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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Journal #42

Honestly, I would much rather be forced to write my own bad poetry than have to read any of the poems from either Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman. Whitman is super crazy in the topics that he talks about because he uses all sorts of random and ridiculous philosophies that he made up in his early years that no one really understands. There might be some people who think they can "decode" Whitman's writing, but they are clearly all a bunch of liars. His Everyman concept told of the godliness in every man, creating a new level of where godliness would be acclaimed, resetting that no one is a god at all. They have honestly become nothing more than a regular person, and gods would be, in turn, reset on a new level of godliness. Dickinson is just annoying because all of her poems have double-meanings or even more than just two meanings. It makes a lot of confusion among interpretations given by various people. For instance, heavily Christian critics would, most likely, give a spiritual meaning in all of her work, despite her accidental involvement of a relationship to Jesus, even if it is an implication of his name. Honestly, I think my poetry would deal more with my life and how I feel, mainly about the things that happen in my life and my reactions to them. I do not feel like it would or could have a double-meaning, and I strongly dislike both of these authors for their numerous poems using double-meanings. I need to invent a time machine for multiple purposes. I need to go back to slap these authors in the face for writing such poetry that I just do not like. Of course, there are a few more people and places I would need to go back to to solve problems within the United States and its international affairs. But, if I still had to choose, I think I might have to pick Dickinson to be forced to read.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Going to Heaven"

So, here I am about a month and a half after this was due, starting to write it. I already put the poem into the post, so I know what this is supposed to be about, but I do not know who wrote this... Oops. Anyway, after rereading this, I think I really like the first paragraph the most because everything is so true. I do not know how my life will end or what it will feel like to die because I have never experienced death. And, if I do go to something like Heaven, I could only hope it be as beautiful as what people think it might be. But, when the author says, "how dim it sounds," that should resonate in everyone's heart and mind because the thought of death really is a bleak outlook. I cannot imagine how it could look like or how it would smell or feel like physically. Then, in the second paragraph, the author is talking about how death could just be like "eh yeah sure it happened, but we can both be there together, and everything will be alright." I really think this is a shared dream of everyone because no one wants to be lonely in death. That's just a boring thought. I mean, who wants to go somewhere all alone but not in search of someone to spend the time with? Um, I think that answer would probably be no one. But, in the end, we will all be friends in Heaven because we all have nothing left to do with our lives, literally. Then, in the last line, the author claims that we are all back home in death because, according to Christianity, we all came from God, and when we die, we will all be returned to his glory. But, in the last paragraph, the poem just really loses me. I do not understand what the author is not believing, and my whole life is confusing, and I think my confusion in everything else is making me confused in multiple things at once, and I just wish it would all go away and I could be done writing this blog now. But, since I have to keep going, I would also like to continue looking around this ground because I am not ready to die. Although I am curious what it feels like, I do not think I would be happy in the end if it were all to end. It is a true shame that people are taken away from us. What if no one died? Well, that was a stupid question because then the world would get overpopulated, and people would die because the earth would run out of resources extremely quickly. I do not think we could last together on Earth, but I also wonder, if it is real, about the population in Heaven. What if God has too many people to look after, and he ends up dumping people off to the side because there's no more room for them? What would happen to their "souls?" And would more people still be admitted, causing more and more people to face the same fate?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Journal #41

Emily Dickinson wrote many poems of varying lengths in her secluded lifetime. There were many, such as "Faith is a Fine Invention," written to be interpreted in a multitude of equally varying ways. In this four line, one stanza poem from Dickinson, faith itself is the main focus. Not only does she attack faith, but she does so by picking apart the flaws in faith using scientific evidence in the shape of the implementation of the microscope. Now, as some people may not know, I do not like overly examining pretty much anything. And, sadly, Dickinson is famous for making poems that cause the reader to examine them from multiple points of view. So, instead of taking on the points of view of multiple people, all of which are clearly not me, I think I will stick to my own perspective on this poem. First of all, I hate Dickinson...a lot. Faith, in my opinion, is not a fine invention because it honestly only creates difficulties among people. Each set of religious views is different from the others in many ways, let them be ranging from very small to a complete change in deity. You never really know. And when those followers of certain religions clash with those of others, some people do not take lightly to the idea of another religion being more suitable to the other person. Hate crimes are just as common for religious views as they are for race or color. Next, faith really gives people places to rest their aggression. After all, in times of trouble, what would people exclaim other than "God dang it!" or a variation, which still contains the same implication of a god. When something bad happens, they ask God for a way out because they are too afraid to "man up" and take control of the situation, despite their ability of regaining control - if you cause the problem, you should be able to figure out a solution. Oh, hey, look! I'm done!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Journal #40

