Thursday, March 27, 2008

Winter Break: A Thousand Splendid Suns


Throughout the book, Mariam experiences changes in her relationships with Jalil, Rasheed, and Laila. Before he age of 15 (or specifically before Nana’s death), Mariam was a cheerful girl who believes that “she was [Jalil’s] little flower” (4). When she was around Jalil, she “did not feel at all like a harami” (5) like Nana said she is. However, after Nana hangs herself, she feels completely different about her parents. She believes that Nana had not been lying about Jalil’s cowardness. She believes that Nana had not been ling about Jalil’s cowardness. She feels that Jalil’s inability to accept her into his house when she comes to his house is a proof of Nana’s accusations. She thinks that she is responsible for Nana’s death, because Nana had tell her that she’ll “just die if she goes” (36) and find Jalil.
With her marriage to Rasheed in Kabul, Mariam is further disgusted at Jalil’s cowardness—his inability to speak up and tell his three wives about Mariam’s distaste for the marriage. In the end, she hates her father (although she still lingers to his image sometimes). The last things ever said by Mariam to Jalil is “Don’t come I won’t see you…I don’t want to hear from you. Ever…It ends here for you and me” (50).
In the beginning, Mariam was glad that she will be sleeping in a different bedroom from Rasheed because of his regularity of “sleeping alone” (55). She thought that she would live a happy life with him. Afterall, he had been gentle to her sometimes before their first making of love. She had feel “prized by his protectiveness…treasured and significant” (74) when he asked her to wear the burka. However, later on, after losing her baby and inability of having a baby, Rasheed had become tough on her. He never talks to her and he makes her work like a maid and beats her whenever he feels like it.
Laila has brought a change into Mariam’s life when she first came into the house. She disliked Laila because she thinks that “Laila steals [her] husband” (202). In the end, she knows that Laila only marries Rasheed for the sake of Aziza, her baby with Tarif. They became friend. This is when Mariam feels love once again. In the end, when she plead guilty of killing Rasheed, she is to be executed in front of a crowd. She “wished for so much in those final moments…and yet it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace” (329). She feels happy that she is to leave the world as “a woman who had loved and been loved back [and that] this was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings” (329).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Subject with Difficulty



English is the subject that I had the most difficulty learning. There are many factors that contribute to this. Like the vast majority of immigrants, I am not a native English speaker. The first language I was taught was Cantonese and I did not start learning English until I was nine years old. Fortunately, I was still linguistically impressionable enough to pick up the language through conversations and intense study. Unfortunately, English is a complete 180 from the language that I was brought up in. There is not a specific rule for the usage of English that remains universal, but there are always exceptions and irregular forms. For example, when the subject of a sentence is plural or a non third-person, the verb does not end with an “-s.” Chinese is much simpler; it does not matter if the subject is singular or plural, first, second, or third-person. Furthermore, I have to learn a brand new way of writing and reading as well. To go from Chinese to English is the closest you can get to completely restructuring your whole thought process. The complexity of its rules is not unique to the English language, but it is still considerably difficult to memorize. After all, learning a new language should be difficult, In order to improve my speed in reading, I read books whenever I have free time. But because I am an extremely methodical person, whenever I read any book, I read it very slowly, pausing every now and then to concentrate on the details and nuances. I study closely the relationship between subjects and predicates in clauses. When I have problems, I checked both the English-Chinese dictionary and the English dictionary as well, but always using the latter as the primary source. Even just by using the dictionary constantly I was able to memorize the alphabet and learn pronunciation, but more importantly, study the organization of words and how to appropriately place vowels in words—Chinese does not have vowels. By reading frequently, I was able to read much faster and still manage to comprehend the book well. Also, by taking English as a Second Language classes for a few years during elementary school, my writing skill improved dramatically. At the same time, I am very careful to distinguish between schoolyard slang and informal speaking with formal English and proper rules of syntax and semantics. Just like in science, impurity has to be distinguished and not be mistaken as fundamental elements or properties. The only problem that remains is my ability to speak fluent English without an accent. I am, however, constantly trying to improve on my speaking skill by listening closely to how native speakers pronounce words and observing the way they move their tongue and use their throat.

Act 2 Scene 2

On lines 206-208, I thought that it was interesting when Polonius said, “How pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness that often madness hits on.” The word pregnant seems to have a hidden significance. Polonius is saying that Hamlet is happy but he is attaining it through madness or not righteous way.

Hamlet said to Polonius that if he walks out of the madness he is in, he would walk “into [his] grave” (205). This is important because at this point, we realize that there is a reason for Hamlet’s madness for Ophelia. He is stating that he is going to die if he returns to the normal “him” and discontinues his plan. His plan might be to revenge for his father’s death, he would be so painful that he would rather be dead himself.

There are two lines in which words are repeated three times. This is strange. In line 191, “words, words, words” and in lines 214-215, “except my life, except my life, except my life,” words are being repeated. Why do they repeat three times? Is there a significant behind this? Hamlet told Polonius that he “cannot take from [him] anything that [he] will not more willingly part” (212-214). It seems to be that the secret plan that is on his mind is more than just to revenge for King Hamlet’s death. It seems that he wants to uphold the relationship he has with Ophelia. It sounds like Hamlet is telling Polonius that he is not going to be able to take his daughter away from Hamlet. How could Hamlet be so confident about this?

On line 184, Hamlet told Polonius not to let Ophelis “walk I’ th’ sun.” The sun is often referred to as the truth. Hamlet is implying that Polonius knows the truth about King Hamlet’s death, but did not say anything about it. He is telling Polonius not to let Ophelia know the truth about her father’s guilt.
Also, Hamlet says that “conception is a blessing” (184). He is telling Polonius that his “daughter may conceive [and so he should look to ‘t” (185). This answers my previous question about the repeating words. I believe that the secret plan is to be able to marry Ophelia because Ophelia is bearing his baby. Could this be true?

Video Critque: 3:1 Hamlet's Soliloquy (Laurence Olivier)

Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act Three Scene One can best be portrayed through Laurence Olivier’s performance. Throughout this speech, Hamlet experiences many different sensations. I believe that Laurence Olivier is best in showing these emotions. The sound and camera effects, the setting, and the portrayal of Hamlet have significant influence in my decision.
Music is being played before the start of the speech. The music’s change in volume and speed reflects the situation Hamlet is in and the “shocks” (line 61) he experiences in knowing the truth behind his father’s death. Hamlet is working “against a sea of troubles” (line 58). He is arranging and executing a plan in order to reveal the shocking deeds King Claudius has done in order to gain his position at the throne. To him, this is a dangerous action. The reason for this is that he will be killed with “slings and arrows” (line 57) if he makes a single mistake in his plan.

The increasing volume and speed in the music that is being played demonstrates the feelings Hamlet experiences at the time. Also, the music sounds fearful and seems to push towards a sense of confusion. Hamlet is “suffer[ring from his] outrageous fortune” (line 57). His fate is outrageous because his mother marries his uncle, who is the assassinator of his father. His knowledge of this makes him feel as if he has a duty to revenge for his dead father. However, at the same time, he does not want to do so. He wants to live happily with Ophelia and pretends to know nothing. He is ignorant of the choice he should make—whether he should revenge for his father or not. He does not know if he should “be, or not to be” (line 55) the one who revenge for his father and creates a situation of dismay for all the people living in Denmark, including himself. This “is [a] question” (line 55) to him.

