Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hills Like White Elephants

Hemmingway enlightens us in this short story of how the decision making process goes hand in hand with your future happiness. As humans, we all look at a situation's positive aspects if we are considering it and sometimes forget about the negative things it could hold. The setting is vital to the story because on one side of the mountain is lush grass, life, and beauty but on the other side there is dry land, fire, and death. Jig is the main character with an uncertainty to keep her baby or not. She is simply a booty call for the American man and he has talked her into getting an abortion so that "they can be happy again" The American man obviously wants nothing to do with Jig, therefore is giving off a mentality that the abortion would be no big deal and it seems that he is trying to get her drunk so that she doesn't over think it and make the decision to keep her baby. I believe that Jig makes the choice to keep her baby to make her happy, and she did not care what the American thought. She came to a realization that to be happy she must be happy with herself and her own choices even if someone that she loves is telling her otherwise.

The Cask Of Amontillado

This eery short story by Edgar Allen Poe completely revolves around revenge. I read this story when I was younger, but I did not really understand the meaning. Montresor felt that he was insulted by Fortunado, he describes it as "a thousand injuries" And even though it is never mentioned exactly what he was insulted about, I always thought it was about his family, or the wine. But I did some research to conclude that it is explained at the end when Fortunado begs for his life saying "For the love of God" (like saying Come On) and Montressor replies, "Yes. for the love of God." Montresor kills Fortunado in the name of his religion (Catholic) Because Fortunado was a Mason, and back then Mason's were against the Catholic church. So the vengeance is kind of geared toward an insult of Montresor's family because they obviously were religious. It's so ironic that he is leading Fortunado through the Catacombs and "helping" him along the way because he is drunk and allergic to the Nitre. So he is pretty much trusting him throughout the walk in the catacombs to lead him to his death. Also, the fact that Montresor seems to give Fortunado many chances to leave if he is too drunk and should perhaps want to turn back, but he always denies these chances to escape and rather drinks the wine over keeping his life. After a while, it is evident that Montresor has bad intentions for the drunk man. The appropriate revenge that Montresor wants is a tricky and elaborate plan to kill Fortunado, and he definitely succeeds.

A Good Man Is Hard To Find

This story by Flannery O'Connor seems to be about a fairly normal family. This little old grandmother is very paranoid and reads in the newspaper that there is a serial killer on the loose in Florida, and the family wants to road trip there. So, grandmother insists that they go to Tennessee instead because "I couldn't answer to my conscience" she said if her family were to run into this murderer. I believe that this is the only time when the grandmother actually makes a good decision from her first instinct because every decision she makes after that in the story steers them literally into a tree.. During their drive, they actually pass a cemetery that grandmother says is the family's ancestors. This foreshadows the death of the entire family at the end, I think. Of course Grandma is the one to literally flag down the hearse full of murderers! I think this story is religious in some ways, and that it kind of says that everyone is doomed and has sinned; therefore, we will all have our day of reckoning and punishment. The entire family is killed, though there is no mention of what happens to the baby. The most interesting line in this short story: "She would of been a good woman... if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life." is ironic because the Misfit is saying that the grandmother would have been a good woman if she was in the midst of death and had a change of heart and was super nice because she was begging for her life. It is ironic because it seemed that out of the whole family, the grandmother was the one who lived by God and tried to teach the children about peace rather than conflict and was really a good woman.

