Monday, December 5, 2011

Feed Overall

Blame is so crucial in human existence.  Everything has to be someone's fault.  Violet's father blames Titus because he has to blame someone.  He blames himself for buying the cheaper feed.  He blames people but doesn't really blame who is really at fault.  Who is really at fault is abstract and not really anyone in particular at all.  Society has driven his world to the way it is.  The hacker went into her system and destroyed, but really society destroyed the need for thinking.  This groupthink that the feed is useful is what is to blame here.

Why can't humans ever be satisfied?  Why must we think that our perfectly perfect lives could get better?  Because of this we move into this place that will contain feeds.  You can see it now with the iPhone 4GS because it talks back, it knows from what you're saying how to respond.  Is this cool, or scary?  Why do we need technology like this?  Isn't the technology we have good enough; doesn't it do its job?

I so hope this isn't where our society is going to, but I fear that it is.  A computer that is inserted into your brain at such a young age that it actually controls you body.  This scares me more than I could ever describe.  I'm the girl that doesn't have a phone attached to her, that  doesn't care what's going on on facebook and never twitters.  I'm the girl that likes to read books on paper and not a screen, the girl that looks at a map to find my way home on a 24 hour drive instead of looking up mapquest or using a gps.  I'm scared that this world is already so reliant on technology and always having something better that there's no way to stop it.

Overall this book scared the living hell out of me.  Why?  Because it's our society in the years to come.  I would like to say that it's beyond my lifetime but in all reality is it?  With technology advancing as quickly as it is you never know how far away the next big thing is.  I already see our environment on the decline, I know that someday it will be gone and awful as it is in this book.  There are so many people who are blind to see how fast the world is deteriorating with our hands doing it.  People think in the here and now and not in the future, they do little to think about how their actions will have  consequence and what that consequence will be.

Feed Part 4

            Titus is in the waiting room waiting for Violet to wake up, her father comes about a half an hour after he's there and goes right in.  Titus sees Violet who is covered in wires and her father shows a site where Titus can track her brain functioning.  The next day Violet tells Titus everything she still wants to do, though all he could think about was how he didn't want her to go crazy again.  Violet and her father petitioned FeedTech to pay for her bills because they couldn't afford it and it wasn't covered by medical.  When Titus was at school he talked to Quendy and told her how sorry Violet was and Quendy said she understood that it wasn't her.  When she asked if she was okay Titus said that the feed wasn't working well with her brain and Quendy said she hoped that Titus wasn't being weird around her now.
            Violet leaves Titus a message for when he wakes up.  She doesn't seem herself, using short sentences but tells a story of her mother and then of experiencing mud in the artificial sun.  The next message that Violet sends Titus is a long list of everything that she wants to do and things that won't happen, that are happening now.  Titus didn't reply back after he finally listened to the message while in class with the hologram teacher who if you didn't look at in the right area didn't even look like a real person.  Everytime that Violet tried to talk to Titus he didn't respond and he was growing very distant.
             Titus went home with Marty and Link one day to hang out.  They played volleyball in the pool for awhile but that was difficult so Titus asked if they wanted to go in mal.  He describes the whole experience and they find themselves in an ice cream store, then the mall and that's when Titus decides he's going to go see Violet, who he hasn't talked to for a few days.  He puts his upcar on autopiolet and goes over to see her where she can tell he's messed up.  She keeps trying to tell him things, like her father stopped her lessons but said he'll tell her anything she wants to know, but Titus doesn't realize because the trees are so green and he could smell the grass right there.  When he fell asleep on her lawn she sent him a clip of a memory from earlier that morning.  She fell down the stairs and couldn't move her legs and couldn't breathe and her face got rug burn all the way down the stairs.  Her feed tech support Nina came into her head then and informed her that no one would sponsor her and so she would not get any free repairs done to her feed.  Violet asked why and Nina informed her it was because no one saw her as a valuable customer because she would ask about many different products but never buy any of them.  Violet asked her to go away as she sat there and waited for her dad to come and help her.  When he came to they were talking about random things, Titus kept waiting for something to happen but it didn't and it seemed like they weren't even dating.  He wanted her to grab his hand so badly that he put it next to her hip but she didn't and when he left he wanted her to kiss him but she didn't so he got in his upcar and she waved as he drove off.
             She sent Titus her memories so that someday he could tell them back to her in case she forgot them, because who are we without a past?  He didn't look at them, when she finally stopped sending them, he deleted them all without opening them.  She asked what he thought about her weekend idea but he didn't know what she was talking about so he didn't respond, he didn't do his homework, he went to bed but he didn't sleep. On Friday after school Titus was in his room when his mother called up the stairs that Violet was there, with no response she told Violet to go up.  Violet told Titus that she was going to the mountains and asked if he wanted to go but he tried to politely decline.  After a few minutes of Violet asking what his plans were he said he would go and she was so excited but Titus wasn't, he was just going along.  Violet's father didn't know she was going, especially with Titus and she wanted to keep it that way.  When they left she told him how worried she was that he didn't get any of her chats or memories, and Titus lied to her saying that he didn't.  They went to this hotel in a college town and Violet tried to have sex with Titus but nothing was happening and they got in a huge fight.  Violet saw Titus as this normal kid and her chance to be normal and Titus saw Violet as his girlfriend for a few months.  He said that they would have broken up by now if she hadn't been dying and Violet had this eternal image with Titus.  After the fight Violet demanded that Titus take her home and he didn't argue.  When they got home her arm wasn't working and he tried to help her out of the car but she wouldn't take his help so then her father came out and took her hand but she took it back and got out of the car by herself.  She stood there and looked between the two right before Titus got in the upcar and left.  The  next day she messaged him and said she loved him and wanted to talk if he did, but he didn't respond.
             In the summer Titus, Link and Marty went to one of the moons of Jupiter for a few weeks.  By this time Titus was dating Quendy and he missed her the whole time he was gone, he kept chatting here though there was a lag between the two planets.  When they got back they had a fun summer even though they were all going bald and had less and less skin.  People started literally freezing in their tracks because the feed would jam because people would want exactly what they had so the system would freeze while trying to fix itself.  When Titus saw this happen to two of his friends it freaked him out and made him think of Violet.
            Titus' father went on a trip and he was broadcasting all of the memories to the family when Titus started hearing someone say something about how he didn't have to come if he didn't want to but she wanted him to know when it happened.  Titus realized it was Violet's father and that he had sent their address just in case.  Titus went to see Violet and when he arrived he was stunned at what he saw: Violet laying there but now moving, not blinking.  Violet's father came in and made Titus feel awful, showing him memories from Violet, telling him it was his fault because he took her to the night club.  He explained how didn't buy the more expensive feed because what would it hurt in the long run?  They got in a huge fight yelling at each other and Violet's father grabbed Titus' shirt and continued to say "fuck you forever and ever. forever and ever."  As Titus was leaving he could hear Violet's father "I'm sorry Vi did you hear that? I'm so sorry."  When he got home he sat on his floor completely naked and continued to buy pants, the same exact pants and he could feel them as they got ready and were shipped.  He stayed up until the wee morning of the hours and saw the sunrise.
             Titus went back two days later to see Violet and he sat there and talked to her.  He told her news that he could find and random facts, like the stuff she liked.  When he told her he had one more story to tell he finally began to cry for the first time.  He cried and told her of a girl who met a guy that never really thought until he met this girl.  It was a story of their love and adventures and would be PG-13 due to sexual scenes and they loved and lived forever.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Feed Part 3

