Monday, May 3, 2010


The play “Fences” is about a poor African American family and all of the trials and tribulations they go through as a family. Each character has their own set of problems that end up being mixed in with another’s set of problems. While I did like most of the characters in the story, I did not like the main character Troy. The lesson and story within this play is something that I cannot just pin down on one thing.
The first character that I like and had a slew of problems was Cory. He spent his entire life trying to get out of his Father’s shadow and he just wanted to play sports. But when Troy took that away from him he became even angrier and thus caused him not to want to go to his father’s funeral at the end of the play. It’s ironic though, because without Troy interfering with Cory’s football ambitions he would have never became a Marine and would have never met the girl of his dreams. In a way, Troy was helping him have a better life.
I also really like Rose. She was so sweet and yet very independent. She tried to step in where necessary when Troy would start in on someone but she never put her marriage in jeopardy. Even though Troy had an affair and cheated on her, he still helped her in the long run. By cheating on her he ended up with a little baby girl. Rose states that she wanted more babies and this is what she got from Troy. And I liked how she kept the baby but told Troy to forget about her. This showed me that she was intelligent and still kept her dignity when dealing with him.
Overall it was an interesting story to see how everyone turned out and what they did with their lives. The matrix of a family can be so complex sometimes and it always makes members cross each other’s lives in different points.

Monday, April 26, 2010


This was such a strange short story. The way it was written was so harsh and unforgiving. When the reader is going through the first thing they notice is that there aren’t any real, complete sentences. Everything is chopped up and makes it a lot harsher then it should be. What the reader seems to be looking at are instructions for a young girl and how to live her life, basically. The instructions include everything from ironing shirts to spitting in the air.
There are these inserts with the instructions that made me cringe. Here and there the instructor refers to the girl as a slut. Like she doesn’t have a choice, that fate has chosen this attribute for her personality. It really isn’t fair to assume that this girl will already be a slut. The way it comes across make me want to beat the living snot out of whoever is saying it. The confidence within each instruction is so snobbish and unrelenting it turns the whole passage to a negative connotation instead of a positive one.
As the reader reads through the instructions it is so strange to see each of the comments about the girl being a slut wired in like it’s no big deal. The girl has her own comments back to the instructor a couple different times in the passage. What is odd for the reader is that the girl doesn’t say anything about being called a slut. She only makes comments about singing benna on Sunday’s in church and about feeling the bread from the baker. And even the instructor makes a rude comment to the girl about the baker letting her feel the bread. It was very short to read and I honestly had to read it twice to get the whole instruction characteristic down and then I started to see the harshness associated with the whole passage.


This was an interesting story to me. The plot was unexpected towards the end because it seemed as if there wasn’t anything in particular to cause Norma Jean to leave Leroy. When it comes down to it I think there were several different reasons why she felt the need to leave Leroy. When someone is away from the home for a good portion of time then the others do get used to not having them around. When Leroy has to stay home because he can’t drive his truck anymore, this causes tension within the marriage. Norma Jean is used to having her freedom from Leroy and now she doesn’t have that anymore. Then when her Mama caught her smoking it felt like even more freedom was stripped away from her. In response to feeling trapped Norma Jean decided she wanted her freedom back.
I had a general liking towards Leroy. He was innocently blinded by what was going on around him. There were signs that foreshadowed Norma Jean leaving him (her school, her not being around, etc). He was just ignorant to what was in front of his face. I think he wanted to believe that he could make her happy again and build her dream home. I find it ironic that the death of their child did not tear up their marriage, yet Leroy having to stay home does.
I believe that Norma Jean’s Mama realized what was going on before either of them knew. She kept pushing Shiloh on them hoping it would spark their marriage again. And she desperately wanted to go see it once again but declined when they offered for her to go. This was her subtle way of saying that they needed some time to work on their marriage and try to fix things.

Half and Half

Half and Half
What a sad story this was to read. I understand the way she related her inactiveness for Bing to her marriage. When she let Bing fall off of the cliff, in a way it was foreshadowing the demise of her own marriage. She is more of a calm person who doesn’t really have a strong opinion on what she wants. Making a decision is not that important to her.
It is relatable to what the mother does when Bing is swept into the Sea. As a mother myself, I would try anything I could think of to save my own child. And it was different to see how her mother reacted to Bing’s death with her Chinese culture infused into what she was doing. She let the American culture take precedent and the search and rescue commenced for Bing. But when that failed she decided to try Chinese traditions to save Bing.
As for the mother not believing in God anymore I don’t think she wanted to, but still did. I think she is angry with him more than anything else, because she still kept her Bible in plain view. If she completely disbelieved in God, she would have destroyed the Bible.
It is expected that the narrator take her experience with ted and relate it back to the tragedy in her family. Something like a divorce can take someone by surprise and knock them on their face. This is what happened to the family (especially her mother) when Bing died. Her mother still wants her to fight for her marriage though and I believe that relates back to her regret for not watching Bing better and fighting for him.
Overall it was an interesting part of The Joy Luck Club. Maybe someday I would be able to actually read the entire story, and not just excerpts

Alice Walker

Alice Walker
I really liked this story. I honestly thought that at the end the quilts would have just left with Dee anyways. The change in attitude done by the mother is something that made me smile. Dee deserved what she got and would have probably taken everything they used to survive, just for decoration.
I think Dee is someone who doesn’t really know who she is underneath everything. She seems to be one of those people who goes along with whatever is popular at that time. Her wanting the next best thing suggests that she isn’t truly ever happy. Where on the other hand her mother and Maggie just live a calm, peaceful life they best way they can. There is no “next best thing” for them, only survival. Dee reminds me of the saying, “Keeping up with the Jones’”. She has this new guy (whom no one knows if she’s married to or not) that she has changed her appearance, name, and way of thinking to match his.
I really liked Maggie in this story. She was quiet and not really a big part but she held a big presence for me. Even though she was not as pretty as Dee or as confidant, she was a better person deep down. She ranked higher up for me then Dee did. When Dee wants her quilts she was just going to give them to her and I think it was out of fear of confrontation. But it also seemed at the same time that she felt as if arguing with Dee just wasn’t worth her time.
As for the mother, she was admirable. In the end she finally found her backbone and stood up to Dee. She stopped doubting herself long enough to see how much of a spoiled brat Dee was and how she was stepping all over Maggie.
The simple life led by the Mother and Maggie is pretty neat to me and I would honestly rather live simple, then complex.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tillie Olsen

