Friday, May 23, 2008

Reflection Paper


I have always had an appreciation for English. I loved reading and finding deeper meaning behind the words, but I have not had a better experience in any of my English classes throughout my four years of high school. I have found even more of an appreciation for literature while in your class. Camus’ The Stranger is what sucked me in. I read every word in that book and loved discussing it in class. I don’t get nervous talking in front of people but when talking about literature was a tad nerve racking. As the year progressed, it felt more and more comfortable talking in front of the class. I loved the connections between The Stranger and Greek myths as well as other parallels that you pointed out. I also loved The Stranger, because the main character talked to people in a way I did at times. So I picked existentialism as my strand to follow throughout the year.
I didn’t care for the vocabulary of the day. But I guess it had to done. As my writing techniques grew we started our independent reading and I analyzed the hell out of the novel. It ended up having to do with my existentialism strand even though I just picked that book because it was in my house and I didn’t feel like paying for another story. I think one of my better paper’s was the one I wrote on Plum Plum Pickers because I really got into that little story even though we didn’t spend much time on it.
This year I got a new appreciation for poetry. I have never liked poetry, I only did it because a teacher said to or to remember it for a performance. But with your teaching poetry has become a big part of my life. I like to write music and with poetry it helps me write lyrics with deeper meaning and with prettier words. I really feel in love with poetry when we watched the movie about Charles Olsen. His poems connected with me because he was discussing a place in which I have been to very often. So choosing him to do my project was the best thing I could have done because I got to spend hours searching through his poems and finding little quotations from them that I wanted to throw into my play to make it have more to do with Olsen. And even if the quotation wasn’t about what I was talking about in Charles Olsen’s life I made the quotation connect to fit into my play. Doing this project also got me more into writing plays, because any English teacher will tell you that I wrote short plays as projects in their class but nothing they went for cheap laughs and weren’t that great. Writing that play got me going on a lot more plays that are currently in the works. One which I am almost done is titled Treading Water and is about the daily life as a worker as a YMCA lifeguard. I figured my first big play would be about something that I knew the most about.
James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was a really rough novel to get through. James Joyce is so intelligent and it seemed like everyone in the class knew what he was referring to in his stories but me. I tried so hard in that story to connect what I was reading with other myths or aspects of religion but most of the symbols and connections I learned about were from you in class or others doing their discussions. I do like a good coming of age tale which is why I stuck with the story and was still interested in what the story was, it was just hard for me to analyze it. My ending paper for that novel was unorganized and lacked depth.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet was my favorite piece of literature that we read all year. I loved acting out the scenes and discussing Hamlet’s character. Hamlet in my opinion the most challenging roles an actor can take and one day I would to love to tackle the role. Hamlet’s motivation for everything he did was the most interesting to me. Writing my piece on his soliloquy was really my favorite thing to do for Hamlet because I got to analyze and critique the motives of the actor.
All in all, this year was incredible. You taught us information that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. And your inspiration will keep me writing and improving my poetry and plays.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

