most likely didn't attend a nearby school often enough to build on her intelligence.
Dee would never bring her friends over the house when she would come on her visits, probably due to her embarrassment of where she used to live, and for her friends to see what sort of dwelling she left behind—she would take the advantage of that. These differences between Dee and Maggie are what makes the meaning of Walker's story so inevitable. Two girls brought
Gaston, 2
up in the same household grow up so differently. Dee believes that she has been oppressed by her
roots—her African heritage. It's ironic because when she used to live with her mother, she was embarrassed by her culture—where she and the rest of her family came from. Then, Maggie and her mother wait outside for the surprise of their life. They expect to see a Dee pull up in a car, but instead, find a Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo dragging along a Asalamalakim. The change in her name is a typical form of an African—so very stereotypical. She comes out of the car with a long “dress down to the ground, in [this] hot weather. There are yellows and oranges enough to throw back the light of the sun. Earrings, too, gold and hanging down to her shoulders. Bracelets dangling and making noises when she moves her arm...” (93). Reading this enables the mind to immediately think of everyday African attire. Flamboyant dresses, bracelets, and earrings. She never dressed this way mainly because in the beginning, it was as if she didn't want to be a part of this. Walker describes Dee's outfit in such detail to emphasize how much this character changed from the beginning of the story, which is why she is a round character.
All of a sudden, Dee wants the many household items her mother has so kept in her home for many years, things that had a sacred significance. When her mother denies her the one thing that Dee wants—the quilt her grandmother knitted herself, she gets angry, after being told it is to be kept for Maggie when she gets married. What she says last at the end brings out Walker's meaning of the story and makes it clearer. “'You just don't understand...your heritage...it's really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you'd never know it,” (97). Since Dee had the opportunity to go out and see the world, her views on her culture changed and she begins to appreciate it. When she mentions the way her mother and Maggie live, she means to say that they are so closed in and that they will be unable to see the world around them, they can only see what is close to them. Once she leaves, it seems as though Maggie is happy. “Maggie smiled; maybe at the sunglasses. But a real smile, not scared,” (97). Her attitude changes once her sister walks out of the door. It might be because the sister she once had that rejected her roots is now embracing it or it could be that she actually left, and she could resume back to her comfort that she had before her sister came.
In conclusion, Alice Walker uses these two characters, Dee and Maggie, to bring out a greater meaning of life, how all it takes to change is to get out of one's comfort zone and see what the outside has in store. Also, how hypocritical a character can be without even knowing it, going from living in an oppressed home to becoming a stereotype African woman named Wanjero. One is sheltered in the arms of her mother and familiar with her culture, while the other is exposed to a greater outdoor and comes back with these false impressions. The two contrasting characters bring out this meaning with the qualities each one possess.

