Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Extra Credit Poetry reading at Spill the Beans

I went to the extra credit reading not really knowing what to expect. I had no idea it would be so crowded and that so many Clemson students were so passionate about poetry. They had an introduction speaker explaining the idea of famous poets and had students read poetry from their super poet and then some of their own.
The first girl who read, read from Terrence Hayes. She explained that he used voice driven techniques throughout his poetry. This is something that I would not have noticed had she not mentioned it. As she read Avocado it was difficult for me to follow and I learned that I follow poetry better when I can visually see the literature in front of me. I also realized I had never been to a reading of literature. I was able to learn that each person can read a poem a different way and give it a different tone, meaning, and feel. The reader was passionate and had a soothing tone to her voice. She read it in a way that I was able to follow the conversation in the poem.
When she read her own poetry (Cyber Optimism, and then Spaceboy), I was able to easily pick on up the fact that she mimicked the way Hayes used conversation in his poem. This opened my eyes to the fact that poetry has no right or wrong answer. It can have conversation, rhyme, or simply tell a story. In addition, it can be very personal and have a specific meaning to the writer; whereas, the audience could not fully understand. This was evident in her reading of Cyber Optimism where I could not tell whether it was a true story about her family or simply a fictional piece.
I believe that is the beauty of poetry. It is a big mystery and allows all readers and audiences to attempt to find the true meaning.
I truly enjoyed listening to people passionately read poetry. I would never have the confidence to read a piece with such emotion and tone.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 14 Blog

While reading Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice, the story took a turn. I was expecting it to be a war story, or simply about the things offered in the title, but it was much more.

The relationship between the man and his father was very complex and perplexing. It was confusing, and I feel like I was able to understand it just about as well as the father and son. Due to their past history, it seems as if both didn't know how to interact with one another or where they stood in their relationship.

In the middle, where the son is recalling his father's story, I got a little lost. It was hard for me to transition from which time frame the narrator was speaking, as well as who was speaking. Maybe the author intended this confusion to imply the thought process of the son.

It was very intriguing to here the girl tell the son, "You're romanticizing his past, to make sense of the things you said he did to you." This paints a picture of the son and his father's relationship, as well as the idea that often we can not see our motives, but they are very clear from the outside looking in. When this was said to the son, this realization sent his mind spinning. He was able to search himself to find out what he truly wanted.

The quote, "Even then, my emotions operated like a system of levers and pulleys: just seeing him had sent them irreversibly into motion," is a perfect analogy that the author uses to show the relationship. Their love was not real for each other. It was forced, and confusing. The term family was simply a guideline that they had to follow.

The end of the story was confusing to me. When the son repeatedly said, "if I had known what I knew later," I was unsure whether this meant that the father in fact did not burn his writing, or whether this means the father had his son's interest at hand. I wish it was not left is such an unknown ending. And the final sentence he describes their relationship to a frozen river capable of being shattered by a stone. I feel as if this analogy can be taken in many forms. For example it could show mending of their relationship, or show how the son felt he had bonded with his father, but one mistake could ruin it all.

vocab: eddies-Move in a circular way.
congealed- Solidify or coagulate, esp. by cooling: "the blood had congealed into blobs".

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 13 Blog

The theme of story telling was very apparent, and as the narrator explains, "Disbelief was permanently suspended, for nobody expected truth or information, just he pleasure of being in the story and, maybe, passing it off as their own. It was different in America: the incessant perpetuation of collective fantasies makes people crave the truth and nothing but the truth- reality is the fastest American commodity." This simple theme of story telling further enlightens the difference in America and other countries. Also, it shows how immigrants are able to view certain rituals. He also explained how Rora was the ideal story teller who could capture his audience and read whether to withhold information, balance suspense, or qualify his laughter.

One quote I found very interesting and insightful was when Brik says,  "A human face consists of other faces- the faces you inherited or picked up along the way, or the ones you simply made up- laid on top of each other in a messy superimposition." It seems such a different way of looking at the human face.

When Brik describes his wife as a "full-blooded American", it was interesting to see his description. It was filled of baseball, kindness, smiles, using "we", receiving a car for her 16th birthday, and wanting to make a difference. It seems to me that these are all good things, and things Americans should be proud of. I couldn't tell whether he was laughing at the matter, or being serious.

I found it much more difficult to follow the story of Lazarus than the story of Brik and Rora's travels. Perhaps the story of Lazarus was more difficult due to the names, and broken story line.

