Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Act 3 -1 Hamlet's Soliloquy Blog

Kenneth Branagh’s version of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy demonstrates Hamlet’s nature the best with his use of tone, detailed facial expressions, and distinct movements. With the choices that Kenneth makes, he portrays Hamlet’s thoughts clearly and in a subtle way.

The scene starts with Hamlet standing still in front of a large mirror that reflects his whole body. The room is quiet, no music is played in the background, and the only voice heard is Hamlet’s. It grabs the viewer’s attention when Hamlet is the only one speaking because this allows for the reader to fully concentrate on Hamlet’s words. It also gives the impression that Hamlet is telling a secret as he whispers the words in a subtle tone. This subtle tone serves Hamlet well because Hamlet’s character is crafty and scheming.

Then he begins to recite the famous line “To be or not to be, that is the question…” (55) as he gazes deeply into the mirror. At this moment, Hamlet questions himself whether he shall live or die. Compared to the other two versions, this is the only version in which Hamlet actually looks at himself rather than at the camera when he speaks his soliloquy. It clearly shows that he is talking to himself because he looks at nothing but himself. He disregards everything, but his own thoughts. Even the room that he is in is filled with mirrors. Where ever he may look, Hamlet is trapped within his body and mind. The first two versions show Hamlet speaking to the camera so this conflicts with what a soliloquy should be because it is as if Hamlet is now speaking to the viewer and that there is someone there.

As Hamlet speaks more of his thoughts, he slowly steps closer and closer towards the mirror without ever taking a glimpse away. As he walks closer to the mirror, it signifies his path into discovering his intentions and the truth. He looks deeper into his eyes as he walks closer. Eyes are a symbol of truth and his thoughts become clearer when he walks closer to the mirror to focus on his eyes. First he questions whether he shall live or die, but then he talks about the pros and cons of life and death when he says “whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them?” (56-59). Hamlet struggles to choose whether to put up with all the downfalls of life or to just simply put an end to it by dying. Then his thoughts become more specific as he walks even closer to the mirror. Hamlet begins to discuss the meaning of death when he says “to die, to sleep- no more- and by a sleep to say we end the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to-”(59-62). Death is like sleeping when all seems quiet and at end, but “to sleep, [there is a] perchance to dream” (64). Even though dying may appear to be a solution to the end of all the humiliation that life brings, it is still uncertain what happens when one is dead and that is why humans fear death.

After Hamlet speaks about death, music starts playing in the background. The music plays the sound of evil cries and the mood of Hamlet’s soliloquy starts to switch. Hamlet focuses more on the negatives of life. He describes examples of human humiliations like “th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, the pangs of despised love, the law’s delay, the insolence of office, and the spurns that patient merit of th’unworthy takes” (70-73). Hamlet’s tone gets louder and he appears angry when he says this. When he takes out his dagger, Claudius’s face appears for a split second. Hamlet has always planned to seek revenge for his father and with the appearance of Claudius in a fearful posture and Hamlet with his small dagger tightly gripped in his hands; it foreshadows Hamlet’s desire to kill Claudius and the true intentions of Hamlet. However, when Hamlet takes out his dagger, he points it toward the mirror where his reflection is. It symbolizes Hamlet challenging himself because he is still afraid of the “dread of something after death” (77) and the “undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns” (78-79), which means hell or the world of the dead.

He gives an evil smirks at the thought of taking revenge for his father and his eyes narrow with anger. He points at his head with the dagger. The thought of death still frightens him as it “puzzles the will” (79) to revenge. While pointing at his head, he says that “conscience does make cowards of us all” (82). Hamlet uses the dagger to point out the evils of his mind and conscience because at times Hamlet thinks too much and this weakens him, causing him to be in doubt. Finally Ophelia appears, and Hamlet makes a flawless transition from his evil smirk to a smile, demonstrating Hamlet’s ability to “act.”

In conclusion, Kenneth Branagh is able to achieve Hamlet’s character for being the manipulative character that he is by using a subtle tone to speak the soliloquy, a reflective setting, and the proper expression for each line.

March 11, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Explication

James Joyce

Stephen’s Flight from Women; A New Beginning
February 6, 2008

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, women pose a threat to Stephen’s bildungsroman as they try to control Stephen by providing physical pleasure that men naturally seek. Feminist Dorothy Dinnerstein explains in The Mermaid and the Minotaur, that it is a woman who serves as “every infant’s first love, first witness and first boss… the initial experience of dependence” (318). By nature, men are attracted to woman for their warmth and comfort, but as Stephen gets closer to his mother, Dante, the prostitute, or the Virgin Mary, they weaken him, stripping him away from his masculinity. James Joyce uses the imagery of the womb to demonstrate Stephen’s vulnerability for the “maternal flesh”. However, it is also the experience with the maternal flesh that helps him realize the need to break away from the shackles of women in order to become an artist. Because Stephen can’t physically give birth like a woman, he learns that he can create art and actually have control over his life.

Starting at an adolescent age, Stephen quickly learns that women only exist to threaten him. In the first Chapter, Stephen tells his mother that he hopes to marry Eileen when he grows up, but this is highly unacceptable for Dante. As the Catholic governess of the Dedalus children, Dante plays a mother-like role over Stephen. Dante would “give him a cachou every time he brought her a piece of tissue paper” (21) as if she is training him and teaching him to become what she wants him to become. She places control over young Dedalus. Her actions are manipulative like an adult trying to win over a child by giving him or her candy. Because she holds such strong religious values, she has already planned for Stephen to become Catholic like her. Dante refuses to have Stephen marry a Protestant girl and scolds him for such unconventional thoughts. To cleanse Stephen’s foolish thoughts, she threatens him to “apologise” (21) or else “the eagles will come and pull out his eyes” (21). His mother, being the closest person that he knows, doesn’t support him, but instead she sides with Dante and makes him apologize. Having to apologize to a woman is taking away his masculinity because men are supposed to be right at all times and never wrong. It is degrading for a man to apologize and it represents weakness. Stephen shows that he is affected as he chants “pull out his eyes, apologise, apologise, pull out his eyes.” (21). The graphical images of someone pulling out his eyes threaten him.

Even though his mother may have threatened him with Dante, it is also in human nature that men were born needing to be nurtured and loved. When a baby is born, the first thing the baby does is cry because he or she is scared and it is the holding or feeding of the mother that brings warmth to the baby. It calms the child down. Because babies are so adaptive to their mother, Stephen has trouble casting away from his mother. Even when babies grow up, they usually look for someone who posses the same nurturing methods as their mother. Stephen hoping to marry Eileen is just another “screen for a deeper love for [his] mother” (Cixous 281). Stephen’s intentions were just to play the role of a father and to be able to have someone to love and to be loved.

