English 104 Blog

Friday, December 10, 2004

Big Fish Part 3

Interesting ending to a somewhat good movie. Nice to know that the old man wasnt completly crazy and had a basis for most of his stories. Though it might seem that the old man had a pretty amazing life without the fabrications, because the truths that he did have were quite different and interesting than most peoples lives. As i said before he did tell these stories to entertain the people around him, as he seemed to be a great conversationist.

Also found it interesting on how water and the big fish seemed to play an important role throughout the film. The old man seemed to be like the big fish alway needing water, i.e him saying he always needed water, him pouring water on his head, lying in the tub, the ending scene with the river. It must have been a big deal, for the son having remembered that in his own story towards the end. I think this was to compare the old man's life story to everyone's favorite big fish story which is brought on by a truth but always altered to create a desired entertainment effect.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Big Fish Part 2

Hey more outrageous stories from the old man. I can relate to the younger son as my father has told some BIG stories, involving just about anything, though nothing near the stuff that the old man spews out of his mouth. The son is starting to find out that the old man isn't always telling lies and that some of his stories might have truth to them.

He basically tells the stories that any old man tells to younger people, like I said earlier I have heard some of these from my elders, the classic big fishing story, that first love story, the great war story, stories about old people during childhood, fights, first jobs, awkward looking giants, Japanese Siamese twins - o wait, nevermind.

Big Fish Part 1

First time watching this movie, though it has been out for awhile. Nice to know that it has one of america's best actors in it... Steve Buscemi. As for the movie itself it is somewhat interesting so far with all the far fetched stories.

This movie so far is about a conflict between a father and the son. The son holds something against his father for telling ridiculous stories all the time to anyone who wants to listen. He wants to know the facts about his father. Though he seems to have been around most of the time he has no clue who he really is.

Why do we tell Stories. We tell stories to entertain others, as the father in the movie does quite well. I think he had a dull life and uses his wild stories to basically fill in the blanks, to add some entertaining elements to his own life ( to the dismay of his son).

Appendix Three

Basically a good guide when in trouble for citing sources. Detailed example of each type of source and how to put them into your works cited page. This is basically about sources; finding them, evaluating them, and seeing if they are any good.

Jackson's "the lottery"

What is interesting about this story is that the winning prize is kept hidden till near the end, this is similar to poe's cask where the murder was also hidden for a good portion of the story. Also it is interesting that that there are litte details throughout the story that give hints to the murder; the kids piling stones, the telling of the town traditions/rituals, the woman refusing the prize.

Also this story gives no time period of when this could possibly have happened. With the vague details about the time period, it give the assuption that this could have taken place anytime, anywhere; which gives the story a unique storyline all its own.

Like poe's cask, after i read it the first time, the general thought was "what the hell" which made me reread it a few more times to understand. This and poe's short story have been my best of the book.

Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener"

What would you do if someone came in your place of work and did not leave, well according to Bartleby, move your offices and make the man stay in the empty workplace. This is a very weird story, that revoles around complex characters which seems to have backgrounds that the writer didn't have time to write.

First of all there's the narrator, the owner of the little law shop who wants to do terrible things to the annoying bartleby but is passive because he has pity for him. Then you have the coworkers; turkey who is either drunk or calm, nippers who is either angry or calm and unproductive or productive, always the opposite of nippers.

The best part of the story is the characters and the way they interact with each other, sometime entertaining (the narrator asking one of his coworkers about bartleby, who replies with wanting to black his eyes), and sometimes sad (bartleby and the narrator towards the end).

Just wish that we got a better background of bartleby then just that he worked in a dead letter office. That just cant be the reason for his awkward behavior.

O'Brien's "The Things They Carried"

O'Brien's The things they Carried is a nice piece of work. The subject of war is very fascinating to me and this story is no different. I thought it was neat that the writer listed many of the army issued items that they carried, and also listed the many things that the soldiers brought on their own. I think this gives the idea that though they were soldiers in a far away war, they were real people who left their own homes and lives.

The interesting part of this story that it is repetitive, retelling of the same event a few times, that is of Ted Lavender getting shot in the head and listing the things they carried over and over in the same way. It is sad towards the end as Jimmy Cross has to give up the only thing he care for.