The camera plays a major role in creating this sense of ignorance. The camera creates both the colors of light and dark before the beginning of the play in order to show Hamlet’s reflection of his actions, whether they are right or wrong. He balances the positive and negative effects his vengeance would have on everyone in Denmark. He knows that he is able to “end” (line 59) King Claudius’ power and his “heart-ache and natural shocks” (line 61) “by opposing” (line 59) him and executing his plan. At this point in Olivier’s performance, he takes out a knife and stares at it. This action makes me feel as if Hamlet wants to suicide because he does not want to make the decision he is forced to make. Then, he closes his eyes and says a few more lines before he opens up his eyes again and concentrates them on the sky. He hopes to stop dreaming about his father’s “death” (line 65) every time he sleeps. On the other hand, he knows that “calamity [will last] so long [a] life” (line 68) if he kills King Claudius. At this point, Olivier shows fear in his eyes while he is talking. If King Claudius dies, a new king will be put on the throne. Since Hamlet is the assassinator, there will not be anyone proper to put on the throne. With this, Denmark would be in a state of confusion and will not be good to everyone in the region. People would “grunt and sweat under a weary life” (line 76) if he succeeds in killing the king. Then, Olivier looks as if he cannot believe how the future will be like. Hamlet does not want “to bear the whips and scorns of [the] time” (line 69). Next, Olivier looks around the cliff as if he is searching for the existence and appearance of law. Hamlet feels intolerable for the “law’s delay” (line 71) in finding out King Hamlet’s true death. Lastly, Olivier looks innocent and disappointed. Hamlet does not want people to despise the “love” (line 71) between Ophelia and him and to say that the reason he has a relationship with Ophelia with the purpose of overthrowing King Claudius.

He is afraid of dying and getting punished for killing King Claudius. He is afraid that his “conscience [will] make [him a] coward” (line 82); he worries that his preoccupation for the people in Denmark will make him stop in his vengeance. At this point, Olivier drops his knife, thinks for a brief moment, turns around and seems like he does not want to face the audience and appears to be despising himself. Hamlet does not want to lose his “native hue of resolution and enterprises of great pitch and moment with this regard” (lines 83-6) by revenging. Hamlet is “dread [of the life] after [his] death [in the] undiscover’d country, from where no traveler returns” (lines 77-9). He does not want to be put into a place where he sees people who he “knows not of” (line 81).

The setting of Laurence Olivier’s performance highly motivates people into feeling the way Hamlet feels in his state of thought. Hamlet is experience both high points and low points. He does not know the action he should take with his knowledge of his father’s true death. Locating himself on a cliff, where he is able to see the ocean with turbulent waves, Olivier is able to demonstrate this state of confusion in Hamlet’s mind. Hamlet’s struggle in his mind is like the waves in the ocean, moving up and down at a constant rate.

1:2 Hamlet Soliloquy (1996)

In Hamlet’s soliloquy, he expresses his sensation to events that have happened and ideas about the world. Shakespeare employs a few simple techniques to demonstrate Hamlet’s emotion. Throughout this soliloquy, Shakespeare uses metaphor and repetition to demonstrate Hamlet’s dissatisfaction with his mother, Gertrude, his frustration towards the standards in the lawless society, and his dislikes of King Claudius. With straightforward speech, he is able to show Hamlet’s hatred toward his own cowardice in not speaking up for his dislikes of his uncle, King Claudius.

Shakespeare makes use of foreshadowing in the first few lines of the soliloquy. Hamlet describes King Claudius as “sallied” (129). It is another word for solid. A person who is solid does not have feeling for anything. This seems to foreshadow Hamlet’s acknowledgement of the truth behind King Hamlet’s death—his uncle killed his father. He further says that Claudius “would melt” (129) and “resolve itself into a dew” (130). This foreshadows that Claudius would lose his position as a king. Sun is referred to as the truth. Therefore, when the truth (sun) arises, Claudius (dew) will evaporate and disappear.

It appears that Hamlet knows the truth about his father’s death even from the very beginning. He compares the “world” (134) to “an unweeded garden” (135). This garden is filled with weed “that grows to seed” (136). The world is filled with people who have extreme desire for “rank” (136) and power; this is the reason for the world to be “unprofitable” (133) and “weary” (133). He is tired of living in a world that does not have a “canon” (132) or law that prosecute the act of “slaughter” (132). The world is like a prison to him in which people do not have feelings for each other and would just do anything in order to survive and to gain power over other people.

King Hamlet was “so excellent a king” (139) to Hamlet that he feels betrayal from his mother. Gertrude “married with [Hamlet’s] uncle” (151). He does not understand “why” (143) Gertrude betrays his father when his father is only “two months dead” (138). He relates the word “frailty” (146) to his mother and women as a whole. He believes that Gertrude should “have mourn’d longer” (151) for his father’s death. His mother’s “unrighteous tears” (154) causes his anger and distaste. To him, Claudius is nothing “like [his] father” (152). Claudius is disrespectful to his brother by marrying Gertrude and placing her onto “incestuous sheets” (157) with “dexterity” (157).

Hamlet knows that the relationship between Claudius and Gertrude “cannot come to good” (158) but he “hold [his] tongue” (159) because he was afraid of Claudius. He hated himself for such cowardice. His “heart” (159) breaks, but he dares not speak his will.

Tom Phillips: Explicating A Humument: Page 263


On Page 263 of Tom Phillips’ A Humument, Phillips demonstrates that adolescents are beneficial to the society. He believes that only the younger generation is going to create a better future. The older generation is not going to understand the ideas of the younger generation; they belong to a different world. This is the reason Phillips believes that our future depends only on the adolescents. Phillips intelligently enhances this belief with text from A Human Document, images with variation in color and shapes that create imagery, and symbols.

The work of art on Page 263 of Tom Phillips’ A Humument is made up mainly of three different colors—green, yellow, and white. By combining these colors, various shades of green—light green, yellow green, green-blue, dark green, jade green, and pine green appear. Green takes up about seventy-five percent of the painting, yellow takes up about fifteen percent, and white takes up about ten percent. Seeing the painting for the first time, one can immediately think about a banana. The pelt of a fresh banana is green and it is not to be eaten until the pelt turns yellow. With this, one is able to realize the significance of the colors Phillips used. Yellow is symbolic of death and maturity while green is symbolic of growth and adolescence. With green covering nearly the whole painting, Phillips shows that the world consists mostly of youngsters who helps the society grows.

Colors play a major role in helping Phillips to develop his idea. In order for yellow to remain yellow, it should not be combined with green. By mixing it with white, it appears nearly the same. By combining it with green, it becomes a different shade of green and is no longer yellow. Similarly, in order for elders to remain “yellow,” they cannot accept any hints or ideas of “green.” Phillips believes that elders can never understand the ideas of youngsters. Therefore, they do not have any roles in improving the society.