1000 words on Small Woods

This is a photograph Jerry Uelsmann created in 1967. The photograph shows three women standing in different positions in a small thicket of trees. The first is behind a thin tree standing at a 45 degree angle from the viewer. The girl appears to be only wearing a skirt but there is not enough light on her body to be sure. She is placed all the way to the left of the picture. The woman has her head slightly tilted and her shoulders slouched in an eerie pose giving the sense that she has done something wrong, She is also standing closer to the camera that the other girls. At first glance the three women appear to be different people but a closer look shows that they are all the same.
The same woman is placed on the far right as well but she is standing in a face forward position. Unlike the girl on the left she is not being blocked by any trees. There is one tree to the left of her and one to the right but there is nothing blocking her from the view of the camera. Her head is up and her shoulders are as well in a way that shows that she is not afraid of anything. She is not the closest to the camera but she is also not the farthest away.
Again, the woman is printed in the woods. This time she is near the middle of the photograph. She is not quit dead center but a hair to the right of the camera. She is crouching down and hiding behind a thin tree. She is the farthest away from the camera so therefore is the hardest to see. It seems that she is in mid step so she could possibly be running away from something.
There is a fog in the background. The fog is interesting because it is a line that rises and falls. The way it rises and falls connects the three girls. The middle girl’s shoulders is higher in the photo then the last one due to the girls standing at different distances the fog will rise and connect with the shoulders and then fall to connect with the last girl‘s shoulders. Because they are all the same person in different stances or times of their lives the fog is what connects the girls and makes sure that the viewer can see the ties between the women.
In the middle of the picture Uelsmann uses amazing multiple printing talents to add another photo. Right beneath the photograph is the same exact one only printing in negative. At first glance the picture seemed to be the three girls standing in the woods next to a lake which was reflecting them but Uelsmann added another picture into the artwork. The connector is the shrubbery that the girls are standing on. The girls on the two ends of the photograph have their negative reflections right under them but the girl standing in the middle is missing her negative reflection. The middle girl is not only missing her reflection, but she is also missing the tree that she is hiding behind. This is very strange because the other girls’ images are right under them. This raises the question of why doesn’t this one part of the girl get a negative reflection of herself?
Lighting is extremely important in this piece of artwork. As dark as the photograph is it has one big light source. This is coming from the top left-hand corner of the picture because all of the girls heads are being light up on the left side. The left hand girl’s back is being light so he full front is in shadow including her face adding to the sense that she had just done something wrong. The girl in the middle is facing the light source so her full front is being laminated but is standing sideways with her face to the camera so her face does not get the light, only the side of her head and her body. The last girl is the farthest away from the light source so therefore does not get much of it. The only part of her body that is light is the left shoulder, arm, and side of the head. The light is extremely bright when shining on the girls which make the shadows even more evident.
There is a small bundle of trees in between the girl on the far left and the one in the middle. The shrubbery around this bundle of trees does not get any of the light shinning on the girls so it seems like the trees are growing out of shadows. The same thing occurs over by the girl on the far right. The only thing different is that the she is standing in the middle of the shrubbery shadows. The light is also beautifully illuminating the tree branched at the top of the picture. The trees are not very tall because the only grow about a quarter more above the girls’ bodies. The light in the negative picture gives an eerie effect because some things are missing from the original shot. The fog connecting the girls’ bodies is not longer in the picture. Also, the two remaining girls’ bodies are brightly shining because in the original they were in shadow. The trees no longer have shadows in the shrubbery because when Uelsmann connected the two he did not take the entire first picture. The negative shot cuts off more so it seems like the girl of the far left’s arms are attaching themselves into her legs.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Explicating Plum Plum Pickers

Raymond Barrio writes his except from the story Plum Plum Pickers in a way that makes his main character Manuel seem trapped like animal which ultimately leads to his revolt against his greedy boss. Barrio experiments with the idea of how pressured and physically tired does a man have to feel before he says "that is enough" and finally stands up for not only him self but his fellow workers. There is only so much torment a man can take. There is only so much lack of space in a man's cage in which they can endure before they have to break free. And this finally straw for Manuel is his boss's pay cut. A pay cut which was not only promised not too happen but one that was most likely going straight into the pocket of the acquisitive employer, Rodriguez.

In the first paragraph word choice is the biggest way Barrio reduces the workers to animals. Brute is repeated five times in only the first paragraph. If Barrio reduces the characters of the story it helps get a sense of how trapped and poorly treated they are. “There had to an end. There had to be. There- trapped. There had to be a way out. Locked. There had to be a respite. Animal.(Paragraph 1)" By repeating the phrase "There had to be" Barrio is basically saying that there is no way out. The workers can dream and believe that there is but they are trapped like animals. Barrio also uses one word sentence to get across the point of being reduced to animals. Words such as " Animal", "Locked", "Beast", "Wreck", and "Predator" are symbolized their imprisonment. Even the task of getting a drink of water relieved themselves from the day's heat transforms them into animals. “Replenish his brute cells and animal pores and stinking follicles and pig gristle, a truly refined wreck of an animal." Pig gristle is not phrase normally used for describing a man's pores and follicles but Barrio does to make it seem that these workers are nothing but low down dirty animals.