Setting Essay

Vanessa Gaston
Period 2
September 24, 2008

“IND AFF” by Fay Weldon

Setting is significantly vital when it comes to a work of literature. Such is the case of Fay Weldon’s “IND AFF”, written around 1988 in Yugoslavia. In this particular short story, the setting involves where the events actually take place and the moment it happens, and also in this case, the weather that the particular place is having. The author emphasizes the importance of the setting in the narrative by applying the different aspects of the setting, the technique she uses to deliver the overall theme of the short story.
The two main characters of “IND AFF” are Peter, the forty-six year-old professor, and his twenty-five year old student. Supposedly, these two characters are in love. They decide to take a vacation to Sarajevo in Bosnia, which is located in the country of Yugoslavia. The story behind the professor-student affair is that Mr. Peter is married with his wife Mrs. Piper—a mutual, unloving relationship. “Peter was trying to decide, as he had been for the past year, between his wife and myself as his permanent life partner,” (Weldon 202). This goes to show that their relationship has been going on for a quite some time now and the fact is that his wife is aware of it. The setting is major here because both are away from home, Cambridge, Massachusetts, which in fact the dwelling location of Mrs. Piper. Usually, when people in general are away from their native location, they tend to come to a realization of something. The vacation was a quest for his student, his lover. In Thomas C. Foster’s How To Read Literature Like A Professor, he writes that a trip is a quest for a character because as the trip comes to an end, the character comes to a realization, appropriately in this story, herself, a self-discovery that she never knew until that quest was fulfilled. She comes to realize that she never loved Mr. Peter. The woman he is dating (student) is the one taking on the quest. She goes to Sarajevo with Mr. Peter only to come to a self-discovering challenge that she must overcome. There is also much history behind the location that they both went to. They go to Yugoslavia, which was originally the Austria-Hungary Empire in Europe. Princip was an assassin who committed a crime—but to his country a dutiful act, and sparked WWI. Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the archduchess. Before he kills the archduke and his wife, he makes a spur of the moment decision as he took the once in a lifetime opportunity of murdering the couple. The reason the author adds this detail that probably seemed as though it had nothing to do with the story is to make the reader able to compare the woman and Princip’s decision. Princip didn’t think about what he did, he just fired the bullet and took off. The student thinks she “loves” her professor, but in order to get out of the imaginative realm she set herself in, Weldon puts Princip’s story in.” Poor Princip, too young to die—like so many other millions,” (204). She feels that she too will die on the inside, considering the fact that she is young and she would be trapped. The student at the end doesn’t want her life to be the same outcome as Princip’s life, who ends up in jail and dies there from TB. In a way, Princip’s prison cell represents a binding knot that would befall the woman if she stays with Mr. Peter.
At the restaurant the woman and Mr. Peter take is ironic. Usually, dining with one another is a sign of communion. But, that wasn’t it at all. She spots a young waiter at the restaurant. “One was young and handsome in a mountainous Bosnian way—flashing eyes, hooked nose, luxuriant black hair, sensuous mouth. He was about my age. He smiled…I smiled back,” (206). When someone is in love with another, the other people around shouldn’t matter. If she was really in love with him, she wouldn’t notice all of the things she does about him, the way she describes him in full detail, from his hair to his lips. Mr. Peter must suspect something because he questions her and she replies with a lie. She tells him that she is thinking about how much she loves him. This is the moment in which she realizes she isn’t really in love with him. “I went on, to cover the kind of tremble in my head as I came to my sense…And that was how I fell out of love with my professor, in Sarajevo, a city which I am grateful to this day,” (206). This also comes down to the setting and she even thanks Sarajevo for this. She realized she fell out of love with Mr. Peter in Sarajevo.
The type of weather Weldon utilizes for Sarajevo’s setting was a distinguishing characteristic. “It rained in Sarajevo, and we h ad expected fine weather. The rain filled up Sarajevo’s pride,” (201). The fact that it was raining allows the reader to foreshadow what is to come as the story terminates. When it rains in a story, it usually means rejuvenation, realization, or rebirth. Though it did not rain on the student, it rained on her vacation. The rain is a symbol in the story in which she again comes to realize her mistake. She does not really love Mr. Peter. At the end, she turns to leave. It was as if a light bulb just flashed over her head. “I stood up, and took my raincoat from the peg,” (206). She was getting ready to go out in the rain, to go back home in Massachusetts. The rain played an important role because it rained the entire time they were in Sarajevo. The theme of the short story is that one comes to a realization and also to escape in a way from something that one thought they wanted, but didn’t really. All these techniques the author ties into the story helps in delivering the theme.
In conclusion, the setting in the novel applies to the theme. The theme is coming to a realization and entering reality once again. The weather, rain, that falls on Sarajevo, is a symbol of the rebirth of the student. The actual location and what happens in the location also applies to the setting because they were two of the major factors that actually build the theme of the story. With the style the author decides to apply to the story, she is able to create her overall purpose of her characters.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway Dialogue: Investigation to Intoxication

William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway are two close friends (in this scenario) hanging out at a café, with Faulkner, not knowing what was to be in store for him that day. It's a nice summer evening with a breeze coming in from the north and they come in to meet to discuss a public matter about a local Negro that was experiencing particular issues with the law. Both are with the authorities and are questioning one another on their progress.

Faulkner: “Where's the nigger? Have you got him?” (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: “Last week he tried to commit suicide,” (A Clean, Well...159).

Faulkner: “But that's not proof. Don't you see that's not proof?” (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: “How do you know...he was in despair,” (A Clean, Well...159).

Faulkner: “Hey...talk louder,” (Barn Burning 163),

Hemingway: “What about?” (A Clean, Well...159).

Faulkner: “...the nigger,” (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: “What does it matter...I'm sleepy now. I never got into bed before three o'clock,” (A Clean, Well...159).

Faulkner returns to the previous subject. “But...do you suppose it's really so?” (A Rose for...29).

Hemingway: “I don't know,” (Hills Like...)

Faulkner: “I reckon anybody named...Colonel Sartoris in this country can't help but tell the truth,” (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: “It's pretty hot...” (Hills Like...)

Faulkner: “Yes...I reckon...that is,” (Barn Burning 166).

Hemingway: “What should we drink?” (Hills Like...)

Faulkner: “I don't know,” (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: “Let's drink beer.” (Hills Like...)

Faulkner: “Why?” Faulkner questions, knowing that his friend would suggest such a thing. (A Rose for...27).

Hemingway, the expert on alcohol, answers, “It's lovely.” (Hills Like...)

Faulkner answers disgustedly, especially due to his dislike of beer, “I'd be the last one in the world,” (A Rose for...27).

Hemingway: “It's awfully simple,” Hemingway replies. (Hills Like...)

Faulkner: “Nevertheless...you'll hog it and like it,” (Barn Burning 166).

