Mark Vogel

American Literature

Journal #5

For this Weeks journal I chose to write it on Abraham Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg. When I read this speech when we posted our responses, I just found it so profound that I had to write my journal paper on it! My position I am writing from today is just that, from today. Comparing our president then, to the presidents of recent history, to our soldiers and causes then to our soldiers and causes now.
Reading all this on President Lincoln really got me inspired to do more research on him. I think that the values of the presidents in the past is completely different than the ones now. One of the major values he had was his feelings towards our soldiers. Lincoln himself served in the military before becoming president, so he knew exactly what he was asking his soldiers to do when fighting the war. He also knew what sufferings they had to endure. What made him such an incredible president, to me, is how he treated them. He would show up to battlefields to inspire the men, he felt deep and sincere sorrow for when they were killed. He honored and respected them and showed it with all of his actions. Today, do not see this respect for the soldiers that are fighting wars that shouldnt even be being fought. I do like Obama, however my biggest beef with him is his disrespect for our soldiers. It has been a tradition of many presidents of recent to visit the washington memorial to our fallen soldiers on memorial day, and he is the first president in many years to break this tradition. Also, Lincoln asked them to fight a war against the indifference of colored people, a very noble cause. Both Bush administrations have sent our soldiers half way around the war to die in a needless battle, for what? Where are our strong leaders like Abraham?

Mark Vogel

American Literature

Journal #4

The Pice of literature I decided to write on was the piece written by Edgar Allen Poe called The Raven. I have read this piece before, but never been challenged to write about it. I decided to take the stance when writing this journal entry on how Poe make the reader feel and how he instils emotions throughout his poem.
When reading the opening line, he immediately sets the mood with a dark setting with a “midnight dreary.” while reading this everything is quiet and undisturbed, and then all of a sudden a tapping is heard. Poe builds up anxiety and almost fear when he repeats the “tapping..rapping rapping..” like the suspense in a horror movie.
The second stanza Poe continues to speak of darkness and ghosts. He goes on and never mentions what was at the door, leaving the reader in a state of “what is at the door!”
In the third stanza Poe mentions key words like “terrors” and “beating of my heart” to make the reader anxious. Another method of almost making the reader go mad is him repeating lines over and over in a creepy manner. by repeating it he is building this sense of unknowing and anxiety.
The poem goes on like this for many stanzas until the tapping and rap rap rapping is discovered to be a raven. The whole poem is very uneasy. There is so many references to death and darkness and fear and otherworldly things. The paranoia of the person in the poem spreads to the paranoia of the reader
My reflection and experience i can associate with this play correlates to my imagination, especially on a dark windy night when i’m all alone. I know nothing is there, but all of the unaccounted for noises can lead myself to think there might be something there. This poem also reminds me of charly and that chocolate factory.

Mark Vogel

American Literature

Journal #3

NAAL pages 493-495

The section I chose to write on this week for my journal was written by Ralph Waldo. The view I am looking at this writing from from the viewpoint or lens of the ordinary every day human person. The way he describes nature in all its beauty and majesty is incredible. It is almost like everything can be solved by just staring up at the stars and admiring the incredible spectacle of the shimmering stars.
Imagine yourself getting home from a long day of work, and feeling absolutely stressed out o the point all you want to do is fall asleep and dream forever. What could possibly fix that state of being? Waldo phrases it absolutely beautifully “To go into solitude a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society....look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate him and vulgar things.” Now imagine actually this man taking Waldo’s advice, what would be his reactions, what would he feel? I think as he gazed up at the mystery of the stars he would feel comforted and at ease. His mind would drift away from the worries of this world, and travel towards the ultimate mystery and beauty of the universe at large. For that moment in time alone beneath the open sky, there is no one to tell him what to do, there is no confrontation, just peace and isolation.
Waldo describes nature as “never wearing an appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit.” He is making the point that we will never fully understand and know everything about nature, and that it will always surprise us. There is always something we can learn and enjoy about nature. Waldo also implicates how that any smart man will know that nature can never be tamed.
After reading this segment written by Waldo I just wanted to run outside and look at the starry sky. His writing is so beautiful and vivid and inspirational. Most of what he says rings true also. I know in my own experience that the only way to truly be isolated (in a good way) from the world and to release our minds is to experience something so awe inspiring that it takes all our focus to that one thing. For me personally the starry sky does just that. Just gazing up into the universe makes it almost impossible to almost separate yourself from your body. Waldo captures this concept to beautifully.

