Finally an opinion…

December 23rd, 2010

 

            I think it is very ironic to be speaking about canonized literature within a class that contributes on a blog site. It almost contradicts everything the canon stands for. To me the canon consists of novels that are way too old to be related to that someone decided a long time ago were important. Why do people think that old things are more important than new things? Do antique books have the same value as antique furniture? No…or at least I don’t think so. I feel like there aren’t many things that get better with age; wine gets better with age, some antiques maybe…but definitely not novels. The older a novel is the younger the reader becomes. By this I mean that, although people like to feel young, it is not a wonderful feeling to read a book that you are way too young to be reading. A young reader in my mind should be seen as a novice reader; with canonized literature; considering its age and relate-ability, the reader is young because while reading most novels in the canon I might as well not know how to read at all considering I have no idea what the author is trying to communicate or even the plot of the novel as a whole. There were important fundamental changes in our society, and the novels that we are reading should echo these changes and not the changes or ideals of super ancient authors who would probably have a similar distaste for the writing of my time as I do for theirs.

            Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like every single work in the canon has no literary merit. I think some of them are great and very well written; however I feel like I am very bias for a few reasons. My first reason is that I don’t like reading, so anything that I have to work at trying to understand just annoys me. This also makes me a hypocrite because I like to write, and I like to not give too much of the story away and make it a little harder to understand. I think the reader should have to do some work, as long as the reader isn’t me. Not all works of the canon are hard to understand, but they’re just a little harder because I don’t get any of the references because I am not from that time. (I’m not saying I’d get all the historical/cultural references now either). My second reason would be the fact that in a small way I consider myself a writer. I feel that every writer, or at least every published writer, should be treated the same way. To have a canon makes it very unfair because it makes it much harder for new writers to be treated in the same way that someone like Ernest Hemingway would or Shakespeare. In my creative writing class we looked at the works of a lot of great authors ( and in this class too) that I’ve never even heard of because they’re new so no one could have decided a long long time ago that I should probably not die before I read these books.

            Because of my bias I feel like I don’t give the works of the canon enough credit, mostly because they’re already in the canon so someone else has already given them the credit they are due . In order to give each piece we read this semester that it deserves I am going to go piece b piece and state my likes, dislikes and their impact on me as a reader and an English major.

            Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is one of those novels that take a lot of work to understand. This is one that I don’t think I would have fully gotten if it was not for the help of a professor. I feel like after it is explained this work is actually something that isn’t completely necessary for someone to read. I wouldn’t have greatly missed out on anything in my life it I didn’t read it, but it didn’t kill me. I think that the meaning of Heart of Darkness has probably changed however since the meaning it had when Conrad originally wrote it. Critics like Achebe say that Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is very racist. In my opinion, and maybe it’s just because I wasn’t there at the time; I don’t think that this novel/story is really fundamentally racist at all. I do believe that a large part of Conrad’s writing is observation, however I also believe that because of the society we live in and the immense amount of racism that surrounds most of our culture today, we see this story as racist. I think that Conrad did not intentionally put out a racist piece, nor do I think that Conrad is a racist as Achebe would argue. I think that sometimes the heart of the story can be different than the plot. The motive of the story has to be put into context.

            I really did like Heart of Darkness  and I consider it Point #1 for the canon in my opinion of canon literature vs. non-canonized literature. I liked Heart of Darkness because I felt like the motive of the story was not racism, but it was to get across the point that people change depending on their surroundings. This is a perfect reason to not have a canon, hidden within a canonized work. Mr. Kurtz loved the African people and was such a good hearted man, but Africa changed him into something he would have never wanted to be. I feel like that is the entire point of the story; people change, whether they want to or not. To me a class of students would be the Mr. Kurtz, and the time they live in would be Africa. Because we live in a time where everything is always changing our literature should not remain stagnant.  No matter how much love a student could have for reading ( as Mr. Kurtz had love for Africa) if they read something from the wrong time ( or in Kurtz case actually visit Africa) their opinion could greatly change.

            As a reader I feel like Heart of Darkness did change me because I feel like it showed me how differently I think than other people. I can’t say enough times that I don’t think that Joseph Conrad is racist, readers may just miss his real underlying point. As an English major I think that Heart of Darkness will stick with me not only because it is in the cannon so it will probably be revisited in another English class, but because it is a perfect example in my mind of the way an author’s intended point for something can be misconstrued so badly.

