spiteful

Spiteful: adjective, full of spite,  petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart

Beloved by Toni Morrison: “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the¬†children.”

From this word i came to know that there was all painful things going on around that place 124.

Reading schedule for Beloved

With the midterm behind us, we can begin looking forward to Spring Break. With Spring Break, we can begin to think about¬†Beloved! Remember to get your copy: ISBN 978-1400033416. We have several weeks devoted to our discussion of Toni Morrison’s acclaimed novel, and we’ll use the time to consider how our study of fiction can apply to a longer text, how we can bring research into our examination of the novel, and how we can consider film within our study of narratives–all really exciting opportunities!

We meet again on Wednesday, April 3rd. By then, please read pages 2-64. For the following Monday, April 8th, please read through page 98. We’ll check in then to see how the reading is going. We want to be sure to get through this section of the novel before we go to the Brooklyn Historical Society on April 10th and 15th, where we’ll have the chance to look at slave indentures and runaway slave advertisements, to put some of what we read in¬†Beloved into context.

I’m looking for 10 bloggers to write posts during Spring Break–by end of the day on April 1st, and for everyone else to comment on those posts. Please reach out to me if you want to volunteer–otherwise, I might reach out to you to ask you to volunteer.

Enjoy reading Beloved, and have a rewarding break.

Additional midterm-exam information

Some of you have asked about the short-answer portion of the midterm exam. Here’s a description: there will be a list of terms from “Elements of Fiction” (don’t forget to look at all the sections of the site, not just the home page!) and from the list I posted on the blog (there is a lot of overlap, but some terms are only in one place or the other). There will also be a list of passages from our readings this semester. You will have to identify which term is an appropriate label for that passage AND explain why in a sentence or two. There might be more than one right answer, for example, if a passage is an example of first-person narration and setting–either would be correct in that case. You will not get credit, though, if you do not provide an explanation of why it is the appropriate label, since I won’t know if you know the terms or are just guessing.

Bonus points for correctly identifying the source of the passage!

Also, I added a new poll to the sidebar–I’m curious to know your interests for the essay topics. You can choose up to three in the poll.

Midterm exam questions

In a well-developed essay, consider how two of the short stories we have read this semester compare in their approach to one of the following issues, topics, or themes. Compare two examples from each story, using quotations from your quotation sheet as evidence to support for your thesis-driven essay.

  1. the treatment of characters exhibiting signs of mental illness or instability
  2. the significance of setting details, including their symbolic significance
  3. the inclusion of the supernatural or inexplicable in what is otherwise natural, of-this-world, or rational
  4. the intricate relationship between freedom and death
  5. marriage as restrictive and empowering

(on the exam, this will be a list of three, so be sure to prepare three of the five to guarantee one of your preferred options will be available to you on Wednesday!)

Your essay should be 500-600 words‚ÄĒif you‚Äôre writing 5 words per line, that‚Äôs 5-6 pages in the blue book, fewer pages if you get more words per line. There‚Äôs no need to count all of the words: check to see roughly how many words you write per line on a few lines, then multiply that by 20 (lines per page) and the number of pages you have. When you include a quotation, even though it is already on your quotation sheet, I ask that you copy it into your essay. Rather than using whiteout or making a mess, when you need to make a correction, just cross out what you want to delete.

To get started, you should use the time before the exam to plan your three possible essays. On Wednesday, take time at the start of the exam to think about what you want to write, and use the blue book to write down notes before you start writing the essay. There’s no need to skip every other line, but you might want to skip a line or two between paragraphs to give yourself space to add in any additional words or sentences when you re-read your essay.

Don’t forget–there will be short-answer questions to start the exam.

If you have questions, feel free to ask them here. Here’s one to start us off: what’s a draft of a thesis statement for one of these essays?

notes for midterm exam preparation

1.mental health: Consider the way mental disposition is portrayed in the short stories “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner ¬†and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. How do the mental breaks or perks of the protagonists contribute to the development of the story. In what way are both women similar in their realities. Consider this in relation to the sort of¬†dementia¬†that plagues the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” as well as Emily’s mental state due to her fathers interference.

also consider: Mrs. Wright in “A Jury of Her Peers”; Mrs. Samsa in “The Metamorphosis”; Goodman Brown in “Young Goodman Brown”

also: consider how one character influences another’s mental instability

also: consider how one character influences another’s health, both mental and physical

2. In short stories setting is important because it is hard to portray certain feelings in such little space of time. Consider the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell. How does language help to portray the setting and help to show the mood and tone of the story. For example cold in “A jury of her peers” and dark in “Young Goodman Brown” as they pertain to each story. Show examples where words help to set the feeling or tone in that portion of the story.

compare with “The Yellow Wall-Paper”

“The Story of an Hour”–daytime, spring

something about symbolism in our understanding of setting: forest, springtime, etc

setting and its significance, symbolic significance

3. Consider the portrayal of the¬†strength¬†of women and the¬†influences¬†they have on¬†each other¬†in the following stories “The Cottagette” ¬†By Charlotte Perkins Gilman and¬†“A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell. Consider the lies told by the woman to either get something in “The Cottagette” when Malda changes to get Fords attention¬†lying¬†to him in showing that she is a domestic woman when she is¬†definitely¬†not. As well as the woman lie about the bird in the box. How do these actions help to¬†influence¬†the outcome of the story.

truth/lies

4-time

irony: short story, short life in “The Story of an Hour”

5-SUPERNATURAL/inexplicable: “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Metamorphosis,” “The Yellow Wall-Paper”

6-inside/outside and transformations, border-crossings

7-freedom vs. death: “the story of an hour”; “a rose for emily”; “a jury of her peers”; “The Metamorphosis”

8-marriage (vs. death? vs. freedom?) restrictive vs. enabling

9-reliable narrators?