Because Stephen “sees his mother as a powerful and beneficent source of physical pleasure” (318), he becomes very dependent for her care and protection. Without his mother, Stephen can’t connect with any one else. Upon his entering of college, Stephen witnesses for the first time the hostile world. He feels extremely uncomfortable at Clongowes, where his parents left him. Stephen stands “on the fringe of his line, out of sight of his prefect” (21) and only wants to remain “out of reach” (21). It is as if Stephen had just been released from a womb and he was the baby. He feels “weak” (21) and “small” (21) and “his eyes are weak and watery” (21). When babies first come out, they share the same feelings that Stephen is getting. Stephen appears childlike, young, and in need of his mother. He has no options, but to stay there. “Like a heavy bird” (21), he was trapped within the school and couldn’t escape with all the heavy weight from people around him. The mother and Dante’s religious thoughts keeps him from being free.

Unprepared for a “world of social Darwinism where only the ruthless survive” (320), Stephen feels socially isolated from his new environment. He struggles to fit in with the pugnacious boys in the school like Heron or Wells. He feels different from them. Vincent Heron, an old school friend, resembles of a bird with “a bird’s face as well as a bird’s name” (78). His bird like qualities triggers Stephen’s earlier years when Dante threatened Stephen to apologize. The idea of losing his eyes marks the image of castration, unmanning him or becoming more feminine. Heron teases Stephen for being unmanly and this confuses him. Because Stephen does not smoke, Heron satirizes him by calling him a “model youth” (78) who “doesn’t smoke… doesn’t go to bazaars… doesn’t flirt… and doesn’t damn anything or damn all” (78). These were things that real men do, but Stephen didn’t like any of those things. Instead, Stephen enjoyed thinking about or looking at pretty flowers and colors. “He could not get out the answers for the sum, but it did not matter. Whites roses and red roses: those were beautiful colors to think of” (25). Inside of Stephen, his inner soul was the “anima, the feminine aspect of the psyche” (328). Stephen’s character is more feminine compared to the other boys and this becomes unacceptable in the world of Darwinism, a world of masculinity, because only the strongest can survive. Stephen feels small, frail, and like an outsider, making him lonely and emotional. Stephen doesn’t know what to do with his differences, but to just let them pick on him.

Wells also bullies Stephen for his feminine behaviors. He asks Stephen if he has kissed his mother goodnight and Stephen says yes. Wells begins taunting him for such action because in the male society, men are not supposed to kiss their mothers. Slowly, Stephen looses his masculinity and becomes more feminine. Then Wells decides to shoulder him into the square ditch where Stephen gets drenched in urine. The water is “cold and slimy” (23). Stephen “shivered and longed to cry” (23). The imagery of the cold ditch is similar to a womb. When babies leave their womb, they also feel wet, cold, and slimy. Stephen is now returning back to his womb where he can hide and escape from the hostile situation, but it is unmanning him because the idea of him wanting to hide in his mother is showing that he can’t defend for himself. He even thinks of his mother immediately after being bullied and falling into the ditch. “He longed to be at home and lay his head on his mother’s lap” (25-26). He imagines his mother sitting at the fire with “her feet on the fender and her jewelly slippers” (24). Stephen searches for comfort through imagination and thinks about her mother’s feet. Her feet provide him with something to connect with physically so he wouldn’t feel so isolated. However, Stephen appears to be very dependent of his mother because he would think of her feet just to feel close to her. Thinking of feet is something quite degrading. Every time he is bullied and made fun of, he would think of his mother, but thinking of a woman is weakening him. Stephen can’t be independent if he’s always seeking comfort and being a baby.

Even when the parents first dropped Stephen off at Clongowes, his mother had already weakened him before entering the real world. “His mother had told him not to speak with the rough boys in the college” (22) and gave him a kiss. Instead of telling his son to make friends in the new male dominated environment that he was about to enter, the mother didn’t want him to talk with any of the rough guys. It’s as if she doesn’t want her son to become one of them, which causes him to struggle with fitting in with the rest of the boys. Stephen was already a teenager preparing to go to college yet the mother was speaking to him like he was child, telling him what he can and can not do. Being able to be friends with the guys would probably have helped Stephen. His father on the other hand, gives him “two fiveshilling pieces for pocket money” (22), something concrete and useful as opposed to his mother giving him a kiss and crying. At that moment, his mother was “not so nice” when she cried. Crying only showed Stephen vulnerability and weakness. His father tells him to “never peach on a fellow” (22) instead as a survival skill in the real world. His mother’s way of support isn’t even helping him.

Beginning to feel that his mother is “not so nice” (22), he starts to move away from his mother’s and Dante’s influence. First substituting Dante with Father Arnall, the priest, because “Father Arnall knew more than Dante” (24). He begins to see the system of male authority and discipline from Father Arnall. He considers leading a devout Catholic life, until one day Stephen commits the shameful sin of female temptation. Stephen shifts back to needing a woman for comfort again.

Stephen earns a cash prize and plans to have a nice family dinner. Stephen gets excited over the opportunity to bring his family closer, but soon he realizes that “his household returned to its usual way of life” (97). Stephen feels foolish and useless for having failed.

He saw clearly too his own futile isolation. He had not gone one step nearer the lives he has sought to approach nor bridged the restless shame and rancour that divides him from father and mother and brother and sister. He felt that he was hardly of the one blood with them but stood to them rather in the mystical kinship of fosterage, fosterchild and fosterbrother. (97)

Stephen feels once again out of place and isolated, but this time from his own family. He tried to bring his family together over dinner, but instead nothing changed after all the effort he put into it. He feels like he is not part of the family and “hardly of the one blood” (97). Stephen feels emotionally hurt by his family so his subconscious instinct which was “possessed by a magic not of himself…” (Beauvoir 150), “does not obey him” (Beauvoir 150). It leads him to envision women, “a figure that had seemed to him by day demure and innocent came towards him by night through the winding darkness of sleep” (97). Stephen can’t control it, but to return back to having female desires every time he feels weak. When he meets the prostitute, Stephen becomes emotionally and physically sucked in by her. Feminist believed that men had only one way of thinking and that Stephen’s “ambition throughout the novel [is] to deflower” (322) woman. Since Stephen has physically removed himself from his mother, naturally men feel the need to fill in the gap that is created when they are separated from their mothers. In this case, the prostitute substitutes the mother because he can’t go to his biological mother anymore after realizing that it was wrong to have sexual desires for his own mother. “The perfumed female who takes him in her arms recalls his nice-smelling mother” (325). The mother and the prostitute resemble one another in his mind. He’s starting to returns back to his child-like stages of being taken care of. “Seeing her face lifted to him in serious calm and feeling the warm calm rise” (99). He felt comfort and calm like a baby being soothed as he saw her face. She leads the boy into a womblike chamber. Stephen hides himself in the arms of the woman, allowing him to take refuge from reality. It becomes his place of peace like “he was in another world” (98). Instead of facing the brutal world, Stephen runs away from the truth and the womb serves as a shield. It’s only making him more and more useless because he’s becoming too dependent of having a woman there to comfort him that it’s holding him from his flight.

