Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Week 15: 12/8-12/14

Song of Soloman

Last Paragraphs:
Milkman started out as a egotistical, self-centered brat, but through the book, he changes. He becomes compassionate and he finally knows himself by the end of the novel. One of the biggest things I got out of Milkman's dynamic characterization is the importance of letting go and dealing with the cards you were given. For Milkman letting go was the only way he was able to fly. And if you take out the metaphors of this simply, one must let go and be true to themselves in order to truly be free in their own life.

Does Milkman really fly at the end?:
Whether Milkman actually flies or not at the end is left up for the reader to decide and personally, I don't think he actually flies. I think he dies truly knowing himself and what he believes in. So in this case he is truly free when he dies and thats why he is able to "fly" now.

On Dumpster Diving by Lars Eigbner
Initial reaction:
When I first saw the title of this reading I didn't think it would literally be about someone dumpster diving but I was surprised when it really kept my attention. I like how the author not only used humor, but also gave a lot of real life situations that are very relatable. The one that stuck out most to me was his part on trash from college campuses. He said college campus dumpsters are usually the best because college students mindlessly get rid of things that can still be used. This is very relevant because it calls college students out for how wasteful we can be. He also added a funny side note that says, "I am horrified to discover the kind of paper that now merits an A in an undergraduate course."

Personal aspect of going through someones trash:
This was one of my favorite lines in the reading, "But my strongest reservation about going through individual garbage cans is that this seems to me a very personal kind of invasion to which I would object if I were a householder." I never thought about how personal trash can be. You would think it wouldn't matter if someone went through the things you are discarding, but why does this make one uneasy? I think it the judgement we think will come out of it. Judgement isn't something easy to take from others and if they are going through your stuff it will only be that much easier for them. I also think this can be very personal because they will be able to make assumptions about what kind of person you are.
Another thought I had was just the act of wasting can be very personal. I always consciously have environmental needs in mind, but that doesn't mean I'm perfect. When I'm studying for a test and have endless amounts of scrap paper, I always recycle it, but if someone was to go through my trash they would probably think I'm a crazy person from all the scribbles. Not only things I write, but also what I eat is very personal to me. If I knew someone was going through my trash, I would be more conscious of what I eat just purely based on my wanting others to think I eat healthy all the time and my own desire to always be healthy. If someone went through my trash now they would see that I have eaten way to many oranges that a normal person and that chocolate is a daily food for me.

This reading made me think of a blog I read a while ago about the idea of being a minimalist in all aspects of your life. The reading touch one the fact that one could live off of what they find by dumpster diving. This would be living off whatever people throw away. You virtually make non of your own trash and live off the bare minimum. The idea of being a minimalist is something I think everyone should strive for, but in this consumerism world we live in, it can be really difficult. I for one am always one to clean out my closet and room of the stuff I don't want and donate it, but I'm definitely not living a minimalist life because I like fashion too much to limit my wardrobe. I don't think I could ever live a truly minimalist life, but its something to always keep in mind and try to limit the clutter that can so easily consume your life.

After thinking about being a minimalist and the dumpster diving reading, I thought about Milkmans character and the "shit" he had to give up to "fly." We talk about this a lot in class, but thinking more about clutter vs. a "free" lifestyle made me revisit Milkman. Not only does he lose material goods like the idea of being a minimalist, but he becomes a minimalist in his thoughts too. He gives up his toxic friendship with Guitar, his mis-shappen love with Hagard, and his obsession with what he deserves. When he loses these things, he is finally able to fly and be completely free.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 14: 12/1-12/7

Song of Soloman

Balance: Seven days (154)
"I help keep the numbers the same" (154).
This line definitely stuck out to me while reading. This kind of thinking is really hard to understand, but when I really look at it from Guitar and the Seven Days perspective it makes sense. In a way they have been brainwashed to hard white people. All the horrific acts they have witnessed white people do definitely make their mindsets more understandable. In this section Guitar talks about how for every black person a white man kills they will kill a white man to keep the balance. The ethics of this in modern times is really easy to say this is wrong, but back in this time period could you really say its wrong? I definitely have more sympathy for this situation when I put myself in this day and age. If so much negative energy and actions were around me I would have a hard time not thinking exactly like Guitar. To go along with that, this quote, "It doesn't matter who did it. Each and every one of them could do it" (155). Also brings up a very similar ethical question and I have the same response of it being wring, but if I really put myself in the situation I don't hate Guitar for acting like he does.

