Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Poetry Writing Prompt

In the poem "Here", techniques are used to convey the poets attitude toward the place he describes.The poet uses various literary elements to tell his story of a neglected yet highly industrialized place. These elements and techniques are helpful in conveying the authors reflective tone in this conciet (extended comparison of two different things) of the city and the country life.
The work talks about how people in the city are too preoccupied by the business that they tend to neglect and forget about the natural world. A big part of the poem is the use of words to create a mental picture. Imagery is found throughout the work. The author uses words like "leaves unnoticed thicken" and "hidden weeds flower" so that we can almost see that despite the city life,nature still thrives and goes on. There are several couplets inthe poem where the poet lists different things that he may be coming across as he moves through this place. This is another example of imagery, and it makes the poem "come to life" and makes this place a little more tangible to us.
The author uses personification to enhance his work. He gives non-human things human qualities like. We know that lonliness cannot really clarify,as it says in the first line of the last stanza. "Silence stands like heat" is another example of personification, which gives silence the quality of standing. This can be interpreted as extreme quietness,but how dull would it be for the poet to say "it was uncomfortably quiet". That line can also be an example of a simile, as there is a comparision between the silence and heat.
"Here" is an example of an allegory. The places and things mentioned in the poem could symbolize other things. The hedge that seperates the city from the country could symbloize the "blinders" people may have on as they are so naive to the world around them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Metamorphosis---Nikkie J

The novella The Metamorphosis by Franz Kakfa begins with what should be the climax in the plot. The opening sentence tells readers that Gregor Samsa, the protagonist whom we have received no background information on, has turned into an enormous bug, and readers just have to deal with the plot development from there acceptingly. While Gregor’s metamorphosis is focused on, many critics have proposed that his transformation was not the only one to take place over the course of the story. Grete Samsa, Gregor’s younger sister, also undergoes a change before the novels end. The metamorphoses by the two Samsa siblings contribute to Kafka’s overall meaning of the work: finding personal identity.
Gregor, as mentioned, began the story as a giant insect. Over the course of the novella, he tries to reclaim his self-identity that he basically lost by living his life for his family and completely neglecting himself Even as an insect, he tries his best to continue to service his family by not inconvienicing them. He pulls a sheet over him so Grete wouldn’t see him and get scared, which exemplifies him putting others first and ignoring his own needs. Also, during the time in his room, Gregor continues to feel guilt because he cannot provide for his family in his current state. Our protagonist seems to go from bad (he despises his current job and boss), to worse during his metamorphosis. His search for identity feels bleak for readers, mainly because he ultimately gives up on himself and sacrifices himself for his family’s happiness, as to not be an inconveinance to them. Gregor’s metamorphosis is symbolic of anyone who has to take on family duties, and is subjugated to isolation from family and work.
Grete’s transformation was different than that of Gregor, whereas he was broken down, she was built up. She is the only one in the family with whom Gregor still has a relationship with after he becomes a bug. At first, Grete took great care of Gregor. She made sure that his room was clean and he was fed at least three times a day. Her actions were fueled by her own search for personal identity. Prior to Gregor’s turning into a bug, he was the one who took care of the family’s responsibilities. Now that he was incapable of doing so, she saw this as an opportunity to find her role and identity in the family. She cared for Gregor in hopes to gain a sense of responsibility, but soon after the novelty wore off She got ajob as a saleswoman and enjoyed her new role as the responsible one in the family. Grete’s metamorphosis was completed when she became the first one to suggest getting rid of Gregor, seeing him no longer as a brother but as a burden. Her search for personal identity was complete only because of Gregor’s down fall.
Kafka’s story can be interpreted in many different ways. Several different themes are compacted into this dense novella like economic oppression, family dynamics, and the power of guilt. The search for personal identity is one of the more general morals of the story. Grete and Greogor played intricate roles in the other’s “morphing” processes, and hunt for personal identity. In the end, it is Grete’s playing of the violin that reminds Gregor of his humanity and identity, but by that time it is too late. Their transformations contributed to the overall meaning of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meta Questions

Q: Why does the family abandon Gregor?
A: The family abandons Gregor at the end of the story because they lost hope in him. They lost hope that he would become human again, and they didn’t appreciate Gregor not being able to work anymore. Since they relied on him for income, and he could no longer provide it, they viewed him as useless.

Q: Why does Gregor still have love and affection for his family even after they start to forget about him?
A: Gregor still has love for his family despite their neglect because Kafka is commenting on family dynamics. You should always love your family, no matter what. The Samsa family could not show that love for Gregor in spite of his situation. Sometimes families today shun other members of the family for something that they did or something that happened to them. Gregor represents the other side of the spectrum, that is loving your family unconditionally.