In a similar way, the Virgin Mary also serves as a way of escaping reality. After committing his sin of sexual intercourse with the prostitute, “the Virgin becomes a postcoital Madonna offering refuge from the turmoil of hormonal agitation.” (326). When Stephen closes his eyes to “surrender himself to her [the prostitute]”(99), it resembles the surrender of a Christian to the Holy Spirit. He is using the church to make himself feel better by confessing his sins similar to the way he is using the prostitute to comfort him by imaging that he is in a womb. Having sinned, soon Stephen dedicates his life to self-discipline and control through daily prayers. It helps him mature as it restricts him from the thoughts of whores and virgins. However, he realizes that religion was not necessarily making him a better person because religion was only holding him back. He questions himself “I have amended my life, have I not?” (140). Stephen questioning himself demonstrates a slight change in his level of maturity. If he were to become a true Catholic, he would have to bear a boring life in the church. Stephen is unsure of himself and is having doubt, but now he actually has opinions over how he wants to live his life. Before he would only follow the words of others, particularly woman, thinking that they were always right.

Women so far have existed in Stephen’s life as sexual desires and physical pleasure, but after having sinned and feeling guilt, Stephen learns a lesson. He learns to grow out of having a woman there for him in order to feel safe. As he meets the beautiful seabird girl, he sees her in a more mature way. From afar, the woman appears as an “angel of moral youth and beauty” (156). Stephen only sees her as a work of art, something beautiful, and it demonstrates Stephen’s maturity and flight from woman. He doesn’t feel sexual attractions to her, but only hope to freeze life in a sacrament of art because “the aspiring poet knows that he may look but not touch, admire but not speak” (329). Stephen is in control now. Although Stephen is still being guided by woman, he now has a new found respect for them and a different kind of influence. He used to allow his mother and Dante to control him and he would describe the prostitute as something dirty, putting her down for making him sin. Now women exist as sacred temples of earthly beauty. Stephen becomes more attached with his artistic side. The seabird girl also represents freedom to Stephen as it symbolically represents the Myth of Dedalus and Icarus. The girl appears to him angelic and pure as she rises from the sea. It reminds Stephen that he can also live a happily life. “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life!” (136). Even with all the ups and downs that Stephen had to experience, the falls and the triumphs, Stephen can still “recreate life out of life”(139), symbolizing his rebirth. Deciding to turn away from his mother and religion would only open up better opportunities for him.

Because of all the experiences and mistakes that Stephen has been through or committed, Stephen learns that he can be independent. The different influential women have shaped his life from being the young and baby-like Stephen to the more mature and artistic Stephen. He learns that the women in his life only serve as matriarchal threats because they are all taking away his masculinity by trying to control every aspect of his life and making him dependent of them. However, Stephen needs the experiences because with out ever feeling vulnerable, one can not grow successfully. One must needs to know what is wrong before they know what is right. Stephen has evolved from his younger years through the experience of temptation and then sinning. It made him feel guilty and this led to him going to church. Then Stephen realizes that the life of devotion and obedience did not suit him and instead he frees himself by leading a life on his own. At the end, Stephen leaves all that he has. He leaves his mother, religion, his home land, and this allows him to be the true artist that he is.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tom Phillips’ A Humument Explication 02.25.08

On page 104 of Tom Phillips’ A Humument, Phillip suggests that imagination is a beautiful art form allowing one to create an endless number of masterpieces. However, with this ability to create comes insanity. Like “alcohol”, the art of imagination intoxicates the mind causing reality to fade.

In viewing the page, a wide range of colors make up the piece. The colors are formed in a blotchy manner with no particular shape, size, or pattern. In one way it resembles an ink blot, allowing the viewer to conceive it in any way possible like a work of art that is open up for interpretation. In another, the colors represent imagination. There are no limits to the colors like there are no limits to the wonders of imagining. The colors evoke different emotions and it allows the viewer to interpret the different colors according to his or her own imagination.

The colors appear to be separated into a top and a bottom where the top uses darker shades of color as oppose to the bottom where lighter shades are used. The lighter colors suggest a sense of innocence in believing the imaginary. Often times children are the ones who play pretend and it seems innocent in the eyes of a child because it shows that they too can hold ideas, creativity, and “character”. In another view it is an innocent game that humans seek to escape from the brutal world. Imagination opens up opportunity to be “quite a different person (in) quite a different cause”. It’s interesting how the word “person” is camouflaged in manila color against the light orange blots. In the art of imagination, there is no true identity because identity can be changed and altered to anyone and anything. Instead, the true self is hidden and covered, but at the same time it is still there and visible. Being able to imagine gives the mind the ability to fabricate different reasons and causes to why things occur which is why imagination is beautiful and rich.

There are no limits to what one can be if one conceives imagination. It’s even possible to “character a sound”. The color pink circulates the phrase. Pink symbolizes hope and playfulness. It’s joyful and merry like the art of imagination because anything can be possible. Sounds can be characters. Characters can be sounds. The number of ideas is unlimited. It is something “beautiful”, but at the same time when a person makes believe of a person, place, or thing, it becomes “beautiful as well as nonsense” in the eyes of others. The idea of what is real is questioned.

The dark shades of red and purple suggest a negative perspective of the imaginary world. On the top, Phillip introduces the idea of pretending. He writes, “I feel somehow as if we were playing at ‘pretending’ now”. Pretending is a form of imagination where one makes believe or performs fictitious play. However, it seems nonsensical to be playing at pretending when pretending is already a way of playing. The art of pretending seems to have lost its charm on Phillip. His thoughts are graphical and his imagination is filled with “thoughts of the blood like alcohol”. It symbolizes the idea of intoxication where pretending has become an addiction. It’s no longer a fun innocent game, but like “a fresh packet” he seeks it like drugs. The colors red, purple, and blue circle the negative text. They are all very bold and vibrant colors that draw in attention, but together the colors are heavy and burdensome. It’s suffocating to look at when the colors conflict one another. Together the colors mark insanity.

Phillip appears to have lost his sanity as he strives deeper into the imaginary world. He writes “I was picture of him dyed and curly”. The word “dyed” puns for the word “died”. The image of a dead person bothers Phillip. It is the only complete sentence that he has circled and it is the only time in which he addresses himself and his feelings ever since the first line. Around the thought are pen marks that attract attention. The markings are stroked deeply and dark as if he is angry and mad. It is also the only text that is colored by the paint, signifying its significance. The text represents the imagination that he has created. Instead of fantasizing mirthful memories or ideal thoughts, the image of a dead man appears and this haunts him. The black markings signify fear and agony. It can also signify his confusion as he is unable to decide what is real.

Although it is difficult to define what is real and what is considered the imagination, Phillip nevertheless shows the beauty of the art through his splash of colors. However with the power to control in the imaginary world, it questions the idea of reality. Imagination starts to become the truth as reality shifts to a blur. Ultimately, it leads to harming the mind.

