Apr 12 2019

What Langston Hughes’ Powerful Poem “I, Too” Tells Us About America’s Past and Present

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Reflecting on the work of Langston Hughes, Smithsonian historian David Ward opens the critical article with a personal anecdote. He recounts how Hughes’ titular words that hold such gravitas are engraved “on the wall of the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall.” The author asserts that the poem encapsulates the importance of such a museum and how storytelling is a form of liberation. The insertion of “too” subordinates the narrator, entering the experience of marginalized people in America. The author states that “the full-throated drama of the poem portrays African-Americans moving from out of sight [and] eating in the kitchen” to being recognized as equals at the company’s dinner table. Hughes honors the black men and women who were always forced to be unseen yet have their labor extracted for profit. He brings the narratives of those subjugated to basements to the light. The poet unifies White America and Black America with his allusion to Walt Whitman’s “I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear. . .” Hughes further politicizes his influencer with his claim that “I, too, sing America.” I thought it was beautiful that the author used his analysis of the poem as a way to celebrate the opening of the museum. It provided elements of timeliness and juvenility to the historic piece.

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Apr 12 2019

Animal Farm as Political Satire

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By: EA Gamini Fonseka

Work: Animal Farm

As we all know, Animal Farm is a pretty obvious take on political satire, however, I was tired of doing the same books so I tried to find something new to talk about(even if it wasn’t the most original thing). Essentially, Foneska began with talking about how the story was a witful take on political power being tossed back and forth into a dictatorship, ultimately leading to show how damaging this power can be to those who suffer from it(the everyday average Jo). Something interesting I found in this opening statement was that  Foneska referred to this issue as a tragic event, or a tragedy. He continues with this idea of a tragedy when speaking of the rally. The dark night, drunkenness, flawed speech, all relate to this idea of tragedy. This event created an uprise, and the ‘animals’ wish for a revolution. Foneska then mentions Orwell’s contributributions to different types of political figures, examples being the lethargic, lazy types, the just frustrated and furious ones, or carelessness of duties types. Foneska then goes into connecting this book to different revolutions such as the French and Russian, which I don’t know much about but I did think the book was more  based on the Russian Revolution, so not new information. Then he talks about the conversion of Manor Farm into Animal Farm, which is kinda redundant because I feel as though that’s kinda what the farm is called. But he then stated how this type of conversion was normal(never specifying what concervison, my guess is the overtake of one power over another), he gave examples of this with: Ceylon became Sri Lanka; Rhodesia became Zimbabwe; and Burma became Myanmar after various political changes.

He then went onto deeper connections of Animal Farm and the Russian revolution, which most of us know the jist so I didn’t find important to write about. He ended with saying Orwell’s novel was a very strong satire view on political [ower, and all the issues having to do with it.

Overall, the article struck me as cliche almost. All I could think about when reading it was a guy all prim and proper saying to  himself “ah ha, I know all, these peasants will be knowledgeable now, they shall look up to me.” He used a lot of big words and run on sentences, which kinda just gave him a bigoted look. The information was correct, and he knew his stuff, but there were no new ideas or perspectives. This essay was one out of a series of a few, so mabe in his others were new and fresh ideas, but I’m not sure.

 

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Apr 06 2019

“anyone lived in a pretty how town” by Edward Estlin Cummings: Summary and Critical Analysis

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Title: “anyone lived in a pretty how town” by Edward Estlin Cummings: Summary and Critical Analysis

Author: K.N. Sharma

Work: anyone lived in a pretty how town

Analysis: We read this poem as a class a few weeks ago, and I found it to be one of my favorite pieces of poetry we have read all year. Something inside the poem really  stuck with me, so I decided to research more into it.

This article starts by saying what the main idea of the poem is, the idea of loss of identity of individual people in a modern world. Even the title contributes to this, for it could be read in many ways including “a very common and nothing special sort of guy lived in a pretty town”. The main character is “anyone”, who is a representation of all people. Anyone and noone were in love, grew up, and died. Just as most ordinary people do. Nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary, just a normal, average, even dull life. It then goes into saying how the children being mentioned is actually really important, because it shows how  children are more perceptive on the fact that they recognize the love between anyone and noone more so than adult. However when the children get older the sense of passion they saw vanishes, just as everyone’s does, until pretty soon they two are just anyones or noone’s.

