A little rant over here


So I’ve already done my blogging for this week, but I felt the need to post a little rant, and since it has everything to do with Arts One here it is:

I’ve heard multiple comments from my peers complaining about the amount of Feminist texts in this course. People are annoyed that there are books that either talk about women or are written by women with a female perspective, therefore we have had essay topics pertaining to this.

Now, I understand recently the course has been feminist heavy. Firstly, this is nothing to complain about. Most of your life (if you continue with English), you will be surrounded my male authors and male-centered books. Books where women are degraded or completely ignored, but books that nonetheless need to be read because they have some merit in their works. For there to be course that has a good amount of feminist literature is not only exceptional, but should also be the norm. There should be an equal balance of both male and female centred texts.

What’s even more frustrating is the fact that realistically, the course is not feminist heavy whatsoever! I just needed quick look at our reading list to confirm my beliefs, but we have only had two actual feminist readings: The Second Sex and The Vindications of the Rights of Women. Other than that, we have read two books I am pretty sure pass the Bechtel test: Antigone and Northanger Abbey (although I am not sure about the latter).

In comparison, we have read numerous books and authors that either do not speak about women or have no women characters (therefore failing the Bechtel test), or that do speak about women but only to degrade them. These include Gorgias, Leviathan, Rights of Man, Heart of Darkness, Doctor Faustus, Dora, and a few others.

This blog post is not here to start any arguments, offend anyone, or anger anyone. I just feel the need to point out these biases that people have, but may not be aware of. We could spend weeks reading books that have nothing to do with women, and the majority of people will not notice anything out of place. But when we read two books pertaining to women in the span of a few weeks, everyone quickly bores of it and is annoyed.

Just something to be aware of.


Things Could Fall Together Better

So today’s lecture was about Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, but really it just felt like a lot about the issue of racism between Conrad and Achebe.

Now I’m not complaining. I think it’s an interesting topic, and one I focused my whole Conrad essay on. But, I do wish this lecture had been done before we wrote about Conrad.

Having chosen the topic of “Is Marlowe a Racist?”, I got many more ideas for my essay from this lecture, then the one that was actually about Conrad. Since this one actually focused on my topic, I found a lot of the arguments that Jon brought forward in favour of Achebe’s view were one’s I hadn’t focused on in my essay. My essay was in favour of Conrad, as in that Marlowe is not a racist, so much of lecture I was thinking of rebuttals to what Jon was saying. Although I do not know if I would change my essay, it would have been nice to have these questions and this knowledge at the time of writing.

Which brings me to a larger dilemma. I like the concept of remaking and remodelling. But, as was discussed today, often I find it hard to find such connections. Yes, I can see the relationship between certain books quite easily, Like Antigone versus Antigone’s Claim, but some of these pairings are not as well done as I would have liked. For example, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness can be paired with so many great things, such as Dante’s Inferno or Apocalypse now. Instead it is paired with Wollstonecraft, which although I enjoyed her writing, honestly has the most vague connections. Past the concept of “The Other”, everything is a far stretch. Just as with this week’s pairing of Achebe and Apocalypse Now I can manage to make the connection (Achebe is responding to Conrad, Conrad’s book inspired Apocalypse Now) but why not literally connect those, instead of splitting them up into odd pairings.

As we saw today, the lecture focused so much on Conrad versus Achebe. Why not read them together? I know it would have helped me out.

Now, honestly, I love Arts One and I am truly going to miss it. I even loved this stream (although it wasn’t my first choice), and am glad I ended up in it.

It’s just moments like these I become frustrated when there are some beautiful pairings that could be done, and are ignored. Maybe they are too obvious, or too easy, but like Jon said today: “When a book is too easy, you need to complicate it”.

Are women more than just a reproductive organ?

Yay for more feminist readings!

I feel a lot of these books are sparking heated debates, but I’m glad we’re exploring this genre. The bane of my existence is how English classes tend to focus on white male european writers. It’s old and it’s tiring.

Often I find myself picking up a book for an English class and just assuming that is who the author is. I even did it with this piece of a novel before I researched the author. You just get in a bad habit of assuming that, and it makes me really sad that even I have succumbed to that.

I found even just the author’s introduction a breath of fresh air.

When de Beauvoir opens with speaking about how feminism is “practically over” I almost burst out laughing. Because at the time, they thought it was. She sparked the second-wave of the feminist movement, and we have made great strides since then. To think that people believed it was done back in the 1950’s is shocking. Even today we have still not reached absolute equality.

The sarcastic, tongue and cheek way she writes is refreshing. Her repeated question of “Are there women?” could confuse people, but I see the humour. For de Beauvoir is aware of the inequality still occurring, and must question the view of society on women.

Another part where she speaks of “woman is a womb” was startling. Often I find that is still an issue today, where people can only see women as mothers, caregivers. Yes, one may have a job and career, but in the end it is expected she settle down and start popping out some little ones.

de Beauvoir tacles many issues such as femininity, dominance, and psychoanalysis. I quite enjoyed reading her work and have a lot of ideas, and I’m excited to see what the group brings forth in discussion.