I haven't gotten very far in reading The Mayor of Casterbridge, but from what I have read, I really dislike Michael Henchard. But the thing that I've noticed about this is that I really enjoy hating him. In fact, the dislike I have for him makes him a great character. I think for the begining of this novel at least, it's heavily character-driven, in that something like selling your wife couldn't happen with any character, but Hardy makes this believable in Henchard. Maybe part of it is that we don't know very much about him yet, and that the only things that we do see are negative. He's unemployed, has no money, heavily drinks, and sells his wife and child. Yeah, he goes to church and takes an oath not to drink for twenty years, but that still doesn't take back that he actually sold his family. What makes him more reprehensible is that he's made the offer before to sell his wife AND the next morning he partially blames his wife for taking him seriously. In disliking Henchard though, I'm drawn into the novel and desperately want to see how this character will develop.
I can't believe I am saying this, but I am actually looking forward to writing this second paper. I am excited to improve my writing, and I am excited to hopefully improve my grade. Even though I am somewhat unsure that I want to be an English major, I am going to try my best on this one and see if I have what it takes to continue on with the major. I am thankful for the constuctive criticism I received with the last paper, and I am eager to learn from it and improve. I need to have a strong thesis and coherent argument so that I can focus on how I present it.
I really enjoyed blogging about the nature v. nurture debate. I think that this would be an excellent paper topic because it does puzzle me quite a bit and there is plenty to write about. I would explore nature v. nurture in either _Jane Eyre_ or _Great Expectations_ or in both. I would argue both sides of the argument, because I honestly believe that both nature and nurture determine outcome. I will state which one I think has the biggest impact on the characters, because after all my paper does have to have a thesis. For outside sources, I will find information on the nature v. nurture debate from major psychologists. Maybe my own personal experience would add something useful to the paper too. The only concern I have about writing this paper is that it has no real thesis. I am arguing that both nature and nurture impact who Jane and Pip turn out to be. Maybe, by providing evidence for both, I will be able to stump the reader and get them thinking in a different way than had before.
For this paper I am going to be as creative as I can be. I am going to take risks and hand in what I believe is my best paper. If I get a C so be it! I am so grateful for the amount of feedback I received on my last paper, and it has done its job by motivating me to work harder on this second paper.
Nature v. Nurture Paper:
I. Introduction and thesis
II. Background information from the psychology debate
III. Jane Eyre
IV. Jane Eyre-Nature
VII. How both nature and nurture work together in both novels
VIII. Conclusion and possible personal experience
"No varnish can hide the grain of wood; and the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself."
Hmmm...This is an interesting concept. I'm pretty sure that a phrase like this can be heard from good old grandma and grandpa over fruitcake at Christmas. I'm also pretty sure that Oprah and Dr. Phil have been bouncing the phrase around for awhile. I'm inclined to agree with this statement from experiencing eighteen years of hard proof and two months of nineteenth-century British novel. For those people that go looking for "varnish" I would them advise not to. I'm no Oprah, but hey, it doesn't take an overpaid talk show host to know that happy endings are hard to stumble upon. You can't force a circle into a triangle. Yes, a make-over on Maury will always guarantee you a one-night-stand, but how gratifying is that? Bulimics look amazing in little black dresses, but their breath is still the same old same old yesterday's tuna. American's are obsessed with achieving the "American Dream". Lip liner, botox, peace symbol tattoos, "tasteful" mindsets, flourescent lightbulbs, and fine dining at sushi bars are what tight-assed American singles are attempting to attain nowadays. Maybe if I let my children play grand theft auto, they will grow up to be depnedable fathers. Maybe if I tell my mom to F-off and get myself a belly-ring, I will be respected by the majority. Maybe if I paint myself to be something that I'm not, I'll finally be able to respect who I am as a person. Facing what I am now is so much harder than making myself into something that I think I will like better. At the end of the day, what I am is Catherine Moreland. I am a pale, awkward, broad-shouldered girl bathing in mediocrity. Varnish? Yes I always loved Barbies. I always loved make believe. To be a ten would be nice, but to be a six is fitting. The more I try to be something I'm not, eventually my true colors will expose themselves.You are what you are and I am what I am.
