Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Topic Proposal

My topic proposal will relate to Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” by researching Atwood’s biography and the meaning behind the story based on a society where religious beliefs, political structure, and female sexuality, ultimately controls the freedom and rights of women.  We examine the story with female sexuality, as it intertwines with the thought of criminal acts towards females.  Although Margaret Atwood makes up The Republic of Gilead, there are actually non-fictional countries where women’s rights need to be obeyed under religious laws.  I want to research present day Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as Margaret Atwood’s vision of her story is based on a non-fictional description of the two Middle Eastern countries.  Atwood’s fictional story is very accurate with other countries around the world as most of these countries base themselves by sexually victimizing women.  I want to understand why Margaret Atwood based her book on the victimization of women.  Why did the women in the book not fight for rights?  Where is the feminist movement in her story?  “The Handmaid’s Tale,” allow me to analyze the crimes against women and the politics behind female sexuality.  I think researching this topic will allow me to understand why Atwood wrote such a story with very strong ideological structure.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thesis Blog

1. The weak statement is statement A. The author just makes a generalized statement as to what he or she is writing about.  There is no real claim examining the pros or cons.

2. The weak statement is statement A. The thesis statement is to generalized. We might assume that the author is stating his or her own opinion.

3. The weak statement is statement B. The thesis statement does not make any claims. Everyone knows that young people are targeted by the jean industry. What are you trying to state in your paper? 

4. The weak statement is statement A. Whoever has read Othello knows it is a play about love and jealousy. The thesis does not support any claims.

5. The weak statement is A. Although statement A is longer and goes more in depth with information about the punk rock group Minor Threat, the author is also stating his or her own opinion, and does not have any claims. In a thesis statement we should stay away from using the words me. You do not want the thesis to make a generalized statement.   

My thesis:
           Tim O’Brien’s biography helps to analyze the meaning behind the marvel of his storytelling, as he writes the novel “The Things They Carried,” based on truth and fiction. 

I believe that my thesis statement is a strong because it is specific to the essay I am writing. I will be able to find evidence to prove my thesis statement. To make it stronger I am deciding to change “truth and fiction” to become “truth or fiction.” This can help me explain whether or not Tim O’Brien’s novel is really fact or fiction. It can also be strong, because it can be arguable. People will be able to agree or disagree with my thesis once I support my claims with evidence. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Source Evaluation

Janis E Haswell. “The Craft Of The Short Story in Retelling the Viet Nam War: Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.” The South Carolina Review 37.1 (2004): 94-109. Humanities Module, ProQuest. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.  

            This article is tells me about the craft of Tim O’Brien’s novel, “The Things They Carried,” and how it retells the stories of soldiers’ in Vietnam. It explains how the “The Things They Carried” is a thoughtful and reflexive sequence of stories with violence and carnage of war. I will use this article for my third essay, because it will help me to analysis Tim O’Brien’s biography and will help me to interpret the novel and what the meanings are behind it. I believe that this source is creditable, because I found it on Proquest, a creditable research database through the schools library. It has given me a creditable citation and the person who has wrote the review is credited as well.

Martin Naparsteck, Tim O'Brien
Contemporary Literature
Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 1-11
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1208335

The article consists of an interview with Tim O’Brien conducted by Martin Naparsteck. Naparsteck asks O’Brien questions about the books he has written and the meaning behind all the stories. The main important parts of the interview I would be using in my essay are in pages 7-11. I have decided that I want to approach my third essay by doing a biography on Tim O’Brien. I really enjoyed the novel, “The Things They Carried,” and I believe that the interview can help me to interpret and understand the true meaning of the story. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mid Session Letter

                                                                                                   October 13, 2010
Dear Mrs. Cline,

This semester seems to have gone by very fast. I still can’t believe that we are almost half way through the semester already! I am now counting down the days till Christmas, and of course Christmas break. I have really enjoyed taking English 102, especially having you as my instructor. You have made English 102 very easy for me to understand, and so much more interesting by including, blogging, discussions boards, and reading material that has caught my attention. I love knowing we can express who we are in our writings.