Tillie Olsen
This story seems to be about a mother who is looking back on the life of her first born and regretting a lot of things she’s done. She also seems to be talking to someone on the phone, possibly a doctor or maybe a caseworker of some sort. She did get to go home after proving that she would eat at home rather then the place she was sent to.
If only the parents were able to allow her to explore her gift of comedy and let it grow. I think that is what she needed in her life. She needed something that set her apart, that made her unique in her own mind. She was unlike the common stereotype and it made her self-conscious. She lost her childhood to be her mother’s helper. She had to help raise the other kids and this lost herself. It made her late with her schoolwork and caused to lose self-esteem there as well.
The mother is ironing clothes as the daughter tries to talk to her at points during the story and she is at the beginning. I think that the ironing in the story could be a metaphor for the daughter’s life. As the mother tries to smooth out the wrinkles in the clothes she tries (too late unfortunately) to smooth out the wrinkles in her daughters life.
It’s sad that she realizes too late the mistakes she has made with her daughter. And she tries to help her and take care of her as should towards the end yet it’s too late. I like the character of the daughter in this story. She is very strong willed to me and I feel as if she is a honorable person. She has given up her life to helping her mother and just completely devoting herself to this life and yet never really complains. She has a round about way to let the mother know she isn’t happy, yet she keeps on trucking.

A Good Man is Hard to Find

A Good Man is Hard to Find
This story seemed to have a mask of contradiction intertwined within it. The Misfit seemed to have somewhat manners and care about what was being said about his family at the end of the story, yet a psychopath wouldn’t care. He was a contradiction to the stereotypical view of a murderer.
I also liked how it was the Grandmother who got them into the trouble they ended up in. If she hadn’t insisted that the family go view the house they wouldn’t have wrecked. She fought from the very beginning to go to Tennessee because there was a misfit in Florida. And then when they wrecked because of her they ended up the clutches of the Misfit.
The father and the mother were odd in the fact that they never listened to the grandmother. They were actually negative people yet were not the cause of the accident. There is another contradiction in the story. The Grandmother, who is more of a positive person in the story, (yet still annoying) ends up doing the negative act.
From the very beginning of the story the reader gets the sense that something bad will happen. The Misfit is brought up in the very beginning of the story giving the reader the clue that the family will meet up with the Misfit at some point or another. Also, when the Grandmother dresses for the trip she dresses in her finest because there might be an accident and she wants to look her best. When they turn off the dirt road they go from a nice smooth highway to a bumpy winding snake like road. The dark forests that are in the story and the snake like road lead up to the final blow.
It was a neat story to read. The misfit made it interesting and you think that he might be willing to leave the grandmother alone.

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni
The first poem was really warm and fuzzy for me. I grew up without being wealthy by any means, yet we were all still very happy. I believe that being happy is more important then having any kinds of physical things in front of you. I like how she accentuates that even though there were problems in the family, like her father drinking, they still had Happy Birthdays and good Christmases. Her memories have a happy feeling that is woven into all of the misfortunate events.
I like how she wants to connect on the same level to a white person with her feelings and what she grew up in. She knows the struggles of others yet they still don’t really listen to her because she is black. She has gone through the same events in life (like losing a dream) but is treated differently.

Her second poem speaks to a lot of different people. Everyone has gone through the heartache of losing someone. She no longer is up at night over this hurting. She no longer dreams about it and no longer cries about it. I like how she takes his absence and uses it to her favor. She now has this big bed all to herself.

In her last poem, “Poem for Black Boys”, there is this hateful undertone that the reader can pick up on just within the first few lines. It is an eye opener to hear the reader say to practice things like vandalism, because it will be more useful for them. The way she takes what is going on around her in the adult world and transfers it to games for little boys is ingenious. It takes racism and shows how absurd it really is when we take it down to a basic level (as kids do).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I must first and foremost that I highly enjoyed reading this novel and if I was in town I would definitely be going to meet Ron Rash when he is in town. Serena is such a ruthless person. She comes in to Pemberton’s life and everything revolves around her need to money and power. She gains power and prestige over the crew by winning the bet against one of the workers. And then she has him fired because he went against her and lost. If he hadn’t she probably would have had him fired anyways. She spends all of her time lifting herself above everyone else, even her husband.
While it seems that Pemberton does love his wife, she doesn’t show the same affection and love towards him. To her, the power and money are more important then her love for him. He would sacrifice anything for her yet she would sacrifice him for the love of money. She reminded me of Margot from the story we read a little while back, “The Short Happy Like of Francis Macomber”. The two characters have the same heartless demeanors. Serena’s ruthlessness seems to be magnified when she losses her child and becomes sterile. She goes after the doctor as her first kill and even plots to kill Rachel and Pemberton’s baby.
The workers are in such a tight spot. Their living conditions are horrible and their pay is small. Yet there isn’t work anywhere else because of the depression. You either live this horrible, dangerous life or not live at all. They are lucky if they make it a certain age with all of the fingers and toes.
This evil monster is living in Serena and as the story progresses this monster seems as if it grows. She has this thirst to kill and takes her own personal experiences to fuel that need. She is just a plain psychopath.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

James Baldwin

Sonny’s Blues,
I really enjoyed reading this story. The main issue of the story, addiction, is something that is still relatable to this day. Sonny has this addiction to heroin and it affects the family aspect of his life. From early on he has this connection with his older brother. He was there for everything. He watched him grow from a baby to this man with this huge problem. Sonny is up front to his brother about what his problems are from the get go. It isn’t until when they are listening to the music at the barbecue place the main character finally starts to listen to Sonny and understand his pain. As brothers, there is always a connection there, whether they realize it or not. Through this musical gateway, they are able to start rebuilding what they once had.
I like the family aspect5 of this story. There is nothing like family for a person. They are there through thick and thin, no matter what. There might be a period of time where family is at odds with you, but they will always come around.
The brother goes to the club with Sonny and this proves to him that Sonny still has talent without the drugs. This is proof that you can still be the same person and still have the same strengths even without the drugs. This, I believe, is also what helps the relationship build even more. This positive thing feeds into the overall well being of the relationship.
The blues part of the story is all the turmoil the brothers endure throughout their relationship. They start off on a good path, split ways, and then come back together. Most families will go through this same maze in their lifetimes. It is nice for Sonny’s brother to be so supportive of him towards the end and find that middle ground to come together and repair their relationship.