Hemingway: “I know you wouldn't mind it,” (Hills Like...)
“What do you want?” (A Clean, Well...159).

Faulkner: “I don’t know,” (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: “All right. (Hemingway finishes his drink and doesn't realize that Faulkner never ordered anything.) Should we have another drink?” (Hills Like...)

Faulkner: “But—“ (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: “Oh, cut it out. Let's try and have a fine time,” (Hills Like...)

Faulkner: “Don't you want me to?” (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: “Yes...Dos cervezas,” he answers to Faulkner while ordering a round of beer. (Hills Like...)

[Waiter]: “Big ones?” (Hills Like...).

Hemingway: “Yes. Two big ones,” (Hills Like...)

[10 Minutes Later]

Faulkner walks away and comes back only to find Hemingway speaking to himself, his words stressed and slurred.

Hemingway: “They look like white elephants,” (Hills Like...)
(To himself) “…drunk now. (To the waiter) “Another brandy,” (A Clean, Well...159).

Faulkner takes the drink Hemingway orders for him and continues to drink another round. This is his first time. A while later, intoxication sank in for the both of them.

Faulkner: “What's your name, boy?” He asks Faulkner, drunk now, and questioning the obvious. (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: With bloodshot eyes and mouth wide open, answers “Jig, no, Anis del Toro...I don't know,” (Hills Like...)

Faulkner: “Get that boy up here. He knows,” Faulkner points to a scarecrow outside of the window. (Barn Burning 163).

Hemingway: “I don't want to look at him. I wish he would go home. He has no regard for those who must work,” (A Clean, Well...160).

Faulkner: “But what will you have me do about it…?” (A Rose for...27).

Hemingway: “I don't care,” (Hills Like...)

Faulkner: “Stop it!” (A Rose for...27).

Hemingway: “You started it. I was being amused. I was having a fine time,” (Hills Like...)

[Waiter]: (to security) “Show these gentlemen out,” (A Rose for...27).

Faulkner: “I'm sure that won't be necessary,” (A Rose for...27).

Hemingway: “Come on. Stop talking nonsense...I am of those who like to stay late at the café,” (A Clean, Well...161).

Faulkner: “Dammit,” (A Rose for...28).
“White man...get out my way,” (Barn Burning 167).
“...back in the wagon,” (Barn Burning 164).

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Miss Brill": The Omniscient Nonparticipant Essay

“Miss Brill” Point of View Essay

Katherine Mansfield’s point of view in her short story “Miss Brill” is accentuated in a nonparticipant and omniscient perspective, which is told through the narrator. A nonparticipant is portrayed in a story as a narrator who isn’t included as one of the characters—or even in the story at all. An omniscient character is portrayed in a story as a narrator who knows what the characters are thinking and feeling. Such was the type of narrator Mansfield chooses for “Miss Brill”. Also, with these two views engaged into one narrator, the author’s purpose of the story is delivered. The protagonist Miss Brill, in her own story, is secluded in her own realm of consciousness, where she believes that society is one way, but not all the way that things really are, in the view of everyone else surrounding her.

The story “Miss Brill”, if not read thoroughly, would seem to be about a helpless woman with nothing better to do with her time than observe people at the park every Sunday—while wearing a fur coat. Then, towards the end, an adolescent couple insults her and she leaves the park—offended. She goes home and hurriedly puts away her fur coat and she hears something crying. But when reexamined, one will realize Miss Brill is an old, delusional woman, and yes, wearing a fur coat to the park. She believes she is part of a play, one where everyone around her is a member of the crew, and she is excited for this. Not only does Miss Brill believe she is a part of a play, she believes she is a part of society, one that accepts and endorses her. Little did she know that her beliefs were not the case. This comes as a twisted reality check for Miss Brill at the end. Things weren’t so black and white for her anymore. Her state of delusion disintegrated the moment she put away her fur coat.
If it weren’t for the two point of views, reexamining the story would have been pointless and in vain. The point of views helps in identifying the author’s purpose, which is what one might see or feel is occurring, isn’t what’s really going on. In these times, society could be very cruel when it chooses to be, but unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to realize this. Miss Brill puts on her fur coat, in this case plays as her costume, and feels highly of herself. “Brill was glad that she had decided on her fur…Miss Brill put up her hand and touched her fur. Dear little thing!” (Mansfield 33). One can imagine the look of approval on her façade, the feeling of acquiescence traveling up and down her spine. At this point, she confidently strolls out to the park—being her Sunday routine and all, and sees one thing, while others are seeing another. She notices different aspects of the “actors” around her, and Mansfield’s purpose comes into play of how society can be cruel at the times least expectant. Later on during the day, Miss Brill spots two teenagers resting on the area where a previous elderly couple sat before. She thinks well of the couple looming about her. She sees the love between them and their pleasant attire. Suddenly, the boy speaks out in offense to Miss Brill. “Because of that stupid old thing at the end there? Why does she come here at all—who wants her? Why doesn’t she keep her silly old mug at home?” (36). This was more than a degrading moment for Miss Brill. She didn’t see it coming at all. If the young couple thinks of her in such a manner, it’s hardly conceivable what everyone else in town might deem of her. They leave her to go home feeling rejected from society. In her costume, it is as if she is rejected from an audition and society was her judge.
The author’s point of view is directed through the narrator of “Miss Brill”. Although there might be more, the two key views are from a nonparticipant and an omniscient perspective. The reader should be able to confide and trust the narrator because he is receiving the story from an unknown character not mentioned in the story, meaning that it is unbiased, making the read one story, not complied from the opinions and views of the other characters involved. Also, with a nonparticipant narrator, one will never find first person, unless a character is speaking to another. Without first person, it adds to the experience and again to the trust of the narrator. Miss Brill, even as the protagonist, doesn’t speak in first person. “Wasn’t the conductor wearing a new coat, too? She was sure it was new,” (34). The nonparticipant narrator is also omniscient, especially with this quote. The narrator knows how Miss Brill feels and what she thinks. The point of views of the author/narrator is the basis of the author’s purpose. Through the point of views of the narrator, the reader can unveil how society can impact a character like Miss Brill, and how different the outcome of what is thought to be, actually really is, almost like irony.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Summer Reading Essay How To Read Literature Like A Professor vs. One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Vanessa Gaston
AP English Literature

