HW for Next Week (2/19)

–Complete Quiz 1 (link above) by Friday at 5p if you haven’t yet.  I will be closing the Quiz at that time on Friday.
By Sunday: Reply to my response to your post about Chu’s “The Pink” with a revised version of your original post.
–Post 1 paragraph of specific feedback for each person whose essay was read in class today.  Post each paragraph of feedback as a response to the post I’ve made with the writer’s name (under Essay 1 feedback).
–Read: Mirene Arsanios’ “April-May-June” (in “Readings” folder).
–Write and post below (as a reply to this post) your response to Arsanios’ text.  You can write about any aspect of the essay that interests you and/or consider responding to (any of) these questions: What does Arsanios’ text show us about the differences between text-based and spoken communication?  What makes this text a “narrative”?  How is it different from a “thesis”-based/argumentative essay?
In addition, as we did this past week, I want you to quote one sentence from Arsanios’ text and analyze the language in it carefully: how does the word choice, word order, length, etc. produce certain effects on you as a reader?  Explain.
–Remember, there is no class next week (2/12), so we will meet next on Wed 2/19.  Between now and then, I will be responding to your blog work and available via e-mail (monroe.street.alt@gmail.com).

18 thoughts on “HW for Next Week (2/19)”

  1. In Arsanios’ text “April-May-June”The differences between text based and spoken communication portrayed in this excerpt, is the different ways we look at it. For example in the text it says “…we both agree that when Alec texted ‘I’m home’ that he was lying.” By saying this shows that because they weren’t able to see how he verbally was making excuses as to why he didn’t see her text, that they felt that he was lying.
    What makes this text Narrative is the fact that in a lot of the paragraphs from the excerpt, jumps from different events and also months. And while reading them, I find myself also visualizing some of the events like when she says “ I bike past Rite Aid and Golden Krust.” Because it was so specific I was able to imagine seeing her biking past both Rite Aid and Golden Krust. Different from a thesis-based argumentative essay, this excerpt actually doesn’t have a clear “argumentative” based writing.  This excerpt is actually more like a story telling type of writing.
    One quote in the text that I found interesting was ” …but I’m lying, leaking truth like a vaginal discharge.” While talking about sex she was responding as if she wanted to be intimate when in reality she was lying, comparing her lies to leaking vaginal discharge. To me, Arsanios’ choice of words were actually really creative and based on the way she writes in her text I would’ve expected her choice of words.

    1. Alia,

      What you have to say about what makes this text a narrative is spot on. You zero in on two different dimensions of the essay that make it “narrative”: the narration of events unfolding over TIME (ranging from minutes to months) and also the descriptions of different SETTINGS (Rite Aid, Golden Krust, Alec’s stoop) which allow us to imagine WHERE the action is taking place in detail (as though watching a movie in our minds).

      I also like what you have to say about the quote you’ve chosen: you point out that Arsanios is wanting us to notice some sort of connection between lying and sexuality. However, in your revision I’d like you to take your analysis one step further and tell us more specifically what you think Arsanios is suggesting here about the relationship between mendacity (lying) and sex. In other words, WHY has she used a simile to situate dishonesty and sexuality side by side?

      In your revision, I’d also like if you could revise your first paragraph as I’m getting lost in some of these sentences. It’s possible that a quick proofread will help clear things up here.


