November 12th, 2010

Perspolis–part one

Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

There’s some really heavy stuff going on in this book so far and its all being told from a child’s point of view.  It’s kind of like we’re being taught about the islamic revolution as if we were there along side Marjane.  It’s weird to see the way something so crazy could impact the life of a child who went through this whole thing. One might not even think to look at things like this.

I googled The Islamic revolutiion in oder to get a better undderstanding of what happened form a different perspective and came across http://www.iranchamber.com/history/islamic_revolution/islamic_revolution.phpin.

This website makes everything that happened in Persepolis look so cut and dry.  Even though I could catch some of the horrific things that took place in the article that were mentioned in the book such as riots, rebellions, deaths, and hostages, there isn’t really much about how it effected the country and its people.

I think thats what this book does.  It tells what happened in a way that people can really understand what it was like for these people to suddenly have thier lives turned upside down by a new leader and his new rules.  I really got a feel for the emotions that Satrapi is trying to push.  The illistrations especially helped.  It made it a much more enjoyable read, considering I was able to see things and emotions and was able to make a better connetion to the book.  The fact that I was more connected to the book, made it easier for me to take in the information than it would have been for me to read that website.

November 12th, 2010

The wasteland–Part two

Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

Reading this for a second and third time, and also going over it in class really helped my understanding this poem.  For instance the ideas that we went over such as the lack of spirtualization, the real vs the unreal, and spiritual isolation are some really heavy things packed up into this long, lyrical poem.

I particularly liked the part of the poem called, The Fire sermon.  When I first read it, I got the fact that it was about two people having a random sexual encounter, and I was kind of surprised when the woman remarked on how glad she was that it was over.  Looking at it now, I can see how the idea of spiritualization can be factored in.  This part of the poem is all about lust, the perversion of love.  It would be one thing if the woman in this part of the poem was dating this man, or if they had some kind of intimate connection, but they don’t.  They base thier relationship on a hormonal induced happiness and don’t really know each other at all.  So when the two of them finally seperate, they are both completely alone again.

November 12th, 2010

The Waste Land–part one

Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

Ok, so this poem is really hard to understand at first glance.  I spent a while reading and rereading like to try and make sense of it myself and I kind of got it, but not really.  There is so much going on in this poem and I can’t tell if its all supposed to be connected or leads to the same conclusion, or even if it had a million different messages.

What I do like about this poem is the deep language and the crazy imagery.  “…I could not/Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither/Living nor dead, and I knew nothing/Looking into the heart of light, the silence.”  I mean, even if you didn’t know what that meant, how awesome does it sound?  All the language flows really nicely, almost lyrical.

Also the imagery in this poem is really great.  “The chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,/Glowed on the marble, where the glass,/Held up by the standards wrought with fruited vines,/From which a golden Cupidon peeped out/(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)/Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra/Reflecting light upon the table as/The glutter of her jewels rose to meet it,…” Ok, so this quote goes on and on in the second part (Game of chess), but the point is, that coupled along with the lyrical language, the imagery in this poem really made everything pop for me.  I think thats important in poetry.

What I really don’t get is the random words and sounds such as, “Twit twit twit/ Jug jug jug jug jug/ So rudely forc’d./Tereu”  I mean really, what the heck is that about?  Is it some kind of after thought, a song or even some kind of sound perhaps?

September 28th, 2010

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

“And would it have been worth it, after all?”

Would it have been worth it for Prufrock to reach out to some woman, any woman?  It seems as though Prufrock feels that he wants to talk to a woman, any woman at all, but he is so sad and insecure.  He believes that he is so far away from the Michelangelo that the woman speak of, that they will not even give him the timeof day.  He feels that he should have been a creature with ragged claws scuttling among the sea floor, and even the mermaids wont sing to him.

Prufrock’s indecisiveness and self conciusness seem to be such a severe issue that he does not have a very high opinion of himself.  Because he is so self concious, he feels that every woman who dares to look at him is in fact, harshly examining him with her eyes as if he were a butterfly pinned to a table for a science experiment.  According to Prufrock, he is so su of his rejection by these women, that it wouldn’t have been worth it.

Prufrock, in the poem, seems to be obsessed with time he spends the whole poem bothering himself and the reader with a vicious circle of questions that never recieve any sort of answer.  He is wasting time with all these invaluable questions, procrastinating really.  So what if he were to part his hair from behind, or even dare to eat a peach?  No one will ever know because he never stops his constant string of questioning.  If Prufrock were to just shut the hell up, the maybe he, or we as the reader, would gain some sort of insight into the answers to his questions.

September 27th, 2010

Yeats– A Coat

Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

Even though the first reading of “A Coat” by Yeats seemed to strike something within me, the second time around seemed to be just as powerful.  Being a writer myself, I feel that I can identify with this type of thinking.  Things like growing older, new experiences, exploring new types of literature often change the way I look at the world and in time may serve to change the way I write.  For instance, when I was younger, I thought everything had to be about true love and all things dark, but now as I have gotten older and been through years of close examination of all types of literature I have learned that there are many more things that I’d like to explore.