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath,
The first poem out of her series that I really liked was “lady Lazarus”. This poem was very odd. It was interesting though and I found myself slowing down to actually read it. The allusion to multiple suicide attempts is not surprising to me after I read her biography and first poem. But the way she described her own self as being dead was rather detailed oriented. I also like how she describes people’s reactions to her supposed death. There is an unwrapping of her and there are words like miracle thrown around. It also seems as if there is some kind of shock being used, but maybe not.
Her poems are so long and detailed. The thoughts behind them must be so deep and resounding that it would be hard to live like that. Her psychological problems are seen woven through the different lines of her poetry. And it’s not just the obvious use of words like death and blood. There is a negative connotation behind a lot of the passages seen. Even when speaking of the heart she uses words like Brute to describe it. In “Daddy” at the end of the poem she say’s “There’s a stake in your fat black heart”. The criticism and negativity that the reader can feel in these words leaves a bitter taste in their mouth.
There were some poems that I liked, and then other’s I didn’t like. I have a hard time thinking about the poems because I feel like everything she says is just part of a psychological delusion that she is revolving around. I don’t really understand in the last poem that is in the book why she thinks she is better then everyone else. Is there a specific reason for it, or is she just exclaiming a part of the disturbance she obviously has?

Randall Jarrell

Randall Jarrell
I could see why in his biography the mention of the recurring theme of death is mentioned. It is so morbid to see that side of war. And when we think about our soldiers being over there, a lot of times we regret to think of the negative consequences that something like that will have on the soldiers and their state of mind.
My favorite poem that Jarrell wrote is the first one, “Losses”. There is one sentence that stuck with me throughout the poem. Towards the end of the poem the speaker says, “Till our lives wore out; our bodies lay among The people we had killed and never seen.” This sentence is very emotional for me. It brings the soldiers down to the level of all the people they were forced to kill. It says to me that whether we are a soldier, or a civilian, or a child, we are all the same and end up the same. It’s a very interesting poem. There are different ways that the soldiers are dying throughout the poem itself. They die at the end and burn the cities where they’ve been. It’s as if it’s just a conclusion to that chapter of the soldier’s life, rather then life itself.
I didn’t really understand the poem, “A Girl In A Library”. I had a hard time understanding what the point of the poem was. I couldn’t follow very well and I know I skipped over some words and parts of the entire passage. There is this girl he’s describing as if he’s staring at her across the way. Though he stares, he doesn’t really communicate with her. He keeps his distance to her and just admires from a far. It reminded me of a stalker, honestly.
All in all I was okay with Jarrell poetry. It didn’t really wow me, but it wasn’t horrible.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun
I always enjoyed reading A Raisin in the Sun. Throughout my years of education there have been more then one English class committed to reading this novel by the end of the school year. The movies that were made of this play were also done quite well. I thought both of them did a pretty good job at carrying over some of the major themes and characters from the play to the world of movies.
First of all, my favorite thing of importance found in this story is the importance of family. You will lose friends (like ones who run off with your money), face challenges (new arrivals), and even have to make life-altering decisions (like moving across the world to your boyfriend and a new life), and your family will still be there. You see all types of hardships and struggle throughout the story from each member of the family, yet they come together at the end to buy this house in a white neighborhood. They stick together and make each of their lives better, together.
I ended up watching the 2008 version of the play and I liked it well. The only thing I didn’t like was some of the actors chosen for the film. Sean “P.Diddy” Combs and John Stamos did a well enough job portraying their characters, yet there was something off about their acting. It seemed like for one (Diddy) there wasn’t enough put into the part, and the other (Stamos) was putting too much into the part.
You can’t go wrong though, with any of the versions of A Raisin in the Sun. All of the characters are relatable in their lives as they face everyday challenges. People today face entrepreneurship issues, pregnancy issues, and school issues. These problems that happen don’t go away over time, they just evolve with society and attach themselves to new people.

Monday, March 15, 2010


How sad this story was. I so wanted Pepe to find a way out of the mess he created for himself but in the end he just had to let go. His character was very strong and brave but stupid at the same time. He killed a man and then ran to save his family from the ambush of mend coming after him. If he could have just kept his temper under control he would have never had the problem he had.
The story itself was pretty interesting. I liked certain aspects of it but then again there were certain aspects that turned me away. The mother is smart and it must have been hard to turn him away when he came back from killing that man. He wanted to be a man and got his wish. His wish though, got him killed like a man too. He didn’t think about the bad things that come along with responsibility of becoming an adult when he left to get medicine and salt for his mama.
It is scary how one incident can change the entire world for one person and completely change the person they were. When Pepe came back from Ms. Rodriguez house he was a completely different person. The journey he has taken has brought him to a point he wants to be just not on the path he wanted to get there on. His laziness and ignorance makes him dislikable. But I suppose when anyone is being hunted there is sympathy and compassion for him. The author creates these two swirling emotions within the reader for Pepe. Our human nature is to not want any boy hunted down like prey but his attitude needs a serious adjustment at the beginning of the story. It was an okay story for me. Made me wonder a little what the point was.

