*Modernization*

In the late 1800’s the US experienced expansion and the technology era began. In modernization people moved from rural areas to urban areas in order to prosper from the job growth. With this new life came hardships, disease spread, poor immigrants took jobs from current citizens, children and adults worked with dangerous machinery that made them loose their limbs and white collar America became corrupt for American culture for decades to come.

Not everyone praised the “big cities” in the piece Out, Out the author targets the city by showing how uncompassionate it is when a young boy dies from a buzz saw accident and no one seems to care. The author made the saw seem animal like by stating it “leaped out of his had” and it “snarled and rattled” shows how animal like this product of the city is. When the boy died, everyone turned away and went on with their lives as though the boy never mattered. This cruelty of the city life was why some people remained in the comfort of their rural homes.

While the city was targeted by some authors, it was praised by others. Chicago is a piece that praises the hustle and bustle of the big city and denounces the country way of life. The author expresses how proud he is to live in such a great city and laughs at the lack of technology the country possesses calling in inferior and laughs at its lack of intelligence. The city life was the only life for this author and he was extremely proud of it.

The pros and cons of modernization shaped this country into the super power it is. People did dispute over the “dumbness of the country” and the “harsh world of the city” and it impacted the way the country handles technological advances today. Without modernization, this country would be left in the dark while other countries saw the light of technology.

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*Post-Modernization*

Post-modernization attempts to analyze and deconstruct notions of literature, the people who do these analyses are known as post-modernists and they decide what goes into anthologies. The questions post-modernists ask are; is this literature? Is this good literature? Should this be in an anthology? And why/why not? Because of post modernization students study certain pieces of literature that have a specific meaning.

In the piece Wishes for Sons the author discusses her desire for men to feel the burden of a menstrual cycle. In class, many people argued that this is literature because it shows perspective on woman’s lives and not souly that of the authors. Others said this was ridiculous and should not be in an anthology to be studied because it holds no real significance. Post modernists have to figure out where to draw the line of what is and isn’t literature.

Poems, speeches and autobiographies are all forms of literature, song lyrics are still debated on whether they should be considered literature or not. In Jay-Z’s song Minority Report, he discusses the feelings the victims of Katrina felt about the government’s response to aid the victims. This is not a piece found in our anthology; however, it holds some significance because it discusses the troubles Louisiana faced when Katrina hit. In time, song lyrics may be in an anthology for students to study.

For every piece in our textbook, post modernists discussed the value they hold in an American Literature class. The pieces they choose impact what the curriculum will be about in classrooms all across the country.

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Sexy

Sexy by Jumpa Lahiri is a short story about a young woman named Miranda and her affair with an older married man named Dev. Dev is Indian and Miranda knows very little about its culture aside from what her co-worker Laxmi has told her so Miranda is very intrigued by this newfound lifestyle. At first, Miranda doesn’t recognize him to be Indian but is swept away by his charm and that he is an older and more exotic man. Dev visit Miranda regularly because his wife is away in India. Miranda is burdened with guilt because Dev is married and feels even worse because she over hears Laxmi’s conversation with her cousin; Laxmi’s cousin’s husband recently left her for a younger woman and left her heartbroken and unable to function in society. Eventually, Laxmi asks Miranda to babysit her cousin’s 8 year old son and Miranda ends up talking with Laxmi’s cousin about “being the other woman.” Miranda gets a wakeup call and sees what it’s like to be the woman on the other end of the affair and how much pain that position brings on a person. Miranda ends up calling off her affair entirely because of that life changing conversation. The title of the short story refers to when Dev whispered in the Christian Science Center’s Mapparium; Miranda remembered this as a sign of intimacy but little did she know it was the sign of an extremely unhealthy relationship.

Many mistresses don’t understand the impact an affair can have on the other woman in the equation. Miranda should have gotten out of that relationship a lot sooner than she did; in my opinion when Dev told her he was married she should have backed down immediately and not have interfered with Dev and his wife’s lives. Laxmi was very supportive of her cousin, Rohim, that was a very noble and kind of her to do so, it shows just how much family means to Laxmi and the relationship with Rohim. Rohim played a vital role, if Miranda hadn’t babysat her son I feel she wouldn’t have had the talk she did and gotten out of the affair. Dev shouldn’t have gone after Miranda in the first place, he had a commitment with his wife and he broke that by having the affair with Miranda. To me, that is an unforgivable act of selfishness and he shouldn’t be married in the first place. Dev’s wife could do a lot better than the scum bag she married who enjoys having rendezvous with younger women instead of being loyal to her. Cheating is wrong, no matter what the stage of the relationship is. It is inconsiderate, rude, and immature and a heartless act of betrayal that a lover can do to his/her partner and that is unforgivable in my book.

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That’s Amore <3

According to Greek mythology, originally humans were born with four arms, four legs, two heads and two hearts, Zeus believed that the human was too powerful with these elements and divided the man into two and separated the beings far from each other so that they could spend their lives finding that soul mate and reuniting with them. Love is many things to many different people, young love is blissful and childlike, lust is very intimate, true love is loving someone despite their flaws and love is the commitment a person makes to be with the person that makes their heart sing. Out of Oranges by Gary Soto, I’ve Been Under Many Ceilings by Jose Vilamil, True Love by Judith Viorst and beneath my Hand and Eye the Distant Hills. Your Body by Gary Snyder, I’ve Been Under Many Ceilings by Jose Vilamil is my favorite love poem that was discussed in class. I’ve Been Under Many Ceilings discusses the different ceilings the author has seen progressively through his life. He starts out a baby in his mother’s womb and the hospital ceiling then proceeds to his childhood and teenage years with different ceilings. The author has slept under unfamiliar ceilings, random ceilings and ones of one night stands yet he has decided to sleep under these ceilings with one person and spend his life with her.