Case in point? Pip. By trying to be a gentleman, Pip is actually discrediting his true self. He is extremely haughty and pompus after his departure to London. When Joe comes to visit, Pip polishes his varnish. He is a "self swindler".Pip says "Let me confess exactly, with what feelings I looked forward to Joe's coming. Not with pleasure, though I was bound to him by so many ties;no; with considerable disturbance, some mortification, and a keen sense of incongruity. If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money. So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually commited for the sake of the people whom we most despise." (168-169) My goodness, what a different Pip from the one we were first introduced to. He looks down on Joe for being a "mere blacksmith". Joe is the most frequent word in the novel, largly said by Pip. In many ways, Joe is Pip's father figure. As a gentleman, Pip's embarrasment of Joe triumphs over his appreciation of Joe. As the novel progresses, Pip realizes his need for Joe. "The more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself."
Case in point? Victor Frankenstein. He seems to "lose all soul [and] sensation but for [his] one pursuit" to create life. He attempts to achieve scientific fame, and intellectual acclaim, but his desire to achieve fame destroys his ability to attain it. He says "I had begun life with benevolent intentions and thirsted for the moment when I should put them in practice and make myself useful to my fellow beings. Now all was blasted; instead of that serenity of conscience which allowed me to look back upon the past with self-satisfaction, and from thence to gather promise of new hopes, I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt, which hurried me away to a hell of intense tortures such as no language can describe" (86). Victor is a coward from beginning to end of the novel.
Case in point? Eve. Why did she have to bite that apple? What's wrong with oranges or bananas? Yes they are difficult to peel, but come on! Paradise was lost because human beings are never satisfied with normalcy. Me personally? I probably would have taken the apple as well. I would have been a regular Snow White out for MY happy ending. Screw humanity. For one juicy bite of an apple, let cancer live. Stiving to be something that we aren't is the best way to be someone else and find out how wrong we were about ever taking a step in the wrong direction. Repercussions are a bitch as Pip, Victor, Eve, and humanity have found out, but we wouldn't find humility without them.
This was entirely for my own personal enjoyment. I felt that it was high time to be creative!
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Literature is interesting in it's original context, but honestly I find its most beneficial quality to be its ability to connect with present day cultural and personal scenarios. I know that the majority of my blogging will be for my own selfish advancement. I don't want to regurgitate the obvious that can be read in any reliable literary article or heard in any English class around the country. Even though what I have to say may be off topic and out there, I will try to make sense of literature from the nineteenth-century and connect it to the society we live in todayand to my own personal experiences. That's what makes it fun!
After taking Psychology 100 last year, I have been somewhat puzzled by the nature vs. nurture debate. Are we shaped by our inherited heredity, or by our experiences as human beings? Is the kid in the back corner picking his nose because he has a nose-picking gene? Is he picking his nose because he sees daddy shoving down pork rinds and picking his nose in the lazy-boy? Do we determine our destiny, or are we destined? Was Micheal Jackson born a child molester, or did his lack of a childhood contribute to his attraction to little boys? Maybe our outcome contains a sprinkle of each. Our nature is dependent on our environment, and our environment is dependent on our nature. The half-ton man Patrick Deuel eats massive amounts of donuts and doritos because that is what his mother serves him. His desire to eat more has been molded by his mother's ability to provide food. However, his eating gene is what has demanded his mother to sizzle up more bacon. It is both nature and nurture which determine who we are as human beings. Each person is different, and is effected in different ways by both nature and nurture.
So are Jane Eyre's actions a result of nature or nurture? I believe that her strong, independent nature is fostered by her experience with the Reeds, and this outgoing trait she develops is what helps her maintain her dignity in Lowood and advertise for a better life. When she meets Rochester, she is an independent Jane, happy with who she is, willing to justify her actions and her faults in character. Rochester says, "Not three in three thousand raw school-girl governesses would have answered me as you have just done. But I don't mean to flatter you: if you are cast in a different mould to the majority, it is no merit of yours: Nature did it...Nature meant me to be, on the whole a good man, Miss Eyre: one of the better kind; and you see I am not so. [A] gush of bilge water had turned [me] into a fetid puddle" (Eyre 115-116). Rochester believes that his experiences have ruined his nature, but envies Jane because of her good nature which has remained immune to the severity of her circumstances. He admires her "gravity, considerateness, and caution, [which make her] a recipient of secrets. Rochester is unaware of Jane's journey to civility and diagnoses Jane's personality as one that is pure. She automatically assumes the role of confidant with confidence, because her nature is finally one to be respected. It is a nature that Helen Burns would approve of. It took her experience at Lowood to become what she is, and it is her nature now which is Rochester's new environment that will create change in him as well.