They all returned to Earth and everything seemed to go back to normal.  They all talked to each other on the feed again, had a debate whether a guy should lie to a girl when she asks if she looks fat.  The girls made it clear they should and the guys think that if she asks their opinion they should tell them.  Quendy was having a party at the end of the week because her parents went out of town, this was the first time Titus would see Violet since they left the moon.  They had some time to talk on the way to the party which was when Titus learned that Violet has never been to a party before because she’s homeschooled.  Their hands touched and when they were driving she rested her arm behind his head and Titus could feel the warm hair from her arm on his neck.    When they get to the party Link and Marty are playing a video game, which is real life moving and you are the only ones that see what’s going on because it’s in your feed.  Violet goes over to talk to Calista and Titus chats with Quendy who asks Titus if he and Violet are going out and he replies that they are.  That’s when she says that Calista says that Violet is stuck up so Titus chats Violet to make sure everything is okay.  When he stops for a moment to look around he realizes that absolutely nothing has changed, they went back to exactly how they were before.  It’s as if their brains were never invaded by the hacker.
Titus went upstairs after the party watched the movie and the guys were up there doing the “mal” or a trip.  Titus didn’t want to do it because he didn’t think Violet was okay with it.  When he came down him and Violet went outside to talk where she told him that something was wrong with her feed and they think that it’ll stable out but it hasn’t yet.  She said that they didn’t know what it was but they were trying to make adjustments.  Titus was freaked out but hid what he was thinking from her and he wrapped his arms around her and felt like he was protecting her already.  The stood there for awhile looking at each other and kissed and just enjoyed the synthetic breeze.
                That night Titus had a dream.  He dreamt that there was a site where you could get all of these games for free, all of them, anything for free.  So with this he downloaded checkers and when he did someone was nudging his feed, when he asked who they were they asked if he was one of the victims of the hacking and he replied yes.  They said they were the police and just doing some checking, when he said they weren’t the police he asked who they really were.  They just gave him free games and said not to worry.  He didn’t remember this for awhile but he did know that when he woke up he couldn’t find any of the games, or the lizard or gloves.
                Titus and Violet meet at the mall after Violet asks if he wants to hear her new experiment.  They go to the mall and go to all of the stores and ask to see all of these weird things but don’t buy anything.  Violet explains that she wants to become invisible to the feed, she wants them to not know how to advertise to her so they just don’t.  He drops her off at the feed doctor’s office pinching her elbows standing there until Titus drives off.   Titus chatter her that night and he could tell that she was crying but she didn’t answer why instead just saying she wished he was there.  Then she showed him how her feed was going crazy because of everything they looked at at the mall.   Titus loved spending time with Violet, although she was smarter she still hadn’t done a lot of the things that he had because of how she grew up.  It seemed that everything they did together was something new and they did it hand in hand.
                Sometimes Titus did worry that he wasn’t as smart as Violet though.  She mentioned how the country wasn’t actually a democracy it was a republic.   Titus suggested that they just have everyone vote from their feed, to which she responded that only a certain percent of people have the feed in the United States.  At another conversation Violet said that everyone who grew up with the feed were stupid and dumb until she realized that Titus had always had the feed and she tried to continually apologize but Titus was visibly hurt by it.  When he got home that night his mother could tell something was wrong.  The next day he got home from SchoolTM where he didn’t do good on an exam.  Violet said she couldn’t talk that day which was okay with him because you could still tell he was hurt.  That’s when his parents tried to make him feel better again.  They told him of how he got his looks, from a movie star that didn’t end up getting any big rolls.  By the end of the conversation they told him he was getting his own car, and all of a sudden he didn’t feel so dumb anymore.
                Titus and his father picked up Violet at the mall on the way to go get a new upcar.  When they got there and were test driving them Violet kept trying to convince Titus to get something other than the upcar, “resist the feed” she would say, but he didn’t.  There was the Dodge Gryphon which showed Titus a picture of a party with people in bikinis in his car and there was the Swarp showed him pictures of him and Violet driving alone along a mountain.  Violet asked if this was a gift, Titus said that it was more like a reward for having to go to court and give evidence.  Violet looked at him confused and finally told him that the man was dead, the police had beat him to death.  He died the day after the club from the beating to the head.  Titus bought the Dodge.   That night his family and Violet had dinner together.  His mother asked if Titus was going to take Violet out in the new car and they said they were going to go on a walk tomorrow either to Jefferson Park or beef county.  Titus’ father said it would have to be beef county because they got rid of Jefferson Park to make an air factory which Violet was upset with because trees make air and Titus’ father and Violet got into it for awhile.  When dinner was done Violet couldn’t get up yet because her foot was frozen, as in it couldn’t move.  She explained it had happened a few times since the hack.  When she got up Titus took her to the mall parking lot to drop her off with her father, he fell asleep that night looking up things on the feed about how people could go to sleep together and wake up together.
                Titus picked up Violet at her house and met her father.  He believes that the language is dying so he uses big words and a lot of hidden meaning so that no one can simplify what he’s saying.  He talks about how and where Violet meets most of her boys, though she doesn’t bring many home.  They spent the day in the country and loved it.  By the end of the day Violet asked how he wanted to die and he said with sense overload, ending by asking if she would be the one to pull the plug.  It took her awhile and then she got very happy and said if he wanted her to she would.  He dropped her off and when he got home he could sense his whole family around him.  His brother was asleep with the feed saying things to him and his parents were going mal.  That night someone nudged Titus’ dreams again and he saw images that were frightening and scary.  He woke up to Violet asking if he had been in her head.  He said no so she called tech support which ended up being an automated voice who tried to help her make decisions on buying things.   She had to cuss at the automated voice to get her to leave her alone.  They said goodnight after Violet got off with tech support and when Titus fell asleep he had much better dreams.
                There was a coke promotion going on that if you talk about how amazing coke was 1,000 times you got a case of coke.  Titus’ friends got together to talk about coke and try to get a lifetime supply of it.  Violet said something that “got them knocked points” and was quiet for the rest of the night until the group wanted to go to a store and get coke.  That’s when Calista and Loga were talking about their riot clothes while walking to the upcars and Violet asked what happened in a certain riot but the girls didn’t know and looked at her weird because she used “big words that no one understood.”  At this point Violet wanted to go home because all of Titus’ friends thought she was weird.  When they were driving they got in a fight where it finally came out that something was wrong with Violet.  She explained that because her feed was put in later than others’ it’s more susceptible to malfunctioning and because the feed is connected to everything it could affect anything, her heart, lungs, limbic system, entire brain really it could even be fatal.  After revealing this she said she could go back now but Titus didn’t want to and they went elsewhere.  Violet stayed for dinner that night after they sat at Titus’ house to talk.  She made him realize that she didn’t have much time, that it could be anytime.
                One morning Titus goes to school and Loga has gotten a large fake lesion implanted on the back of her neck.  Titus chats Violet to tell her about it and she gets a kick out of it.  It comes up how Link is an exact clone of Abraham Lincoln which is why he isn’t as good looking as all of the other guys.  Titus asks if Violet wants to go to a party with them on Friday and after some convincing she says yes. 
                At the party everyone seemed to be having a good time until Calista came and everything went quiet.  She was cut from head to toe trying to outdo Loga.  Titus takes Violet up to the attic and talks to her about when they were younger they would play sardines and all of the good friends would go up there and laugh at those who didn’t know about the secret place.  Then they talked about walking in the hallway and that exact moment when you realized you’re alone although you’re not alone, you’re surrounded by people.  Then they found old pictures, black and white with no smiles, of Link’s relatives from a long time ago.  They went downstairs and the group was playing spin the bottle so they sat down to join, though Titus could tell that Violet didn’t want to play.  When Marty got Violet she went crazy yelling about how everyone had become the feed they didn’t have the feed in them, they are the feed.  They’re all food raised to be animals for the feed, she yelled that there were starving people in the world and they were there being the feed.  This happened right before her body failed and she fell to the ground and Titus was holding her and her body went limp, though her heart was beating she couldn’t move.  When Titus went with the women in the ambulance the feed was whispering to him about malpractice and suing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein

Let us go to where the sidewalk ends.  They will follow the arrows to where the sidewalk ends, leaving the asphalt flowers and where the road bends and turns.

I feel like this is talking about going somewhere where life is not ruled by time, where you need to be and the modern world that we live it.  They want to go to where the children are, in a world that is free and beautiful. You notice the beauty and your surroundings where the sidewalk ends, but when the sidewalk begins you must pay attention to society and the asphalt and all of the sophistication that comes along with being an adult.  Going back to where the sidewalk ends seems to me like the speaker wants their childhood back, the innocence that childhood holds. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Reconstruction Work" by Bruce Holland Rogers

This is a story of a man at a funeral home of a wealthy woman.  He was standing at her casket when her granddaughter came in.  He wouldn't leave, even when the granddaughter waited at a distance.  Finally she walked up and he told her how he knew her grandmother.  He said that her father doted on her, which the granddaughter disagreed with and said that he did things to her, her grandmother told her so.  The man said that the father was a gentleman when gentleman actually meant something.  As the man walked away he knew that the granddaughter might still believe what her grandmother had told her but he had planted a seed of doubt.  That's what he does plant seeds of one kind or another about that father since he had died and he would do so until the mortuary endowment runs out.

It took me awhile to get this at first.  I didn't know if this man was the grandmother's father, but then I thought about how old he would have had to be.  I truly had to think and then I realized the title of the work and how the speaker talks about how he doesn't do plastic surgery but another kind of reconstruction work.  The mortuary was paid to have people say good things about the father in this story and until the money ran out that's exactly what these people would do.  They planted seeds of doubt of every story that people had heard about him to make him look a little better.  What truly happened was that this father, Francis Fordham, was a bad man.  He didn't do things that people would want to remember him in a good way.  To this day people want to be remembered positively they don't want people to think poorly of them.  People want this so badly that they'll pay a mortuary to have people plant seeds of doubt in those who do know the truth.

I find it strange that people would rather lead a terrible life and pay someone to lie about them once they're gone than to lead a wonderful life and be remembered for who they REALLY were.

Louise Erdrich

There are two Indian boys, Henry and Lyman, who buy a red convertible on a bit of a whim one day.  That summer they take the convertible all over and never have any plans really, they just live each day for the day.  When they got back is when the Army seemed to remember that Henry had signed up, though when he left he was a Marine.  He was gone for three years, in the Vietnam war and Henry was taken by the enemy.  When he returned he was different.  Lyman took care of the red convertible while Henry was gone but he didn't notice.  When Henry first got home he would never sit still, but when he watched the color television that Lyman had gotten he sat still.  After awhile Lyman got an idea and beat the convertible up, when Henry noticed he yelled at Lyman about it and Lyman left before Henry could notice that he spoke.  Henry made the red convertible his project and almost froze working on it around the clock until it was finished.  One day Henry asked Lyman to take it for a drive to the river.  The boys seemed to enjoy the ride, feeling a little bit like old times.  When they got there they made a fire and noticed the current was high and strong.  Henry gave Lyman the keys and said he could keep it for good now but Lyman refused.  They got in a fist fight about it until it ended in laughter.  When the fight was over Henry said he needed to cool off and headed into the river.  When Lyman looked up Henry had gone a long way, knowing that he hadn't swam there but the current had taken him.  That's when Henry went in.  When Henry got out he went to the car turned on the lights and drove it directly into the river, got out and stood on the bank and watched the car as it shorted out.  Then it was dark and quiet and all you could hear was the river.

