I really appreciated the lecture today on Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”. Comparing how Heart of Darkness are so different in their approach really struck me. When I read Heart of Darkness, I had the feeling of being on a National Geographic safari. The developed characters were the foreigners, and the Africans were treated as just another part of nature. In fact, even though some compassion is felt by Marlowe for the treatment of the native people, I found that the book made me feel almost more compassion for the elephants who were being killed for their tusks. The book really emphasized the notion of reciprocity that Beauvoir talks about in talking about ‘self’ and ‘other’. The European way is what is the ‘norm’ and the ‘subject’, while, even though they are the foreigners in Africa, the natives are treated as the ‘other’.
Anyway, in contrast to last week’s book, the African characters were not just a backdrop as the reader sails through a river safari. This time, they are dynamic and vivid and flawed even! I think that Okonkwo’s character flaws is what makes him so deeply human. As the white people interact with the tribe, I feel like I am an Ibo more than the ‘European norm’. I resent them too, and I mourn for the seemingly drear future of their culture.
In lecture there was a bit of conversation around Yeats’ Second Coming being referenced, and it made me think about human origins. When Yeats is talking about the ‘centre [that] cannot hold’, I’m not sure what exactly he is referring to, but I would assume that he is talking about worldwide chaos and calamity. In relation to the text that we read this week, it made me think about Africa being the centre, the origins of human conception. I think about the Ibo and their struggle to hold onto themselves. What good does Imperialism really do? I think about the cost of colonialism and the numerous people groups that are forced to conform to a mould of ‘white civilization’, and I wonder if the book is trying to show how upside down the situation really is. “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” because of the people who seem to think they have all the answers. Africa, the heartbeat of the world, is being pillaged and torn apart like it’s suffering a heart attack, at the hands of those who come in the name of prosperity, civilization and Providence.
Hope that wasn’t TOO hard to follow, but I have been trying to form a coherent train of thought over this lecture and this is what came of it :$
Hello to all you subjects and others! Today I want to talk about lecture today as well as what I all around thought of The Second Sex. Jill’s lecture was very interesting and of course, adding Ellen DeGeneres’ always adds some wit and humour to the mix. I suppose what stuck out to me in the book as well as lecture was actually Hegel’s notion of a slave and master dialectic. Of course, in relation to The Second Sex, we would translate the master into a man and the slave as the woman. This analogy is not a new concept when we talk about inequalities of the sexes, however, Jill brought up a very interesting point. I hadn’t considered the reason for why this power structure is so powerful. It was really interesting to consider that the master needs the slave as much as the slave needs the master. Although it seems like the master holds all power in the relationship, he relies on the slave to compare himself to in order to feel superior. In other words, his fragile position is dependent on the slave, but doesn’t realize this. From the slave’s perspective, she too relies on the master but is aware of it. Because of this, she is able to cater to the master’s needs in order to secure safety and well-being. It seems that because this system has been going on since Wollstonecraft’s time, women have adapted to it and used the ‘short end of the stick’ to harness a little bit of power. I couldn’t help but think about how Wollstonecraft highlights this power dynamic in her work. She highlights the danger in women pleasing their ‘master’ on pg.151 where she illustrates that power is temporary for women. Equality is what will bring about true freedom and liberation for both sexes, and we must stop playing games of deceit and cunning and make some new rules.
Well, lecture today clarified a whole lot for me in this text. It was very helpful to have repressions explained, as they seem to shape Foucault’s thought train in the book.
This blog post is about the ideas that Foucault brings up about the history of sex, and why and how it has been reformed, in some cases, revolutionized. I totally understand and sympathize with the issues that have occurred over repressing sexuality in the past. Many people have been mistreated and stripped of the liberty to express their sexuality. This is a huge issue that seems to be improving, as culture has broadened its views of what ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ sexuality looks like.
As Foucault explains in the text, sexuality changed drastically as the Victorian era emerged. What happened in the bedroom stayed there, and sex was only for reproduction. In the last century, our modern day society has rejected the Victorian model for some obvious reasons, and if it is a social construct, society can change it.