The shapes and their placement in the painting have noteworthy implication. After carefully analyzing the painting, one realizes that it looks like a tree. The base of the tree is covered with yellow grass. It is symbolic of the elders; they are the bases in families. The trunk is made up of slabs of green that do not have apparent shapes. It is symbolic of adult who have ideas of both the elders and the youngsters, but who do not have the power to move towards neither direction. The top of the tree is covered with leaves with different shades of green. About one-half up the page of the painting, the leaves move away from the squared rim of the paper. The leaves shape like youngsters who are moving without an apparent direction and without restraint. The leaves are symbolic of youngsters who have different ideas and are free to move around. The “colors” that the liberated youngsters have are able to help them to create a better world. The uncertain movement of the leaves symbolizes the state of the future. The elders positioned themselves at the bottom of the tree. There, their roots are stuck to the ground or the square rim of the paper and it is difficult for them to move up to where the adolescents are. This is the reason the members of the older generation will never understand the members of the younger generation.

Tom Phillips uses words throughout the painting in order to further expresses his principle. The phrase “people part [from] people” implies the separation of youngsters from elders. In the painting, this phrase is placed at the point where the colors—green and yellow—separates. This shows the importance of the placement of images in the painting and the use of colors. Adults move “apart from the [hold] of [the elders]” because they feel that their lives are repeating over and over again. They want to be different and to create something new, something that is not a “habit.” Their paths are “the lonelier parts of the paths” of all the people of different ages because they are alone and that there is no one there to support them. The youngsters listen to their parents and understand their history, they want to move away from who they were and create something innovative. They work “against [the] memory” of repeated labor. These youngsters are those who will help to create a better future because they are going to create something new to their history.

Phillips believes that the younger generation is the only age group who is able to create a difference in the world and that they will improve the future. To him, this belief is like “a text [that is] to [be] trust.” The reason for him to illustrate leaves with assorted shades of green that move out from the squared rim of the paper is to show the unexpected future that the younger generation creates and that it is going to expand from its border. One experiences great emotion by seeing this painting. He or she is able to feel as if he or she is one of those leaves that move around and out of the holds of his or her parents. He or she feels that he or she is able to create something that will forever furnish the world. The most appealing part about this painting is the leaves. Phillips’ illustrating of the way the leaves move out of the squared rim and are not obstructed by any means is motivating. The everlasting color of the leaves in the painting is able to fill one with feelings of anticipation for the future.

James Joyce Passage Explication: Darkness

James Joyce uses darkness as a symbol of maturity and happiness in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. When a person is mature, he or she is able to make the right decision. When a person is happy, he or she is able to show it through his or her actions and speech. Throughout the novel, Stephen proves the relationship between darkness and maturity and happiness. James Joyce uses many different literary techniques: imagery, diction, time reference, repetition, setting, and contradiction.

Father Dolan punishes Stephen for not writing his theme during his Latin lesson. The reason Stephen does not write his theme is that he has broken his eyeglasses and so, he is not able to read and write with accuracy. He is exempted from doing the work with the permission of Father Arnall, his Latin teacher. However, he is still punished. As a result of such unfairness, he decides to go to the rector of the school to report to him about it.

In order to get to the rector’s room, he must wait until “the dinner was over” (60) and “walk fast up the staircase and [through] the low dark narrow corridor that led through the castle” (60). Dinner is when people eat at night; the time period resembles darkness because it is dark at night. The narrow corridor resembles darkness because it is dimly lit. The repeated usage of the words related to darkness creates fear in Stephen. Stephen uses triple the times to walk through the corridor than it supposed to be because he is afraid. The setting during which these events are taking place shows the relationship between darkness and these events.

Before entering the corridor, he thinks about all the positive and negative outcomes that would occur as a result of his meeting with the rector. He thinks that “the rector [might] side with the perfect of studies and think [that] it was a schoolboy trick [and that as a result] the prefect of studies would come in every day [to punish him because] he would be dreadfully waxy at any fellow going up to the rector about him” (61). The word waxy is used to describe the physically mature prefect of studies. Normally, adults do not get waxy over things as often as children do. However, the unjust perfect of studies is shown to be like a child. Stephen thinks that since “the fellows [who encourage] him to go would not go themselves, they [might have] forgotten all about it. [If this is true, it would be] best to hide out of the way because [he was] small and young [so he might be able to] escape” (61) the perfect of studies. The people who encourage him to go but do not go to the rector because they are afraid and they are only children. Stephen thinks that he might be able to escape the perfect of studies if he pretends that nothing has happened. However, by being able to think so much all at once and to able to make a right decision in the end, Stephen shows that he is mature.His decision in meeting with the rector has a positive result; the rector promises that he “will speak to Father Dolan [and that he would] excuse [Stephen] from his lessons for a few days” (61). This makes Stephen feeling happy and so he “walks faster and faster excitedly” (62). It takes three pages of reading in order for Stephen to get to the rector’s room. However, it only takes up a third of a page of reading for Stephen to come out from the rector’s room. This is significant because it shows how dreary and slow it is for Stephen to go into the rector’s room and how quick, simple, and joyful it is for him to come back out.

At Cork, Stephen “pored over a ragged translation of The Count of Monte Cristo [in the] evenings” (67) whenever he has free time. Just like any adult or a curious youth in the process of growing up, he relaxes himself by reading things he like, but not necessarily helpful. He thinks about “the figure of the dark avenger for whatever he had heard or divined in childhood of the strange and terrible” (67). Sometimes, Stephen would “build up on the parlour table an image of the wonderful island cave out of transfers and paper flowers and coloured tissue paper and strips of the silver and golden paper in which chocolate is wrapped” (67). As a child, Stephen often thinks of something strange and terrible as being a dark figure. A cave should be dark and has earthly colors. If Stephen is still immature in his thinking, he would build a cave with something else other than colorful papers he saved because he would have thought that the cave is terrible. Such contradiction between his belief as a child and his belief during the night shows that Stephen has undergone maturity. After “breaking up the scenery” (67), he would come to think about “the bright picture of Marseilles, of sunny trellises and of Mercedes” (67). The cave is symbolic of his growth. After breaking it up, it would have nothing more to think about except for Mercedes.

Frequently, when we encounter the word, darkness, we associate it with something negative. Loneliness and fear are often connected to the word, darkness. However, in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the association is positive. James Joyce creates a new meaning to the word; darkness is a resemblance to maturity and happiness.

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 26, 2007


The passage Jessica has chosen is also one I would have chosen to talk about and to share.


“They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death”(345).


Indeed, although they have not been married for a long time. The time they had spend in thinking about each other, even after Fermina marries Dr. Urbino and during Florentino’s affairs with different women, is so lengthy that makes them feel like they are old married couple. They are indeed wary of life. They have been through many things throughout their lives being together and being separate. They supposed to be together in the beginning of the book. However, due to Fermina’s disillusionment, they separated. They are wearied of the way they have to be separated and to be back together in the end. They lose many time and chance to be together. The close they come to death, the older they get, and the higher the understanding they have of each other and their relationship. They did not or were not sure of their relationship throughout the book. However, in the end, they understand and realize that they are destined to make up one whole. This quote really moves me in its language and the voice is so demanding that I can actually feel how they are feeling at the moment.