Oh and the things they carried are quite interesting too, a finger of a dead Vietnamese, diary, dope. I was waiting for somebody to pull out the whole necklace full of human ears, or carry a gook head around for luck, like in the movies.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues"

Sonny's Blues is a change of pace from the week before's reading. There is no dramatic death or anything like the stuff in Poe or Chopin short stories, but it seems to have a more realistic quality to it than the cask or story of an hour. The issues, drugs, music, family life, prison are real like I said, and all it takes is a look around our society today to notice that is.

At first reading you want to have pity for sonny for all his troubles in drugs and life but i dont feel that for him. One might say that the neighborhood he lives in is why he is that troubled but it isnt, he chooses to do that stuff and lead that life. His brother seems to be fine, though he grew up under the same conditions.

The best part of the story is when sonny is playing with his band. The way the narrator tells of this event is quite interesting, with him making the musicians talk to each other through thier instruments.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Another story that involves alcohol, but this one doesn't end with somebody being walled in. The setting, I think is the essential part of the story. There are three main characters, the old drunk and two bartenders. The bartender get into a low key argument on whether to let the old man stay and keep on drinking.

This leads to one of the funniest things I've read in awhile, the bartender telling the drunk she should of killed himself last week, truly funny - in my own humor.

But, as I said the bar is the essential part of the story. A clean well lighted place, I think is what the senior barkeeper wants to keep the bar as. He wants it to be for those who don't have a place to go or don't have anywhere to go to.

The Story of An Hour

This one has a very interesting ending. The story is about a woman who has a bad heart, who takes the news of her husbands death very sadly. She goes into a short period of grievence. This is soon overcame by a new found lease on life. She keeps on saying things such as freedom.

This creates a whole new future for her. She feels that she might have a new life, and is looking forward in life. This is kinda weird thought, being as her husband just died, but i felt that she truly cared for him. Though she just died i just feel that she wants to move on.

This new life is soon ended as her husband comes home. She dies of heart disease, but the last few lines give the reader some more detail into her death. "Of joy that Kills" gives me the assumption that she didnt die because of pure excitement when her husband came home, but she dies because of her newfound hope of the future is smashed.

The Cask of Amontillado

All i have to say about this is that it musta have been a major insult. I haven't had the opportunity to read many of Poe's works but this one is very interesting. It is basically a murder/revenge plot of one man because of an insult, yea i said it a murder because of an insult.

At first i thought they were just friends who liked wine together. But as the story grew and got deeper to came to me that he was luring him into his wine cellar. This revenge plot must have been brewing for many years, as this would have taken a long time to prepare for.

To be inclosed into a wall must have been to worst way to die. Sitting there chained, walled in, suffocating it is truly amazing on how one can imagine that death. I am a big fan on how different types of writers display death, and the way poe doesnt use any gory detail to instil fear into the reader is amazing, the thought of a truely slow and suffering death is quite sufficent to this story.

Great one

Second Appendix

I think that writing about poetry is alot harder than writing about stories and other things. To write about a poem you first must understand the poem, and this is sometimes difficult for me. With some poems that have deep meanings, it is essential that the reader knows the different parts of the poem, i.e. plot, setting, characters, narrator. Also many people can have different thoughts on what the poem means. This leads to discussion between different people that have different ideas, which i think is helpful for everyone.

Levine's What Work Is - Komunyakaa's Facing It

During the begining What Work Is seems to stay on track, then all of a sudden the guys sees somebody that resembles his brother. He realizes that it isnt, and Then a whole rush of emotions go through the narrator as if he misses his own brother. Throughout the poem i think the narrator tries to figure out what really is work. First he thinks standing in a line is work,then he seems to talk to himself over what he didnt do to become closer to his brother. In the end i think the narrator realizes that he does not know what work is because him and his brother are so far apart.

Yusef Komunyakaa's Facing It is an alright poem that is also full of emotions. It seems to me that the narrator is struggling with his past that occured in vietnam. Throughout the poem there is a continual contrast between many things: Light and Dark, Past and Present, and his struggle with reality. The name of the poem "Facing It" i think is to relate to the narrators struggle with these many things. He must face his past (the wall) for him to continue on with things.

Eliot's Preludes

Prelude seemed somewhat interesting to me while I was reading it. I think it tried to depict four separate scenes, two of places and two of people. The first part portrays a dark part of a neighborhood right as the sun is setting. In relating to the title of the poem I think this scene in the prelude to the night that is coming.