I know that my life is a perfect combination of nature and nurture. Although my Grandma would disagree and say that my mother was way too controlling and overbearing, I would say that my parents fostered my inherent nature. Yes, experiences in my life helped me grow as a person, and my mindset during those experiences helped me deal with them. I know that I got my long legs from my dad and my patience from my mother, and it was these that helped me win the one-hundred meter dash in fourth grade. It was winning that race which made my legs more muscular, and gave me more patience to train for the next race in the spring.I'm happy with who I am because of where I grew up and I am happy where I grew up because of who I am.
I'm not sure if anyone will read this blog, but what do you think? Is Jane Eyre shaped more by nature or nurture? Are you personally shaped more by heredity or experience?
"'Sir,' I answered, 'a wanderer's repose or a sinner's reformation should never depend on a fellow creature. Men and women die; philosophers falter in wisdom, and Christians in goodness: if any one you know has suffered and erred, let him look higher than his equals for strength to amend, and solace to heal” ( Bronte 186).
When I read this passage, a skeptical, squinty-eyed expression came across my face in puzzlement. I have mixed feelings about this passage and what it says about the novel as a whole. I agree that Rochester is too dependent on the motivation Jane provides him with which encourages him to change for the better. He does need to look elsewhere for inspiration at times. The way Jane makes him feel becomes a necessity in his life. He cannot function without her subtle challenging nature. She is justified in giving this advice to Rochester; however she does not realize that she is being hypocritical.
Is it wrong for a human being to want to follow the example another human being sets? Bronte even makes a point to inform the reader of Rochester’s need to lean on Jane and vice versa. Although Jane does not realize her need for Rochester until the end of the novel, she is aware of the power he has over her and her power over him.
“‘I seemed to have gathered up a stray lamb in my arms: you wandered out of the fold to seek your shepherd, did you, Jane?’”(237).
“‘Am I cruel in my love?’ he said. ‘Delay an instant: lean on me Jane” (215)
“There was a crack, a crash, and a close rattling peal; and I thought only of hiding my dazzled eyes against Mr. Rochester’sshoulder” (218)
While engaged to Rochester, Jane rarely mentions God. She is still extremely independent, but still values Rochester’s view of her. It is only when Rochester betrays her that she turns to religion as a guide. By the end of the novel, Jane’s passion for Rochester ultimately overtakes this advice proving Jane to be somewhat of a hypocrite. She does not stick with her original decision to leave him forever. What is even more interesting is Jane’s description of Rochester in many parts of the novel where she needs him most. In her eyes, Rochester does have certain surreal qualities about him.
“‘You, sir, are the most phantom-like of all: you are a mere dream’”(238)
“‘I thought of the life that lay before me--your life sir--an existence more expansive and stirring than my own: as much more so as the depths of the sea to which the brook runs are then the shallows of its own strait channel’” (239)
After Jane becomes aware of Rochester’s secret, she says:
“ I did what human beings do instinctively when they are driven to utter extremity--- looked for aid to one higher than man: the words ‘God help me!’ burst involuntarily from my lips” (259)
“One idea only still throbbed life-like within me---a remembrance of God” (253)
It is when she loses her support from Rochester that she turns to God. She “looks higher than [her] equals for strength to amend, and solace to heal”. By doing this, she progresses and transforms into an independent woman after weeks as a beggar. She also realizes what is missing in her life---a “fellow creature” (Rochester). Jane comes full circle. She depends on Rochester, loses her connection with him, turns to God, and by doing so realizes that she cannot live without him…her equal.
