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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Journal #25

Wearing a many times have I worn a mask? Should this be a lot, should it not? The problem with this is that I have no idea what they could have been for because I would not remember anything about it because this is a bad journal topic. I just do not like it. But, I suppose I could write about some sort of story that pertains to wearing masks. So, once upon a time, there was a sleepy fish. His name was George, and he was trying to find his way across the Pacific Ocean. Then, as he was swimming along one day, in his very melodic, hypnotic state, he discovered this sort of hidden jewel lying on the bottom of the sand bar. His first thoughts were something like "OMG WTF is this???" but as he swam closer, he found holes in his beautiful jewel, literally. There were two holes toward the top of the object, and there was another larger hole at the bottom. It was so full of colors and mystery and wonder, and little George was just drawn into its beauty. The magic in it was simply indescribable. Since the poor little fish had been swimming all day for the past eight days, he decided to finally give himself a break and take a nap. Since this thing at the bottom of the ocean appeared not to have been touched or even thought of in at least twelve years, George swam down to it, got inside of the mysterious object, and fell right to sleep. He slept so soundly that night. In the morning, when George awoke, the object was gone, and his face was really itchy. A passing crab took one look at the fish and ran as quickly as possible away from the little fishy. To his great horror, George was told that his face was horribly discolored. Apparently, he had fallen asleep on the object, and the mask surprisingly became a part of his image. That is what he gets for hiding in a mask. Now wasn't that a good story?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"The Pit and the Pendulum"

Edgar Allan Poe's great short story, "The Pit and the Pendulum," is so full of characteristics of Dark Romanticism. For example, the main character in the story is trapped in a dark room for the first rough half of the story. He has nothing to do but try to explore his vast cavern of a prison chamber. He thinks he makes one revolution around the room, but he totally miscalculated his distance he traveled, and the room was a lot smaller than he had first thought. Then, as his confidence grew, the man ventured out toward the middle of the room, but he tripped! Luckily, he tripped and fell just in time, for in two or three more steps, he would have fallen into a sort of well to meet his untimely death thereafter. The reader never knows what will come next for the narrator, which is a key part of Dark Romanticist writing. In fact, the ending seemed to have come way to early. I thought he would escape his tomb, which he did, but it ended so abruptly. I wish there was a fight with his captors or something to give justice to the poor man, especially after seventy thousand rats were jumping all over him, trying to eat the flesh from the still living character. Also, majorly tied up in this story, fear has a lot to do with Dark Romanticism. In "The Pit and the Pendulum," the narrator has no idea what would ever happen to his near future. He could have died at any time. This is true also in that the pendulum swung so very near his beating chest. The rats could have killed him, or the pit in his first chamber cell. Really, he had probably five or six possible ways of death. He could have drowned, starved, eaten, cut in half, or something simple like tripping in the cell and falling on the hard ground and hitting his head. It is extremely possible to kill yourself doing that. As he went through this traumatic experience, he had no control over his emotions, either, because he had no clue to what his future could be. His death seemed so eminent that he had no time to dwell on emotions. Finally, of course, this entire story is one big mystery in that, again, the man does not know what could happen in his future. Personally, I would have cried. It is commendable that he did not take himself out in the pit because it must have just been so looming, sitting there in front of him, practically mocking him. Then, it was mysterious for him to try to figure out a way out of his chamber. He searched and searched for a way out of the first one, and he found a slight possibility, which was just outside a small crack running all the way around the room. It was just large enough to let light in, but that did not stop him from trying to get out through it. Also, how the prison was liberated just in time was quite mysterious, but I suppose that worked as an ending, since the story was not heading in the direction of an end to the story.


Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Glencoe Literature. Ed. Jeffrey Wilhelm. American Literature ed. Colombus: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 263-273. Print.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Review of 'The Raven'"

