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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.

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 fa├žade, 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
8/26/08
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?

~Vanessa

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.

The Remains of the Day Part II

It seems to me that Mr. Stevens is all over the place now while on his trip. He begins to reminisce about his past experiences and most of them during the time he served Mr. Darlington.

I was actually a little appalled by his manner the day his father passed away. Miss Kenton informs Stevens of his father's case, but he seems very "formal" about it...I expected more out of him, being his father and all. But then, he clears my doubts about him when on page 106, he stops Miss Kenton midway up the stairs, "Miss Kenton, please don't think me unduly improper in not ascending to see my father in his deceased condition just at this moment. You see, I know my father would have wished me to carry on just now." The more I thought about, the more I saw where he was coming from. It's just, his reactions weren't all that convincing that he cared. But I do believe his father would indeed have wanted him to continue working while the guests were still present in the hall.

I also realized that when his car is experiencing some problems, he drives to a garage and meets a stranger. Just as the first stranger Stevens meets telling him to hike up the mountain, this stranger tells him to go visit the local pond. Both conclude that if he doesn't travel to these places, he'll regret it. I think that these are two instances that are not brought up for casual purposes, but as a foreshadowing to future events. Now, imagine if Stevens didn't take Mr. Farraday's advice and getting out for a bit...he would've missed out on all of these experiences...but perhaps it means more?

I also agree with jlam09 and emily that Mr. Stevens is using professional reasons as an excuse to go see Miss Kenton. It is true that he decides to go see her after her recent divorce, as emily says, but what could it all mean? When the two were working together during Mr. Darlington's day, they had all the time in the world to start something, if that is the case. But why now?

Last, it seems that the only two subjects he can really partake in are when it concerns some type of "professionalism" and "dignity". These two traits are quite essential to become a "great butler". Both words are used many times in the novel. One conversation he has is during the dinner Mr. and Mrs. Taylor host for him, as they secretly invited other guests to come. One of the men brings up a subject and Stevens seems pretty confident as he answers with "dignity". Noticing that these are again two importain qualities in a butler, he carries them with him at all times, and it shows in his personality (the way he speaks, his gestures, ect.).

***It's very late. 3:13 A.M.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Remains of the Day Part I

I began reading the prologue and not long did i realize that this story takes place in England and the narrator is a butler, Mr. Stevens. I notice his sophistication in the way he speaks (mainly because English in England is a little more formal than ours). I could tell right off the bat that Mr. Farraday, his employer isn't from England, but rather from the U.S. Mr. Stevens seems, well, is, very dedicated to his work and wishes nothing more or less than to please Mr. Farraday in the uttermost possible way he can. I noticed this because when Mr. Farraday allows Mr. Stevens to go on a little vacation, Mr. Stevens seems reluctant at the opportunity. As I read on, I noticed that he's trying to be more like his father, "dignity" as he finds very essential for a "great butler". On page 35, Mr. Stevens recalls his father and says, "...he not only knew all there was to know about how to run a house, he did in his prime come to acquire that 'dignity in keeping with his position'." We can all see that dignity to him is one of those unwritten code that all great butlers must abide to.I agree with kavsgojsw1 when he says that it is something you strive for. One cannot be born with dignity...especially because it even sounds ridiculous to say. As I mentioned before, Mr. Stevens Senior (Mr. Stevens' father) possessed a sense of dignity in himself. I think dignity is an interior trait and as one grows and develops into maturity, can be lead to self-discovery, which I think is how dignity is achieved.The Remains of The Day wasn't the first book I read. Instead, I found it more helpful to read How To Read Literature Like A Professor by Thomas C. Foster. With all the new techniques I learned, I tried to put them to practice reading this book. As he goes out on the trip, his stated reason is to get away for a while and see the many places England has to offer. But, we all know even without reading ahead that there will be more to this mere "drive". As Foster explains, a trip can really be a quest, in which new discoveries are bound to happen, that being the actual reason.
July 13, 2008 6:30 PM