May 27 2019

5/20 – Eomer Gets Poetic: Tolkien’s Alliterative Versecraft

Filed under Uncategorized

James Shelton opens by presenting the well established fact that Old English clearly impacted Tolkien’s writing style, and uses this fact to segue into his main point, that Tolkien’s use of Old English peaks with the Riders of Rohan. He mentions Michael Drout and his conviction that these riders use a specific dialect of Old English known as Mercian. Shelton proposes several snippets from the books that exhibit heavy Old English and Mercian ties in how they are derived and phrased before turning his attention to Tolkien’s alliterative verse. He summarizes the Sievers system here, using Tolkien’s examples.(Note: / = full stress, \ = half stress, x = unstressed … Where stress is indicated in quotations below, 12-point capitals mean full stress, 9-point half-stress.)

A / x / x KNIGHTS in ARMour

B x / x / the ROARing SEA

C x / / x on HIGH MOUNTains

D / / \ x BRIGHT ARCHANGels

or / / x \ BOLD BRAZenFACED

E / \ x / HIGHcRESTed HELMS

He goes on to explain “resolution,” which is the ability for two short syllables to occasionally act as one long syllable, as demonstrated by the word “women” in the third line of Eomer’s Lament below. A second trait of Old English meter which is significant is “anacrusis,” which is the ability to sometimes have an extra syllable before the first stressed syllable of a line, as demonstrated by “To hope’s end I rode” in the third line of Eomer’s rallying cry below. Upon moving on, Shelton focuses mainly upon the chapter “The Battle of the Pelennor Fields”. Tolkien’s alliterative verse serves to generate a format that makes the text memorable and ensures a specific reading because it suggests rhythmical patterns. In further examples, the author asserts this verse as responsible for humanizing Eomer and capturing the reality of Middle Earth as harsh and unforgiving. The fact that Tolkien’s use of alliterative verse throughout the Battle of Pelennor Fields does not serve to bolster characters as Germanic tropes but indicates the extent to which these characters differ from those depicted in ancient tales. While other characters demonstrate a defiance of the ancient heroic ethos, the use of alliterative verse shows how Eomer feels this conflict within himself. I really liked this article and its professional knowledge, though I found myself lost a lot since it is very specific knowledge.

No responses yet

May 20 2019

Psychological Criticism of “Hills Like White Elephants”

Filed under Uncategorized

In the article, the author addresses various components of the short story, providing explanation for each action. According to the author, the America sees the baby as an obstacle which could potentially interfere with his free. The author says that the American’s pleasure of freedom is very stereotypical, resulting in the baby being used as the source of the relationship problems when in reality the cause of the issue is deeper rooted. According to Freud, the American is acting without considering consequences, ethics, or morality.

Next, the author begins to analyze the third person narrative in the story. The third person narrative eliminates the presence of both characters’ thoughts which forces readers to read more intently into the actions and dialogue. In class, we discussed the awkwardness that the dialogue created, which is also addressed in the article not only as awkward, but as a stereotypical conversation between female and male. I personally do not really agree with this statement because the author provides no explanation to the argument and does not make it clear whether or not it is stereotypical because of the situation or just in general.

Discussed lastly is the name of the female character, “Jig”. According to the author, “jig” is actually an outdated term for sex. This potentially reveals the substance of the relationship from the male’s perspective as only sexual and physical. A jig is also a tool used for measuring whiskey, which may show how deeply alcohol is rooted in the story, but more importantly in the American lifestyle.

I found this article interesting because it analyzing many components that we had discussed in class, but went into further detail or brought new perspectives to my attention.

