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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Good morning class,  please find my submission for how evil came into the world in the following text.


The young seer was having a restless sleep, one of those nights where it was hard to tell whether you were awake or dreaming. One particular dream seemed to be playing on repeat.


It started off in a cave, not just any cave, but a thing of nightmares. It was dark and unending, the noise reverberated and appeared to come back at you from the unseen depths. There was a great council occurring. In attendance were the wise women from all corners of the earth. This was to be a fun event, a chance for these wise women to show off their worst. For deep in their hearts, theirs was a mischievous spirit harnessed, the likes that the world had never seen. The premise was simple, each participant would demonstrate their worst, whether it be a physical act, or an act of dark-magic. Nearing the end of the meeting they had seen it all, transformations, mutations, hexes and grotesque costumes comprised of various animal hides.


Near the end of the conference a stranger arrived, one that none of the others had seen before. There was a weird air about this stranger, a little older, a little taller, a little darker. Though the most eerie thing about her was her silence. You see, the wise women were a raucous bunch, laughing and joking at the top of their lungs. When it came time for the newcomer to speak, the cave grew deathly silent. What came from her presentation was completely unexpected. You see the mysterious character didn’t perform any magic at all, she simply told a story. She spoke of torture, betrayal and all other manner of things that was brand new to her shocked audience. Though repulsed by the story, her audience couldn’t pull themselves away from it. By the time she was finished the council had decided her the unanimous victor, and each individual made an effort to speak to her privately.


In the final encounter, with one of the more revered wise women, the mysterious stranger was questioned about the nature of her stories. Where had she heard them? Could these things actually happen? Why would she say such vile things in such a prophetic manner? In the same cool and collected tone in which she told her story, she vanished from the cave, but not without a final warning. “These things that I have spoken of will come to pass, simply by me sharing them with you, they have been introduced into your world. In the future you would do well to be cautious with the words you say, and the ones you listen to as a story is one of the most powerful things in existence.”


As the seer awoke, she wrote this dream down, and the next morning she shared it with her peers at their annual gathering, in that very same cave in her dream.



In general, the feedback was positive.  All of the people who heard my tale were able to discern the moral, in the form of a warning about the power of stories, from my tale.  Another key response I got was the darkness, or in many cases ‘eerie’ tone of the tale.  I think that came about through my attempt to distance the tale from it’s original context (first nations) to a more universal truth.

This story was fairly easy for me to write, as the power of words and story is a concept I firmly believe in.

I think before I can tackle question 7, I need to propose my definition of literature; it exists on a sliding scale of interpretation. To me the word literature refers to books. The old-school practice of writing, or more commonly printing, words on paper of some kind for the enjoyment of those who enjoy both the physical, and mental pleasures of a well written work. There is nothing more satisfying than picking up a book, with the accompanying smell and tactile aspect of turning pages, and getting lost in the words. This brings up the first part of my answer, in regards to the ‘modernization’ of literature, that in the truest sense of the term, literature is on the decline. The world is becoming, no actually is almost completely mechanized. Computers replaced typewriters, and screens are replacing newspapers, with smartphones becoming the go to tool for access to information. Bookstores are closing by the handful, and handheld electronic devices are nearly everywhere.

Next time you’re on the bus, or walking down the street, or sitting in a restaurant, have a look around. The number of people zoned into these devices is startling. A large contributor to this phenomenon is social media, and the unprecedented access to information that it provides. It started, at least in the current sense, with Facebook. I know of older platforms, such as MySpace, but they never really had the widespread effect that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are having. This is also an interesting development in the ongoing struggle between literature and orality. In one sense, social media sites are based on words that are typed into one device, and read on another. This itself sounds a lot like literature, except that the hierarchy of the production of physical books is being completely superseded. Gone are the editors, the social filters, and the constraints that the outdated process of book publication supplied. It can be as easy as seeing some interesting articles on the internet, having an opinion, and voila publishing these thoughts and sharing them with the world. This often, as long as the work is interesting, then goes ‘viral’ and the exposure increases greatly. This is the crux of the age of information, but what effects is it having on society?

This electronic platform is blurring the lines between literature and orality. In a traditional sense, the art of conversation, and subsequently oral story telling is dying. On the other hand, it is being replaced by a new way of communication, the instant gratification that is supplied by social media posts. I would say that this is causing a real detriment to our ability to listen, and most notably our attention span. This on its own is having a great effect on our oral communication and listening skills. Like anything else, I believe there is a middle ground to be found, but where that is I don’t have an answer for.

The hyperlink is revolutionizing the ability to gain information, from multiple perspectives and sources, at lightning speed. It gives the reader instant access, at the moment that it is relevant, to jump between articles that allows for a potentially fuller understanding of the subject they are researching. From a strictly academic perspective, it saves time. Instead of completing the work, scanning the sources and attempting to seek them out access is provided instantly for the reader. This has saved me countless hours, and in many cases has improved the quality of my work through a richer pool of sources and opinions.

As a closing point, I think that technology is here to stay, but what the overall effect that will have on the oral capabilities of our society is yet to be decided.

Welcome to my Eng. 470 Blog.

I hope that this will be a stepping stone to a greater understanding of Canadian History through the literature, both imported and developed in this great country.  I have spent many years studying the history of Canada at UBC, but have always been left wanting when it comes to the deeper understanding that literature can provide to the social and political context of any era.

One item that I hope to explore in more detail, and gain a clearer definition for, is what is Canadian literature?  Do you have to be born here to have it be Canadian?  Is it a matter of residing in Canada for a certain period, or at least for the period in which the work was written?  The following link, from a 2013 Globe and Mail article, has caught my eye on more than one occasion, and I hope this subject will be addressed in further detail in this course.

This second link, more current (2015) from the blog site Partisan, tackles the idea about the rise of Canadian literature, as a unique genre, in the late 60s and early 70s.  I also find this article interesting as it juxtaposes the nearly limitless access to literary funding and support that is available today, with the quickly declining, at least ideologically, production of Canadian literature.

I welcome any comments or feedback on this post, and I look forward to a summer of lovely debate!

Whitehouse burningThis particular image is borrowed from the aforementioned blog on Partisan , and is in reference to a Northrop Frye comment that is referenced in that article.

Works Cited:

Smith, Russell, “Why Do We Struggle With What Makes Canadian Literature?” Globe and Mail 2013. Web. May 11, 2016

Marche, Stephen, “What Was Canadian Literature?” Partisan Magazine April 2015. Web. May 11 2016

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