external image EmilyDickinson.jpgEMILY DICKINSON
"I Died For Beauty." [449]
Poem Fragments [in Bold] taken from Norton Anthology of American Literature, poem 449, page 1214

I died for Beauty but was scarce
Adjusted in the Tomb
When One who died for Truth, was lain
In an adjoining Room -

Here we see that "Emily" (put Emily in quotes because she couldn't have died before she wrote the poem, duh!) has died for Beauty. People who die for Truth are dying at the same rate as those who died for Beauty, it seems to be implied. That, or they end up in the same place at the end. Which is true.

He questioned softly "Why I failed"?
"For Beauty", I replied -
"And I - for Truth - Themself are One -
We Bretheren, are", He said -

What? Beauty is the same as Truth? This is questionable. I suppose if something is truly Beautiful, that wouldn't be a problem. But that is the problem…a poisonous flower can be disguised as something beautiful, something destructive (cigarettes) can be disguised as something glamourous…It depends on what the thing of beauty is. If something is good, then the beauty is truthful. For instance, a sweet-smelling flower is a good thing…and it's beautiful, so in a way the Beauty is the manifestation of the thing's goodness. But we cannot assume that something is good and truthful just because it's beautiful.

And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night -
We talked between the Rooms -
Until the Moss had reached our lips -
And covered up - Our names -

The end of the poem has some disturbing implications. That is to say, Emily Dickinson is implying that in the end, Beauty and Truth end up in the same place: the grave. To make matters worse, they are equal in the end…"Kinsmen," as she puts it…And they will be covered up with moss. Hello! Yes, maybe Beauty will have its end in a moss-covered grave in the end, but not truth. Truth is unchangeable.

Interfaith Chapel
Interfaith Chapel
In this society though, this is somewhat true . I mean come on, look at all the religions we have around the world. "If it's beautiful, then it's truth for you," they say, or something like it. I completely do not agree with this.

That's my interpretation of this poem.

Overall, a questionable piece for me.

—Jon C.

external image Abraham_Lincoln_head_on_shoulders_photo_portrait.jpgABRAHAM LINCOLN
The Gettysburg Address.

Wow, what a short reading! That's my kind of speech. :) He's very brief in what he says. Actually this reminds me of the way I write. I mean, I fit twenty-something chapters into a hundred pages. Not because I didn't have much to say, but because I said what I needed to somewhat concisely! It's also why I have trouble writing a million zillion words in a document…because usually I type faster than I think. Anyhow…

It opens with the famous, "Four score and seven years ago…" (NAAL p. 734) which basically means 87, but four score and seven sounds fancier. This speech covers some very basic american ideals:

1. Liberty
"Conceived in Liberty…" (NAAL p. 734) America has always been about liberty. At first, it was about Englishmen's liberties, but when those were abducted, they turned their backs on Britain and declared that they had Americans' liberties! :D Yay! I am free to do what I want (within certain limits of course)! I am free to believe what I want, say what I want, think what I want!
2. Patriotism
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract." (NAAL p. 734) These men were truly patriots, who devoted their lives to their country. They gave their lives for the cause. Sure, I'll hang a flag over my window for a curtain. Sure, I'll sing the national anthem. Some people even give up their lives for this country…but not for the country, for the people in the country. For it's the people that make a country.
3. Democracy
"…And that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." (NAAL p. 735) What an amazing concept! Here Lincoln points out that American government is not put in place to serve a greedy monarch, but the people…it's not put in place to give power to a greedy monarch, but to give power to the people. Amazing.

These are still alive today, although two of these are sort of dwindling. Instead of liberty, views are being censored. Instead of patriotism, we are embracing an aggressive multicultural mentality. Democracy is still alive and well, though…hopefully we can keep that much!

