Sunday, March 30, 2008

DJ Hamlet 3:1 Diction and Character Motives


Ophelia: "What means your lordship?"
Hamlet: "That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty" (lines 105 - 107)

Shakespeare's use of puns creates several meanings to these small lines. Ophelia could simply be saying "What do you mean?", "What are you talking about" or "What does your position of power mean to you?"

Honest on the footnote means chaste, which means morally pure or abstaining from sexual acts. However, honest could mean something else in this context. Honest could mean truthful, and Hamlet could be trying to pry the truth from Ophelia, therefore, he could know that she is being dishonest by working with Polonius and Claudius.

Chaste = Virginity = Artemis Goddess of the moon = Lunacy

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blog Work - Group Reading

How's everyone's reading going? I really enjoy this book so far, and I have a passage on page 26 I'd like to connect to.On page 26, the very last paragraph before chapter 8, the author writes how her and her students created their own worlds outside their own, strict life as women in Tehran. She asks an intriguing question: "Which of these two worlds was more real, and to which did we really belong?" (26). I connected to the fact that, and this may sound crazy, but that I too live in and out of my own created realm, a place where I belonged when in the real world I didn't. What do you think the author means by her question? Is it wrong to have such independent thoughts about being somewhere better? These women had to have their own worlds because in their society, there wasn't much else they could have to call their own.

November 27, 2007 9:50 PM

I agree with your ideas Eddie on how the girls live an illusion and are free to express themselves within the safe walls of Azar's home.

After reading the part "Lolita", I am now interested in reading that one too! But anywho, as Azar describes the novel "Lolita", I couldn't help but compare the girl Lolita's trapped life to the girl's lives outside Azar's home. Both parties are forced into a tyrancy of men, and bot parties long for a world outside their own. Yassi on page 32 is depicted as Azar tells the reader about her life. Yassi in my opinion is most similar to "Lolita". "All her life she was shielded. She was never let out of sight; she never had a private corner in which to think, to feel, to dream, to write. She was not allowed to meet any young men on her own" (32). Yassi also is the only one to wear a veil in the safety of Azar's home.

All the characters suffer in a way, and all have the situation where they cannot be free outside their sanctuary of novels.

November 29, 2007 6:46 PM

I agree with Doris' last post in that the author describes each character as they enter her home. If you notice as it draws the end of the first section, the characters are becoming more defined. For example, one finds out stories behind each of the characters and how their lives before and outside Azar's home and how it has affected them. For example we find out how Mashid is jailed in the first place and how this effexts her views.

I think the author describes each girl's entrance to give a sense of character to each. She is showing how these aren't just under priveledged girls living in Tehran, but women who have been through alot and all share the common longing of being free from restraints.

December 1, 2007 10:21 PM

Hello all. I Hope we're up to date with our reading. Those who haven't posted, please do so we can hear aout your opinions and thoughts.

Anyways, I'd like to pick a passage that I think is very powerful, and portrays a very important theme in the novel. The passge is on page 103, bottom paragraph and it begins with "I told him about my grandmother, who was the most devout Muslim I had ever known, even more than you, Mr. Bahri, and she still shunned politics, She resented the fact that her veil, which to her was a symbol of her sacred relationship with God, had now become an instrument of power, turning women who wore them into political signs and symbols. Where do your loyalties lie, Mr. Bahri, with Islam or the state?" (103). Throughout the part of "Gatsby", political events occur, and anti-American ideas form around Azar's world. But how does the state influence many to burn American flags when Islamic women are subjected to a life with limited rights? How can the state turn a symbol of their people's faith into a tool of power?

I also chose this passage because it portrays the author, relating to her grandmother, how strong of a woman she is standing against men in her society. She realizes how the state is using women for control of the people, and in many ways, the author is a rebel.

December 5, 2007 8:58 PM

At the beginning and middle of part Gatsby, Mike Gold is mentioned several times by the author. I looked up information about him, and figured that his life and works are well worth mentioning and have a great deal of connection to the novel.

Mike Gold was a Jewish, American literary critic, who was part of the left wing. Left wing is a political term which refers to the political ideals that states the importance and priority of achieving social equality through numerous rights of citizens, as opposed to private, individual interests, a traditional view of society, represented on the right policy. In general, the left-wing tends to uphold a secular (state separate from church) society, egalitarian (equal) and multicultural.

On page 107, the author mentions a passage from Mike Gold's "The New Masses". "The New Masses" is a publication of leftist works and it set up radical theater groups. I believe the author mentions Mike Gold in the novel because his ideals go along with the author's struggle in a society where it seems to hold traditional, religious values which are used against the people, especially women.

