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I have also had a similar experience with my friends. We also got into a pretty intense conversation on religion, and I just remember thinking, "woah, we're actually having a meaningful conversation". After that point, I really did feel like we could talk about anything - but I do think that for most people there is a certain level of comfort needed right now, and an assurance that people will respect what you have to say. I think that in college, we will learn to be more open and more willing to discuss and debate about our beliefs. But right now, I think it's a pretty good step to be talking about bigger issues, even with just our closest friends.
Toggle Commented May 28, 2008 on What's the Big Idea? at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
I understand where you're coming from - I think we all feel like we have enough on our plates, so why are teachers trying to drown us in last minute grand knowledge? BUT, and I agree w/ both Eliot and Kevin who posted before, the idea of the big idea, is that it is a BIG idea. That is, it applies beyond just the books we've read this year, it is applicable to our own lives. That being said, knowledge that is both practical and something greater, perhaps as something we can strive towards, is not only useful, it's pretty inspiring. Now, I'm not saying these english projects will change your life - in fact, most people probably don't give a hoot - but I really do believe that these 'big ideas' are worth thinking ab
Good point! I think we all know what a big deal college is, but when you put it this way, it seems to really sink in how completely different our lives will be. It's basically our first times venturing out into the world alone. I think that it is both scary and exhilarating at the same time. I've been looking forward to college for a couple of years now - sorry, but high school has just gotten old! - but now that the time is actually approaching, I find myself worrying a bit. Things like, will I like it in college, or, god help me, what if it's worse than high school? Or what if I hate my room mate, what if I don't like anyone there? It is indeed time to face the reality of growing up. It does seem intimidating to leave the shelters of our homes. But hopefully, we will all enjoy our new experiences, and mature in our first years away from home. I for one, while nervous, am definitely looking forward to this new step in my life!
Toggle Commented May 28, 2008 on Reality at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
I don't think that Morrison is saying slavery is eventually forgotten! I agree with Zoe's point - Beloved's death was the result of slavery and so it makes sense that her spirit remains to remind us of the horror of it all. Did anyone read the forward? Probably not, but since I loved this book so much, I did! Well, it says there that there was actually a real case where a mother killed her child so that the baby would not grow up a slave - and that it really impacted people, and made them see how awful slavery was! I think the gruesome death of Beloved in the novel serves a similar purpose. In the same way, the frightening idea that a mother would rather kill her own baby instead of having her child grow up in slavery really emphasizes how terrifying slavery was. As for the end, I think that it's interesting how ambiguous Morrison left Beloved's fate. I liked the ending though - I think, in a way, the mystery that is left in the book makes it even better than if we had a concrete ending. I'm not sure how I would have felt if, for example, we knew that Beloved was killed, or that she ran away. She simply vanished - whether she was real or not, I don't think is too important. What is important is how Beloved affected the lives around her. I think she serves as a constant reminder of the past, and how it never truly dies. Denver is strong for being able to leave 124 and to move past the past. However, moving on never means forgetting. In fact, I would argue that it is impossible to move on if you simply forget - you need to learn and remember the past in order to keep going on with your life. But that's just my interpretation.
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2008 on How To End Things at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
I think Morrison purposefully kept Beloved's disappearance ambiguous. I think that it is really significant how she extends the spirit of Beloved, not only to Sethe and Denver, but to everyone. Beloved becomes almost a universal feeling, or spirit. Morrison describes Beloved being found in other people's smiles, for example. She is never truly gone - I think Beloved is that past, and it's always there. You move on, and your life changes, but the past is never forgotten...
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2008 on What "Killed" Beloved? at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
I don't know, I think I'm going to miss reading such wonderful books! I have never been a big fan of poetry in school, and I don't think I ever will be. I'll admit, this year's poetry has been more bearable than most, but still...something about poetry at school just rubs me the wrong way! And on top of that, I still have to dig up my Perrine...I have NO IDEA where it is!
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2008 on poetry again. finally at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
I agree w/ everyone else - b/c we have never experienced anything remotely close to slavery, we can't really say whether Sethe was right or wrong. But I feel like I do understand why she chose to kill her baby - it was her own way of protecting her. In Sethe's mind, there is nothing worse than slavery, not even death. I don't really think that was her choice to make. But as a mother, she thought it was her duty to do what was best for her children. In her mind, there was nothing worse than Sweet Home. So, while I cannot bring myself to say that what she did was ok, I can say that I do not blame her for it.
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2008 on A Mother's Love Too Strong at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
I think that Beloved disappeared because she is in the past. Remembering and living the past give her power over Sethe - when Denver brings the town women, they are acting for the future. Beloved is a reminder of the past, of the horror of slavery for Sethe. Yet, she also reveals the possibility of a better future. Her control over Sethe brings Denver out into the world. Although Paul D and Beloved have a hateful sexual relationship, someone his tin box heart is reopened through it. As for the story not being passed on, I think that Morrison meant it in the sense that it is not some happy, pretty story people want to hear. This story is extremely gruesome and ugly at some points (like how Sethe had to hold the baby's face to keep it on the body) - it can be so real, and that can be frightening.