Me personally, I need other people in my life more than I need a form of religion. I turn to my family and friends for comfort when I have lost all hope. I am almost positive that if my support system were to disappear, I would try my luck with a random assortment of human beings for comfort. I need concrete, solid objects to believe in. I need empirical evidence that there is a higher power looking out for me. Because Jesus isn’t moon-walking on Lake Ontario right now, or feeding the poor, or curing the suffering, I cannot begin to create a foundation for faith. I don’t think this is relevant to get into. I believe that alike to Jane, I need someone in my life to support me. I however, won’t make her mistake of losing that support and turning to an imaginary entity. I will stick to what I know, what is real, and my unfailing faith in myself and my family.Labels parameters
To Henry James, novels are ambiguous. Each novel is a hybrid of another novel. I completely agree with James’ point of view. Originality is dead. Authors cannot take fault for this. It is the underlying cultural constraints of archetypes and themes in literature which deter authors from expanding upon the basic plotlines that exist in the past and today. An author cannot write the word white and expect the reader to assume that in the context of their novel it means impurity, when the reader has been conditioned to believe that white is representative of innocence. Connotations are connotations and they are undeniably set in stone. Creative writing is rumored to be creative and innovative even though in actuality, it is extremely constricting. How many scientists have produced original inventions without having components of inventions from the past involved? A novel is never completely the writer’s. Influences from other books are inevitably involved.
Virginia Woolf’s two cents:
“From all sides they come, an incessant shower of innumerable atoms; and as they fall, as they shape themselves into the life of Monday or Tuesday, the accent falls differently from of old; the moment of importance came not here but there; so that, if a writer were a free man and not a slave, if he could write what he chose, not what he must, if he could base his work upon his own feeling and not upon convention, there would be no plot, no comedy, no tragedy, no love interest or catastrophe in the accepted style, and perhaps not a single button sewn on as the Bond Street tailors would have it…We are not pleading merely for courage and sincerity; we are suggesting that the proper stiff of fiction is a little other than custom would have us believe it.”
Wow. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. If I take chances, if my words are silly or nonsensical, you will see the corner of my lip rise. Sometimes bullshiting a paper is your best work. Sometimes regurgitation is regression. Sometimes what a teacher wants isn’t what YOU want. I will hold my pen with pride, no matter how far it might meander.
Chuck Palahniuk is the only contemporary writer I have read, who makes my eyes wide with shock. His style is original, his content is twisted, and his presentation is impeccable. His novels are never predictable. It is his novels which inspire me to be creative in my writing. It isn’t nineteenth-century British novels that strike my fancy (I know that you will hate me for saying this Professor Schacht). Anyone can write about class struggle and sex difference. I have been there and done that. I have written introductions, bodies, and conclusions my whole life and can’t figure out why I am writing in a way that stifles any creativity I once had. Is it interesting for the teacher to read twenty papers explaining the same predictable ‘stuff’ in the same predictable way? My job is not to regurgitate, but to create my own my ideas, use my own voice, and find my own style. After all, Shakespeare didn’t write to imitate someone else, and Einstein didn’t necessarily follow the textbook either.
Our class discussion last Tuesday focused a lot on the love affair between Stephen and Maggie, which we all seemed to agree was based mostly, if not solely, upon physical attraction. I have to wonder, are Stephen and Maggie aware of this? If they are not, there is definitely quite a hefty amount of self-deception going on. I got the impression that Stephen believes his love for Maggie to be genuine, despite the fact that we as readers may not be inclined to share his opinion. He proposes marriage to her, and is on several occasions very tender and attentive to her, such as when she requires a footstool and he rushes across the room to get it for her, then makes her comfortable with it: “…to have the footstool placed carefully by a too self-confident personage---not any too self-confident personage, but one in particular who suddenly looks humble and anxious, and lingers, bending still, to ask if there is not some draught in that position between the window and the fireplace, and if he may not be allowed to move the worktable for her…” (pg 534). He could behave in this way because he knows how susceptible Maggie is to this type of attention. All of her repression and self-renunciation, because she does not gratify even her smallest wishes, has her starved of affection; as Eliot says, she finds “her keen appetite for homage quite fresh”(pg 535).