December 9, 2007 10:34 AM

I'd like to look at a few passages on page 169, starting with the very first paragrapgh. "This was when I went around repeating to myself, and to anyone who cared to listen, that people like myself had become irrelevant" (169). Then she goes on to explain what it means to be irrelevant. "The feeling is akin to visiting your old house as a wandering ghost with unfinished business. Imagine going back: the structure is familiar, but the door is now metal instead of wood, the walls have been painted a garish pink, the easy chair you loved so much is gone. Your office is now the family room and your beloved bookcases have been replaced by a brand-new television set. This is your house, and it is not. And you are no longer relevant to this house, to its walls and doors and floors; you are not seen" (169). This first passage is interesting because the description of becoming irrelevant connects to the fact that Nafisi is losing all items precious to her, such as freedom to teach American literature, freedom to not have to wear the veil, and her profession. Its as if Tehran, her once called home, is becoming an unfamiliar place wear her feelings and others do not matter anymore due to the changing rules of the society, thus becoming irrelevant.

In the next paragrapgh, the author questions what do the irrelevant do? The last sentence connects to the beginning of the novel, Lolita, and how she manages to keep her dreams and beloved items. "Or they will escape inwardly and, like Claire in "The American", turn their small corner into a sanctuary: the essential part of their life goes underground" (169). That is exactly what Nafisi does; she creates a day where her best female students can escape the reality of their lives and dwelve into a world of fiction.

December 12, 2007 9:22 PM

During James, there is one passage where Nafisi is reading her novel, "Daisy Miller" in the middle of the night while explosions could be heard in the distance. Naturally, Nafisi is fearful of her life and her family's. However, while reading the novel, she picks out a passage that seems to alive some of her fears. "And in a scene I will always remember-not only because of that night-Daisy tells Winterbourne: " 'You needn't be afraid. I am not afraid!' And she gave a little laugh. Winterbourne fancied there was a tremor in her voice; he was touched, shocked, motified by it. 'My dear young lady,' he protested, 'she knows no one. It's her wretched health.' The young girl walked on a few steps, laughing still. 'You needn't be afraid,' she repeated' " (187). I picked out this certain passage because I believe it's significant to Nafisi's life after the revolution in Tehran that takes place in James. In the beginning section, Lolita, Nafisi seems to show no fear in reading forbidden western books with her students. I believe part of this is because of that night, reading her fiction novel that gave her strenght and to not be afraid. This goes along with the other students as well, since when reading fiction, their lives under the state mean nothing as long as they are into a good book.

December 13, 2007 6:51 PM

In Austen, the final section of the novel, I want to look at a passage, that like many oher posts, deals with how in the society treats women as inferior.

Page 259 starting with " 'How about a temporary marriae?' " up to the following paragrapgh " 'She isn't forced into it' ". In the passage, Nassrin refers to the law which allows men to have many temporary marriges in order to have their needs satisfyed when their wives couldn't comply. I'm going to agree with the "reactionaries" who believed that "the temporary marrige is a sanctified form of prostitution" (259). One can't help but notice the irony in this passage concerning Islamic rule. According to their rule, prostitution is punished through a variety of methods. Yes their law allowing men to have temporary lives would be equivalent to adultery, something else which is punishable. The law complies with men's sexual needs but debilitates a woman's rights of freedom.

December 20, 2007 8:57 PM

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Humument" Blog Post

On page 210 of Tom Phillips’ A Humument, Phillips suggests that music and poetry can be used to create beauty out of an ordinary image or idea. Phillips uses two main colors for this piece: black and a very light tint of grey, which indicates the two factors, music and poetry working in harmony. He also uses patterns with his shapes, suggesting the rhythm of both arts. The most prominent feature, the flower, is the main subject of the piece, as it is surrounded by the numerous patterns.

Before any text, there are numerous vertical black lines that go across the page. Phillips places these lines close together, creating a vague image. The lines can be described as having a repeated or pattern-like quality to the general space they use. The continuous vertical lines imply that the subject of the piece will involve having patterns or rhythm to it. The text then begins at the end of the vertical line pattern, and below it, an array of other shapes take place. Corresponding to the text, the lines could also be the beginning of a story, told by the rhythm and patterns that follow, much like how a poem or song’s rhythm may describe its subject or subjects. Following the text, a series of shapes within one another are vertically placed in a large light grey rectangle. The smaller shapes are all within circles, which may be symbolic for eternity, since a circle has no beginning, nor end. The first circle contains a square that is tilted in a way such that its for corners point North, South, East, and West. The second circle contains a smaller circle, followed by the third which holds an oval, and then the fourth with a square. The fifth one has the same shape as the first, and a seemingly sixth circle looks to have the same qualities as the second. These shapes placed by Phillips suggest that there is a continuous pattern between these shapes. This is another pattern that suggests that the subject of the piece is music and poetry, for both have this quality to them. The piece seems to end with the image of a flower. The flower has the same color patterning as the rest of the page, yet it is the most beautiful image among the lines and common shapes. It is Page 21’s most prominent feature because of its distinct shape, shadows, and highlights. The flower is surrounded by different shapes and patterns, referring that the piece is the song or poem about the flower. The final text is also in the middle of the flower, signifying its importance.