In comparison to the other poems, Oranges is about young love and how innocent and puppy like it is. It is not a deeper degree of love. With True Love, it talks about loving someone despite all the flaws but yet it only seems to focus on the flaws the person has instead of the traits that made the author want to commit her life to just one man, finally Beneath my Hand and Eye the Distant Hills. Your Body discusses the beauty of a woman’s naked body and the level of excitement this man is feeling from running his hands all over this woman’s body. The love that’s in I’ve Been Under Many Ceilings is a new love and one that has just had the flame ignite in this man’s life. He comes from a path that’s lead him to situations where they have been unfamiliar, cold, random and lustful and now he wants to spend his life “looking at one ceiling,” this is why this is my favorite poem. It shows that he is ready for commitment and is willing to make the sacrifices he needs to be with the “ceiling of his dreams.”

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Compare and Contrast: Langston Hughes and William Carlos Williams

Langston Hughes’ style of writing is very clear and detailed. He includes great detail into his pieces and is very straight-forward. The use of metaphors is highly used in his writing along with specific images that make the reader visualize what Hughes is talking about. His compositions are typically about his perspective of life as an African American in the early-mid 1900’s such as The Negro Speaks of Rivers and Theme for English B. In The Negro Speaks of Rivers, Hughes discusses how his soul has grown deeper and stronger like the rivers with age and experience. He “heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans” and rejoiced because Lincoln fought to abolish slavery. The cheers are compared to the roar of the Mississippi river because they ran so loudly and deeply. In Theme for English B, Hughes writes a paper for his English class in college and wrote from the heart. He writes “you are white-yet a part of me, as I am apart of you. That’s American” and means that Americans are all intertwined with each other despite race, creed, faith, background and any other differences that keep a country divided. Our differences actually unite us and make this country a better and stronger one than all the rest, yet we still suffer from discrimination. Once all Americans realize that our differences make us stronger and they do not pose a threat to their own beliefs, we will have true unity of this country.

William Carlos Williams ‘writing can be best described as extremely metaphorical; his use of figurative language and vague diction makes his pieces difficult to understand. A lot of them seem to have no significant meaning such as his piece The Red Wheelbarrow which talks about the significance of a red wheelbarrow that has been “glazed with rain water” that’s near the chicken. His pieces are very short and have a very vague point to them that is hard for me to grasp quite frankly. Willams’ writing is polar opposite of Hughes’ pieces because of the small detail and vague messages they present.

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The Fall of Icarus

William Carlos Williams’ poem The Fall of Icarus is based off of the Greek tale of a boy who wanted to fly so badly he had wings attached to him by wax and he flew towards the sun, the wax melted and Icarus fell into the ocean and drowned. In his poem, Williams discusses all the things going on in the painting and just how insignificant Icaru’s drowning really is. Icarus’ splash goes quite unnoticed when he falls and everyone goes about their business and ignores the fact that this boy died showing that one life is merely insignificant and has little to no impact in society. I disagree with William’s views of life and death, no life is insignificant. Everyone on this earth has made an impact on someone else’s life, whether it be good or bad, and when the death of someone occurs there is always someone out there is touched by the way the person lived their life and died. In the words of Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie; “death ends a life, not a relationship’’; life and death impacts the human race as we learn that death can come knocking at anytime and we understand just how important a person was in our lives through the amount of love, hate, presence and absence this person had on our own.

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Dickinson vs. Whitman

Dickinson:

–        Dickinson’s writing is very short, not so sweet, and to a point that is sometimes hard for the reader to understand. Her writings are quite strange and left the reader wondering “what goes through this woman’s mind when she begins writing?”

–        Her pieces are very short, some only being four lines long with only a few words in each line. She is very reserved in her thoughts and doesn’t want the outside world understanding who she is directly therefore she gives little tid-bits of herself and how twisted she was.

–        Idiosyncratic was Dickinson’s middle name, she had these weird mannerisms that would question her sanity as well as how genius she was. Phrases such as “How odd the Girls life looks” from her poem number 225 and “I like a look of Agony” from her poem number 339 really questioned her views on life and the people that walk this earth.

Whitman:

–        In contrast to Dickinson, Whitman’s writing is highly detailed and expansive. He wants the world to know exactly what he is thinking about and feeling, very much an open book.

–        He is a people pleaser and enjoys the company of others; he speaks of how beautiful nature is and the world full of wonder and amazement. Whitman enjoys life to the fullest and would be perfectly content skipping in a field of wildflowers with the sun shining down on him.

–        He is very self-celebratory and takes pride in which he is as a human being. He states in his 24th poem “divine I am inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from”  he really puts himself on a pedestal and makes it seem like he is the greatest human being in the world; although he would never admit it. 😉

Expansive vs. reserved, self-celebratory vs. private, Emily Dickinson vs. Walt Whitman; who do you think is victorious in the ring?

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