Throughout all of Whitman's poems, there is a central idea of exploring a concept he made up which deals with inner struggles and emotions. I feel like this Self idea is more about the introvert within all of us than anything. Not only are his poems about subjects that had not been studied yet, but they are usually just plain weird. For example, I analyzed Whitman's "We Two Boys Together Clinging." In that poem, Whitman suggests his homosexuality in that the two boys mentioned in the title are forever bound by love. Few writers, if any others, were homosexual in this time period, and it was even more unlikely that one would write about his or her homosexuality in general writing. Whitman helped move more and more homosexual writers into publishing their works, but his beliefs also crossed against Christian views. Homosexuality is viewed commonly as unchristian because God did not include any accounts of homosexual acts in the Bible, being interpreted by many as considering homosexuality a bad thing. I think the Self should not consider the opinions of others in anything. The only really important voice to listen to should be the one inside yourself because you are the only one who actually knows what you want out of life. Furthermore, I think the Self inside myself is always right. I should stand up for what I believe in, and that belief should be represented in the ways I think. Also, the Self is very condescending in that it says gods are within all of us. I do not think it is fair to assume this from Whitman's Self because not everyone holds high society roles, and many of those people without those positions are not looked up to by anyone. They tend to take advantage of the system, an ungodly trait, and lie to get what they want. Keep in mind, this whole time, I should be saying "we" because I am also a victim of these thoughts. But, a god is something to be admired - something beyond special and not anywhere near a mere mortal's grasping.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"An Army Corps on the March"

I think I like this poem the most out of the ones I have read from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. "An Army Corps on the March" was probably the first one I fully understood without the use of a criticism to help explain it to me, and honestly, I enjoyed reading it. I think it might have had something to do with the obvious subject, as opposed to the confusing topics of love and random thoughts in many of his other poems. The basis of the poem is an army division's march into battle. Gunshots are spread all around them, and dust and debris are in the air, but the brave warriors do not stop or slow down (Whitman). This is a true testament to the bravery that must be in the hearts of soldiers to knowingly press onward to certain death. Whitman makes the situation sound so bleak and hopeless because of the specific word choice he employs in this poem. "Glittering dimly, toiling under the sun—the dust-cover'd men, In columns rise and fall to the undulations of the ground" (Whitman). A dim glitter from the soldiers' uniforms sounds like a brief glimpse of hope because the sun is reflecting off the men in a bright and sparkling way. Toil is a form of great hopelessness, however. Essentially, the men are seeking a way out of the battle or an easy win, but, no matter what they do, there is no easy way to get out of the army at this point. Dust covered, the men are tired and exhausted, and they have certainly not had good, restful sleep in a long while. In other words, this sentence reads, "Exhausted, the soldiers press hopelessly forward into battle but are easily deterred by the shaking in the ground from heavy artillery fire." However dim the situation appears, there is still nobility to be found in entering the battle with a high heart. The final four lines of the poem suggest a peaceful enough surrounding, despite the troop being under heavy enemy fire (Oliver). This is also truly a story of the American Hero because he is one who stands bravely, whether alone or among brothers, and fights for what he believes in. All of these men, if still alive today, would receive high honors for their glorious conquest in this battle, which is reported in a very Realistic way. Whitman is believed to be the segue into modernism writing, but his writing style in this poem appear to have come from previous years of writers. Again, his word choice is precise, so that there is no stipulation of meaning, unlike many others of his writing. It was not necessarily made for the examination of the Self, nor did it implore the use of Whitman's everyman concept. But, his understood characters represented an elite group of American citizens, one that is rare and usually unseen. In other words, this poem could hardly fit in with any of works I have read from his Leaves of Grass book. It is so radically different, both in concept and writing styles.


Works Cited

Oliver, Charles M. "'An Army Corps on the March'." Critical Companion to Walt Whitman: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CCWW023&SingleRecord=True. 8 Mar. 2011.