The colors, shapes, and patterns are not the only features to Phillip’s piece. The text also suggests that music and poetry can describe something ordinary in a distinguished manner. After the initial vertical line pattern, the text begins. The narrator begins by telling the reader information that seems irrelevant to what he or she actually intends to enlighten the reader of. However, the narrator continues by suddenly changing the subject. “I married; and each time I’ve made thirty per cent on what I paid for it. Listen – shall I tell you one little good story?” This matches up with the initial pattern since it is the exposition of a song or poem, much like the image as a whole starts out with the simple vertical lines. The second piece of text is a compile of words from the original text, which are not in order as the first piece is. The first “sentence” says “The allusion Anacreon”. Anacreon refers to the Greek lyric poet who was notable for hiss love songs, drinking songs, and hymns. The use of the lyrical poet in Phillips piece suggests that the main topic revolves around an idea pertaining to a song or poem. The text continues with “To versational lyre called by a euphemism, amatory; and successful experiences were now poured into the Englishman’s ears…” The final piece of text is found in the middle of the flower. “The mere sound of the colour of a flower” suggests that the flower’s physical attribute is described through music. Basically the text states that in reference to Anacreon, his indirect meanings through musical poetry pertaining expressions of love and stories told to the character, perhaps the protagonist, could also be used to describe simple objects to create a beautiful piece of art.

In conclusion, Phillips use of patterns, harmony, and lyrical references are describing how poetry and music illustrate their subjects. Phillips ability to create meaning is clearly shown through his art.

"Red Shift" Explication - Early Work

Poetry often features unwritten meaning and messages. Poets often portray these meaning using clues. Clues such as describing the setting as colorless and cold may suggest that the speaker is lonely or depressed. In the poem "Red Shift", the poet Ted Berrigan suggests that the speaker is nearing the end of his days because of the fact that he uses clues such as setting, human reaction, denial, and acceptance.
The poet uses the setting and the speaker's reaction as a way to signify death drawing near. For example, the poet writes that "The air is biting, February" (line 2), signifying that it is the dead of winter, everything is cold and lifeless. Death is often associated with winter; therefore, the writer uses the winter setting to signify death. The speaker is also very bleak, describing the desires of life to be "burning". "Love, children, hundreds of them, money, marriage ethics, a politics of grace, up in the air, swirling, burning even or still, now more than ever before" (lines 15-18). The speaker seems to have lost all of that, indicating that those desires are no longer needed, since they will lose them anyways.
Often times, people reminisce about the past when they know their short for time. The speaker in the poem seems to be lost in the moments of his life throughout the poem. For example, "The Calvados is being sipped on Long Island now twenty years almost ago...” (Lines 10-11), is a direct statement of a memory that is apparently from 20 years ago. Another example is how the speaker talks about the various people they've known. People often think back to those who have impacted their lives, especially nearing death. Denial and then a realization of fate is written by the poet to signify the speaker's inevitable doom. The poet shows the speaker's denial of their demise by writing "I'm 43. When will I die? I will never die, I will live to be 110, and I will never go away.." (31-32). Although the speaker doesn't admit their fate at first, they then reference them self as a "ghost" or "spirit", as if they are already dead. "You will never escape from me who am always and only a ghost, despite this frame, Spirit who lives only to nag" (32-34). Finally, the speaker accepts his fate in the last lines of the poem. "Alone and crowded, unhappy fate, nevertheless I slip softly into the air..." (40-41).
In conclusion, the poet uses many words, metaphors, and symbols to show that the speaker of the poem is knocking on death's door, reluctantly,\nand almost regretfully. Thus ending the poem with a melancholy mood that shows the reader that the speaker accepts his fate, and death is drawing near.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Here I am at his house, staring at the shattered picture frame
The air is tense, and I am alreadyon the way to escape out into the streetscape
I drink some cold water sitting on the counter which alters moods
and seems to have given my thoughts time to settle and to sink
In. The streets look for a friend, a sign, or me, I myself am weak and I'm sorry, I just can't leave, Its just too difficult to do, too difficult on me. I think
through it, them, as
we laughed together sipped on coffee at the shop now
4 years almost ago, and the man who came in every morning , making the same order, listening to stories & telling.
Who would have thought that I'd be here, nothing
complete and have lost almost, everything
And everything that had ever mattered, love, passion, life, mentality goes,
Up in the air and bursts into flames when I need them, now more than ever before?
Not that you ever cared for me before, at age 16, in the drenched, weathered coat
eyes penetrating into the depths of your soul
& crying in shame. Not that kid who never made it past preteen, who was
going to have to go, careening into the cement structure so, To die, & to never mature, to live, to love, imagine so to go.
Not that lover who from very first meeting
I would never & never want to live without until we are buried
into the earth inside our caskets & so demanded
To love & who will never leave me, not for money, nor religion,
nor even the pretty girl next door which is
Only our human lot & means everything. No, not her.
There's a song, "Join Me In Death", but no, I won't do that
I am weary. When will I die? I will never die. I will live
To be absolete, & I will never go away, & you will never escape from me
who am always & only a woman despite this primal rage. Spirit
Who lives only to weep.
I'm only one person, & I am heart broken, & I didn't expect to be betrayed
I came into your life to be your only one,
the only muse,
the only one you see
Now its over & I guess thats just fate, nevertheless
I will always see only you
The world's riches and beauties mean nothing anymore.

"Red Shift" poem assignment, my Favorite work