Canon/ older literature 1 Non-canon or Global literature 0

            I’m not going to write about the poetry of Yates or T.S. Eliot because I feel like it is unfair to look at poetry of the canon when we didn’t really look at contemporary poetry. I have to say that mostly always poetry goes completely over my head and that was the case for all of these poems. The one I understood the most was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, but I really don’t want to go into the lack of love in all of the works we’ve read in the semester again so I don’t think that needs to be revisited. Maybe it is just that I am bias, but even if I did add Yeats and T.S. Eliot into my tally Yates would have gotten the point for Global literature and Eliot would have gotten my vote for the canon. Eliot can be pretty tough to read but I really do appreciate him as a writer. I really did enjoy his sound words in the waste land although I still partially think he was getting paid by the word. Maybe I should just add some co co rico co co ricos into my blog. I also think that it is important to mention that since I live in the time that I do that I did not understand 95% of Eliot’s references in The Waste Land.

            As a reader I don’t think that these poems greatly impact my life or that I will remember them for years to come. As an English major I have seen both the poetry of Yates and T.S. Eliot multiple times and think I will probably see it a few more times before I graduate.

            The Sun also Rises in my opinion was the best novel that I read from the canon so far. I really feel like it was the most contemporary. I feel like Hemingway wrote about things that no one would even dare to speak of at his time. The fact that Bret was so non-lady like completely destroyed any image I might have been constructing on the Victorian woman in canonized literature. Bret was very masculine and I really enjoyed reading about a woman who would be seen more like a modern woman than an old fashion one. Bret uses all the men around her and it is nice to not see a woman who is victimized by men but using them for her advantage. I like the Bret type way more than the Lily Bart type in The House of Mirth ( I really hated that novel and I wish we read it just so I could take a point from the canon for that).

            As a reader I do feel like The Sun also Rises has done a small part in changing my opinion on reading, and the reading of older novels. It shed new light on something that people are afraid to write about very often. I really enjoyed the fact that Bret wasn’t the helpless one and that for once all the men in the novel were helpless. As an English major I feel like this novel doesn’t do much for me. On the other hand I feel like as a sociology major, if I ever have to write a paper on the reversal of the woman’s role in literature or masculinity vs. femininity in literature I think that this novel would be the perfect example.

Canon/older literature 2 Non-Canon/ Global literature 0

            The Sound and the Fury is also a pretty revolutionary novel. Faulkner took a huge risk in taking on the voice of a mentally ill person (Benjy) which I think must have been something that was very new at the time he was writing this. I think that although Faulkner did a great job taking on this voice that the novel really isn’t that great. I feel like he really did cop out by changing the form of narration for the last chapter. It really did disappoint me. Faulkner may have been a revolutionary writer for his time, but times have changed. He doesn’t deserve this credit anymore. I’m sure there are a lot of other novels that take on the voice of mentally ill people, and possibly even with a better voice.

            As a reader  I can’t say that The Sound and the Fury has done much of anything for me other than annoy me a little that Faulkner in a way puts down mentally ill people. I feel like in today’s society Benjy could have done a better job taking care of himself and it is unfair that I have to read something like this just because some person a long time ago thought it was worth my time. As an English major, just as many works in the canon, I’m sure I’ll see this novel again. I heard a lot about this novel even before I had read it. It’s just one of those novels that everyone has to have the displeasure in reading before they die.

Canon/older literature 2 Non-Canon/Global literature 1

            Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis was a very inventive and new way of writing a story. Although I feel like the fact that she used a graphic novel format so she gets a small edge over other writers, her novel would have been great even without the pictures. I liked the way she had a double consciousness because after a while she was neither Iranian nor American and had to somehow balance both into her everyday life. I feel like this is a very relevant issue that most people deal with everyday. I also feel that this novel is the perfect example of what global literature is. This novel is essentially global because it has multiple settings and Marji has to struggle with her global identity.

