Sunday, November 30, 2008

Of all the things we've read this semester, I think I enjoyed "Watchmen" the most. I don't think it had anything to do with the fact that it was a graphic novel; the same story and characters would have still been enjoyable (though not nearly as effective) as a regular novel. I also enjoyed studying other works, such as those of James Dickey; it was interesting to see the correlations between the works and the author's life.

I did not like some of the stories out of the literature book; specifically, I disliked stories like "Man from Mars" and "Indian Uprising" the most. "Man from Mars" didn't really have much of a story; nothing too exciting happened over the course of the story, and it ended without much change in any of the characters' lives. "Indian Uprising" was even worse; it was extremely difficult to read, because I did not know what was going on.

Still, I wouldn't have left those out of the curriculum; while they were not something I would ever read on my own, I feel that they were important to teach us about modern literature and postmodernism. If I were to add anything to the curriculum, it would be a few of the Led Zeppelin songs written by Jimmy Page -- for the same reasons as I wrote in my page of the Wiki project.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

While the book was interesting, I don't think reading Watchmen was a "new experience" for me. It definitely wasn't as new of an experience as the author of the article described it; I wouldn't say reading the book is like sex at all.

Sure, the graphic novel was different from regular novels, but it wasn't really "new." In fact, for the most part, while I was reading, it felt just like reading any other book; the only difference was the way that it had to be read (following the pictures rather than textual descriptions). Maybe it's just because I've read a few comics when I was little, but it just didn't seem that new and exciting -- no more than any other book that I have read, at least.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Atonement" applies to most every character in the novel: they're all trying to achieve it in some way or another. The way it applies to some is simply more obvious than others.

In the case of Robbie, he's obviously trying to achieve atonement for something he didn't do: he wants to be proven innocent, so that people don't think he's the rapist anymore. He was never able to achieve this, though, because Briony never told them what really happened. Lola's atonement was much more subtle, though. I believe she knew it was Paul the whole time, and that's actually the reason that she married him: she wants to atone for the fact that she was raped. Basically, she married him because she felt she became 'worthless' after the rape. Of course, this doesn't seem like it would work; it actually seems counterproductive. It's very likely that Paul would only continue to abuse her after the marriage.

Briony's experience was the most important, though; hers was the basis for the entire book. Briony spends her entire life trying to atone for what she did to Robbie. It's the reason she wrote the book: to show what she wishes she would have done to fix the problem. Of course, this doesn't fix the problem, at best it might make her feel better.

I don't feel sorry for her. Yes, she must have been miserable because of what she did, but she should. It is her fault; and as soon as she realized what she had done, she should have done whatever she could to fix it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Out of the different authors and works that we've studied so far, I found that James Dickey was pretty interesting. I thought that the way he wrote was unique. He did not use any fancy literary techniques: he simply wrote about things as they were, the way he understood them through his five senses. The imagery was interesting.

As our discussion group researched his works more, he only became more interesting. The poems did not seem to have very much in common at first... but as we found out more and more about his life, his personality, and his experiences, we began to see how the poems and his life tied together so perfectly. Everything seemed to mirror an experience he had, or somehow reflected his way of thinking.... and they even came to have more in common with each other.

Finally, I found it pretty cool that he not only attended Clemson, but played on the football team here!

All in all, while he might not have been the best of people, morally, he was a very interesting person.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Deep in the trenches, bodies clash together. Men fight it out, using their bodies as weapons against each other. Some fall, but none think this loss is in vain. A blur, and someone charges past, breaking open the barrier.

Colors, numbers, meaningless words. A man calls out loudly, leading the troops. He steps back, and an object sails through the air. It hits the ground. Everyone yells, angry.

The battle has been lost, but not the war. We try to break through that barrier again: make that object hit the ground again. Three times, and we are able to succeed. A new man calls out those meaningless words, and we get that object.

The man runs, runs, runs. He reaches the end. Victory! The war has been completed.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I believe that "Lyin' Eyes" by the Eagles characterizes Blanche perfectly. The song is so calm and relaxing, exactly as Blanche attempts to be in front of the others -- but the lyrics are quite the opposite, depicting the frustration she must feel growing throughout the story, though she keeps struggling to hide it with her lies.

The song opens with the lyrics "City girls just seem to find out early / How to open doors with just a smile." Blanche might not be a city girl, but instead, a "southern belle." All the same, she gets by on her looks alone -- which is why it's such a problem that she's aging, and is losing those looks. The next lines are "A rich old man, and she won't have to worry / She'll dress up autumn lace, and go in style." Blanche's entire goal throughout the story is to find a man -- preferrably a well-off man. Love isn't what matters ("It breaks her heart to think her love is only / Given to a man with hands as cold as ice"), as long as she has money and a reputation. It's obvious it bothers her that this is how it is, but she's accepted it as simply the way the world works.

The next verse is "So she tells him she must go out for the evening / To comfort an old friend who's feeling down / But he knows where she's going as she's leaving / She's headed for the cheatin' side of town." Blanche isn't married any longer, so her lustful behavior isn't necessarily considered "cheating," but it is still not acceptable. Also, just like in the song, Blanche lies about the things she does -- such as telling them that the boy is the one at fault.

"My, oh my, you sure know how to arrange things / You set it up so well, so carefully." Blanche spends the entire story trying to create an alibi for herself, so that the others see her as someone that she is not. The arranges lies carefully to make herself look better.

"Ain't it funny how your new life didn't change things / You're still the same old girl you used to be." Despite all of her lies and stories, she's still the same person -- a shallow, manipulative girl who hopes to rely on her looks to find a man, so that she can make sure she remains not only well-off, but socially accepted by the others around her.

Finally, the chorus ties it all together:

"You can't hide your lyin' eyes.
And your smile is a thin disguise.
I thought by now, you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes."

The chorus describes her character perfectly. The entire story, she tells lies and stories, trying to disguise her true self. In the end, though, she can't hide behind her lies anymore, because, as it turns out, no one actually believed her lies in the first place. Still, even when Stanley exposed her for who she truly was, she continued to try and salvage her reputation, as if she didn't realize that it was the end.

Funny enough, it looks like someone actually made a video about the song:

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blog #2: Modernism & Postmodernism Character

While several of the characters in the works we have studied so far were enlightening, the judge from "The Obsolete Man" best depicted the difference between modernism and postmodernism. The reason that he shows it best is because he displays contradictory beliefs; he actually displays the behavior of both a modernist and a postmodernist!
At the beginning of the video, he showed the personality of an extreme modernist: just like all of the other judges of the "state," he believed in one thing. In fact, the state believed that their ideas were the only true ones, so that they actually killed those who believed otherwise!
Still, though he says his beliefs include the thought that he, an individual, is not as important as the state, he later shows panic in the face of death. In fact, he even shows a completely opposite view of what he displayed in the trial, when he says, "In the name of God, let me out!" While this isn't completely a postmodernist view, it does show a difference in his beliefs: displaying that no human can know for sure the facts on any situation.
Rod Serling used this character to display both a modernist and postmodernist point of view. He started out by displaying the character as a modernist. Later, he showed slight postmodernism by giving the character a contradictory set of behavior.