Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hems and Ends

I haven’t read much Hemingway. I think the only other Hemingway that I started A Farewell to Arms because it was the book for The Big Read in Boise—but in fact I never finished it. My assessment after just one of his books is that I don’t love him as much as I love Edith Wharton, but I found him surprisingly engaging despite my expectations. I love the disparity between Cohon and everyone else, the difference in their tone and their attitude. Despite Brett’s seductress ways, I liked her a lot as the center of a love circle—and circle where everyone in the ring loves the one in the middle. And I found Jake to be a very interesting enigma that we only slowly learn about. It was interesting seeing the events written on the board today as a line graph, with the peak being fishing, until then I hadn’t given the order of their events much thought.

A little bit too near!
You guys, blogs seemed so much easier this semester than last! But I think that was just planning on my part. But because they felt easier, and like a less pressured conversation I enjoyed them a lot more than last semester. But maybe also it was because I was significantly more interested in the readings this semester than last. EITHER WAY, I liked the blogs at lot this semester, and they did make me think about the reading every week perhaps more than I would have on my own time.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Transitions Are Rough

“Babylon Revisited” ended strangely—I feel like the reader was waiting for the father to relapse and I can’t help but think this is because Fitzgerald wanted us to be waiting for the worst in him… But he doesn’t relapse, which should make the reader happy, but the lesson the father learned was sad: not only are there always consequences to your actions, but also they may never end, he may never be able to leave his faulted two years in his past to make a better future—his corrupted ghosts will always be there. “Babylon Revisited” is the only story we read of Fitzgerald that takes place after 1929, being published in 1931 and just two years after those shiny days, he is already revealing the universal consequences of the great depression. This story also the most widely taught, aside from the Great Gatsby, unlike our other four stories. Though it’s easy to understand why it is taught so frequently since it seems to represent his transition to writing that is apparently opposite to the romanticism he wrote with before, and most remarkable is the time period with which this transition took place: two years.
            “Winter Dream” is a perfect example of his stories prior to 1930s and is also what Fitzgerald later calls the sketch to the Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald is clearly a dreamer, but a dreamer who doesn’t believe that dreams will come true, so his hero’s never do end in their dream, and there always seems to be an edge of melancholy and loss that he himself never experienced… until the depression, and his marriage was on the fritz, his most ambitious book practically flopped and his alcoholism was an all time high.

Morris, Dickstein. "Fitzgerald: The Authority of Failure." F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Jackson R. Bryer, Ed. Ruth Prigozy and Ed. Milton R. Stern. London: The University of Alabama Press, 2003. 301-316. Print.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Wharton, every time I have hope you crush it!
But really, I think I wouldn’t be as satisfied if you didn’t crush it.
As I was reading Summer, particularly the middle on the Fourth of July, I couldn’t help but get excited for this country girl who was experience her first fairy tale love. He bought the perfect broche for her, he paid $10 just so they could ride around the lake together on a carriage, but more importantly he took her to the city that she had only been to a couple times. Harney kisses her after the fireworks in a deeply romantic moment and my heart flutters for them…. But only for a second, because I did realize I was only have way through the book, and this happy middle could not possibly stay happy, and no matter the love that Wharton presents her readers, she seems to always find a way to use the love to make an even more depressing ending.

Of course, as other have brought up it certainly could have been more depressing, should could have killed herself because she was so depressed, she could have publicly embarrassed herself by finding him and begging him to come back, only to be cruelly rejected, she could have also, as the book points out, become a prostitute to support her child that would be taken care of by someone else. So all and all, marrying the man, who has almost always looked out for her, besides his dull appeal, undoubtedly is the best possible result. However, when you’re reading it like a fairy tale and it ends in reality it is a let down. Harney could not be her Prince Charming, and she could only be Cinderalla for a little while, as she wore the slippers of the woman who was actually the fiancĂ© to Harney.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Depression Made of Misery

So many parts about Ethan Frome made this story one of the most depressing that we’ve read all semester. I think it’s especially the bleak life of these farms the sets up for all of their misery. Ethan Frome’s marriage to Zenna because he was lonely was of course the first incident of foreshadowed misery. Just this miserable marriage is depressing enough. To further depress the situation is falling in love with another women—who lives in the house with you and your wife!!! This is depressing not only to Ethan Frome (though he doesn’t realize it then) but also the other woman, who falls for a man who is already legally bound to someone else, and finally it is probably the most depressing for Zenna, who though pretends to be ignorant of the situation for most of the book would have to have been blind to not realize the man that she was married o was in love with the family member that she invited to live with them. Despite Zenna’s lack of likeability I cannot help but feel for the woman who has to live with this. Of course since we never know what she is thinking and because it’s hard to understand her twisted motives in the end I can’t feel as much sympathy as I did prior to the wreck.
The misery and depression of the story reaches the peak with the ‘accident ‘ on the sled. It’s unimaginable to live with your wife and the woman who survived the injuries you cause, while everyone in the house knows why they were in an ‘accident’: Ethan’s affection for this other woman. Being stuck in this house to me seems equivalent to hell for eternity, because there is no escaping the misery that is inevitable for those three people whose lives are only half way through. There has to be so much pain in the sight of each other everyday.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Progress is Progress

Ok, I really enjoyed the poetry we read, however, it’s hard for me to write very much about it. I have never been especially attuned to poetry so find myself struggling with concrete thoughts about a poetry beyond the surface.
So for this week’s blog I thought I would start ranting about the paper that I’m in the middle of writing for this class (though I’m taking the extension, so I will be working on it beyond today).

