Animals and Man

The treatment of black people during this time is incredibly disturbing. History classes don't even go near the true detail and horror of the slave trade or slavery. Throughout the entire book slaves are compared and treated like cattle. I think the most disturbing part is when the schoolteacher is documenting the measurements of the slaves body parts. The slaves lives run parallel with that of a farm animal and in many cases end the same way. Hanging from a tree reminds me of how you slaughter a cow. My family has a cattle farm in Oglethorpe County and we slaughter a cow once a year. We have to hang it from the tree as one of the first steps to complete the slaughter. The comparison of man and beast is only amplified with the sexual relationship between the slave men and the animals. It puts them on the same playing field as the animals.


I loved the book. It was amazing. My favorite character by far was Denver. I think she was the most interesting character. To me she was the one person who had the most to fear. The older black characters in the book had already lived through the horrors of slavery and have now found peace with themselves. Denver is just beginning her struggles and although she has never known slavery I think she has the most to fear. She has to fear her mother who killed her sister and almost succeeded killing her. I don't understand why people really didn't care that much that she killed her daughter (I certainly don't think her reasoning was enough to justify the infanticide). Denver's family is ever changing as well. She is haunted by a ghost as long as she can remember and yet she doesn't fear it. When the ghost is reincarnated and becomes human like her Denver fears her. Amazingly she handles all of this, finds a job and begins to get an education. She is by far the strongest character in the book.


Denver and Beloved

This book starts out with the clear presence of ghosts and the blurred line between real life and the after life. Sethe and Denver do not hide the fact that the ghost of the murdered child still lives with them. They accept the ghost as a part of every day life. The ghost, in the beginning, is Denvers only friend. The supernatural only adds to the struggles of the small family. Because Sethe murdered her child her mother in law, who meant a great deal to the town, falls into a depression and dies. As a result the town shuns Sethe and Denver and kind of use the ghost of Beloved to be the reason they are no longer apart of the town. As the story progresses and the girl found in the front yard appears, Denver quickly relates her to her deceased sister and only friend, Beloved. Denver believes that she is the reincarnation of her dead sister. Beloved also mentions that where she came from was dark, she was a child, and there were dead people around her. As I continued reading I noted the relationship between Denver and Beloved was stronger than any of the other characters. Denver always had a strange connected to the ghost when it was intangible and even more so when Beloved presented herself as a tangible form. I couldn't help but think that Denver created these ghostly ideas and images to help herself cope with the fact that her mother tried to kill her as well. I don't think that the ghost is as present and the characters lead the reader to believe. I feel like a lot of it is exaggerated in order to create a coping mechanism.

Rape is not Racist

Sexual Imagery as a Theme

As I started reading Beloved I soon saw the reoccurring theme of sex. In the first few chapters of the books she brings up several different forms of sexual intercourse as well as the after effects, negative or positive. Sethe reflects on the memory of when she first arrived at Sweet Home and how all the men there wanted her sexual. As they waited for her to make her decision of who she was going to chose, the men would participate in beastiality by fornicating with cows. She continues the story and talks about how she eventually chooses Halle as her suitor and they consumated their marriage consentually in the corn fields. Some off 18 years later Paul D shows up at 124. The sexual tension is still there. They flirt and before the end of the night Paul D is feeling her breasts. Also, when she is burying her child she agrees to have sex with the engraver in order to have the word Beloved placed on her tombstone. Although she agreed she did it out of desperation. The reoccuring sexual images could represent many things such as the dominance of men over women or the ever present memory of slavery. She shows the experience of slavery by always being submissive, especially with the engraver. Sex also reappears when Sethe is talking about her mother. She remembers the story Nan told her about how on the way to America they were repeatedly raped by white men on the ship and how her mother threw away all the children she concieved with the white men. Rape is showing the power of men over women regardless of race. The violation of Sethe's body is present in almost every chapter. She just can't get a break. She molested, violated, and raped by almost every man she meets. But the image of sex is not limited to humans. At least twice the image of sex with animals has appeared. Animal and human, as well as animal and animal (the turtles Beloved watches). Nor is sex limited to heterosexuality. While Paul D is in prison he is subjected to sexual abuse as well. Rape and violation are not limited to the women in the book.