Q: Do you think that they move the furniture in the room to kill him faster?
A: I think that they move the furniture out of his room to further dehumanize him, not necessarily kill him faster. The family no longer felt that Gregor the bug was the REAL Gregor, so they saw no point in continuing to treat him humanely.

Q: Why does Grete NOW choose to get a job? Both her parents are getting them so what is the point?
A: Grete chooses to get a job at the end of the story because she is feeling herself and wants to further impress her parents. She was perfectly capable of employment when Gregor was working his butt off, but did not take the opportunity. I think she only works now to make herself seem even more responsible since Gregor can no longer bring in income. It can be viewed as a type of sibling rivalry thing, seeking the parents approval.

Q: Why does Gregor stop eating?
A: Gregor stops eating because he has become depressed. I think Gregor purposely stopped eating, knowing that he would die. He felt like he was a burden on his family, and ultimately lost faith in himself. He thought death was the best way.

Q: What is the significance of the violin? Of all the choices of instruments, why does Kafka choose the violin for Grete to play?
A: The violin is significant because it is symbolic of sorrow. Kafka was rather depressed when writing this story, and the violin was the most “depressing” of the instruments.

Q: Does Gregor's family feel sadness at his death? Relief?
A: The family doesn’t feel sadness after the death of Gregor. To them, Gregor the bug was not Gregor their son. Because they looked at him having two different entities, they were rather relieved that Gregor had passed. To them he was a specimen and vermin, not a member of the family. They felt relief because they no longer had to live in fear and they could move out of the apartment without having to deal with him. At the end of the story they were only concentrated on the future, as Mr.Samsa said “stop brooding over the past”.

Q: Why is the family more quiet at meal times?
A: The family is more quiet at meal times because they resemble American families today, who sometimes don’t even eat dinner together at all.

Q: Why does Gregor feel depression at his family's reaction to him?
A: Gregor is depressed at his families reaction to him because he knew that he wouldn’t have done that to them. Gregor was the kind of person to help others and forget about himself, which could be described as the extreme of selfless. He figured that with all the things he had done for his family, including buying them the apartment and paying off his parents debt, they would return the favor. Once they did not, he came to the conclusion that they never really cared for him. Gregor talks about how when his door was locked they were so eager to get it opened, but now that it was open they never tried to come in.

Q: How long has Gregor been in the room before he dies?
A: Gregor was in the room for an unspecified period of time. The book never really says anything about how long he had been there. We know he was in there for at least 1 month because in the story it says Grete came in and was still scared after one month.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Writing Prompt 2 - 9/19/08

In George Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith finds himself in a struggle to free himself from the power of the Party. The Party is the government over Oceania, and whatever they propose has to be followed and believed. Winston, the novels protagonist, knows that everything the Party says is not valid and is pitted against them. Orwell uses Winton’s struggle to highlight the overall meaning of the work, sustaining individuality in a plummeting society.

Winston knows he is “different” from the start of the novel. He knows he is politically corrupt. The audience can see that when Winston is beginning to write in his diary, and he talks about how wrong he knew it was. He is one of the novels very few who is not following the beliefs of the Party.

The reader sees Winstons struggle to free himself from the Party throughout the novel. He often talks about rebelling against the Party, but because everyone around him has succumbed to subjugation, he often finds himself in the minority. He tries to rebel by committing crimes against the Party, like writing in his diary, buying things from the Black Market, and having a pleasurable affair with Julia. Even when Winston found that O’Brien was not with him, but against him, he initially still refused to believe that 2 + 2 is five. His struggle to free himself is actually his struggle to remain true to himself. Remaining human is his ultimate goes, that is what will set him free.

Orwell uses Winstons power struggle to enhance the meaning of his work. Orwell pleads readers to “remain human” despite the dehumanized world. He uses Winston’s own struggle to show his audience how easy it may be to give in, shown by Winston’s ultimate surrender at the novels end.

Furthermore, Orwell uses the theme of power struggle to warn readers of their future government. As time goes on, Orwell believed that the government would become more powerful. 1984 is a prophecy and warning of that. Winston Smith symbolizes every reader and their struggle they may experience with the same type of alpha government.
Ultimately, Winston Smith’s hardtime in dealing with authority enhances the meaning of 1984. Readers should heed Orwell’s warning of this toletarian government he reveals in this work.