This story is heart wrenching and sounding so true at the same time.  Many veterans came home from Vietnam and were changed forever.  The fact that getting help for PTSD was looked down upon.  If you said you had PTSD you were seen as weak and crazy and were often committed.  It was not a "manly" quality and you were expected to put up with everything and put it away and not think about it.  This story is something that often happened to those who couldn't work through their experiences at war.  The suicide rates went up after Vietnam because of so many things that the soldiers had seen while they were gone.

To this day PTSD is still looked down upon in the military.  If you admit to having serious problems with PTSD you are released from the military.  There are therapists that the military provides but if you tell a military therapist then they are required to tell the military if you're having PTSD symptoms.  I find this to be counterproductive.  These soldiers gave their lives to go fight for this country and when they come back and say that they're having problems dealing with what they went through we cut them out on their own.  I think that is cowardly of the military because those soldiers weren't cowards when they were forced to go fight in another country, they were willing to give up their lives.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Feed Part 2

He wakes up and no longer has the feed.  He tries to connect to the feed, chat with people, watch shows but nothing works so he opens his eyes.  He is forced to look around, at the walls, at the picture of the boat.  His parents have been notified and they are on their way.  The police tell him that they caught the hacker and that he's one of the worst ones and they're now going through everyone's feeds to get information to use against the hacker in court.  Titus doesn't know what people did before the feed, when the feed first came out it was advertised as an educational tool, so your children could have information closer than their fingertips.  Titus this it's so crazy that people used to have computers that they carried around instead of having them in their brain, he compared to to carrying around your lungs in a briefcase and opening it when you need to breathe.  Titus then tells thinks about how there are different things in your feed that get to know you and what you want, they take it back to the companies who make things the people want, he says there's no use trying to stop the companies because they will always rule everything and that they employ "like everyone" so there's no way the world could get by without them.  They had all gone a day without the feed and were so bored, by this time their parents had probably landed on the moon and would be there the next morning.  That night they were all supposed to be sleeping but when Violet got up to go to the bathroom Titus stops her and says hey, they both sit there for awhile in silence and Titus likes it.  Then he realizes that she's crying and she says she tries to be normal just once and she's screwed.  Titus wanted to say something, but he said that saying the right thing was like brain surgery so instead they just sat there.  He hoped that she could see the smile in the light of his brain waves because he liked it so much. The next morning Titus' father came and looked very business like, like he was going to get some clarity.  When Titus asked his father when he was going to get home his father was talking to someone and left.  Quendy then asked Violet when her parents were coming but she said they weren't at all because they were busy.  No one heard anything for the rest of the day.  The next morning they decided they needed some cheering up so they made up a game.  Titus said this was one of the best days of his life, they played their game and sang a song.  By the time they were eating dinner Violet said that may this was their salad times, their happy times and Titus asked what was happy about a salad, Violet responded, "Ranch."  Violet was off talking to the doctors while the others were playing their game again and when Violet returned Titus knew something was wrong.  She told him she wanted to take him somewhere, she took him to a giant window that looked over what once was a courtyard.  The ceiling was leaking and Titus compared one of the bushes to a Squid, Violet said that he was the only one that uses metaphor.  At that moment they looked at each other and kissed.  Titus was noticing the little details of the world around him, including every knuckle on Violet's spine.    Now they were watching as Marty was making up a new game and they talked about their families.  Violet wanted to know all about Titus' family, his father did some sort of banking but Titus didn't know what it was and his mother was in design.  Violet's father is a college professor and teaches the dead languages, Titus was interested and asked more about it so Violet went to her bag and got out a pen and paper.  Titus was astonished that she wrote, he asked her why didn't she use the feed it was much faster and she replied that she was pretentious.  She asked Titus if he could read and he said some, though he protested it in school because the silent e was stupid.  She wrote some of the language called BASIC and he didn't know how to read it.  That's when it dawned on Titus, he asked her "your father is a professor but he didn't have time to come here when you collapsed from being hacked?"  She replied, "No, but that's what I told you."  They got their feeds back in them and the process that they go through is described.  Titus goes into a room with a nurse, doctor and technician.  They place the feed back into him and at first he doesn't feel anything, but then slowly it comes back and they're all so happy.  The group begins to feel themselves like they never have before and they begin to dance.  Titus and Violet find each other's hands and they dance, hand in hand.

I like love this like part of the like book.  All of the like characters like struggle with like what they should like do without their like chip.  Even the like doctor isn't like educated and he's like the one that like is in your like brain!

HOW ANNOYING IS THAT?!  I wanted to do it for my entire post but it even annoyed me and I don't have to read it.  The doctor that was putting the chip back into Titus' brain talked like this, as did Titus' father who is an important banker.  Their lack of education is apparent and I want to know how jobs are decided in this world because if I have a doctor that speaks to me like that and doesn't know what's going on I wouldn't let them go near me, let alone my BRAIN!

Let's also look at Titus' illiteracy.  In this world you don't need to read because everything is told to you through the feed, it is you and you think and feel the way the feed shows you to.  There's nothing to read or write anymore because you can just think what you want to happen and it does.  The astonishment when Violet brought out a pen and paper illustrates how foreign reading and writing is.  It also is a crazy idea to Titus that people used to carry around their computers, our laptops.  He compares it to breathing and carrying around your lungs in a suitcase and when you need to breathe you open the suitcase.  The people of this time in this world think that their feed is essential to LIFE!  Yet when we see the feed taken away some of these people flourish and truly get to think. 

The boat picture gets me every time.  That stupid boat that isn't moving and there are no people on it.  It shows that there is no appreciation for the arts either.  This is continued to be proven wit the music that is played and they way that people dress.  Looking at that boat made Titus angry and he couldn't see it for anything more than being a boat with no people.  He said it doesn't make sense because it hasn't been anywhere and isn't going anywhere.  Although he can't capture the beauty in the art, he is still being forced to think about it, which is something that he has never had to do before.

I'm super skeptical about Violet and very interested to see what happens with her.  I want to know more about who she is, what she does and where she comes from.  She's clearly not like the others in the group because she wears cotton clothing, can read and write, and isn't completely obsessive with the feed.  She notices the little things like the plant through the window.  She also lies to Titus about why her parents can't come so that makes me even more interested.  At one point she says "you try to go out and be normal for once and you're screwed," or something along those lines.  Don't quote me word for word.  Anyways, this makes me think about what she's really like if this isn't her normal.  Where does she come from and what does she do??

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

E.B. White

Charlotte and Wilbur were alone in the pen at the state fair grounds discussing their friendship and how each meant so much to the other.  This is when Charlotte revealed to Wilbur that she would not be returning to the farm with him, she was too sick and would soon die.  Wilbur threw a fit and once he realized there was nothing he could do to get Charlotte to return he woke up Templeton and asked him to quickly go get Charlotte's egg sack so that they could bring it back to the farm with them and make sure her children were safe.  Templeton would not agree, saying he always runs errands and always does favors for them and they never do anything for him in return.  Wilbur is quite annoyed and calls him a spoiled child at one point, when he remember how much Templeton loves food.  Wilbur tells Templeton that he will let him eat first everyday when he's fed and he won't go near the food until Templeton is done.  With this Templeton agrees and goes and gets the egg sack and brings it down to Wilbur.  Wilbur puts the sack in his mouth and winks at Charlotte as he is being placed in the pin to go back to the farm, Charlotte uses all her energy to wave back.  Charlotte dies the next day, alone and no one at the fair grounds even noticed.  Wilbur watched the generations of Charlotte's children and grandchildren and so on.  He loved them so much but none of them as much as Charlotte for she was a true friend and a writer, which is not happened upon often.

This story is America in a nutshell.  There are few people who do things for others out of the goodness of their hearts, few true friends that would do anything for others no questions asked.  Charlotte and Wilbur are those rarities that are true friends and would give their lives for one another, as Wilbur mentions in the reading.  Templeton seems to be like most people in America now.  What's in it for me?  Why would I want to do this if I don't benefit from it?  If you take a moment and just step back to observe people this happens everywhere.  Selflessness is so uncommon that no one can truly know what it is.  We're all guilty of wanting something in return, whether we think so or not.

How did America come to this? I think it's quite clear that we have always been like this. There are few people in our history that can say they were truly selfless.  In the beginning of our country we had slaves, people were owned who were not paid and essentially did free work for the white Americans.  There are few selfless acts in our history.