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 26, 2007

The following passage is very strong. It creates so many images and questions inside me.

"We men are the miserable slaves of prejudice, he had once said to her. But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about”(329-330).

Before a woman sleeps with a man, she will look over everything about the man to see if the man actually is worthy of her love. If she sees something negative about the man, she will say no to him and destroy their relationship. If a man is bad and is unworthy, she would not think about anything else and would just “dump” him. She would not consider the happy days that they have had together.

I believe that this is true about all women and even men. Both men and women are the miserable slaves of prejudice. Once they are seen as unworthy, the will be isolated from their beloved. Sometimes, people give chance to other people who did something wrong. However, when these people are related to them by love, they do not hesitate to separate themselves from them. They worried that they will be hurt and that they do not want to be hurt.

Still, there are those who would fall into these traps. I know someone who likes a boy who takes drugs. This boy is kind, but the only problem with him is that he likes almost every girl he sees and that he lives a “bad-boy” life. He smokes and he drinks. This person I know is almost the exact opposite; she works hard in school, and she had not had a boyfriend before. She falls into the trap of loving him even though he is unworthy of her love. I believe that there are many different types of women and men in the world and that each one of them thinks differently.

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 26, 2007

I completely agree with Jessica when she said that Florentino Ariza almost hoped that Dr. Urbino had not die. He is used to the carefree lifestyle he has without owning Fermina Daza physically, but instead, thinking about her mentally. He seems like he does not want this to change. Also, with the death of Dr. Urbino, his ability to renew his relationship with Fermina will be easier. He may have thought that this is not challenging enough and that the hope and desire he chases after for so many years will be gone forever. His hope of being with Fermina will be gone forever if he reunites with Fermina.

I agree with Jessica when she said that Dr. Urbino’s death is quite ironic. He die in hopes of saving something he despised, a parrot. The parrot is like a companion to him. He teaches it how to talk and they share more time together than he does with his wife.

Florentino Ariza is in many ways like a child. He sleeps in his mother’s bed when he is in a state of solitude. This is an act to help him relieve his pain and resolve his problems mentally, although not physically. Also, the way he has affair with many women is another childish act of being disobedient and to show his love towards Fermina.Like Jessica, I wonder why the Florentino’s driver’s name has never been mentioned throughout the book. And since it has never been mentioned previously, why does Gabriel Garcia Marquez mention it near the end of the book?

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 26, 2007

I do not agree with Jessica when she said that Florentino Ariza has been decent throughout the book with his endless love affairs. It is true that he has a feeling of emptiness without Fermina Daza. It is also true that he hopes to live his normal routine life without always thinking about Fermina. However, by having relationships with endless women does not agree with me. Also, not only in this part of the book has he take it too far in his relationship with a fourteen-years-old girl but also in previous incidents.

Only because America Vicuna has almost a blood relationship with Florentino Ariza, he takes advantage of this. He takes her out of school when he is pleased. This passage also shows the haughtiness and disobedient of human beings, rather they are young or old. Both Florentino Ariza and America Vicuna disregard other people’s advice at not being too close with each other.

Another time when Florentino Ariza went too far is when he accidentally leads to the death of a woman. The name of this woman is Olimpia Zuleta. The following passage helps to support what I said.
“Six months after their first meeting, they found themselves at last in a cabin on a riverboat that was being painted at the docks. It was a marvelous afternoon. Olimpia Zuleta had the joyous love of a startled pigeon fancier, and she preferred to remain naked for several hours in a slow-moving repose that was, for her, as loving as love itself. The cabin was dismantled, half painted, and they would take the odor of turpentine away with them in the memory of a happy afternoon. In a sudden inspiration, Florentino Ariza opened a can of red paint that was within reach of the bunk, wet his index finger, and painted the pubis of the beautiful pigeon fancier with an arrow of blood pointing south, and on her belly the words: This pussy is mine. That same night, Olimpia Zuleta undressed in front of her husband, having forgotten what was scrawled there, and he did not say a word, his breathing did not even change, nothing, but he went to the bathroom for his razor while she was putting on her nightgown, and in a single slash he cut her throat” (217).

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 26, 2007

With the passage noted by Jessica, I relate Fermina Daza to one of those Afghanistan women who wear their burka to cover themselves up and hide themselves from the eyes of the men. However, this is not the reason for Fermina Daza to wear a mantilla. She wore it in order to protect her from the stench and germs of the corpses that are laying everywhere.

Before responding to Jessica’s blog, I do not know the meaning of the phrase coup de grace. This is because I do not take French. After reading it, I understand that it means stroke of grace. I just want to say Thank You to Jessica. It never occurs to me that Fermina speaks French. However, now that I realize her knowledge, I am able to see Fermina’s intelligence and her distinction from other people around her. This is one of the many reasons that creates her fame among the social group she is in. She is an intelligent woman with distinct characteristics. I agree with Jessica that many people in the book may have underestimated Fermina. They thought that she becomes wealthy and has the fame she has only because she married the wealthy and well-famed Dr. Urbino.

In the passage, the officer said, “Even God improves His methods” (252). It does not surprise me when the officer uses “His” instead of “his” because this is how most people refers to God in writing. This is a religious part of the book that refers to God’s place among the society. This quote refers to how God kills people through an epidemic instead of through the hands of other people. God is improving his methods in killing people. This is in a way saying that God likes to kill people and wants people to die off. We are improving with our technology and God is improving in his way of killing off people. What supposedly can kill off a person at a time can now kill off a bunch of people at a time, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez calls this improving. This really catches my attention. Is Marquez saying that God has no feeling for its people.

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 26, 2007

Like Jessica, I find it interesting the way Gabriel Garcia Marquez describes Fermina Daza’s sense of smell. The way she smells her clothes to see if they are dirty and find a lost child by her sniff is very interesting. When I read this passage, it creates a feeling in me that Fermina is like an animal. However, I do not think that Dr. Urbino believes this to be true, as Jessica had. The following passage helps to reinforce my belief.

“For this occurred after she interrupted his afternoon reading to ask him to look at her, and he had the first indication that his hellish circle had been discovered. But he did not know how, because it would have been impossible for him to conceive of Fermina Daza’s learning the truth by smell alone. In any case, for a long time this had not been a good city for keeping secrets. Soon after the first home telephones were installed, several marriages that seemed stable were destroyed by anonymous tale-bearing calls, and a number of frightened families either canceled their service or refused to have a telephone for many years. Dr. Urbino knew that his wife had too much self-respect to allow so much as an attempt at anonymous betrayal by telephone, and he could not imagine anyone daring to try it under his own name” (247-8).