Maggie, in taking on the responsibility of the caretaker, has never allowed herself to be taken care of. Stephen’s quiet attention to her physical (there’s that word again) comfort is very new to her and something I have no doubt she finds seductively enjoyable. Few people in the past have seen to her physical or emotional comfort. Eliot tells us that Maggie finds an “unspeakable charm in being told what to do, and having everything decided for her”. This is in reference to a simple command of Stephen’s that she get up so he can wrap a cloak around her to keep her warm. There truly isn’t much to draw them together on any level deeper than the physical; earlier on in the novel Eliot told us that Lucy suited Stephen because she was unremarkable: “A man likes his wife to be pretty: well, Lucy was pretty, but not to a maddening extent. A man likes his wife to be accomplished, gentle, affectionate and not stupid; and Lucy has all these qualifications.” (pg 477) Maggie is the opposite of this, and yet Stephen finds himself “mad with love” for her. I don’t really buy his “love at first sight” attitude towards Maggie; it looks more to me like a different four-letter word that starts with ‘L’.
“Sometimes when two people meet, they feel an instant spark and connection. This is called ‘love at first sight’. Sometimes, when two people meet, only one of them feels that connection. This is called ‘stalking’.”
-A comedian whose name I fail to remember
Found the title for my paper!
Now I need to write it... See partial outline below.
Regardless of the time period Dickens’ novel was written in, or what audience it is intended for, Great Expectations fundamentally … tells the story of Man’s creation and fall from Paradise. It is Dickens taking a “more alarmed look at England’s social and moral condition”. Great Expectations as the “deciding vote in a debate between Shelley & Milton about accountability.” Great Expectations within the framework of Paradise Lost Process of Pip’s enlightenment and fall – feeding his desire for knowledge – providing him with the opportunity to Fall (predestination?) Pip as Adam – No parents, brought up “by hand” by a rough sister who does not really parent him. Most of his childhood he undergoes alone, but for Joe, who tries to provide him with wisdom and guidance but is rather ineffective. (Joe is Pip’s angel, who comes down and tries to inform Adam of the ways of the world. The enlightenment that Gabriel tries to give to Adam ultimately does not stop him from defying God, Just as Joe’s attempts to teach Pip do not stop him from leaving his Paradise. Adam (Pip) seeking his Eve – trying to convince his maker to give him Estella.
“You say I am lucky. I know I have done nothing to raise myself in life, and that Fortune alone has raised me; that is being very lucky. And yet, when I think of Estella…” (Has been given everything and still wants more) Herbert and Pip talk about Estella as “forbidden ground” 11 (V2) Focus on liberation – man having a partner- in both works. For both men, however, Eve turns out to be more than what they bargained for (Estella and Eve’s natures are not obedient or compliant). Estella and Pip as creations -
Duties of a creator toward his creatures
Duties of a creature toward his creator (obedience)
Who owes what to whom? Who is responsible for the actions of a creation?
Deferring blame on creator for actions of creation? (Pip plays victim, but Dickens holds him responsible) Temptation scene(Chapter 19) “Monster renders an account of itself that is designed to establish its essential humanity.” P167 Tempted while in Paradise(marshes) to betray his caregivers by stealing from them and lying to them (human sin). Obeys snake, becomes tainted. Pip fallsPip's Eve?
Marshes are Paradise, although Pip sees them to be hellish (fiery forge and barren swampland) When he leaves the Marshes with the mist rising – false dawning of a new, better start for Pip. Miltonends PL : “The World was all before them, where to choose/thir place of rest, and Providencethir guide;/They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow,/ Through Eden took their solitary way” (12:646-49). Adam and Eve have expelled, sent forth “sorrowing yet in peae” with a “new hope” born from “despair” (11:117,139). Young Pip does not see the comparison between himself and Adam departing from the garden to enter a brave new world. By leaving paradise, Pip’s fall begins. Estella and Pip leave a “ruined place”, mist/dawning allusions are made again. Mirrors Pip leaving marshes and Adam & Eve leaving Paradise. Pip leaves Paradise – Pip, like Adam, took his Paradise for granted. Adam had the Garden of Eden, Pip had the marshes. Sin causes A/E/Pip to lose their homes in Paradise. Leaves his apprenticeship – the role in his Paradise that he was appointed to fill – for something unknown and forbidden to him by his economic and social status. Ironic that the statement which sets in motion Pip’s departure from Paradise is Mr. Jaggers’ “He has great expectations.” (190). Expectations/Desire for knowledge. The opportunities that are provided to Pip – money, property, a title – are materialistic. Pip is given everything he ever wanted to be a gentleman – something different than what he was born as – and in the process he betrays Joe and turns his back on his home and family Side note: We know it is a sin to want more, to want what is forbidden to us or not within our grasp, but why? PL – justification – God’s word is absolute and should not be … Victorian literature – Moving outside of constraints of social status is not acceptable – Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
World lay spread below me – Adam and Eve at end of Paradise Lost. Magwitch – parental snake that snatches away a world of opportunity and welcomes pip to stay as his son. (cite)
“I recoiled from his touch as if he had been a snake.”