  2. In Mirene Arsanios’ “April May June”, the author discusses her relationship with her counterpart, Alec, and the ups-and-downs that go on throughout it. Throughout the beginning of the text, the reader can clearly depict her infatuation for this boy in that she goes through different obstacles on her bike just to be able to see him and interact with him. She even says, “I’m coming to you. I need to see you before you leave.” Even though Alec basically stood her up that day in which she waited over 40 minutes for him, there is this longing that still occurs with her that she must be with him; even though, she has a conflicted mindset as to whether Alec was really telling her the truth that he did not see her text message of her arrival to his place until the next morning at 11 a.m. 
               One particular way in which Arsanios started the essay that intrigued me is when she begins with the following quote, “It’s ok if you want to do the emotional labor, if you can only be yourself by losing yourself.” I find it interesting how Arsanios sets the tone for the rest of the essay in that due to her constant efforts she puts in into seeing Arsanios, we see that this “emotional labor” begins to weigh a toll on her in that her quest for finding love often keeps reproducing curiosity and uncertainty as to whether the status between her and her partner, Alec, is truly genuine. We see that she went from feeling a certain type of way from being stood up to them eventually making love and remaining in each other’s presence the next day.
               A significant word that stood out to me throughout Arsanios’ text was the manner in which she uses the word, transient. She says, “Nothing lasts forever, everything is transient, even this future love of ours.” Transient is defined as something that is lasting for a short time; existing briefly; temporary. Mirene Arsanios quite cleverly uses this word to depict her constant skirmish that occurs between her conscience and her emotions regarding what love is. Furthermore, she says, “Obviously, I think, although what I’ve always known is becoming stranger to me.” I believe we, as readers, can often connect to this conflict. Although there are many times where we are put in predicaments where it would seem logical to make the proper choices in abandoning or discarding a particular scenario/circumstance, our hearts and emotions tend to hold on to that situation longer in finding a common means to stand by and/or see hope in improving that situation. To tie back into “April May June”, we see Arsanios constantly deal with this conflict of love’s main enemy being herself, in which she must decide whether it is logical to “stick to the script” when it comes to the identity of who she is and what she deserves in finding love, or to adapt to the abnormal in adapting to circumstances of love, with her relationship with Alec, that may not seem ideal to her regular standards.  

    1. Jayvon,
      What a pleasure to read your response this week. I love the work that you do with the word “transience,” exploring how this theme plays out in several moments of Arsanios’ text–both in relation to love (as something transient) and also in relation to her sense of her own identity (which, as something that is in flux, is a question in her text that you point out early in your post).

      Something that I think you might be able to dig into a bit more is this idea of “emotional labor” and the way(s) that Arsanios is playing with it. Is it clear what this term means (to you? to her?)? What might it refer to beyond the time and energy Arsanios spends trying to track down Alec? (It seems possible to spend time and energy doing something that you’re not emotionally invested in–more than a few college students will tell you this! So I guess my question is: what makes “emotional labor” “emotional”?) Also, in the context of feminism, it seems to be a commonplace to say that women are expected to do way more of the “emotional labor” in relationships with men. But here, Arsanios seems to suggest that people CHOOSE whether to do more (or less) emotional labor: can you say more about what this might suggest?

  3. The text, “April-May-June” by Mirene Arsanios, The narrator gives an open eye to the idea that love can be mentally and emotionally abusive and we sometimes don’t realize it. Sometimes we do and we just fall too deep that the abuse begins to feel good. Just by the way she describes her relationship with her boyfriend, Alec, it’s clear to see that he has a way with words that seem so beautiful but it’s almost like abuse when you really analyze it. Alec uses spoken communication so well on the narrator that it’s like he’s picking at her mentally. Such as saying things like “te quiero,” not exactly meaning ‘I love you’ or ‘I like you’ but more like ‘I want you’. It’s simply a confusing phrase made to make you overthink. How do you know what he feels between those three phrases? If he only wants me but doesn’t exactly love or like me am I wasting my time? Then the final brainbuster is “Am i overthinking?” Then, after busting your brain you decide to keep going with the relationship to see if the answers will be uncovered. As if his intentions were to make you do just that.  As I continue to read I realize that sometimes letting people mentally manipulate you can be a choice. But, does that necessarily mean you’re being manipulated? The narrator quotes a quote, “By loving someone, you love yourself less but that between love and non-love, love is preferable. It is the lesser of two evils.” If the narrator was able to quote that from someone else doesn’t that mean she knows she is being manipulated? To sit there and let yourself be manipulated is a prime example of ‘loving yourself less’ to please your loved one. This text is clearly a narrative that shows us that spoken communication is a stronger form of communication than text-based. I say this because it is spoken over a series of events that show a difference between text-based and spoken communication. Before the narrator went to see Alec in the text she was simply communicating through text messages in which he seemed to be avoiding her and there was no lie that she knew it. But, once they landed in the same presence she seemed to have forgotten about the fact that he was avoiding her. She heard him speak and simply forgot. She fell under his spell of manipulation. That leads me to the final answer that sometimes being manipulated can be a choice because to some people it feels good.