I believe that Fermina is sure that she is in charge of the family and the house because only she has been able to manage the house perfectly. However, she believes that she is just like a maid, who serves her husband and who has complete power over the house.In this passage, the technology has advanced to indoor telephones. The positive and negative sides of telephones are seen. The positive side is that people are able to communicate more frequently and with ease. The negative side is that it allows anonymous call, which can be dangerous. This is important because it shows the defect of the thought-to-be-perfect technology.

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 12, 2007

I agree with Jessica that the word “fairy” has symbolic meaning that demonstrates Florentino’s similiarity with a winged creature that fly around everywhere. Florentino Ariza lives an unstable life and that he never stays in the same place for too long.

When I first read that passage in the book about the “secret society,” I did not really understand its meaning. Thanks to Jessica, I do understand much more than I did. I do no think that the people from the secret society are all like Florentino, in the sense that they are all struggling to find their soul mates. Some people might be like that. However, I do believe that there are other reasons as well. There are those people who like to disobey the morals of the society. There are also those who just like to waste their time to wander around. Still, there are others who just want to “devastate” themselves in order to release their emotional problems.

As a dream, Fermina wants to have a love that is romantic. However, the truth is that she is married to a doctor who worries more about his patients more than he does to his wife. Doctor Urbino thinks that she is happy because she is having everything that she wants and that she “came to be the women most loved [and] most catered to” (221). This is not the love Femina seeks, but the fact proves that she must stick to it. She appears to be the happiest woman in the world. But the fact is that, she is only a “deluxe servant” (221). She serves his husband in all he wants and never actually have the chance to do what she likes—owning various pets.

Did Fermina become pregnant after about a month? (TO JESSICA)Urbino if I am Fermina Daza. It is true that her relationship with her husband “dims” as time went by. However, the moment before Doctor Urbino’s death and the moment they married, their determination in having a desirable life with each other is so high that it is not possible for the love to just leak away as Fermina had said it has been. Also, I am the type of people who he more rational. Leaving him if my children would just leads to pain in everyone li

In my opinion, things were different after Fermina’s marriage to Doctor Urbino. Her life is much more leisure. In the beginning, people criticize their marriage because Fermina comes from a lower social class. However, time proves to these people that Fermina is much appropriate and suitable for Dr. Urbino.

As a respond to Jessica’s question, I would not leave Doctor ves. Without Fermina, Doctor Urbino would not be able to leave physically and mentally. By leaving Doctor Urbino, Fermina has no where else to go. Also, if I married someone, this person must be someone I love. Since I loved him, I would not leave him just because I serve him like a servant more than a wife, because I would feel that it is my duty and that I am glad to do anything for who I love. Also, Doctor Urbino loves Fermina even until the day of his death. I would not be able to leave someone who loves me more than I love him. Time can devastate a love relationship but it can also make it sprout. The following passage strike me emotionally.

“He was aware that he did not love her. He had married her because he liked her haughtiness, her seriousness, her strength, and also because of some vanity on his part, but as she kissed him for the first time he was sure there would be no obstacle to their inventing true love. They did not speak of it that first night, when they spike of everything until dawn, nor would they ever speak of it. But in the long run, neither r of them had made a mistake” (159).

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 9, 2007

I do not think that Florentino Daza has realized that his dreams for Fermina Daza are too ambitious. In fact, I believe that he is so stuck up with it that he cannot seem to get rid of it. He understands as a fact that Fermina is not going to be with him for the time being so he tries to keep himself busy from feeling lonely through random women he meets on the street.

I do agree with Jessica with what she thinks about the phrase “furtive hunter” (174). Marquez is trying to say that Florentino tries to conceal his love affairs and that he does this in order to avoid public sentiment and further damage to his emotional state. However, I have another review toward this phrase. By being a “furtive hunter” (174), it means that he is not paying for his love. His love is not paid for; he sleeps with ladies without paying them. To Florentino Ariza, love that is not due to love but to money is not something he favors. He does not just choose random women on the street to be his mate for the night. He chooses those that he believes love him and that they would do it out for love and want rather than money.

“He rejected her from his live, because he could not conceive of anything more contemptible than paying for love: he had never done it” (182).

I like how Jessica analyzes the words “little birds.” The women he chooses is indeed like birds, which stay in a nest with him for a few moments and then decide to fly away. Also, the word “little” shows how immature the women’s minds are.

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 9, 2007

I like the way Jessica talks about Florentino Ariza’s love is like a fire that will burn out if he did not do anything to it and that it would become a dark state of loneliness. It is true that Florentino Ariza’s dream and hope are based on Fermina Daza and that they are only imaginary because they are unreachable. However, I believe that the love and feeling Florentino Ariza has for Fermina Daza is so “magical, true, and romantic.” However, a frequent question often arises in me. If Florentino loves Fermina so much, why would he have relationships with other people? The following passage relates to this.

“No sooner did he leave his office at five in the afternoon than he began to hunt like a chicken hawk. At first he was content with what the night provided. He picked up serving girls in the parks, black women in the market, sophisticated young ladies from the interior on the beaches, gringas on the boats from New Orleans. He took them to the jetties where half the city also went after nightfall, he took them wherever he could and sometimes even where he could not, and not infrequently he had to gurry into a dark entryway and do what he could, however he could do it, behind the gate” (175).

I understand that he has been trying to recover himself from the wound he has due to his broken up with Fermina. He tries to forget her by having relationship constantly with other ladies. However, is this the right way to forget something?

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 4, 2007

I do agree with Thespina about the atmosphere of the quote. It made me long for love too. The intriguing love between Florentino and Fermina is romantic. Although it is true that the routine lives brings boredom into their lives and causes them to break up in the end. However, the process is so romantic and so unbelievable. The way Florentino never gives up is the thing that causes emotion inside me. It is true that the title does not seem to match up with the events in the beginning of the book. However, as the story moves on, we can see signs of love moving in. It is more than a description of two people growing old together and who depend of each other. The twists in Marquez’s story are so interesting that it make me want to read on and on without stopping.

I love the part when Dr. Urbino falls and dies. I like it because he is finally able to express and show his feeling for Fermina. The imagery in the passage is so strong that the image stays in my mind for so long. I can feel tears pouring from my heart when I read this passage.

“She dropped the tasting spoon and tried her best to run despite the invincible weight of her age,, screaming like a madwoman without knowing yet what has happened under the mango leaves, and her heart jumped inside her ribs when she saw her man lying on his back I n the mud, dead to this life but still resisting death’s final blow for one last minute so that she would have time to come to him. He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked at her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful than she had ever seen them in half a century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath: ‘Only God knows how much I loved you’” (43-4).

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 2, 2007

After reading only one third of the book, I feel that I have fallen in love with it. I like the book in the way it is organized. First, it tells us about what is happening at the time. Then, it goes back to half-a-century ago when Fermina was in love with Florentino. Each session of the book is divided up into the histories of the different characters in the book. It is well organized and I am able to follow through the book with deep understanding of what is happening.

In all cases I liked the book, the only thing I dislike about the book is its overly graphic discussion about women.

Throughout the book, I find quotes that I really like. Here is one of the quotes:
“Panic-stricken, she told her Aunt Escolastica, who gave her advice with the courage and lucidity she had not had when she was twenty and was forced to decide her own fate. ‘Tell him yes,’ she said. ‘Even if you are dying of fear, even if you are sorry later, because whatever you do, you will be sorry all the rest of your life if you say no’” (71).

