Who run the world? Girls. (just kidding.)

Pre-reading, I thought:

  • another gender-related text?
  • a short text? I haven’t seen this in awhile.
  • a short text WITH footnotes? cool, less reading, could prove to be beneficial when writing that essay…

Post-reading:

I felt that even though de Beauvoir advocates for different things than the last text we read, Wollstonecraft, there were many things that they had in common, like the use of Adam and Eve and how the story is essentially a call for action for women. I think I would have enjoyed Wollstonecraft more if these two texts were grouped together instead of Paine. While I thought Wollstonecraft was a bit too wordy for my liking, as her use of adjectives was a bit overkill, de Beauvoir gets to the point a lot quicker, which is probably why this reading was so much shorter.

When I reached the section where de Beauvoir talks about Freud, I was slightly disappointed because I thought that we were done with him, not that I dislike Freud or anything, but I’ve had my fill of Freud-talk for the year. This section would have been a really good essay in response to the set of essay questions on Freud.

A couple ideologies were brought up in this text, the Subject and the Other and the castration complex. The latter I wasn’t completely sold on, maybe because it was reminiscent of Freud, which creeps me out a bit. The Subject and the Other was intriguing. Remembering back to when we read Fanon and discussed “the Other” in that text and the mentioning of the minority groups in this text , I had never previously seen a woman being compared to as a slave.

So I hope this hybrid blog post with the mention of Fanon, Freud, Wollstonecraft and de Beauvoir wasn’t complete crap and will somewhat compensate for my many weeks of missed posts (although I know it won’t, sorry!).

 

(The title was the first thing that came to my mind… headaches and creativity don’t mix.)

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Dobby has no master, Dobby is a free elf!

So it’s late (or early?) and I should really be studying for a french midterm but I thought I’d get this out of the way.

What I liked:

  • the style that Fanon uses, with his integration of quotes from other texts and poems
  • the language is actually understandable, unlike all the medical terms that Freud used

What I think the text is talking about:

(this is just brain vomit)

  • being black means being evil, a savage, etc
  • being white means being good, angelic
  • black people want to be white
  • a black man is a penis

I’m going to be honest here, I followed along pretty well at the beginning and quite enjoyed the book. But somehow along the way I realized I had no idea what was going on anymore. Maybe I had missed out on something from not reading the footnotes? But really, like Hannah mentioned in her post, footnotes are just not that fun to read when they take up so much of the page.

On another note, on page 195, when Fanon talks about the abolishment of slavery, I was reminded of Dobby the house elf being freed from the Malfoy’s. Especially in the line, “the upheaval did not differentiate the black man. He went from one way of life to another, but not from one life to another,” (195) I began contemplating whether Dobby could represent the black man and I realized that Fanon’s statement does apply to him as well. Maybe Dobby isn’t a free elf after all.

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Slightly Disturbed.

I don’t know if it was just me, but I felt a little disturbed quite frequently while reading this book. Especially when I read this:

“I could not help smiling; for I was able to show her exactly a fortnight earlier she had read a piece of news that concerned be in the newspaper.” (112)

 

When I first started reading, I thought that maybe this would be a 124 page book filled with medical terminology that would be a good thing to help me fall asleep during those nights that I lie in my bed at 3am knowing that I have to wake up in 4 hours.

Then I was introduced to Dora. It was probably Dora’s story that kept my attention to the end of this book. Everything in her retelling of events seemed to make sense and I took it all in at surface level. And then somehow Freud managed to take every little aspect of her dreams and interpreted them in several ways along with the sprinkle of medical terminology which left me with an expression that looked a little like this:  O_O”

I wanted to insert a meme in pace of the type out face but then there was the whole thing about copyrights. (But here it is. http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/chloe-meme-original.jpg)

I guess you could say, I didn’t like this book. I didn’t passionately hate it, but I would probably never open it again.