The essay starts out in possibly the best description of what Edgar Allan Poe's, "The Raven," is about. The author says, "'The Raven' is a similarly beautiful poem. Many readers who prefer sunshine to the weird lights with which Mr. Poe fills his sky, may be dull to its beauty, but it is none the less a great triumph of imagination and art." (Cooke). This might be my favorite explanation of Poe's general works I have ever read because it goes so far beyond just true. No, I would describe it as "super-true" because it describes exactly the writing style Poe uses in just one sentence. Basically, Cooke says that those people who prefer stories about happy times with endings of the main character falling in love and riding off into the sunset with his beautiful but fair maiden on the back of his trusty steed may not like Poe's work. This is very true because poe does not use anything close to that sort of plot line. In fact, Poe uses much fear and mystery in his stories. For instance, "The Raven" includes the narrator verging on the point of insanity with the bird that flew through his window. He is unsure if he should trust the bird because he is not sure the bird is work of God or of the Devil. If the bird has come from the Devil, he is certain it is there to give a constant reminder of how his wife, Lenore, will always and forever be gone. This plot gives a sense of illusion in that the bird may not even be real. It could just be an figment of his imagination because the bird is able to talk in English, which most birds cannot. Also, as Cooke points out, the word choice in "The Raven" is "well chosen" in that "(the words) bestow a touch of the fantastic, which is subsequently introduced as an important component of the poem." (Cooke). The fantastic is definitely a rather large part of the poem because Poe fills it with horror events that seem as if they have no place in a poem. For example, the raven is able to speak, but it can only speak one word and at only the perfect and appropriate times. It seems strange that the raven is almost having a conversation with the narrator, and it feels like the raven is understanding what the narrator is asking and saying (or screaming, in some cases). It could be described as fantastic to enter the raven at such a suspenseful time, as well. Along the same direction, I find the word "fantastic" to describe the poem well, but I do not think it gives quite enough justice to what Poe tried to accomplish. He wanted the reader to feel frightened, but I think "fantastic" just sounds like it is very unique or out of the box. It does not sound like how I would imagine Poe wanting it to sound. However, I still am a good fan of Edgar Allan Poe's classic masterpiece, "The Raven."

Works Cited

Cooke, P. Pendleton. "Edgar A. Poe," Southern Literary Messenger (January 1848). Reprinted in The Recognition of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Eric W. Carlson (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966): pp. 21–23. Quoted as "Review of 'The Raven'" in Harold Bloom, ed. Edgar Allan Poe, Bloom's Major Poets. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishing, 1999. (Updated 2007.) Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. BMPEAP21&SingleRecord=True (accessed November 23, 2010).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Explication of "The Raven"

Literal Meaning:
Once, late at night, I was thinking about the old, forgotten tales I used to read. As I was nearing sleep, I heard a noise from the door. I shrugged it off, thinking it was only someone at the door, nothing else. It was in the dismal December. The fire was burning only embers. I longed for it to be morning again. Unsuccessfully, I had searched for a way to end the sorrow over my lost love, Lenore, the beautiful woman whom the angels gave name, now without a name. As the breeze russled the purple curtains, I was thrilled - full of such terror I had never felt before. I was so scared that I simply stood there repeating "It's only someone knocking at the door just really late. It's nothing." As I repeated this, I grew more and more confident and said aloud, "Sir or Madam, I am very sorry, but I was just trying to sleep when you came knocking. It was so quiet I was not sure if someone was there." Here, i opened the door wide to find nothing there, only darkness. For what seemed like an eternity, I stood there looking into the darkness, wondering, fearing, and doubting anyone ever being there. Dreams no one should ever have came into my mind. Still, the silence and darkness from outside the room remained. I quietly whispered the word "Lenore," and all I heard was the echo in receipt. All my soul turned with me to go back to bed, but I heard another tapping, this one slightly louder than the last. I said, "surely, surely that is someone at the window. I will explore this mystery and calm myself down. It must just be the wind - nothing else." I flung open the shutters, and a dignified raven stepped into the window. He made no acknowledgement of my presence. He flew up to a perch above my door. I smiled at the bird. Because of the dark dignification of appearance it gave me, I asked it, "Even though your feathers are so beautiful, are you sure you are no coward? You old, unsightly raven, tell me your name." The raven said, "Nevermore." I was so surprised to hear the bird speak, though it spoke little and gave even less information, considering that probably no one has ever had a bird over their door with the name "Nevermore." Still, the bird spoke only that one word, like he were pooring out his soul into that one word. He did nothing until I finally said, "Other friends have come before, but he will leave by the morning, like my hopes have gone before." Then, the bird said, "Nevermore." Startled that the bird replied, I said, "Obviously, that is the only word it can say. He must have been trained by someone to say only 'nevermore.'" Still, however, the raven made me smile. Quickly, I turned a cushioned seat to face the bird. Sitting down on it, I began thinking what the bird could mean by saying "nevermore." As i guessed, the raven gave no hint as to what it could be. I sat easily in the velvet chair, continuing to ponder what the bird could have meant. Then, I felt the air grow heavier. I cried, "You are dispicable! God has sent you to make me forget my loving memories of Lenore! Drink, oh drink, this kind forgetful drink, and forget my lovely Lenore!" The raven replied, "Nevermore." "You evil prophet, being from God or the Devil! Whether the tempter sent you or tossed you aside here, tell me honestly, is there balm in Gilead?" The raven, again, simply replied, "Nevermore." "Prophet," I exclaimed, "being of bird or Devil, tell me if in the near future I shall hold a beautiful woman whom the angels have named Lenore!" Again, the raven replied only the word, "Nevermore." "Fine!, then! Make that our final words spoken!" I screamed angrily. "Get out of my room! Leave no trace of your being here! Get out!" "Nevermore," spoke the raven, calmly. Still, the raven sat there atop my door, without moving and inch, his eyes appearing to be dreaming the dream of a demon. And, the light above him throws his shadow onto the floor, along with my soul, which shall be lifted off the floor nevermore.