Whitman, Walt. "An Army Corps on the March." The Walt Whitman Archive. http://whitmanarchive.org/published/LG/1891/poems/160. 8 Mar. 2011.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"As Adam Early in the Morning"

Like many poems from Walt Whitman, "As Adam in the Morning" is no exception to Whitman's usual writing topics of Christianity, free verse, and the everyman, but he also implores sensuality in this explicit poem. The Adam fellow that is in this poem is clearly refering to Adam in the story of Adam and Eve, in which these two people are the first ones on Earth, and they are charged with the task of populating the planet. Although it is very short, being only one stanza, this poem is still able to capture Whitman's thoughts without shorting on emotions or passion. Some of the most commonly used themes from this great American poet are present yet again in "As Adam in the Morning." To start, free verse is, basically, the only way Whitman ever wrote his poetry. Rather than creating a beautiful rhyme scheme to complicate the word choice, Whitman wrote much of his poetry, like this, without regular patterns or rhymes, as if it were meant to be read as in a normal conversation. However, the passion is still strong because of the talk of sensuality and love between the speaker and an unknown recipient. Sexuality is a also a common theme in much of Whitman's writing, including his Leaves of Grass. Whitman addresses man's sensuality as being one of the most important driving forces for good in the world (Oliver). The last two lines of the poem, "Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass, Be not afraid of my body," (Whitman) illuminates the passion in Whitman's writing of this poem. Along with sensuality, Christianity is another common theme in pretty much all of Whitman's writing. Literally interpreted, Adam is the same Adam from the Garden of Eden, mainly because the name Adam is used in the title and beginning line. However, just like a lot of poetry in general, there is still another direction from which to view the poem because, in one line from "As Adam Early in the Morning," the speaker says, "behold me" (Whitman). True, this is something any mere mortal could declare, but "God" might be more likely to say a more pure command (Huff) than a humble Adam. This viewpoint would change the entire meaning of the last two lines from being of sensuality to being a Christian calling. The physical touching is a more obvious and popping explanation of the lines, but this new concept would make a more significant meaning of accepting God into your life. Finally, the everyman is an enormous concept that Whitman frequently touched upon. In this case, Adam is seen as the average person and so is the recipient of the speaker's message. Afterall, who could be better at representing the world than the one who helped start it, according to Christian beliefs? His ideals are very prominent in this poem from Leaves of Grass. This free verse poem, which includes the everyman concept, parts of Christianity, and sensual writing, includes characteristics that represent the renowned Walt Whitman.


Works Cited

Huff, Randall. "'As Adam Early in the Morning'." The Facts On File Companion to American Poetry, vol. 1. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CPAP0028&SingleRecord=True. 6 Mar. 2011.

Oliver, Charles M. "'As Adam Early in the Morning'." Critical Companion to Walt Whitman: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CCWW026&SingleRecord=True. 6 Mar. 2011.

Whitman, Walt. "As Adam Early in the Morning" for Leaves of Grass. The Walt Whitman Archive. Online. http://whitmanarchive.org/published/LG/. 6 Mar. 2011.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Journal #39

Whitman's poem, called "Bardic Symbols," is a classic example of themes like America, the everyman, and Christianity and spirituality, but, simultaneously, the poem is very difficult to understand and confusing due to the multiple symbols he uses. Basically, the speaker is walking along the shoreline, and some sticks wash up onto the beach before him, and he tries to study the useless garbage to find a hidden meaning. But, this task is extremely difficult because he is just unable to put his finger on what it might mean. And, by thinking of these sticks, the speaker also begins searching for the meaning of life. This same confusion is mentioned in William Dean Howells' criticism of "Bardic Symbols." Essentially, Howells says that no one can interpret this oddly twisted message because it is not their right to simply infer what Whitman's message is because only Whitman himself could know the true meaning. Whitman also, somehow, incorporates his ideas of the everyman, Christianity, and America into this general concept. First, the everyman is portrayed with the random "Joe Shmoe" walking on the beach because it is a very common place for people to go. Next, Whitman creates this little world in the poem, reflecting America as a whole. The ocean is America, and its job is to give out great wonders, represented by the sticks, in this case. It is like the ocean has secrets for the passerby, and this particular man happens to notice them. But, unfortunately, these secrets are not defined as absolute. In fact, they are nearly impossible to explain, even to begin scratching the surface. Their meaning is not just written down, and that is where all of the troubles come from in determining what to think of Whitman's writing. Whitman's views of Christianity work in the same basic manner. This "God" is an inanimate character who provides his best followers with a mysterious salvation in the alleged afterlife. Similar to how man does not know what happens after death, the speaker in the poem does not know what to do after the sticks have washed up on shore.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"We Two Boys Together Clinging"