Brik is constantly bashing Christianity and faith, and it also seems as if he is curious and searching for some sort of faith of his own.

proclivities: A tendency to choose or do something regularly.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 12 Blog

When I saw the title Cowboy Chicken, I was extremely curious to see what the story could be about. As I read the title seemed obvious as to what it was about, but for some reason I was expecting something different. I found it so interesting to see the different outlooks on the "American way". It seemed to be so interesting how it was so divided.

For me, the food that Cowboy Chicken served was so normal to me, but for the Chinese it was so abnormal. This is such a simple concept but the way that Ha Jin wrote it made it much more interesting.

One thing I realized after I read it, is that although it was written in English, the characters spoke about how they didn't know english. They would speak in English and then say that they didn't know what it meant such as when Mr. Shapiro said, "Let me tell you, you are all terminated!" Later he had to have the word terminated written again so he could figure out the meaning. He then said that it was unnecessary to write the explanation mark, he understood.

They Chinese viewed the American way of business as new, interesting, and different. They wanted to take note and copy they way, although some opposed. I loved reading how they reacted to the buffet. They truly were amazed at the concept of the buffet. They gorged and stuffed their faces.

Capitalism is a common theme. "Everyone was infuriated, and even the two part-times couldn't stop cursing capitalism." It seemed to create anger in all Chinese.

gall- Bold, impudent behavior

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week 11 Blog

While reading "Orbiting", it took me a while to be able to follow the story. It has a very different tone and style. It is almost as if some times when she is speaking she uses dialogue with quotations, and others she just fits it into the paragraph. It was really hard for me to pick up on the characters as well as dialogue. The short story almost seems like it is missing a few pages at the beginning where the story is introduced. As you read through the story it will randomly give background information when necessary, but can be confusing.

When Ro says, "How else will i know you are as beautiful as I think you are? I would not want an unprized woman," it really took me off guard. Rindy seemed completely fine with the situation, yet it doesn't seem like her personality to admire that remark. Earlier she spoke of how her mother and father view each other, and how her mother told to her to find a man. But the men she found did not seem like "keeepers" to me.

Transitions are slim to none throughout the story. It jumps quickly from scene to scene and at times I was unable to follow the order of events, or their meanings.

One scene that really stuck out to me is when she says, "I cringe as he spells his name. My parents are so parochial." I feel like this shows the different ethnicities, and how we all seem to have mindsets and stereotypes. Also, this simple line really develops the characters. A few lines later she says, "I make the kiss really sexy so they'll know I've slept with this man." It shows Renata is rebellious and not afraid to break the mold her parents often place people in. I have never thought of how men stand differently in different cultures, but I would love to know if this is true, and the meaning behind it.

The very end was written very well. It takes a turn of tone from nonchalant to in depth and meaningful. It says how Ro has come from a culture of hurt and pain as she describes the scars on his back. This whole comparison comes from Renata carving the turkey. As she carves the different parts, she relates them to different aspects of Ro.

parochial: Having a limited or narrow outlook or scope

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 10 blog

On page 169 of The Same River Twice, it says, "Years ago, I'd left Kentucky and set into motion a pattern of repetitive exile that had ended by dropping me into a rapidly sinking swamp. I had entered the world to become a man and wound up truly caring about very little. Most of my life had been a sequence of halfhearted attempts at self-destruction." These few sentences really reveal the true insight into Chris's realization of what he had done. This entire memoir allows the reader to see all of his adventures while bouncing back and forth between present and past. It seems as though his character in the present is entirely different than the young man he talks about in the stories in past. The man who is traveling the United States seems immature and has no purpose in life, while the man whose wife is pregnant is thoughtful and full of emotion. The man in past seems to have no true feelings, and always seeks to avoid situations, whereas his present self realizes he must face hardships even though he may be scared.

On page 171 it says, "In the sudden rain I realized I was crying, utterly frustrated by my failure to be defeated." This one sentence seemed so bizarre to me, but after thought I realize this may of been what Chris was searching for all along: to be defeated. Throughout all of his adventures he avoided being defeated. It became a game. For example, while working as a waiter, he attempted to get fired, but instead he received more tips until finally he decided to qui- avoiding defeat. Each step of his journey he simply left and escaped before someone could defeat him. Even the hurricane could not get him. Instead of searching for success, I believe it is possible that he was searching for defeat before he finally started to live his life.