(DIFFERENCES: pity for monster? Adam and Eve turn on one another and look to place blame. God punishes all three involved parties, but Pip reconciles with his snake and shares responsibility with Magwitch by claiming to know him. Reconciliation that Lucifer never received – reconciliation over rejection). ___________________ Pip is predisposed to sin, NO SELF CONTROL – spending habits, easily influenced by what his peers are doing, weak conscience just like Adam when Eve convinces him to take a bite out of the apple. Gravitates toward the condemned who have already committed crimes – Magwitch & Newgate prison (curiosity) Marshes as tainted paradise – not a true representation of the Garden of Eden because death already exists, although it is on the outer banks of the marsh – cemetery – parentless Pip. Although Pip returns to his garden of Eden several times, it is no longer a paradise for him (it was a paradise in his ignorance and innocence) Shame and death (funeral of his sister stained by the pride and frivolity of her ceremony.) While attending his sister’s funeral, a lot of emphasis is drawn to the garden-like nature of Pip’s forsaken home. v2p55 suddenly attention is drawn to larks, light wind, and the “beautiful shadows of clouds and trees” where once it was described as _______. Afterward, Pip walks with Biddy in a garden where she reveals to him his horrible “human nature” which is, to lie about his intentions to visit Joe often. Biddy reveals a side of Pip to him that he does not like, and to compensate for his guilt Pip ignores his wrongful actions and blames Biddy for doing him an “unkindness …injury…injustice…” 60 v2 even as he is unable to sleep peacefully. He walks away from Paradise a third time, with the mists obscuring his Paradise from him and blinding his sight. “Once more, the mists were rising as I walked away. If they disclosed to me, as I suspect they did, that I should not come back, and that Biddy was quite right, all I can say is – they were quite right too. P61 v2 Interactions with Magwitch in the marshes are an indication of Pip’s predisposition to sin.
Adam and Pip – makers are concealed from them physically. Little guidance, just ground rules and then set off to run amuck in their respective playgrounds of London and Eden and expected to follow those rules. For Pip this rule is to never speak to any person about the nature of his inheritance, for Adam and Ever this is to _____________ (not eat from the tree of knowledge. Both parties break their rules. Joe is the proper model of an Adam in his gardenofParadise-- he is kind, “does his duty in the way of life, with a strong hand, a quiet tongue, and a gentle heart.” V2 p59 Backward notion of Pip being designed FOR Estella, instead of the other way around. P67 “… I derived the notion that Miss Havisham, for some reason or no reason, had not taken him into her confidence as to her designing me for Estella…” Attempts at reconciliation – wanting Herbert to “… my expectations had done some good to somebody.”81v2 Estella is full of “proud impatience” v2p87 “You should know … I am what you have made me. Take all the praise, take all the blame; take all the success, take all the failure; in short, take me.” 88 v2 “All I possess is freely yours. All that you have given me is at your command to have again. Beyond that I have nothing.”
To: The Campus Community
From: Sue Chichester, Chief Information Officer & Director, CIT
On Friday, November 27th, we will be upgrading our main disk array. The upgrade will start at 7am and we expect the upgrade to last up to 8 hours. Impacted services will include, Files, Mail, Web (partial), Printers, The Virtual Lab, Liquid Office, and many other servers running on our virtual infrastructure. Banner production services (including Knightweb) will not be impacted by this outage. All services will be restored at the conclusion of the upgrade. Thank you for your patience.
If you would like to follow our progress, we're going to "tweet" about it. Visit http://twitter.com/CITGeneseo.
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I've created a page that briefly discusses some of the musical references in The Mill on the Floss and provides audio clips of relevant musical passages. Have a look at Music from The Mill on the Floss.
