Monday, November 14, 2011

Flash Fiction (The Story of an Hour)

The Story of an Hour    Kate Chopin

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.
It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed.” He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.
She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.
There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.
She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.
There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.
She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.
She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.
There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.
Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will — as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.
She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.
There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.
And yet she had loved him — sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!
“Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.
Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door — you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.”
“Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.
Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.
She arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.
Someone was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently
When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease — of the joy that kills.

the red convertable

The Red Convertable is about two brothers that live on a reservation with their family. Lyman tells the story of him and his brother Henry. They get the money to purchase a red convertible and they then go on a trip without any plan or means. This is where they learn about each other and life and death.

“I always had good luck with numbers, and never worried about the draft myself. I never even had to think about what my number was” this was a line i was a little confused about. I think that it means almost to say that the government still has control over them even if they are not supposed to. I feel like he is saying that he got out of doing it when maybe it was like almost not a choice.

I feel like the reader must understand the setting of the story and what a reservation actually is and what the lifestyle is like to live on one. I feel like these people had a different life. They lived close together and everyone was family. But i also feel like this story speaks about race issues and government control.

I like this story and i think that the ending is the biggest topic. I feel like people can argue either way about what truly happens. I personally feel like he kills his self in the end. I do not think it was a accident. I think that he reached a point in life that this was what he thought was his only option.

Another important thing to think or talk about is who story is it really? I guess it can go either way and i guess they story does not have to have a main character (just one) but it is something i kept thinking about while reading.

I also thought about how cool it must have been to be care free and get to travel like they did. I feel like in today's society this is something that most of the time never happens. I think that most people like to follow society, go to school, meet a guy or girl, get married, have babies...but then what? When can we simply be ourselves? Who says that we have to do things in that order or even do those things at all? Why do people find the brothers traveling something crazy to do today?

I think that it has alot to do with how things are now and how people have made things into something that never were even thought about till now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

EB White excerpt from Charlotte’s Web

I love this book, it was one of the first ones i remember my mother reading to me. I always cried when mom would tell me the part about Charlotte dying. I never understood why she had to die.

When reading it again at my age now i feel like she was a representation of the circle of life. She dies and Wilbur goes on to live because of her really. She survived her "purpose" in life and was okay with dying. I think that the way it is portrayed in a child's book is not graphic or bad. The book does not go into great detail about her death but i feel like it does play a big role in the making of the story. She was in it for a reason and she was taken out for a reason.

I can relate this to some of what we have been reading because of the circle of life theme. We have seen that in some way in almost everything we have been reading lately. It really surprised me that in rereading this i found new and interesting details that i did not see the first time i read this. I know it does have some to do with my age but it was still nice to re read and think about things in a different light.

The character that i never cared for was Templeton. How he acts in the story can be closely related to how we act as humans. We are all about ourselves and what we want. We do not do things just to do them, we do them so that we can get something out of it. There is a part where Charlotte tells Wilbur that she does all this for him because he is a friend. Is that a good enough? He never really has to work or do much of anything but yet he is getting praised for it all. What does that say about Charlotte?

There is also a part where Templeton turns his back on Charlotte and Wilbur because he chooses fair food over helping Wilbur when Charlotte's babies are born. What does this say about the rat? Is he portrayed as a rat on purpose? Does that have a role in the way his character acts? I think that it does, i think that him being a rat was on purpose.

All and all i feel like death is portrayed a certain way becuse it is a childs book. If it was written for adults i feel like the story would have been much different.

Li-Young Lee “From Blossoms”

This poem appears to be about peaches. However i believe that it can have a deeper meaning and that the text can support it.

This poem makes me think of a older couple or maybe a very young couple looking back or looking forward on life. I feel like the theme of freedom and living for or in the memories is a powerful part of this poem. It was not a plan to go buy the peaches that day, it just happened because they saw the sign. I think about myself and how i have seen signs for fresh vegetables or even a sonic sign advertising a new drink or combo, and how through the sign i am persuaded to pursue the item. I think that this is something that we can all relate to and understand. I also like how the writer gives you senses that help create a real image.
I also like the writers word choices. I think that a peach is somewhat of a sexual fruit and maybe the writer plays with that idea some in this part:

"From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach."
This poem gives me a sense of good feeling and love and happiness. It is a little more up beat when compared to some of the things that we have been reading. But it is fun to read and flowed very easy. I think that you can read it as just simply what it is or you can look at it a little deeper and see what it maybe can mean or become to you. I love that with poetry there is not right and wrong, each reader interprets the work according to what it means to them. This allows for great thought and many different ideas. I think that you may could relate this poem in some ways to some of the things we have done because it is talking about nature. I feel like things tend to happen in the "woods" or in "nature" this to is where this poem takes place. Instead of the "bad" things happening in nature like some of the other works, i feel like here we see a life. It is like a life cycle that we often miss and do not see the real significance behind. What came from the nature is what we so longed for and loved. It is what gives us nourishment and things we need to stay alive.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Donald Barthelme “The School”

 The students in the story “The School,” ask, “Is death that which gives meaning to life?” The teacher answered, “No, life is that which gives meaning to life,” an answer which is impossible to argue against.  This is pretty much the summary of the story. A lot happens but this is the over all question behind what is going on. I think the story has a much deeper meaning then just the underlining one. I am not completely sure i understand it but i am going to give it a try.
Maybe the children in the story represent a group of everyday people and the teachers represent a group of wiser or more intelligent people.  There are a lot of things that start to die in the story and it has the children questioning what is really going on. I think they finally get to a point when everything in their society seems to be gone that they want to know what is the meaning, what happens next? Is there a next? In fear they are brought together. Would they have been brought together if the event was not impacting them all? Does the idea of the group mean anything? I think that this story shows that society can be bad but we all can come together. We all want common goals but how we go about reaching them is very different. I like how through everything the teacher never really answers the question completely. I believe that is done for a reason. In society and life we do not get clear answers, often there are not clear answer to give. We all see things different and go about understanding things different. That does not make one way right or wrong it just makes it different. I think that we do not like to see things from any other way but our own and that is why we are limited today. The story ends just like in life, the cycle just starts over again. If we do not learn the first time we will repeat our history until we do learn. This can be good but it also can be very bad. We could save time and money if we would all things logically and open minded. I think that this story does tie in with a lot of the other stories we have been reading. It does go along with society and man and the individual as well as the group impact. I think this story was a little dark but something that most could read and walk away having understood something from it.