Summative Entry

Earlier this year I purchased a guided tour into the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Almost unknowingly, I eye-rolled when I approached the meeting point and found that my group was mostly filled with American tourists, furthermore, New Yorkers!

My dislike was mostly because of America’s recent sensationalised political agenda but maybe also because of the ‘mom’s’ annoying accent. This led to a subsequent disinterest in American culture.

To my surprise, after undertaking this unit, I have learned to appreciate New York (and it’s contributing artists) the same way in which I would have appreciated Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia – for its significant historical culture. I have even booked tickets to travel to NYC next January!

This unit required me to feel, more than respond. The authors I studied based their work on discontentment. They saw boundaries –  be it human rights, stereotypical gender roles, collective misconceptions, bogus cultural values, politics, religion, the state… and they crossed these boundaries and splashed around in murky-water, distributing ripples of inquisitive energy to their intellectual literary descendants. I say this because I have developed an admiration for what I can associate as the ‘American Spirit’. By which I mean, the educated American academic who has wiggled and screamed in a loud tantrum, its way out of the straight-jacket of American authority in all its nasty forms.

 

Personally, I found that I was looking for rawness, a voice of realism and critique, which led me to favour William Faulkner’s writing style the most. I also found a special affiliation with James Baldwin and Allen Ginsberg because of their equal ability to elegantly deliver obscene, aggressive language. (I think we call it ‘sassy’ these days). An equal force of genius energy was Emerson, who reminds us how important it is to take ACTION.  To remember that we are all American Scholars. Collectively, the authors asked you to be acutely critical of the world around you.

Collectively, the authors asked you to be acutely critical of the world around you.

 

To rebel against the foolish consistency, to rid yourself of the Hobgoblin mind and break free from the boundaries which suffocate the learning mind from breathing in the air of creativity.

With thanks to this unit, I understand the value of creativity.

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Peer Review 8 (American Lit)

Hi Danielle,

This post is phenomenal! The first line “I’ve never believed it natural to write a lie” was absolutely captivating. It is evident that you have really explored Faulkner’s idea and have made some excellent arguments supporting his philosophy. From your response, ‘uncertainty’ seems to be the basis of much of human conflict. Very interesting choice of an image to visually complement your response.

Brilliant and engaging response all in all.

Great work!

Tabitha.

https://daniellegattlit.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/conflicting-contractions/comment-page-1/#comment-110

Blog Post 9: Listening to the Howl

CRITICAL: From today’s massive, subversive and powerfully creative world of the Beats and beyond which artist and/or writer inspired you most? Which innovation in language,  most struck your sense of what was powerful and new.

Why did Allen Ginsberg decide to Howl?

Perhaps he needed to be heard, above the deadbeat monotone voice of a society which needed to be shaken. But this is no timepiece. The textual integrity of Howl is evident especially today. The youth of today have collectively forfeited their individual voices and replaced this with the noise of our devices. A noise that screams disillusionment.

Ginsberg inspires me because of the way in which he can articulate his arguments to disrupt the reader. Either by his choice of coarse language, i.e. “with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls” (493). He draws on erotica, religious allusions, and scepticism with American Capitalism all in the same stanza, often in the same line.

“Visions!, omens!, hallucinations!, miracles!, ecstacies!, gone down the American River!
Dreams!, Adorations!, Illuminations!, religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!” (499).

The argument is not personal, it is an invitation for the audience to join what might be understood as an ‘avant-garde’ announcement that the youth and intellectuals of his time are not as foolish as The Man thinks. He is shaking up his audience and the present-day reader to question the barriers around them, to question their concept of reality.

This poet lives his poetry, he subjects himself to experimentation with everything considered taboo in his society and then draws on his experience to create political literary ART. This is both powerfully moving and timeless.

Every single line of any one of his poems could be isolated and studied for its complexity. It is evidence of not just a well-educated poet, but of a rebel with a voice that is worth listening to.

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Peer Review 7 (American Lit)

Hey Annaliese,

I really enjoyed your film review. It is an entertaining and insightful piece which demonstrates that Franco’s adaption was a success. I agree with your point that James Franco highlights the tension between what is said and left unsaid in the text. Also, great character analysis of both Darl and Cash, they are distinctly opposite characters!

All the best,

Tabitha.

https://annalieseferraro98.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/9-as-i-lay-dying-film-review/

Blog Post 8: As you lay dead

  1. CREATIVE: Using any one of Faulkner’s 15 character voices as a guide, create a paragraph in the voice of a character totally different to yourself. Think about people you might have overheard on the train or busor someone you might have seen randomly on a street corner. Invent their life, their consciousness in a paragraph. Who knows it might become the start of a larger work!

“She’s dead. That old bitch is finally gone. Sitting upright on her plush upholstered throne. Her head has collapsed onto the shoulder in which too many have cried on. Her mouth is open wide enough for the devil to enter and play with her insides. Only now that she is dead, do I feel comfortable enough to talk to her.”

