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.