In class, we've discussed Eliot's criticism of Jane Eyre, and her possible attitudes towards gender as revealed in The Mill on the Floss. I shamefully admit that I am not as far along in this novel as we are supposed to be, but I think that Book One taken in and of itself makes it very evident that Eliot has the societal control of women on the brain as she writes. The stark contrast between Lucy and Maggie, the treatment those two young girls receive based on appearance and temperament, and Maggie's frequent distress make it clear that Eliot has something to say about the lens through which society evaluates the worth of women. Maggie does not possess the qualities that make a woman of worth; namely, beauty and demureness. These "deficiencies" are repeatedly pointed out by nearly everyone in Maggie's life, and her distress arises from her unsuccessful attempts to become what she is not in order to be accepted. Tom especially misunderstands her, and finds her selfish and silly (stereotypical qualities of a "bad" woman) although she is self-sacrificing and intelligent. I am reminded of Northanger Abbey and the amount of explaining Catherine must do in order simply to convince the people around her that she means what she says, and Jane Eyre's struggle to be loved while still maintaining her identity and self-respect. Judging from the events of Book One and yesterday's class discussion, I feel that Maggie is on a road to be destroyed by these confining social structures.
Genetically modified foods make me nervous. Our guest speaker raised the point that genetic modification naturally occurs over time. While the denotation does refer to this, the particular connotation that is controversial refers to genetic modification by scientists. The problem is not that the genes are being changed; it's that they are being rapidly, violently altered and fed to us, often without our knowledge as in the case of corn. The potential benefits, like feeding millions of starving people, justify further inquiry and experimentation, but we need clearer labeling and more extensive testing. When we select and implant the qualities we want, we cannot predict every potential consequence, so the long-term effects are questionable. Debates about whether "Frankenfoods" should be grown seem pointless. People have the ability to, and the need is there to motivate its continuation. Although the idea still makes me a little uncomfortable, I think the best way to proceed from here is not to thwart any possibility of progress but to monitor it carefully and refrain from jumping too quickly to the conclusion that high-yield, poorly understood super foods are wonderful.
Have you ever gotten behind and then felt guilty about it so you promised yourself you would do an excellent job, which just ended up making you continue to put it off? It doesn't make much sense, but neither does failing to write a wiki.
Anyway, I enjoyed the trip to the soup kitchen, but much of what people mentioned sounds unfamiliar, so I assume Captain explained more while us Logans were pouring coffee. Nevertheless, comparing the soup kitchen to my expectations is still interesting and informative. I had never worked at a soup kitchen before, partially because the opportunity did not obviously present itself, but also because the organization I volunteered with (and my mom) seemed hesitant to send teenage girls into a soup kitchen in the city. Since they were partly responsible for my well-being, I understand their reluctance, but a better response would have been to organize a supervised trip. Their reaction made me unsure about the people we would be working with, which reminds of our discussions about the migrant farm workers. Often (unfortunately, my opinions then seem to reflect this), people seem to prefer scrunching their eyes shut and ramming their fists into their ears rather than thoroughly examining what they're hoping will go away. If one is lucky, it won't become someone else's problem; otherwise, one will be no better prepared to deal with the next situation in which someone else needs help. This isn't war. It's a soup kitchen. Rich, poor, whatever, everyone needs to eat, and shunning a person because he needs help makes about as much sense as my posting this so late.
P.S. Why is there an "edit" option next to "posting day"? If it's late, it's late.
I've been thinking a lot more about the river. Although I've only finished 1/2 of Book 3 I'm beginning to wonder if it could also symbolize a rebirth for Maggie? There are many times water symbolizes rebirth. Will Maggie stop living for Tom? Will she be reborn as a separate, independent entity? What about Tom? Can he survive not being adored unconditionally by Maggie? He seems to feed off her adoration as much as she does. I'll keep reading and hope some of this will be answered soon.
I plan to start my research over the holiday. I know that's late and it is concerning me, but I have another research paper due this Tuesday (before break) and my "key assignment", a major lesson plan, in my education class due 11/30. I'll finalize that over the holiday as well.
I'm still hoping I'll have time to annotate a portion from Frankenstein for part of the final but wonder if you choose the passage or if I do and how I go about having it checked before I put it up. Can you shed some light on this for me? I probably won't work on it until early December. Believe it or not, I don't ever wait until the last minute on anything so this is causing some stress.