            As a reader I do think that this work changed my opinion on reading because of the creative format and the substance of the story. As an English major I don’t feel like I will be seeing this novel again because although I feel like it was interesting it is too new for anyone to really think that it is worth much of anything…

Canon/older literature 2 Non-Canon/ Global literature 2

            Dreams from My Father is one of those novels that only have merit because who wrote them. I feel like this novel might eventually be canonized because it has a lot in common with the novels of the canon. Despite the smaller details of his drug use Obama is trying to depict this perfect view of a person. Obama’s book could be categorized as like the ones of the canon because I feel like all the novels in the canon strive to show people as they ‘truly are’, which in turn is absolutely nothing like the way people truly are. I really have a hard time liking this novel at all because I still feel like Obama tries to portray himself as someone who needs sympathy when I know he doesn’t. I feel like my opinion would be completely different if he wasn’t president or I read this novel before he was.

            As I reader I really still don’t like this novel. As an English major I feel like I will see this novel again because someone will think that it is important even though I don’t. In this way the selection of novels is very much tied to capital. ( Specifically social and economic capital, we read novels that Obama has written because we all know who he is and think he has a lot of money. That’s what’s important today.)

Canon/older literature 3 Non-Canon/ Global literature 2

            I have a similar opinion of The Woman Warrior as I do for Persepolis. I feel like both of the protagonists are struggling to keep their identity as ‘ the other’ while being Americans. Maxine Hong Kingston has very interesting stories that her mother told her that shaped her life as a woman and as an American. I really enjoyed reading The Woman Warrior because I feel like it directly applies to my life. I also have to decide what kind of woman I want to be. All I know for sure is that I do not want to be like ‘ The No Name Woman’.

            As a reader I really enjoyed this novel and I feel like it impacts my life because it really did make me think of my choices in life and if I want to be a passive person or an aggressive person among other things. As an English major I feel like this novel didn’t really contribute much to my academic career and I probably won’t see it again. It’s ironic that Kingston is a strong woman and it was very courageous of her to publish a novel, but by her being a woman she is also seen as less important so she will never be on a list of anyone like William Faulkner, other than for this syllabus.

Canon/ older literature 3 Non- Canon/ Global literature 3

            I think that this class was very unique in that it many authors that I would not have gotten the chance to read I did and others that I probably shouldn’t of had to read I had to. I think that there really isn’t more merit in any type or age of writing. I think that the canon is basically useless because everyone is going to have their own opinion on what author they like and do not like. Also I think that it makes there less of a chance for new writers to get their work into college class rooms. In my opinion no novel is really worth more than another one, and they shouldn’t be deemed as such. I don’t hate every work that is in the canon, I just hate that the canon exists because I really don’t care about the opinion of a person that knows absolutely nothing about me, my time, or my culture.

A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe

December 9th, 2010

                I think that silence is a more significant theme in this chapter than madness.  All the madness in this section is either fake ( Maxine pretending she is crazy because she doesn’t want to marry an immigrant that her parents choose) or not about Maxine ( about Crazy Mary etc). The silence is more relevant also because it seems that Maxine’s mother did everything to try to get Maxine to have all the benefits she never had. She even cut her tongue out of love so that Maxine would be able to speak any language and not sound funny. Maxine often rejected this story because she was so silent in school. She would even tell herself that she must have had two fernas because her mother cutting one had no benefit.

        Maxine through her silence seems to be battling depression. She implicitly indicates this through her use of black paint. I think that she says she is most silent during this period with the black paint because she is trying to show what the black paint signifies. She could have chosen to say that she was most silent during her period of ages A-B but she did not. The black paint has a huge significants. The black paint was the burden over her paintings that did not allow them to be seen. Much like the English language was Maxine’s burden which did not allow her to be heard. Also both of Maxine’s burdens were directly inflicted by herself. Her mother could tried everything to give her all of the advantages of an American life, but Maxine couldn’t help but remain silent. This black paint and depressed period could also be seen as partial madness on Maxine’s part.