Something that I hope we can talk about in seminar this week is, what has improved in society due to our rejection of ‘private’ sexuality? I can think of many things. I can also think of some negative aspects of this movement. As this is my blog post, my opinion completely saturates my points, but I do think that there is some sense of intimacy lost in today’s views of sex. Does ‘free love’ emphasize cheapness of love or liberty of it? Perhaps some would argue that sex should only be recreational, but I wonder if that view has also led to some of the prevalent issues in today’s culture. Pornography addiction is at its highest rate, and recent statistics have shown many young people are impotent due to it. Are these topics even an issue? Are all things related to sexuality acceptable and subjective as long as it doesn’t hurt other people? Hopefully this blog post hasn’t been too ignorant or offensive to anyone. I know that this topic is touchy and Foucault does not hold back from talking about these subjects, so hopefully I am not out of line! I sense a great discussion in seminar!
Hello lovely people of cyber space! I have not blogged since before the break, so I am very excited to be posting some jumbled thoughts on the case study, ‘Dora’. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what to make of it, and I can’t figure out exactly why we are reading it this week, but it does stir up many feelings and thoughts as I read it.
Firstly, Freud deals with some pretty taboo subjects in his era that most people had avoided up until this point. For this reason, my respect level for Freud goes up a few notches. On the subject of taboos, It flabbergasts me that certain assumptions are made of poor Dora through the case study. For one, what kind of person assumes that teenage Dora wants anything to do with Herr K, a middle aged, nasty, married dude. It is pretty grotesque, in my opinion, to assume that Dora wants anything to do with him, let alone have consensual sex. To me, this is a huge red flag that leads to an answer for her hysteria. I see her as a rape victim. Not only a rape victim, but also betrayed by her father by him allowing these things to go on. Gross.
Okay, also, it just seems like everyone is so checked out of her life: her mother is lost in her own OCD house cleaning world, her father is off gallivanting with a married woman, and Dora is being harassed by that woman’s husband. If I were her, I would feel pretty manic too.
So these are my first impressions of this book, I’m sure more will be explained and connected in lecture, and I look forward to ‘psychoanalyzing’ Freud a bit more too.
This week’s reading got me very excited! For one I am a self-confessed history nerd, and so knowing that we were going to A) read something that is somewhat current and B) written by someone who is not from Europe! (although I love Europe but its nice to switch things up.) As I began reading, so many things jumped out to me. I love how boldly he explains history’s many faults and interpretations. One thing that stood out to me was the idea that history is always written by the winner. History is taught with a bias, and as generation after generation is taught through only one lense, it begins to morph the actual event into fiction.
I find it very interesting that even today North America is so ethnocentric. We have such a fixed view of the world and other people, that any history told by another source is not credible. It struck me that even current problems in Canada right now like the true ‘history’ of the Residential Schools is only now being brought to light. Prior to the recent outcry from the Aboriginal communities, Canada excluded this horrific event in our history, and at the most depicted it in textbooks as less damaging than it truly was. The reason this event was so well covered up was most likely because of the ignorant way in which history is taught. If the truth does not make the story-teller look good, then it won’t be shown.
Just some tangents for now,
Let me begin with saying Rousseau could probably persuade me to believe just about anything. His style of writing is musical, and almost casts a spell on one’s own thoughts and ideas, somehow they become one.
I really really really preferred this to Hobbes’ Leviathan. As was mentioned in class, it helped that I felt like his sentences were clear enough for me to understand, and instead of meekly stepping through the linguistic hoops that Hobbes creates for the reader, I found myself swiftly running with Rousseau’s arguments, able to keep up with his line of thought, and way my thoughts alongside his.
It is an interesting argument that Rousseau makes, especially when comparing it to last week’s text. Being in an intro to Sociology class this year, I found it quite unique that Rousseau finds purity in people’s original state (although that state cannot particularly be proven). What we do know is that at one point we were not ruled by a government, nor were we as driven by the need for more. This ties into some of what I have learned in my other class. Land ownership is a key breaking point to peace and simplicity that we once had as a primal species, because all of the sudden we had something desired by others, and hoarded by ourselves. I tend to agree with Rousseau in that much of our current problems with power corruption have to do with land ownership and uneven distribution of wealth. It will be interesting to talk in seminar about whether other people see his views as profound or nonsense.