Lunch and Mid afternoon were only given one word to their paragraphs. These are the times that the workers look forward to. During the days work they pray for their time when they can relax. But Lunch and Mid afternoon are not long, relaxing, enjoyable times. These are short and when over the workers have to go straight back to work. Because these periods are so short they are given one word each. Barrio's techniques are working. After lunch thoughts are sped back up to the quick sentences with much thought in them. Trees and branched are being symbolized in this passage. "The briary branches. The scratching leaves. “The twigs tearing at his shirt sleeves." ( Paragraph 3). The trees are not hated by the workers. The trees are all they know. In Albert Camus’ essay entitled The Myth of Sisyphus he describes Sisyphus' rock as being "his thing". The rock is not hated but it symbolizes all the toil he goes through. In Plum Plum Picker's the tress are in a sense Manuel’s thing. The symbol all the work he has done throughout his years, and for what, to have all his money stolen by Rodriquez? No matter how hard Manuel tries his bucket will fall "splattering the fruit he so laboriously picked" to the ground and all of his work will go to waste.

The theme Barrio is getting across is located in the last paragraph of the except. It does not matter how trapped and animal like you feel you can always conquer and prevail. Man has the need to "experience on and pride. Or else they are dead before they die". If the workers continued to live their lives being steeped on Barrio is saying that they would be already dead. If it wasn't for the word choice and symbolizes earlier on the passage they overall theme would ave been lost. Men are not machines. Men are not animals. They are people who need to feel a sense of achievement and honor or else there would be no point in continuing one's life.

The Penal Colony by Franz Kafka blog posts


Penal - of, pertaining to, or involving punishment, as for crimes or offenses
The Penal Colony. The Punishment Colony. This is a very fitting title for this particular story by Kafka. I started reading this one and there are a couple of questions I have that maybe you guys can help me out with.
The explorer is an interesting character that I don't understand. Since Kafka doesn't name any of his characters in The Penal Colony we are only introduced to him as simply The Explorer. He seems to be the only on with morals. The officer seems so intent on serving his Commandant, even though he seems more devoted to the old one rather than the new one, that all morality seems to fly out the door.

In all of Kafka's stories he seems to be creating his own world. In our world I am sure that a colony would take pleasure in seeing people's death sentences but Kafka writes in a way which makes the reader seem as far away from the world he is writing about as possible, for example, not naming his characters.

Let me take you to a passage on page 150. This is when the officer is talking about how each prisoner takes the punishment from the apparatus." But how quiet he grows at just about the sixth hour! Enlightenment comes to the most dull-witted. It begins around the eyes. From there it radiates. A moment that might tempt one to get under th Harrow oneself." I believe this is one of the most important passages I have read so far in this story. In the most severe forms of torture a human being will be enlightened. Enlightened by what? Do they have a religious experience? Do they finally see the error in there ways? Does anyone find it interesting that the fact that a person is enlightened during their sixth hour makes the officer actually want to get inside the apparatus himself? Also, "It begins around the eyes." This could just be the fact that James Joyce is following me around in life but Kafka has Enlightenment begins in the eyes makes me believe that he did this because of the myth of Oedipus.


" The Commandant in his wisdom ordained that the children should have the preference; I, of course, because of my office had the privilege of always being at hand; often enough I would be squatting there with a small child in either arm." (154). This sent me over the edge. People used to fight to get a spot at the chance to see the death sentence of a criminal and they would give priority spots. How shameless can a colony be? They, and when I say they I mean the colony sense Kafka uses no names, are taking the innocence of little children by letting them get the first spots to see a man be tortured for twelve hours because they most likely committed a small act of defiance. It is not good that I think the most sane character in this story is the mn who said " Throw that whip away or I'll eat you alive." to the captain. Like I said this is like a different world. Of course people like to see the punishement others, but not like this. The apparatus audience reminds me of the Salem witch trials but only worse. And when something is more immoral than the witch trials one could only imagine the other horrible things the Penial Colony has the power to do.