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster
& One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In One Hundred Years of Solitude, the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s use of weather varies throughout the novel and at the same time provides the reader with more than just a setting, but symbolizing how life in the small village of Macondo changed in its usual ways rather than the physical changes. In Thomas Foster’s How to Read Literature Like a Professor, he goes on to elaborate on the meanings of different types of weather, which correspond to life in Macondo. Rain and sunshine are well associated with One Hundred Years of Solitude and can apply Thomas Foster’s symbols of rain and shine to these weather changes.

Foster believes that rain is a form of precipitation that if “you want a character to be cleansed, symbolically, let him walk through the rain to get somewhere,” (Foster 77). When Foster mentions cleansed, he is implying the sort of rebirth of a character or when their “filth” is washed away from them by the rain, usually in a dramatic or significant scene. In Marquez’s novel, Aureliano Segundo, the unfaithful, unwilling, and sluggish husband of Fernanda, is stuck in Ursula, his great grandmother’s home, where Fernanda lives. He would rather be in the home of his concubine, Petra Cotes, where he can be at peace. It has been raining in Macondo for a couple of years and so Aureliano has been stuck with his wife most of the time. Unfortunately, most of the time they are speaking is to yell and fuss at one another. But, the minor trips he’s taken to Petra Cotes allowed the

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rain to touch and anoint him because when he returned back to Fernanda, he decided to start “repairing the many things that needed fixing around the house…and no one knew whether because of the involuntary exercise…or the imposed abstinence, but his belly was deflating little by little…until he became less pachydermic all over…” (316). To this conclusion the rain transformed him in two totally different ways. One way was that he finally put himself to use and repaired all the furniture in the Buendia household that needed repair—the ones that Fernanda was constantly nagging him about. Because of their twisted relationship, Aureliano never liked to listen to Fernanda. But, all of a sudden he’s taking time off to do what she’s been asking him to do. The second way that he changed was physically. Aureliano was a recreational man. He loved to throw parties with kegs of beer with his friends and he also enjoyed eating, to the point where his unhealthy lifestyle almost led to his death. He was indeed a very large man, buy because of the rain, he started losing weight and retrieving his twin brother’s looks again—the way he used to be, too.

Though it rained for an exaggerated amount of time in Macondo, a little more than four years straight, it still reminds readers of the biblical story Noah’s Ark, also mentioned in Foster’s notes. God let it rain for forty days and forty nights, but he saved Noah by telling him to build an ark for him and his family, along with every animal species. Foster believes that the flood was a symbol of how the rain eradicated the earth but after it was over, it left behind the opportunity for a new beginning with everything. In Macondo, there was a great strike against the banana company established by

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newcomers in Macondo. The three or more people that were in the crowd, among them women and children, awaited for the army men to fire upon the angry people. The crowd was warned and unexpectedly, the army really did fire upon the crowd, not caring who was hit. The massacre ended with only a few survivors, Jose Arcadio Segundo, twin brother of Aureliano Segundo, was one of them. The dead bodies were loaded onto a train cart and no evidence of the strike was available. The army and company denied the whole protest so those that were not there had to take their word for it. Another factor that contributed to this sudden loss of history was of course the rain. “It rained for four years, eleven months, and two days,” (Marquez 315). The rain washed away all remnants of the massacre. The bloodshed and what it stood far was swept away by the rain. It affected Macondo because a part of their past will never be remembered. Jose Arcadio Segundo attempted to plead what really occurred in the strike but not one person believed him, except maybe his family.