Poetic Devices:
The first, and probably most obvious, example of a poetic device is the rhyme at the ends of each line with other lines. Also, there is rhyme within the lines. Also, there is a lot of repitition because of the word "nevermore" that the raven repeats. Next, the raven could be symbolic of death or the Devil. Then, Poe personifies the raven by giving it the ability to speak. Finally, there is a small amount of alliteration.

Figurative Meaning:
As the poem opens, the main character is mourning the loss of his late wife and beloved, Lenore, late at night. Suddenly, there is a sound at the door, but no one is there. Then, there is a sound at the window, and when he opens it, a raven flies into the room. Since he was just thinking about Lenore, he suspects the raven was brought to him to distract him from such sad thoughts. For some reason, the character asks the raven questions about his lost love. When the bird replies only with the word "Nevermore," he interpreted it as saying that his love shall never return to him. When the raven does not leave after the character had ordered it to, he assumes it means his long to have his Lenore again will never go away.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Journal #24

Um, sure, of course my mind has played tricks on me. The problem with this journal entry topic is that I do not really care to remember a time when the mind played tricks on me. First of all, I do not care about the times I screwed something up. Also, I am sure there have been so many times in which this has happened that I probably just blocked them out of my memory. They seem to be pretty unimportant, so why would I even want to remember such insignificant times in my life. However, now that I had already written a whole journal about other things, my english teacher decided to read it and is now wanting me to rewrite it and stay on topic. So, now I suppose I should rack my mind for some sort of a story about a time in which my mind played tricks on me. Actually, I supppose this exact instance could constitute my mind playing a trick on me. What I mean by this is that it just tricked me into believing that my english teacher does not actually read any of the journals, which I previously had thought because we still do not have any grades in STI for that class. So, taking that into consideration, I would think that means he has not read any of them. Apparently, he was actually just creeping on me, which is also something my mind tricked me into believing would never happen because I thought he had better things to do during his free time. But, in reality, my mind has now learned to write journals that pertain to the topic for the entire entry. Also, my mind tricked me into thinking I would have my privacy in my blogs considering that it has my name on top of it. I do understand that it is for a grade, but I really thought I would not receive an email warning me that the previous version of this entry was less than sufficient. However, I am still thankful for receiving it instead of a less than satisfactory grade for the whole entry.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Thoreau's Walden and the American Dream: Challenge or Myth?"