Literature Circles - Mrs. Dalloway Blog Posts

Post 1

Initially, i thought this book would be fun and easy book to read, but its been painful for me. By far, this is the first book that i have trouble understanding plot. I agree that mrs.dalloway is very different from other books. Particularly for its language. The author Woolf is very descriptive in all aspects of Mrs. Dalloway’s life and her surroundings. I’m trying really hard to catch on into what is happening but i found myself confused because i couldn't keep up with what the book was trying to say. i personally felt like it was jumping around into different things. There is way too many commas in each sentence. Also, it has mentioned a lot of names in a short period. However, it is interesting how Woolf describes each person and thing with great detail, but this book wasn't what i expected it to be like and i'm still trying to understand it.

So im not sure, but I think Mrs. Dalloway is going back and forth between the past and the present, which may be the reason why I am so confused. I don’t really know how old she is because I don’t think it has mentioned it, but I know that she is thinking back to when she was 18, which is written in the first page, “(for a girl of eighteen as she then was)”.

I also noticed the themes of age and death, mentioned by Faedhra. Mrs.Dalloway feels very young, but at the same time unspeakably aged. She mentions a lot about death on pages 8 and 9. I think death is something that she is afraid of and something that she doesn’t want to happen. I also liked how they mentioned the quote, “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun. Nor the furious winter’s rages,” from Shakespeare. I took the quote as their reminder to not fear death because it’s unavoidable. What did you guys make out of that quote?

December 2, 2007

Post 2

Connecting with Shakespeare, there was another quote on page 35, “if it were now to die ‘twere now to be most happy.” The quote is from Shakespeare’s Othello. In Mrs. Dalloway, the quote is referred to Mrs. Dalloway’s feelings upon her meeting Sally Seton. Before this quote Mrs. Dalloway returns home from buying flowers and proceeds upstairs to her solitary attic room. She picks up a book to read, but she couldn’t fall asleep in her narrow bed so she starts thinking about her childhood memories with Sally Seton. This quote along with her memory with Sally led me to question Mrs. Dalloway’s sexuality.

Initially the novel describes her as this innocent and pure woman, living in a “white” attic with “clean white sheets, white being a symbol of innocence, purity, light, as well as emptiness. She describes her relationship with Richard and how their love has faded over the years. She feels that she has lost him because she’s aging and “breastless” and unable to live the youthful life again for it was now “out of the window”. The man even decides to go to an “extraordinary amusing party” without mentioning or inviting his own wife. However, when she talks about Sally, she mentions the word “love” repetitively and her feelings for women.

“But this question of love (she thought, putting her coat away,) this falling in love with women. Take Sally Seton; her relation in the old days with Sally Seton. Has not that, after all, been love?”

Reading this, it really made me think that she might have been homosexual. The most sexual intimacy that Mrs. Dalloway has in the novel is not with her husband, but when Sally kisses her on the lips. She describes it as “the most exquisite moment of her whole life” (35). “She felt that she had been given a present, wrapped up, and told just to keep it, not to look at it- a diamond…” (35). For her to call it a diamond, it must have been a real precious gift and delightful experience. I really thought she was gay for a good couple pages and I’m still unsure if it’s true. I thought it might have been like a close sister-like relationship, but it just seemed too queer… to be that simple.

Even in other works of literature like Shakespeare, there are questionable phrases that may reflect on homosexuality as well. Is this purposely done or are people over thinking it like me? What did you guys think about their relationship?

Also, Mrs.Dalloway is a 52 years old woman to answer Faedhra's earlier question. (Bottom of p.36)

December 5, 2007

Post 3

Referring back to Faedhra’s first post, she made a comment saying that Mrs. Dalloway “wanted to be a more visible character.” I totally agree with Faedhra. Jessica also brought up the quote “She would buy the flowers herself” and I connected both ideas. I think that Jessica’s quote showed how Mrs. Dalloway wants to be the more visible character because the first thing we understand about Mrs. Dalloway in the book is the fact that she will buy the flowers herself because Lucy, her servant, was busy. It’s interesting for Woolf to start the book this way because by making that decision, it definitely made Mrs. Dalloway stick out. Mrs. Dalloway portrays independence and it’s much stronger because it’s coming from a women. Reading it, it made me feel like she was in control and had some sort of power.

However at the same time, I feel that this introduction also led to expose the flimsy lifestyle of upper class women. Even though she chose to go out and buy the flowers herself, she’s ONLY buying flowers and it’s such a simple task. Her life in general, only consists of throwing parties to gather friends and to show how great of a life she has with Richard. Just like how in today’s society, television shows like the Real Housewives of Orange County are broadcast to focus on the luxurious lives of rich women living in California. In my opinion, the women are purposely trying to show off what they have so people could envy them because they’re supposedly “rich and beautiful.” I think Mrs. Dalloway’s parties serve the same purpose, trying to cover up her weakness and the truth behind her and Richard’s faded relationship. Inside she’s a weak women because all she can do is throw social parties at her house. The parties in a way make her a stronger person because in those parties, it’s when she’s surrounded by the most people.

Now, I want to bring up the moment when there was as aeroplane in the sky. I thought this moment was quite interesting. Everyone in the streets stopped to figure out what the aeroplane was spelling which came out to be Toffee… I’m unsure why the message came out to be Toffee, but it didn’t even matter. It showed how everyone has different ways of interpreting things. The craziest interpretation of the letters was when Septimus thought that the letters were there sending him a coded message… As they tried to figure out the word, it was as if the people in society were trying to find meaning in their own lives because war had just ended so their confused with what to do. Do you guys agree with my theory??

Is it just me or do you guys find this book similar to the Portrait as well. There’s this stream of consciousness that exists in both novels and I can’t help but notice it. Both Mrs. Dalloway and Stephen notice things like the nature and they both have this way of talking to themselves like they are aware of everything. There is also this struggle with aging. Mrs. Dalloway has fears over getting old and becoming ugly, weak, and lonely. She wishes to be young again. Stephen, on the other hand, feels like he doesn’t fit in with the younger kids. He wants to grow up faster because he’s sick of being near foolish kids around his age. What do you girls think? Is there any other similarities?

December 7, 2007

Post 4

Before we end the first session, I just wanted to talk about Peter. Near the end of the first read, we learn about Peter through his point of view. Peter can’t seem to get over Clarissa. She is the first person he sees when he arrives and constantly he is comparing himself to Richard. I thought it was interesting that Woolf chose the name Richard which I think is simply because he’s “rich”. Peter “had no doubt about that; he was a failure, compared with all this, the inlaid table, the mounted paper knife, the dolphin and the candlesticks, the chain covers and the old valuable English tinted prints- he was a failure!” (43) He appears to be ashamed of himself and jealous of the Dalloways for everything that they have. Peter has no job and he knows Daisy is nothing compared to Clarissa. Daisy is the woman who Peter says he is in love with, but she is already married and has children so his life isn’t very successful. I don’t think he is really in love with Daisy, but she’s just a momentary replacement for him because everything that he talks about past or present involves Clarissa. However, I don’t really know why he’s so into Clarissa when he describes her of being “arrogant; unimaginative; (and) prudish” (59).