Well now. Just as I was beginning to think I grasped the readings of Arts 1, Leviathan had to make its way into my life and obliterate all hope of becoming scholarly. I literally have a permanent headache this week from the density of this text.
As much as I find Leviathan really thick and wordy, I also really appreciate how he so clearly lays down each and every concept that he uses in the following chapters. It reads as if he is walking us through an agreement on terms and from there basis his arguments. I am not a very mathematical person, but as Crawford mentioned in lecture, the linguistic equations he uses are actually really interesting to me.
It’s hard for me to picture Hobbes as a modern,forward thinker because of the era that he wrote Leviathan in, but in lecture I really appreciated Hobbes’ point of view on the laws of nature. I found myself ‘hmming’ and ‘hawwing’ over the way that Crawford explains his stance on absolute rule. It is a really well constructed argument, especially when considering how natural law will punish the ruler if they don’t rule in favour of the people. It really all came together for me, and clarified the difficult bits of Leviathan of which there are many…
No, this is not a blog about vampires or werewolves, but it is about magical forces…
I speak, of course, about Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus’. My first glance at this play started off a bit rocky. Doctor Faustus appears to be a typical medicine man, hungry to learn and discover more. He is a man of faith, and seems to be about as typical as characters get. PLOT TWIST. Enter Magic Talk and Angels.
Things escalate pretty quickly from here on out. I think one of the topics that stand out to me appears to be discontentment, and thirst for power. Faustus is simply not satisfied with an earthly life, and completely betrays his faith. Rather than ‘serve’ God, he wants to ‘BE’ God. Ring a bell? No one would be more familiar with that feeling than the Prince of Hell himself, Lucifer.
So now we have Faustus selling his soul to Satan via a blood-oath, and if that is not extreme enough, as Faustus starts to feel buyer’s remorse, he is given the chance by God to return to his faith, and break the oath with Satan.
I think this is a very climactic turn of events in the story because it pits God and Satan against eachother, Revelations style.
I suppose what jumps out to me the most so far in this play is that the play really hits a lot of big controversies and topics. While reading, I found I could relate to some of Faustus’ desires and confusions, but also wanted to whack him in the head a few times and yell at him to clue in!
This blog post is really a verbal spewing of what I have observed so far, and hopefully the lecture and our seminar will bring to light things that went over my head!
Hello friends, today I blog about a whimsically lighthearted play, Sophocles’ Antigone. (heavy sarcasm intended).
I must start off saying that this book was actually a very inviting read, and I found that it made its point whilst allowing for a lot of eye-rolling and gaffawing at characters in the play.
Antigone is quite similar to other Greek Tragedies; someone dies, the death causes another person to die, and the final chapter is the left over person commiserating over the bloodshed and joining the rest of them in Hades. (But that is not a very scholarly way of interpreting this story, so I will attempt to dig deeper.)
First of all, may I just say it must have been terrible to be a woman at this time. Poor Antigone literally found her whole identity in the men in her life. Men dominated everything she was, and for them to die was like killing her as well. This was one of my first gut feelings when unravelling the relationship between herself and her siste, Ismene. At least her sister was a prospect for marriage, possibly giving her more incentive to dry her tears and act like a lady.
Then there’s the world’s most typical mega-tyrant Kreon, who is obviously full of pride and very insecure with his manhood and leadership, as he cannot take an ounce of criticism from anyone, not even a professional forewarner! Kreon strikes me as someone who is not capable of trust, and has somehow gone a bit paranoid by having so much power over his citizens.
Haimon strikes me as the golden-boy and I quite liked him from the second he had a line. He seems like a much better choice for a ruler than his father, as he is quite level-headed and wise for a young man. (must have inherited his mama’s genes) This is evident to me by the way that he crafts his conversation with Kreon while discussing the fate of Antigone. He is careful to stroke his father’s ego while planting a seed of truth in his dad’s head by bringing up the notion of popularity among his people. It is really unfortunate that things go so sour for him, because he seems like a great candidate for ruler.
This is a morsel of the thoughts that came out from my interaction with the play, mainly my responses to characters, and I will have more to say/question in seminar!
Stay tuned! 🙂 Megan B.
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