*The author was not named in this article so I just referred to him/her as “the author”*

No responses yet

May 20 2019

Reading Jane Eyre While Black

Filed under Uncategorized

By Tyrese L. Coleman

Writer, Tyrese L. Coleman, says that she was an avid reader when she was younger and read many of the classics, including Jane Eyre. Coleman says that it was not until she was older that she realized how different she was from all of the protagonists in the novels. Coleman says that she obviously recognized that she was black and the protagonists were white, but she failed to acknowledge that not every story had to be about a girl that was white, but instead could be about a girl that looked like her. Coleman began reading novels and imagining the protagonist as brown, regardless of their descriptions from the author. Coleman said some novels were easy to picture the protagonist as someone like her, but other novels such as Jane Eyre were rather difficult, saying that “Race is not only explicitly present, but it is a major evil upon which the plot turns”. Coleman describes various instances where characters who stray from the typical white Christian as having dark characteristics or features.

Later in the article, Coleman says that Bronte intended for the novel to server as an evangelical text, but the villain, Bertha, is a woman of mixed race from an area where slavery had not been abolished. Coleman says she attempted to root for Jane because she was the underdog, but struggled because she of Jane’s jealousy and lack of self-reflection. Coleman disagrees with Jane’s acts of supposed dignity and stern-heart.

This article was interesting to me because as a white female, I don’t really realize that as far as appearance, I don’t differ much from the typical female protagonist in a novel. I know that personally I sometimes struggle to place myself in the character’s shoes because of the character being oppressed or submissive, but rarely do I read novels where the protagonist is different from me in regards to race. When I read books such as The Bluest Eye, I know how difficult it is to imagine myself as the protagonist, but that is a rare occurrence, where as readers such as Coleman have to try more often.

No responses yet

May 20 2019

Controlling the Female Psyche: Assigned Gender Roles in “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Filed under Uncategorized

https://commons.marymount.edu/magnificat/controlling-the-female-psyche-assigned-gender-roles-in-the-yellow-wallpaper/

By Elizabeth Carey

Elizabeth Carey introduces the article by getting very to the point, suggesting that Gilman wrote The Yellow Wallpaper to “warn her readers about the consequences of fixed gender roles assigned by male-dominated societies”. Carey indicates that the wife and husband characterization is very clear to indicate the “placement” of a woman in society, as woman’s role is the dutiful wife who does not question her husband’s authority. Carey also argues that Gilman also depicts the husband as trapped in his assigned role as the “rational thinker”. Later in the article, Carey draws upon the historical treatment of women with mental illnesses, more or less referring to the lack of treatment. The isolation and misunderstanding of the wife by her husband, a doctor, is not too much of a stretch from how mentally ill women were actually treated in the 19th century. Doctors of the time did not have explanations for the abnormal behavior and rather than working to find answers, most male doctors labeled the illness as “female hysteria” and sentenced women to mental asylums. Carey also takes note of the narrator’s “nervous condition”, expressing that her behavior was not a result of hysteria, but rather postpartum psychosis, which of course had not yet been discovered by the medical community.

Carey admires Gilman’s take on gender roles because rather than speaking about the effects of rigid gender roles on just women, Gilman argues that the gender roles are hurtful to both men and women. The man, who is supposed to be the rational thinker is so concerned with being the decision maker, that he does not allow his wife to think for herself. John treats his wife as a child as he uses nicknames and ignorance when interacting with her. By viewing himself as the thinker, John assumes his knowledge he is greater than his wife’s regarding her condition; therefore, nothing beneficial will ever come out of the situation.

I admire the acknowledgement of both genders in regards to consequences because more often than not, it appears as if one gender is always pinned against another. I appreciate Carey’s article which mentions the mistreatment of women with mental illnesses in the 19th century, but Carey does not attempt to frame the piece in any derogatory way towards men, instead she acknowledges their ignorance as the cause of their destruction, rather than their lack of humanity.

 

No responses yet

May 20 2019

“Ivan Ilyich” from The Encyclopedia of Death and Dying

Filed under Uncategorized

http://www.deathreference.com/Ho-Ka/Ivan-Ilych.html

My article this week is from The Encyclopedia of Death and Dying, and is just titled Ivan Ilyich. I found this article for my final project, and it provided valuable insights for my understanding of the text.