There was also another part that I didn’t understand what was happening. Starting on page 56 to page 58, it’s the part where he’s dreaming because it says that “he woke up with extreme suddenness” right after. I didn’t understand what was happening in his dream or what he was dreaming about and what it was suppose to signify so hopefully someone can help me out and give me just a brief summary when we start the next session.

December 17, 2007

Post 5

Reading the part where Peter and Lucrezia were in the same park (Regent’s Park?), I saw similarities between Peter’s and Lucrezia’s character.

Peter is unable to get rid of the past and the memories that he had with Clarissa. As he’s sitting on a bench, he thinks about the time when he confronted her about his feelings and how she rejected him. Peter cries “it was awful… awful, awful!” (64). Lucrezia expresses the same reaction when she sees Septimus’s actions. When he was talking to himself again, she says, “It was awful, awful!” (68). Both Peter and Lucrezia have precisely the same expression and that’s what links these two characters. Peter can’t seem to understand Clarissa. For example, he questions why she introduced Elizabeth as “Here’s my Elizabeth” and not simply “This is Elizabeth.” Like Peter, Lucrezia can’t understand Septimus’s insanity either. He talks to himself, sees dogs turn to men, and for a moment he even thought about committing suicide with her. Both of them are suffering at the same time because of love. They feel as if they don’t deserve to be suffering for someone who is not worth their time, yet they can’t let the person go.

Jessica made a comment of how Clarissa and Septimus were connected through being opposites and I think it’s interesting how Woolf makes another connection between Peter and Lucrezia. I think Woolf does this so the reader can easily compare the characters and it allows Woolf to make the smooth transitions between the different stories of each character. For example, when Peter Walsh meets the old lady who is singing, he feels sorry for the poor old lady and gives her a coin. Then a subtle transition occurs where it starts out “‘Poor old woman,’ said Rezia Warren Smith…” It was a smooth transition to change to Rezia’s point of view and their sympathy for the old woman was also another similarity between the two.

December 19, 2007

Post 6

I think the reason why Septimus married Lucrezia was only because he was losing himself after his best friend, Evan, died in the war. “ He couldn’t feel, but scissors rapping, girls laughing, hats being made protected him; he was assured of safety” (87). Lucrezia’s family was hat makers so the quote was referring to her. I think “hats” may be chosen specifically because it symbolizes warmth and protection. It was what Septimus lacked which is why Septimus felt protected around her. Also the way they were so busy cutting, trimming, and laughing made him feel less lonely and it was something for him to focus on. Septimus had basically lost his purpose of living because “he could not feel” and “even taste had no relish to him” (87). He held no emotions for anything that was happening around him. When he became engaged to Lucrezia, it happened “one evening” (86). It’s as if it just happened so suddenly that he didn’t even think about what he was doing because “panic was in him” (86). I think in a way he used her because he didn’t really love her, but needed the comfort and support since he was scared by his lack of emotions. Then on page 91, it says “how he had married his wife without loving her; had lied to her; seduced her” which explains clearly that he had no love for her. However, he does feel guilty because he knows that she was suffering as well. Each time she sobbed, “he felt nothing” (90) and all he could do was “descend another step into the pit” (90). I think with all the talk about death and dark imagery like “the pit”, it’s foreshadowing that Septimus will end up committing suicide.

December 19, 2007

Post 7

Wow Faedhra, I can see you did quite a lot of research.

I thought it was interesting how you talked about the solitary man and the song! and how it reflects upon Peter’s life. It makes sense to me now. Peter defines solitary, alone and without companion. He is basically this lonely guy who seeks for love. He loves Clarissa, but she rejected him and then with the new girl Daisy, she is already married to another man and has children. There’s no one there for him and he can only remain as the solitary traveler. You can definitely feel how lonely and alone he is when Woolf describes his walk in the park. He appears as this traveler or a passer-by who’s thinking to himself.

When he sat next to the old nurse, there was also this baby. Immediately I thought about the idea of “age” because beside him was someone who was young and old. It even said “he did want to be bothered (feeling a little drowsy as he did) by people asking him the time.”

Time seems to appear quite often in the novel and it makes me think that Peter may be afraid of aging just like Clarissa. Time is also difficult for Peter because he can’t seem to stay in the present, but always weaves in and out of time when he talks about the past and the future. His past comes to haunt him but it is the future which brings him hope and youth such as when he meets the young boys who are marching in the streets. He feels young again and later decides to follow a young woman who he imagines as his fantasized woman.

December 28, 2007

Olson Creative Project 11.20.07

In the process of researching, it was not as easy as I’d expect it to be when it came to looking up information on Ed Sanders. Although he is still alive, there isn’t a lot of information on the web regarding his life and his journey. Many websites provided the same or similar information, which made it quite aggravating. Researching required a lot of time and patience that I didn’t have, but in the end, it was a well worth experience because I had the chance to research on a singer whom I have never heard of before.

Through research, I found out that Ed Sanders was not simply a poet or a musician in the movie Polis is This: Charles Olsen and the Persistence of Place, but a man of greater accomplishments. He is a social activist, environmentalist, and a novelist publisher combined with being a poet and a singer. The first couple times of researching only led me to finding basic information and his bibliography, but some of the facts that I learned, made me want to understand this man even more. I was most intrigued by the fact that his first poem was written in jail by writing on toilet paper and it was 30 pages long. He was arrested for protesting against nuclear proliferation in 1961. Rather than feeling worthless or captivated, he created a work of literature and art in jail. This gave me the feeling that he wasn’t just any person, but one who defies normal expectations. In poetry, he does not only write poems, but combines it with music and is able to take it to another level. With music, poetry can be expressed in motion. Ed Sanders is one of which who attempted to bring poetry and music together.

On, there were a few videos of Ed Sanders. One specific video caught my attention. The video Ed Sanders-Henri Matisse exposed an interview with Ed Sanders, followed by a clip of how Ed Sanders brought poetry in motion. In the video, Ed Sanders talks about his own personal music instrument inventions such as the “Talking Tie” or the “Pulse Lyre”. The “Talking Tie” is basically a tie that has keys on it like a piano. The “Pulse Lyre” is a pair of gloves for two fingers and it also has keys on it like a piano. Both are electronically wired to be played. My first reaction was “genius!” I have never seen such creations in my life. I have always had an affinity for music so to see such inventions; it really made me want to watch the video. I didn’t only watch it once, but I ended up watching it over and over again because I thought it was surprisingly interesting. Somehow the musical accompaniment of the reciting of the poem had a little of a hypnotic effect on me because I couldn’t stop watching nor could I stop from attempting to figure out the meaning of the poem, The Cutting Prow. There was a certain mystery to this man.