For some reason this makes me think of the song O Holy Night, maybe it is because i am getting into the Christmas mood, but it reminded me of it all the same

Mark Vogel

American Literature

Journal #2

November 14, 2010

The reading I decided on this week was by Washington Irving on pages 453-466. After reading this section all the way through the first time, I was blown away by the vividry of all the environments in the story. The way Washington describes landscapes and details makes it seem like I could have been there myself and that everything that happened to Rip could have happened to me. One of my favorite lines in the story describes Rip’s personality. “a tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only tool that grows keener by constant use.” (458) The way that he describes the landscapes was also incredible. “on the other side he looked down into a deep mountain glen, wild, lonely, and shagged, the bottom filled with fragments from the impending cliffs, and scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of the setting sun.” (p 459)

This entire story brought me back to when I used to hike a lot as a kid. the way Washington describes the mountains and how the light is reflected off of the cliffs and rocks is spot on. I think this story came alive for me because for almost all of his images I had my own experiences to relate to it, bringing the story more to life than if i was just reading words. I feel like Washington must have been in the mountains a lot and spent many hours in the wilderness in order to capture it so well. I wonder if he wrote while out in the wilderness, kind of like the same way an artist paints a scene that he sees outside?

Mark Vogel

American Literature

Journal Entry #1

November 7, 2010

The piece of literature I decided to write my first journal entry was onBlack Hawk’s autobiography. It speaks about when the area his tribe lived in was taken from them from the white people and kicked them out. This lead to Black Hawk attempting to return to his lands, but was forced away.
I wanted to look at this and develop this writing on how the Indians could have possibly felt. One of the main things I thought of is the complete disregard of their existence completely in all decision making. The settlers landed there and the land was already inhabited, but this did not seem to prevent this from making this new land (which turns out was not so new considering it was already inhabited, yet another oversight of the Indians) their own. Land changed hands many times, from the English, to French, to Spanish, yet in all of this the Indians had no say and were never taken into consideration that maybe this land belonged to them. It is like if someone else came into your home, sold it, forced you out, and take all the money they earned from the house.
Another aspect I wanted to mention is the fact of how the Indians are depicted and taught in school through high school. They are ALWAYS depicted as savages who wanted nothing of peace and were completely uncivilized. In reality, this was completely false. The Indians attempted at peace, and wanted peace. “We started immediately, that we might smoke the peace-pipe with him.” I feel that this was a very dark mark on the history of America, but it should not be covered up and justified the way it is being taught in schools.
The last point i wanted to make out if this autobiography is the innocence of the Indians and how they were similar to the white people. The Indians were completely taken advantage of. There was no respect or regards to the Indians or their well-being. They were told nothing of the “treaty” they were signing other than that they thought it would bring peace, when really it was a declaration of the abuse against the Indians. “Here for the first time, I touched the goose quill to the treaty--not knowing, however, that, by that act, I consented to give away my village.” The passage also shows how when the Indians tried to explain to the whites, in the same manner the whites would explain to them, that they were lied to, the wights get outraged and threaten war. “Wish to explain to them that they had told a lie, without making them angry; in the same manner the whites do.”
I somewhat incorporated my personal reflection in with the writing above, but mainly i can not believe the way this whole incident is being taught in schools to make it look like it was this noble victory over a savage people, when in fact it was the annihilation of almost an entire race.