In the bible there is a story of two women who claimed a baby boy was theirs.  They told the two women that they were going to cut the baby in half and let the women split him.  The woman who would give up the boy is the mother because she didn't want her baby boy to get hurt.  I think this is a selfless act in that the woman was putting aside her feelings so the baby would survive, even though she wouldn't see him or get to raise him. The other woman was willing to cut the baby in half, showing her selfishness and that she didn't even care about that baby boy.  It was decided who the real mother was and that is who got the baby, could you imagine the relief to that mother?

The question that lies here is how can we get back to be selfless, to wanting to help other just to help others?  I think that this society has gotten to the point of no return.  There is no way that we, as a society, could ever be selfless because we all care about ourselves too much.  When there's a homeless man on the street we tell him to get a job instead of going to McDonald's and buying him a burger.  Whether or not that man is really homeless is irrelevant because that person who just passed the man doesn't care one way or the other.  Helping someone in need is so rarely done because you couldn't get anything in return, and if you do help someone in need it's almost always because you get something in return.  You say that a lot of people help those less fortunate with nothing in return?  I disagree.  There is always something that someone gets in return, even if it's just a sense of satisfaction.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Li-Young Lee

This is a short poem with the theme revolving around peaches.  It seems very positive and loving, showing the stages of the peaches as they go through until the writer eats them.

I think that this poem reflected life as a parent.  Life starts small in a womb, from blossoms, and as your child grows up you watch them.  You enjoy everything they do, whether watching them fall to learn, to when they learn to succeed.  As you grow older you take the memories with you "O, to take what we love inside, to carry within us an orchard," through everything you always have everything inside.  You carry your children with you forever and where ever you go.  "There are days we life as if death were nowhere in the background," you don't look to when times won't be as good because now you have love and life.  The time it takes to grow the peach, water it, shade it, adoring it and eating it.  You are taking in a living thing and making it you.  You raise your children and they are part of you forever.  They are "impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom," showing they are sometimes difficult, as all children are, but they are still so sweet because they are yours and you love them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Donald Barthelme

Summary?  There's a class and everything died that was associated with the class. everything. including two class members.  There was always a "lesson" that went along with everything dying, although the teacher doesn't always know why things died.  The students questioned the meaning of life, was death what defined life, the teacher responded that life defined life.  The class then asked if the teacher would make love with Helen so they could see how it was done, he responded no because he would get fired.  Helen came over and he kissed her above the brow, the students were excited until the door opened and the new gerbil came into the room.

So is the moment where she goes over and he begins kissing her kind of like something I want to do before I die?  I don't want to have any regrets?  I find it very strange that the class asked them to have sex so they could see how it happens.  Although I'm not surprised it didn't happen because this all seems to be about death and the negatives in life.  Sex is supposed to be the epitome of human intimacy and love and hope.  Yet instead of that happening the class gets a new gerbil, which brings temporary hope because we all know the gerbil will die.  It's what always happens.

I think that death does define life.  Aren't we moving everyday towards death?  Don't we say we want to do things before we die?  Aren't people lives remembered once they're dead but not really seen when they're living?

So what has this world come to that life is not defined by what we are doing while living but what will be remembered once we're dead?  I'm guilty of this, guilty of thinking I should do something to be remembered.  I have a motto that I want to make a difference in the world, one person at a time.  But do I do this really to help or do I do this so I'm never forgotten?  Isn't that everyone's fear, to be forgotten?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Feed Part 1

Titus and his friends decide to go to the moon for spring break because there wasn't anything to do at home.  Titus tries to sleep on the ride but his friends were being loud and obnoxious and he wasn't able to.  When they got to the no gravity zone he decided there wasn't a use trying to sleep when everyone else was having fun.  They got to the moon and the girls got their room and the boys there.  Titus was hoping to find someone on the moon to hook up with, he tells us how lonely it gets after the party going home alone.  The group tries to get into a party, most of the time it works because as a group they look older than they are, but this time it didn't.  They went to a club where there's no gravity and you fly around and hit each other.  It was there that Titus saw her, the beautiful girl that stood in the food area just watching all of them like they were idiots.  He followed her when he could, she was in the snack bar so he ordered a snack and watched her, she was wearing wool.  When she thought no one was looking she would let her juice come out of her mouth and watch it in the no gravity and she would lick with her tongue again.  The group came over then and he hoped they would shut up because they didn't really sound that smart.  The girls went to the bathroom because hairstyles had changed, Titus was talking about the girl and Link asked what she was wearing.  Titus replied that it was wool, like from an animal.  When Quendy returned from the bathroom she was upset that no one told her that her lesion had spread.  They all had lesions, everyone was getting them.  They assured her that it hadn't and if she met someone she didn't know before they wouldn't know what she looked like without it.  The guys told her to ask the girl in gray, and she said that it showcased her face because of where it was on her head.  It wasn't on a main line so it actually brought attention to her face, her's was on her neck and she wanted it to go all the way around her neck to look like a necklace but it wasn't there yet.  After this all of the other guys became fascinated with her and kept asking her to help them with their lesions and kept hitting on her.  At one point she stopped and looked at Titus and only at him, looking to see if he was going to say something too to hit on her, but he didn't have anything to say.  The girls and the girl in the gray spent time arranging Quendy's hair so that it showcased her lesion, which was good for Quendy because she's usually not the one in the center of attention.  They were all bored and decided they wanted to go to a club but first they wanted to get drunk.  They tried a place that wasn't supposed to ID but it had been torn down a year ago and there was a mall there now, so they all went in and went shopping.  No one really found anything that they liked but some people bought things anyways.  When they were done it was later and they still weren't drunk so they went back to the hotel and tried to break the locks off of the mini fridges but it was no use and all of the girls were watching something on their feeds.  They decided to go to the club without drinking and on the way there was a protest against the moon and even some were shouting about the feed, a chip in my head is death.  When they got to the club it was clear that Violet was uncomfortable but she said she would get used to it.  Titus and her were talking for a bit and they didn't like each other when all of the sudden the artificial gravity got turned off and Violet grabbed Titus, she apologized as they were floating down and he said it wasn't a problem.  They were all there when an old man with a bow tie came over to them and with his iron hand touched them and they all started broadcasting, yelling "We enter a time of calamity," over and over.  They couldn't speak even when they tried, they couldn't move, they couldn't do anything.  Titus saw the police coming and they beat the old man over the head which was when he finally stopped and they all stopped.  That's when Violet and Titus were finally able to hold hands and the police were saying in all of the kids' ears that they were going to have to turn them off now and when they did they all fell to the ground and that was it.

There were also what seemed to be advertisements that were in-between different chapters for different shows, products and places to go.

I was very confused what the feed was until the group passed the protesters and said the rant about the computer chips in their heads.  It's a tough reality to face but this almost seems where we're heading.  Everyone is obsessed with technology and people my age say that their phone is their life!  It seems no one can go anywhere without their cell phone.  When my father went to school there were only a few people who had laptops in class because only a few people could afford them, now there's only a few people with laptops in class because their laptop is too  big to bring to class so they have their IPad 2.  When you're hanging out with anyone they're always on their phone texting, whether it's people who are in the same room as you or people elsewhere.  We have the internet on almost every phone and if you don't have a phone that is capable of using the internet you're seen as having an "ancient" phone and people tell you to upgrade.  I'm sure there are many people who would see the benefits in having a chip in your head so that you didn't even have to have a phone you could just do everything in your head.  Having a tv right in your head would be so "beneficial" to people because then they wouldn't have to be at an actual tv to watch tv they could watch it at anytime.

I love how the fact that Violet is wearing wool is so strange.  She seems like she's from a different time, not like the others.  However, she does have a computer chip because she is turned off at the end of part 1 so she couldn't be from another time.  This is her first experience to the moon and doesn't seem like she's been to Mars either.  This seems rare for this time because it almost seems fairly inexpensive to go to the Moon because this group of high school students did it last minute.  I thought it was very strange, the Moon.  I think the reason the Moon is so great is because it is so rare to go to and such a special experience for astronauts.  Yet Titus described the moon as cold, full of trash and nothing but boulders.  He said that once the novelty has worn off there really isn't anything that wonderful about the moon, just that it brings him loneliness.

These lesions almost seem like acne today, but way grosser.  Everyone is still obsessed with how they look and Quendy is stressed that hers is on her face.  Violet's reassurance that it accentuates her face gives her confidence and makes the others want to know about their lesions.  I want to know what they're from and why people are getting them.  Titus says that the lesions are something that people are starting to get now.  So what are they that we're getting them now?


So we were supposed to count how many times we heard the word deserve in commercials, on tv and in life in general.  

Now let's be honest we weren't really going to go home and get a piece of paper and tally everything down, but I definitely did.  I was watching tv when I heard someone say deserve and it just clicked in my head, so I got a piece of paper and every time I heard deserve I would tally it down.  Grand total?   48

Also, give me a break I had the flu all weekend so all I could do is lay around and watch tv.

Example of a commercial with the word deserve:

Everyone deserves everything right?