Union soldiers at Gettysburg
Union soldiers at Gettysburg

"Only this and nothing more…" (NAAL p. 675)

external image Edgar_Allan_Poe_2_retouched_and_transparent_bg.pngThe Raven is, in my opinion, a very dark and dreary record of a man's obsession. It sounds, truly, like a dude who has been staying up all night watching horror movies, and then went to bed. "And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before…" (NAAL p. 675) What? Fantastic terrors? Lol, is he enjoying this bizarre fantasy of his? At first, really, this looks like a malevolent and grinning elf of a crow who is using psychological tactics on the writer. It works too.

That's my assessment. He's obsessed.

1. First, suspense is created by a silent tapping at the chamber door. This creates tension, real or perceived, in the writer. In fact, when he opens the door there is nothing there. He could be relieved that there's nobody there, or he could be scared because the knocking was coming from nowhere
2. "Nevermore," is repeated over and over, as a sort of hypnosis into hysteria. The crow doesn't move, driving the writer into panic. It says nothing else besides "Nevermore," so depending on the questions that the writer asks, he gets different answers. (He could've asked…"How much longer will you stay here?")external image Tenniel-TheRaven.jpg

It's not entirely the crow's fault. In fact, it looks like the writer was deranged beforehand. It was only the raven who pushed him over the edge with various means of repetition to create escalated annoyance. :) So there's my psychological analysis of the thing.

This kind of thing happens today. People watch horror movies. Seriously? Why would you subject yourself to terrible films about terrible things? To make yourself scared? Exactly. There is something that the human finds delicious about terror and fright.

MARGARET FULLERexternal image National_Women%27s_Suffrage_Association.jpg
Margaret Fuller
Margaret Fuller

Margaret Fuller…Where shall I start? :)

Margaret seems like an interesting kind of feminist. A strong (albeit confusing, for readers in our time) persuasive writer, Margaret outlines her own ideals for what it means to be a woman, in The Great Lawsuit: Man versus Men, Women versus Women. She throws in some good examples and anecdotes to illustrate her writing, and alludes to ancient mythology, giving any classical readers some points of reference and weight to her ideas.

Her ideas resound as contradictory to what I believe as a Christian. The bible states that the relationship between a man and a woman is a shadow of Christ and the church. So I

respond negatively when Margaret suggests that the man and woman roles can be reversed, and are basically the same. “Presently she will make a female Newton, and a male Syren.” (NAAL, p. 744) What? Is she suggesting that the way God made it moldable by nature? God forbid that Christ & the Church trade places. I will not argue against the fact that woman is an intellectual equal to man. Because there have been smart women and stupid men. Neither will I state that men are somehow worth more than women. But…I do think that men and women should stay in their places, the man providing for the woman, and the woman caring for the man.
Overall, Margaret Fuller seems to be an early feminist. Had I been born a woman, I will have to confess that my views on the subject may be a little different. But I’d like to think that the beliefs that I hold now are objective truth, and I could believe them whatever I am, male or female.

Margaret thought that marriage should be a union, not an acquisition
Margaret thought that marriage should be a union, not an acquisition
As quoted from NAAL Pages 745-746:

“I shall not have Maria brought too forward. If she knows too much, she will never find a husband; superior women hardly ever can.”
“Surely,” said his wife, with a blush, “you wish Maria to be as good and wise as she can, whether it will help her to marriage or not.”
“No,” he persisted, “I want her to have a sphere and a home, and some one to protect her when I am gone.”

Here we can see a bit of Margaret’s ideas coming out. A woman’s top priority is not “Her man.” Her top priority is “Herself.” Like I stated before with the mirror between Christ and the Church, could this be mirroring the transcendentalists? Was mankind’s purpose (represented by women) no longer to directly relate with Christ (represented by men)?

How Depressing…Where does the time go?
How Depressing…Where does the time go?

Washington Irving—a.k.a. Deidrich Knickerbocker (sorry, but that’s a laughable name! I know, I can’t complain. “Capotosto” is laughable too, but it’s the burden I must bear…Perhaps Washington decided on this name because it was laughable.)—was a writer who straddled the turn of the century: 1700 and 1800. It was right after the American Revolution (Read: The Declaration of Independence era).