Then the article talks about the rhyme scheme being “folk meter”. This meaning it is what one finds mostly in a nursery rhyme. This affecting the mood in the way  of adding redundancy. Then how cummings lists off the seasons, as a way of just simplifying life even more than it already is. Then Sharma talks about the syntax, and how many of the words need to be read as different parts of speech than normal. For example “how” in the title is to be taken as an adjective, or “up”(line 2 and 24), “didn’t and did(4) and“isn’t”(7), need  to be taken as nouns. Obviously this departing from more common English rules. I wish the author would have gone into further detaio about why cumminhs did this, but for now i would just like to think it was because she wanted to add emphasise that life is pretty bland unless your force the world to view things in a different perspective.

The rest of the article was  quite bland, and really just repeated more details about  diction that I didn’t find interesting.

I really enjoyed this poem, however  the article I didn’t enjoy as much as I would’ve liked to, but it was I guess interesting there  of the way another person analyze this poem. Sharma analyzed more with literal technologies, and I chose to analyse it more with deep thinking and metamorphic tendencies.

 

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Apr 04 2019

Racialised Beauty

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“Racialised Beauty: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye” by Esti Sugiharti

In her article, Sugiharti discusses Morrison’s focus on “the damage that the black women characters suffer through the construction of femininity in a racialised society”. Sugiharti says that it may be true that many women use beauty as a central focus. During the time period of “The Bluest Eye”, many black women struggled even more with the concept of beauty because of the belief that the lighter their skin, the more beautiful she was. Sugiharti references an argument made by Paul C. Taylor which suggests that the “white-dominated culture” caused a racialisation of beauty. The physical features that white women were more likely to have were seen as signs of beauty, while the physical feature that black women were “more likely to have” were seen as ugly.

Sugiharti elaborates on the racialised beauty in “The Bluest Eye”, references that the standard of beauty that Pecola’s friends use are to the white actress, Shirley Temple. The beginning of the book begins with reference to a “Dick and Jane” story, which also contains a white, blonde hair and blue eye female. The “beautiful” white women share similar characteristics such as lighter hair, lighter eyes, and fairer skin, whereas the black families are all different in character and in physical characteristics. Sugiharti even notes Morrison’s classification of three black families to represent different “classes” of black people. The Geraldine’s represent an idealised white family (although they are obviously not white), the MacTeers represent the middle, and are followed by the Breedloves whom are at the very bottom of the social order.

I completely agree with Sugiharti’s discussion. Morrison definitely draws attention to the white beauty that the black women are searching for, but are unable to obtain. By drawing attention to the inability to meet certain beauty standards, Morrison is able to highlight the struggle of black women to meet yet another standard, which they will inevitably fail to meet. Morrison also highlights the internal struggle of black women.

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Apr 02 2019

The Frame Means More than the Picture

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Article Title:
Piercing the Past by Giving the Screw Another Turn

By: Weiqiang Mao

In his article on TOTS, Weiqiang Mao disscuses what, in his eyes, is the most glaringly overlooked feature in TOTS; the outer frame.

In his article, Mao describes how normally, TOTS is split between two interpretations, the apparisionists, and the non-apparisionists. These two sides are the most widely expected points of perspective on James’ novel, and they represent whether the Governess is seeing real or imaginative ghosts. Here, Mao describes the common ground shared between the two sides, James’ ambiguity within the novel. Both sides agree that because of the novel being ambiguous, because it lacks detail, and because it lacks definitive truth from any character or plot point, that there side is helped as a result.