Last, the four year period of rain not only wiped away memories but also rejuvenated the town to what it used to be with sunshine to celebrate it with. “…a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones…” (Marquez 1). Before the rain, people from distant places attempted to establish a government system but was but to a stop by Jose Arcadio Buendia. Gypsies came in with their new devices from their travels. Railroads and ships were built all throughout Macondo connecting the once hidden and virgin town to the outside world. All of these new developments at the time seemed like they would have a positive affect

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on the village but instead it corrupted it. But after the rain, Macondo was a disaster but there were some that favored the rebirth of Macondo. “The survivors of the catastrophe, the same ones who had been living in Macondo before it had been struck down by the banana company hurricane, were sitting in the middle of the street enjoying their first sunshine…but in their hearts they seemed happy to have recovered the town in which they had been born,” (Marquez 331). The quote speaks for itself when it comes to having the old Macondo back. Agreeably, Macondo was left in a wreck but that just meant that all of the new technologies, advancements, and to sum it up, the corruptions, are all gone. As for the sunshine, it just celebrated the fact that the old Macondo was revived by the rain.

As it all comes down, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude had the perfect examples that further elaborated Thomas Foster’s notes on weather, especially that of rain. Precipitation is not only there to create a setting but there are reasons as to why the author chose to put it in that exact scene or portion of the book. Marquez didn’t choose rain randomly. There were symbols behind it. Rain was an essential factor that contributed to how Macondo changed from a sacred village, to an invaded town, and back to a village again.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Things Fall Apart Part III

Wow...I finished this book in two days. Fastest I've ever read any book. But anyhow, I enjoyed the book except I found myself a little "startled" I guess one could say through some of the scenes, scared basically.

I wondered the same thing that marrisa asked about the time period. At first, I thought it was during the times of slavery because the white man came on an "iron horse" strolling through the village. But, then I realized that the white people were missionaries spreading Christianity.

I just knew that Nwoye was going to grow up hating his father. The only reason why he was able to put up with his father was because of Ikemefuna. But now that Okonkwo slaughtered him ruthlessly, Nwoye had nobody to understand him. His father doubts his abilities as a man. Now, thanks to the missionaries, he is able to break free of his father's grasp and go on to his own path as a Christian. "'I am one of them...I don't know. He is not my father...'" (144). One can sense the hurt and tension in Nwoye's words towards his father, Okonkwo. From the beginning when Okonkwo would beat and nag at Nwoye, I already saw that the future Okonkwo had for his son was not what was going to be.

The end was a shock to me. Okonkwo, so much pride, masculinity, and determination--kill himself when all seemed to go wrong. I read that page over again to actually see if I missed something. This is one of Achebe's ironic twists. I never expected that for Okonkwo. Also, for his father, Unoka, he lived a happy life but was full of debt, yet he didn't go off and kill himself. I agree with Courtney. Yes, Okonkwo did do great things during his time, but his character was beyond that. I don't think that the tribe will bury him as a dog though. He was known as a warrior and a well respected man. I doubt that they would bury him. The tribe would probably consult the agbala for this.

Things Fall Apart Part II

Okay...so we're into the second part of the book. Things got a little more interesting along the way. I agree with Marrisa about how Okonkwo killing someone intentionally, but yet, it is alright, but when he killed someone accidentally, he was temporarily exiled for seven years--very ironic. I would think it to be the other way around. His guilt didn't how Okonkwo was sent to his motherland. "A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland," (134). This was said to Okonkwo by Uchendu in his motherland. I found this quote to actually have a significant impact on Okonkwo because Uchendu was an elder and he must respect that. But not only that, Okonkwo became like a child again fleeing to his motherland. The fact that he had committed a "female" crime against a 16 year old boy whose father died at the burial ceremony made it even more amusing to me. He is being torn apart slowly and he notices it, too. He first notices it after he kills Ikemefuna, which haunts him for days. Which brings me to one of the points Katie and Tzivia bring up. I agree how the gender role in Okonkwo's motherland was ironic. In Umuofia, Okonkwo is a fearless warrior, prepared for battle at any time, and also a well respected man. But, once he goes to Mbanta, he is a child again, being told what to do and such.

When the white man first appears in Umuofia, I sense corruption and disputes to take place. It's like an allegory because the white men did come to Africa and brought destruction as well as modern technology. What will become of Umuofia with this new invasion?