          Maxine is very self loathing in her silence. She admires the  “two negro children enrilled in Chinese school” ( Kingston 166). She admires these children because they ” laughed the loudest and talked to me [ Maxine] as if I were a daring talker too” ( Kingston 166). She admired the negro children but she hated herself, and anyone like her. She hated all the other silent chinese girls, and she hated herself for being part of their group.  Her burden of the English language often disadvantaged her because she would often get punished because she could not understand how to use or pronounce many English words. Also Maxine and the other Chinese girls in the class who were also silent had to stay behind while the class did a play. She thought that since the teacher was an immigrant too ( in a way because she was Hawaiian) that she would understand why the girls couldn’t communicate effectively. Maxine was upset and insulted that the teacher didn’t understand their silence. Kingston bullies the silent girl that is most like her and tries to get her to talk. She hates the girl’s silence because she hates her own silence.

           Maxine pretending to be mad to thwart off suitors would seem to be irrelvant for the topic of silence. However I’m assuming that Maxine thinks that these men would also be disadvantaged as she is in communicating in English.  Maxine didn’t need a man to help her be silent, she could do that on her own.

          Near the end of the chapter Maxine can not stand to be silent anymore. She decides that she will confess everything she’s ever wanted to say to her mother. Maxine is annoyed when her mother makes a big deal out of her small confessions so she just lays it all out. She thinks that her mother is lying in her talk stories. This seems to negate the whole credibility of Maxine’s novel all together and show that the novel is non-fiction because she is accurately depicting the stories the way that she told them, and not in a way that is 100% true to anyone else but herself. Maxine finally breaks her silence at the end of the chapter, and effectively when she publishes the book she has a new voice. Maxine’s broken silence, telling her mother her stories are all lies, also breaks her mother’s heart. Maybe her silence was a good thing….

The Woman Warrior: Brave Orchid

December 6th, 2010

for Tues 12/7  ”Shaman” and “At the Western Palace”      for blog:  comment on the enormous difference in Maxine’s mother in these two sections…

                First, I think the stories for these sections are extremely different in that they don’t seem to try and teach Maxine a lesson while the first two did. I don’t see much of an enormous difference between Maxine’s mother because I think that her standpoint is wavering in the first place. In the first story of the novel ” No Name Woman”, there is a negative view of women and pregnancy and baring a daughter. In Shaman there is also the negative view of baring a daughter becase Maxine’s mother even complains that she had to pay to have a daughter when she could’ve gotten one for free. Shaman doesn’t seem to be teaching Maxine any lesson. The Fa-Mulan story seemed to point to the equality of women to men, but then in Shaman Brave Orchid seems to put herself above both men and women. She was seen as partially divine. Brave Orchid’s indenpendence in this chapter showed that women could be independent, and seems to reject gender roles, however in the next chapter At the Western Palace, traditional women’s roles seem to be affirmed.

                 In At the Western Palace everyone is annoyed at Brave Orchid’s sister Moon Orchid because she can not do chores that are traditionally feminine. She can not do dishes or wash clothes or anything else a woman is ‘supposed’ to know how to do. Moon Orchid is compared to other chinese women who look to their husband to provide for them which also negates the independence of women. Moon Orchid’s story of the Emperor with four wives again negates this dependent role of women when it is the wive’s job to rescue the husband. Moon Orchid’s stay in the insane aslyum because she was seeing ghosts and eventually her death shows the fragility of women.

                 I don’t think that I can put my finger on an explicit difference between Maxine’s mother in any of the four stories. She seems to go back and forth between an almost feminist type thinking and total disgust for women in general. Maxine’s mother Brave Orchid is in the same box that Maxine herself is in. She is a Chinese woman, but she is also an American.  She lives in this double consiousness. She doesn’t know whether she loves herself or hates herself. This is reflected in the stories she tells. She tells many stories that show the women in a postive light ( herself in Shaman and the Fa-mulan story) and others that show women in a very negative and needy light (  At the Western Palace and No Name Woman).

The Woman Warrior

December 1st, 2010

No Name Woman” and “White Tigers”   for blog:  consider the statement  on page 53 “The swordswoman and I are not so dissimilar.”  On the basis of these first 2 sections how can Maxine claim to be a woman warrior?

              When I first saw the title ” The Woman Warrior” on the reading list I thought it would be a story about a woman who fought for her country or in some type of war. Maxine Hong Kingston isn’t fighting for her country or any cause but her own. Maxine is a warrior in that she is trying to be a strong woman in a society where women are greatly looked down upon.