My biggest challenge thus far in the class has been writing the essays, especially the poetry of witness essay. I wasn’t very familiar with analyzing what a poem truly meant. I have always been a good writer, but there are always those times where I tell myself “I can’t do this.” I have improved in my writing with every English class I have taken. Literary analysis was something very different from any writing I have done before. I have never had to analyze so much in my life. It has helped me change the way I assess a text or passage. It allows me to look for a new understanding of the text, and find the true ideas that might be expressed in a passage. My biggest success thus far has been the ability to understand the readings. The stories have been so interesting, and it keeps me wanting to read more and more. I’m not a very big reader, so that fact that I enjoyed the stories you have picked out amazes me so far. I have also seen that I have been growing more and more through my writings this semester. I’m not only writing an essay just summarizing a story, but I have challenged myself to analyze the meanings and concept of a text. I am now interested to learn more about literary analysis.

I have really enjoyed the readings in class thus far. Huze and O’Brien have really captured my interest. Most of the stories they write are very relevant to what is going on with today society. Although, O’Brien’s story is about the Vietnam War, it shows us the true meaning of what war is really like, and what soldiers in today’s war might be going through while in Iraq. My favorite reading had to be “The Sand Storm.” Even though Huze wrote with such harsh words, it allowed me to really envision the stories of each man. I can’t wait to start reading the “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I hope it captures my interest as much as the previous readings have.

My goal for the second half of the semester is to keep doing my best, while improving my writing. I will always have room to grow and I hope that my writing shows that in the upcoming essays. I also hope to be able to become more comfortable with writing and understand literary analysis. I would like to accomplish my goals, and to gain a final grade of an A. I know it will be hard work, but I am ready for the challenge.

Jessica Mulberg

Friday, October 1, 2010

Summary vs. Analysis

Tim O’Brien’s short story, “On The Rainy River,” occurred during the summer of 1868.  In the beginning of the story O’Brien says he has never told anyone this story before.  One month after Tim O’Brien graduates at Macalester College, he receives his draft notice on June 17, 1968 to fight in the Vietnam War.  O’Brien was now drafted into fighting a war, without the knowledge as to why.  The young O’Brien took a modest stand against the war.  He felt as though he was better than to fight the war.  O’Brien states that he is, “too smart, too compassionate, too everything.  It couldn’t happen.  I was above it” (O’Brien 41).  As O’Brien goes on in his story, he tells us that he believes his life is just aimlessly “collapsing towards slaughter” (O’Brien 43).  While in mid-July he begins thinking about making one of the hardest decisions of his life.  Fleeing for Canada and walking away from everyone, and everything he knew.  He worries about what the consequences of his action could bring him.  He would lose the respect of his family and community.  O’Brien ultimately decides to head straight west along the Rainy River, which separates Minnesota from Canada, or in O’Brien’s case, one life from another.  On his journey O’Brien pulls into an old fishing resort called the Tip Top Lodge.  At the lodge he meets an old man named, Elroy Berdahl, who changes his life forever.
In the story, “On The Rainy River,” develops the theme of guilt that Tim O’Brien feels, while opposing to fight in the war.  He goes back and forth throughout the story, examining what his true reasoning was for leaving.  O’Brien shows us the different struggles not only he had to make, but the idea that other soldiers like him had to make the same moral decision to fight or run.  O’Brien’s guilt starts to take a toll on him, as he starts to think to himself more and more about his decision.  Does he choose to live and let live, or does he choose to fight, but knowing the fight is for something he does not believe in.  O’Brien shows us his true feelings about the war, and the moral believes he has for the opposition of fighting.  O’Brien tries to ask us questions to make us all see the difficult decision he has to make.  “What would you do?   Would you feel pity for yourself?  Would you think about your family and your childhood and your dreams and all you’re leaving behind?  Would you feel like dying?  Would you cry, as I did?” (O’Brien 57).  O’Brien allows us, the reader, to make our own opinion as to what made him decide to leave.  O’Brien finally decided he needed to go back home and fight.  O’Brien states, “I survived, but it’s not a happy ending.  I was a coward.  I went to the war” (O’Brien 61).  O’Brien reveals to all of us how a young man, turned Vietnam soldier, makes one of the hardest decisions any of us might ever have to make.