I think Eliot wrote preludes to show the realistic part of society. The scenes he depicts all show a dark and grungy part of life. The second scene uses the smell of beer, and dingy shades to portray this.

The last two part of the poem dipict two people, in two seperate instances. The woman lying in her bed on the verge of waking up, and dreaming. The second of man walking in a dark city block.

The last part i dont seem to get. "Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women. Gathering fuel in vacant lots." It seems like eliot added this for some reason that has meaning. I havent the slightest clue as of what it would be. It seems that he added it to mock what he just wrote or to agree to it.

Monday, November 01, 2004

"The Red Wheelbarrow" and "Spring and All" and "This is Just to Say"

The red wheelbarrow is a very simple and neat little poem, Spanning just 16 words. This is a poem where most people might have different interpretations on. I think it involved with potential. The wheelbarrow has the potential to do much work, and that is why I think Williams decides to write about it.

Spring and All, I think deals with the transition from winter to spring. It is very different from the wheelbarrow and the plum one, it actually is longer and has what seems like a deep intellectual meaning, which I don't really care for. It uses strong imagery and creates a very vivid scene that describes everything from road, clouds, leaves, trees.

This is Just to Say is another short but sweet poem by Williams. At first reading I think the narrator said these things to mock the persons who had the plums. This is evident, I believe in the last part. The way that he just presents the last part is truly funny, at first he ask for forgiveness, then later gloats that they were truly delicious plums. Great Poem.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Daddy and Barbie Doll

Piercy's Barbie Doll seemed very odd when i first read it. To me it seemed like she was a very ordinary girl with everything being normal, but for some reason she was picked on in her early teenage years. The line of "she cut off her nose and legs and offered them up" is very chilling. This is where i think the young girl gives into the torment and decided to end her life. The last paragraph is where the poem gets much meaning. Through the young girls life she was mocked by her looks, only in death she is noticed by the people who surround her to being "pretty."

The narrator in Plath's "Daddy" seems a little too harsh on her father. He must of done something horribly wrong to deserve the harsh language that she portray him as. Thoughout the poem she compared him to hitler, and at the age of ten they buried her father. These ten years must have of been the hardest years of her life as she tried to commit suicide in her early twenties. Her troubles with men seems not to stop at just her father as she soon married. Then she compares her husband to a vampire "who sucked her dry for seven years."

Friday, October 01, 2004

Musee des Beaux Arts and Stafford's Traveling through the Dark

Beaux des Arts is a poem about suffering. I think it basically says that suffering is in our own human nature when he says its, "human position." He relates this information with the painting of the Fall of Icarus. Upon further reading I found the related Greek myth of Icarus that was background information for both the painting and the poem. He relates the beginning part when he says its in our nature to allow suffering, when all the people around Icarus ignore his drowning. I think it tries to tell us that we allow this suffering to go on because we ignore it. The scene where icarus falls from the sky had to be noticeable, but the people around him chose to ignore, chose to allow suffering.

Traveling through the dark seems like a tragic poem, and is about the author on a dark night finding a dead doe in the middle of the road. So he gets out to push it off the road, cause as he says "swerving it might make more dead," meaning other drivers might die when they swerve to miss the doe on the narrow road. Upon moving the doe he finds that she is pregnant and the fawn is still alive. The last line "i thought hard for us all-my only swerving-" i think the author realizes what could of happened to himself and what might happen to others, so ignore the fawn pushes her mother off the side.

The Fish and One Art

The Fish is a very descriptive poem about a huge fish that the author caught. She uses the description of the fish and campares it to things that have nothing to do with the actuall description, this makes it very interesting to read. For example, she could of just described the fish as just being brown, but she adds that it is like ancient wallpaper, she also describes the fish's white flesh as packed in like feathers. All this give me a vivid image of the scene, which changes from the fish to the entire scene with the boat and woman. There a rainbow is created, but Bishop uses other things that might seems odd in her rainbow, like oil mixing with water, rust and other things until she sees her odd little rainbow.

One art is not descriptive at all and is kinda confusing towards the end. The losing goes from small things at the beginning (keys) to rather large things towards the end(rivers and continents). With all this it seems that she tries not to lose these things but cant help it as she says, "losing isnt hard to master." The confusing part is when she says she lost the large things like rivers, continents, and houses, and gives me the thought that the write might be going senile.