                 In her first chapter ” The no-name woman” Kingston writes about her aunt who killed herself because she had a child that wasn’t her husband’s child because her husband was in jail. Rather than endure the shame of this her aunt decided to kill herself. Kingston must battle with these issues. She isn’t seen as being important as a woman. She even says that her aunt’s baby must have been a girl, which seems to hint that if it was a boy the death would have been worse. No one wants to kill something so valuable as a boy. In this first chapter Kingston battles with being a woman but she also battles with curiosity. Mostly she is battling her culture because in her culture women are looked down upon and also in her culture she is not permitted to ask about her aunt because it will bring shame to her family. Since she can not ask about her aunt she must invent what might have happened to her. I find that when someone doesn’t tell me something I assume the worst too.  For this story the way that Kingston is a warrior is that she looks past the roles of women in her society and doesn’t look down upon other women. Kingston also doesn’t believe that her aunt was a bad person, although everyone else does. I feel like the real battle for this chapter is how to be her own person with such rigid rules and harsh depictions of her sex in her culture. I think that Kingston is very much a woman warrior, her culture looks down upon women. The fact that she had enough courage and self worth to write a book and publish a book really does make her a warrior. I believe also that Kingston being a warrior contrasts her aunt. Her aunt isn’t a warrior because she ran away from her problems by killing herself. Her aunt was a weak woman. I feel like Maxine would have been a strong enough warrior to deal with something like shame.

                   I enjoyed the second story ” White Tigers”, it was more of what I expected out of the book, except it’s only Maxine’s fantasy. I always loved the Disney movie Mulan. It was very bold for Mulan to fight in the army for her father. The story in the novel was a little different than the story in the movie. I think that Mulan ( the movie and the narrative in this story) isn’t directly about fighting a war to be a warrior, both Mulan and Maxine do what they have to do. What they think in their heart is the right thing to do; that’s how they’re warriors.

                Kingston is a warrior when she goes to America when she battles the bad treatment she receieves. ( In my opinion her aunt would have been less resilient). Kingston had to battle with the constant putdowns of strangers pretaining to the worth of a woman and even of her own family that didn’t even care that she got good grades in school. She was a very strong girl to fight though her family not caring much about her. Kingston is a warrior because although she is told she is worthless she finds her own self-worth and speaks up and stands up for herself; something many women can not and do not do.

               When I think of the word warrior I think of someone who fights with weapons. Kingston is a very different type of warrior, she fights with her words, her wirtings, her self worth, and her pride. Kingston is a very strong warrior.

Dreams from My Father

November 29th, 2010

              I believe that Dreams from My Father is a largely political book that is trying to be pushed off as having a non-political agenda.  Obama is constantly trying to relate himself to the lower class. It seems like he is trying to make these people think that they’re like him so they can identify with him and would vote for him.  Even in his story he seems to be running on the slogan of change. He quit his high paying job in the corporate world to volunteer for a campaign.  I do believe that Obama does want to change the world, however I also think that this book was intended as a large stepping stone so he could attain the means that would help him make the change. I guess in a way I think that Obama did the wrong thing for the right reason. I don’t think that it is exactly ethical to use a book to sway public opinion and make yourself look like a sympathetic, identifiable character, however I think that if he thought that that was the only way he could get elected and make his change then it was the right thing to do.

                 I think that Obama is trying to make himself seem sympathetic in the first couple of chapters also. I think that my distaste for this entire book is not because of the political factor, but because Obama doesn’t seem to want to admit it is political. Also Obama is trying to structure himself as an underdog. Imagine reading or listening to a story where you already know the ending. It seems like Obama is looking for pitty, but why should I pitty him when I already know what became of his life. If I was listening to a story that was supposed to be thrilling and based on a life or death situation, if I already knew this person wouldn’t die it would not be as chilling and I would not feel bad for them. I think that this is largely why I don’t feel bad for Obama. I don’t care that he tries to say that his life is so horrible and he’s like these underclass people, because I know that he is president now, so he is in a better situation than they are. I think this novel would be more effective before Obama was elected president, since I already know the ending,( even the ending after the book is over)  it just isn’t working for me.