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2008 on The End. at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
Here are the water quotes that we found in our group: "But there was no stopping water from breaking from a breaking womb and there was no stopping now" (61) "The woman gulped water from a speckled tin cup and held it out for more. Four times Denver filled it, and four times the woman drank as though she had crossed a desert. When she was finished a little water was on her chin, but she did not wipe it away." (62) "Sethe was looking at one mile of dark water...it looked like home to her, nad the baby (not dead in the least) must have thought so too. As soon as Sethe got close to the river her own water broke loose to join it." (98) "Blinking fresh tears Denver approached her - eager for a word, a sign of forgiveness. Denver took off her shoes and stepped into the water with her...Beloved dropped the folds of her skirt. It spread around her. The hem darkened in the water." (124) " 'If it hurts, why don't you cry?' And she did...cried the way she wanted to when turtles came out of hte water, one behind the other, right after the blood-red bird disappeared back into the leaves...with the tip of her tongue, she touched the salt water that slid to the corner of her mouth and hoped Denver's arm around her shoulders would keep them from falling apart." (158) "Sethe went into the sea. They did not push her. She went there. She was getting ready to smile at me and when she saw the dead people pushed into the sea she went also and left me there with no fact or hers. Sethe is the face I found and lost in the water under the bridge." (253) What do you think the water is symbolizing? Obviously, there is a strong theme of rebirth - when Sethe is literally giving birth and metaphorically when Beloved appears. But what is the importance of tears? And also, the water seems related to loss for Beloved - she keeps saying she lost Sethe in the water. What is the water in this case? NOTE TO MY GROUP: Hey Uche, Kevin, Abby, and Jamie, whoever posts last, try and print out these comments for class on Thursday, ok? :)
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2008 on Water, Life, and Rebirth at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
I definitely don't think Light in August is a racist book. The situation of Christmas is not as simple as you have portrayed - it is not like he can just choose to be black or white! The fact is, many of us DO find identification within our own race, and Joe does not have that kind of security. He does not know where he belongs - he cannot simply decide to be black or white without betraying some part of himself.
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2008 on What's So BAD About Black? at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
Wow, well, disregarding the fiery posts proceeding this, I am going to go back to the topic of Faulkner's characters. Especially, the topic of Joe Brown and Lena. I think that Faulkner was great in creating and building upon his characters. For example, Lena, we see relatively little of her. Yet, our perception of her has changed completely from the beginning to the end of the book. At first, we see her as a rather foolishly naive young woman. But by the end, like everyone else that meets her, I think that we can't help but be charmed - there is just something so likeable about Lena! Perhaps it's her belief in life, or her strength to just keep moving on, I think that we end up admiring her. But as for Brown, I find him horrible, and honestly, quite pathetic. Someone else said that they can understand him - personally, I can't, not at all! He just seems like a coward to me. He was definitely the least likeable character in the book for me, b/c although he doesn't do anything horrible per say, all he does is run away from things! Well, except money...
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2008 on Patriotic Shame at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
I know what you mean - the circumstances for every character are so extreme that we could not possibly be in the same position. Yet, I think that you don't have to be like them to identify with them. The characters, for me, are all very genuine - with real fears and insecurities. I think that most people could relate to that. These characters seem to live in the realm of the human experience, something that transcends just their physical circumstance. But I can still see where you're coming from, b/c like I said, I don't think any of us have been in the position these people have been in. I mean, I am perfectly aware of my racial background, I did not grow up in an orphanage, etc. But I don't think this makes the book feel detached. When I was reading, I definitely felt very connected to all the characters, and not distanced at all! But this might be a personal thing - I've always been one to get really into a book. Anyway, this is definitely one of the best books I've read for english! I'm kind of sad to be leaving it...
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2008 on Normal at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4
Yes, we talked about hte gender reversal in the fishbowl as well. But what I found more interesting is the racist aspect...and while I wouldn't put Miss Burden on the same level as the "ridiculous racism" of the South, I also wouldn't say that her attitude towards helping blacks is completely innocent either. Assuming that she believes what her grandpa (or was it her father?) told her, which I think is true since she described it as having such a huge impact on her, in some ways her charity is pretty darn condescending. First of all, the idea that blacks, the curse, needs to be lifted. So that they can once again "return as white men", I believe were the exact words. And also the idea that white people have to raise the blacks in order to raise themselves make her motivation seem a bit more selfish. Of course, her attitude is still a lot better than most whites in the south at he time, but nonetheless, I definitely wouldn't write it down as the kind of mentality where everyone is equal, regardless of the color of their skin. Miss Burden is a bit racist, just in a beneficiary way, if that makes sense...
Toggle Commented Feb 29, 2008 on Gender Confusion at zaaaAP Lit Blog 4