The author, Michaela Keck, begins the essay with an opening statement, basically describing the centrality of Thoreau's thoughts around society and nature as two completely separate creatures. "The interconnectedness between civilization and nature is as central to Thoreau's thought as the interconnectedness of mind and body, the ideal and the real." (Keck). First of all, this is a sort of odd way of describing it here. Personally, I do not believe that the mind is connected to the body in any other way than its physical attachment through the spinal cord and whatnot. I think our minds will die when the body dies because there will be nothing left for it to do, essentially; in other words, I believe in science as making the most sense. Next, in every sort of way, the ideal is not the real. It is practically impossible to assert that we live in an ideal world, but we certainly live in a real world - one, in fact, that is so full of miscalculations and dillusions, that it seems this so called "ideal" is so widely ranged in definition according to religion and philosophy. It is darn near the point of not even using "ideal" to describe something because my version of ideal can be (and probably is) different than that of ninety-nine percent of the school I attend. There are so many things to disagree on that it actually seems like a useless word. Despite all of this, however, I see the point Keck is trying to make - that Thoreau is extremely centered around the connection between civilization and nature. Also, in a line following, Keck embodies my point of impossibilities by saying, "And in fulfillment of the American Dream, Walden embodies both success and failure." This just goes to show that it is impossible to please everyone and everything because you even, sometimes, hurt yourself by failing yourself. One other thing that I like about this essay is that Keck included both sides of Thoreau: "...Thoreau, the nature lover on the one hand, and Thoreau, the social critic on the other, calling for 'Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!'" This draws out the point that Thoreau did not only go out to the woods simply to bond with nature, no. But, he did go out to show the world that it is just as easy to live without the luxuries of everyday life and because he limply enjoys nature. He went out to the woods to say "hey, I can do this, so why can't you?" I really like this about him because the world, especially today, is so full of unnecessary luxuries, such as electricity, including everything that also runs on electricity. It is not totally necessary, but it is awfully useful. Also, he chose to go out into nature because he would be able to grow back closer to himself. That is another thing that a lot of people probably need. I do not, however, agree that the time spent alone in the woods should equal anywhere even close to two years, two months, and two days. No, I think just a weekend would be extremely sufficient.

Works Cited

Keck, Michaela. "Thoreau's Walden and the American Dream: Challenge or Myth?" In Bloom, Harold, ed. The American Dream, Bloom's Literary Themes. New York: Chelsea Publishing House, 2009. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. BLTTAD021&SingleRecord=True (accessed November 17, 2010).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Journal #23

How could it be possible to live without any technology? I did not think it could be possible because there are so many things that run on or at least just use electricity. Also, in my normal life, I run on those things that run on electricity because there is pretty much nothing else to do at home. I am on Facebook about once every two hours, and I am sometimes on it for hours at a time. It has really become my fourth love, behind my Xbox360, the television, and the obvious one, my girlfriend, who I certainly love the most. Now, I ask of you to remember that this exit from the basic "society" would include living without a cell phone for the time because of the rules of the trip. But, hypothetically speaking, of course, a bear were to maul you when you were in your tent sleeping? Let me say that you are perfectly living but only with a large gash in your right leg, crippling it to the extent that you are unable to walk. What are you going to do? In this "unplugging from everything," you would also be completely alone out there in the woods. How would you live? How could you survive? Hmmm... oh that is right. YOU WOULD DIE. So, because of these simple reasons as listed above, I have decided to stay home from this horrible idea and live peacefully and still with the ability to walk. However, if under some stupid circumstances, I were forced to go out into the woods for a whole week, I think I would do just fine without my phone or computer or even the television. It would probably suck, but I do not think I would totally cave in and make a break for it back to society and electricity. I would simply be extremely lonesome out in the woods. Much of my time would be spent sleeping or at least resting because that is usually what I like to do when I am bored. In the time I am not sleeping or resting, I would probably be out hunting or looking for some form of nourishment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Civil Disobedience" and "On the Eve of the Historic Dandi March"

So, first of all, there is one hugely obvious similarity, and that similarity is that, in both cases, the author is making it publicly known that they plan to totally disregard all the rules. Both of them are or were completely willing to accept the consequences. They both know and understand the wrong in what they are doing, but both of them think they should be allowed to do whatever they want. For example, throughout the entire passage, Gandhi is talking about when he and his comrades are arrested, the other people who are not arrested need to take up where they left off and keep Gandhi's dream alive. "My compact with the Congress ends as soon as I am arrested. In that case there should be no slackness in the enrolment of volunteers. Wherever possible, civil disobedience of salt laws should be started." (Gandhi, 229). Next of all, it sure seems like it does not matter to either person what will happen or what has happened. In fact, Thoreau seems rather happy to be locked up in the jail. With this, I totally understand because, in the way he is describing it, I do not think his cell could be that bad. They are giving him free food and a place to sleep and some companions to talk with both in the cell and out in the yard. I do not think it would be too bad either, actually. Everything I might need would be right there for me to have without having to pay for it. Does that really seem bad? Is it bad to have everything placed in your lap for you? I certainly think not, sir. However, on the other side of the punishment, Thoreau is already in jail, but Gandhi is practically preparing himself and the crowd for going to jail. Also, both participants are believing very strongly in why they are doing what they are doing because, in the case of Henry David Thoreau, he thinks it ridiculous to have to pay a tax on something he did not use. Thoreau is complaining about the poll tax because he did not vote, but the government is trying to force him to pay it regardless because that is the law. Obviously, he is quite unhappy about this because he did not use any service or receive anything, so why should he have to pay for anything? As a result of his not paying the tax, he is thrown in jail. Gandhi is also understanding of what he is doing. Yet, he continues doing it because he feels it is the right thing to do. He does not believe the Indian government is treating everyone fairly, so he organizes this "Dandi March" to protest salt taxes, among other things. Actually, both of these situations include the same basic principal: there is one person who knows he is doing an illegal action, but he is perfectly fine with it because he is standing up for what he believes in. As I said, I agree with what Thoreau did, and now that I think about it, I agree with what Gandhi did too because he is making a stand for the little guy who does not have a real voice in the government.