September 15th, 2010


Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

“The real question is the dehumanization of Africa and Africans which age-long attitude has fostered and continued to foster in the world.  And a novel which celebrates this dehumanization, which depersonalizes a portion of the human race, can be called a great work of art.  My answer is no: No, it cannot.” – Achebe

I think that these sentences sum up Achebe’s p.o.v perfectly.  I felt that he is most upset at the fact that Conrad, in his novel, Heart of Darkness, portrayed the African people as sub humans, or not even human at all, like monsters or supernatural beings of some sort. 

Achebe states that he believes that Marlow’s views of Africa stems from Conrad’s own views.  He feels in fact that Marlow reinforces Conrad’s beliefs because of the similarity between thier careers.  Marlow’s character is one that hold’s the views of the time.  The things that they saw in Africa seemed shocking and atrocious to them.

Achebe, in his criticism, states that, “Africa is to Europe as the picture is to Dorian Gray- a carrier onto whom the master unloads his physical and moral deformities so that he may go forward, erect and immaculate.  Consequently, Africa is something to be avoided just as the picture has to be hidden away to safegaurd the man’s jeapardous integrity.”  People like Albert Schweitzer go to Africa, claiming to help and even doing so, but still refering to Africans as nothing more than their ‘junior brother’, rather than just their brother.  Even though Conrad’s character managed to see through all the terrible things brought on by colonization and the effects it had on people, but he still failed speak upon the uneqaulity between white and black people.  They are like Dorian Gray, trying to look good by seeming as if they are trying to help while hiding away thier indecencies in Africa as Dorian does in his protrait.  While back in England, your family and friends may think that you are doing great things in an effort to really help people, you are actually turning into a Kurtz typed person.

In my personal opinion I think that while Achebe makes his point well known, I feel that Conrad cannot be found totaly guilty for the offenses that he was accused of by Achebe.  I think that Heart of Darkness, and all its attitudes towards Africa was a product of its time.  The characters and the way they think are attuned to the common beliefs at the time.  Due to this fact, I don’t think that Conrad should be punished for something that was the prinicipal belief, things that he was probably brought up to think or was even heavily influenced by.  For example, if  Conrad were to have been alive in Nazi Germany, he would have dehumanized those in concentration camps, most likely the jewish, just like he supposedly does to the Africans in his novel.

And while I think that this is true, I do believe that The Picture of Dorian Gray reference is one that fits the English hyporacy of the time and really speaks to Achebe’s point.  I hate hypocracy as much as the next person, and I do think that people like Schweitzer, no matter the views of the time, had wronged the African people.  No matter how noble he thought he was being, he took one step in the right direction by acknowloging that the African people needed help, but two giant steps back when he refered to the African as his junior brother rather than just his brother, and believing that he was in fact a superior human.

September 6th, 2010

Heart of Darkness–Kurtz

Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

What happened to Kurtz?

            Well, in the end we all know that Kurtz ends up dying, but that’s not what the question is really asking, is it?

            As Marlow talks to Kurtz’s fiancé, he finds out a little about Kurtz’s life before he left for Africa.  Apparently, he was nobody.  He was a poor man who was thought not to be good enough for his fiancé who seems to come from some type of money.  She states that, that might be the reason why Kurtz left for Africa in the first place, so he could make a name or himself or something to that effect.

            When Marlow finally meets Kurtz, we learn that he is just an ordinary man who has gone mad.  It seems as though Africa has changed Kurtz, given him a sort of God complex.  He says all these things like I’m not done here and I will return.  The people are begging for him not to take Kurtz away – they must see him as some kind of God – which feeds even more so into his complex. 

            Also, going back to the idea that Africa has changed Kurtz, Marlow keeps making all these remarks about Kurtz getting lost in the wilderness and being buried in the earth.  It seems as though Africa being far away from home, and being so strange and so different, had had some huge impact on Kurtz’s psyche. 

            When Marlow first meets Kurtz, he doesn’t like him one bit.  He spends the whole trip, this horrible, trouble ridden trip, trying to get to the Inner station in order to meet this mysterious God like man who he has heard so much about.  It builds and builds and builds throughout the book and when Marlow finally sees this man for himself, he decides that Kurtz is no more than a man that has lost his mind.

            Marlow spends a good amount of time with Kurtz before he dies and he comes to realize that his first impression of Kurtz was wrong.  After the death, Kurtz’s last words, and all his words actually, stay with Marlow, and he ultimately become one of Kurtz’s disciples in the end.

            He draws parallels between his life and Kurtz.  He makes the point that they have both have been within an inch of death, and while Marlow could think of nothing to say, Kurtz could. Kurtz could continue to use his strength, his words, even in the face of death, and according to Marlow, this makes him a remarkable man.  He also makes man references to a flame in Kurtz’s eyes where he himself could not see it.  It can be assumed that Marlow is under the assumption that Kurtz was a remarkable man because he was strong, even in death.

August 30th, 2010

My life as a reader

Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

Reading became very important to me as a child.  I found that reading was not only a great way to pass the time, but a way experience things and learn things I might not otherwise.  As I got older and life got more stressful, reading became my way of escaping and relaxing.  Many of the books I’ve read over the years have spoke to me on some level or another and helped me through some rough times.  There was nothing better than coming home to a good book at the end of a long day.  Since then, reading has become so much more important.  I live for not only the story, but the language, and the imagery etc.  I can get lost in a book for hours and hours.  My friends call me a nerd, but at the end of the day, my books mean the world to me.  So much so, that I’m persistatly pursuing my own writing career and hopefully I can inspire others as I have been.

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