What would happen to the explorer if he pointed out the immoral acts that the officer is performing? The officer seems to really care about the thoughts the explorer has. I see this because the officer wants to fully explain how the apparatus works and if the explorer gets the wrong idea of the machine the officer quickly fixes this notion. "The explorer thought to himself...The injustice of the procedure and the inhumanity of the execution was undeniable. No one could supposed that he had any selfish interest in the manner, for the condemned man was a complete stranger..." (152). So obviously this island is one of the only places which uses such harsh punishment. The explorer is a traveler who has seen many places and never usually has urges to comfront the inhumanity that the people use but in this senario he wants to stand up for the prisoner. Will he?

Wrapping up my blogs on The Penal Colony I wanted to adress the theme of absurdism. As suspected the officer does put himself through the apparatus. I was thinking that Kafka wanted to satire how people are so devoted to there kings. All of The Commandant's follows were waiting for an absurd prophecy to come true. The prophecy went as such, "after a certain number of years the Commandant will rise again and lead his adherents from this house to recover the colony. Have faith and wait!" (167). This is absolutely ridiculous. I wish I could understand why Kafka ended the story like he did. He never really answers many questions. He does have the officer go on a rant of why he was trying to impress the explorer and his planes to overthrow the new Commandant which answers many of my earlier questions but the end of the story is very anti-climactic.

The condemned man and the soldier make the effort to leave the corrupt colony but the explorer leaves them. I believe what he witnessed was enough and he wanted absolutely nothing to do with the colony so he left and didn't look back. The author's purpose I am still confused about. At first I was thinking it was to show the enlightenment a person can gain during their last few moments of death that no one can understand until they have reached that moment in their life. After finishing the story I believe the author's purpose was to show corruption in a colony and how people follow inhumane acts just for amusement. I don't think I have gotten it right just yet, but I feel I am close.

Description of a Struggle by Franz Kafka blog posts


Kafka has one very interesting way of telling stories. In "Description of a Struggle" his main character is found sitting alone at a table. As a reader I don't know why he was invited to this party, and why he is sitting all by himself. The confusing style in which Kafka writes makes me believe that the main character is somewhat insane and most of the story is being told inside of his head. Why didn't his acquaintance burst out into rapid conversation the minute the two had left the party? His acquaintance seemed so intent on telling him the story of the lady he had been with and when they were finally on the walk nothing was said between the two of them. This makes the narrator seem very self-conscious thinking of all different ways that his acquaintance would be planning to kill him sense they were both alone and nothing was being said.

" -that I began to feel a certain fear. I realized that whether I allowed myself to be stabbed or ran away, my end had come."

As the story proceeds his thoughts become more and more absurd. The wording is beautiful but his thoughts become crazier. He thinks way to hard about things and his thoughts becoming over exaggerated turning his walk with an acquaintance into a fight for his life. This is why I believe most of the story isn't happening but being imagined in his head.


" Oh well, memories," said I. " Yes, even remembering in itself is sad, yet how much more its object! Don't let yourself in for things like that, it's not for you and not for me. It only weakens one's present position without strengthening the former one- nothing is more obvious - quite apart from the fact that the former one doesn't need strengthening." (15)

This quotation seems extremely interesting to me. The protagonist's mind has been wondering before this passage and when he spoke these words they jumped out at me and I thought that I couldn't agree more with them. Tell me what you guys think of this passage. Every day people are stuck in their memories, trying to figure out how they could have done something better, differently, or not at all. The way Kafka describes these people is brilliant. They constantly try to strengthen the past which is only making the present weaker.

After thinking about this passage I realized that the protagonist never goes back in time. The reader never reads of his past. Of course, he does go on a memory tangent after explaining how one should never live in the past but that is only to prove his point that he does indeed have memories. I believe that is why it was so hard to feel for and understand the character while first reading this story because he never gives us any back round information on who he is. Who is he? We know he went to a party and we know he works in an office. Other than that the reader is basically being thrown on a roller coaster into his mind because it is extremely hard to understand a man who tells us that he went for a joy ride on a man that he only knew for one night. That part of the story could not have possibly been real. This is were I am getting my notion that a lot of the story is in his head. There would be no way that his acquaintance would let the narrator jump on top of his and ride him up the Laurenziberg.


I thought you guys would find this interesting so if you can search the link. This sculpture was influenced by Franz Kafka's "Description of a Struggle". The man is riding on the other man's shoulders but the acquaintance doesn't have a head. I thought this an interesting take on the acquaintance. What is the acquaintance isn't really real at all. This goes along with our theme of the story being all in his head.