Works Cited

Gandhi, Mohandas K. "On the Eve of Historic Dandi March." Glencoe Literature. Ed. Jeffrey Wilhelm. American Literature ed. Colombus: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 229-230.

Thoreau, Henry David. "Civil Disobedience." Glencoe Literature. Ed. Jeffrey Wilhelm. American Literature ed. Colombus: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 222-227. Print.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Journal #22

Well, first of all, I do not truly believe there is any place where it is okay to disregard the rules or laws. I think that since we are all part of the same society, we should all have to and be able to follow those same rules. However, if there is or was a reason to totally disregard the law, I think it would have to be if there is a serious situation like having a baby. That is the kind of emergency that I think could constitute speeding over the posted speed limit, but that is not a situation where the driver should do something crazy like blow through a red light because there is a huge, and I mean enormous, chance of getting hit by another car or hitting another driver (or pedestrian walking across the street). Another possible time to disregard the law would be in an apocalypse. Under this scenario, there would be no hope left because the world is about to die, so there could not be too many possible repercussions. I mean, I think getting put in jail would not do too much to my mindset because I would only be in there for, let me say, about three hours. Then, naturally, my body would take its course in life and be done with it, along with about six billion other people who inhabit the world right now with me. But, in that exact situation, how very unlikely it may be, pretty much everyone would be breaking the laws because they would all think the same way as what I just said. I think that if we were to undergo an apocalypse right now, the world would go into war, eventually killing most of the population before the real emergency had the chance to kill them. Unfortunately, after reviewing this journal entry, I have realized that this actually has pretty much nothing to do with Romanticism, and I am truly sorry for my lack of making sense.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Emerson and the Work of Melancholia"

Can I please just say how totally hipocritical Emerson is by completely disregarding literally everything he had been saying about Romanticism for the past, oh, I would say, lifetime? Is it not ridiculous to say that he is sort of a jerk after all of these years? Might that be fine if I were to begin a life of vegetables, solitude, and a fear of sunshine with no probable cause for any of them? Hmmm...That seems oddly familiar. I think Ralph Waldo Emerson might have said the same kind of thing when he moved into a new section of thinking - Transcendentalism. And, why again did he make this switch? Was it for a legitament reason? Um, no? Oh, ok. I see. That makes sense. Let me completely change my mind about life and living it just because I woke up this morning on the left side of the bed with only half the sheets over me. Yes, that seems quite reasonable. So, thank you for listening to my rant about how stupid Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson is. "Yet Emerson doesn't just preach against mourning. He offers a philosophy of aggressive perpetual motion by which we can throw off circumstances before they have become confining... To begin dwelling in received forms is, for Emerson, to enter the house of mourning." ("Emerson..."). In this excerpt from Mark Edmundson's "On the Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson," Emerson is showing the transition from Romanticism as he loses the friendship of his life-partner and brother. He is the kind of person who does not believe in crying or, apparently, acceptance of loss. I do not think he really got how deep the cut was. mourning is the largest and easiest form of coping, and it seems as if he should have, at the very most extreme of a least, acknowledged both of their deaths. But, he felt it necessary to skip the mourning process because connections to those who will be lost only lead to pain in the future when they are lost. I suppose I understand this now that i am writing about it, but, I also see that if you love someone, such as your wife, you should show it by commemorating their beautiful life and glorious death as best as possible. I think Emerson was being more childish by not admitting death and glorifying their lives as they were because it takes more maturity to face a problem than to try to hide it under your false smiles. If it makes you feel any better, talk to someone about it; but do not simply cover it up with your lack of emotions. Even still, Emerson was fantastic at preaching his Romantic views. Why he gave it up must be a decision that was made hundreds of years ago when this crazy man lived. It must have been a long and thoughtful decision, but I am sure Emerson went through the process to find the correct answer. I do not know if he made the correct decision, but he is, indeed, sticking to his decision.

