Dec 24 2010

Leave the Canon in the Past

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As I was thinking of what to write, I looked around other blogs. And I thought how could I make my blog as long as theirs or as good. Now that I put my thoughts to paper I feel that the greatness’s of our writing isn’t judged on the length or even clarity, even though it is preferred. Of course the categorized canon would disagree with this.

Based on what we read I’d like to say that we should stray far away from any contact with the name of the canon because within that name exist such formality and restriction. I automatically think of novels I’ve read in the past by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and even Homers Iliad. These are the names that are well known among our society. All wonderful writers but what is it that makes them stand out to our public. How are these authors deemed the great writers of mankind when they no longer protean to us. I have read them, I have enjoyed them, but each time it has been my mind that has adjusted to the different time frame.  Within this class I’ve read books with different styles and because I’ve been taught to focus on the classics. I seem to have forgotten about the books of today.  The Woman Warrior, Persepolis, and Drown for example were not the philosophical books. I’m under the impression that these books were written to simply tell a story. They are about the culture of the author and how they have lived their life.

I know that a majority of us would be quick to run to our computers and enter in 20th century canon and global literature into the search engine hoping that the right answer is easily visible. Instead I rather not summaries what I’ve read on the websites. Let me put what I’ve learned and experienced to use. I’ll think for myself, maybe I’ll get the right answer on my own.

Each class I took this semester focused on one specific aspect of literature. There was British literature, American literature, and African American literature. Now that I think about it none of the subjects crossed over to one another. They did not intertwine and this disappoints me because I was always made to believe that all subjects worked hand and hand. We focused on specific times and life styles.  In global literature we traveled through different times and cultures. We were able experience different life styles. In global literature we had multiple perspectives all within one class but through our small selection of books. This course outweighed the other classes because there were diverse perspectives from other cultures.

In The Sound and the Fury   I loved that we were thrown into the text. There was no beginning for us to be introduced into and there weren’t many explanations. Yet many of us were able to understand the book. I also believe that Faulkner like the other authors we read didn’t care if you understood or if he was going to be part of the canon.

“In time, what do you think will matter to you as a reader?  An English major?”
Personally this is another hard question for me to answer. Now that I’ve read these books I want to stray away from everything that is the norm and associated with the canon.  If it’s a popular book and part of the canon, count me out. As a reader more material like Faulkner’s and Maxine’s will matter to me.  They’ve impacted me because they were so different from anything I’ve ever read. These books put my limited reading material to shame.

 Essentially in my opinion this course should be global literature because through the text we have focused on many cultures, and how people have adjusted in the world. The reason why we should not associate the course with canon novels, they are hard for daily readers to relate to. If a novel is categorized in a canon it gains prestige. This does not necessarily mean the readers will enjoy it. The novels that we explored became our own in the blogs. We struggled at times but there were no restrictions when reading. As we read a novel from the canon category, it is a well known book. I feel the reader does not struggle to understand what the text is about. Because it is so known the reader can skimpily find key facts about it on the internet, and find it in a movie form.

There were two novels that rotated around culture and worked for me. They were Drown by Junot Diaz and The Woman Warrior by Maxine Kingston. Diaz incorporated his Dominican heritage in his novel and we could see it at all times. Kingston included her Chinese culture in her novel and like Diaz she also included her family. The stories are broken in parts and we aren’t always sure if they are part of the same story. The way that the sections are written keeps the reader engaged because we are exploring different situations.

After taking part in this class I approach William Faulkner’s book The Sound and the Fury much more differently. If it had been on my summer read I most likely would have put it down. Professor I think you included this book to show us how different writing could be. Faulkner did not have to follow the usual way of writing, which included a beginning, middle, ending. I believe he rebels against the canon. He appears to write his novel in parts and begins by throwing his readers into the middle of the plot. Yet the sections eventually all seem to intertwine and we find our answers to questions left unanswered in the beginning.

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Dec 09 2010

Please Talk

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I think that the theme of silence is connected to Maxine because she probably had to silence herself when she disagreed with her parents or bite her tongue when being mistreated for being a girl. She had to silence her thoughts in order to be respectful to elders for example when her great uncle excludes the girls, she couldn’t say anything. There are a few sections I would like to select where silence is present but I want to focus on the incident with the quiet girl. She basically tortured the girl so that she would say stop or any word. She wanted to break the silence because she herself was silent against her parents when they spoke about marriage and when she was put down. She sounds like her mother, repeating every criticism that had been thrown at her.