“Sixty years sucking off the teet of this pathetic woman. Your stubbornness to stay alive blocked you and me from having ever lived. You migrated to the ‘lucky country’ forty years ago. Did you think that luck was all it took? Why did you bring me here with you and your fear? Forty years we have sifted our way between locals and fellow immigrants, never making a fuss, just getting by.

Forty years living in this two bedroom apartment with my mother and her pension. What does a sixty-year-old man do with less than a thousand dollars to his name… and the corpse of his dead mother?”

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The above passage is the voice of a sixty-year-old man who has found his mother dead on the couch. The two migrated to Australia forty years ago, assuming that their quality of life would improve. The man blames his personal failure on his mother, for sheltering him from the world for so long. 

Peer Review 6 (American Lit)

Hi Alex,

This excerpt from T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ also caught my attention. His language is so lyrical and provocative, he certainly seems to follow his own rhythm (as suggested by Ezra Pound). I enjoyed reading your interpretation of this poem. You have made great connections by highlighting themes of temporality, urgency and time. As you say, these themes are just as relevant now as they were to audiences in the past, and perhaps will be in the future. Great job including Keats to back up your argument and fantastic choice of an image to represent how the poem spoke to you!

Wonderful work!

Tabitha

https://alexlouisesite.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/blog-7/comment-page-1/#comment-2

Blog Post 7: A Shower Early in the Morning

5/ Try to write either a William Carlos Williams, an Ezra Pound or an e.e.cummings poem using your own subject matter but sticking to their language and form. As a starting point you might try either “The Red Wheelbarrow” (309), or “In a Station of the Metro” (318) or e.e.cummings “in Just-” (638))

‘The cloud in this room smothers my reflection;
burning incense, swimming through a crack in the window.’

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The poem depicts an observation of the steam from a hot shower engulfing a bathroom and escaping through a window into the cold early morning. In the style of Ezra Pound’s ‘In a Station of the Metro’ (318). 

 

Peer Review 5 (American Lit)

Hey Victoria,

Great job on this post. Not only are you justifying your personal affiliation with Frost and his form of poetry, you also go into great detail on his unique writing style and the circumstances that make his poetry so powerful. Your response comes across as academic, with evidence of research. I especially like how you have taken the above^ comment on board and corrected your grammatical error. It shows you take your writing seriously. It could have been interesting to contrast Frost with Lowell or offer a line on your opinion on Lowell’s poetry. Perhaps there was something you didn’t like about Robert Lowell’s poetry? I found I also preferred Frost’s work. All in all, this is a really inspiring post. Well done!

All the best.

Tabitha.

https://vzengl200.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/week-8-blog/

Blog Post 6: Dear Mr. Frost

4/ Write a letter to either Robert Frost or Robert Lowell and tell them about one of their poems that has had a real impact on you.

Dear Mr. Frost,

The fog of nostalgic childhood dissipates to uncover the familiar face of mortality. You chip at the trunk of temporality, pecking away layers of human psyche and disillusionment to express rawness in your writing.

‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ was the first of your nursery rhymes to introduce me to the realm of the ineffable. To use nature as the subject for personification owes influence to your Transcendentalist ancestors. You describe yourself as A-religious, and perhaps, for this reason, your allusion to ‘Eden’ in the sixth-line affixed my faith to this poem. “So Eden sank to grief. So dawn goes down to day” – you make me regret the dawn I was unconscious for this morning. You remind me to mourn the fall of Eden. I feel the leaves at my feet and consider what I treasure as gold, and why? Man and Woman have treasured ‘gold’ in all its various forms since we met with Sin and gave birth to Greed. Superficiality, vanity, materialism, and selfishness – the virtues (or lack of) that trick us into thinking that permanence is possible; that our accessories are ours and ours alone. Nature belongs to no one.

I asked myself:

“Do you not wish that the flower before the leaf was held an hour more? That Eden was a prosperous paradise still afloat? That the dawn and sunset were alive for one continuous day?”
But then I would miss the warmth from the sun ray.

You are right. Nothing gold can stay.

With Respect,
Tabitha.

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Peer Review 4 (American Lit)

Hey Charles,

Your interpretation of the ‘color-line’ interested me. Your response is assertive in that it is well-researched and quite factual. Your perspective is interwoven with some tones of history in which I wasn’t aware, i.e. Boer farmers. Perhaps that is the fault of my own ignorance, but nonetheless, I think by including this into your explanation of the ‘color-line’ you have justified a bold response. I also like your choice of the verb “bucking” in the eighth-line. I would have liked if you had offered something solidifying to conclude your passage. I think you could have determined Du Bois’ opinion on human nature through further research and that this would compliment the assertive tone of your response. I had to read over your conclusion a few times to really gather a sense of your personal opinion. Overall, great job on a uniquely articulated critical response. Looking forward to more.

Tabitha

https://americanliterature634.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/week-6-critical-blogtopic-1/comment-page-1/#comment-3