O’Brien, Tim. (1990). The Things They Carried. First Mariner Books, 2009. New York. Print.

Here is a poem that I really enjoyed reading called, "Soldiers," by Stevie Sch: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/soldiers-9/

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tim O'Brien Response


                                          The Things They Carried

They marched through battlefields, while they ate M&M’s; remembering their loves ones’ back at home.
Wearing nothing but the things they carried; can openers, pocketknives, wristwatches, and dog tags.
Each fought with pride, and honor, but the things they carried would never fade from their minds.
They carried photographs, love letters, and the dream of being home again.
 Some lost their lives, while others carried the burden of their brothers’ death.
They marched for the sake of the march, but it was always just an endless march.
They laughed and cried, but it was all to hide the things they carried from their minds.
They carried memories of who they used to be, and the lives they once knew.
But most of all they each carried an endless burden, as they kept trudging along, day after day. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Sandstorm

Before I read the play, “The Sandstorm,” by Sean Huze, I looked at the cover of the play and saw the symbolism of the soldier, looking through his goggles, and only seeing death in front of him.  The day I began to read the play, it was ironically September 11, 2010.  It was the 9th anniversary of the most horrendous attack in our country’s history.  As I was reading, I started to feel the sadness, and the fear I felt on that same day, back in 2001.  I know someone who is over seas fighting for our country.  The pain and the emotions that Huze expresses with each of the men’s stories is heart felt.  The play really shows us a realization on what the men and women are going through everyday, while being over seas.
            Each of the men’s stories gives us a picture as to what they’re truly going through being over seas and fighting for our freedom.  They each tell their story with such anger and disgust to what they see everyday.  They talk about the killing of innocent civilians, and the death of their best friends, their comrades in battle.  Some of the men’s stories were terrifying even to read, let alone be there to see it all happen.  We realize that there is a war going on everyday, but for these men and women they see things we could not imagine.  I do not think we stop to realize what they go through everyday waking up asking themselves “is today the day I’m going to die?”  They miss home, their families and friends. They’re always tired, hot and hungry.  They stay there to help keep our nations freedom and we should all thank them more often.

         Wounds That Never Heal

In the blood red sunset I hear the sounds

It resounds, resounds, resounds

with the lonely bugle call that brings

each soul from the hell that was there,

together again as comrades in despair.

In the darkness that follows the sun

a new day is born, begun

with pearl pink streaks of light

hat cannot be seen at sunset of night.

I touch my wife, me sleeping grandchild,

and think awhile.

Perhaps these wasted dead are heroes

that have made

God smile.

Richard E. McGintry

Here is a link about Sean Huze:http://www.alternet.org/world/20358/

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Poetry of Witness

As I was reading the “Poetry of Witness” tab all the poems appealed to me.  One of my favorite poems I read was “Charlie Howard’s Descent” by Mark Doty.   The fear and pain that Howard was feeling I was feeling with him.  Charlie Howard was a hate crime victim.  Howard was a homosexual man, killed by three teenagers who taunted him for being gay and then decided to throw him over the State Street Bridge.  The teenage boys did not know Howard could not swim and ultimately drowned.  Doty envisioned Howard’s thoughts and feelings of fear remarkably.  I felt the fear and sadness Howard must have been feeling at that very moment.  “Up the ladder of his fall, out of the river into the arms of the three teenage boys, who hurled him from the edge-really boys now, afraid, their fathers’ cars shivering behind them….they didn’t believe he couldn’t swim” (Doty lines 42-51).  The Charlie Howard’s story inspires me in many ways.  At the end of Mark Doty’s poem he says Charlie “blesses his killers in the way that only the dead can afford to forgive” (Doty lines 52-54).  We can all learn for the poem and the true story of Charlie Howard, and become a more excepting society.
                     Here is a link about Mark Doty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Doty