The critiques of silence on pages 180-181
Do you want to be like this, dumb, your whole life?
What are you going to do for a living? Yeah, you’re going to have to work because you can’t be a housewife.
You think somebody is going to take care of you all your stupid life?
You think somebody’s going to marry you, is that it?
Nobody’s going to notice you

When she said “I’m doing this for your own good” She really meant it because I think she wanted her to stand up for herself and destroy the silence that oppressed both of them so they could make her own decisions.
Even when she tries to cross over the silence during the dinner with her family she says her throat burst open and she is stating that she is smart, she is not nothing, she will not become a slave or a wife. I imagine it would take great strength to finally burst out saying these things but her mother makes it  worthless because says things like

Who would want you?
What makes you think you’re the first one to think about college?
You turned out so unusual
I knew you were going to turn out bad.

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Dec 09 2010

Shaman and At the Western Palace

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Generally I feel that Maxine’s mother is more at ease and in control of what is happening around her in the section Shaman. When she left for the dormitory school she was no longer bound to her in laws. Maxine writes that she was “free from families” for about two years. She was free from running errands for her “tyrant” mother-in-law. As a student she was one of the most educated, students fought to sit next to her during exams. Not only was she one of the smartest students she was also brave. As other women told scary talkstories she tried to find the logic and had an answer to everything. When she was naming one of the ghosts I imagined her very nonchalantly saying “oh that was nothing but Photo Ghost” and had a simple remedy that should have been used like wiggling the girls ear. When she encounters the Sitting Ghost she was confident because she knew she would conquer it and defeat it.  
Also as a doctor she was well respected. Villagers honored her by bringing out their lion and dancing ahead of her. She says “you have no idea how much I have fallen coming to America”(77)

In the section “At the Western Palace” the mother no longer has the ability to make things go her way. It seems like her children are annoyed with her. At the airport she brings food with her and Maxine writes “Her children acted as if this eating were a bother.” The main issue in this section is Moon Orchid’s husband. Brave Orchid truly believes that she can force, fool, and outsmart the husband into taking her sister as his first wife again. Of course she is not successful. She doesn’t have the ability to make it happen. She has no power over the husband. She was a brave woman against the ghost but she couldn’t make him taker Moon Orchid back.

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Dec 02 2010

The Woman Warrior

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I know Maxine says she isn’t different from a swordswoman but for some reason I keep on thinking about the differences instead of the similarities. Yes, she makes the claims but I didn’t feel they were so strong because she wasn’t as obedient as the swordswoman in the story. I think Maxine is a woman warrior because she wants to fight against racism. She says “It’s not just the stupid racists that I have to do something about, but the tyrants who are for whatever reason can deny my family food and work. (49) She seeks revenge for her family in America because they have been discriminated against. One way that she has become the swordswoman is that she is successful but I’m not sure of her occupation. She refers to this success as her private American shawl. I feel this is an issue because it is specifically American, not Chinese. She reassures her self that she is worthy of the food and she is worthy of their love. The last two sentences are extremely powerful in creating the similarity.
“The reporting is the vengeance—not the beheading, not the gutting, but the words. And I have so many words—“chink” words and “gook” words too – that they do not fit on my skin.” (53) She bears all of these racist words that have been mentally burned into her and her family. When she says they no longer fit her skin, it is referring to the numerous amount of racist suffering. To seek her vengeance she wants to make this racism know and stop it. So that she could be accepted and receive great honor like a man.

I also noticed the differences because through out these two sections she appears rebellious. A swordswoman was extremely obedient. She accepted an arranged marriage, freely gave birth to his children, and when the war was over she went to her in-laws and then bowed to them. It was as if she never carried manly responsibilities. As a wife she completely ignored her pass as a swordswoman and I feel she became nothing more but a housewife.  Maxine on the other hand vows that she will never marry and is always being scolded by her mother, she is called a bad girl. But she takes this a compliment because it’s close enough to being a boy. She says “Isn’t a bad girl almost a boy?” this could explain her rebelling. 

Also based on the beginning I’m pretty sure this is my favorite book!

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Dec 01 2010

Sleep…what a waste of time

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I had really intended on actually going to sleep tonight, I mean I actually had all the lights off and I was in bed but unfortunately my minds still on. There’s something about tonight that makes me want to stay awake.  You can actually hear the faint sound of cars pass by on the highway and the wind against the tree by my window. But the best sound for tonight is hearing the tires of cars stroll on the wet road. Any other night these sounds would have been unnoticeable noise in the background like my big brothers snoring and the never failing dripping faucet. This tranquility will only linger if that damn security alarm from the abandon store across the street doesn’t turn on like it randomly does.  I’m probably jinxing the alarm for next week when I’ll be writing a paper.

  I’ve been up other nights stressing about getting assignments done. But tonight I want to press pause on thinking and not worry about tomorrow or the assignments that are due.  I won’t go to sleep because no ones around to bother me. At night the world becomes my own and I’ll use it like an office where I can either do work or just simply think.