 

The author calls Tolstoy’s novella “a classic literary case study of how awareness and acceptance of human mortality can and should change how people live their lives.” They point out that the purpose of the entire story is to bring awareness of a reader’s own mortality, so that they can make changes to their lifestyle. If readers connect to the novella and realize they live similarly to Ivan, lacking spirituality, isolating themselves from others, focused on materialism and social constructs, then readers can go through the same existential crisis Ivan did, and they have time to fix their lives while Ivan didn’t. Tolstoy brings awareness to the problem of focusing one’s life on the unimportant, fleeting things, and because the novella is so good at bringing this awareness and even giving some a full-blown existential crisis, it is recommended as a story everyone should read for the purpose of reflecting and improving upon one’s life.

 

Another interesting point the article brings up is the effect pacing has on Tolstoy’s story. The novella speeds through Ivan’s life, but once his pain becomes incessant and he is close to death, pacing slows down and whole chapters are spent on a few hours in his day. By placing the most focus on Ivan when he is dying, “Tolstoy suggests that Ivan is not really alive until he begins to die.” As well as this, by starting at Ivan’s funeral in the beginning, Tolstoy suggests that the realization he has at death is what allows him to begin anew, and that his death is the start of what could’ve been a truly meaningful life.

 

Ultimately, this article gave me a new perspective on the story and was very helpful in making my final project.

No responses yet

May 17 2019

5/17- Nazis in The Shire: Tolkien and Satire

Filed under Uncategorized

Rarely are Tolkien’s works viewed as comic or satiric, yet they feature satire as heavily as their striking fantastical traits. Jerome Donnelly explores these concepts and the basis of satirized events in his article, outlining specifically World War II and the Nazi tactics exhibited in Europe. Especially seen in the chapter “The Scouring of the Shire”, Tolkien’s description of the Shire’s occupation draws directly on the rumors and speculation flying around England of a German invasion and the imagery conjured by other authors on the subject, the mimicry of Nazi terrorism tactics twists together humor and satirical realism. Tolkien’s habit of equating hobbits to the English in interviews and the character Lotho’s role of ‘Chief’ mirroring the Nazi’s Quisling leaders bolsters his argument,acting as a more clear indicator towards the specific circumstances his satire stems from. Other tools, such as use of diction such as ‘squads’ evoking imagery of Hitler’s SS, and the constant threats of mass punishments and blind violence also serve to drive the satire specifically to Nazis and their actions in their time of power. I very much enjoyed this article and all of its points, and was surprised by how well supported it was.

No responses yet

May 16 2019

“‘Great Gatsby’ a ‘Dud’ and ‘Absurd,’ Novel’s Critics Said in 1925”

Filed under Uncategorized

https://www.thewrap.com/great-gatsby-dud-absurd-artificial-novels-critics-said-1925-90641/

 

This is not the first article that I have read that expresses a lot of disdain and unamusement towards Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby; however, this particular criticism is from recently after The Great Gatsby was published. Baz Luhrmann, a literary critic, commends Fitzgerald for his craftsmanship, but says the story lacks importance and comes off as artificial. I find this point interesting because I feel as though that was Fitzgerald’s point. Fitzgerald wanted to point out the superficiality of the American Dream that so many people of the time period truly thought they were capable of living out. The article does not reveal much about why it is that Luhrmann was so unimpressed by the novel, only acknowledges his comments such as “falls [the book] into the class of negligible novels”. I always find it very interesting when critics express their dislike for The Great Gatsby because most often they say the same thing: the novel is cliche, bland, or artificial; however rarely is the novel ever compared to something that has previously been written or related to anything that would indicate the ideas and messages as cliche. As I continue to read criticism such as this article about The Great Gatsby, I often wonder if the critics find the novel itself cliche or the American Dream itself.

No responses yet

May 16 2019

“Hamlet: A Love Story”

Filed under Uncategorized

https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/hamlet-a-love-story

 

This article describes an unpublished essay wrote by Sigmund Freud called “Psychopathic Characters on the Stage”. The essay is Freud’s take on what it is that we, as an audience, “get out of watching people go crazy”. Freud argues that because we possess our own repressed impulses, we are fascinated by crazy characters because they help us express those impulses. The article later goes on to Freud’s analysis of Hamlet. Freud says that we (the audience) believe that the play is about revenge, when it is actually about it is actually desire. Freud argues that the real engine of the play is Oedipal (shocker) as Hamlet is consumed with killing Claudius and his own self-assurance.