Things Fall Apart Part I

Hello, Vanessa here. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe seemed like a very interesting book, but I began to flip through it and I realized all of the foreign words that are utilized in the novel. I have to admit, I was a little scared to start reading the book. I thought, how am I going to remember all of the words and their meanings as I read...? But, as I read on, I was so engulfed in the story that I completely forgot of my worries.

But yes, along with most of you, I noticed that Achebe does use animalistic characteristics when describing or introducing a character. The people of Umuofia are polytheistic and that could have something to do with it, especially the god of the earth. I agree with Marrisa about the idea of being one with the earth. The animals indeed are part of the earth and to have such qualities are a plus.

Okonkwo's father reminds me a lot of Aureliano Segundo in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Aureliano Segundo loved to throw endless parties and celebrate with his neighbors serving liquor. Okonkwo's father Unoka was the same way. "...he immediately bought gourds of palm-wine, called round his neighbors and made merry," (4). This is exactly what Aureliano did too, the only difference was that Aureliano was prosperous while Unoka was not.

I can see why Okonkwo is so very ashamed of his father, but then again, it's not improving himself in the positive ways because the way he thinks affects all those around him. It has gotten so far that his emotions are hidden DEEP down inside and he rarely expresses it. Usually he's out hitting or threatening someone. The reason why I say this is because in his village, men are suppose to be strong physically and mentally. If a man is not strong, they call him an "agbala", a woman. Also, he is determined to prove that he is not his father, that he is quite the complete opposite. "He was a wealthy farmer and had two barns full of yams, and had just married his third wife," (8). Not only was he rich, but he was greatly respected because of his strength (and feared too) after defeating Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling match. But, his father was "...lazy and improvident and was quite incapable of thinking about tomorrow. If any money came his way, and it seldom did, he immediately bought gourds of palm-wine..." (4). This is self-explanatory. But is Okonkwo really as strong as he everyone thinks he is? I thought about it because he's only being this way because he's afraid of what people think of him and gaining "the title" among his village. He says that fear is weakness, but the fear is already in himself. Also, I hadn't thought about it until Marrisa mentioned it. She says that he is losing his joy and happiness at the same time. I also agree with the cycle that Nwoye will end up hating his father. The way Nwoye was growing up, I sensed some of Unoka in him, too. "Okonkwo's first son, Nwoye, was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness. At any rate, that wasw how it looked to his father, and he sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating. And so Nwoye was developing into a sad-faced youth," (14). He's lazy like his grandfather and the persistant nagging of Okonkwo isn't making the situation any better either.

Last, I also find it interesting of Okonkwo's fondness of Ezinma. He wishes that "she would have been a boy" (64) because she has the qualities to do so. But, Nwoye loved his mother's stories about the village. Maybe Nwoye should've been the girl because Okonkwo, while visiting his friend Obierika, says, "I am worried about Nwoye. A bowl of pounded yams can throw him in a wrestinling match," (66). Okokwo is basically saying that his son is weak and weakness is considered a woman's characteristic. I just think it's ironic how she should've been the boy and how he should've been the girl.

I think Matt brought up a good point about Okonkwo. Are we suppose to like this guy? I think that were are suppose to just learn a lesson that Achebe establishes through this character. Instead of disliking Okonkwo, I feel sorry for him. He is missing out a whole lot on life because of his determination to be a man and not being called an agbala.

One Hundred Years of Solitude Part III

I want to begin by saying that this book surprised me. I judged it and then I thought...ughh...an extremely long book, better get it over with...but then again, as I was reading, I found myself at times not being able to put it down. But, mary, i agree with you 100% because as advised, I made a photocopy of the family tree and referred to it oftenly while reading. It was actually helpful. But to get on with the analyses.

I wrote down notes while reading the last third of the book because I knew it was going to be important. I also jotted down the rain as a symbol. I remember reading How To Read Literature Like a Professor and he brought up the many symbols rain could represent. On page 308-309, "...he could find no trace of the massacre. The streets were deserted under the persistent rain and the houses locked up with no trace of life inside." The rain washed away every trace of the bloody massacre at the station and any proof whatsoever that there was any Banana Company at all. Thomas C. Foster in the How To Read...says that rain could symbolize rebirth or rejuvination of some sort. Macondo was born again, into what it used to be. "The survivors of the catastroph, the same ones who had been living in Macondo before it had been struck by the banana company hurricane, were sitting in the middle of the street enjoying their first sunshine...but in their hearts they seemed happy to have recovered the town in which they had been born," (331). The townspeople were glad even though a majority of Macondo was destroyed.

The rain also changed certain characters of the Buendias too. Jose Arcadio's desire for war were thrown away, along with the war itself. Aureliano Segundo became more solemn at home with Fernanda. The rain was all he needed for a reality check. He lost all the weight that he had put on and he began to resemble his twin brother Jose Arcadio Segundo.