The end was so interesting when Chris finally said he was going to write a memoir, which led the reader into figuring out that this whole memoir was explaining why he was writing it.

narc: A federal agent or police officer who enforces the laws regarding illicit sale or use of drugs and narcotics.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

week 9 blog

In the second section of The Same River Twice, Chris Offutt's memoir took a bit of a turn. While reading, although I am not sure if it was intended or not, I feel like the second assigned section had a bit of a different tone and stories.

It is filled of fights and city hopping as well as constant struggle. The first section had a bit more of a funny tone, while this one is more to the point. There is more action as well as "story lines".

I found that Offutt patterns his chapters switching back and forth between past and present day, and it seems as if it is inevitable that these two will soon cross paths. I think the tone ever so slightly changed because in both present and past stories, Chris is growing up. He is maturing and learning more has he travels from city to city.

In his present chapters, his fear of being a father is clearly evident. He uses beautiful language, diction, and metaphors and similes to express his fear. He never clearly says, "I am scared." Instead, he constantly finds things in nature to represent his fear. His mind morphs his sight to all relate back to his coming child.

Offutt truly has a way of beautiful writing and his mind is so much more complex than he gives his self credit for as a young nomad. On page 68, "More and more, I depended on my journal. It was organic, I believed, even sentient. I came to regard the process of recording a lived life as the only material fit for writing. Somewhere in the Rockies, this shifted into a belief that the journal was my life, and the rest of existence only a fiction." This line shows the depth of Chris's mind. It was so interesting for me to see how he was doing such "low", "demeaning" jobs, yet his mind was far beyond his years. It was poetic, deep, and insightful.

Considering this is a memoir, it makes me question how much of this "story" is true. It seems bizarre for me to believe that all of these absurd things happened to a young man in such a short amount of time.

peleolithic:Of, relating to, or denoting the early phase of the Stone Age, lasting about 2.5 million years, when primitive stone implements were used.

Monday, October 10, 2011

week 8 blog

"Necessity dictated." pg 367
They carried whatever seemed necessary to kill or to stay alive, two opposite things, yet it paints a picture.
Really paints a picture of military life. The sentence structure, repetition, and tone allow the reader to really get involved in the story. In addition, on page 373 there is a section of question after question. These questions show what life meant to a soldier, and what their worries were. At the end of this section it said, "Imagination was a killer." This short little sentence shows such power. Of all the things to be fearful of during battle, it was their imagination that could do the most damage.

Another powerful sentence is found on page 376, "Often they carried each other, the wounded or the weak." Tim O'Brien really uses these short, to the point sentences to create a lasting impact on the reader. After listing tons of small items and military items that each soldier carried, the fact that they carried each other really had impact. It shows brotherhood and the unity of soldiers to fight for a common goal.

I think it is interesting to see the progression of things they carried. It transitions from material items, to diseases, land, and worry. From chocolate to "they carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity." It transitions from minuscule simple items, to deep, meaningful ideas.

O'Brien was able to show how such simple things can have such great deep meaning. The five senses go in overactive gear (smell of New Testament, hearing sounds of the night, floating feeling)

geisha:A Japanese hostess trained to entertain men with conversation, dance, and song.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Week 7 Blog

Emergency, written by Denis Johnson, was an interesting short story that kept me entertained. At first I thought it was going to be a story about what happened to Terrence Weber with the knife in  his eye, but instead it was a journey with narrator and Georgie.

I first thought that Georgie was insane, when he kept talking about the blood, and the way the narrator spoke about his mannerisms. Then, I realized that both the narrator and Georgie were doing drugs that Georgie stole from the hospital. Georgie and the narrator then proceed to take a drive and then get lost. While reading, the story line seemed to be choppy and confusing. I realized that the story was written this way for that very reason. It paralleled Georgie and the narrator's thoughts and actions due to the drugs.

As they proceed to get lost on the road, they run over a rabbit, and Georgie attempts to save the babies. Unfortunately, due to the drugs, the narrator forgets about the rabbits and squishes them. Then, they pick up a hitch hiker ( AWOL from the military) and promise to take him to Canada.

The story through my eyes was random, yet it kept my attention. The confusion of the narrator and Georgie was evident through the structure of the sentences as well as the skips within the plot. Each event doesn't necessarily relate to the next.

On page 283, the narrator says, "Or maybe that wasn't the time it snowed. Maybe it was the time we slept in the truck and I rolled over on the bunnies and flattened them. It doesn't matter. What's important for me to remember now is that early the next morning the snow was melted off the windshield and the daylight woke me up." This simple passage I feel really shows the tone of the story and allows the reader to understand the state that the narrator is in. It seems that he is struggling to remember the details of the story in order to tell them to the audience.