One part that I did find interesting was the example of the bricklayer. For those of you who didn’t read/ haven’t finished, here is what I’m referring to:

“Let us imagine a workman, a bricklayer, let us say, who has fallen off a house and been crippled, and now earns his livelihood by begging at a street-corner. Let us then supposed that a miracle-worker comes along and promises him to make his crooked leg straight and capable of walking. It would be unwise, I think, to look forward to seeing an expression of peculiar bliss upon the man’s features. No doubt at the time of the accident he felt he was extremely unlucky, when he realized that he would never be able to do any more work and would have to starve or live upon charity. But since then the very thing in which the first instance threw him out of employment has become his source of income: he lives by his disablement. If that is taken from him he may become totally helpless. He has in the meantime forgotten his trade and lost his habits of industry; he has grown accustomed to idleness and perhaps to drink as well.” (37)

More often than not, I am very optimistic. When I read this passage in the book, I found that Freud had a knack of taking something that would sound like a good thing and find a way to twist it into something else. In this case, he took the opportunity of a miracle and made it look like a death wish.

 

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Gatsby, is that you?

Might I begin this blog post with this statement: Not too shabby Northanger Abbey. (Oh hey, that rhymed!)

At first, not having read the summary on the back, I walked right into that thing without a clue of what to expect. Come to think of it, I’m still uncertain of the era I pictured the story taking place is the one Austen intended us to envision.

On that note, Northanger Abbey reminded me of The Great Gatsby. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • the lavish social events they attended resembled Gatsby’s over-the-top parties
  • the intriguing Mr.Tilley and/or General Tilley bore loose resemblance to Mr.Gatsby himself
  • the entourage that Catherine hung out with behaved quite similarly to Daisy’s group of friends, with the same pompous and carefree manner

This is probably one of the contributing factors as to why I liked this story. Even though it didn’t take place in the 1920’s like The Great Gatsby did, the similarities between the settings sometimes made me picture the plot taking place in the 20’s (yes, I really do love the 20’s and the fact that the pop culture of 2013 saw many revivals of the splendor of that decade).

Another thing I really enjoyed was the roller coaster of frustration it made me feel. Early on, since we were introduced to our main character, I had developed an attachment to her, whether I liked it or not. Every time something went right I would be shared some of her emotion only to be disappointed again by whatever plot twists and misfortunes Catherine had to face. Maybe this is me being an overly sentimental girl but I really liked how there was romance in this story! I’m a sucker for a love story, even if this one wasn’t as epic as Stefan and Elena from the Vampire Diaries (a tv show, for those of you who don’t know) or cheesy (but we love them anyway), like a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Can I also say that the huge paragraphs on the pages where it looked like a brick wall of words were just so horrible to see as soon as you turned the page. I’m guessing it looked like this because of the way the dialogue was written within those paragraphs too. But that’s just what I’m used to.

 

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The Carpentier Who Built the Kingdom (of this World)

I completely forgot that it was my week to blog.

When I first read the title of Kingdom of this World, I didn’t know what to expect or to even like it as much as I did. The books we’ve been assigned for the past two weeks have probably been my favourite set so far. Why?

  1. They were both related to history. It was refreshing to take a break from the heavy amount of philosophy related texts.
  2. Kingdom of this World had characters! I hadn’t realized that I would appreciate the affect that the presence of characters would have on me until characters reappeared in our readings.
  3. The font of the text was HUGE, so the 180 pages were easy to fly through.

I think my favourite part of the book was the ending. Not because I was done the book, but because it was written in a way that is similar to my own writing techniques. The passage that i’m referring to is,

“In the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no grandeur to be won, inasmuch as there all is an established hierarchy, the unknown is revealed, existence is infinite, there is no possibility of sacrifice, all is rest and joy. For this reason, bowed down by suffering and duties, beautiful in the midst of his misery, capable of loving in the face of afflictions and trials, man finds his greatness, his fullest measure, only in the Kingdom of This World.” (pg. 179)

It was such a beautifully written ending that summarized the events that happened in the book well and tied itself back to the choice in title, but at the same time it was able to spark intrigue. I felt complete yet incomplete at the same time. When I try to write my essays, I attempt to leave my audience with the feeling that an ending like this gives, but… I am rarely able to hit something so spot on as Carpentier had produced.