Afterwards, I found this song by the Fugs, a 5-member rock band formed by Ed Sanders and his friend, Tuli Kupferberg, which demonstrated more of Ed Sander’s character. In general, the band wrote satirical songs about sex, drugs, and politics. For example, “Kill, Kill, Kill for Peace” by the Fugs is a song that satirizes and expresses strong opinions regarding politics and the Vietnam War. My mind focused on the lines “Kill’em Kill’em strafe those gook creeps! The only gook an American can trust is a gook that got his yellow head bust” the most. Immediately, I thought of racism and the Vietnam War. This song enlightened me in a way because it made me think about political issues.

My creative project was based on this song. I felt that this song depicted strong feelings and opinions of Ed Sanders that should be acknowledged. Looking back at the beginning of the research, Ed Sanders was identified as a social activist who participated in protests against nuclear proliferation. To me, I felt that he was one who attempted to change the world. His strategy was through music in my opinion because it was where he had the ability to break free and to say what he wanted to say. This stood out to me because his lyrics made me think about the Vietnam War. Ed Sanders believed in demanding for a better world. In my visual display, there is a nuclear explosion occurring in the middle of the paper to show an example of a political issue. The explosion is then framed by the lyrics of the song “Kill, Kill, Kill for Peace”. I wanted to show my version of “poem in motion” because I think that words or phrases are constantly revolving in our heads, reminding us of what is important and our values. Music notes are swirling all around the nuclear explosion because I wanted it to symbolize the power of music and what it can do. Music has a way of impacting people because all music expresses ideas. Once it reaches humanity, many conflicts can be solved. Through Ed Sanders, I’ve learned that with a little creativity and motivation, music can create a better world if we demand for it to happen.

Plum Plum Pickers Explication 11.15.07

In The Plum Plum Pickers, Raymond Barrio reveals his meaning of being human, particularly a man, in which one is not alive unless he or she surpasses oppression and self-degradation because it only holds him or her back from achieving the true honor and pride in being human. Barrio’s emphasizes on this state of being oppressed through his use of various short and detached sentence structures and the imagery of animals and machine to create the effect and allusion of a trapped nonhuman character in the first page of the story. However, by the climax, Manuel discovers a way to hinder oppression. Barrio then makes a subtle transition from the short and detached sentences to the long complete sentences and to the imagery of a unit. Manuel becomes a “man” of ideas and power, freeing him from oppression, and allowing him to be a human.

Manuel, the protagonist of the story, is a farm worker who works for hours and hours manually picking fruits. Immediately, the story reveals a sense of how Manuel views his life as he compares the farm to “an endless maze… like the blackest bars on the jails of hell”. Ultimately, he does not enjoy his life because his life is pretty much enclosed and jailed. He does not see his job as great fun, but rather like torture. Manuel appears to be in this morbid state where he‘s struggling for “living moisture” and pleading for a way out for “there had to be a way out” much like a man in jail who is “trapped”. Then these one word sentences start to appear and it’s as if these words are randomly popping into Manuel’s head. They’re like short moments of consciousness for Manuel and also words that describe him like “Beast” or “Brute”, all adjectives or nouns with a negative impression, making him seem filthy and caveman-like. The usage of short sentences also establishes time. The word “Lunch” is placed in its own paragraph that the time period of lunch seems so short. Before, there was a long description of his day, but then “Lunch” is only said in one single detached word that it almost appears insignificant to the story. The time to eat for Manuel is like a 4 seconds break and then its back to the endless work and “the endlessly unending piling up of bucket upon box upon crate upon stack upon rack upon mound upon mountain”. By making this long sentences constantly repeats the word “upon”, it creates the feel of an unending surplus of work burdening him from doing anything else.

Not only is Manuel oppressed by the setting of the farm and the work, but also in every time that he comes close to describing himself and telling more. Short phrases would cut him off from the story. Phrases like “The trees. The branches again…The ladder”. All these phrases are not even important to the story nor are there any verbs involved, yet they are able to over power Manuel’s significance in the story. Unable to do anything about his life, Manuel becomes even more oppressed as “he was too tired even to curse” when Roberto took order over him. Spiritually and emotionally, Manuel demonstrates carelessness and a lack of motivation to be living or be human as it repetitively describes him as being “tired” and “exhausted”. He’s “truly a refined wreck of an animal”. Manuel is clearly like an animal in the story, one who resembles a lazy pig and a “predator” because he’s easily bullied by Roberto, “the cannibal”, and by men of higher status. Once again, another one sentence paragraph, “Mid afternoon” appears. The movements of time passes by him ever so suddenly again and the process continues with a pattern of big paragraph, one sentence paragraph, etc for rest of the first page of the story. The paragraphs are so composed and structured that in an overview, the structure looks a bit robotic and mechanical like Manuel himself. His life is basically work, lunch, work, afternoon, work, and end. He’s like this machine that is programmed to do that amount of work each day.

However, when the day “Ended!”, everything negative of Manuel also ended. Instead, he becomes this totally different man with an unexpected aura of confidence where he had to “keep his temper from flaring.” Manuel never seemed to care much for Roberto Morales before when he yelled at him, but Manuel was definitely changing. Now all the pickers “gasped as one”. In the beginning of the story, it focused mainly on himself or on only one person, but now there is this imagery of pride. When people do things together, they share something in common and it shows unity among them. This unity in humans was not seen in the beginning, but rather Manuel “felt alone though surrounded by other pickers”. The sentence structure now is also different from before. Rather than having pure 3rd person perspective of the story. There is now dialogue and long detailed sentences. Manuel is depicted much more as a human now. He speaks and he is concise in establishing what is right and wrong. In kicking the second bucket, the fruits roll “in all direction” as if opening new paths for Manuel to take.

Through taking risk to break free from oppression of the world, Manuel is able to discover that men are built to count for something and to experience honor and pride; likewise to Robert Barrio’s meaning of being human. Successfully, Barrio was able to depict the feeling of being deeply oppressed by the surrounding to the point of nonexistence because if one continues to conform to what is wrong for “hour upon hour”, it will become “decades upon decades“ and life would just be as if he or she is “dead before they die.”

Fall of Icarus by Bruegel Blog 10.19.07

In the Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Bruegel, it focuses on the myth of Icarus when he flies too high into the sky, melting his wax wings, and falls into the seas where he ends up dying. The whole story is compacted into this one oil painting and there is a lot going on with the people and the civilization as well as the dark and the lights Bruegel uses to depict the story.

The first thing I noticed would have to be the setting sun. The sun is small compared to everything, but there is still this strong vibrant glare coming from it that’s visible only in the middle of the painting which separates the two dark sides on the left and right. The brightest part would have to be the sky. There’s this huge spot of yellow that then gets reflected onto the vast sea which covers 1/3 of the entire painting. The sea appears to be warm and friendly. Boats and ships are sailing on this beautiful day with no problem. The white mountains appear peaceful and serene. Even the island and the civilization look calm when there are usually conflicts and pollution in cities. There’s also this bird flying up in the air on top of the civilization. When following the sun, it led me to the man in red. The land he is standing on catches the sun’s brightness, making it more yellow than green like grass should be. The man looks like he’s working really hard. His left hand holds onto a whip while his right holds onto a plowing instrument attached to a fine brown horse that supplies the power to cut and lift the land. He is dressed in red under a grayish-blue dress with brown stockings and black shoes. The color red is considered a warm color. It works well with the yellows and the oranges. However, he is significantly bright red which contrast with the blue and green and the ploughman is also the largest figure on the painting so it separates him from everything else. The land he is standing on is also elevated from the sea so I pay more attention to him since the perspective of the painting is one who is looking down.