Works Cited

"Emerson and the Work of Melancholia." Raritan (Spring 1987). Quoted as "Emerson and the Work of Melancholia" in Bloom, Harold, ed. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Updated Edition, Bloom's Modern Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 2006. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. MCVRWE007&SingleRecord=True (accessed November 12, 2010).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Journal #21

So, there is this secret, and no one knows this secret, except for me, apparently. I am not sure how I learned this secret, but I know it must be true. Are you ready? Well, I have learned that both of these men have secret identities, and do you want to know what they really are? Actually, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Benjamin Franklin were sorcerers with the magical powers of influencing thousands of other commoners. Emerson accomplished these goals by writing spells and enchantments in the forms of essays and poems,including all sorts of long and confusing words to distract the reader while they are secretly being hypnotized into believing that Emerson is a good writer. But, in reality, these combinations of words have no real meaning and are sometimes contradicting themselves, but that is the key to a great and almighty sorcerer. When he wrote about finding the soul in solitude, he was actually implying an underlying message from within the text, itself. Luckily, we here at the United Nations Creepy Authors Guild have found a way of reading this hidden message, and we would like to share with you, the humble reader, what this underlying message is, but please understand the graphic nature of this message and the horrible possible outcomes if you are to follow its command: "Go out into nature, and stay there unto you die!" It is truly shocking. Benjamin Franklin, however, was anti-Emerson without even knowing it. His secret message from within the text was simply this, "Keep track of yourself, and simplicity follows." It seems to be apparent that Franklin was much more lax about his control over the masses, but his message is true for even today. Franklin promoted self control and staying within the boundaries of ease, but Emerson was much more about calling the folks to action. Honestly, I wish not as many people had been trapped in the works of Emerson because of the dreadful outcomes they have been known to produce.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Journal #20

I do not think it is that important to step away from society's normal routine because I will always come back to it, eventually. Besides, it is not possible to fully escape society because there are always people there with you. No matter what I do or where I go, there will always be some sort of trace of society because there is hardly anywhere we have not been. Also, I do not really want to get away from society because I like the hustle and bustle of the city. But, if I simply had to get away from everything, I think it would be beneficial because it is a time to be able to relax without the stress of daily life, which, by the way, is extremely hectic and pretty much just scary. Reflecting upon yourself is some pretty heavy stuff. To get some heavy stuff through your thoughts, you really need to concentrate on it, and what could be a better way of doing that than getting out of society? There are some times in life where you just need to escape, too. That is another good reason to go out to the wilderness or just to your place of tranquility. That is how you truly relax. You just need to find the place that makes a peace with the soul, which, by the way, is also extremely difficult. I do not actually know what else I can say about escaping from society. But, if I am still not at three-hundred and twenty-five words, I suppose I should continue writing something. Nature is so beautiful, and it has the amazing power of taking the mind off of everything going on in life. It is so simple and "down to earth" (not to be ironic) that it is no wonder that it is thought of as so relaxing. I just wish I did not have to go to school tomorrow but just spend the day outside. I really need some rest right now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Journal #19

First of all, it is impossible to have a perfect country. There are too many people who always disagree with some sort of political issue. In other words, there is always someone who does not like your decision. But, if there were to be some way of having a perfect society in the United States, this is, I think, how I would want everything to be run. There should be one person in charge with the rest of the people giving enough input to be fair; however, the one person in charge should be the ending person. I mean that the "president" should pass all the laws, and every single citizen should be happy with the outcome. No one should fight over how something is written because everyone will eventually have to follow the rule. I really do not like how people always bash the president for the smallest things, so that would need to be eliminated in my perfect society. When a rule or law is put into effect, everyone needs to just abide by it. I do not care if you do not totally agree with it. The person in charge of everyone has said it will affect everyone. Also, the whole world really needs to use one type of currency. This whole inflation thing is destroying the economy. We need to quit borrowing money from people and quit giving free money to everyone else. It is no wonder why our country is in such an enormous debt. We owe like $40 billion to China alone because we continue to take their money just so we can give it to other countries for nothing in return. I hate America. There are so many people, too, that are just so stupid, so we should just get rid of all the stupid people. Maybe we can ship them out to Africa to live with the poor people in shanties. Basically, everyone needs to stop complaining about the way the country is being run. If everyone does that, no one will argue, and the country will be peaceful.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Poetry Explication - "Ballad of the Oysterman"

The literal meanings of the lines themselves and the overall meaning of the poem are very similar in this poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes because it is written as a dialogue with a story.