The story of Rip Van Winkle is a humorous one. One of its funnier points (Not funnier…actually it’s quite terrible…try “More Humorous”) is the fun it pokes at Rip Van Winkle’s wife, Dame Van Winkle. Who’d name their kid Dame?! Dame is Dutch for “Lady!” Maybe this is poking even more fun at married life; imagine a story written by a modern author about two characters: “Bob and Lady Smith.” It just goes to add to Washington’s distaste for Rip’s wife, and gives us a sort of bitter image of her. The third-person narrative (omniscient) steps into Rip’s shoes to look at how much the world changes in the years he’s asleep.

For me, this story seems to have two sides to it: Pure, good old-fashioned fun—and history.

For the Fun side of things, it certainly is a funny story (in some ways). Can you imagine sleeping for twenty years?…I would die! (Well, I wouldn’t die, but I’d DIE!) How depressing to miss that much of your life! And the history of the world! Historically…well, I’ll break off into a separate paragraph to discuss it historically.
Little Acorns Become Huge Trees!
Little Acorns Become Huge Trees!

The following paragraph sort of belongs in the section when I discuss literary devices, but hey, whatever. It’s supposed to read like a journal. And trust me, this is what my journal looks like. :) (Yes, I do use emoticons in my journal entries, he he) Washington Irving used a very interesting literary device in this story—he subtracted the element of Gray. Sometimes in life, time eras are gray zones…time blurs together, until we are not sure how we changed, or what has changed. It takes years for a little acorn to grow into a tree. Now, who looks outside, and says to themselves, “Hey! That little sprig has turned into a slightly less little sprig! Time is going by so fast! I bet you fifteen quid that In no time at all, it’ll be a huge oak tree!” No, life doesn’t work that way! Instead, we look outside, and say, “Hmm. No, it doesn’t look like that little sprig has grown at all.” Actually, we don’t even say that! Because we can’t tell! But imagine if you fell asleep for sixty years. You’d wake up, look out the window and say, “Wow! Somebody transplanted a tree where that little sprig used to be!”

That’s what happened with Rip Van Winkle. Had he stayed awake, he may have said, “Hey! This little country has turned into a slightly less little country!”—or not have said anything at all. Instead he said, “Hey! What happened out here, yo! Everything is wrong!” Using this device of gray-elimination, Washington Irving was able to eliminate that gray area of history and turn it into something noticeably changed.

For me, this is the story of life. There have been several times when things have changed drastically. But a lot of the time, things have changed slowly, unnoticeably. If I had fallen asleep back in 2007, and was waking up now, I would be so messed up mentally! “What happened out here while I was sleeping?!” But why don’t I say that now? Because little changes don’t necessarily affect our lives. But big changes do. And when you pile up little changes, you’re in for a mountain (A Kaatskill mountain) of shock.

VIDEO: It takes a long time for a river to make a smooth stone…


Even I found Abess' writing inspiring.
Not all Indians were completely shunned…David Pendleton Oakerhater was a Cheyenne Indian and an Episcopal deacon.
Not all Indians were completely shunned…David Pendleton Oakerhater was a Cheyenne Indian and an Episcopal deacon.

Abess told the world what his opinion was of Americans' treatment of Indians. It was barbaric and unchristian. Did Jesus tell us that we should make actions judged on skin color? Absolutely not. I was struck by the trueness of this man's words…they were so inspiring. So true. So innocent.

The work contains lots of rhetoric. Many questions asked to the reader for the sake of self-analysis. It's like listening to a speaker at a rally, or a preacher from a pulpit. He throws in lots of scriptures from the New Testament. This was before the times of a religion-phobic society, and the Bible carried a lot of weight. By using scriptures in his writing, he added a powerful persuasive tool.