I surprisingly enjoyed reading this short story and I even found it a little comical due to the state of confusion.

This story didn't have very many difficult words or vocabulary but I did look up exactly what AWOL meant: absent without official leave. This description of the hitch hiker doesn't really seem to relate to the rest, but I suppose this goes along with central theme.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week 6 Blog

Considering I have been unable to attend the past two classes due to being sick, it has been very difficult for me to try to decipher the meaning of the entire book. From what I can gather so far, it seems as if The Crying of Lot 49 is a huge satire. Although I can't exactly figure out what exactly it is making fun of.

This chapter emphasized a lot on the Tristero symbol. It was first seen when Stanley Koteks was drawing it at his desk and then later on the ring that Mr. Thoth's grandfather had apparently cut off an Indian he killed. I feel like this symbol should have great meaning, but instead it seems to be a mystery that Oedipa can't seem to figure out.

This is similar to the rest of the story right now. The story seems to have no plot, and jumps from character to character without fully developing each. But, each character has a name that describes them.

Oedipa is constantly faced with information and and imaginings but I don't think she is able to distinguish which belong with which.

Overall I am pretty confused with whole plot of the book. I almost think there is no defined plot.

In the beginning of the chapter, on page 65, the hymn sung:
 "High above the L.A freeways,
And the traffic's whine,
Stands the well-known Galactronics
Branch of Yoyodyne.
To the end, we swear undying
Loyalty to you,
pink pavilions bravely shining,
Palm trees tall and true."
It seemed so odd to me that a group of workers would have a songfest, especially to a familiar tune. It seems as if the song binds the group together and makes them all work towards one goal.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 5 Blog

In Fences, August Wilson uses conversation and tone to portray the story as well as set the scene.

The diction used in Fences is key to the entire play. It allows the reader to truly get a feel for the scene, time period, and personalities of the characters. While reading, at times it was difficult for me to understand what each character was saying, but once rereading the line, it became more clear. At times this was bothersome, but looking back, without such strong diction, the play would not have such deep meaning. Often plays just have each character speaking a few lines then moving on to the next. While reading this play I found it so easy to read the play smoothly and truly understand when each character was chiming in. Troy and Bonno would interrupt one another, yet it was easy to hear the voices and the conversation.

It was interesting to watch each character develop simply through their conversation. Troy's character unfolded quickly. His hostility, yet bluntness was so evident. His words created anger inside of me to see how he treated his family as well has his thoughts and ideas. I simply wanted him to give his son a chance, and speak kindly. I normally do not enjoy plays, and it is hard for me to understand them, but Fences allowed me to truly become involved.

As of right now I am unsure of the meaning of Fences or where the title comes into play, which is something I was looking for in the first half. Also, there seems to be many mini conflicts rather than one large one. One main conflict is the tension between Troy and Cory. On page 58 Cory says, "Just cause you doesn't have a chance! You just scared I'm gonna be better than you, that's all." I think this one line is so powerful to the entire play, and will be interesting to see Troy's reaction.

Although the characters do not seem to be well educated, each paints vivid pictures with their words. Troy explains how he has fought with death, and gives personification to death. "I done seen him, I done wrestled with him." (page 12)

Although not very many difficult vocabulary words, it is more interesting to define the diction. For example, when they talk about gambling, death, war, and jail.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 4 Blog

In the second part of The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams uses simple dialog and vivd, yet simple descriptions of the characters' actions. 

The first half of the play is used to set up the background; whereas, the second half is filled with emotion and where the climax arises. It seems as if Tennessee Williams changes tones within the first and second half. I was more intrigued and interested in the second half. Each character was revealed more closely. The beginning seems as if it is a roller coaster inching towards the top, and the second half races down hill. 

Jim enters the scene and affects each character. Amanda's nagging and attention to detail increases exponentially. She is in a constant frenzy to make everything perfect and appealing to the eye. It's revealed that she is so focused on what others think of her daughter rather than true happiness. I think this could also be related to the time period of the play. On page 52 she says, "This is the prettiest you'll ever be," insinuating her lack of confidence in her daughter. Laura's entire outlook on life and herself is altered by the words spoken by Jim. He tells her she is pretty and encourages her confidence. Tom seems to be a completely different story within the play. His character doesn't entirely fit in with the story line, which I think is intended by Tennessee. He is trying to figure out life and on page 61 he says, "Im tired of the movies and I'm about to move." His character is mysterious and deep.