*Please excuse my cheesy title.

Here We Go, Rousseau!

1. So, we have already established the symbolism of the over cover on A Discourse on Inequality in Crawford’s lecture, but that got me thinking, who are the people that are depicted on the more modern cover? What do the objects/other elements represent?

2. Rousseau seems to be able to formulate an entire argument surrounding the utopian lifestyle of nascent man. How does Rousseau come up with this conjecture that humankind has evolved from an animal-like being when many others at the time believed in the creationist theory?

b. What evidence does he use to provide some validity to his conjecture? Or, does his disclaimer denounce the need for evidence?

3. If Rousseau identifies savage people to be unaware of their own existence, how are they capable of understanding that they are happy? 

4. The role of women began as merely satisfying her young’s needs and eventually letting them go about their own lives. Although this sounds like the modern role of a mother, Rousseau further expands by adding that the child and the mother will part ways, never to see or recognize each other again. What has caused the change in relationship between mother and child?

 

Annndddddd…. I’ve been staring at this post for too long for any other mind-probing questions. I tried.

 

 

p.s Charlotte, I hope you aren’t too infuriated at my tardiness on this post. I’ve been working on it for 3 days.

Black Is the New Devil

When I first started reading Leviathan, I had to reread the first lines a couple of times because they just went waaaayyyy over my head. Then, I fell into a trance like state and managed to make it through the rest of the text.

I thought Leviathan was difficult to get through because I felt so emotionally unattached without the presence of any characters. It was as if Hobbes’ was giving me a seemingly never-ending lecture on the mechanics of a human being, almost like a manual or dictionary on every single human quality that one could possess.

It wasn’t until quite a few chapters in that I came upon this quote and had a good chuckle,
“there was nothing which a poet could introduce as a person in him poem, which they did not make either a god or a devil.” (pg. 68)

One interpretation that automatically came to my mind was frequent discussion among us english students as to why everything in short stories, novels, poems, etc. always have to have some sort of deeper level of interpretation, or in Hobbes’ argument, everyone must be good (symbolizing god) or bad (symbolizing the devil). Of course, I do understand that sometimes the signs that point to an object or person’s symbolism and they do hold a deeper level of interpretation. But what these authors really just wanted to say that, “the man was wearing a black shirt”, not because he symbolizes the devil, but because he just had nothing to wear that day except for the black shirt.

That’s all for now! Goodnight everybody.

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Discussion Questions

Miranda’s lecture today honestly covered a lot of the questions that were floating around my head while reading The Master and Margarita. Regardless, here are a few discussion questions.

1. I’m not sure if anyone picked up on this, but i noticed that there was the mention of several types of birds throughout the course of the novel, such as the sparrow in the tale of Pontius Pilate and Margarita calling herself an owl while sitting on the bench just to name a few. So my question is: how do the appearance of these birds contribute to the text in any way? I haven’t figured it out yet myself, so I am curious as to what the rest of you may think about this.

1b. On a similar note, do the mention of the other animals, besides Behemoth, in the book play significance to the plot? Why does Bulgakov use animal characteristics to describe humans and objects? (the frogs, the hog, the candelabrum with branches in the form of snakes)

2. In a discussion about the text so some other members of other seminar groups, someone pointed out that the characters in the book all had several names in which they were referred to. Sometimes they would be addressed as their occupation, their first names or their last names (or maybe their nicknames? Yes, I’m referring to “Homeless”). Why does Bulgakov decide to address the same characters with different names in the same passages? 

3. In a couple sections in the book, it hints at a potential maternal curiosity in Margarita. When Margarita sees the little boy in the window, why does she take the time to stop and comfort him in the midst of the chaos? Why does Margarita show interest in the story about the infant and the handkerchief?

4. Why does a select number of characters use the phrase, “God knows”, while the rest of the characters address the devil instead?

Sorry for the delay! I didn’t realize this was set on private until now…

 

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