Mao disagrees. Mao proposes that the ambiguity and lack of truth within the text, is entirely dependent upon the unreliable retelling by Douglas. While often overlooked, the Governess is never truly telling the story to the reader, Douglas is syphoning a version of events he previously “experienced.” Mao notes several inconsistencies from the opening scene of setting the frame alone. For one, Douglas proposes that the story will be dark and grizzly, but nothing grizzly ever comes to fruition. Moreover, Douglas proposes that the story will invoke a sense of “clear dreadful-dreadfulness,” another element that never truly sees the light of day. As a result, Mao proposes that the story being foretold, is truly a work of complete embellishment on the part of Douglass to attain clout within the group he is with.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this perspective, because it sheds an interesting light on the dim plot of TOTS. As an apparitionist, I see the evidence as staggering, and agree that the story could be widely embellished. And sense the story is embellished, we can infer that in reality, the kids were dead all along and Douglass was too coy to put textual evidence in his retelling of the story. Therefore this supports the perspective that the kids were dead throughout all of TOTS.

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Mar 31 2019

Feminist Gothic in “The Yellow Wallpaper”

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Title: Feminist Gothic in “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Author: No freaking clue:)

Work: The Yellow Wallpaper

Analysis: When I first read the title to this article I was intrigued because when I read the story the first time I didn’t think it was very feminists at all, I thought it was quite the  opposite, almost as a way of degrading women. This article begins with stating just that, when this story was first published no one considered it as a feminist movement. However, in the early 1970’s, critics started seeing this as a feminist story. However, with further reading it I realized there are some(kinda) valid points to this argument.

The whole basis of the argument was found in the fact that the narrator being mad, still in the end found power over the male dominant figure(literally with the act of crawling on top of him). The husband has a very important position of being the narrator’s  counterpart. He becomes almost obsessed with this from of treatment, making the woman go further and further down the rabbit hole in which she is in. Without his constant “helping”, she would have nothing to gain power over. Furthermore, another key aspect to the idea of a feminist point of view is the wallpaper itself. Inside the wallpaper she  finds her true self, a woman of freedom. She becomes obsessed with the wallpaper throughout the story, and it slowly consumes her. She perhaps sees herself inside the wall. She sees a trapped soul, one just as herself, trying to get out of this position of submission.

The article then goes into connections with Jane Eyre, and the madwoman in that story(Bertha), however I just really didn’t think that it was key to bring that novel in at all so I skipped over that part.

  The article goes back more to the idea of the wallpaper being the biggest symbol of feminism. Also how the setting itself, a nursery room, also really helps to contribute to the point.

Overall this article was really difficult to follow, and although it made some decent points, I was just really confused during majority of it.

 

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Mar 29 2019

Theme for English B

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Rukhaya M. K. analyzes the penning of Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B” with the careful detection of diction and context. She states that “the mention of an English B underlines the existence of an English A, that renders the English A default – the standard one.” Hughes embraces the Black Renaissance and Harlem, but submits New York to a different world enclosed by parentheses. The critic suggests that Hughes treats his relationship with the greater New York area as a secret. He can’t be as open with his love of a white dominated place. The poet “aspires for a culture that is a fusion of both” white and black with his passion for Bessie and Bop, music adored by black people, and Bach, music listened by predominantly white people. The college student asserts that the quality of being American is defined by unity. I wished that the article was longer and delved more into Hughes’ personal history which serves as the foundation of the poem.

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Mar 27 2019

anyone lived in a pretty how town Analysis by K.N. Sharma

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My article was about the e.e. cummings poem we read in class, it was called “anyone lived in a pretty how town by Edward Estlin Cummings: Summary and Critical Analysis” by K.N. Sharma. The article states that the poem’s theme is “loss and lack of identity of people in the modern world,” and covers how none of the characters have any real significance besides their interpersonal relationships. No one is a CEO of a big company, no one’s winning any Nobel Peace Prizes, they matter to each other but are unimportant in the grand scheme of things. By refraining from naming any of the characters, cummings creates a sense of anonymity that furthers the unimportance of the people in the town. I didn’t pick up on any of this in my interpretation of the poem, and enjoyed this perspective.

As well as this, the article pointed out some interesting use of language in e.e. cummings’ poem. The poem is written in “folk meter” which consists of refrains and incremental refrains, and has 4 stresses per line. The article also covers the unique syntax of the title, noting that it starts with an adverb.