Literal Meaning:
There was a tall, young oysterman who lived by the river. He ran a shop on the bank, and his boat was just underneath it. A pretty woman lived on the opposite side of the river from him with her father, a fisherman. The oysterman was thinking about his love one day while watching her from afar. He saw her waving her handkerchief, as much as if to say, "I'm wide awake, young oysterman, and all the folks away." In a rush, the oysterman jumped up and thought I guess I'll leave the skiff at home, for fear that her parents should see; I read it in a story-book, that, for to kiss his dear, Leander swam to Hellespont, so I could swim this, here. And so, he swam across the river to reach his fair lady and to receive her beautiful kisses. But, suddenly, they heard the footsteps of the lady's father, so the oysterman quickly jumped back into the river to swim home. The old fisherman asked his daughter what the splashes were about, and the daughter replied, "'T was nothing but a pebble, sir, I threw into the water." Then, the father asked what it was paddling off so fast, and the daughter again protects the oysterman, saying it was a dolphin. The old fisherman tells her to fetch his harpoon, then, so they will eat it for dinner that night. The daughter had nothing to do but turn pale white. While trying to swim back home, the oysterman falls victim to a cramp and drowns in the current. Now, the oyster shop is commemorating the fallen boy and selling oysters to "mermaids down below."

Poetic Devices:
I suppose I could be redundant by saying that there is a lot of imagery, but that would be silly because the whole thing is a story about something that happened. It was written to be played in your head.

Figurative Meaning:
This hidden love does not endure because God gave lungs to humans, not gills. The poor boy only wanted to hold his dream in his arms, but he was not certain how her father would cope with it, so he tried to hide his love for her. When he thought he had the chance, it was tarnished, and he paid the ultimate price for his poor timing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


The cool breeze of fall blows through the town.
Kids come out to frolic in the street,
while parents dread the impending winter.
Winds grow in strength and sweeps the feet
out from under a small child. As he fell,
the wind began to swirl and beat
at the poor child. The cold rain shot out
and lifted the boy out of his small seat.

The boy had the face of terror and dread;
they always remember that day of the dead.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poetry Explication - "Thanatopsis"

"Thanatopsis" is a poem written by William Cullen Bryant in the Romanticism time period. In it, Bryant, literally speaking, describes what is to follow. Bryant says that nature speaks to the people who love it. Nature is happy when they are happy and sad when they are sad. When death and sadness come into thoughts, go out to nature, where you will die. You were born of earth, so you will die of earth; this also means that since you were allowed to walk on the earth, everyone will now be allowed to walk on you, also. The roots of trees will take over what used to be your body. Therefore, you would not have died alone, and there could be no better resting place. You will be there with the wisest of the wise and the grandest of kings from all generations. The ocean, the rocks, the valleys, and the sun will be the scenery of your grave. The universe looks so sadly upon death, but death is inevitable. Go out into the wonder of nature and experience the death all around. You are going to die, and all of your friends are going to die. So, what if no one notices your death? The happy people will laugh and move on in life until their death; the young will grow old and die, and every being after them will follow. So, instead of dwelling on the impending death, live life to the fullest to be able to rest in peace. Literally, as was just stated, this sounds like a gloomy poem, but it is really not about the inevitable death in everyone's future. Imagery is vivid and colorful in "Thanatopsis." "The hills/ Rock-ribb'd and ancient as the sun,--the vales/ Stretching in pensive quietness between;/ The venerable woods; river that move/ In majesty..." (Bryant). His descriptions of nature being beautiful and majestic speak to his attitude toward nature. Bryant wants to celebrate nature, which is common among Romanticism writers. His descriptions also show that the poem has an underlying meaning, other than the predominant theme of death. Actually, Bryant is celebrating death because when we die, we will be surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Bryant, William C. "Thanatopsis." Poetry-Archive., 2002. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.