Native Son

Native Son,
This was a really interesting story for me. I enjoyed seeing the different characters develop and take shape and the plot went on. From the very start of the novel the difference between white and black people in society is clear. In the first few pages of the story Bigger admits that he needs his weapons because he feels as if it makes him equal to the white person. As if it puts them on the same playing field. How crazy is that? He needs some sort of deadly force just to feel like a person that belongs.
I liked the character Bigger. He was really interesting to me. He brought the contrast between the races right in front of your face. I liked how the author made Bigger complex with his thought and with his words. When he spoke out loud to a white person he was always soft spoken and never really looked at them. They made him nervous and he didn’t want any confrontation with them what so ever. But then his thoughts were loud and full of swearing and attitude. The contrast is really neat. How society places such a weight on races that he confines himself so much to fit into the mold.
The daughter didn’t really surprise me with her actions. She was odd and crazy but it seemed to fit the character. I was disappointed in bigger at the end of the novel when he almost rapes the girl and then kills her trying to hide himself. It was if he confirmed what society though of him. He was good trying to keep to himself and stay out of trouble and the reader falls in love with him for that. But then he ruins everything and stoops to the level he was trying to stay out of.


I really had a very hard time understanding this story. I get that he is referring to his wife as a gypsy. And there is this guy, Uranus Knockwood, that is supposedly stealing his wife and she has committed suicide. But did she commit suicide, did this other guy take her, or is she really just a phone call away? It is hard to tell with all the different conversations occurring with the different characters.
I’m thinking that gypsy is a way to describe his wife. Maybe she is really alive and a phone call away, he just can’t reach her when he wants hence her being a gypsy. And Powerhouse would rather call her gypsy and blame some other person for stealing her then admit that it is his fault because he is a musician that they can’t be together. The different band members don’t believe him when he is trying to tell him that this guy, Uranus Knockwood, comes when he leaves and then leaves when he comes. It made me think twice because he’s never seen him, he in Powerhouse’s mind altogether.
Maybe the musical genius part has turned him crazy altogether. He seems to be a pretty powerful and well-known musician. He is also pretty dedicated to his work. In the story it said something about playing your hardest even if there is only 1 person in the audience. He loses it at the end when he starts to blame his won band mates for stealing away his wife. He probably lost her because of the music career and will blame anyone but himself for it. He even blames her with thought so suicide.
It was just a really strange story that I just didn’t understand. Maybe I will have to read it again and other blogs to be able to get a good grasp on it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

I thought Langston Hughes’ poetry was pretty straightforward. His poetry all had the same common theme within them. His poetry revolved around the attitude and emotions that come along with being an African American around that time frame. My favorite poem of his was “Theme for English B”. I love how the poem has a focus on what makes people different. We are all human beings therefore not that much different, just physical differences. At one point the author comments that he knows the teacher does not want to be a part of him (or affiliated with) because he is African American. But he also says that he does not want to be a part of the teacher either. And no matter what, unfortunately, they still are! Even though they live in two worlds where people are treated very differently, they are still learning from one another, and still have common traits with one another.
The story, “On the Road” was a very neat story to me. I like the main character of the story and the things he went through just to get a place to sleep. It was sort of ironic at the end though. He finally gets a place to eat, sleep, and live yet he still wants to break the door down to the jail cell. I think this makes fun of him, in a way. Like he is not smart enough to realize that this is where he has ended up. He goes through getting beat by cops and walking around in the snow for hours and then finally ends up in a place he was looking for all along. The reference to God is a little unusual for me. Did he actually see God and God guided him to a place to sleep, or did he just dream the whole thing up?

Monday, March 8, 2010

William Faulkner

William Faulkner
I had a harder time understanding the purpose behind this story then the others. I really didn’t get it. The only “lesson” I could pick out of everything was that the white person was also more important then the African American. Even though Nancy was having some sort of mental breakdown and supposedly going to be murdered very soon, the mother was worried about herself begin left alone in the house, then Nancy walking home by herself. It shows how selfish the white race was and how things have changed since then.
Nancy was a very unique character. She obviously has a whole lot of problems to deal with. It was hard for me to figure out exactly what was going on with her. Was she actually going crazy? Or was Jesus really out there to get her at a moments notice? Maybe, he was coming to get her because of the relationships she held with some of the men around town. She did go to jail for saying that Mr. Stovall still owed her for the last three times. Everything seemed very vague to me with the whole story.
I did like the character of the father in the story. He seemed to genuinely concerned with Nancy, while still trying to keep up the proper relationship between a white man and an African American woman in that time. He tried to send her home but still came to check up on things when she would start to cry softly. I think his wife must have felt a sort of jealousy when he would walk her home because she was scared of the dark.
I would like to have read more about this story. It would have been nice to see if Nancy ends up dead or not and by whom. Maybe she wasn’t really scared of Jesus but just used him as an excuse for something else she was scared of. There were times that she didn’t like being a negro and felt that only God knew how she would end up.

Frances Macomber

The Short Happy Life of Frances Macomber
This short story was, in a way, odd. The dissonance felt between the wife and the husband was seen throughout the book and foreshadowed something bad coming at the end of the story. I did like reading the story as we discovered more and more about each character and the relationship between all three of them.
I felt genuinely bad for Mr. Macomber. He first had this cowardly experience with the lion and running from it instead of shooting it. It shows the first break in the relationship with his wife. She is mad and embarrassed by the fact that he was scared of the lion.
His wife is a very unlikeable character. She thinks that he won’t leave her because she is all wonderful and very pretty but at the first signs of showing strength and independence she reacts scared and unsure of him. I like how the tide turns between the husband and wife. She is so unbelievably scared of him growing a spine and standing up to her (basically starting the process to leave her) that she shoots him. Even though she has a relationship with the white hunter and apparently has had other relationships with others, she still believes that he won’t leave her.
The tie between all three is interesting. Wilson is cocky and is there to hunt and have his way with cheating wives. Macomber has no spine when it comes to his wife and with the help of shooting an animal; he starts to develop a new personality. And then Mrs. Macomber is this completely false, pretentious, unfaithful, wife.
All in all I enjoyed reading this story. I wish there were more to the story itself, a few more chapters, maybe. The ending did surprise me and I like stories that surprise me.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Susan Glaspell

