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.


Week 3: Olsen, Welty, Roethke, Brooks, etc.

Gwendolyn Brooks
I liked Gwendolyn Brooks's poetry. You can tell by reading her work that she is a strong, proud black woman. I like how she uses dialect in her poetry and how she mentioned specific places and objects, for example the L train. I like the poem "of De Witt Williams on His Way to Lincoln Cemetery" because it is the simple story of a black man going to visit a black cemetery. Her pride in her race is reflected in her poetry.

Why I Live at the P.O. is a dark humor story. At parts it reminds me of my own family with the arguing and the misunderstanding. Lisa and I were talking about how much this sounds like our families and how one minute everything is fine and the next your whole family is against you because of a stupid misunderstanding.

It's interesting how these two short stories started out of have a woman ironing in them. In this story she is reflecting about her daughter as she irons clothes. The tone of this story is so sad. She talks about facial expressions quite a bit and how she doesn't smile that often, but I don't blame her! Shes 19 with a child, her husband has left her, shes in the depression, sheesh I wouldn't ever smile either. I do like the ending though how she compares the dress to life and how there is always a larger force pushing and pulling and making things the way they are.

Alan Ginsberg
Howl is wow. I don't even know where to begin with this. I guess I will begin by disagreeing with Lisa. She doesn't know what shes talking about. I had to borrow her book and read it aloud because apparently the previous owner of my book felt the same way Lisa did and hated it and ripped it out of my book. :(. I love that there is no punctuation other than a comma. I love the first part the most. It's just a wild story and hes jumping from one part to another to another and it goes so fast and it's fun to read. I like it.

Elizabeth Bishop
I really like the poem "One Art." It makes me think of what the progression of Alzheimer's might be light. Start of forgetting little things and then they get bigger and bigger. I like the pattern of the poem and the rhyme scheme.

Theodore Roethke
Oh "My Papa's Waltz" where do I begin? This has to be one of my favorite poems probably because of the argument's that can be had because of it. I'm going to refrain from presenting what I think until the day I present it because I want to know what everyone else thinks. Usually I hear three different arguements. I hear it's about a loving father and son, molestation, or child abuse. You decide.

Frank O'Hara
Today is an awesome poem. I love the specific things he decided to list. "These things are with us every day even on beachheads and biers" to mean means through the times you feel most alive and the time you are dead. These little things are special because they aren't specifically special in the first place.


Week 2: Claude McKay, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes

James Weldon Johnson

Oh Black and Unknown Bards

I love this poem. It not only gives great images but also lets you hear the music he talks about. I love the songs he mentioned as well. You can almost hear the conviction in the singers voices. It makes me think of chain gangs and mammies. These songs kept their culture strong and got them through the hard times. They were denied everything for so long so they had to make the best with what they had; their voices.

The White Witch

In this poem he is talking about how evil the white woman is. He is talking about interracial relationships between black men and white women. I think their relationship doesn't work because they don't come from the same place. He makes her out to be the bad guy which isn't necessarily true. Her beliefs towards relationships could be entirely different from his based on her up bringing. It seems like a lost in translation situation.


Week 1: T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens

T.S. Eliot

"Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

J. Alfred Prufrock is a lonely man with obvious insecurities that are reflected in his choice of woman. He picks women that aren't from his same socio-economic background. He picks women that don't mind sleazy hotels for a one night stand or restaurants that have saw dust on the floors. He picks these women because they don't care about his bald spot, skinny arms, or skinny legs. He feels like his love life is dead and he tries to bring it to life again by almost forcing one of his dates to have sex with him. Prufrock has a difficult time communicating with females and as a result fails to consummate his relationship. He constantly questions whether or not it would be worth it. He wants to say something but never does. When the date ends he feels as though he has failed and he starts again the next day with a new woman.

"Journey of the Magi"

As Lisa Henderson informed me this is a rip off of the "Three Kings" which apparently I know nothing about because I'm Jewish. Upon further reading I find that T.S. Eliot is writing about the journey without any fluff. The journey sucked.

Wallace Stevens

"The Study of Two Pears"

This poem is so straight forward it goes against the modernist vision. You read it almost like you need to interpret it ten different ways when it's just simply about a pear. It's hard to believe that Stevens wrote a poem that spells it out for you like this one and then also write a poem like "Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird" where all 13 stanzas make you think about something completely different. The last two lines tell the reader that you can not make the pear be something it isn't

"Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird"

I feel like the Blackbird is an ever present object in everyone's life but you don't see it unless you want to see it. Blackbirds are also a representation of bad things to come. In some of the verses it uses the blackbird as a scapegoat. In certain stanzas of this poem the blackbird is tangible and in others it's just a figment of the imagination.

Robert Frost

"The Need of Being Versed In Country Things"
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"/"Gathering Leaves"/"In a Disused Graveyard"/"Nothing Gold Can Stay"/"Desert Places"/"Two Tramps in Mud Time"/"Neither Out Far Or In Deep"/"Never Again Would Bird's Song Be The Same"/"The Gift Outright"

I dislike Robert Frost so much that most of this entry will be bashing him. The speaker of "Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening" is travelling and on his way he stops at some woods to observe the beauty. That's it. How could it be so simple to be a modernist poem? in "Gathering Leaves" is raking leaves up and he talks about how there is so much but so little at the same time. He talks about how the colors have gone since they're dead. In a "Disused Graveyard" he is talking about how the living only come to observe the graveyard and how the dead are the ones who use it. With the dead being the only people who use the graveyard it doesn't get much use at all. In "Nothing Gold Can Stay" he is talking about literal gold and the idea of a golden life. Eden was a perfect place and fell after the first sin of man. The sunset is golden and then it dissapears. Leaves are gold in the fall and they die. Gold is like green because green is the color of money. Everything gold eventually goes away. " Tramps in a Mud Tire" is about some lumberjacks coming out of the woods and seeing the speaker of the poem chopping wood. They do it for pay and he does it for pleasure.

Ernest Hemingway

"Hills Like White Elephants"

This story is about a man and a woman facing the difficult decision of having an abortion. The man wants it and the female, Jig, doesn't. She doesn't seem to have a say in it really. They are both participating in the conversation but he keeps it going. She tells him to be quiet but he keeps talking. They both have their own idea of what will happen to them if she has the operation. She knows that nothing will ever be the same although she tries to convince herself otherwise. Deep down they both want things to be the care free way they were before but they also know it will never happen. The title makes me think of the saying "elephant in the room." It seems like the elephant in this case is the potential abortion. It almost seems like he is giving her an ultimatum. Regardless of their decision nothing will ever be the same.

William Faulkner

"A Rose For Emily"

This story is a strange one. Emily has a lot of psychological issues pertaining to men. They stem from her father and his ability to drive every suitor she ever had out of her life. Because he did that she clung on to him even after death because she was convinced that he was the only man for her. When the town finally realized that her father had been dead for quite sometime they burried him and she was left without a man. Someone new comes to town, a yankee, and she takes him for a new suitor. The town said he is not the marrying kind. She didn't listen and would not let this one go. She took his life and kept him in her bed. Even as he dissolved further into death she didn't let go. Only after her death did the town see her sick obsession with men and death.