Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Caucasia Part II

As the reading has started to come to a close, things are really starting to heat up. I was so surprised and dumbfounded when Patrice just decides to run back to Boston after the party in New Hampshire. I like this part though, because she never really belonged in New Hampshire and things make more sense with her living with Dot and Taj in Boston. She also seems a lot happier living with Dot, because she no longer has to live a lie.
Also, I never thought she was actually going to go and find her father and her sister, but now that she got the information on where they are from Ronnie, it seems as though she might actually find them. Then, I think she's probably going to hook up with Ali which is a good thing, because she said she couldn't let a white man "inside her".
Finally, I think that she has finally made her transformation back to Birdie Lee after six years, because she has stopped telling so many lies and has opened up to Dot, Ali, and Ronnie. Because of this, I think the reason that she cannot go back to live with her mother is that her mother is still living a lie, and Birdie doesn't want to go back to that. I can see a happy ending coming up, but Mr. Kunkle said that it was a twisted ending so I don't know whats going to happen.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Caucasia Part I

My first impressions of this book were that it was going to be just another book about racism in the mid-20th century, but once I started reading further into the book I found that it was much more complex than that.
I like this book a lot because it's easy to read and it has a more modern style than the previous ones that we have read. I also like it because Danzy does a good job describing in detail what life was like for most lower-middle class families in the mid-late seventies and early eighties. One of the only things that bugs me about the book is that at times I think she writes just for filler, but other than that the book is pretty well-written.
I think the main reason for Danzy's writing of this book was to describe her life growing up, so that it is an easy story to start with, being her first novel. She writes it well though, making good observations of how things were in the seventies still for mixed race families. I liked the points that she made that even after all of MLK's hard work there was still a lot of racism going on from both sides of the spectrum and how pissed off the blacks were at the whites for all the years that they were mistreated and still are.
Finally I think one of the main points that she works to make is that even in this modern time of the setting of the book, it is still hard for blacks and whites to live together. She shows this through the act of Deck, Cole, and Carmen leaving for Brazil while Patrice and Sandy are left behind.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Speaking in Tongues

I thought that this story kind of outlined the idea of being thankful for what you have. This is because when Tia goes out to find her mom she finds out that her mom is a completely different person and living a completely different life. Then, while she struggles to survive in Atlanta, she gets into trouble, almost gets raped, and finds that she wants to go back home. The point is that while she wanted to get away from home, focusing on the bad things about it such as her church, she wasn't focusing the good things such as people that love her and take care of her. Finally, I thought it was kind of frustrating at the end when she thinks Dezi raped her and he didn't, because she doesn't listen to him and just freaks out. I think the author did this to keep the story on the line that she wanted the meaning of it all to be.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Slaughter House V: Chapters 1-4

My initial reaction to the story was that this is a very weird story. I thought it was hard to understand how Billy was time-traveling and how his life worked out like this. When he kept going to the future and back to the past, knowing what will happen it became kind of confusing how he would just do whatever he was doing in that moment, and I guess this fits the Trafalmadorians philosophy in that every event that occurs in our live is like a bug stuck in amber, whereas we can't change anything in the present because it is the things that we do and the events that occur that shape our lives.
This helped me to kind of understand their viewpoint on how they cannot do anything about the universe ending or how Billy can't do anything about Derby dying. They can't do anything about it because it has already happened, the lives have already been lived, therefore the choices have already been made. The hard part about conceiving the truth and understanding in what the Trafalmadorians truly see and live like as Vonegut describes is that he tried to touch upon ideas of the fabric of space-time which weren't truly discovered (scientifically) until the late nineties, and even now scientists don't know everything about the whole concept.
In all, I really enjoy reading this book, but just find it hard to understand in parts. Also, it reminds me somewhat of the movie "Click" where Adam Sandler travels through time as Billy does. They are similar because while traveling to the future they don't get to experience the things in the middle of the two events taking place. I hope everything turns out all right for Billy as it did for Adam.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

While I was reading through this story, my initial reaction was that it was really odd and that he must be dreaming or something. Then, when I got to the end and his neck was snapped, I kind of saw it coming. My reasoning for this was that in the first section, right before the sergeant steps aside of the plank Farquhar talked about trying to escape. Also, I believe that after the sergeant stepped aside, Farquhar was having an experience where his life was sort of passing before his eyes where when he is about to embrace his love he finishes his fall onto the noose. I also thought that his escape in section three couldn't have been real because of all the fire that he escaped out of unscathed.
I believe that Bierce wrote this story to express a new type of writing style at the time, and also to describe what type of things went on during the Civil War on the front lines. As he served in the Union army, I believe Bierce may have encountered situations such as this story describes, where they would send out a spy to trick the confederate sympathisers into committing treason so that they could be executed. Is this kind of skulduggery moral? I don't know. As they say, all is fair in love and war.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bartleby the Scrivener

My first interpretation of this story was that it is about a really stubborn guy, but once we started to talk about it in class I developed a different interpretation of the story. My interpretation of the story is that after all the years that Bartleby worked at confiscating dead letters at the dead letter office, he himself turned into a sort of dead letter.
I come to this conclusion by observing that our lives are shaped and made by our actions, what we do, and our experiences. Without doing anything at all we are not living and therefore we are kind of living dead. This is why I see Bartleby as a dead letter, because at the end when he refuses to do anything at all he becomes a dead letter until he finally dies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

The first impression that I got from the reading is that this is a very weird story. It starts out with the guy going to a strange old ladies house and making awkward conversation with her, later marrying her deaf daughter, abandoning her at a restaurant and finally picking up a hitchhiker who jumps out of his car.
I think that more than anything the story represents the author's writing style. The author's dark writing style is reflected in the darkness and absurdity of the story. The author has this guy marry this girl with a life that is a just good enough life ahead of them, somewhat of a fairytale ending, then the author screws all of it up almost to frustrate the reader. She has the man dump the girl then leave and makes a bizarre ending.
Finally, the author has the main character pick up this kid and start the process of putting him on the right track and teaching him a life lesson when the kid jumps out of the car, abandoning him and the story ends. My overall feeling of the story was that it was dark and odd.