A Silver Dish

Woody Selbst's father has died and he's trying to mourn.  His pop being a crook of a man with a wife and a mistress, was always looking out for himself and his gambling.  Woody remembers a story that took place during the depression after his father had left him and his mother and sisters.  Pop had told Woody a lie to take him to the widow that paid for Woody's tuition at the seminary.  While there Pop convinced the widow that he needed money to keep his business afloat, when the widow left to pray over her decision Pop stole a pure silver dish.  Woody and Pop got in a physical fight and Woody made Pop promise to put the dish back, and he did promise.  After they left and went to the bank, Woody found that Pop had not put the dish back.  Upon finding the dish missing the widow and her servant confronted him with the head of the seminary as well.  Woody swore that he had nothing to do with it and they would feel bad when they found the dish which they had simply misplaced.  He was expelled from school and his father didn't care.  By end Woody is remembering the hospital and how his Pop passed away.  Woody had climbed into the bed with him and held him because Pop was trying to pull out the IV cords that were in turn keeping him alive.  Again there was a struggle that made Woody remember the fight back at the widow's mansion, but this one was very weak and it wasn't really a struggle at all.  Yet Pop still found a way to die by his body heat dropping until he died as his son held him.

There was also a lot of talk of religion but the type of religion and who is which and what just confused me.  I understand that Pop was seen as a crook by his wife and sister?(she was the aunt but I don't know if it was Woody's aunt or Pop's).

They also made a statement of how Woody was considered a crook because he still spoke to his father.  Yet he took care of his Pop, mom, two sisters and his Pop's mistress.  He would foot the bill if they needed help and he sent them all on vacations.  He would dedicate days and a lot of time to make sure everything was taken care of.  When his Pop died Woody personally dressed him, and shoveled the dirt on top of the coffin. Feeling this is the last duty a son could do for his father.

I know that there is something significant with the meaning behind all of the talk of religion and converting and who is what and why but I just don't seem to quite grasp it.  I find it very sad that Woody was kicked out of seminary because of his father.  His father kept telling Woody that he felt bad for the girls because he couldn't teach them what life was about.  Woody's sisters remained single and lived with their mother and very christian.  Maybe Pop meant that hiding behind religion meant that you wouldn't ever do anything with your life but sit around forever.  Pop, although a crook, has done so many things in his life, he lived on the edge.  He put the trench coat down in the airport and was prepared to tell them that nothing in there was his, he put marijuana in the family turkey on Thanksgiving and again no one caught him.  That's when the downhill began in his health, when he was no longer getting a thrill.  I still want to know what Pop meant when he was saying they'll never get to live.


Alright so I read this 3 times. First I just read it, second I read it out loud(which the people I was in the library study room with appreciated) and the third time I just tried reading it again and I can honestly tell you I do not understand it.  I don't even have any specific questions because I don't understand any of it to ask questions about!

I definitely got something about people using a lot of drugs, some musicians, artists, and psychiatric patients and hospitals.  I hope that's a good enough summary to show I read it because that's honestly all I can give you.

Any help??

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Harrison was not the same as everyone else, he was extraordinary and for that he was punished.  The law of the land is to be exactly like everyone else, and if you were any better then you were to wear a handicap so that you would soon be like everyone else.  George was special, he was smart and for that he had to wear a head radio that gave sounds on a set interval that made him stop thinking.  George's wife, Hazel, was not special.  She often forgot things and didn't really know what was going on, very confused.  George was thinking about his son Harrison when he got another sound.  Harrison was fourteen when he was taken to jail because no handicap could stop him and he was planning to overthrow the government.  A new bulletin came on the television that said that Harrison had escaped and not to try to reason with him.  When all of the sudden Harrison was at the ballet that George and Hazel were watching.  Harrison declared that he was the emperor and he took off all of his handicaps to reveal how beautiful, masculine and strong he really was.  He said that any woman that was willing to take off her handicaps would be his empress.  A ballerina did so and Harrison took off her mask last to reveal how stunning she was.  He then ordered the musicians to play without their handicap and he and the ballerina danced.  Next the pair defied the rules of gravity and kissed the ceiling!  When all of the sudden the woman in charge of the handicaps came in and shot them both and gave the musicians 10 seconds to get their handicaps back on or they'd be shot too.  George had left the room to get a beer and when he returned he asked why Hazel had been crying.  She didn't know, saying it was something that was on the television.  George told her to put the bad out of her head and everything seemed to be back to their normal.

FOR REAL???!?!!!?!

I love competition and everyone wanting to do better than someone else.  This makes our society advance because there are always improvements.  The trick is knowing when something is a competition and when something isn't.

I find it funny that George wouldn't take out the balls because if someone was better than another they could slip back into the dark ages.  To me the world they're living in are the dark ages.  I couldn't imagine being just like everyone else, there's no way any of those people could be happy.  In America now I believe that there are people who are still unequal in rights, however I think that everyone should be unequal when it comes to their abilities.  In one scene Hazel says that the announcer should get a nice raise for trying his best, though he has a speech impediment.  Hazel says that he tried with the abilities that God gave him, he did his best.  Well aren't we hindering those who have the handicaps?  God made them different than average, He gave them gifts and by putting handicaps on people we're taking away gifts that God has given.

The Handicapper General definitely had a God complex.  She made all of the rules, figured out how to handicap those who were special and when someone defied the law she killed them.  If they're trying to get away from competition and some people being better than others, then why does she have so much power?  Shouldn't she have a handicap?  I definitely feel that she's allowed to think and isn't that against the rules?

Ernest Hemmingway

Alright because I'm going with initial reaction now I'll tell you exactly what I thought when I was finished reading this.

Well damn.

probably more like "well daaayyyum" if I'm being completely honest.

A couple has gone to Africa for a Safari.  They are not happy together but they both know that they're stuck.  When Fancis went to hung the lion he shot him but the lion went into the brush.  Their hunger, Wilson, pointed out how no one likes to go in after a lion because you don't know where he is until you're on him.  The group goes in to look for the lion, as Macomber's wife waits in the car.  When Francis sees the lion he runs away as the others shoot him.  This is one of the most embarrassing moments of his life.  Later back at camp his wife pretends to put it our of her head, as does Wilson but Macomber couldn't get it out.  Later that night Macomber woke up and his wife wasn't there, but when she returns he know immediately what she had been doing.  She had slept with Wilson and he was furious.  Francis wanted to talk about it just then but she said in a very sweet tone that she didn't want to and fell asleep.  In the morning Francis made it so clear how much he hated Wilson and his wife was a very fake nice once again.  They both knew that neither would leave each other.  When they went out for the day's hunt his wife again came along.  This time Francis show the buffalo and had such a high.  He immediately go confidence and his wife noticed.  One of the buffalo had gone into the brush and the men had to go in and look for it to kill it.  This time Francis wasn't scared and he went in to help.  the men were shooting the buffalo, when all of the sudden the wife shot a bullet from the gun in the car and it struck Francis and killed him.  Wilson said "don't worry people will think it was an accident,"  different sayings like that.  Macomber's wife is sobbing and telling Wilson to shut up but he wont, and she says please shut up and he says thank you that was much better.

I knew something was going to happen as soon as the wife noticed the confidence that Francis had gotten from the kill.  She was in control until that moment.  She could do whatever she wanted because she knew that he wasn't going anywhere, that they were both stuck.  Yet, when Francis realized that he had confidence and could leave his wife and still had time to find someone it was apparent.  Wilson even said at the end, "he would have left you."  It's like the kill was so eye opening for him, he didn't have to be controlled by his wife and didn't have to put up with the way she treated him.  His wife was so comfortable with this relationship because she knew he wouldn't leave her, and she couldn't leave him because she had passed her prime.  That's why she felt she could sleep with Wilson because she completely dominated the relationship.  Whatever she said or did Francis had to go along with it and had to be okay with it because he was stuck.

But not anymore, and he knew it and she knew it.  So she had to stop it from happening.  Now that he was dead people will feel sorry for her that her husband died.  Not looking at the fact that it wasn't an accident at all.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Langston Hughes

Theme for English B
This poem is so simply and honestly put that it's purity becomes complex.  He addresses that he does not know who he is at 22, but he does know he's Harlem.  He is the only black student in his class, the only one to know what it's like.  He points out that being colored doesn't make him not like the same things as other people of different races, but he is different.  We are all a part of each other, that is America.  America is many different races, whether we want to be or not...we are.  We all learn from each other, no matter color or age.  Freedom, freedom is what white's have and black's are still fighting for to this day.
The lines where he says:
"As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me---
although you're older---and white---
and somewhat more free."
gave me chills.

As I said before this is so simply put and yet hits so hard and is so true that you can't help but lose your breath.  To this day saying everyone is equal is impossible, but being the only black in a room full of whites would intimidate me and make me uncomfortable.  Yet this man does it and he has no problem saying exactly how it is.

At first when I read this I didn't really know where to start.  Then I remember the title "Harlem" and where that is and what happens there.  In Harlem everyone starts with a dream, and as the years go on those dreams disappear when reality sets in.  There are gangs, children to feed and people to take care of so the dreams of individuals to get out of Harlem or make a difference are quickly forgotten in order for things to be taken care of.  Being in a place and just sitting down and observing and seeing that everyone around you has given up a dream for someone or something else is eye opening.  So what happens to these dreams that everyone gave up?  Where do they go?