I really enjoyed Jim's sweet words to Laura. He gave her the nick name Blue Rose in high school, and as he got to know the real Laura he stated that blue although blue was wrong for roses, it was perfect for her. 

beleaguered- to surround with military forces.
jonquil- a narcissus, Narcissus jonquilla,  having long, narrow, rushlikeleaves and fragrant, yellow or white flowers.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week #3

In Delmore Schwartz's In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, the story of a young man and woman is unveiled as their child watches. 

As I read the short, my attention was captured instantaneously. It is first explained as a silent picture, allowing the reader to wonder if the son is simply relating a movie to his parents, or if he is truly even at a movie theatre. The short seems to be written simply, but when looked at closely it is overflowing with similes, beautiful imagery, and comparisons. For example on page 473, "now coming to their full green and the time when they will enclose the whole street leafy shadows," and on page 476, "The moment before they somersault, the moment when they arch their backs so beautifully showing white veins int he green and black, that moment is so intolerable." Shwartz's language is written beautifully that engages the reader full on. Each line is filled with simplicity as well as in depth language. 

While reading In Dreams Begin Responsibilities I almost felt as if the short was written in a style similar to bullet points. Several quick points are made and the facts are thrown to the audience, while others are elaborated on. The ones more in depth seem to be important to the child, even if the reader does not fully understand. 

The child is overflowing with emotions concerning different points of the "film". When the grandfather ponds his father's character, or when his father walks away from his mother at the fortune teller. These little instances create uproar in the child's emotions. I think the child is looking on back on his or her parents' story and their gut is turning over has he or she can see the calm before the storm. Near the end of the short, the child cries out, "Don't do it! It's not too late to change your minds, both of you. Nothing good will come of it, only remorse, hatred, scandal, and two children whose characters are monstrous." It seems as if the child has had so much built up emotion and anger for the life his or her parents gave, resulting in a plea for help and a cry out to go back in time.

exaltation- to raise in rank, honor, power, character, quality, etc.;elevate
mirth- gaiety or jollity, especially when accompanied by laughter

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week 2 Blog

In both Raymond Caver’s Photograph of My Father in His Twenty Second Year Sylvia Plath’s Daddy anger is felt towards a father who failed to live up to the child’s expectation.

Raymond Carver’s poem has a tone of remorse towards the person his father could have been. As he looks into his young father’s eyes he sees the hope in his future, but as he knows how his life ended, he is bitter towards the man he became. He is stuck in limbo between anger and pity. His conflicting views spring from the resemblance he sees of himself in the mirrored picture of his father. His anger is softened as he sees his fathers eyes as he says, “But the eyes give him away”, in line 11. He concludes saying, “Father, I love you, yet how can I say thank you, I who can’t hold my liquor either...” I think this poem expresses how a love for a father is always existing, but anger and resentment can still stand true. Children look up to their fathers, and often follow in their footsteps. Carver writes as if he is speaking from deep in his heart through personal experiences and glimpses of his childhood.

Sylvia Plath’s poem takes a slightly different path. In Daddy a young girl is expressing her hatred and built up anger towards her father. She uses strong analogies to show how deep her hurt is such as giving her father the same characteristics as Hitler in lines 41- 44, “I have  always been scared of you, With your Luftwaffe, your gobledygoo. And your neat mustache, And your Aryan eye, bright blue.” Even though her father has passed away, she still feels his power lingering, and his impact is lasting. She married a man just like her father in a subconscious attempt to get back at him. As she said he “died before I had time,” leaving her in constant anger and disgust. She feels as if her father is trapping her in, relating herself to Jews and concentration camps.

It is interesting to see how each poem is a child’s portrayal of their father, but they are from different viewpoints. One from a son who blames his dad for the person he is today, and the other from a daughter who fears the constant power her dad has over her.

Vocab Words:
posterity- succeeding or future generations collectively( Photograph of My Father in His Twenty Second Year line 8.
chuf- a sound of or like the exhaust of a steam engine ( Daddy used as a verb in line 32.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ezra Pound

In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

I think the metro that Pound is referring to is a literal metro where the trains come and go. It seems as if Pound is allowing us into his mind and thoughts. The two lines, separated by a semicolon, bounce from one though to a completely unrelated second. The word “apparition"literally means a ghostly figure. Ezra’s view of the crowd of faces could be described as beautiful and unique.