I found it interesting how Ursula died on Good Friday (page 342). In the Bible, Jesus died on Good Friday, too. He died on that day for our sins to save the world from oblivion in response to the wrath of God. As steph113 says, Urula was the only one who stayed true to her morals and didn't fall into the disorder that befell Macondo. Yes, I agree with her reference to the fall of Adam and Eve, but I just find it interesting how she died on Good Friday, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross...

The pigs tail in the novel is one of the deformities that a couple gets when they are involved with incestry, and is most feared when giving birth to a child. I was wondering how the Buendias were going to get by and get lucky, with normal looking children and not one sign of physical deformity. But, I didn't expect any less though for Amaranta Urula and Aureliano's baby to not be marked, plus it was towards the end of the book. The pigs tail is a symbol of incestry, of which we already know. I agree with Paul_In_A_Nutshell about it being a sign of yielding to temptation. The child dies a horrible death, just as Melquiadez predicted in his parchment work. I had a feeling that the red ants would have some signicant role in the novel because of its constant repetion. Urusula would try to get rid of them but they kept coming back. It was like a foreshadowing for me.

I want to bring up one last point. The cobwebs and dust that kept reappearing in the Melquiadez's room. When one thinks of dust and cobwebs, something that resembles aging comes to mind. She kept cleaning the room, but the dust kept returning. I see it as a way of saying that no matter what happens, no matter what natural disaster, things can't go back to the way they used to be and that time is always moving forward, even if it looks like its moving back, especially in the Buendia household. Catalonian also mentions this too in one of his letters, "...he ended up recommending to all of them that they leave Macondo, that they forget everything he had taught them about the world and the human heart...and that wherever they might be they always remeber that the past was a lie, that memory has no return..." (403). It is true. Yes, the rain that lasted for many years did away with most of Macondo, but it also did away with the memories. No one seemed to remeber the Buendias anymore.

One Hundred Years of Solitude Part II

The second part of One Hundred Years of Solitude was when it started getting a little more interesting to me. Colonel Aureliano has gone through so much and lost his main cause of fighting in the war. Instead of what he fought for in the beginning, the twisted Conservative Party, he begins fighting for pride.

I agree with steph113 when she says that Macondo had evolved over time. It was just a village with adobe houses, as she said, but now, transformed into a more modernized society because of outside influences. Railroads and ships transporting goods to and from are found in Macondo now. I think Macondo changing was a both positive and negative. It was positive because the new technology made life in Macondo easier and more suitable. It was a negative too because certain people began coming into the village wanting to rule what wasn't theirs before. This reminds me of the Native Americans in the United States and the Americans that "discovered North America" and all of a sudden wanting to take over land that didn't belong to them. The Native Americans try to fight back, but in the end, lose the fight, just like in Macondo. The "government" suddenly wants to take over a village that wasn't theirs in the first place.

I agree with mary when she says that nostalgia is a theme in the novel. Amaranta constantly knitting in solitude, thinking of Pietro Crespi and all of his qualities. Ursala was especially nostalgic because she is the oldest in the family. She gets to live one hundred years of age and with that, she sees how each of the family members have grown and changed. Things aren't the same in the Buendia household anymore and to return to the past is what she yearns for the most.

Does anyone else find it interesting how the twins Jose Arcadio and Aureliano Segundo don't come out the way their names suggest them to be? Ursala also notices it, too. "...she examined her old memories and confirmed the belief that at some moment in childhood he had changed places with his twin brother, because it was he and not the other one who should have been called Aureliano," (261-262). Jose Arcadio is the more reserved one, just like Colonel Aureliano is. But, Aureliano Segundo is the wild one, just like Jose Arcadio was when he came back from the gypsies. It's pretty obvious.

I noticed also that Meme was different from the Buendias. Her fate isn't easily chosen like the others. From the names of the Buendia children after Jose Arcadio and Colonel Aureliano, one could already see what will befall the child before it already happens.

One Hundred Years of Solitude Part I

When I first started reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, I was a bit confused at first until I finally realized that Colonel Aureliano Buendia was having a flashback. As I was reading the previous blogs, I agreed with paul_in_a_nutshell when he says that the gypsies changed what seemed to be the perfect utopian village into corruption of some sort. It is true, Jose Arcadio Buendia was a man that everyone looked up to but then transformed into this lab monster.

Has anyone noticed that Jose Arcadio Buendia is a Christ figure? It could just be me...but to prove my point, I'll say this. Jose Arcadio Buendia is "a kind of a youthful patriarch...who collaborated with everyone, even in physical work, for the welfare of society" (8). He had people that looked up to him for advice and ideas (just like Jesus's disciples did). He was probably in his late 30s as the book began (just like Jesus was). At one point in the book, a group of men tie him to a chestnut tree and leave him there because the townspeople think that he has gone crazy, speaking in a foreign tongue, which happens to be Latin, while Ursula, still his wife, becomes like a mother to him as she feeds him and takes care of him (Jesus is crucified on the holy cross because the nonbelivers thought of him as a hoax, while Mary takes care of him). Is that enough to convince you all? I think I made my point.