Countee Cullen

Yet Do I Marvel
I was a little confused reading this at first.  I’m still not super for sure what’s being written about.   The writer is saying that they don’t doubt that God is good, but if He’s so good then why is a mole blind, why must his Son die, why is Sisphus destined to such an awful fate.  If God is so good then why do these things still occur.  We are have too petty of minds to look at the brain that God has that has such an awful hand.  So why does God make bad things happen if He’s so good?

Looking at their heritage what is Africa to them?  They have been three centuries removed from the land that their father loved.  They lie there all day listening to the different sounds of birds, herds and trampling in the grass.  When thumbs are pressed against the ears, they can still hear the beat of drums.  Africa is the book that one thumbs through until they fall asleep(people often forget of them), people forget about the bats that circle through the night, the cats that stalk their fleshy prey that feeds by the river bank, the snakes that shed but once a year.  There they lie not finding peace from the pounding feet, up and down and treading out a jungle track.  Lying never safely from the rain as it comes at night and during the day.  Next he turns away from the heathen gods and goes to christianity.  His conversion being high priced, but now being taught humility through christianity.  Sometimes feeling as though if God/Jesus was black he would feel more comfortable, like they were born a kindred spirit.  At his sometimes impatience and dark moments he asks for forgiveness.  In the end I feel like he is saying that everyone is civilized but he hasn't realized it.

Talking about his heritage is interesting from the different descriptions of everything experienced in Africa.  The end is what is interesting to me and what I wonder about.  Is he saying that he hasn't realized that everyone is civilized just in different ways?  Talking about Africa he seems like his nose is up to the way of life there because they sleep in the rain and there's the continual beat and nothing really modern.  I feel like he's saying we're all civilized but being civilized is different depending where you go. Just feelings and guesses :)

T. S. Eliot "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Beginning translation: If I believed my answer was to a person who'd ever get back to the world, this flame would keep still without moving any further. But since from those undergrounds no one has ever come back alive, if I hear what's true, I answer you without fear of infamy.

This seems super sad to me, not like what I expect a love poem to be about at all.  He keeps talking about his age, line 41-42, 43-44, 120.  At the beginning he is saying there will be time to do different things.  This made me feel like he was growing older throughout the poem or is writing this with age and looking back on his younger times.  I was also thinking that maybe he’s talking to someone who he loves, but isn’t in love with.  For instance, maybe this is written to his daughter and he’s telling her that there is always time to live and not to grow up too fast, that he won’t be here forever so he has to tell her everything before he’s gone which is why he’s getting older.  He could be saying that there are always people that will think that they’re better than others and not to let that fool you or change who you are.  I was also thinking that maybe he was afraid to love which is why he was always asking the reader is it worth it?  He didn't know whether the risk of doing anything was worth it and so he watched his life pass by.

The times where he says “In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo,” makes me feel like he’s surrounded by people in different classes, and those of lower classes try to show that they’re in higher classes, that they fit in.  

T. S. Eliot "The Wasteland"

Well wasn't this just the most confusing piece to read on the planet? I kind of just want to make my blog post a large question mark and leave it at that:


but I won't.

This is split into five different sections, though it didn't help  me a bit.  The titles didn't always make sense compared to what was written in that section.  There are many different ideas talked about ranging all over the spectrum.  The meaning behind a lot is lost on me because I don't read poetry well.  The way in which he wrote changed at different parts of the poem, which also threw me off.

Section 4 seemed very sad to me, and it also confused me.  Being dead totally sucks, but are these two dead dead or just dead inside?  They have been dead for a fortnight(line 313) but talking about he passed the stages of his youth and entered a whirlpool.  To me this seemed like they fell into a bad drinking habit maybe(hints death by water?) and then they looked back on their lives and the different stages all while or before being swept into the whirlpool of drinking and spinning around in this habit just stuck and can't get out. I was got caught in a whirl pool just off the coast when I was younger and I couldn't get out, only when I was pulled out by my oldest brother was I free from the encircling fear that I had.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mark Twain

The War Prayer begins with the excitement and patriotism that is going on during this time.  The pride of fathers, mothers, sisters and sweethearts of the soldiers who are being sent off to war and those who are coming home.  The town will send off troops the next morning so they gather in the church to pray, they pray that their men seek victory and that they will do things to bring pride to their family.  During this church service an old man comes into the church and stops the pastor and begins to talk.  He says that with these things the congregation prays for there is also an opposite.  He says if you pray for your men to win then you are also praying for others to lose their lives, homes and food.  There is always an opposite side to what you are praying for.  When the man left it was said that he was a lunatic because he didn't make any sense.

This is an interesting look at religion and people of every time period.  This old man is incredibly right in that when you pray for something good to happen to you, you are also praying inadvertently that something not so good happens to someone else.  Whether it be something less important like rain for a crop, or more serious like someone's life and shelter after battle.  The people called him a lunatic because he didn't make sense, but I think what's really happening is that they don't want to look at themselves as anything but good Christian folk.    In the bible God says to look at the log in your eye before pointing out the sick in someone else's, I think this is where Christians have difficulty in this story.  If these people were to actually think about what this "lunatic" of a man said they might try to just pray in a way that won't also be taking away from someone else.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 31-end

In chapter 31 the duke and king didn't go ashore for quite some time.  When they got quite a ways down the river they felt they were safe enough to go ashore and try to get money out of people.  They tried everything, but nothing seemed to work.  The duke and king then sat together in the wigwam and talked very quietly by themselves.  Huck and Jim were suspicious and scared of what they would do next.  One day the king went to shore and said if he wasn't back by midday it was safe for the duke and Huck to come, he wasn't back so off to town they went.  The king and duke got in a fight in town so Huck went back to the raft and was ready to be rid of them when he called for Jim and there was no answer.  He found a boy walking on the road and asked if he had seen a black man, the boy told him that he had and that it was a runaway slave and they caught him and that the old man had given him back for $40.  Huck was so upset and sad, they had put up with the theives and they had turned in this mans freedom for a lousy $40.  Huck then spent some time deciding how he felt about all of this, he fought with himself and wrote a letter to Miss Watson say where Jim was.  Then he sat there for a bit and decided he'd rather go to hell, tore up the letter and decided he would steal Jim back from slavery.  Huck moved the raft and went back into town the next day where he ran into the duke.  The duke thought that Huck had skipped out on them but Huck said he had been gone the whole day before and didn't know where the raft was and that his slave was gone.  The duke began to tell Huck the truth about where Jim was but then stopped and thought up a lie, he told Huck to go there immediately and waste no time.  This is what Huck wanted to hear, he went out in the country about a mile and then he turned back and headed towards where Jim really was.

In chapter 32 Huck goes looking for Jim.  He's walking to the town and there are dogs that bark and howl at him and he knows better than to move.  That's when a black woman and her children come out and then a white woman and her children come.  The white woman is so excited to see Huck and thinks it's Tom at last! The woman goes on to ask everything about the family but Huck has no idea who Tom is and gets very uneasy when all of the sudden the woman decides she's going to play a trick on her husband and Huck hides under the bed.  When her husband comes she asks if Tom has come yet and her husband responds that he hasn't and that he's awfully worried.  She looks out the window and asks if that's someone coming, her husband looks and that's when Huck comes out.  The husband asks who it is and she replies "it's Tom Sawyer."  This relieves Huck because he can answer questions about Tom, and so he tells them stories of his family and how the steamboat broke which was why it took him so long.  As time went on Huck became very comfortable being Tom until he heard a steamboat and wondered to himself, what if Tom does come?  So Huck tells his aunt and uncle that he's going to go look for his bags.  The man wanted to come with but Huck said he would go alone and that he could handle it, and off he went.

In chapter 33 when Huck is heading back into town there is a coach that he stoops because Tom is in it.  At first Tom thinks that Huck is a ghost and begs him to do no harm for he would do the same.  It took some time but Huck finally convinced Tom that he was real.  Then Tom came up with a plan because Huck told him everything.  Huck went back to the house and then along came Tom.  The family was excited because strangers don't often call, and once Tom got there they all talked for a bit before he kissed his aunt.  She was stunned and awfully offended until Tom announced he was Sid, his brother.  She apologized and hugged and kissed him until she couldn't anymore.  They all enjoyed a lovely dinner and Tom and Huck were to share a room.  They went to town that night and Huck saw two men that were tarred and feathered and he knew off the bat it was the duke and king.  Huck asked what had happened and someone told them that the crowd when in innocent enough and when the king was doing his act they all went and bombarded the stage and took the two off.  Huck felt bad for the rascals although he didn't know why, just that he couldn't seem to feel bad for them.

Chapter 34 is full of plans by Huck and Tom.  Huck comes up with a plan to get Jim out but Tom says it's too plain, which is what Huck thought he would say.  Tom comes up with a plan and they go down to where Jim is being hidden and look around and Tom decides they should dig him out.  Later they see the slave that lives where Jim is being held and he asks Tom and Huck if they want to come with him down there.  They agree and when they see Jim he is so excited to see them, but they play it off to the slave that they have never seen each other before and that Jim didn't actually see anything.  The slaves says that the witches have been haunting him lately, especially at night, and this is just a clear example of that.  The slave left the room and Huck quickly told Jim that they're digging to get him out and that they're going to help him escape.  When the boys went to leave they said they would come back if the slave wanted him to and he agreed and said especially at night because of the witches.