Aunt Escolastica has been in the same situation back when she was young. However, she did not have the courage to do what she wants and to be with who she likes. So now, she supports Fermina in accepting Florentino’s plead to be her husband so that she would not regret for the rest of her life, like she had. I really love Aunt Escolastica in the way that she is so selfless. She wants her niece to have what she didn’t have and to be happy just because she wasn’t. Also, I agree with her in the way that one should do whatever they want without moving back due to fear. She said that if Fermina agrees with Florentino, she might be happy. Even if everything turns out to be bad, she can still choose again. But if she disagrees, she would never know the result and may regret for the rest of her life.

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 2, 2007

I strongly agree with Jessica’s idea about segregated love. Families who are poor would most likely wish to become wealthy and to suffer less. They hope to do this by marrying their daughters off to wealthy men. They do not wish to suffer anymore so they look towards a rich future-son-in-law. They believe that the key to happiness is being wealthy. They do not take the time to understand the desires their daughters.

I like Jessica’s idea when she said that the parrot has been a symbol throughout the book. I also believe that the parrot has a special meaning throughout the book. After all, the parrot indirectly leads to Dr. Urbino’s death. The parrot’s disobedience and knowledge symbolizes a typical human being. Everyone has his or her own specific knowledge and that he or she is disobedient at some specific time. The parrot, in a way, shows us the flaws in human beings. Also, parrot is not the only animal that can be found in the house; there is also a purple.

Love in the Time of Cholera: Dec 1, 2007

Lorenzo has always been a caring man throughout the book. There are how much I loved you’” (43). Dr. Urbino has saved his last breath so that he can say this to Fermina. Their relationship has been horrible throughout their half-a-century shared life. However, in the end, he finds the courage to show his love towards Fermina. I just thought that this line is beautifully written and so I want to share it with you guys. It is very true that god is the one who knows everything, because what a person said may not always be true and that he or she might be lying.

Fermina responds to this by praying to God “to give him at least a moment so that he would not go without knowing how much times when he over-reacted to the situation, but his love and hope for his daughter never fail. Lorenzo did not immediately confront Florentino after finding out about his love with Fermina. He only went to confront Florentino because Fermina had refused to eat and to talk to him. This shows his care and love for his daughter. He care about his daughter so much that he did not care about losing his dignity when he went to talk to Florentino. The passage that Jessica found is one that I love also. In the passage, it is said that Lorenzo had been doing the same thing Fermina is doing today. However, he does not allow his daughter to do the same thing. I believe that he thinks that it had been a mistake for him and his wife, and so he does not want Fermina to commit the same mistake and to regret later on. If the relationship between Fermina’s parent is a mistake, this gives the reason to why Fermina mother has not been mentioned in the book frequently. To me, Lorenzo loves his daughter and he cares about her. I do not know if this is due to his love towared his wife and that Fermina resembles her or it is due to his want in becoming rich through his beautiful daughter.

There is a line that appears early in the book and that I loved a lot. Dr. Urbino said it before he fell off the tree and die. He said ‘“Only god knows she had loved him despite all their doubts, and she felt an irresistible longing to begin life with him over again so that they could say what they had left unsaid and do everything right that they had done badly in the past” (47). This sudden realization leads me into thinking about the flaws of human beings. Is it true that people only realize their mistakes and that they only see the truth when they are facing deaths? I have been wondering about this throughout my reading career.

Plum Plum Pickers: All the Same


In “The Plum Plum Pickers,” Raymond Barrio concludes that humans are built to “experience a certain sense of honor and pride” (2). He believes that a person’s propriety and wealth should not stop him or her from feeling honorable and proud; all human beings have the chance to feel this way. Barrio is able to create this idea through his variation in characters and sentence structure, symbols, and repetition. One word paragraphs are used to emphasize short periods of time. Symbols are used throughout the story; they vary from the names of different characters to the setting of the story. Repetition is used frequently in order to show the importance of his idea and the cycle of humans’ daily lives. Barrio uses many literary techniques in order to form his idea.

Manuel is a poor fruit picker who works in “an endless maze of apricot trees” (1). This “endless maze” (1) symbolizes “the jails of hell” (1); it is a place where there is no escape and where he is “trapped” (1). The setting creates the allusion that Manuel is a lowly-regarded “animal” (1) being trapped inside a cage. To Manuel, “lunch [and] midafternoon” (1) are the only times during which he can rest and that they are short periods of time. Barrio used one word paragraph to show the short periods of time lunch and midafternoon have taken up in Manuel’s daily life. Manuel “endlessly [piles up] bucket upon box upon crate upon stack upon rack upon mound upon mountain”; he works everyday, doing the same thing over and over again. Manuel is symbolic of “an automator” (1) because of his non-resting and repeated work. Manuel’s name is symbolic of a poor worker who works without stopping; Manuel sounds like the word manual.

The higher authorities are wealthy, but selfish; they “didn’t give a shit how that migratory scum lived” (2). They believe that “it was no concern of theirs. Their wives said it was no concern of theirs [and] their aldermen said it was no concern of theirs” (2). Barrio emphasizes the authorities’ lack of care for the workers through his use of repetition. Roberto Morales cheats his workers’ hard-earn money by saying that “there was a miscalculation” (2); he is not only selfish, but inhumane. Roberto Morales’ name is significant because it is symbolic of a “robber” (1) who is “moral less”. The “anglo growers and g├╝ero executives” (1) feel proud because they believe that they “cheated no one” (2) and that they are “honest” (1). Morales tries to look as if he is “firm, fair, and square” (1) all the time. Although these authorities committed faulty acts, they still want to experience the sense of honor and pride.

Humans show “defiance” (2) to something oppressive and that they disagree with. Similarly, Manuel earns “respect from his fellow slaves” (2) when he shows defiance toward Morales, who unreasonably take their money. He does this by tipping over his bucket of cots; he proves to his fellow slaves that they should be able to feel honorable and proud too. Barrio believes that “men counted for something” (2). They are built for something “more important and less trifling than the mere gathering of prunes and apricots, hour upon hour, decade upon decade” (2). Again, Barrio used repetition to show the non-stopping work of poor men. Barrio shows through his story that not only the wealthy people are able to feel proud, but also, those who are poor and who work continuously. He purposely composes a character, like Manuel, in order to show his reader the idea that even the lowest class man can feel proud. Through the use of repetition, symbols, and sentence structure, Barrio is able to portray his idea about men.

