December 28, 2010

I was lucky to get into this course in the first place. For some reason I was left with no classes at all on the first day of the semester. I came in to speak with a couple of professors was lucky enough to get into Eng255. I was kind of turned off to the idea of blogging for a class at first, I didn’t think it was a productive way to run a class and it took me a while to get into the groove. I was never much of a “blogger” wether it was school or non-school related. I want to admit that my initial thoughts of the class have completely changed. I think that this style of class should be a lot more common in education, primarily in English courses where students are/should be encouraged to express themselves. I do think that as long as this is a students first experience with a blog-based course it will take them a while to adjust, but still feel that it should be used by a lot more professors. The blog style of running a class gives the writer a somewhat informal way of writing. A way of writing that without a doubt gives the writing a lot more freedom in their writing and makes it very easy to express ideas that wouldn’t be possible to express in a formal/traditional style of writing essays. Another huge benefit to the blog-based class is one that I’m sure many people can relate to. In my house, I always have paper, a printer, but NEVER have ink in the printer. The blog writing assignments resolved that issue for me.

I feel as if this course should be a Global literature course, the class offers a diverse selection of reading that take place at many different times, in different places of the world, narrated by many different personalities. Even though I didn’t like every book , even hated a few, I’m sure everyone in the class really appreciated the broad range of readings. Two of my favorite readings from the course were Persepolis and Drown. Two books written in a manner that in my opinion kind of mirror the style of class. Persepolis was a book dealing with very serious topics but written in a informal, comic book style, which I think is one of the main reasons the book has survived as such a major part of literature. Drown was probably my favorite book that I’ve come across at the college level. It dealt with both serious and not so serious topics but the raw, blunt style of writing made it extremely enjoyable for me. Both books in them selves travel throughout many places from beginning to end.

In some ways I find it somewhat odd, and ironic, yet so fitting and appropriate to have the term “canon” so linked to this English course. We dealt with many books of different styles and topics. Some of the readings were so boring and uninteresting to me, that I felt must have been considered “canons” of literature. I found a few of the reading too interesting, too easy of a read that they couldn’t be considered a “canon”. The fact that the course was untraditionally blog-based defies the idea of a course based on canons in literature.

Personally, I am an open minded individual, and I kind of enjoy when something can change my opinion. This course did exactly that. Half way through the semester I felt almost as if I was at a disadvantage by not being a English major. I was unfamiliar with many of the books that came up during discussions. I must admit that I can’t honestly say that I will be doing much reading for pleasure in the future, but I am happy that I came across the books I enjoyed this semester. The blogging experience was ultimately a very enjoyable that I strongly feel should be more popular in education, ESPECIALLY in English courses. I hope that all the English majors in this class that plan on going into the education field strongly consider applying some form of this style of teaching to their own approach.

Quiet Insanity

December 9, 2010

I think both the theme of silence and of madness are very relevant in this section, and even connected. In this section Maxine is now in American attending an American school, and trying to adapt to the very different American culture.

At one point, a delivery boy from the pharmacy accidentally delivers the wrong medicine to their house, and Maxine’s mother takes extreme offense to this and thinks that this was purposely done to try to harm them. Maxine reluctantly goes to the pharmacy as ordered by her mother to “get sweetness”. In America thinking like that can easily be taken as madness, Maxine arrives at the pharmacy and is short on words because she’s afraid of the reaction she’d get. Maxine’s mother had cut Maxine’s tongue thinking that by doing so, Maxine would be able to speak english without an accent (breaking her silence). In the school Maxine is very silent, and seems somewhat depressed in her use of black paint only, depression can also be viewed as a type of madness.

Towards the end of the section, Maxine bullies a girl that is shockingly like her. Maxine see’s a lot of herself in the girl which is why she hates her. That form of thinking is pretty damn insane if you ask me. Now, Maxine breaks her own silence while threatening this girl that is so much like her with violence if she doesn’t break her silence. Maxine also breaks her silence when she’s confessing many things to her mother, which breaks her mothers heart. The fact that this book was written and published could also be another form of broken silence

Bad to Worse

December 7, 2010

The transformation that Maxine’s mother under goes is very evident. “Brave Orchid” has abandoned the traditional roles of the Chinese woman and is attending medical school. She thinks of herself as being very independent although it is her husbands money that is paying for her schooling. Upon her return to the village there is a dramatic change. She not only looks down on women but kind of see’s herself as having even more value then men, largely due to her newly acquired talents. I felt it was ridiculous when she was upset about having to pay for the birth of her child because it was a girl.

The change of Maxine’s mother continues in “At the Western Palace”. In this chapter, her sister comes to live with them. Everyone seems to be a little upset with Moon Orchid (Brave Orchid’s sister) because she’s unable to do the everyday chores that are expected of women. Moon Orchid is a very weak character in several different ways, on top of not being able to preform everyday tasks, tells stories depicting a a Emperor with four wive’s, and concludes with her death.