In continuation of Freud’s criticism, Stay, Illusion!, a book by Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster, a philosopher and psychoanalyst, discusses that repression and desire are not a big enough explanation for the play. Critchley and Webster say that thinking of the play in terms of its internal contradictions and love. The article mentions that Critchley and Webster propose that Hamlet may have another theme: the failure to love. The authors believe that Freud takes too much credit for his analysis of Hamlet, and that Hamlet actually led Freud to the creation of psychoanalysis, rather than Freud actually revealing anything serious to readers. The overwhelming “issue” that is addressed in Hamlet is Hamlet’s “delay” in killing Claudius. The audience becomes growingly aggravated as Hamlet continuously undergoes conflict with himself and does not kill Claudius immediately. Webster suggests that this suggests a bigger bloodthirst from humanity than from Shakespeare alone. Webster makes the point that a sane person would not just instantly kill someone, but yet the audience expects him to.

Overall, I found the article rather interesting because it addresses several different criticisms of Hamlet, all of which appear to have some relatively valid points, but can then seem to be undermined by arguments presented by another criticism. I found it interesting that Webster pointed out that the aggravation towards Hamlet’s conflict may reveal more about society than it did about Shakespeare and the suggestion that Shakespeare really was critiquing more than just aristocracy.

No responses yet

May 16 2019

“The Serious Superficiality of The Great Gatsby”

Filed under Uncategorized

“The Serious Superficiality of The Great Gatsby” by Joshua Rothman in The New Yorker

https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-serious-superficiality-of-the-great-gatsby

 

Joshua Rothman, a writer and editor of the magazine, The New Yorker, openly reveals e his mixed opinions on The Great Gatsby. In the early segments of the article, Rothman claims that the novel is hard to pin-point because its purpose is to criticize blindly chasing some idealized life, but then shadily suggests that the novel does not actually have anything important to say about the twenties, love, or the American dream. Rothman makes note that he believes the book’s popularity rises from “style over substance”, suggesting that “it only examines the thinnest slice of American life”.

Despite his evident discontent with the novel, Rothman suddenly appears to enjoy the novel starting around the third paragraph. The best moments in the book, according to Rothman, “have the carnal sophistication of high fashion”. Rothman suggests that the book is still popular today because we are still living in the same atmosphere of falsified inspiration. Later on, Rothman talks about the “vivacious self-destructiveness” that encompasses the novel, and labels it is what makes the novel most appealing, arguing that “this atmosphere of casual, defiant, disillusioned cool is the novel’s unique contribution to literature”.

Overall, this article just confused me because Rothman goes from expressing his utter dislike for the novel to suddenly appreciating certain components of Fitzgerald’s creativity. I am not quite sure if the critic’s intention was to undermine or appreciate Fitzgerald’s novel.

No responses yet

May 15 2019

5/4 – The Myth of Innocence

Filed under Uncategorized

Paulette Michel-Michot opens with the establishment of an intentional parallel between The Lord of the Flies, The Coral Island, and Robinson Crusoe, then goes on to highlight especially the inverse relationship with The Coral Island, insinuating Golding’s intention of upending the innocence and romance apparent in Ballantyne’s novel. Golding’s characters are consumed by evil and savagery, inside and out, while The Coral Island presents an image of good triumphing over evil yet again, both featuring children, but with Lord of the Flies utilizing their age to create a more striking contrast. This concept, as well as the procession of their society’s collapse suggests the vast scale of human values and social problems. Golding’s hunters and Ballantyne’s cannibals mirror each other completely, with the exception of morality. Tropical heaven meets cruelty and intolerance in Golding’s rendition, eliminating the blind faith aspect and introducing character development and depravity.

I found this article to be extremely interesting, although I have only read Lord of the Flies, it is written well enough that I can understand every point clearly.

 

No responses yet

Older Posts »