Scoring the Parable of the Blind

Kevin's thesis statement is "William Carlos William uses blindness to portray the failures that society will create through the blind dependence on one another." I think that this is a wonderful thesis statement. He further backs up his thesis statement with evidence from the text. He explains and analyzes his evidence. He tells the reader that Williams creates his meaning through symbols and irony. His conclusion supports his thesis. (A)

Christina's thesis statement at the end of her introduction tells us about Williams' purpose. Her thesis is "In 'The Parable of the Blind,' Williams uses imagery and diction to reveal the flaws of human nature and the importance of faith." She further explains this in her body paragraphs through evidence from the text. However, there are some places in her explication where it is left off "hanging in the air." For example, in the introduction, she wrote, "His careful choices of detail in each poem focus on the main ideas of each of the paintings. He hints that the viewers should focus on these details as well." She did not finish this thought, but instead, just continue on with her topic. I think that she needs to explain more in parts of her explication and not just leave it hanging. She made a mistake in her explication by saying that the poem is the "eighth" poem in Williams' collection, but it was actually the ninth. I love how she explain the meaning of the basin. Her integrating of evidence is great. Overall, she did great. (B)

William Carlos Williams: A Basin to Wash Away Sins


William Carlos Williams writes “The Parable of the Blind” after carefully analyzing Pieter Brueghel’s painting. Williams thinks that Brueghel’s painting is “horrible but superb” (1). He believes that Brueghel’s painting is horrible because it is composed of dark and dull color, “without a [show of] red” (3). All the color used in the painting is not attractive and the images seem to be covered with “dirt”. And, he believes that the painting has a “parable” (2), a special or hidden meaning. “The Parable of the Blind” is the last poem in Williams’ collection of poems, “Pictures From Brueghel, 1962”. There is a reason for Williams to place it last in his collection. Williams hopes to wrap up the ideas in all of his poems about Brueghel’s paintings in this last poem. He believes that the human nature is faulty and that human’s faith in God is diminishing. He establishes such believes in “The Parable of the Blind” through imagery, diction, and symbol.

The painting “shows a group/ of beggars” (4-5). The speaker believes that humans are beggars fundamentally and that they are “blind” (2). Beggars are those who are drags and who follow people around for money or other means of kindness. Williams believes that human beings do not have their own thinking or are blind to their own desires. Similarly, the beggars just go to where there is comfort and where they can attain it without effort. Without even the slightest knowledge of the comfort they will receive, the beggars just follow other people’s footsteps. These beggars are “leading/ each other diagonally downward” (5-6). They are led by the leading beggar and are blind to their own destination. The speaker believes that people are blind to their own thinking; they just follow the actions of other people without thinking about it. He believes that they are demoting themselves by doing this. These beggars move “across the canvas/ from one side/ to stumble finally into a bog” (7-9). The canvas symbolizes the world and the bog symbolizes the afterlife in hell. People across the world are following each others’ movement and they always depend on someone else to think for them. They do not act the way their minds tell them to act. God is the creator of everything; he creates people who are able to think and who will be able to have freedom to do their desired actions. By not doing what their minds tell them to do and instead following each other’s footsteps, they unintentionally disappointed God and decline his gift for them in being able to think. They eventually fall into a bog because they do not have enough faith in their God. They believe in the actions of other people to be more right than their own actions, which stands for God’s will. The “bog” (9) can also symbolize the result of the human creation of technology. The technology used by humans today and back then can be a huge problem in the future. It is a defect that will create many problems in the environment. As a result of technology, the world will “end [with]/ no…man” (12). In the end, men will be “represented… [with] the unshaven/ features of the des-/ titute with their few// pitiful possessions” (13-6). Through these lines in the poem, Williams is trying to tell his readers that the world will end with “blind” (2) men who will have only a “few// pitiful possessions” (15-6). These men are those who cannot see the defects of technology.There is “a church spire” (18) in the background of the painting, but it is small in size compare to the beggars. This shows the diminishing importance of the church. The beggars know that they are less faithful. They place “basin[s]” (16) in their house in order to “wash” (17) away their sins, to save themselves and to make up for the sins they made. The beggars want to think by themselves and to do what they want; their “faces are raised/ as toward the light” (19-20). The light is a symbol of God. They want to see God, to follow his will, and to have their own thoughts. However, “there is no detail extraneous” (21) or eyes for them to look at the God; they are blind.

The painting is read from left to right. Therefore, the left is the beginning and the right is the end. The painting “ends/ [without] seeing man” (11-2). The speaker believes that the world is filled with blind men, men who cannot think for themselves and who do not dare to stray away from their leaders. They would just “follow the others stick in/ hand” (23-4), not daring to leave for the unknown. He believes that everyone is like this and that our world will just end with blind men—men who are not able to see the defects of technology and who are blind to their own desires. These people believe that they are “triumphant” (24), but they are actually moving “to disaster” (24).

Each of the poems in Williams’ collection, “Pictures from Brueghel, 1962,” reveals the characteristics of human nature. Human are being divided up into classes. Life is a cycle; people always do the same action repeatedly. People are blind to defects in the society and their desire.

Bruegel, Pieter: Landscape with the Fall of Icarus


Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, was painted on oil canvas by Bruegel Pieter in 1558. It shows the occurrences during which Icarus falls into the sea and dies when his wings melt.

It is a normal spring day, during which workers toil. In the canvas, three men are shown to be working. They all work with animals and their job has something to do with the earth. They seem to be uninterested in the death of Icarus. The reason for this is that they do not turn their heads to look at Icarus when he was dropped into the sea from the sky. They just keep on doing their job and do not seem to care about Icarus’ death. In our society today, people are frequently indifferent to other people’s business. Most of the time, they are busy with their own work and they do not have time for other things. Different shades of color are used. The top part (sky) of it uses some light and well-mixed color. The bottom part (land) of the canvas uses some dark and dull colors. This shows that the heaven (the sky) is a relaxed and great place to be while the earth is tedious and dull.

The setting is well-described through the different images in this canvas. The sun is just beginning to dawn at the horizon. Half of the sun is on top of the horizon. It is yellow and it creates bright rays of light in parts of the sky. It creates a reflection in the water. The sky has taken up about 30 percent of the spaces in the canvas. The sunlight covers about 30 percent of the sky. The sunlight is yellowish orange, mix with a bit of pink. The sky is blue and purple, mix with a bit of black.

There are mountains on the left and right side of the canvas. They are white and peach. There are shadows lying on top of the mountains. They occupy about 2/15 of the canvas. There are houses that locate close to the center of the canvas (closer to the top and the left side of the canvas), near the mountains that locate on the left. These houses are the smallest objects that can be found in the canvas. The houses are basically make up of three colors—red, orange, and yellow. There are many ships in the canvas. The sails are tied tightly to the masts. This is true because the sails do not flow around freely even when the strong wind blows on it. There is a castle-like rock within the sea. This rock is surrounded by grass on the left side.

An island-like land is shown in the canvas. There is a farm, a herding area, and a place to fish. It looks like a village, out in the country side. However, since it is surrounded by water, I assume that it is an island. It is not a harbor, because there isn’t a dock or anything like that. There are trees all around. They occupy about 30 percent of the canvas. These trees look dead; they do not have much leaves on them. The color of the leaves and branches are blackish. There are cracks and dead-looking branches on the land.