We Real Cool

This poem by Gwendolyn Brooks is very short, and it rhymed... so I liked it. :) But when analyzing the poem it has much deeper meaning than you would think an 8 line poem would have. I believe that she is speaking of all African Americans back in her day, and how they took chances and broke the law to make money and survive. The number 7 is a lucky number and she says that they go to the pool hall, I'm sure to make money and gamble on the games. I think it is interesting that she mentioned "thin gin" like watering down the booze to make more profit. She speaks of young black men who skip school and are not educated, and at the end I interpreted it as their lives are shortened due to the risks they take, but they don't really care. They like the crazy life they live of "lurking late" and "singing sin" and "Jazzing June" because they are rebellious! Her voice is very cool and it makes the poem a trillion times better when you hear it from her.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Glass Menagerie Characters

The Glass Menagerie was one of the most complex plays I have ever analyzed. The 3 main characters, Laura, Tom, and their mother Amanda were interesting characters that had many similarities, as well as differences. For instance, they all had a similar mindset of escaping the lives that they lived, physically and emotionally. They differentiated in various aspects, for example, Amanda Wingfield (the mother) was extremely enthusiastic with anything that she did, and she was perhaps a bit of a drama queen. On the other hand, there was her daughter Laura who could not differ from her mother more. Laura was as shy as a snail, and was most uncomfortable with herself, especially because of her physical impairment which caused her to walk with a limp. Tom, the bread winner for his mother and sister was a bit more rebellious than the two women in his immediate family. He heavily smoked cigarettes and drank often, not to mention he was quite sarcastic and irritable throughout the entire play. In my opinion, he never took his mother seriously, and mocked her quite often. This hectic household filled with loud outburst from Amanda, anxious remarks from Laura, and Tom’s bitter attitude resulted in a very theatrical performance at the Wingfield residence. This play kept my attention, and I will most likely read it again in the future.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Chrysanthemums

Believe it or not, I never knew that "Mums" stood for "Chrysanthemums" but I at least knew that they were flowers. But that is beside the point.
This story was indeed one that I will remember because I feel that I understood it better than most. The married woman with no children liked to work in her garden, and she seemed content with this. But, throughout the story it seemed that she simply longed to be viewed as an equal by her husband, as well as everyone else. The setting is described to be rather desolate and isolated from society, as well as enclosed with fog. I presume that this description was foreshadowing her feelings towards her life. She felt entrapped by the way she lived her life (or lack thereof). I viewed her responsibilities as low level and very routine. Anyone would get tired of gardening every day and domestic chores, right? Not to mention, she craved any kind of praise or recognition for her existence but never received any. The man who manipulated her into paying for his service did so by playing with her emotions (Just like every man). After convincing her that he wanted her flowers for a good purpose, he almost immediately threw them out onto the dirt road. Sadly, these Chrysanthemums were the only thing that she had passion and love for; Therefore, when she saw her prized possessions thrown onto the road she took this to heart and this proved her hypothesis that men are animals. At the end, this is why she preceded to ask her husband about the fights in town that men would engage in and ended up crying secretively. I believe that she realized that she was nothing like them and felt that her battle for equality was futile, after all.

The Yellow Wallpaper

As usual, I laid in bed the night before class and read this story, The Yellow Wallpaper so that it would be fresh in my mind for discussion the next day. It was longer than some excerpts, but very abstract and interesting (like most that Sweeney assigns) and had an intriguing ending that left you wondering. In summary, my perspective of the story was a woman who had [recently?] been told that she was "sick" by everyone that she loves. Though, her husband still gives her hope that she will get well, she is not allowed to do anything (even so much as write her feelings down). She is ordered to stay in a huge deteriorated room in which she is unfamiliar with to entertain herself for months on end. As if this does not sound excruciatingly miserable enough, she has had her child taken away from her to be cared for by another woman (which is most likely for the best, but is still depressing for her). On the defense of her husband, I believe that in this time when people were expected to be "chronically depressed" or insane that physicians thought that confining someone who is in this mental state to oneself would possibly be the only way/ or perhaps the "cure" to the depression/anxiety/insanity. But, over time we have learned that this solitary confinement method will only drive a person completely crazy, and really do more harm than good. The ending was certainly eery, and all of the possible interpretations of the conclusion are not happy endings. But I still appreciated reading the woman's insight of the experience documented through her secretive entries that she wrote throughout the process of her losing all sense of reality and in the end, truly believing that she was inside of the wallpaper itself.