The only picture I could find online of a "Gold Book" title page.
This paper has taken me forever to figure out what I want to write on, because as much as I love the stories that we read I feel like I should take this opportunity to try news things, and push myself in directions I would have normally thought to approach. So now I’m in the Deweys with WSU’s huge collection of periodicals. Many large old books have been perused, but I finally found the one I want to do: Volume 5 1927, of the Golden Book collection. Specifically June.
The cover of my specific edition

The Awesome Refrig of course.

Revolt of Mother

 I picked this version because “The Revolt of Mother” is published in it. What I’ve eventually come around to is my desire to focus on the intended audience of a monthly literary magazine… The ads seem to definitely target the elite, but more specifically the women of the elite, with new awesome refrigerators and motors that do the sweeping for you! Oh the marvels. So while the ads are targeting these elite women, the text is definitely trying to blur the line from just the elite, and there is of course there is continual propaganda for increased literacy at school… So I guess the question remains, who got these magazines? Was 25 cents a lot??  Meanwhile, not only is Mary Wilkins Freeman published in it, but so are notable authors like Mark Twain and a poem by Stephen Crane!

So what do you think? I’m not sure my direction is great. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Of the three stories that we read for class today, I was most intrigue by “The Mexican”. This I think is for several reasons.
The dual story line that isn’t revealed to the end definitely increases interest throughout, it was especially awesome that we get to hear the perspective of his “manager” and of the rest of the Junta, and how they both see him as this mystery boy, who shows up dedicated for a couple weeks, disappears and then comes back. Not only did we get to see the perspective of  the people observing Rivera, but in the end we finally know what Rivera is thinking, we finally understand his motives as every piece of the puzzle is slowly revealed to us. This revealing of course begins with his fights, but then is further explained in his flashbacks before and during his fight with Danny. The reader finally understands why he has become a boy so full of hate, only functioning for the purpose of the Revolution-- a Revolution against those who murdered his family.
            I think this might be the first that I’m in love with the way they use naturalism in a story. I can appreciate naturalism, but I have never felt the gravity of it until this story. Rivera, who was built to fight, who was born, determined to fight for this money to buy the guns for the revolution. He is, unbeknownst to everyone at the fight, made for this kind of fighting, and despite his hatred of it, he sees it as the best way to help the revolution. Everyone in the Junta is driven for this revolution, but only Rivera has the power to earn $5,000 in one night. It is the qualities that he was born with and the qualities that I imagine he creates that give him this unique ability, anyone else would have been psyched out by the wait he must endure for Danny, anyone else would be disheartened by a crowd, a referee and even a second who is against his, but Rivera is able to use all of these things to increase his drive and inspiration to win.
This is how I imagine Rivera, only more hate in his eyes.

This is how I imagine Danny only with smile cemented on his face.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Surprise!... Not So Happy After All.

Charles Chesnutt in both the stories that we read for Tuesday: “The Wife of His Youth” and “The Passing of Grandison”, but leave the reader hanging, with surprises I didn’t expect. The first I think was particularly surprising because it built on the mystery of this man, who seemed a life long bachelor until he met Mrs. Dixon. The life that Mr. Ryder as created for himself is beyond what he left when he ran away from slavery. His goals in life as to further profess in lightening this tree line. He also seems to be an inspiration for the Blue Veins, with his intelligence and learned diction.
            Of course the right thing for him to do was to acknowledge the wife that has been seeking him for 20 years, and the room of course speaks as one’s conscious might, even young Mrs. Dixon who is suppose to be his future wife would not let him, or the person in the story walk away from his past, in the form of a long lost love. But with this dynamite change it seems like acknowledging their slave marriage would not bring him happiness. I say this not because she is darker than he, thus making their tree darker instead of lighter, but he has evolved over the past 20 years, and the wife has remain the woman that he married… So yes, pity should be taken, he should not shun the woman who has been searching for him for 20 years, but how can he practically take her in, and be married to a woman who he has long forgotten?
            In “The Passing of Grandison”, the shock of course is when Grandison returns only to free all of his friends and family from slavery, after he himself has become the token slave for the South: life is better for slaves with masters right? Even Grandison didn’t really think so. So what I wonder is when did he make his plot to freedom, did he already know when he left he should be planning to free everyone? Did he start planning with the first abolitionist?  There is however, no doubt that he had help since he and his family made their way to freedom through the Underground Railroad.