A man dresses in a red long-sleeve shirt and shorts is plowing the land. A horse is helping him out and sharing this heavy job. The land is half-plowed. The place where it is not plowed is greenish, and the place where it is plowed is brownish. The farm, together with the cow and the man occupy about 25 percent of the canvas. It is a small farm compare to what a farm is actually like. The cow and the man are large compare to the other objects in the canvas. The man seems to be as large as the ship. The reason for this may be that the farm, cow, and man are the objects that are supposed to look like they situate the closest to us. They are at the bottom left of the canvas; the land stretches from the left side of the canvas to well-pass the center.

A man in a blue long-sleeve a brown basket on his back.shirt is carrying He is holding onto a stick that is longer in length than he himself. He is herding his sheep. All the sheep are white with the exception of two black ones. A black dog with a white face is sitting patiently next to the man. They locate at a lower level of land than the man plowing the land with his cow. A man dresses in a white long-sleeve shirt is kneeling at the edge of the sea to fish. He locates at a lower level of land than the man herding the sheep. Everybody is busy with their own job. They are all workers. Their jobs relates to the earth and the sea. They all have something to do with animals. A boy (Icarus) has fall down into the sea, head first. And, he is sinking into the sea with his legs sticking out. He is located at the far right of the canvas.

The title of this piece of art is Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. The canvas is showing the landscape during which Icarus falls into the sea and dies. At the time the sun melts the wax on Icarus’ wings, he falls into the sea and dies. This canvas shows the occurrence at which Icarus falls. People are working on their own job and are mindless to what is happening to Icarus.

People are indifferent to occurrences unrelated to them. In today’s society, we are all so busy that we do not have any time for basically anything. Due to this, we do not even tend to care for other people’s business. Similarly, the workers on the land and at the sea do not seem to care about Icarus’ fall into the sea. They just concentrate on their work. This kind of society is not inferior. We should always care about other people.

The piece of artwork is expressive. It is able to spread its message quite strongly. Humans are inferior and selfish. They only care about themselves. Their mindlessness towards other people is, nevertheless, what makes them inferior. Also, our society is corrupted. This can be tell by the fact that the colors of the trees and the land are dull while the color of the sky is bright and colorful. This suggests that heaven is the only uncorrupted place one can find.

Camus: Post Class Discussion

During our first discussion, Linda Y. has mentioned the importance of the jail. She said that the jail is where Meursault reflects on his life in the past. It is where Meursault realizes the mistakes he had make in the past and where he feels regretful of the past.

The jail has a great impact on Meursault. The normal Meursault, before going to the jail, is emotionless. He did not care about anything or anyone around him. However, the Meursault who went through a series of trials in court and who had been in jail was “softened.” In the book, Meursault was “for the first time in years [having a] stupid urge to cry, because [he] could feel how much all these people hated [him]” (90 Camus).

The prosecutor tries to prove to the juries that Meursault was guilty through a series of evidence that proved Meursault’s evil nature. Meursault thinks that these evidences were, indeed, accurate. This means that he, too, believes that he, himself, is evil by nature. This is shown in the following passage:
“He [the prosecutor] reminded the court of my insensitivity; of my ignorance when asked Maman’s age; of my swim the next day—with a woman; of the Fernandel movie; and finally of my taking Marie home with me. It took me a few minutes to understand the last part because he kept saying ‘his mistress’ and to me she was Marie. Then he came to the business with Raymond. I thought his way of viewing the events had a certain consistency. What he was saying was plausible. I had agreed with Raymond to write the letter in order to lure his mistress and submit her to mistreatment by a man ‘of doubtful morality.’ I had provoked Raymond’s adversaries at the beach. Raymond had been wounded. I had asked him to give me his gun. I had gone back alone intending to use it. I had shot the Arab as I planned” (99).

While waiting for his sentence, Meursault was locked up in the jail. There, he “was assailed by memories of a life that wasn’t [his] anymore, but one in which [he’d] found the simplest and most lasting joys: the smells of summer, the part of town I loved, a certain evening sky, Marie’s dresses and the way she laughed” (104). He regrets for him being careless, and for over looking those things that are important to him. His Maman is important to him, but he didn’t pay much respect to her at her funeral. Marie is important to him, but he said that he “probably didn’t love her” (41). He overlooked the importance of those around him and he regrets it.

The jail is not the only thing that had influence on Meursault. He was also influenced by the fact that he was “on the edge of the cliff.” Knowing that he will be given a death sentence if he was proven guilty has a great effect on him. He does not want to die. Knowing that his chance of being given a death sentence is fairly high, he thinks back to what has happened to him in the past to see if he has “missed” anything.

If I am suffering from an extremely serious illness and I know that I will die soon, I would think about my past. I would “look” through it carefully to see if I had missed anything and to see if I want to fix something that I did wrong. The problem with us is that we never think about those things that had happen to us until the day we die. I believe that Camus is trying to convey the idea that we should always care about things and people around us before it’s too late.

Red Shift: Ying Yang

Here I am at 5:00 p.m. under strict frame
The air is confined, June, fierce drill
On the way to glide in summer streetscape
I drink some Chinese herbal liquid air which calms all wild fire
And smile to have friends and to blend
In. The streets look for Ken, Steven, or me. Ken
Is a flashlight, Steven being away on the net, it’s
Ponderous with that lightness, ponderous on me, I lift through it, them, as
The coconut drink is being sipped on the island of Hong Kong, now
Twenty-three years almost ago, and the man flashing
Is indulging himself in the beauteous woman, & telling
Who would have thought that I’d be here, nothing
Covered up, nothing changed, everything
Love, children, money, job, marriage, education.
Up in the air, surrounding me, burning still, now
More than ever before?
Not that practically a girl, fond in jeans and coat
Eyes penetrating the summer night twilight at 1341& Tui Mun in 1990.
Not that homely girl, seventeen, who was
Going to have to go. Careening into college life so.
To be extinguish & to be smother more fiercely than even she could imagine
So to go. Not that Ken who from very first meeting
I would never & never will leave alone until we each become transparent
Into the gas hood we each requested for & so demanded
To die & who will never leave me, not for desire, nor hate
Nor even for ignorant one-moment estrangement which is
Only our human lot & means nothing. No, not nothing. It’s everything!
There’s a song, “Long Journey”. But no. I won’t do that
I am 17.5. When will I die? I will never die. I will live
To be a delightful healthy soul & I will never go away, & you will never escape from me
Who am always & only a child. Despite this negativity, Spirit
Who lives only to create smile.
I’m only one & I am only me & I didn’t care about me.
You didn’t.
I came into your life to advise you & you did so & now everything
Will change
I am me. Light-hearted and sweet.
Laughter & tears. Resilient fate, nevertheless
I sit softly on the clouds
The world’s rain and shine flows through my eyes.

Independent Reading Book

A Lesson Before Dying is the book I choose to read for my independent reading. It is written by Ernest Gaines. The title is the first thing that captures my attention. After reading a summary of the book, I feel that it is just the right book for me. Through its captivating and interesting story, I will be able to have a higher appreciation of the importance of being responsible. With the story, I will be able to see the injustice that is in our society more clearly. I believe that this is the book that can help me in the future; it will bring to me lessons I’ve never learned and which I will appreciate.I love reading books that can help me in gaining new appreciations.