Mark Vogel
American Literature
Mini Essay

“The conflict created when the will of an individual opposes the will of the majority is the recurring theme of many literary works. Select the work of an essayist who is in opposition to his or her society; analyze the conflict and discuss the moral and ethical implications for both the individual and the society.”

Patrick Henry was arguable one of the most influential people of his era. In a time where the colonists had not yet taken a stand against the injustices of those that were still in charge; representatives from England, Patrick Henry stood above all. He knew what was going on and that it was wrong, and he voiced his opinion on the matter. He alone broke the silence, and because of him started an uproar across Virginia. The actions of one man can instill hope and courage in those being oppressed, and fear into the oppressor. Wow, this is a great opening paragraph. You set up the scenario, explain who we're talking about, and use some pretty strong language. I like your last sentence.

There were several conflicts which Patrick Henry faced when speaking out against England. Again, nice opening line. The most obvious concern was that of treason. In that period, it was not uncommon for citizens to have their heads removed for speaking out against their country. Eesh, I see there was not much freedom of speech going around! It surprises me that the representatives from England did not have his head. I wonder why? Were they scared of the colonists? Kind of like what would happen if today's government arrested Oprah for speaking out against health care? Another problem was winning the support of the people. It was a very bold move that he did, and if he did not become so loved by the people I do believe he would have been “removed” from the situation one way or the other. Ambiguous—leaves room for my imagination. Very nice. :) Another conflict was finding enough people to follow him in the idea that England had no right to tell them what was best for them when they were thousands of miles away. He even calls the king a tyrant. Brave soul! Patrick Henry stated that “a king who would veto a good and necessary law made by a locally elected representative body was not a father to his people but "a tyrant who forfeits the allegiance of his subjects."” Hmmm…perhaps this is where we get some of our government nowadays. Patrick Henry faced many conflicts from treason, to possible execution, and to the thought that through all this he may not find supporters to follow his cause, however this never subdued his courage to speak his mind in the goal of justice.

There were several moral and ethical implications of Patrick Henry’s actions on himself as well as on the entire community. The entire reason for Patrick’s voicing of his opinion has to do with his moral and ethical conscience. He believed that there was an injustice being done to himself as well as his community, and that the people who live in that area should be able to govern and decide for themselves what is best for them. However, his actions could have doomed the entire community. Due to him revolting against the king of England, this lead for the possibility of the entire town being punished. The community faced moral and ethical implications as well. They had to make one of two decisions. One decision they could make would be to refute what Henry said in the hope to protect themselves from potential punishment, however then they would leave Henry to his demise and would have to suffer under the unfairness of the king. The second decision they could make would be to back and support Henry which would lead to the risk of punishment, however it gave them the hope to be able to govern themselves. Even though Henry as well as the community around him had moral and ethical decisions to make, they all were courageous in their decision to speak out and follow one another against England’s rule. Very good—Patrick Henry left them in a spot where they HAD to make a choice: Sacrifice one of their own and become more entangled with England's tyranny, or sacrifice themselves in the hope of freedom.

P atrick Henry was placed in a situation that no man wants to be placed in. Of note, he may have also placed other men in a situation they didn't want to be in. (see above) :) He was faced with the thought of a ruler unfairly governing a people thousands of miles away. He was faced with the decision to stand out against a seemingly undefeatable foe and risk his own life and the lives of those around him, or to “lay supine” on his back waiting for the enemy to unjustly govern them. Although it was Patrick Henry that started the revolution in Virginia, the men and woman who stood behind him were equally courageous because they all faced the same threat . If it was not for men like Patrick Henry and for those that followed his lead and did not allow for indifference that was going on between England and themselves, then we would not have the country that we are so lucky to live in today.

Exemplary, Mark! Very nice piece put together about Patrick Henry. You captured many aspects of his story…his bravery, his defiance, his stand for his people. He was very American. :)

Citations taken from