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John D.
Indoors
Think of the last time you lay on top of a rock and just absorbed the sun. Wasn't it actually raining?
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One of the greatest decisions - a bit risky, and thus even more so - that Conrad made while writing Heart of Darkness was to leave totally open what horrified Kurtz enough to gasp, "The horror, the horror..." as his last line. As this novel is not one commonly looked upon for Hemingwayan clarity or candid openness, a generic next step in the same direction can hardly be termed surprising. It is the use of this equivocation, though, that grants it this accolade of mine. This is Kurtz's last line. Not one to contradict himself, Conrad would not have given... Continue reading
Maybe it's naivete, maybe slick contrarianism, or maybe far too much thought into what should be a darn straightforward societal criticism, but I find Heart of Darkness to be much more sexist than it is racist, even when we apply Marlow's racially clumsy views to the whole book. Women scarcely have any real power in the book. All of the adventuring, conquering, and such are done by the men. That's great, a great setup - we just have to position our satirical talons keenly and then... the criticism never comes. It's just sexist. Women are portrayed in Heart of Darkness... Continue reading
It's virtually a consensus that Old Woman Magoun is wiggidy-wack. As highighted in other posts this week, she very likely killed both of her daughters. Even if the story's canon as the author intended it holds otherwise, Magoun is at least a questionable parental figure, making my claim rather unadventurous. I find the most discussable quirk of such a role, though, to be one that Cody mentioned during class (briefly) and that we (again briefly) glanced back on a couple more times: Magoun's adoption of her granddaughter's doll. It's a doll. Well, is it, or is it her great-granddaughter? I'm... Continue reading
One eye? No, that's not good enough. Gloucester must have both of his eyes removed for the analogies we can draw to hold up. I find it difficult, though, to focus on the idea that only once Gloucester loses his vision can he see the treachery that's been done. I view the event as a scarcely ironic culmination of the treachery that's built up - but a wryly pitiful and tragic one. Regan's language and attitude during this scene near the end of Act III show how far along she's come down her dark path, ignoring practicality for the sake... Continue reading
I was so caught off guard when Guitar ran up and started trying to kill Milkman that my first instinct was that Morrison had just gotten bored and wanted to kill him off. This thought was a little premature, as not only does Milkman regain his position and send Guitar scurrying away; the whole event seems to be a useful and surprisingly seasoned exercise in capturing a vulgar death in a pervasive, dreamlike frame. It took even less time for me to read through the event, though, than for it to play out within the canon of the novel, so... Continue reading
A central point of Louis Althusser's arguments is that an individual's identity is born from an established ideology rather than from work on the individual's part to define it him/herself. However, Althusser defines "ideology" quite loosely, in a guise that extends from political meta-positions through, in aggregate, a society's entire system of views, and down to the very conception of the individual. My guess is that he sets out such a broad definition to make his argument more difficult to refute. It remains, though, an interesting foil to America's traditional understandings of what identity means and how it develops. If... Continue reading
I very much enjoyed today's in-class discussion about the implications - mundane and otherwise - one's name can have upon one's life. I answered "A" ("true") to the question pertaining to this on the opinionaire and was likely one of the first to shoot his or her hand up in support while Mr. Heidkamp tallied votes. While a few of the other motifs I've seen in Song of Solomon so far have seemed a little tacked-on and unexplored (so far), names (if they can be considered one), seem to carry a great deal of potential. Okay, a lot of the... Continue reading
This is an iambic-pentameter villanelle. I'm not sure if what I submitted a week or two ago counts for this week or if the iambic-pentameter sestina I read in class does; just to be safe, I'm doing this. I hope you know our union is a sham. I cast a vote to cast us on the rocks. If you don't know, you don't know who I am. I thought my apathy was on the lam And never to return like shuttlecocks. I hope you know our union is a sham. I thought you knew I didn't like your fam Or... Continue reading
"Faust Arp" - Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007) In typical Thom Yorke fashion, the sixth of ten tracks on Radiohead's second to most recent album makes use of rich and layered metaphors and winding chains of equivocation. Not as firmly within typical Yorke fashion, "Faust Arp" also involves frequent repetition of short phrases and words. From the start, lines such as "Wakey, wakey, rise and shine / It's on again, off again, on again" and "Fingers in the blackbird pie / I'm tingling, tingling, tingling" show the monotony of the narrator's perceived situation. Yorke does not settle for repetition, however,... Continue reading
Today's episode of Mad Men was not new to me, as I'd seen it the preceding year in AP Language with Ms. Holtschlag. However, I viewed it today with new eyes, ones now accustomed to the dramatic over-turnings of seemingly established and objective truths that I fear (and hope) will be increasingly common to this class as the year dwindles. Life has no meaning - this we know and have all but closed off. Life is not the issue on the table with this episode, though; death is. Well, when I artfully contrast life with death, I am referring to... Continue reading
Here I am again. I realize that I've already posted an entry ("The Strangeress") within this grading period and will likely get no further points, but if I cared about that I wouldn't be here. At first I didn't think I'd like Trust, the film Mr. Heidkamp has shown us recently. At second, I didn't think I'd like it. At home plate, I didn't think I'd like it. But when I was a spectator in my seat, unconcerned with playing with the film, with "participating" - injecting my own viewpoints and predilections into it - I realized that it was... Continue reading
Is Camus' idea of existentialism compatible with a female lead to embody it? That is, could Meursault have been a woman? I'm sure the story could've been written so that he was, but would it have changed dramatically? I will ignore the fact that Marie is also a woman. You may assume either that Marie becomes Mario, a man, or that Meursaultess becomes a lesbian. It doesn't really matter. The differences, I think, lie more in other characters in absolutes than in Meursaultess' relationships with them. It has been posited that Camus' existentialism is necessarily a patriarchal, sexist philosophy. This... Continue reading
Have we moved on? I don't think so. My focus should be on The Stranger (and a due measure of it is), but something about the scenario envisioned in Sisyphus is acting like a singularity for my ever-present sense of the absolute and eternal: dangerous yet enticing. Sisyphus is sentenced to push his rock up his hill for eternity. It always falls down at the top, no exceptions. There are no rushes of adrenaline that allow him to push it firmly on top of the hill. There are no relieving flat stretches amongst the crag. There are no Velcro patches... Continue reading
John D. is now following innerpickle
Sep 11, 2012
Mersault, the protagonist of The Stranger, is perhaps most notable - in the first three chapters of the book and, as I assume, throughout its remainder - for displaying little emotion or subjective investment in his surroundings. As if shrugging off his mother's death like a fly on the windshield wasn't insulting enough to her memory to drive more emotional readers to hatred of him, he follows through by sleeping at her funeral. What's his deal? My theory, as it was when I threw it into the metaphorical fishbowl today during AP English with Heidi, was that Mersault is actually... Continue reading
John D. is now following The Typepad Team
Sep 9, 2012