Susan Glaspell
I really enjoyed reading this play. I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually sat down and read a play. It was interesting to be able to see each different character individually instead of just together in one whole story spun together. There were some okay things in the play and then there were some really interesting things that I read. For one, I really didn’t like the way the men acted towards the women. There was a sarcastic over view to everything that they said to the two women present. It was as if the men thought the women were not intelligent and couldn’t figure anything out for themselves, yet they figured out the motive behind the murder. I really like how the women figured things out by just talking and gossiping. They used their own experiences to relate to Mrs. Wright and why she killed her husband. I would imagine that in that time period women were there to serve their husband and their families. When Mr. Wright broke the bird’s neck and strangled it to death I think Mrs. Wright snapped. She had a lot that was taken from her by him and this was the straw that broke the camels back. Like the two women said in the story; after hearing the bird in the quiet house for so long and then not hearing it anymore drove her crazy. There is only so much one person can take and then they mentally snap and withdraw from the outside world. There are different breaking points for each person and unfortunately, the bird was hers. The choice of the two women to hide what they and found from the sheriff and the attorney shows that they understand, to a point, where Mrs. Wright was coming from and where she had withdrawn to.

Willa Cather

Willa Cather
Willa Cather’s stories were somewhat alike to me. There were some aspects that I could see appearing in both stories. For example, the theme of music was seen in each story. In the first story Clark takes his Aunt Georgiana to the Symphony Orchestra in the city and then in “Paul’s Case”, Paul actually works at Carnegie Hall. I like this similarity because I love music myself. Music is something that everyone around the world can relate to and can have a conversation about. It is something we use to break the ice with another, something we all like. Both of the stories also deal with getting out of routine. Aunt Georgiana spends her time before the concert worrying about whether she let her daughter know to use the freshly opened kit of mackeral or if she left directions on how to feed a weakling calf. But then when the music starts she becomes completely engrossed and emotionally attached the music that swirls around her. She becomes a different person as she takes in a new surrounding. When everything is done and over with, she doesn’t want to leave. There comes a realization that she must go back to what her life was and leave this unbelievably wonderful moment behind.
In the second story, “Paul’s Case” there is also a breaking away of the norm. He goes about his normal everyday activities but breaks it up with different faces. He has some sort of mental instability and it eventually catches up with him. It is sad that in the end he gets his change through death. I like how the stories contrast one another with the way they end. On one hand you have change that comes with happiness and a very emotionally dizzying moment. The on the other hand you have change that is dealt with death.

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston-
I really enjoyed both writings from Zora Neale Hurston. It was easy to follow and flowed quite smoothly. Going from looking through her eyes at the world around her to a story about a couple with ups and downs that is easily relatable I couldn’t help but want to read more.
In her first excerpt I was pulled in by the contrast between the two different pages of her life. In her hometown she was just Zora. She sung, and had a good time, and was generally a optimistic person. She was just that, a person. The color of her skin was not an issue to anyone. Then when she moved, the color of her skin became everything. It is really interesting me how in her hometown she has a personality and is a well-known character while in Jacksonville she was just a little colored girl. The way she was stereotyped for just stepping into a different city is sometimes unbelievable to me. It’s sad that she had lost herself by moving. The way the white race pushed aside another race is crazy. My favorite part is at the end when she starts to explain when race holds no weight in her book. She is just Zora. Her attitude comes out and she is just like any other woman who is strong and feminine. We are all bags filled with these things and if we are to spill them and then refill them the bag still holds it shape. I love this metaphor for humans because it rings very true to me.
In her second piece, “The Gilded Six-Bits”, I really fell in love with the characters and the relationship they held. The hardships and struggle that this couple endures is all too familiar to people even in today’s world. You have one that becomes unfaithful and yet they still stay together. There is a phase of being distant and just not really being the same relationship it was. The some sort of life changing event occurs, like a baby, and things start to slide back into place because things are put into perspective. I like how both of these stories bring perspective into each one. It really broke my heart when Missie May cheated on Joe. You feel a connection with the characters because it is a relatable experience, no matter what color we are.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Robert Frost

Robert Frost:
I really liked the poem “Home Burial”. The poem was more like a story that I could somewhat relate to. His poetry seems to be a bit more modern (which is natural considering we are moving forward in time). I can relate more to what is being said and actually place myself within this poem. I have two small children and I cannot begin to fathom the grief and lose a mother (or father) would fear if their child had died. I can see from both the man and the woman’s point of view in this poem. She can’t bear to stay in the house and be reminded of the child she lost. He can’t bear for her to leave all the time because he is going through the same thing, and yet he stays. She needs to be alone, where as he wants to be as one and work through it together. That type of reaction is a reaction I would expect in that situation. You will always have two different ways of dealing with the grief of the loss of a loved one.
I also like Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”. This seems like an age-old dilemma to me. Should you take the road that is less taken and has growth around the ages? Or another road that looks like it wants to be walked and worn? There are obstacles on one that has to be fought through to get to where you need to go. It might perilous and rough but it is the one less taken and the glory of having gone that way and finished can be tempting for just that reason. As humans we seek glorification and the spotlight and this road will give us that. But on the other hand you have the safety and comfort of the grassy road that looks like it wants to be walked on. This road will be less perilous and an easier ride. The trip could possibly less time consuming then going through the rough overgrown road. He picks the overgrown road that is less traveled. There is a sadness at the end of the poem because he knows that even though he wants to, he’ll never travel back this way to give the other road a shot. I like how he wants to be fair, instead of looking for glory, or the easy way out.
The last poem of Frost’s that I like is “Fire and Ice”. I actually enjoyed most of his poetry, these three just stuck out for me. I like “Fire and Ice” because it is short and sweet. I like how Frost contrasts between the two, fire and ice, and shows why he likes both. The contrast itself is pretty down because you are dealing with the destruction of Earth. He likes fire for the passion that comes along with it, but also like ice because he know that with passion comes hate. These are pretty strong emotions. This poem is pretty short but conveys so much feeling that I had to read it 2 or 3 times to really get a good grasp on it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Open Boat

