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.