Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Man Who was Almost a Man

Wrights short story is mainly about a 17 year old boy who wants so bad to be a man. He thinks he will become a man by getting a gun. He eventually gets one and accidentally shots his bosses mule while working. In this scene he goes back to being a boy who is crying to his mother. The towns people are laughing at him for a mistake only a boy could make. He really is tormented by the image of people laughing and calling him a boy and not a man. He later goes to find the gun that night and hops the train to Illinois. The gun is still in his pocket. Illinois to him means freedom and that he can be a man. He's hoping to find a place where he's not labeled a boy but a real man. I think this story deals a lot with African Americans of the the time and their fight for true freedom. Their fight to not be called "boy" and to be their own person with their own life. I think that is just what Dave is looking for.


This story is about a woman who has been married 15 years and is very unhappy. Her husband beats her and is now cheating on her. All the towns people know all of this because her husband parades around with his new lover all through town. Delia has begun to establish a hate for her husband and does not even want to be in the same room as him. Her fear of snakes is something her husband plays into one day when he brings one home. He keeps the snake just outside the house just so she is scared everyday. Eventually, he gets bit by the snake and she sees him die. She could have taken him somewhere to save him but she does not. This leads us as readers to believe that she let him die. This poses the questions of should she have helped him, and also was it better that he die then her taking the abuse anymore? These are common questions today, and this speaks a lot of domestic violence. Does the person deserve to die because they are abusive? Do you save them? I'm interested to see what different people would answer to this question.

The White Witch

Though not clearly stated Johnson seems to be talking about relations between a black man and a white woman. The woman is perceived as an evil witch but not as a typical witch that is ugly this witch is very beautiful. It seems that a black man is warning his brothers to stay clear of the white woman and not fall for her tricks. It really speaks of race relations that are still present today. It plays into that illusion that white women are not supposed to be with black men.


Negro by Langston Hughes is probably one of my favorite poems. Throughout he compares how he was a somewhere far off but how he is still a slave in America. "The Belgians cut off my hands in Congo. They lynch me still in Mississippi." It's really crazy how something was happening in Africa, which most Americans think of as an uncivilized land, but basically the same thing is happening here in America. Hughes wants the American people to know that they go on the same boat as people from Africa. "Under my hand the pyramids arose. I made mortar for the Woolworth Building." He compares how in Egypt he made the pyramids but still here he works for the white man constructing a building. It actually compares well with "Look Within" by Claude McKay where we need to analyze ourselves before criticizing other countries or areas.

Look Within

I must say I loved this poem. Mckay really says we should look at ourselves before criticizing other countries or other areas. He relates it to America during WWII but this can also be taken on a small scale. "For setting up Fascist way of might While fifteen million Negroes on their needs" It's like here we are fighting the Fascist regime when back in America we are doing the same thing in a different way. We still had high discrimination at this in America. "We bathe our lies in vapors of sweet myrrh, and close our eyes not to perceive the fact!" Here it's like we cannot see the truth that we are corrupt here too and it's not just the countries in Europe and Japan. We do not see the true facts, just what we want to see.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Rose For Emily

A Rose For Emily is for me how people perceive someone versus how that person really is. "held themselves to high for what they really were." They were looked at as a prominent family at one point. Her father turned away every suitor she ever had because he was not good enough for her. We then find out later that she poisoned her only lover and kept him at her house with him. She would lay with him at night even years and years after his death. I feel as though Emily wanted to keep him with her always, so he could never leave her like everyone else in her life had. Her father left her, the towns people had left her and so on. Like many people today, Emily is just desperate to be loved, desperate enough to even kill. Though all this is horrible, her pride and strength of purpose tend to lessen her horrible act.

Hills Like White Elephants

This story deals with an issue that many people still deal with today: abortion. The couple in this story are trying to decide if they want to have an abortion or not. The man says "It is perfectly simple" and "We'll be fine afterward,just like we were before." The man tries to convince her it is a good idea. The girl does not seem so sure. When she says the hills all look like white elephants she is referring to her unborn child. The white symbolizes the innocence and purity of her unborn child. They talk of the heat, and the train and it only goes two ways. This seems to mean the pressure their under and that theirs no going back now. She then turns to the other side of the station and it's bare landscape. This seems to symbolize her body after the abortion sterile and barren. The story then ends with them about to catch the train. Hemingway lets the reader decided what they think will be next. You decide if they get an abortion or not. What would you do?