This is most likely the easiest poem to understand from Whitman's collection, but having a criticism to back me up is still retty nice. In "We Two Boys Together Clinging," a dynamic duo of young boys goes parading through various towns of the North and the South, taking part in numerous loud and obnoxious activities such as dringking, thieving, and enjoying public power; all the time, the boys never left each other's side (Whitman). Then, however, with the last line, the speaker reveals that the two boys are homosexual and that they have been marauding places for food and to see the shocked faces of the people when they recognize their homosexuality (Oliver). Normally, Whitman would write about the "self" or the "everyman," but I do not believe either of these are strongly involved in "We Two Boys Together Clinging." The story itself is not really self-enhancing because the speaker does not refer to anything that sets up a sense of fulfillment. The boys merely travel from location to location, scrounging for food and laughs, but they do not lead full lives. In fact, their lives are hallow and lacking, and they should be, at least, trying to build a solid relationship with each other to base their adventures less on necessity and more on friendship. The "everyman," however, is slightly prevelant in the people the boys visit, like the priests, because religion was a large basis for the lives of the common citizen (Whitman). Men worked for food or money and took their family to church every week. Society, also, is extremely important in this poem because of the places the boys go. The reactions of the regular people are presumably over the top if the boys get so much joy out of watching them. In the real world's society, homosexuality was not so highly viewed because it was so radically different, like how African Americans were only beginning the fight for equality in rights, schooling, and freedom. But, still, homosexual rights are not even established today to the fullest. There are still many active social groups for the advancement of homosexuals, so it is obvious that these boys in "We Two Boys Together Clinging" do not receive equal treatment because of the reactions of the public. Now, seeing that I have exhausted every topic that has come into my mind, I would like to say that this poem, "We Two Boys Together Clinging" is actually a decent poem. True, it has not rhyme scheme or purpose for its writing, but I like the boldness of the topic. Homosexuality is hardly ever a topic in works we cover in an English class. Whitman captured the real reason behind why the boys were traveling so much in a "beating around the bush" kind of way, too. Also, I had to think a little, but no too much, to figure out that the boys were gay and that they were literally loving each other like the story says, and not just dancing through life in a lovely fashion.


Works Cited

Oliver, Charles M. "'We Two Boys Together Clinging'." Critical Companion to Walt Whitman: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CCWW566&SingleRecord=True. 02 Mar. 2011.

Whitman, Walt. "We Two Boys Together Clinging. (Leaves of Grass [1891-1892])." The Walt Whitman Archive. Ed. Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price. 1995. Web. 02 Mar. 2011. .

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Journal #38

Well, honestly, I do not really see actual examples of how the "everyman" or Christianity is placed in "As I Watch'd the Ploughman Ploughing" at all. The poem is dumb, and Whitman is not the amazing, super-awesome poem every English teacher thinks of him as. Basically, Whitman is creeping on this guy minding his own business, working in his field, and Whitman compares him to life in the ploughing land and death in the harvest he reaps. Seriously, I do not see any connection to the "everyman," unless I am supposed to consider the man being a farmer to be the relation to the average person. But, if I were not a farmer at this time, I would probably not have a relation to this poem because it is entirely about farming, and I would obviously need to know what "tilling" is, which is a term used in agriculture. Then, there could also be a small view from which spirituality can be seen because of the life and death in each side of the same thing. Obviously, life and death act in a cycle because death is always at the end of life, and life, therefore, could be assumed to follow death as well. With the tillage, new soil is brought up from the ground, and it is able to bring wonderful new life to the crops it holds. As the harvest is taken, however, the farmer must cut the plant from its source of life, resulting in the death of the plant. I feel like I am just rambling in circles, but I also think it is Whitman's fault because of the paradox of logic he implores in his writing. Finally, society of the time is strongly reperesented in this short poem because the character is watching the average person, a ploughman, and he has also seen a sower and harvester. This must be evidence that those people are in abundance during the time, which is true because much living of the time period was based on subsistence farming, which employed everyone in agriculture to be able to feed the family.