"there is no one thing one man wont do to another"
We talked about this quote in class and it really made me think. I still cant decide if I think this quote is true or false because I see both in it. When I think about others or the hangings that we watching in a video, I think this quote is true because there are just so many horrible things that have happened and in desperate times I do think people can go against their values/morals and be truly ruthless. But on the other end of the spectrum, I think this is false because when I think of the world I want to believe their are truly good people out there and I want to think this of myself. I try to hold myself to a high moral standard and I could never think of doing a violent act to another person but if it came down to life of death I don't really know exactly how I would react in a time of desperation. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this, but I do think its important to think about both sides and how they impact each individual.

Without Sanctuary Video
This video was about postcards that showed pictures of hangings. It was a really hard video to watch and even comprehend. Not living during these times detaches me from the horror of it all. I think the worst part about these photos are the bystanders. The mass crowds at these hangings is gross to me. Families are supporting and watching killings. It baffles me to think, how was their not one person to be horrified by the killing of another human to stand up and just walk away. The hangings look like a sport with all the spectators and I don't know why it has so many fans.
Another part of that adds to this video is the fact that these photos aren't just photos but are on postcards. They have made this horrific act into art. When I think of art I think of beauty and this is not something beautiful or to be made into art. I can't understand why someone would want to share the killing of another human. This concept is crazy to me and I really don't understand how this could ever happen.

Week 13: 11/24

Song of Soloman

The love thats been shown this far in the novel has been untrue. None of it seems legit and it will be interesting to see how these different loves progress. So far I think the love between Milkman and Hagar has been most substantial and I'm can see it either not working out or hopefully turning in a more honest type of love. I think the misshapen love shown in this novel really goes with the race dynamics in this novel. The tension and hate between the two races is kinda mimicked in the love shown. Even though the relationships haven't been between two races, the ever so present tension is still symbolized in these relationships. 

Emmett Till:
Emmett Till was a African-American teen who was lynched after "flirting with a white women." His mother made his funeral an open casket to show how horrific his lynching was. His face was extremely mutilated and just showed how inhuman this killing was. I had never heard of this specific lynching before but I thought it was really interesting to read about. The strength his mother had to be brave enough to show he sons body like that was a huge statement on how wrong this was. It is a big statement towards the white power structure and how wrong peoples mindsets were (and some still are today.) The small act of flirting with someone of the opposite race was enough for someone to kill Till. A completely innocent act that cost him his life. This is no way to live. Being scared for every action you make because it could be a life or death matter. I can't imagine having to watch every little action because thats not a way to truly live life.

Different length legs:
"By the time Milkman was fourteen he had noticed that one of his legs was shorter than the other" (62). When I read this the first time, I didn't pay much attention to it and just thought it was something else to know about Milkman and that maybe this would be one of his flaws in the end of the book. We talk about how it couples with his characteristics. It shows how he feels discomfort to be on the ground. He is definitely an individual and this weird limp he has can portray how he walks though life differently than most. His discomfort on the ground can be juxtaposed with his want to be able to fly.

The theme of flight is very present in this novel. What I find interesting about it is knowing whether or not this is literally referring to flight of just the idea of flight. Literally flight is magical and something outside of a humans possibilities. Figuratively, this flight theme is a theme that means this journey will be like taking flight. Starting on the ground and slowly becoming free and realizing the truths.
Pilate is a character that embodies this theme. Obviously a pilate (or pilot) relates to flight and this is exactly what her character is. For her character, her literal flight is her independence and the way she carries her life. Figuratively her flight can be related to how she is portrayed as a Christ figure. For one she makes wine for a living. She had a very abnormal birth, she crawled out of the womb and doesn't have a bellybutton. She is a character who is very concerned with the truth and this is something you could related to a Christ figure. 

Week 12: 11/17-11/23

"Song of the Open Road" by Walt Whitman

We started of class with learning about some of the background of Walt Whitman's poetry style and this really helped me understand his poem just that much more. Our sub told us about Whitmans use of "I", "myself" and how these subject words are very important parts of him poems. Another thing that helped me understand the poem more was how Whitman is called a, "poet of America." Meaning he is a 'democratic poet' and uses the theme of equality.