Three Entries that interested me:

November 20th, 2010

I think that the entries I like the best are mostly on Junot Diaz’ Drown. I’m choosing two from the postings on Drown and I had to force myself to pick one that wasn’t on Drown.

” Favorite Story from Drown” – Wilfred Gual

” Mom will kick your…” – Egzona Kelmendi

“June 2, 1910….wouldn’t it be nice” – Nishant Misra

Drown.

November 17th, 2010

       It was very hard to pick my favorite story in Drown. It’s scary for me to say that I thought they were all pretty good with my opinion of reading. My two favorite stories were How to date a white girl black girl or halfie and Negocios. I liked How to date a while girl black girl or halfie because I thought it was funny the way he was sterotyping. I liked how in the reading that I found on youtube Junot Diaz made the same voice for each girl, but i figured since I didn’t read that story but rather listened to it it was cheating. So my new favorite, or favorite for the blog would be Negocios.

                 I didn’t only pick Negocios because it went with my previous rant about how we don’t read any novels about romantic love. However I still do think that it is pretty messed up to use someone for citizenship and then secretly move out. It’s a weird thing to say but I liked this story because it made me think about what my father used to tell me about his father. The fact that the narrators has basically two wives that he in a way lives off of both of them was a weird coincidence. When my father wasn’t telling me that his father was dead ( and until I met him when he was sitting on the couch next to my dad at my cousins first communion I believed him) he was telling me that his father had many wives and that he had many brothers and sisters he’d never met. I never bought that. Why would I think that was true after his previous lie?

              On my uncle’s 50th birthday my family had a surprise pool party. There were these little kids in the pool and they said to me ” I bet you can’t spell Machicote!!” To which I responded , ” uhhh… yes I can…because it’s my last name.” Then we had a really weird conversation and found out we were cousins. It was strange. It made me think how the other children of the father would feel if they met their other siblings, or if they had kids if those kids met their cousins. Sometimes I wish that the authors that we read were in my creative writing class. If Junot Diaz was in my creative writing class my only revision for his collection of stories would be to add one more story about the children somehow meeting eachother. I think it would be very interesting.

              Other than the similarities I found with my life I liked Negocios because it was the one story that I truely hated the main character. How could any man be so evil? He convinced his father in law to give him money, convinced a woman to support him and then abandoned her. I think that is just plain evil. He obviously didn’t love the woman he got citizenship from, he just used her, but MAYBE, possibily he loved his wife in the dominican republic enough to use another woman so she could come to the United States. If Icould read this story with a non-consequential mind set, and not judge the man for cheating on his wife and just believed he did the wrong thing for the right reason, I’d think this man was a saint, but I can’t do that. He still lied, he still cheated, and he, in my opinion, cannot truely love either of them. If he truely loved his wife in the dominican republic he would have just went to the U.S. with her and they would have enjoyed their struggle together because no matter how little they had, at least they had eachother.

Where is the love?

November 13th, 2010

            I’d like to reiterate a statement that I made earlier in the semester; all the stories/novels we read destroy the perception of love, and really make it seem like it is a very unreal aspect of life. I’m not saying that every single story should be happy and have a happy ending or have couples with happy marriages, but it’d be nice if at least one story we read did. I’m going to go back and look at all the novels we read and exemplify their lacks of love.

           Starting backwards with Junot Diaz’ collection of short stories Drown, there are many perfect examples in everything we’ve read for this class that show love in a negative way or not at all. Take the fact that the protagonist’s father cheats on the mother, that’s a way of showing contempt for love but also for loyalty and many aspects of marriage.  The husband uses many women in the stories ( the first woman he cheats on his wife with, his wife, and the woman he married for citizenship) , which also shows that he is incapible of loving. His childeren are also on their way to following his path.  The children are very sexual at young ages and sex is spoken about but the concept of love is never really discussed (or respect for women for that matter).  Considering Drown, there really also isn’t many physical signs of love between the children and their parents, so maybe that’s why these boys don’t know how to love.