This could just be the lack of sleep creeping up on me.

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Dec 01 2010

No sympathy

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For this blog I’m going to keep it very short and sweet. Don’t get me wrong Obama is just dandy, and I’m not being sarcastic I just wanted to use the word dandy.  But pretty much every page I read I felt like he was writing a pity story. I can’t sympathies with him because I keep on remembering he is the president. He is a wealth man and a great political figure. Besides even in the book he’s writing about how he used to campaign. Basically I’m reading about the struggles he faced in order to be successful.  In general I feel like “Dreams From My Father” was plain and it couldn’t keep my attention.  Maybe my thoughts are being a little tough on him.

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Dec 01 2010

What Blog Stood Out?

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Three entries that stood out to me:

Where is the love? -Caitlin Machicote            

The Ending of Drown – Cindy Aguilar

Drown – Stephanie Bonowicz

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Nov 18 2010

Mom will kick your…

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The story that I liked the most was “How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie” because it’s a young boy that is trying to “get some” but he constantly mentions his mother because she will beat him if, of course she finds out his intentions for staying home and if he forgets to put the cheese back in the refrigerator. I found this story funny because he’s trying to act mature by inviting a girl but he’s also scared of his mother beating the heck out of him. In the very beginning I get the impression that he is embarrassed by the life he lives and his nationality because he hides the government cheese, puts away pictures of his cousins in the campo and hides a picture of himself with an Afro. BUT he is willing to use his Spanish to impress a girl. He says “order everything in your busted-up Spanish. Let her correct you if she’s Latina and amaze her if she’s black.” (145) basically there seems to be a right time and a wrong time to acknowledge his heritage. He creates a profile for each type of these girls, which are estimating what base he’ll go to. The story isn’t just about creating the different profiles. It is about self disappointment, the hiding of things was the beginning, the comment he makes about his mother knowing the scent of the tear gas,  I scenes disappointment. Furthermore, when is says “Tell her that you love her hair…because, in truth, you love them more than you love your own.” (147 I get the impression that he’s not happy with the way he looks.
And lastly the child within him comes out after the girl leaves because he doesn’t waste his time alone. He makes sure to watch his shows because, YES!!! None of his family members are around to nag him. Even sleep at this time would be a waste.
Most importantly “Put the government cheese back in its place before your MOM KILLS YOU.”

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Nov 15 2010

Junot Diaz 1st four stories

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IIn class we were asked which of the four stories did we like most, but I didn’t like either story. I don’t mean to seem negative but I felt like the children lost their purity a long time even before we read these stories. In the first story Ysrael the older brother is sexually active with girls from the campo and the capital. We don’t get to see the children’s childhood. In Fiesta the children would rather play baseball, instead of going to their aunt’s party. Rafa speaks to Leti and some other girls but we are not completely sure if anything happens with the girls. In this story their father is cheating and the children know about his mistress. In the third story the boyfriend loves Aurora but it seems to be an abusive relationship on both parts, they take and use from each other either for sex or drugs. But he does say that he is in love with Aurora. The fourth story Aguantando, there is the mother that struggles to take care of her family. It is over nine years and she reminds faithful to a husband that is no long in the marriage. I wrote these mini summaries because each story surrounded a negative. Each story showed that purity is tainted based on life styles and locations that you were brought up in. It’s just crazy that a child is exposed to all of this but some children grow quicker than others because society forces them to.

 Lines that stood out to me
In the campo we were friends. (5)
People around here don’t bet worth a damn, he was saying. (8)
We both knew Papi had been with that Puerto Rican woman he was seeing and wanted to wash off the evidence quick.  (23)
She smelled like herself, like the wind through as tree. (24)
When we were alone he treated me much better, like maybe I was his son or something. (35)
I knew an interrogation when I hear one, no matter how sugar-coated it was. (39)
This is how I always figured Papi would be exposed, out in public, where everybody would know. (40)
She holds it lightly, debating if she should smoke a few or sell the pack to somebody. (55)
I didn’t know that he’d abandoned us. That this waiting for him was all a shame. (70)

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Nov 15 2010

In defense of Faulkner

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Okay I so I’m going to defend Faulkner because I’m going through so many blog’s and everyone is saying that they were disappointed and they expected something else. Yes, previously I wrote that I expected a different ending. I think we expect reassuring, informative, and happy ever afters because of books we have previously read in our life. Sorry to burst the bubble but Faulkner from the very beginning had a different style of writing. If anything I’d like to say we should have expected an odd ending. I mean he did begin the book with more of a middle section. Besides I think it was a journey making the connections through the book. He didn’t let you forget about the other sections because they were the memories that made the present understandable. After reading the negative I want to focus on the positives. Long story short I would read the book again probably notice a few more interesting things.

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