In chapter 35 nothing satisfies Tom.  Everything that needs to be done he has to make harder.  Tom claims that he knows what he's doing because he's read it in the book.  Everything that Huck and Tom need to help Jim escape they're allowed to steal on the account of they're doing it for the prisoners.  However, when Huck steals a watermelon from the slave pasture Tom makes him give the slaves 10 cents because Tom says they don't need that to get Jim out.  Huck also says they need to find picks and shovels so they can dig out Jim, but Tom says that this was too easy and that the prisoners would do that.  Tom decided that they had to steal 3 knives and dig Jim out with those until a rise came and then they would get him out quickly.  Huck pointed out there was a large rusty knife around the corner of the slave house, but Tom didn't need to say much and sent Huck to steal knives from the house.

Chapter 36 they work to dig out Jim with their knives, but it blistered their hands too quickly.  Tom said that this wouldn't work for them because they were in a hurry and prisoners had years and years to do it so he decided they could pretend that the shovels and picks were knives and they could dig him out.  When they got through Jim was so excited to see them, but Tom told Jim how everything would happen.  Jim would have to look for things that they sent him from his aunt and uncle.  Huck didn't see the sense in this but there was no stopping Tom when he got an idea in him.  Tom put a candle stick in Jim's food one night and Jim almost broke all of his teeth off, he never bit into anything every again without putting his fork in it three or four times. One night the dogs came in through the hole that Huck and Tom had gotten through and Tom opened the door and threw out a piece of Tom's meat.  When he got back he was consoling the slave that lived there, who was going on about the dogs or devils that he had just seen.  Tom told him that he needed to make a witches pie, the slave asked Tom to do it and he agreed on some conditions.  He had to put his back to the pie and when it was done no matter what do not touch anything that the witches left.  The chapter ended with the slave guaranteeing he would never get close to anything that the witches had touched.

In chapter 37 Tom's aunt noticed that the shirt was missing, then the spoon and the candlestick and so on.  She went on a fit about how her husband couldn't keep a shirt to save his life, she blamed the rats on the candlestick and candles.  Then he found the spoon in his pocket and it was quite the incident.  When he went down to close up the rat holes, Huck and Tom had already done it and the man was very confused.  Later Tom said he thought there were still only 9 spoons (Huck had taken one and hid it up his sleeve).  The woman was dumbfounded and counted them again, she counted 9 and then Huck put the spoon back and she got 10.  This happened many times over so no matter when she counted them she wouldn't trust herself.  This way Huck and Tom were able to steal the spoon and she wouldn't notice.  That night the put the sheet back on the clothes line and stole one from the closet.  She vowed she would never count any of them again because it would be the death of her.  Huck and Tom then figured out how to cook the pie and put the rope ladder in the pie.  The slave didn't look when they put the pie on Jim's plate and didn't see when Jim tore into the pie and got the ladder out and hid it.

Chapter 38  is full of new tasks that Jim must do as a prisoner before he can escape.  Tom has Jim and Huck making pens so that Jim can write in the wall before he leaves, but then Tom decides that it needs to be in stone so he and Huck set out to find a rock for him to write in.  They find a  good rock but Huck and Tom can't move it so they go and get Jim to help them, he takes his chain off the bed and helps them go get it, the rock then can't get through the hole but Jim quickly makes it big enough for the rock to get through.  Once the rock has been brought Tom asks if Jim has an spiders around, Jim responds no but he doesn't want any and that he would rather have a rattlesnake.  Tom thinks that's a good idea and that Jim has to tame the snake and make it his pet.  Jim does not like this idea and says he won't do it, then Tom asks if there are any rats because all prisoners have rats.  Jim again responds no but he doesn't want any either, but Tom insists on it.  Next Tom tells Jim that he needs to raise a plant and he can only do it with his tears.  Jim becomes quite upset and says how it's very difficult to be a prisoner, Tom gets upset and almost gives up on Jim until Jim apologizes and says he won't act like that anymore.

In chapter 39 Huck and Tom have to get all of the items to make Jim's time as a prisoner a real one.  They catch about 15 rats but the younger kids get into the trap to see if the rats will come out, and of course they did.  Aunt Sally was raging mad and she punished Huck and Tom but it didn't amount to much so Huck didn't mind.  Then they went and got snakes and left them under their bed when they went down for dinner and they didn't get the bag tied up all the way so the snakes were able to get out.  Aunt Sally never really recovered from that, every time one dropped on her she would freak out and whenever she saw one she would scream. Even a good two weeks after all of the snakes were gone she would still scream if you touched her shoulder.  Huck and Tom went and got a great number of bugs and spiders and frogs and Jim said that all of this in his little area left him no room.  Jim said there wasn't enough room in the bed for him and when there was he couldn't sleep because of all of the activity.  Once all of the preparations were done for Jim Tom devised a plan to escape.  He wrote a warning letter for the "servant girl" to push under the front do, who was really Huck dressed up in girl clothes.  Then Tom wrote a letter saying that he was part of a group of people who were going to steal their runaway slave and the letter gave instructions on what to do, and asked for no reward.

Chapter 40 allllllll the action happens!  The boys were very happy with themselves and made breakfast before they returned home.  When they got home they everyone was in a frantic mood about something and the boys didn't need to be told.  They were told to go up to bed right after dinner and they prepared for their night.  When they woke up the butter that Huck had left out was gone.  Tom told Huck he needed to go down to the cellar and get more butter, when he came up Aunt Sally was questioning why he was up and sent him to the sitting room to wait for her.  Huck got to the room and there were farmers there with their guns.  This made Huck's stomach drop with fear.  When Aunt Sally was questioning him he didn't know how to answer and then the butter started to melt and she feared his brains was coming out of his head!  When she took off his hat and saw the butter and bread she was no longer mad and sent him to bed.  Huck rushed to where Tom was and told him they must go now, Jim was there also and off they went.  They ran and then Tom's clothes got caught on something and it made a snapping noise that brought all of the farmers towards them and shooting.  They ducked as the farmers were behind them and the farmers kept running, when the dogs came they saw that they knew Huck and Tom and kept going after all the action.  When they got away to the canoe and were on their way to the raft is when they realized that Tom had been shot.  Before they got to the raft Jim declared they would not leave until they had fetched a doctor.  Tom tried to fight them but he said if it must be done then you had to blindfold the doctor and take him all around the town so he wouldn't know where he was going and then bring him to the canoe.

In chapter 41 Huck got the doctor to come and, of course, made up a story so that he would come and not tell anyone why.  Huck decides to go to sleep for a bit in a pile of wood and when he woke up he ran straight into Uncle Siles.  Huck told him a story that him and Tom had tried to follow the farmers and dogs but they outran them and they got lost.  Huck said that Tom went to the post office so him and his uncle went there to wait for Tom, when Tom didn't come his uncle insisted that they go home.  Once they got home everyone was trying to understand how everything had gotten done that they found where Jim had stayed.  The women said that there had to be at least 40 slaves there every night to pull all of that off.  When Tom was still not home after dinner his uncle went to the town to wait for him for a few hours and returned alone.  Aunt Sally then puts Huck to bed and asks him not to leave so that they both don't go missing.  Huck goes down twice to run and check on Tom and there's Aunt Sally sitting in the front window with her candle, the third time he goes down the sun is coming up and there's Aunt Sally sitting there asleep.

Chapter 42 Tom finally returns with the doctor and Jim.  The doctor tells the story of how much help Jim was but he didn't dare leave because he didn't want the runaway slave to get away.  In the morning he was able to get some men from the river to help tie up Jim so that they could back, but he told the towns people not to cuss him out because he was a good man.  Once Tom woke up he told Aunt Sally the ENTIRE story of everything that him and Huck did to set Jim free.  When he finally realized that Jim wasn't free he felt awfully sick and then when Polly walked in he stopped mid sentence.  That's when Huck hid under the bed and Polly told Sally how Tom was actually Tom and Huck was actually Huck.  She wasn't surprised that Tom was up to something, especially because she sent him here with no one to watch over him.  They all found out that Jim was actually already free because Miss Watson had died and freed him in her will.  Tom already knew that and just wanted the adventure of getting him out.

In the end they fixed Jim up really well, especially when they heard what a help he was to the doctor.  When Tom said he wanted to go over and see the Indians Huck said he would go but didn't have any money because he figured his father had gone and gotten it from the judge.  Tom assured him he hadn't and Jim told Huck that his father was never coming back.  Huck asked why until Jim finally explained that the body they saw in the abandoned house was his father's.

Lots and lots of thoughts to come! I just wanted to make sure to have the summaries up by class! I'll be all over my thoughts and analyzing what I think tomorrow!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 21-30

In chapter 21 the duke and king decide they are going to put on a play.  They practice Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet's soliloquy for an on encore.  When they come to the next town they stop and are in luck because there's a circus coming that day and maybe people will stay for their play.  They make up a bill and flyers and place them throughout the town which Huck describes in detail.  There is a drunk man that is yelling outside of Colonel Sherburn's place and the colonel comes outside and tells the drunk man that he will listen to this until 1 and not past that.  The drunk man continues to cuss and yell and so the colonel comes out and shoots him in the street.  At this the colonel drops the gun and walks off, the townspeople take the drunk man and try to help him but it's too late and he dies.  The people reinact the shooting and decide that the colonel should be lynched, and the townspeople go off to get rope for the hanging.