        The Sound and the Fury is a perfect novel to talk about the lack of love. Not only is Jason a cold hearted bastard who is incapable of loving anyone, he is also incapable of having a realtionship with anyone ( and he also disrespects women by having a prostitute). Caddy, in a way is similar to the boys in Drown in that it is a possibility that she does not know how to love because her parents never showed they loved her. Caddy’s promiscuity seems to signify that she is looking for love with many different men which is exactly what destroyed her one possibility for actual love and a family. Caddy’s daughter seems to  be following in her path, the only true signs of love in this story are between her and Caddy in the loving act of Caddy sending her money, but considering Caddy’s absence in her life, it really is an empty gesture. Quentin isn’t loved by his parents and the only possible mention of romantic love for him was to his sister. Benjy is someone who is loving but his love gets taken advantage of and no one ever listens to him; also the fact that he is 33 living at home points to how he will never find romantic love either. Even Dilsey’s husband isn’t mentioned at all or present in the story. It seems like no one in this story at all has a happy nor healthy love life, or a healthy social life at all for that matter.

                 Persepolis does exhibit love, but only family love, not romantic love. No one could say that Marjane’s parent’s did not love her deeply and sacrifice everything they had for her, but she is very unlucky in the romantic love department. Her boyfriend cheats on her with another woman and I think that was the only one that was mentioned in the graphic novel.  This is actually the best example of love so far we’ve read because the strong paternal love and nationalism that Marjane feels at time for her country, but romantic love is still completely absent, except the love of the parents to one another however they don’t really show their love for eachother at all.

                 The Sun also Rises was probably the most horrible display of love and lust.  All the men in the story lust after Bret, I feel like Jake is the only one who truely loves her and she rejects him multiple times yet he is always there for her if she needs him. I feel like Bret is not capable of real love and that’s why she doesn’t let herself be with someone who would be good for her like Jake, I realize no one chooses who they love but she definetly goes after the wrong men. Bret was not in love or looking for love with Romero, in a way I feel like she just wanted to destroy her engagement to get herself off the hook of marriage, she was probably scared of marriage, she had been playing with multiple minds of men for probably her entire life, if she got married she’d lose all her power. Bret seemed to deliberately make choices that detached her from any person she had the possibility of ever having true feelings for and glued herself to anyone who was horrible for her or she felt lust, not love for. Even taking into account what she did with the sign of love that Romero gives her ( the pig ear), and how he thought it was very important and she could care less and threw it in her nightstand, shows that she doesn’t have any interest in love or romance.

               The Wasteland’s best example for lack of love is in the section The Game of Chess. The couples are both very unhappy and show no signs of being in love. Even the title The wasteland seems to indicate that  all things written about in this poem are a waste of time and that love is a waste of time, for these characters it certainly is. The poem seems to show sex as love, the woman must prove her love or someone else will, but sex isn’t romantic, and certainly in the way it is written about in this poem not love.

               The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock should really be called the Anti-love song of J. Alfred Prufrock. J. Alfred doesn’t see any worth in going after love or making any real effort for any human contact at all.

            In Heart of Darkness there is only one couple mentioned and that couple isn’t exactly healthy. Kurtz has lost his mind and doesn’t really care about anyone back at home let alone a woman, the protagonist tries to preserve the image of love and the image of Kurtz however to the reader this image is still lost because we know Kurtz’ real final words. The fact that this woman would be self centered enough to want his final words to be about her, to me, indicates that she doesn’t really love him at all, that she maybe likes the attention he gives her but to her really his love for her was just an ego boost. Probably like the love of the mutliple men for Bret boosted her ego. Heart of Darkness shows tainted romantic love and also tainted love of a dream. Kurtz’ loved his dream of saving Africa, however that was destroyed by his own greed and possibly even by loneliness. Even with all that ivory, all those people who he was able to ‘save’, Kurtz was without love, which would have possibly been a factor in keeping him sane and a motivation to go on with his mission. Kurtz lost the love of not only the woman in his life when he went to Africa, but staying there so long he lost his love the the African people.

               Apparently, globally people aren’t very successful in love. Now that I think about it, even novels that are love stories show an absence of love. The first example I think of when I think of a love story is Romeo and Juliet and look how that ended….maybe love and literature just don’t mix….

Junot Diaz

November 10th, 2010

 first four stories.   for blog:   comment on Diaz’ style, the voice of the narrator.