    1. Tessaya,
      Great close reading of the different possible meanings of the phrase “te quiero”; part of what makes your analysis here so strong is that you also show how the multiple meanings of this phrase can produce certain effects on the person to whom it is addressed. In this case, you suggest that the effect of this phrase is to confuse and manipulate Arsanios’ narrator–i.e., Alec’s lover.

      I also appreciate your engagement with the question of the differences between text-based communication and in-person spoken communication; however, I’m not quite clear from your current paragraph how you are sorting out these differences. At times it seems you think that the narrator and Alec’s text message conversation allows the narrator to know more clearly what is going on whereas speech appears to be more misleading. Is this what you’re saying? Would you go back over this and try to spell this distinction out a bit more clearly? Another thought is that you could break this up into multiple paragraphs, each with its own focus. That too might help with the clarity of your thoughts.


  4. I enjoyed reading The text “April-May-June” by Mirene Arsanios. The text is about a woman who is an unhealthy relationship. The author starts the text off with a quote that compares mothers and daughters. Asanios foreshadows for us the audience that her mother will be a significant character in her essay as it is later revealed with the toxic relationship she recalls her parents having. Arsanios paints a picture in her writing her descriptive style of writing is extremely captivating to me as it engages me to continue. This text is a narrative because Asanios is telling her story. I try to understand the sequence of the essay. I actually even started reading it from the last sentence to the first one with how she ended the text. She was I believe talking to her roommate and trying on custom clothes. The closing sentence was “The cotton is thick but it’s been a cool, breezy summer so far, like we’re being spared before being hit.” I was confused, I immediately thought did the Author write the text backwards. What was she saying before being hit? Was this before meeting Alec. I was a little frustrated with the ending. Overall I enjoyed reading this text. The meaning behind this text means a lot to me. When she said “Don’t quote me on this one but I read somewhere that Freud said that by loving someone, you love yourself less but that between love and non-love, love is preferable. It is the lesser of two evils. I started to research Freud’s theory and discovered he didn’t say that. So I like how she says
    Don’t quote me on this” and completely turned Freud’s actual theory on love which was in reality about ego’s and narcissim and in her mind used that to justify why she’s still in a toxic relationship.

    1. Great to read your thoughts, Brittny.
      This is a complicated narrative, as you point out, which jumps around in time more than once. It isn’t a simple, linear, chronological story line. Perhaps she’s trying to lead the reader into a kind of confusion that is similar to the one that the narrator feels while trying to love Alec–but let’s talk about this (unconventional narrative form) more in class.

      That said, can you spell out a bit more in your revision what it was in the closing line that threw you off? Is it the reference to summer? You might consider the title—”April-May-June”—and look through the text once more for references to time in order to help yourself sort out this confusion.

      As for love–and quoting, or mis-quoting–I’m glad to see you doing a bit of research as a way of furthering your interpretation of who the narrator is and why she is doing what she is doing. I’m persuaded to some extent by your suggestion that she is quoting (or mis-quoting) Freud as a way of justifying her being in a toxic relation. However, there are several texts by Freud in which he discusses love in a way that overlaps with the idea Arsanios attributes to him here. A couple texts by Freud you could look for, read, and write about in your follow-upresponse if you want: “On Narcissism” and “Observations on Transference Love.” Let me know if you can’t find them and I can get you them.