Week 6: Gluck, Alexie, Louis, and Espada

Someone ripped out all the pages of Gluck. I really do not like the previous owner of my book.

In "Penelope's Song" and "Quiet Evening" Gluck focuses on nature and the speakers family life. I wonder who Penelope is waiting for. I feel like it's her father, but it could very well be another male member of her family. I love the images this poem presents. I also noticed that in two of her poems, "Penelope's Song" and "Parable of the Hostages" she mentions 10 years. I just thought that was interesting that 10 years appears in two of her poems that are not of the same subject. I don't like the Parable poems as much as Circe's poems. Circe is awesome. She is a powerful and dominate woman. She shows no remorse for her actions. It's interesting that she doesn't capitalize the word God in either of those poems. Perhaps it shows her lack of religion or it shows that Circe is in fact mortal like the rest of us and she is just a fake God.

"Evolution" is by far the coolest poem I've read this semester. I hate Buffalo Bill. He is some sort of EVIL genius or just a plain asshole. Evolution is an interesting name for this poem because it does not evoke the typical thoughts of the development of man. It seems to me that the evolution refers to his store and not man at all. It's the development of the store and his inventory. He starts by collecting valuables from Native Americans that have been passed down for generation after generation. He takes advantage of people at their most vulnerable moments.

Lisa made me lose my train of thought because I couldn't disagree more with what she had to say.

Then after he has accumulated all their belongings and cataloged them in a very methodical way he decides to just re-name the store and charge people to see what they use to own! OUTRAGEOUS. I have never had a "fictitious" character more.

I think that "Looking for Judas" impacted me the most while reading Louis's poems probably because of the last line. The speaker of the poem is talking about his ancestors traditions when they kill an animal. The speaker talks about the act like his ancestors were there working with him. He talks about the meaning behind the act, but the last line throws all of that away. "or something like that." like it means nothing to him anymore.

"The Skull Beneath the Skin of the Mango" was definitely the most moving of his poems. It was intense and graphic and extremely interesting. I wonder if this was based of fact or on myth.


Week 5: Ashbery, Levine, Rich etc.

"They Only Dream of America" was hard for me to understand, but lines 3 and 4 remind me of Claude McKay's "America." It seems like the negative and positives of America. I feel like someone is in jail or prison and they are re-entering society . Line 7 throws me off.

I like "Animals Are Passing From Our Lives" because the imagery is amazing. I think that the poem is about the pigs last thoughts before he is sold into market. I almost get the sense that he is showing himself off. Hes practically pracing. He writes about animals as if he wanted to be an animal. "Fear and Fame" is a complete turn around. Not at all like the other two poems. I had a hard time understanding what this was about as well. His job is obviously dangerous and he gets to recognition as shown in lines 21 and 22. I know he does something with chemicals.

I love the ryhme scheme in "Aunt Jenifers Lions." It's so cute and it makes me think of a childrens poem. There is a lot of emphasis on her hands and there is a drastic change from the beggining of the poem compared to the end of poem.

I got ridiculously excited when I opened the link for Happy Endings. I LOVE THESE CHOOSE YOUR OWN ENDING STORIES!!! I feel like a kid again. Ending A is boring and ending B sucks. I love how it's the little thing that sends her over the edge. Not that he's seeing another woman, but that he took her out to eat. Ending C is great too. This story is bad ass. I love it. I especially love how it starts with Mary and John and ends with Madge and Fred. Such a good story. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, love it.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is definitely the story I should have read before Happy Endings. It isn't nearly as fun and happy as Happy Endings. Although both are about marriage and love. You have one couple who has been married before and one couple wo has just been married and is young and naive of the harsh realities of love and marriage. I didn't like this one nearly as much as Happy Endings.


Week 4: Berrymen, Plaith, Sexton, etc.

Berrymen's work is dark and full of emotion. He speaks a lot of death and not only death but ways to end your life as well. Poem number 29 was my favorite out of the two. I think he's talking about a murder and how to avoid being caught.

My favorite Sexton poem is "Her Kind." The poem is written beautifully and seem to draw a connection between all women. I read it like all women are together and should relate to one another.

I have never really been a fan of Plaith. I'm not much of a fan of the confessional poetry. It's whiney and so depressing. Although her poems are interesting to read because of the relationships she talks about between father and daughter. But my favorite or her two is Ariel.