" What is it that makes you all behave as though you were real? Are you trying to make me believe I'm unreal, standing here absurdly on the green pavement? You, sky, surely it's a long time since you've been real, and as for you, Ringplatz, you have never been real." (40)

This is a very intense quote in the Fat Man's story consisting of Jerome Faroche yelling at the moon. I tried searching who or what Ringplatz is all I could come up with is that it is a place. That is pretty much it. Do any of you know what Ringplatz is. It has never been real. This was an amazing speech said by Jerome and I feel like it needs to be done justice in my head by me knowing exactly what he is talking about.

The Movement of Water In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

The Movement of Water In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

In The Portrait of the Artist As A young Man, James Joyce uses the movement of water as way of showing the tragic hero, Stephen Dedalus's coming of age as well as his lose of innocence. Originally, Joyce names the protagonist's name Stephen Hero. This was to show that Stephen was in fact the tragic hero. He did have some flaw which will utlimately lead to his downfall. Although to follow his Greek mythology theme he names his character Dedalus. Daedalus, the father of Icarus, was a tragic hero along with his son. Daedalus had the passion to change the laws of nature and in doing so his son was quietly killed by the powerful sea.

When boys at Dedalus' school are having a conversation about two other boys who got kicked out for performing some kind of homosexual play in the school urinal Joyce has Stephen remember Eileen, the first girl that Stephen ever had an attraction for This seems rather odd because what they boys are talking about is dirty and sinful and Stephen is remembering one of the purest memories he has. " Eileen had long thin cool white hands too because she was a girl. They were like ivory: only soft." ( Joyce 51). Ivory symbolizes the utmost purity. Joyce describes Stephen's first encounter with a girl not of his family and he is awestruck by how innocent and pure she was.

According to Sigmund Freud's Oedipus Complex every man had an unconcious desire to grow up to kill their father and marry their mother. Joyce was well away of Freud theory and used it throughout his writing of the novel. The Doors put it best in their song "Then End" by having spoken lyrics that went " Father? - Yes, Son - I want to kill you - Mother, I want to...". Although the Doors, did fit the Oepdipus complex nicely into their music, Joyce consistently has the symbol of eyes throughout his story. Joyce has Stephen's eyes symbolize his manhood. When he is with Eileen she innocently covers his eyes to play as game which is somewhat like hid-and-go seek. Symbolically Stephen's eyes are being torn out because he fells he is sinning by having thoughts about Eileen.
Eileen is a Tower of Ivory, a House of Gold. In the passage in which Joyce describes Eileen he uses the movement of water for the first time in a pure sense. " Her fair hair had streamed out behind her like the gold in the sun. Tower of Ivory. House of Gold." (51). Joyce describes how her hair streams. To stream is to flow like water, tears, or blood. Joyce has water and tears in his novel and each time they are mentioned they are for purposes to enrich the fact that Dedalus is not in a happy place in his life. But Eileen is different. Her hair streams. This is the only time that the movement of water is symbolizes how happy Dedalus can be as well as his lose of innocence. Eileen is a real girl he doesn't have to imagine in his head and that makes him happy that her hands can touch him and her hair can stream. He actually is starting to have thoughts about girls not in a pure way and it is confusing him. At this point in the passage, Joyce takes the reader back to story of couple of children "smuggling" (50) in the urinal. After having water for once be a sense of happiness as well as lose of innocence Joyce uses water only for lose of innocence. Stephen wonders why the boys were in the urinal smuggling. " But why in the square? You went there when you wanted to do something. It was all thick slabsa slate and water trickled all day out of tiny pinholes and there was a queer smell of stale water there." (51). The end of the passage beautifully symbolizes the movement of water. Joyce decided that the dirty and sinful act that the boys were performing would take place in the urinal. Water dripped all day out of the tiny holes in the slates. Stephen is realizing how sinful a people can be and Joyce rightly puts wthe trickling of water in his mind while thinking of this.