Sharma’s article gave me a deeper understanding of e.e. cumming’s poem, and made me enjoy the poem more than I already did. I really like how unique and weird his style of writing is, and I particularly enjoyed this article’s interpretation of the meaning behind cumming’s words.

https://www.bachelorandmaster.com/britishandamericanpoetry/anyone-lived-in-a-pretty-how-town.html#.XJwYPJhKiHs

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Mar 22 2019

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Literary Analysis

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Of course I had to do an article on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, considering it was probably my favorite book we have read. Laura Kring wrote this article to show how the setting corresponds with how Oskar feels throughout the novel. She starts by giving a pretty basic theme for the novel being grief, and how readers learn to sympathize with Oscar for the loss of his dad. She then starts by referencing the Sixth Borough story that Oskars dad had told him. She says that this story is a symbol of Oskar as a whole. To begin, the borough is an isolated island, corresponding to how Oskar feels in life, isolated and alone. Then comes the bridge part of the story, which correlates to how Oskars dad was the bridge building Oskar into society, and without him, it collapses just as Oskar did. Furthermore, the removal of the Sixth Borough left a big gap in New York, just as the removal of his dad left a huge hole in Oskars life. Even brings in a direct quote explaining how the hole left nothing but a frame for the borough. This is exactly what happened when his dad died. Oskar was left as just a beginning frame, not quite yet ready to hold a full picture. Then getting more specific, with details of the frigid borough, and how voices of the residents sounded like they were trapped in a tin can, this can correspond to his dads last words, and how they sounded trapped and muffled. Then to the discovery of the key, this proposes the idea of unlocking the mystery behind his father’s death, being that he took an expedition through each of the boroughs. This leading to William Blacks office, where the lock of the key was. This being a symbol of the final destination of Oskars healing process, and how the key wasn’t about a physical lock, but about opening Oskar up emotionally.
Overall I really enjoyed this symbolism Laura Kring discovered. I do think maybe even more textual evidence and support could be useful to defend her positions, but everything she said was backed up with good support. This actually opened my mind to wondering if this was Foer’s intentions, or if it was just a coincidence. This also made me wonder if he possibly included more secret symbolism somehow.

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Mar 21 2019

analysis on “anyone lived in a pretty how town” – k. n. sharma

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sharma’s primary focus throughout his article is revealing how the poem discusses the loss of the people’s identity in the modern world. this anonymity of the main character, anyone, is shown through his nameless name, but at the same time, his name indicates that he represents all people. names and titles serve an important purpose, as the title of cumming’s poem is what first reveals that “anyone” is an anonymous, common man who lives in a pretty “how” town, a place where nothing is of note. furthermore, the title’s syntax is suggestive of the frequent unusual meanings in this poem. cummings’ language departs from the normal structure and usage of words and sentences and creates a new language that is altogether different from the common english language. as sharma states, “had [the title] been something like, “john lived in a pretty small town”, it would be usual;” it would also be boring and far more ineffective. for example, the way that “how” is used in the title doesn’t connote emphasis on how the town is, as the speaker decides to leave its descriptions as indefinite. instead, he’s describing how nobody truly cared what the town was even like, or “how” it was described.

sharma implies that emphasis is not connoted upon anything; however, that is the purpose of cummings. through this lack of personalization, the poet wants to express how in our impersonal society, nobody truly cares about anybody. in the everyday life of the “pretty how town,” where nothing of consequence occurs but where people are still completely caught up in it, does anything truly matter? in a world where everyone is involved with everyone else but where people don’t actually know what their neighbor is like, does anybody truly care about the individual? of course not, as people do not take the time to understand the complexity of one another and their emotions. as a principle of basic psychology, unique responses are always distrusted and feared by a group, which needs regularity of behavior in order to function, therefore it rejects what is most individual about an individual. because of this societal uniformity, life is distinguishable only by the change in the weather: the droning “sun moon stars rain.” people’s existence goes on, even amongst the Meaningless anonymity of “anyone’s” death, they continued to do what they do throughout their Trivial lives beneath the rising and setting sun, moon, and stars. the town is still “pretty how” no matter what the people do or who cares about them, they are the Same “anyones” and “noones.” and despite their Insignificant impact upon Insignificant others, they live and die in a landscape of changing seasons, without interest in love or in life.

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