The Open Boat
I liked this short story. It was different in way, then what we’ve been reading. In the stories we’ve been reading I saw the relationship between man and woman. In this story you have a relationship between this group of guys and then their relationship with nature. I think that you have this classic man verse nature conflict occurring within the story.
It was neat to see his poem in the story. I had to stop reading and go back to the section of his poems to make sure I was reading right! I mean you have these men, in a boat struggling against nature. They come to a several different realizations within the story. At one point they realize that nature does not have pity for them. It does not care of their situation and will not yield to them just because they are there. Another fact that is reveled in the story is the shift from being individuals to being a group. I think there are only a few lines that comment on this actual shift, but I see it as an important aspect of the story.
It was interesting to see the workers/characters of the boat that crashed take on the same roles in the raft. The Captain, heartbroken over the loss of his ship, took the natural position of steering the raft and delegating. These characters survived by doing what they do best, just on a smaller raft. The death of the oiler at the end is a little off to me. It is strange that he is the one chosen to die. The strangest on the raft is the one to die. This could allude to the fact that death doesn’t have preference. It just chooses whom it wants and it doesn’t matter if you are big or small, if it’s your time, it’s your time. It is a bit ironic as well.


In my effort to understand poetry more I have really dug down and read Crane’s poetry over and over. I still don’t get it. His poetry is very morbid and dark. It is always talking about things that are disturbing and not nice. I guess that is the point to his poetry though, to be mean. There is a sense of detachment (as the introduction said).
My favorite poem of his was poem about the war. The contrast between the maiden and then the actual war was really neat. On the one side you have comfort and allusion. We all know what happens in war, yet the good side is trying to be brought to light anyways. The mask that is being pulled over war itself is apparent in the pother verses of the poem when the reality of war is really seen. The actual word usage is quite interesting. I love how the words bring about a different connotation for the different pictures being painted. It is almost making fun of the maiden for crying. It’s like a fake comfort for the maiden while the author laughs in the background as he really describes war.
The other poem I liked was “Supposing That I Should Have The Courage”. This poem was equally disturbing to me because of the fact that the speaker of the poem lashes out against hope. Even as hope is being offered it still isn’t taken and the speaker decides death is better then hope. There is this sword representing virtue and then his sinful blood, which is to be spilt. It’s as if he is saying no hope will save him from what he’s done to make his blood sinful.
These poems are all difficult to take because of the negative connotation behind each. There is a mocking in most that is irritating. I like that though, that Crane has inspired emotion in me when I read his poems. Usually I just read to get it over with and do whatever needs to be done with the assignment. This kept me somewhat interested and inspired feeling.


The Other Two
This was quite an odd reading for me. I didn’t really understand the concept behind the story. The conflict between the three husbands is an interesting knot woven within the story and the relationships that develop between them is something that was unexpected.
I think that Waythorn comes to realize that the wife could possibly be the one that is angelic. He begins to get to know the other two men that were in her life through situations that can’t be avoided. Waythorn realizes that Haskett is a great father. He cares for his child and has basically given up everything to be with her. He’s moved, given up shares in a company, and not lives in a shabby place just to be able to see her. And then he actually fights for her. He cares enough to run himself through hot coals just to see her. In Waythorn’s eyes this is what makes him admirable and likable. Then as Waythorn is conducting business with Varick he realizes that he likes him as well. Varick is genuinely nice to Waythorn and this helps to develop the relationship between the two. The business has forced one another together and made them trust one another.
I think that the main point of this story is the declining relationship between Mrs. Waythorn and Mr. Waythorn in contrast to the budding relationship between Mr. Waythorn, Varick, and Haskett. You see the “normal” relationship fail while the “odd” relationships flourish.
I really didn’t like this story. It held no interest to me. I feel as if the relationships need more depth to be fully comprehensible to me. It feels as if the story should be longer with a deeper plot to the story. Overall it wasn’t too terrible, just a little short and hurried.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Awakening

The story of Edna is a strange story in itself. I understand her awakening and her new desires but there are things about her new discoveries that bother me. I don’t like how selfish she has become. I can see how she is not happy in her marriage and the life she has, but to abandon your children like that? That doesn’t make sense to me. If she is really that cold and selfish to just let them run off to a family member then she deserves to be alone!
Her relationship with Robert is strange as well. He rekindles all of these feeling and desires within her, but they never act upon it. I honestly expected something to happen between then. Well something physical, rather than just emotional. I wouldn’t want to live the way she lived. To be in a relationship and be just who that person wants you to be is just not right for either person. Her independence is being irresponsible to me. You can still be independent in a relationship. Perhaps not at that time period but she still could have handled things a little better.
I think the end of the novel is suiting. After she moves out and gets her own place she slowly, but surely, comes to the realization that with extreme independence comes loneliness. Robert couldn’t break free from society norms long enough to embrace the feelings he had for Edna, and she him. She didn’t want the life with her family anymore, and she just was plain lonely. Her suicide is cowardly in my book. She could have dealt with everything and moved on. She chose the life she wanted; now she can deal with it. There is a bit of sadness for her though as well. To be stuck in a life that is completely null and void of what you

Yellow Wallpaper

I absolutely love The Yellow Wallpaper. I had to look at this story briefly last semester and I enjoyed it then. It is nice to have the chance to really take the time and read the entire story all the way through.
It really struck me, at the end. I didn’t see her being crazy until more towards the end where it creeps out and you’re like, whoa! The relationship between the wife and the narrator is interesting to me. He treats her as if she is a child. The male is dominating the female and telling her what to do. It is sad in a way, the way he treats her. He refuses to see what is in front of his face when dealing with the narrator. He thinks that if he ignores it, it won’t be so. The shock value at the end when she finally cracks and he faints is in a way satisfying. He finally gets it and he finally sees what really is going on.
I like how at the end the narrator goes from seeing the woman in the yellow wallpaper to being that woman in the wallpaper. This transition for the main character is the point where she finally takes that step from sanity to insanity.
The start of her seeing the woman in the daytime and then women outside creeping around is unsettling. The outside women seem to reflect her fear and paranoia starting to show itself at the surface.
Overall this story is really neat. We go from her hating the wallpaper, to her seeing things move in the wall, then her seeing that woman shaking the wallpaper, and then finally ending with her becoming that woman is a very ingenious way to create this story. I am glad that I was given the chance to look at this story once again