      All best,

      1. Hi Professor,

        We touched based a lot on this essay in lecture and I honestly hope we can talk to the author about this. I want to know the order of the essay. Did it make sense for me to even attempt to read it backwards? I like essay’s that engage me, makes me think and also do research. I started looking at “On Narcissism” and “Observations on Transference Love”. Reading Freud’s On Narcissm there is a part where he says “This sexual overvaluation is the origin of the peculiar state of being in love, a state suggestive of a neurotic compulsion, which is thus traceable to an impoverishment of the ego as regards libido in favour of the love-object”. Did he just suggest to be in love is to be neurotic? It’s so similar to my own essay draft and I’ve never read his theory on love before (haha, call me mini Freud). His entire theory on love and narcissism going hand and hand is so interesting. I wonder why Arsanios used Freud as an example. Is It because of his beliefs in love defines what she was going through?

  5. It was quite difficult for me reading and understanding the text “APRIL-MAY-JUNE” by Mirene Arsanios. The reason It was difficult is that the narrative jumps from one topic to another; it was more like reading someone’s mind. In most part I had no difficulty understanding it but with few I had no clue. I enjoyed reading the text and some of the parts had good humor. I think this text is more like spoken based writing because the narrative was being informal, and realistically presented his or her feelings. This text is a narrative because the author uses “I” and the text is not a “thesis”-based/argumentative essay form is because the text starts off in the middle of nowhere there is no intro or a conclusion, it was just sharing an experience not arguing on a specific topic such as climate change.
    One of the sentence that grabbed my attention is “Nothing lasts forever, everything is transient,even this future love of ours.” This sentence kinda explains what the whole text was about. She thinks this unhealthy relationship might not last forever.

    1. It was quite difficult for me to read and understand the text “APRIL-MAY-JUNE” by Mirene Arsanios. The reason It was difficult is that the narrative jumps from one topic to another; it’s was more like reading someone’s mind. Probably its been a while since I have read a narrative essay. I think this text is more like spoken based writing because the narrative was being informal, and realistically presented his or her feelings. This text is a narrative because the author uses “I” and the text is not a “thesis”-based/argumentative essay form is because the text stars off in the middle of nowhere there is no intro or a conclusion, it was just sharing an experience not arguing on a specific topic.
      One of the sentence that grabbed my attention is, “Nothing lasts forever, everything is transient, even this future love of ours.” This sentence explains what the whole text was about. She thinks this unhealthy relationship might not last forever. I liked this sentence because it is beautiful and deadly accurate.

  6. Forgive my ignorance, but after reading Mirene Arsanios’ text, I didn’t know what I read. If I were to summarize the excerpts provided, I would say that her piece was a culmination of spaced out inquiries centered around her personal life, and sprinkled with sexual references. Everything felt so scattered, and loosely connected. I wasn’t quite sure what message she was trying to convey through her experiences, or how I should feel while reading. Now, maybe I lack the creativity required to understand creative writing. Maybe I just don’t know how to analyze English Compositions. But the further I read, the more abstract the text seemed to get. While she became more and more inquisitive, I myself began to ask more and more questions.

    What’s the reason for the specificity of her setting description at the beginning? Were the Spanish phrases only significant because it was her “mother tongue?” What’s up with Alec? After the whole lying thing he seems like another person. Is he actually performing magic on Mirene? Is their relationship purely sexual, because it doesn’t seem like they’re even friends. Why do they sleep in reverse positions? What about Mirene is selfish? What’s the significance of the Nigerian fabrics? “Somewhere behind me, Alec is plowing trough the grass. Maybe tonight is the night he’ll strangle me and blame it on the moon.” Is this secretly a murder mystery? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!!?

    I think the ambiguity of the text is what sets it apart from a “thesis”-based/argumentative essay. It seems to be merely a collection of ideas and experiences, described and organized according to the author’s will. Maybe it has a larger meaning, or maybe it just serves as an account of the author’s emotions. It is extremely flexible and can contort to anything the author decides, contrasting the deliberateness and rigidity of a “thesis”-based/argumentative essay.

    “He sounds honest, almost genuine.”

    This sentence, made me question my understanding of the words “honest” and “genuine.” It’s easy to use them interchangeably, and I even thought that you couldn’t be one without the other. However, Mirene apparently sees a distinction between them. In this case, I think that Alec is honest in terms of fact, and almost genuine in terms of emotion. The order of the characteristics may be indicative of Mirene’s regard for them. By that I mean that though she has high regard for honesty (fact), she may have a higher regard for genuineness. It’s great that he’s telling the truth, but his emotion means more to Mirene, and so his near genuineness holds more weight than his honesty.