                The second poem that moved me was “The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window” by Joy Harjo.  The poem is set in East Chicago and it tells the story of a single mother who sees suicide as the only way out her “dreadful” life. “She thinks she will be set free” as she hangs from the thirteenth floor window (Harjo).  In the poem the woman hanging is seeking comfort from her own childhood memories “when she was young she ate wild rice on scraped down plates in warm wood rooms” (Harjo).  As you keep reading you start feeling the same sadness and loneliness she has been experiencing for years now.  She knows she is not alone as “she thinks of Carlos, of Margret, of Jimmy” (Harjo).  She is the mother of three, but she still feels alone and hopeless.  She tries to talk and explain her emotions but “her teeth break off at the edges” and she cannot express her feelings, instead she feels she can only express her feelings through her suicide (Harjo).  Harjo tries to show us that we ultimately make our own decision on how we want to live our life.  The woman knows “she is hanging by her own fingers, her own skin, her own thread of indecision” and she must make a major decision in her life by the power of her own fingertips.  Everyone must make major decisions in life that will ultimately change lives drastically.  At the end of the poem Harjo writes that the woman “thinks she remembers listening to her own life break loose, as she falls from the 13th floor window…or as she climbs back up to claim herself again” (Harjo).  The ending seems to give us the idea that she never chose to go through with the suicide and instead decided to find her identity again and the person she once was. 
                      Here is a link about Joy Harjo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_Harjo 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Necessity to Speak

As I was reading the essay, "The Necessity to Speak" by Sam Hammil, I had many mixed emotions.  Hammil explains, “we can’t hear very much reality” (Hammil 546).  Many of us are scared to express how we feel. Our emotions stay quiet or bottled up inside.  Hammil goes on explaining how “the writer” is the battered woman in her growing pain, or a good man with a belt wrapped around his fist.  Poetry makes you feel the same pain, or happiness the writer has felt.  We each have not been taught how to express our feelings. 
Hammil writes, “We think poetry is about emotions. We are dead wrong.  Poetry is not about.  The poet identifies a circumstance in which the poetry reveals itself.  We say the poem touches us, sometimes even deeply. We often say the poet is a bit touched” (Hammil 549-550).  When a poet writes poetry, it means they are ultimately giving you, the reader, a part of themselves.  The poet never asks for anything in return, but just enjoys knowing we are there sharing their experiences.  I agree with Hammil as he says “the poet invents a being, and that being, man or woman, stands before the world, naked a feeling” (Hammil 551).  Poets inspire me. They see things in the world we might look past. They all write the truth and even in a world of pain, they find love and hope to keep aspiring themselves to write. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Good Reader

Nabokov believes a good reader should have imagination, memory, a dictionary and somewhat of an artistic sense. A good reader should read more than once to become a major reader. He explains that we all must take the time to read. The books we read will begin to appeal to our minds. I agree with Nabokov for the most part. We all have the opportunity to become good readers. Reading a book twice might change the way you felt or the way you pictured an image in your mind. I think reading a book that makes you happy and excited to read more and more is what makes a good reader. A book does not have to be some kind of work of art, but it can make you imagine a world beyond us. If you enjoy reading and get what you wanted out of the book, than I believe that makes a good reader.
         I would say I am somewhat a good reader. I enjoy reading books that interest me. When I am forced to read some kind of boring book, I start to change my mind about reading all together. It has never been hard for me to find a book that I truly love or enjoy. The stories that make me cry, smile, laugh, or maybe even angry really catch my attention. Once I am emotionally involved in reading something, I can’t stop.