Although Maxine’s mother displays a very negative of women, she can also be viewed as a type of warrior for her bravery in her decision to go to medical school.

“Girl Power”

December 2, 2010

The Chinese culture is a culture that strongly favors males in many ways. This is very relevant to Kingston, and she is not a huge fan of certain aspects of the culture. Kingston is against many of the cultural practices and norms that put women in a very limited role and looked down upon. These cultural learnings are taught at a very very early age, and its usually very hard to go against something you have been taught for so long, the fact that Kingston does so shoes a tremendous amount of bravery and courage which alone could classify her as a woman warrior. Kingston and her aunt are very different. Her aunt took a cowardly way out of her problems, while Kingston is attempting to standup to her problem’s.

Thinking back on Chinese movies and stories it is very rare to come across many of them which portray any main roles for women, whereas in this story she is the center of attention and over coming the expected role of not only a woman but a Chinese woman. Even in American history, the role of women was very limited. Upon Kingstons’ arrival in America she still faces adversity simply because of her sex.

The ter warrior is usually referring to someone of violence for a positive cause, but I believe Kingston has achieved this “warrior” status in her own way through literature by not only challenging the norm but over coming so much adversity.

Dreams from My Father

December 1, 2010

Before beginning the book I was very interested in its contents because Obama’s past seems to be somewhat of a mystery to me. I thought it was pretty smooth flowing book, but in a extremely different way then that of Diaz. Although it was easy to read I cannot say I enjoyed it, I actually found it somewhat offensive. The fact that Obama was trying to pass the book as not having intentions of being a political tool felt kind of…disrespectful in some way. I STRONGLY that Obama had every intention of having this book serve as a bridge to relate him to the voters he would later be trying to win over. Throughout my life I’ve noticed that I can express my ideas better through metaphors & similes, I got the impression that this book for Obamas campaign was intended to do the same thing as a person of the catholic religion going to confess their sins in search of forgiveness.  I might have felt different about the book if I would have come across it before hearing anything about Obama’s presidential campaign.

So True

November 29, 2010

I couldn’t decide on 1 favorite story in Drown. Personally being of a Dominican decent I deeply appreciated the authenticity of the stories. I even kind of linked some of my own experiences and even family member to details from the story. My mother was born in the Dominican Republic and migrated to the U.S. to earn money and then later bring 2 of her 4 siblings, my grandparents, and her boyfriend (my father). Having heard stories that she has told me, I was reading the experiences of Jr’s father to my mothers. I personally related to the 2nd story the most. The details were so on point I was laughing while reading. Everything from the overly loud music, to the exaggerated amounts of food at a family gathering, to the plastic covered couches, the tacky furniture and designs in a old school Dominican house are so true. Also the feelings described while in the Dominican Republic of dreading having to go to the “campo”, the poorer, country/farm like areas of the Dominican Republic were so easy for me to relate to. Something else that might have gone unnoticed by the majority of the classroom was how effective the blunt, straight forward, and even somewhat dirty language was. Dominicans are kind of known for having their own slang/dialect twist on the langue, and Diaz demonstrated that in his style of writing, that was a huge factor in the feeling of authenticity to his writing.


November 13, 2010

FINALLY, this book seems so fresh and easy to read in comparison with our last reading. Diaz writes in a bold, blunt style which gives his story a very readable feel to them. His style’s honesty gave his readings a feel similar to watching a movie. The only difficulty I found in reading Diaz was sometimes having to reread things searching for a deeper/hidden meaning, which doesn’t seem to be there.


November 13, 2010

The ending to the story seemed somewhat inconclusive to me. I’m not sure about what exactly happened. I felt as if the story might have been more complete if Caddy had returned and the family reunited. Benjys story also seemed very incomplete. I didn’t expect Ms. Quentin to take her money back, but it was her’s therefor that was justified. Jason’s story seemed to be the only one that was concluded, I never liked him so I’m kind of happy for his misfortunes. In class the discussion that maybe the seemingly incomplete ending was the perfect ending for the story, but you cant help but to want some sort of closure to a story that had so much going on


November 13, 2010

We finally find out how Quentin killed himself. It is brought up almost in a comical sense. We are also introduced to how Jason perceives time. I personally am not a fan of Jason’s character. He steals money from Quentin, but the part that bothered me most was when he burns the tickets to the show in front of Luster. I really don’t like Jason’s character AT ALL

“If it had been cloudy”

November 13, 2010

Quentin seems to be a very disturbed person. The line, “if it had been cloudy” made no sense to me until the proceeding pages. Quentin seems to be a dark, somewhat depressed character. Any time it appears to be a nice day he seems to be unhappy, and when things aren’t going well Quentin seems to be happy. The thing that really bothered me about Quentin’s character was when he was expressing how he hoped that his sisters wedding would be ruined by bad weather. I think that Faulkner’s own personality is somewhat represented in Quentin’s character.