The Study of Two Pears

In this poem Stevens is observing pears. He thinks he knows what they are and tries to fit that into his preconceived image. However, he has a very hard time doing this. "They are yellow form composed of curves....They are not flat surfaces having curved outlines." He tries and tries to will the pear into becoming what he wants, but it will not. The last stanza to me is the most important. The pears are not seen As the observer wills." I think this relates to truth. There is truth but we cannot fully capture it. As soon as we think we fully know what it is, it then eludes us once more. I believe this means there is always more to learn and you can never stop learning. As we try and force our idea of truth on it, it will continue to refuse to be limited.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

What I like about this poem is that it can be interpreted many different ways. Stevens did not make it clear which way to interpret it and left that largely up to the leader. He did not intend for there to be a right answer like so many other modernist writers of the time. For instance in stanza 8 which was my favorite he states " I know noble accents and lucid, inescapable rhythms; But I know too, That the blackbird is involved In what I know." One way that many people have interpreted it is that the noble accents are Steven's boss and the lucid inescapable rhythms are that of the office. This is related to the blackbirds and their very literal "pecking order" when they are setting up their territory and making it noble. Also in this stanza he could simply be talking about the seasons. He could be talking about the blackbirds migrations and life cycle. What I like about Wallace Stevens here is that their is not a clear right answer. He leaves the interpretation of the poems largely up to you as the reader. You construct the meaning on your own and take what you want out of it.

The Need of Being Versed in Country Things

I believe has a lot to do with the differences between humans and nature. The farmhouse has burned down and only the chimney stands. As humans we mourn the loss of the farmhouse, but nature does not. "The birds that came to it through the air at the broken windows and flew out and in....lilac renewed its leave the aged elm, though touched with fire." Human loss does not effect nature. Nature is still savage and remains unemotional. Unlike nature, "the fence post carried a strand of wire." We mourn and nature does not. Nature rebuilds itself as if nothing has happened. Despite what has happened the birds are still flying around and the elm is still growing strong.

Journey of the Magi

This poem gives us an inside look at the three wise men journey to see the newborn baby Jesus. I believe people think it was such an easy and a happy trip, but Eliot takes a different approach to this. He tells of "the dead of winter and the camels galled sore-footed, refractory." It was a hard journey for the wise men. It talks of how they miss their palaces and there easy life. "And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly and the villages dirty and charging high prices." This all paints a very different picture then what is assumed. It forces the reader to think outside the box of what is thought of when concerning baby Jesus. At last they arrive to the place and consider it satisfactory. Eventually they return to their kingdoms "but no longer at ease here, with alien people clutching their Gods. The had seen the true God and now there palaces are not enough.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

I find this poem interesting and something that many men go through. He finds his life not worthwhile, that he does the same thing day in and day out. There is no variety in his life. "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." This shows he has planned his life and measured out every last second. He seems to be at a social gathering by the lines "In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo." He is timid and afraid to talk to them, thinking he is not good enough for him. He feels they will judge him on his own shortcomings. Prufrock then starts to analyze if he should talk to this woman at the party. "Do I dare?" He says he has a bald spot, his necktie rich and modest but asserted by a simple pen" He thinks they will say "how his arm and legs are thin" He believes here there will be other times to talk to women and once he makes a decision he reverses it. He has seen the looks the women are given him before and describes it by being a pinned insect on display. " I have known the arms already know them all"...He has seen these type of women before, they have no substance. He doesn't like that he is thinking about them and chalks it up to the smell of their perfume. The last part I thought interesting was that last few stanzas of the poem. Prufrock realizes that he is growing older. "I have heard mermaids singing.." This most likely is an allusion to the Odyssey and the sirens. Here though, they are not singing to him.