Later on in Stephen's life his lose of innocence becomes recognized. In Autumn, the time of death, he can no longer stand the sight of cows which were so interesting and beautiful to him before. " But when autumn came the cows were driven home from the grass: and the first sight of the filthy cowyard at Stradbrook with its foul green puddles and cots of liquid dung and steaming brantroughs sickened Stephen's heart." (68). The liquid is now used to symbolize the harsh truth that Stephen is going through changes. He is not the young innocent boy anymore. He is becoming an intellectual young man who's eyes are starting to open and is seeing the world for what is actually is : a steaming pile of liquid dung. His character Mercedes earlier became the first girl he had sexual relations with and now the world is not quite the same. Whether Mercedes was in his head or real nontheless he still lost his innocence and Joyce that through the movement of water. " The cattle which had seemed so beautiful in the country on sunny days revolted him and he could not even look at the milk they yielded" (68). The milk that the cows yielded is a form of moving water. Dedalus is revolted by this milk that the cows are yielding. In this passage he is coming close to adulthood but still has a way to go.
Whether movement of water is used to symbolize purity or the lose of Dedalus's disgust for what he once loved Joyce is always using water to show the lose of Stephen's innocence.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I, Mark of Senior Honors, to you

This is a short play I wrote. It was a research project on Charles Olsen.

Man 1: The People
Man 2: This is Polis
Man 1: The Body Politics
Man 2: This is Polis
Man 1: The Culture, the Place
Man 2: This is Polis
Man 1: Eyes
Man 2: This is Polis...Who Am I?
Man 1: Charles Olsen
Man 2: Where Am I?
Man 1: Here
Man 2: Where was I?
Man 1: There
Man 2: How did I get here?
Man 1: Istorin...Come Here
Man 2: No...You are going to slap me
Man 1: No I am not
Man 2: Ok
Man 1: Come Here
Man 2: No...You are going to slap me
Man 1: No I am not
Man 2: Ok
Man 1: What do you know?
Man 2: Pardon?
Man 1: What do you know?
Man 2: I know a house made of mud & wattles
Man 1: When?
Man 2: last week
Man 1: 300,000,000 years ago
Man 2: When
Man 1: The first human eyes to look again at the start of the human motion. (Just lastweek...300,000,000 years ago)
Man 2: This is place is much I love it
Man 1: ChangeOne Loves only formand form only comes into existence whenthe thing is born
Man 2: Kill those who advertise you out
Man 1: Kill Kill Kill Kill Kill those who advertise you out
Man 2: Kill
Man 1: Come Here
Man 2: are going to slap me
Man 1: No I am not.
Man 2: ok
Man 2: I love this place
Man 1: 300,000,000 Million years ago
Man 2: I loved this place 300,000,000 years ago...
Man 1: Come here
Man 2: No you are going to slap me
Man 1: No I am not.
Man 2. Ok.
Man 2: When will I learn?
Man 1: Istorin
Man 2: When will I learn?
Man 1: You will learn the simplest things last
Man 2: What?
Man 1: Come Here
Man 2: No...You are going to slap me
Man 1: No I am not
Man 2: Ok
Man 1: You will learn the simplest things last
Man 2: What?
Man 1: You will learn Worchester. You will learn theatre. You will learn poetry. You will learn Gloucester. You will learn Black Mountain College. You will learn history, anthropology, Robert Creely, power, advantage, liability. You will learn progress, you will learn regress, you will learn hate. You will learn Urban Renewal, tracks, trains. Call Me Ishmael, call me powerful, call me Moby Dick, call me comfortable, Call me Maximus, Call Me You, You is Ferrini, He is you, call me everything. I am greater than anyone you have ever known. You and I will learn water, you will learn Polis....And the fish.
Man 2: I understand
Man 1: And the fish
Man 2: I understand now
Man 1: And the fish...Come here
Man 2: No I understand are going to slap me.
Man 1: No I won't
Man 2: No I know you will...
Man 1: persistence of place
Man 2: Polis is this
Man 1: Polis is fish
Man 2: Polis is here
Man 1: Polis is place
Man 2: Polis is culture
Man 1: Polis is eyes
Man 2: Polis is body politics, you, me, Charles, Kenny, Mark, Malden, Gloucester; Polish is 3 Million years ago, Polis is now.
Man 1: ...Polis is fish.