Behind the ploughman is this other man wearing a solid blue shirt and black pants while resting his weight upon his long crook. He’s also a working man. Indicated by the herd of sheep surround him and the brown coated dog beside him, he is probably the shepherd of the myth. Even though he comes before the ploughman when following the path of the sun, the ploughman’s red shirt made him more significant than the passive blue that the shepherd has on and blue also blends in with the bluish green ocean. Both the ploughman and the shepherd are facing the left side. The ploughman works his way to the left as the horse drags him along, leading to this dark area of already plowed land. The darkness extends the depth of the area. The shepherd is just gazing into the sky like he’s pondering. They’re both facing the left, but there really isn’t anything interesting happening there. Usually faces provide direction to something significant, but in this painting it’s misleading instead. The two workers are so busy with their job that they are unaware there is someone drowning in the sea on the right. There is a pair of legs sticking out from the water, but his legs are so small compared to the ploughman that it’s almost unnoticeable. I wasn’t even able to notice Icarus until I saw the fisherman dressed in white located on the bottom right of the painting. Even the fisherman did not notice Icarus’s existence when he fell, making a big splash in the sea and causing the water to ripple. No one seems to care or pay attention to Icarus. The large ship close by was sailing away as well, indicated by the direction of the wind blowing on the ship’s sail.
The color of the water also changes in the part where Icarus drowned. There is a clear difference that the colors are darker. Breugel uses shades of dark blue and dark green which eventually isolates into black as oppose to the bright blue and green in the middle of the sea. It’s so dark that it doesn’t even look like a part of the sea when you look at the painting in a smaller view. The trees on the bottom right appear mossy and dead unlike the trees on the left. The ones on the left are full grown, lively, and nicely structured with a perfect tone of green. You can see every twig and branch, but the tree on the right looks like a complete mess.

The title of the painting explains the importance of both landscape and Icarus in the painting. However, landscape is the dominant focus because Breugel calls it “ landscape ‘with’ the Fall of Icarus.” Icarus is nothing but a small detail in the bigger picture.

Many time people tend to belabor at the moment too much that they miss the big picture. There is so much going on in the painting focusing on landscape that Icarus is lost within the picture. The bright colors of the sun in contrast to the darks sea on the right, demands focus and Icarus who is in the darker side is hidden. Even the ploughman, shepherd, and fisherman are so busy with their work whether it is on the land or sea, takes no notice of Icarus as their heads are turned in the opposite way or is facing down. Icarus could have lived if he listened to his father, but he disregarded his words and flew too high. Thus led him to his downfall.

Overall, the painting was captivating. It’s such a busy piece of art, but it symbolizes so much and tells so much about Icarus. He was the main character, but his ignorance was what left him to his death. If he had listened to his father, he wouldn’t of fell and could have still been living if he had lived a balanced life like the men who are now glowing in the painting.

College Essay 10.26.07

One Small Voice

My love for music began in middle school. On the walls of my teacher’s room were posters of black music notes and famous musicians. Instruments lined the white walls and were situated in every cabinet. There were music sheets neatly stacked on the corner. On the white board she labeled do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do. I never expected to enjoy chorus, but from the first note we sang to the end. I felt surprisingly comfortable and it was something I looked forward to everyday. By the end of the year, I found myself singing the National Anthem in the showers.

For 16 years, I had always been perceived as a reserved and bashful child. I spoke very little and never bothered to volunteer even if I was considered intelligent. In school, I found myself frustrated during class discussions. My mind knew the answers, but my lips were tightly bound. I couldn’t even control my own voice, until music came into my life. Music provided me with the confidence and the assertiveness that I so greatly desired.

Chorus was just the catalyst I needed. Upon my entering Mixed Chorus in high school, I felt an affinity for music. I was still that same self-conscious girl, but somehow music excited me. My ability to speak was born. I was no longer afraid to express myself. By sophomore year, I decided with some trepidation to audition for a solo in a piece entitled, “One Small Voice”. Once again, I felt my heart beating incessantly over singing in front of a class of 70. Fear had possessed me, but strangely the words came out so freely when the piano started playing. At that moment, music and I were no longer just acquaintances, we were companions. I was granted that solo and when the concert came, I could feel my life being told to the world. It was time for a change.

My level of confidence grew exponentially and this spilt into the classroom. My Spanish class had always been my nemesis. I was always reluctant to raise my hand, but because of my new found confidence, I no longer hesitated to share my opinions.

I’m no longer a quiet child, but a mature independent woman who possesses confidence and conservative values. Music is my talisman. It has opened new doors for me, changing the way I observe the world. It has changed me into a better person who is unafraid to sacrifice in order to help others. As I consistently continue to do my services in or outside of school, performing in winter concerts or helping local woman and families bring food to their homes from the Bread of Life Food Pantry, the songs “Tell me Why” by Declan Gailbraith and “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer speak to me. I hope to bring happiness and awareness into their lives with my voice as much as music has brought it to me.

Explication on Albert Camus’ The Stranger 10.1.07


Although it is unclear whether life has meaning or not, society nevertheless desires to manufacture meaning behind existence much like the society portrayed in Albert Camus’s The Stranger. Camus’s portrayal of Meursault ultimately defines a lost soul, a man who embodies no emotions and no rational order. His indifference separates him from the society where everything that happens must have reasons and explanations. Unlike society, Meursault reflects on the title “The Stranger” in which one identifies as a foreigner within his own society because he doesn’t care for what he believes he can not control, which is his life. As humanity attempts to build and impose meaning on Meursault in the preceding of the trial and before he is sentenced to death, Albert Camus projects what he calls the Absurd where others have the authority over his life when he doesn’t.

Before the preliminary of the trial, the two policemen place Meursault in a small room where he hears “voices, shouts, chairs being dragged across the floor” (82). Meursault appears to have no fear toward anything even though he is about to go into trial. Instead, he thought about “neighborhood fetes” and was well interested into seeing the trial. Meursault isn’t really taking his trial seriously because he pokes fun at the screeching noises. Most people would be in fear before a trial especially after hearing such uproar, but Meursault takes in the piercing sound and compares it with happy cheers from parties like he’s having the best time of his life. It exemplifies the carelessness that Meursault has for his life. As the preliminary trial begins, Meursault’s persona begins to unfold from being careless to actually having feelings and emotions in life. He spots “the sun filtered through in places” (83). It felt like the sun was projecting a sense of hope and discovery like light and goodness still existed and it was entering. There was an imagery of god sending him a message and that there was still hope for Meursault to hold onto his life.