In the second section of the poem, it touches on the idea of democracy. When I first read this section, I was really intrigued by his uses of juxtaposition between all the different types of people he listed, from the rich person's carriage to the beggar's tramp. After discussing this theme of democracy, I understand further what Whitman was trying to portray. This theme makes this plethora of people all on a level playing field. Whitman is saying that no man is above another and that we are all equal. Not only does he say everyone equal, but this section is where the journey of the main character really begins. He is now on the road and say how the road makes one realize everyone is equal. The road will accept everyone no matter what characteristics they possess.
Equality is definitely something I support, but I didn't think about how radical it was for Whitman to portray this theme in the time period he was in. Not only do I think poetry is the perfect art form to portray these kind of ideas, but I also think it was very brave of him to go against the normal mindset of this time.

'Radical Man'
We looked at a photo of Whitman in class and I thought this was very telling of Whitmans character. In this photo, he showed his cocky persona. It really explained his label of being a 'radical man'. He has his hand on his hip, his face is very serious, his hat is tipped, and his shirt is unbuttoned. Now a days some of these things are seen as normal, but bad then these were against the grain showing his radicalness against the norms of the time.
I'm really glad we looked at this photo in class because I don think I would have thought to look up what he looks like. Seeing someone physically to go along with a name can be very telling. Even though you shouldn't judge based on appearance, I think you can learn a lot about someone just by looking at them and what kind of attitude they give off.
Section 9:
In section 9, they had a theme that really stuck out to me and just some lines that I really loved. The line, "I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell." I just thought this line was beautifully put. It's just one of those inspirations quotes that I could use every once in a while in my life. It reminds me to appreciate my surroundings, but also to remember that if I'm going through a hard time, that their is always something beautiful waiting for me to come.

Comfort zones:
In another line it says, "However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling we cannot remain here / ... we must not anchor here." This brought up the theme of not staying in ones comfort zone. And it really related to my new adventure her at Gonzaga. It related to my current endeavor or being a recruit for AKPsi. Its something I never imagined myself joining, but stepping out of my comfort zone has really be the best thing possible for me and AKPsi has truly been one of my favorite things I've been apart of here at Gonzaga.


Point of view (1st, 2nd, 3rd; objective, limited omniscient, omniscient)
  • 1st person: narrator is referring to him or herself (I, me, my, mine)
  • 2nd person: addressing the reader (you, your, yours)
  • 3rd person: observer's perspective (she, he, her, his, their, theirs)
  • Objective: when the observer remains detached from the character
  • Limited Omniscient: when the narrator has limited knowledge to one character
  • Omniscient: narrator knows all thoughts, feelings and actions of all characters
Setting (historical, geographical, physical)
  • Historical: a setting that helps the reader understand a story or event
  • Geographical: Specific place were a story is taking place
  • Physical: where a story takes place, the surroundings
character (flat, round, static, dynamic)