  7. In “April-May-June” by Mirene Arsanios, the narrator discusses the mental and emotional stress she deals with while in a relationship with Alec. It’s very frustrating when your lover doesn’t put in the same efforts you do in a relationship. I sympathize with her. Sometimes we don’t know how to handle unpleasant thoughts that linger in the back of our heads, and in this case, she feels too invested & attached emotionally to Alec. Deep down she knows it’s not good for her health to stay with Alec because it’s toxic, but its human nature to comfort ourselves in hopes to see the situation improve, which in most cases do but as much as it does it also doesn’t.

    Text-based is used to describe an informative article, while spoken communication is more of a podcast or a narrative told by the author, such as an audiobook. I think this excerpt is a narrative text because she likes to include little details as the story unfolds, for example: “In a neon-lit restaurant, a couple exchanges burger bites. Next to them, there’s an empty stroller”. In, comparison to a thesis-based/ argument there are a few differences; it doesn’t include any political conflict or any type of research made.

    “Don’t quote me on this one but I read somewhere that Freud said that by loving someone, you love yourself less but that between love and non-love, love is preferable. It is the lesser of two evils.’’
    I chose this quote in particular because the word choice was too good not to use for the task of choosing a quote. I think there’s a good reason for her not to include the context for this quote. And I think the reason for that is: it sounds genuine for the reader because its as if she is telling the story at first hand without any draft or over complications in her writing. Also, I liked the quote because it’s true that when you give all your love to someone else, sometimes you forget to love yourself and become independent in the approval of that individual. But even consciously knowing this, you still choose to love them because it is far better than feeling lonely.

  8. In the text APRIL-MAY-JUNE by Mirene Arsanios, I found a lot of things interesting, I found this passage very pleasing to read, it felt as if I was inside her thoughts and it was a passage that had a story, where it contributed to our 5 senses, I say this because every text she presented, had an image along that the reader can easily see in their mind while reading. This passage has many meanings to it, it could easily be interpreted in many ways when I read the first few lines and the first paragraph, I had to go over it a few times to actually interpret it .when she stated ” Irrigaray wrote somewhere that self-sacrificial and male-devoted culture is passed down from mother to daughter. it made me think of women sacrificing for males desire or women have that card of sacrificing a lot, as confusing this sounds,it made me tie on the word sacrifice.i also found interesting when she stated “by loving
    someone, you love yourself less but that between love and non-love, love is preferable. It is the lesser of two evils.” this made me think of her whole passage, and made me think that her bf was a toxic trait to her but she remains because love is better than no love. in the passage, she seems to know that he doesn’t show as much interest as she does but she still feels in a way attached emotionally and physically and makes it look in a way that her boyfriend is manipulating her in little ways .

  9. I have to admit: Reading through April-May-June was not an easy task. Mirene Arsanios’ unique style of scattered storytelling was initially difficult to endure. I was stuck on the first paper for a while, trying to understand the story line and underlying meaning behind the title (since the story begins with the month September). Reading for me is something I enjoy only when I know and familiar with the genre and description of the overall plot. Going straight into April-May-June was like jumping straight into a movie 25 minutes in without seeing any of the trailers. This greatly differs from a “thesis”-based essay because there is no clear purpose behind these stories. There was no message or argument needed to be made to the audience or reader, convincing them which side is superior. There were a number of questions that jumped out as I continued on: Were these true stories? Were these real people? Who is the main character, if it’s not in fact the author, Mirene? There might be a reason for Mirene to share the twisted love story of the unnamed first person character and Alec, but it’s just not explicit for me, the reader, to figure out. However, I did find myself imagining myself as the main character, which I found to be interesting. Riding my bike across town towards Alec’s, sending the unread texts, walking barefoot under a full moon. None of these visualizations and self-insertions is normally possible in a straight-forward argumentative essay.