Then Meursault notices “a row of faces in front” (83) of him. Camus uses the court scene to symbolize society as a “whole” which Meursault describes that there was nothing to “distinguish one from another” (83). At this point, everyone is looking at him as if they are there to judge him. He “hadn’t realized that all those people were crowding in to see” (83) him, but now he’s at center stage between all the people and it is him versus society. Meursault is in constant conflict with society because his life exceeds beyond his control. The lawyers, juries, and witnesses now have the power to determine his fate. Meursault had been advised to “respond briefly to the questions” (85) and to “leave the rest to him (his lawyer)” (85). Unable to have any word on his own trial, his life is in the hands of others which is ultimately absurd because the witnesses are given the right to determine his life. As a result, the prosecutor makes false assumptions to the case, using non relevant information concerning his reaction on the day of his mother’s death to support what is undefined and what Meursault believes to be plain “bad luck”(92). The trial depicts nothing more than a “perfect reflection of… everything is true and nothing is true!” (91) The prosecutor never achieved a reason for why he shot the Arab, but improvised his own reason. Even without solid proof, the jury finds him guilty. His life was basically determined by people like Thomas Perez, who he met only for one day.

When the father speaks to Meursault concerning religion, it portrays a similar authoritarian over Meursault as the trial. The father insists “God can help you, every man in your position has turned to him,” (116). Society appears to constantly bring in meaning toward every aspect of life. They consider bringing in a priest so before one dies, they could realize the importance of their existence. Normally people want to seek god to rid their sins before dying. However, Christianity is just another rational belief in attempt to find meaning and order in life by basing it on God’s creation. Truthful to his beliefs and atheism, Meursault refuses to allow the father have religious authority over him because he believes that life is meaningless. Living was pointless for “we were all condemned to die” (117). It appears illogical to believe in God when God takes away life. If one is to believe in god, their only applying a fake proof into why certain rational events occur when most of the time; it’s just the way it is and there is no meaning.

The father questions why Meursault does not call him “father.” Meursault actually takes calling him father quite literally because he thinks father as calling him his real father when the priest meant to call him in a holy way and giving him stature. However, Meursault can only derive the literal meaning of father because of his irrationality. Most importantly, the priest has the ability to question Meursault’s beliefs as he pops questions concerning faith, “Have you no hope at all? And do you really live with the thought that when you die, you die, and nothing remains?” (117). As much as Meursault didn’t like it, the priest achieved power and authority over him by making Meursault think and reflect upon himself, igniting the first fire and an outburst of emotions.

Throughout the novel, Meursault believed that life by existentialism had no meaning or purpose. Without any concern or regards to finding a rational structure, his life was pretty much predetermined not only by fate but by those who afflicted his voice: the jury, lawyer, prosecutor, and the priest. Other people have more power and influence on his life that he did and that was what created the absurdity in the novel. It is not until the end when he’s in jail that Meursault grasps onto his life. Although humans have unchangeable destined fates, he realizes that he can control his emotions. Whether to morn and scream for help or to live the last day of his life like treasure was now his preference and his control. If Meursault had never realized his faults and gained an understanding of his absurd world, he wouldn’t have been able to experience a fulfilling happiness.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Independent Reading Project - Chapter Filler 10.29.07

For my independent reading book i read The Dead Father's Club by Matt Haig, which is a modern version of Hamlet. Here's a little synopsis of the book:

A ghost story with a twist - a suspenseful and poignantly funny update of the Hamlet story

Eleven-year-old Philip Noble has a big problem: His dad, who was killed in a car accident, appears as a bloodstained ghost at his own funeral and introduces Philip to the Dead Fathers Club. The club, whose members were all murdered, gathers outside the Castle and Falcon, the local pub that Philip's family owns and lives above. Philip's father tells him that Uncle Alan killed him and he must avenge his death. When Philip realizes that Uncle Alan has designs on his mom and the family pub, Philip decides that something must be done. But it's a much bigger job than he anticipated, especially when he is caught up by the usual distractions of childhood-a pretty girl, wayward friends, school bullies, and his own self-doubt. The Dead Fathers Club is a riveting, imaginative, and quirky update of Shakespeare's great tragedy.

For some odd reason, i really liked the Filler Chapter that i wrote.... it really brought out my imagination... so i hope you like!

The Weekly Routine

It was break time at school and usually Dominic Weekly and Jordan Harper would wait for me by the door like they’ve been waiting all day. It happened almost weekly. I turned around and there they were standing right in front of me. Jordan looked at me with his fish eyes and Dominic with his fist. I didnt know what to look at first.

I wanted Leah here. I thought if Leah was here she could save me from having a fist punctured into my ribs but Leah was not here and she was my girlfriend.

Even in school games I was never picked first by anyone. I would be picked last in every single game we played. Even Nigel Curtain who had curly brown hair and shorts like skirts would get picked before me. But somehow I was going to get picked first to get beaten up by Dominic and Jordan like I wanted it to be me. Its like someone placed a tag on me labeled Pick me Pick me.

Dominic grabbed me by my neck and pulled me closer to his giant fist and placed me in a head-lock between his armpits. I could smell his sweat as a combination of the boy he grabbed before me and his own distinct odor. I kept my nose shut and breathed with my mouth but then I had to close it because the sweat was dripping down my face and onto my lips.

I could see Dad suddenly appear by the dead-like tree. He looked at me with disgrace and said Do something! I said I cant I cant I cant. He said scream! I said I cant. He said SCREAM! I said I CANT SCREAM!!

Dominic dragged me toward the side of the field where there was no more of the soft green grass but hard cold cement by the silver fence. He threw me right into it and I fell hard. Jordan still looked at me with his fish eyes. I was not prepared for this and I knew Dad was Cross I had not done anything to stop them and for not defending myself but I was only 11 years old. Dominic and Jordan stood there and laughed and said Where is your Dad? Where is your Dad? Where is your Dad now Helmet?

The truth was my dad was dead and he was looking right at me with disappointment and said Youve got to run Philip.

I didn’t move. I was just laying there like a statue on the floor and looking at Dads Ghost. Dominic grabbed me by my shirt and lifted me up onto the fence. I felt my heart beating beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep. The only next thing was to get beat up. I just closed my eyes because that was all I could do and all I saw was the color of black. I felt my bones squeezing and muscles tightening.

Its weird how no one ever sees you when you get hurt. Everyone around seems to disappear into the shadow and the only people that are alive are you and them. No one ever walks by and no one knows. Its like god wants death to be a secret just like how dad died. No one knew he was actually murdered by Uncle Alan.

Dominic and Jordan were finally done with me after a 30 minute session. They walked away and quietly giggled and said We Will Be Back Again. I couldn’t really make out what they were saying because they spoke so soft and my ears were ringing. I was now on the floor with my hands wrapped around my weak body. Dad said Are you OK? I said OK.