     I think that Junot Diaz has a  very interesting style and voice that is all his own. He doesn’t care what he says or what he thinks or writes for that matter. The novel that I have ( which really shows the benefits of getting the novel) has two pages of ” Praise for DROWN”, the one that I think hit Diaz, (pretaining to this assignement) right on the head is from The Dllas Morning News. ” Remarkable…His style is succinct and unadorned, yet the effect is lush and vivdid, and after a few lines you are there with him, living in his documentary, his narration running through your head almost like your own thoughts. . . . Vingettes . . . observed with depth and tenderness but most of all with simple honesty that rings as clear and true as a wind chime.”  I feel like this is exactly how Diaz’ style is and exactly how I felt after I read the first couple of stories, and I’m sure will hold true after I read the reast of his book. I feel like Diaz’ accounts come very alive, and they really are very vivid, I can picture them in my head and he doesn’t care what he says like I said before.

       Before I got the book I was looking for it online in some way where I didn’t have to pay for it and I’d say the one thing that I found was pretty much a huge disappointment.  It is a video on youtube of Diaz reading his short story  How to date a brown girl, white girl or a halfie [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxqB7X1v77A ]. I was disappointed because I feel like Diaz’ stories have so much emotion and are so colorful but as a reader of his own stories Diaz basically reads monotone. I was upset it wasn’t even a video, it was just a photo of him. I could picture this whole story in my head and how these things would work, I feel like it would have been  very easy for someone to act these out or even make a cartoon of it like most people on youtube do. I felt like since Diaz is such a great story teller in words he’d have a more colorful personality and would read his story with the same colorfulness. I was very disappointed with Diaz on this video, I’m disappointed that in my own head it sounded so much better. I’m disappointed with the video however I am not disappointed in Diaz as an author, he’s amazing, he paints pictures in the minds of his readers, his style is wonderful and it would really make any reader, even someone like me who hates reading, want to read. He tells things like they are and doesn’t seem to be trying too hard to try and sound like he isn’t trying.

The End…

November 7th, 2010

 I thought the ending of The Sound and the Fury was very unexpected and non-conclusive. I was expecting that at the ending of the novel Jason would either get arrested, die, or send Benjy to the mental institution. I thought that it was ironic that Jason was trying to get Quentin in trouble with the sheriff for ‘stealing’ his money when it was really her money all along. I think i would’ve appreciated the novel more if something bad happened to Jason. Jason is the most coherent character however he is the least likable one. The fact that at the end Benjy is still in the house is good, however he will still be miserable. I felt as if Benjy’s problem should have been resolved, which would resolve Luster’s and Quentin’s problem. If Jason had been persecuted for stealing he money from Quentin instead of the sheriff just refusing to look for her, to me that would have been a better ending. I feel like Quentin escaped the wrath of Jason and that was a good thing, and also Caddy escaped the turmoil of the Capson family and she also must be doing well to be able to send Jason all that money but the rest of the family is now largely at a disadvantage. Jason is still there, he will have no money to support the family because why would Caddy send money if Quentin wasn’t there. Maybe Benjy would have actually been better off if he was at the institution instead of being tortured by Jason. I feel like the scene at the cemetery shows Jason as truly valueless. For someone to put their hands on any human being, let alone a human being who is supposedly mentally inequivalent to you [ to Jason ] really shows that he is a horrible person.

       Even though I am annoyed about the ending and the fact that only Quentin [ both Quentins actually]  and Caddy escape Jason, I feel as if it was the only way to go. If Jason had been arrested or killed, then the family would have absolutely no supporter and the entire family wouldn’t have any money or anywhere to live because they had no money. If this was a contemporary story, the ideal ending, or the one that would have made me smile anyway, would be Jason dying, and having a life insurance settlement, the family will be able to live happily without him as a tyrant.  

        I was really upset by the ending, but after all we can’t do anything about it, and it’s not like these people are real people. I really feel like the ending was so non-fulfilling, the novel alluded many times to damnation, I feel like I would’ve liked it a whole lot better if Jason ending up being the one who was damned and not Quentin for his suicide and Caddy and her daughter for the promiscuousness. Although these characters made some poor choices, I still feel like Jason is really the only one who deserves any punishment for it, however the way the novel ends now, he is the only one who isn’t punished. Everyone else, including Dilsey’s family is punished by having to still live with Jason.

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