    He forces a smile. “ I wasn’t expecting you,” he says. “But we texted two hours ago. These three lines are the most interesting to me. It truly reveals the miscommunication, or lack of consistent communication between the two lovers. They never seem to be on the same page or at least not consistently in agreement. “Mirene” is longing for Alec’s attention throughout, while Alec is only present when he wants to be. He’s a spirit that comes in and out of Mirene’s life, or in other terms – an unreliable (Tinder) romance.

  10. After reading Arsanio’s excerpt I found it interesting and captivating how the author left the excerpt open to interpretation. In the excerpt Arsanio described the dynamics of Salma and Alec’s relationship as having a lack of communication and trust issues. Arsanio led me to the conclusion that there was trust issues in the relationship because of the way Samantha reacted to Alec saying his phone died. In the text it said that Sama had texted Alec to tell him she was saying his phone died. In the text it said that Sama had texted Alec to tell him she was coming over and when she went to his house and waited fourty minutes and he never came. After she didn’t get to see Alec she started talking about him with her friend Gaby and she seemed like she didn’t want to be in a relationship with him anymore. In the text when Sama was talking to Gaby about her and Alec’s relationship it stated that “In the morning at 11am I received a text from Alec saying that he just saw my message…“Its possible” she says.’’ After Gaby and her discussed why he didn’t answer his text messages Sama takes what Gaby said about his phone possibly running out of power into consideration it she still didn’t believe him. Sama then stated that she “she is also certain that he received her message however he just he just chose to ignore it. When Sama talks with Alec he sounded “honest, almost genuine but she knew that he was lying. This shows us that there has to be trust issues within the relationship for Sama to think he is lying to her. After confrontingAlec about him not answering her and when he told her what happened she felt as if he was honest and sincere about what happened. After reading this excerpt I learned the dynamics of the relationship between Sama and Alec and it is clear hat Arsanio wanted to show us that there were difficulties and doubts within the relationship. Arsanio showed us that Sama didn’t have much trust in Alec and she often didn’t have much trust in Alec and she often found herself thinking about leaving him. Although Arsanio didn’t tell us that Sama left the relationship however Arsanio left it to interpretation which allows there to be different outlooks on this excerpt. By Arsanio leaving the ending open to interpretation makes it more captivating and interesting because every leader can interpret the excerpt and have a different perspective and outlook on the reading.

  11. When reading Arsanio’s text “April – May-June” I found it to be a bit confusing how Mirene Arsanio’s was going all over the place. Mirene Arsanio’s never really focused on one topic she went from topic to topic which made it hard for me to understand the concept of the story. At first when I was reading the story I thought that she was discussing the unhealthy relationship between Alec and Salma. After reading over the story another time I realized that Mirene was taking abut her personal life and that this was a narrative because she uses “I” which shows me that she was talking about her own relationship. One sentence that stood out to me is “Nothing lasts forever, everything is transient, even this future love of ours.” This sentence stood out to me because I believe it is describing how Mirene had a lot of ups and downs in her relationship with Alec. Although Mirene wanted her relationship with Alec to last I believe she came to the realization that nothing last forever so that means her relationship won’t last forever. The choice of words that Mirene used in this sentence perfectly describes what was discussed throughout the reading which is that there were struggles in relationship which made her question certain things within her relationship. This sentence also stood out to me because people can easily relate to this sentence since nothing last forever in life. In my opinion Mirene Arsanio’s choice of words matched her unique style of writing.

  12. While reading Arsanios’ text “April-May-June”, it definitely seems like the author is in a one-sided relationship. Alec clearly doesn’t care for her as she does for him. He does not communicate properly with her. What makes this text Narrative is all the details she includes like the time and setting, which drives the story. What makes this different from a thesis-based essay is that this is a story with imagery and dialogue, vs quoting sources and following a format. “In September Salma is convinced that people get the illness they desire. “It’s ok if you want to do the emotional labor, if you can only be yourself by losing yourself,” she says.” This quote establishes a time and inserts some dialogue and it intrigues me as a reader.

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