I also agree with analu about the whole marriage affairs. There's incest going on all over the place, well, in the Buendia household that is. The mothers want their daughters to marry, to be able to live out on their own. I was surprised that Aureliano was attracted to a child who hasn't even gone through puberty yet...but then again...he has spent a majority of his time in the lab studying alchemy and closed away from society. Something akward and disorderly was bound to happen. The fact that the parents agreed with the marriage was beyond me...

I wondered what in the world the title could mean before I even started this book. But, as with most of you who mentioned it, the title is really what the book is sort of about. Solitude, at first I had to admit, I didn't know the meaning so I had to look it up. Then, I realized that it meant loneliness and many of the Buendias (those added to like Rebeca) spent their time in solitude at one point. Rebeca was a significant one because at times of despair, she would return to her native habits of eating dirt and the wall. Like Mary said, Jose Arcadio Buendia was so caught up in his scientific studies he stayed in the lab for quite some time, trying to discover things that he believed would improve conditions in Macondo.

The Remains of the Day Part III

So, the book is at it's end. I must say, honestly, on a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 3 or a 4. It's not really my choice for a book to read, but then again, some of the scenes were enjoyable. The book to me was a little dull. I caught myself reading certain lines or paragraphs more than once because I wasn't engaged in the book. But enough of that...

While Mr. Stevens is driving in his Ford after the doctor drops him off, his mind is preoccupied with none other than good ol' Miss Kenton. "In fact, many of the sights that greeted me this morning were among the most charming I have so far encountered. It was unfortunate, then, that I could not for much of the time give to them the attention they warranted...one would be meeting Miss Kenton again before the day's end," (211). Is it just me, or does this sound a little skeptical. I hate to say it but Stevens sounds like he's nervous and not the regular nervous that a person usually gets when reuniting with someone they haven't seen for a while, but rather nervous, "butterfly" nervous. He couldn't appreciate his surroundings, why? His mind was on someone else.

The secret meeting with the leaders in Day Four-Afternoon, was I have to admit, suspenseful reading. While Mr. Cardinal was in the library drunk conversing with Stevens, I kept imagining that he will do something stupid...and I still believe that. I'm not sure if I believed him when he said that the Germans are using his lordship (Mr. Farraday) as a pawn. Ever since the whole firing the two Jewish maids incident, I knew there was something strange going on. Mr. Cardinal does have a point because I don't think Mr. Farraday would have just done something like that on his own.

Also, Miss Kenton seemed irritated that she didn't receive a satisfying enough answer from Stevens. I think he was surprised but just didn't want to show it because of "professionalism and dignity". I think she wanted him to be jealous or be in some way, angered by her decision to accept her acquaintance's proposal, he just didn't succumb to it.

I find his meeting with Mrs. Benn (Miss Kenton) a good experience for Stevens. I thought she would admit that she had feelings for him and that she would leave her husband and runaway with Stevens...okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. But, it's good because now they know where they both stand--friendship and all lingering questions have been answered.

So Steven thinks he gave his best service to Mr. Darlington? I agree with him because, serving Mr. Farraday hasn't been at all that satisfactory for him. He finds himself making mistakes that he normally wouldn't do. But, speaking to this retired old man that he meets helps him realize that he doesn't have to try to hard, that he can sit back and relax. I find it only because he expects too much of himself which causes him to do so.

I like the ending. We can see that he wants to be able to please Mr. Farraday the way he pleased Mr. Darlington. He's going to practice "bantering" as he's attempted to in the beginning of the story.

I realize I like Mr. Stevens because he takes so much pride in his career and actually wants to do well...he wants to please...he wants to make his boss happy...and not only for his own sake, either.

As those before have mentioned, was Mr. Stevens and Miss Kenton's relationship love? I do believe that their relationship was love, maybe tough love. They both have pride in their own ways. Mr. Stevens rather remains professional and Miss Kenton is well, Miss Kenton. But it is at the end that her intentions were to "annoy" Mr. Stevens. Also, during their brief meeting during tea, Mr. Stevens commented many times about her physical features--little minor things from the way her shoulders move to the way she would smile. But, I do agree their relationship was sort of that undercover hiding it inside don't want to tell you type of love...

But overall, now that I think it over, I give the book a 6 out of 10. I guess it was because of the ending. It was pretty sad the way the two departed, possibly never to see each other ever again. To see Mr. Stevens get so sentimental was a plus because I saw him as a dull boring character.

****It is now 5:04 A.M. Going to sleep only to wake up in about an hour.