The mob heads to Sherburn's house and they say "knock the fence down," in chapter 22.  Sherburn comes out on the roof of his front porch with a gun and cocks it.  For a moment it's silent and still, the crowd having too look down.  Sherburn laughs and goes on a rant about how there are no men in this crowd.   In the North the man takes whatever is given to him and he goes home and prays for patience, in the South men come at night in masks to lynch someone.  He says there are no men here so they should all go home and leave.  The crowd turns and quickly goes home.  Huck sneaks into the circus, even though he has money, he figures he should save his money because he's far away from home in the midst of strangers.  The circus was fun, there was a man that acted drunk and made a big scene.  The ring master told the man that if he thought he could ride the horse and promised to stop making a scene he could try.  The man got on the horse and at first seemed to be flailing all over, until he stood on the horse and then undressed into a shiny outfit.  The man rode the horse off and the ring master was quite mad that his own person fooled him.  That night was the kind and duke's show and only 12 people came.  These people laughed the whole time and left before it was over.  The duke was mad at this and so he made up a new bill and posted it.

In chapter 23 the duke and king get a little payback at the town for laughing at them.  In the play the duke comes out naked and painted and looks so crazy and dances around, the crowd thought it was hilarious and they made him do it two more times.  When he was done it was announced that that was the end of the show.  The men were mad and going to storm the stage but one man says we don't want to look bad to the rest of the town so tonight talk up this show and have others come tomorrow.  The next night it was packed again and the crowd that night was fooled.  The third night the crowd comes and this time it's the same men that had come before but with eggs and cabbages hidden under their clothes.  When the duke sees this they all break for the raft and get away.  That night Jim didn't wake Huck for his turn to watch the raft and when Huck woke Jim was clearly homesick and moaning.  When Huck asked him what was wrong Jim told him the story about his daughter.  She wouldn't listen to him and Jim smacked her across the face but she still didn't do what he asked, so Jim went behind her and made a loud noise to scare her but she again didn't move.  At this Jim swept her up in his arms and asked the Lord to forgive him for hitting her because she was deaf and dumb.

Chapter 24 makes Huck ashamed of the human race.  The night they set sail they came to a part where there were two different towns on either side of the river.  The duke and king were trying to figure out how they could get money from them.  The king got some nice clothes and took Huck along with him.  They went down the river and saw a boy on the side of the shore.  He told them of the story of a man who was sick and only wanted to see his two brother's before he died.  His brother's lived in England and were sent word a month before but they had not yet come.  The boy said that the man had died the night before, and with that the king helped the boy to the steamboat and him and Huck went to the shore.  The king told Huck to quickly go back and get the duke.  When the duke got there the duke and king pretended to be the two brother's who were there to see the man before he died.  When the townspeople told them that he died the night before they cried and carried on like they were devastated.  The townspeople took the two up to the city carrying their bags and letting them cry the whole way.  

In chapter 25 the duke and king were taken to the house their "nieces" were there and embraced them with such a hug as to embrace your true family.  They went over to the coffin and the room became quiet, when they saw the body they burst out crying as did everyone else.  There wasn't a dry eye there and all the women went up to the girls and kissed them.  The king and duke read the letter and went and got the money that was found and counted it in front of everyone and then they gave it to their "nieces."  The doctor comes that was friends with the man who died and stood there listening to the king speak for awhile.  He then laughs in the king's face and says how he's an imposter and has an awful fake accent.  The townspeople try to tell the doctor how the men have proven they are truly the deceased brothers.  The doctor then looks at the girls and tells them that he cares for them and wants no harm done to them, so he warns them that the king and duke are imposters.  One girl replies by giving the doctor $6,000 and tells him to invest it for them.  The doctor warns that one day everyone will look back on this with a sick feeling but then leaves.

Chapter 26 began with one of the girls offering the different beds to the duke, king and Huck.  They seemed to be satisfied and then they went down for dinner.  Huck stood behind the king and waited on him until dinner was over when he was able to eat with another girl.  She asked Huck many questions about England and he got himself in a bind a few times.  The girl told Huck how she didn't believe him because of the "stretches" he made.  Then two other girls came in and told this younger girl that she should feel ashamed and be nice to Huck.  The girls made Huck feel at home and this made Huck feel very guilty because he was letting the duke and king steal from them.  Huck decides to turn in early and comes up with a plan to steal the money from the duke and king and hide it and then write a letter to Mary Jane, one of the girls, where it's hidden.  Huck goes to the king's room to look for the money when the king and duke came in.  The duke wanted to leave and the king talked him out of it saying they could still sell all the property and get all the money from that.  Then they decided to move the money from the current hiding spot, which was where Huck happened to be hiding.  They moved the money and Huck knew exactly where it was.  The duke and king headed back downstairs and Huck went up to his room.  He listened and when everyone had turned in and the house was quiet he got out of bed.

In chapter 27 Huck starts down the ladder and goes to hide the money, when he hears someone coming down the stairs behind him.  The only place he sees to hide the money is in the coffin.  The person coming down the stairs was Mary Jane and she went to the coffin and cried, but still none of the watch men were stirred.  Huck went back to his room and had to think this through.  He wanted to go get the money and hide it but he didn't want to risk getting caught.  The next morning was the funeral and everyone came to pay their respects.  The king wastes no time in selling the slaves and other property off.  There was a lot of talk because the sons and mother slaves were separated and no one like that.  After the slaves were sold the duke and king asked Huck why he went into the king's room, at this Huck says he hasn't been in there since Mary Jane had shown them all around.  The king asks Huck if he's seen anyone else go in the room , and Huck says that the slaves had gone in there but came out one by one.  The king and duke are very upset at this and then the king gets mad at Huck.  They go off and Huck is glad that he was able to blame the slaves without doing any harm to them.

Chapter 28 reveals Huck's true character.  He decides to tell Mary Jane what is going on with the two "uncles" of hers.  He tells her everything from the beginning all the way up until that moment.  Huck then comes up with an idea of her going away for the day and coming back later that evening.  If he doesn't come to her room at 11pm then he has gotten away safely.  Then she will tell the town of the two frauds and call upon those who were at the play to help prove that these two men were not really her uncles.  She leaves before breakfast and Huck tells others that she has gone across the river because a close friend is ill but she sends love and kisses to her uncles.  That day the auction is held and the king makes sure to sell everything off.  

In chapter 29 the real brothers come and the doctor believes them.  The real set of brothers go to the hotel to wait because when their luggage arrives they'll be able to prove who they are.  The doctor and others set to questioning the duke and king about who they are.  They then decide to question them all together and brought Huck along too.  They compared hand-writing but to no avail because the brother that broke his arm was the one that wrote the letters.  The real brother asked the king and duke what was on the man's breast, and the king responded that it was a small arrow that you couldn't really see unless you were looking.  The real brother disagrees and said that it was letters with dashes inbetween them, and the people who buried the man said neither was on there that they didn't see anything.  This brought the group to walk to the cemetery to dig the man up.  The lightning and rain had started and when they got to the cemetery the crowd realized that they hadn't brought a lantern.  They continued to dig and found the money in the coffin still, with a loud snap of lightning the person holding Huck's wrists let go and he was able to escape and ran straight through town to where the raft and Jim were.  They quickly got off and Huck was thrilled that they were rid of the king and duke until he turned around and saw them coming towards them down the river at which it took everything for Huck not to cry.

In chapter 30 the king got on the boat and immediately went after Huck asking what he was doing trying to give them the slip.  Huck said only that he was able to get away and he thought he was going to be hung so when he got to the canoe he told Jim to go and that he thought that the king and duke were dead already.  The king and duke fight about how the money got in the coffin and the duke held down the king and choked which was when the king admitted to hiding the gold there.  The duke warned that if he ever denied he did it he would drown him straight away.  After this Huck felt much easier because he was worried about getting caught.  The king and duke then sent away for their bottles of alcohol and by the end of the night seemed to be chummy again as they fell asleep.  At this point Huck sat and told Jim everything.

In these chapters the mob mentality that was spoken about when we read My Kinsman.  In chapter 22 when the mob wants to kill the Colonel he talks about how now true man is in that group.  He also talks about how the mob is one of the most shameful things to be in because no man finds courage in himself rather the numbers he's part of.  I think this is true of all times.  This still goes on today even in high school girls, but it doesn't end there.  You can see the mob mentality everywhere and it's truly disgraceful.  The colonel tells this mob how awful they are and how there is no one courageous about them and to go off, and they did.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the story of the duke and king pretending to be the brother's of the dead man.  It makes me despise them and not like them anymore than I already did but that's not really saying much.  I think that they are truly disgraceful people for scamming so many people out of their money.  There are people like this today like investment people who will take money from people and embezzle it instead of investing it.  When these people are getting close to getting caught they change their identity and get away, or they simply go to another country where the United States doesn't have jurisdiction.  I wish that the duke and king hadn't gotten away, more the king than the duke.  The duke had some remorse whereas the king wanted to get every last cent out of these innocent people as they could. I wish that Huck would have been able to get rid of them for good.