I REALLY liked what he said about the "Skins' sins." "Now suppose these skins were put together, and each skin had its national crimes written upon it—which skin do you think would have the greatest?" (NAAL p. 485) Hmm. Thought provoking. He then compares the whites' sins to the Indians sins. Sure, the Indians had their own issues. But, so did the whites. Take the beam out of your own eye before you go pulling the speck out of the Indians' eyes…I mean your neighbors' eyes! It was a chance for the whites to show Christian love. Who was to say that if they had instructed the Indians in the ways of God peacefully, they wouldn't have embraced the light? Who's idea was it that SLAUGHTERING them would make the situation any better? I look back down at Abess' text and my eyes fall on these lines: "Or have you the folly to think that the white man, being one in fifteen or sixteen, are the only beloved images of God?" (NAAL p. 485) It just hits me as so blatantly pure…so blatantly true! I'm getting riled up now. But I think that's okay. I wonder if his writings had the same effect on the people of his time. ?

external image Little_Rock_integration_protest.jpgHe goes on to say, that if anybody is far from God, it is the white people—! The mirror flies up in the face of the whites. What? Yes!!! The Europeans were the Gentiles of the Bible! He states that the Jews were probably colored people! And the Europeans were the Gentiles that the Apostles found it hard to accept into the Body of Christ! How do you like that? I can see the white people hearing this, just standing there awkwardly, as their mouth hangs open. “Uh…Uh…”

Uh what?

Wow, I’m getting really wound up over this. :)

“Jesus in particular looked at the hearts, and his Apostles through him, being discerners of the spirit, looked at their fruit without any regard to the skin, color, or nation; as St. Paul himself speaks, ‘Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free—but Christ is all, and in all’ (Colossians 3.11).” NAAL p. 486

“Perhaps some unholy, unprincipled men would cry out, “The skin was not good enough”; but stop, friends—I am not talking about the skin but about principles.” (NAAL p. 484)

The heart of the matter, I guess—and here I start to cool down—is exactly that. The heart of the matter. Not the skin of the matter, or the color of the matter. Isn’t it the same as a different eye color, or a different hair color? Just a different skin color? What is the big issue here? There is none, no real one, was Apess’ point.


Previous Material…

"One of the strongest human drives seems to be a desire for power. Write an
essay in which you discuss how an individual struggles to free himself or
herself from the power of others or seeks to gain power over others. Be sure
to demonstrate in your essay how the author uses this power struggle to
enhance the meaning of the work."

external image MaryWalcott_Longfellow-Corey.jpg

Abigail was a servant. Nothing too special. Who did she have to order around? When John Proctor refused to associate with her any longer, her anger and sense of injustice grew to the point of hysteria, and she snapped. Nice! I like how this sentence increasingly gravitates her emotions. In The Crucible, we see one theory of the Witch Trials' real motivation: Revenge and the lust for power. Great last sentence. It really hits the reader and is a kind of "pulling back the certain" moment.

Full of arbitrary accusations, The Crucible is an enormous, morbid joke.I Like how describe something depressing and serious as this as a "joke" Good use of wording too! It is fairly certain that Tituba was the only one performing witchcraft in the entire story, and yet by the end, several people are executed. Abigail was the antagonist in this thread, and it was clear that her desire for revenge won out over any common sense that was left in her head. What a grand excuse to finally have power over others!So True! What a grand excuse to finally escape public scrutiny! What a grand excuse to get back at that wicked John Proctor! What a grand excuse for revenge! Great last sentences! I liked how you progressed through all the different scenarios.

The ridiculousness can be seen in others as well. When Mary is accused of witchcraft, she can't take the strain, and gives in to the popular means of escaping blame. She accuses John Proctor of witchcraft, which eventually leads to his demise. The witchcraft accusation was a quick and ready excuse for anybody who needed revenge. I've heard that if you were so much as left-handed, you could be accused of witchcraft. Was the witch-scare legitimate? Or did the courts turn a blind eye to the entire affair? People like excuses, and they believe what they want to believe.Awesome ending! It leaves the ending for the readers opinion, i really like that. The last sentence really rings true, as sad as that may be.