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Free Joe

In all honesty, it was very hard to read the two stories by Joe Chandler Harris. I had to really slow down and try to understand what was being said. The old tale of Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Fox reminded me of Disney World in Florida. There is always a lesson behind a story and this one was that the Rabbit outsmarted the fox by telling him not to do what he really wanted to do. I use reverse psychology with my two boys a lot and it really does work.
The other story was just plain sad. Free Joe was an outstanding character. He was so unbelievably humble and the actuality of his life was sad. While the slaves who were captive in their own life danced and sang he, free in his own right, was sad and was treated badly. It was as if he was paying a price for being free. It wasn’t for people like Free Joe, our world could have been very different. Even though he was treated badly he was still the same person and still believed in his freedom. The way his wife and dog were taken from him just tears your heart in two. With them just wanting to live a life together and then having it stripped away was awful. The author makes you feel for Free Joe in a very emotional way. It takes what happened to a free man who was a slave and pushes it in your face to read and swallow it (whether you want to or not).
The first story really didn’t mean much to me. It was very short and I couldn’t really understand it. The second story though was very touching. I like the reality of what the author presented to the reader. It was something you don’t want to read because of the sadness but something that you must read because of the situation of Free Joe.

An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge

I don’t really have that strong of a connection for this story. It was interesting and captivating, yet it didn’t keep my attention as the others did. I like the twist at the end with Farquhar actually being dead and his senses having actually taken him on that journey.
There are a lot of details in the beginning of the book. The guard’s positions are described in detail and everything about the situation is described so the reader gets a sense that they are actually there. It is easy to picture where everything is and how the scenery looks. I felt as if I was sitting hovering a few feet above and in front of the scene.
It was neat how in the middle of the story we cut back and discover how he ended p in that situation. After we cut back from that we start to have hope that he will escape and be free of death. The author takes the time to really make it seem like reality, instead of death coming. The escape he commits and the swim in the water is actually his way of succumbing to death. It is quite ironic that his entrance into death is his escape.
I feel odd towards Farquhar. I want to side with him and see him break free to escape; yet there is a dissonance that I feel towards him. The author makes you feel sorry for him and his family, yet he is of the South and hence has slaves and believes in Slavery. We have been brought up to believe that this is wrong so technically his death should be the right thing to do. Yet the humanity in us never wants another person to have to go through what he is going through. It was interesting to have to deal with that conflict.

Tennessee's Partner

Tennessee’s Partner-
The emotion behind this story was very touching. I really enjoyed the relationship between Tennessee and his partner. You had one that constantly got into trouble. There was never a dull moment, never a fight that couldn’t be fought. On the other hand you have this loyal and caring person who spent almost all of his life taking care of this drunk. The ending was what won me over when reading this novel and made me understand the true point to the story.
The emphasis on Tennessee’s partner makes the reader think that this is the main character of the story and we should be focused on him and what he does. It isn’t until he gets into a whole lot of trouble that you see the focus shift onto Tennessee himself. The partner steals his wife, runs around, gets into fights, and always needs to be rescued from a drunken state. Through all of this madness though, Tennessee sticks be his side and welcomes his with a warm hand shake each time he fumbles back into town. The difference between the two is startling and makes the reader wonder why Tennessee puts up with all of his trouble. I think it hit me when he threw the money on the floor of the room when the partner was about to receive his sentence. This man is a true friend. He is there for his best friend and believes that he is worth taking care of.
Near the end of the story the reader has now come full circle with the friendship. You witness one side of the spectrum and then get to witness the other side of the spectrum. Even at death we see how loyal and true Tennessee is to his friend. If we all could only be that willing to devote ourselves to friendship that way we might all have different lives.


I very much enjoyed the story about Editha. The fact that she always wanted more, even when she had everything she could ever want. The story itself is interesting because you have this man that is doing something that he was raised against for a woman. Someone should have told him that doing something like that never ends well. So he goes and of course ends up dying pretty quickly. It makes you want to say, “I told you so” to Editha. I don’t think that she would have ever been happy with him, no matter what. It was as if she was trying to find things about him and make him do things to fit into the picture she had in her head. She was changing him to fit her mold.
Editha is a young, selfish brat in my eyes. She had it all. He was a lawyer that wanted to take care of her. She would have been provided for and taken care of (in the sense). Yet she sacrificed her “love” to have a hero. I believe that Editha got what was coming to her when George’s mother yelled at her. It is her fault that he left for war. He never had any intentions on going and yet he did, for her. The character angers me most at the end of the book. All she needed was a stranger to take her side, and tell her how “vulgar” George’s mother had been to make her happy again. She has no depth, just the face you see.
I did enjoy the story though. There is a vindictive approach to the narration that gives the reader satisfaction for the anger and frustration felt towards Editha. She only takes into consideration her own wants and needs when pushing other people around. The loss of a young man that is good and sweet in contrast to Editha being selfish and petty keeps this story interesting and emotional.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sarah Orne Jewitt

The first thing that caught my attention about the story, “A White Heron”, was the setting. The biography on Jewett made me more perceptive to the setting from the beginning. The way she used to imagery to convey her feelings about the country was very calming. Words like “glimmered” and “great bows” give a positive connotation from the very start. It set the mood for the story to be very country and wooded.
The main character of the story, Sylvia, was a very bright young girl. She has a connection to the forest and the animals that make her relatable to a lot of people. You develop a comfort level with her because she is just so down-home and relaxed. The way she treats the stranger that comes along makes me want to smile and pat her head. She seems to be just a young lovesick girl as she follows him around and chases birds.
She shows, though, maturity beyond her age when she doesn’t give away the location of the white heron. She values the time she spent with the bird more then she values making the stranger happy. She has a certain loyalty to the bird in regards to the bond they acquired. I like the character that is revealed within Sylvia. She holds true to herself even when she doesn’t want and received the moment in an attempt to accomplish something else. She realized this moment was different and changed her perspective on things.
This is alike the last novel because of what the main characters are sacrificing to keep in their lives. On one hand we love being sacrificed for keeping a way of life. On the other we have companionship being compromised for loyalty and a connection. The two characters share a similarity and yet are so different