  • Flat: uncomplicated, two dimensional, don't change throughout a course of work 
  • Round: complex, undergo development
  • Static: undergoes little or no inner change
  • Dynamic: undergoes an important inner change
plot: used to describe the events that make up a story in a sequential order
exposition: insertion of important background information in a story
rising action: series of events that leads to the point of greatest interest
climax: the turning point of the story, the point were the rising action reaches the falling action
stream of consciousness: a persons thoughts and conscious reactions to events in a continuos flow
central consciousness: the story is told through the view of only how the main protagonist sees and experiences it
unreliable narrator: when a narrators credibility has been compromised
epiphany: moment in the story where a character achieves a realization, awareness or a feeling of knowledge
motif: an element of subject that is constantly presented through the whole work
“unlike gesture” in O’Connor: some gesture of a character that is unlike any previous gesture in the story, the action is both right but unexpected, one that indicated where the true heart of the story lies, ex- when the grandmother is faced by the Misfit alone in "A Good Man is Hard to Find"
novel: fictitious prose narrative, describes fictional characters and events with a degree of realism
foreshadowing: indication of a future event
abstract diction: language that describes qualities that cannot be perceived with the five senses
alliteration: occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words
allusion: indirectly calling something to mind without actually saying what it is
apostrophe: when the speaker directs speech to a third party
approximate rhyme: rhyme where sounds are similar but not exactly the same
archetypes: constantly recurring symbol or motif in literature
assonance: repetition of the same sound of vowel
blank verse: poem with no rhyme but has iambic pentameter
cacophony: harshness in sound of words or phrases
caesura: break between words within a metrical foot
closed form: structure of poetry characterized by regularity and constant poem elements
concrete diction: words that stimulate some kind of sensory response to reader
connotation: idea or feeling that a words invokes 
consonance: agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions
denotation: direct meaning from a word or expression
diction: the choice and use of words and phrases
dimeter: metrical line of verse with two feet
dramatic irony: drama that is understood by the audience but not characters in story
dramatic poetry: any dramatic work written in lines of verse
elegy: a poem of reflection, typically a lament for the dead
end rhyme: when the words at the end of a poems lines rhyme
end-stopped line: when a line of poetry ends with a definite punctuation mark
enjambment: continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet or stanza
epic: long poem, typically concerning a serious subject with heroic deeds and events significant to a culture of nation
epigram: short poem, typically with a witty or ingenious ending
epigraph: short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, usually suggests a theme
essay (essai): short piece of writing on a particular subject
euphony: quality of being pleasing to the ear, harmonious combination of words
figures of speech: word or phrase used in a nonliteral sense to add rhetorical force to a spoken or written work
form: arrangement of the elements in a composition
free verse: a poem without rhyme or regular meter
haiku: poem from the Japanese origin, seventeen syllables, 3 lines: 5, 7, 5 syllables. Usually evokes images of nature
half rhyme: when the stressed syllables of ending consonants match but the preceding vowel sounds don't match
hyperbole: exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally
imagery: visually or figuratively descriptive language
imperfect rhyme: rhyme with only partial matching of sounds
internal rhyme: rhyme that occurs within a line of a verse 
irony: expression of ones meaning by using the opposite, used for humorous effect
lyric poetry: short, songlike poem 
masculine rhyme: rhyme on a single stressed syllable at the end of a line of poetry
meditation: written or spoken discourse expressing thoughts on a subject
metaphor: figure of speech that compares two unlike things with a common characteristic, usually something compared to an object or thing 
meter: unit of rhythm in poetry, the pattern of the beats, also called a foot
metonymy: substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant
narrative poetry: poetry that tells a story, makes use of the voices of a narrator and character, usually written in metered verse
near rhyme: words that sound the same but do not rhyme perfectly
octave: poem or stanza of 8 lines
ode: lyric poem that addresses a particular person or thing
open form: reject classic organization and structure of a poem and impose your own rules to your poem
pastoral: portraying idyllically the life of shepherds or of the country 
pentameter: line consisting of five meters
persona: aspect of someones character that is presented to or perceived by others
personification: attribution of a personal nature or human characteristic to something non-human or the representation of an abstract quality in human form
Petrarchan sonnet: sonnet form consisting of an octave with the rhyme scheme abbabba and of a sestet with either cdecde or cdcdcd
prose poem: piece of writing in prose having obvious poetic qualities (i.e. intensity, compactness, prominent rhymes, imagery)
quatrain: stanza with 4 lines
rhyme: when sounds between words correspond together
rhyme scheme: ordered patter of rhymes at the end of lines of a poem or verse
rhythm: strong, regular, repeted patter of movement or sound
run on line: (enjambment)- incomplete syntax at the end of a line of poetry
scansion: process of determining and graphically representing the metrical character of a line of verse
Shakespearean sonnet: written in iambic pentameter, 3 quatrains and a final couplet with the rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg 
slant rhyme: rhyme with words of similar sounds but not identical
simile: figure of speech comparing two unlike things, without like or as
speaker: narrative voice in a poem
stanza: grouping of lines in a poem
symbol: something that represents something else, usually something material representing something abstract
synecdoche: figure of speech where part is made to represent the whole
synesthesia: technique used to present ideas, character, places in a manner that appeals to the senses
tone: attitude of a piece of writing, situation, place
understatement: figure of speech used to intentionally make a situation seem less important than it really is
whole rhyme: when the stressed vowel sound and subsequent sounds are identical in two words
quest: long/arduous search for something
grotesque: comically or repulsively ugly or distorted, usually characters who induce both empathy and disgust
Beat Generation: group of authors whose literature explored and influenced American culture in the post-World War II era. Most work was published in the 1950s
“Howl”: poem by Allen Ginsberg in 1955