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

I thoroughly enjoyed the other two stories to this week’s readings. “A New England Nun” is a detailed look into the life of a woman who is mesmerizing in her own right. The story, though rather short, was captivating and gave the reader a look into what the world was like at the time it was written.
I like the theme of OCD in this story. The main character, Louisa, shows the classic symptoms of having OCD. She has became this way after having been alone so many years and doing things her way. The gap in time from when her fiance’ first left and from when he came back was so large that it basically formed a hole too deep in the relationship for Luisa to come out of her own world. It is interesting to look at just this aspect. She wanted everything her way so much that she sacrificed her own love to keep it this same way. It was if she was so petrified of things not being just the exact way she wanted it that she gave up everything to keep it the same.
I found the dog, Caesar, to be n interesting twist in the story. She wouldn’t change the way the dog was treated just because it would change her world. The dog didn’t need to be tied up anymore because there was no immediate danger left in the dog but she still kept it locked up outside. Then when she set Joe Dagget free at the end, again the story alludes to the dog. There are things in her life that need to line up just right for her to be able to feel powerful and in control of her own self.
If we were to place this situation in today’s society there would be a completely different turn out. I think there might be a lot more drama and more tears and emotions involved. It is interesting to see how a situation that happens everyday is interpreted and dealt with in different eras.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


My thoughts on Emily Dickinson are very chaotic. It was extremely difficult to comprehend what was being said. You could tell though, that there ware a lot of different emotions running through all of her poetry. I really just didn’t understand any poetry at all, honestly. I know how to interpret it and use the correct tools to analyze and write papers on it, but I just don’t understand what poets are trying to say 99.9 percent of the time.
It seems she has certain themes that she likes to stick to when writing her poems. Death sticks out in a lot of passages. I also see a lot of Heaven being spoken of as well. I like poem number 1052 in which she talks about know what Heaven is and where it is, even though she has not been there. She backs up this argument with stating that even though she has never seen the sea, nor the moor she still knows what a billow is and how the Heather looks. This is clear-cut to me. I can understand this and what she wants to say here. Sometimes it is hard to clearly see if Dickinson is stating something actual or using it as a metaphor for something else she is trying to say. I also like poem 441. I honestly am not sure why I like it but something about it sticks out to me.
One last poem I though was very insightful and interesting was poem 280. It was confusing to read this poem. It seems that there is something dreadful and sad going on inside her brain, like a thought or idea was dying. On the other hand though, it could just be a really bad headache with Dickinson finally giving in to the pain and knowing that it won’t last forever.
Reading these poems by her made me want to branch out on my knowledge of Emily Dickinson. When this semester is over, I think I will do some research on her and learn a little more on her background and life.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Huckleberry Finn

After reading Huckleberry Finn I feel unsettled about the entire story. It was enjoyable and interesting to read about the “adventures” of Huck but there was a lot of hidden sarcasm in the entire story. The one theme that stuck out for me was racism. Of course in the time frame it was completely okay for a white family to own salves on their farm or in their households. As the story progressed though, it seems like the only decent person was Jim. At the end of the story he was the one who sacrificed himself to help Tom and was the one who shielded Huck from seeing his dead father. The other characters in the story that were seen as “good and nice” were in-fact, not. The Widow who Huck sees as a good person who prays and is going to the good place is still practicing in slavery. She doesn’t set Jim free until after she is dead instead of when she first felt bad for wanting to sell him. It’s like she was treating him as an object in thinking she could get a few more years out of him before she set him free. When Huck comes across Aunt Sally and Uncle Silas he lies and tell them he was delayed by a steam boat explosion. To Aunt Sally it was lucky that only a black man was killed. Twain seems to be using sarcasm and ridicule when he writes about these situations in the story.

The characters were very interesting. I like how Huck, in his effort to be free and go his own way, starts to develop the morals we go by today. Towards the end he resolves that he wants to free Jim, no matter what. Tom is a very frustrating character. He just uses everyone else to have his own adventures. He is very selfish and doesn’t really care about others well being. This is also an example of how people viewed as “good” really aren’t because of social standards of that time. The Duke and the Duaphin are a very conniving pair. They remind me of Tom, just more outspoken about it. They use Jim’s freedom to help themselves and aren’t trustworthy at all.

It was entertaining to see how Twain used this story to convey his feelings about Slavery and racism. The underlying sarcasm and messages were sometimes hard to see but left you with this feeling of importance. I have read this book in the past few years and it’s something that should be read more then once to catch everything Twain has to say.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hello Everyone!

Good evening everyone! My name is Christina and this is my first blog. I honestly love to read. I have a library full of books ranging from mysteries to love stories to horror stories. I have been reading as much as I can whenever I can for a long while now. A lot of times I relax by reading for the entire night. I usually will read a book twice if it is one I really liked. I find myself skipping over parts as I’m trying to get to the end of the book as fast as I can.

The very last book I read was Lockdown written by Alexander Gordon Smith. I am writing a book review for my brother-in-law's magazine and this is the first book I was assigned. It is a very interesting book about a place called Furnace. Boys who misbehave are sent to Furnace, an underground prison for young boys. There are a lot of intricacies within the story that keeps the reader’s attention throughout the entire book. I really enjoyed reading this book and I am actually hoping I am given the other books in the series to review somewhere down the line.

I would say that English is my favorite subject. I never really had the patience for Math or Science. I look forward to the reading assignments in the class. I sometimes don't stray away from what I am accustomed to when choosing reading materials so being forced to stray outside of my comfort zone is a good thing for me. I remember in high school that I did not like poetry so hopefully the poetry I encounter in this class will help me understand and enjoy what I’m reading.

Other then that, I’m just me. I work full time, go to school full time, and have a family at home. My boys are 2 and 4 and keep me super busy when I am not working or doing homework. My life is filled to the brim and never leaves me sitting around bored.