Essay Questions (Midterm)

1. Consider the way mental disposition is portrayed in the short stories “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner ¬†and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. How do the mental breaks or perks of the protagonists contribute to the development of the story. In what way are both women similar in their realities. Consider this in relation to the sort of¬†dementia¬†that plagues the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” as well as Emily’s mental state due to her fathers interference.

2. In short stories setting is important because it is hard to portray certain feelings in such little space of time. Consider the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell. How does language help to portray the setting and help to show the mood and tone of the story. For example cold in “A jury of her peers” and dark in “Young Goodman Brown” as they pertain to each story. Show examples where words help to set the feeling or tone in that portion of the story.

3. Consider the portrayal of the¬†strength¬†of women and the¬†influences¬†they have on¬†each other¬†in the following stories “The Cottagette” ¬†By Charlotte Perkins Gilman and¬†“A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell. Consider the lies told by the woman to either get something in “The Cottagette” when Malda changes to get Fords attention¬†lying¬†to him in showing that she is a domestic woman when she is¬†definitely¬†not. As well as the woman lie about the bird in the box. How do these actions help to¬†influence¬†the outcome of the story.

Fiction: terms for study

These are the terms we reviewed in class at the beginning of the semester, plus the few more that we added to our list of terms. Many of them come from Ann Charters’s ‚ÄúElements of Fiction.‚Ä̬†You should review them and be sure you know what they mean, (especially the terms for different types of narrators for Essay 1)!

plot: the series of events that give a story its meaning and effect: what happens

rising action: the events in which the drama intensifies, rising toward the climax

climax: the most dramatic and revealing moment, usually the turning point

falling action: when the drama subsides and the conflict is resolved

protagonist: the central agent in generating its plot, and this individual can embody the story’s theme

antagonist: the character or force in conflict with the protagonist

round character: a complex, fully developed character, often prone to change

flat character: A one-dimensional character, typically not central to the story

characterization: The process by which an author presents and develops a fictional character

setting: the story’s time and place, as well as its historical moment or its social context

first-person point of view: narration identifiable by the use of the pronoun “I”

second-person point of view: narrator uses “you” to addresses reader

Third-person point of view: narration¬†doesn’t use “I”;¬†occurs when the narrator does not take part in the story

omniscient narration: when the narrator includes information from anywhere, including characters’ thoughts and feelings. (omniscient=all-knowing)

limited narration: when the narrator can relate what is in the minds of only a select few characters

objective/dramatic narration: when the narrator doesn’t have access to characters’ internal thoughts or background information about the setting or situation.

homodiegetic narration: when the narrator is part of the story-world–a character within the story. This would be a first-person narrator,¬†and can also be called a character narrator.

autodiegetic narration: when the narrator is the protagonist. This is a sub-set of homodiegetic narration

prolepsis: a change in the order of the story representing a flash-forward

analepsis: a change in the order of the story representing a flashback

focalizer: a character whose point of view or thoughts the narrator represents–most closely represented in “Elements of fiction” as a¬†point-of-view character. There can be multiple focalizers in a narrative. The narrator is the focalizer in a homodiegetic, or first-person, narration.

diction: the word choices the author makes to tell the story

tone: the story’s attitude toward its subject matter–it can be earnest, sarcastic, humorous, etc

theme: the meaning or concept central to the story

image: descriptive language that engages on of the senses, such as a visual image that makes the reader imagine what something looks like, or a tactile images that depicts what something feels like, etc

symbol: a repeated image that comes to take on a larger meaning in a given story

allegory: a story in which the symbols, characters, and events represent a different metaphysical, political, or social situation that elevates the meaning of the story

 

Brooklyn Trip

The ¬†Brooklyn Historical Society was a really good¬†experience¬†I have never been to it before and getting to¬†explore¬†around as well as check out the treasures was a really good¬†experience.¬† BHS has many rare collections about¬†Brooklyn’s¬†past and I’m sure it will have more from the now to show off late in the future, I found it interesting to see maps and photographs but back then, I could picture Brooklyn and how it was back then. The Atlas of New Utrecht, 1874 gave me some idea about the urbanization of Brooklyn. it showed how streets as wells as territory was¬†divided¬†back then, i also found it interesting how back then one single person could own a large portion of land. Development companies bought the farmer‚Äôs land and made it commercial by plotting the land and constructing buildings and apartments houses. Over all it helped me to fully understand the story and gave me a mental picture of how the borough was like back then

Tagging stories

In class on Wednesday, 3/13, we tagged the stories we read with words and terms that might help us think more about overlaps we could find among the stories. Here’s what we had to say:

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Cottagette”

equality, domestication, gender roles, romance, happy endings? domesticity, gender roles, feminism, role of gender, roles, Chinese take-out, doesn’t have to stay in the kitchen, conformity, utopia, happy ending (?), domesticity

Franz Kafka, “The Metamorphosis”

grotesque, nightmare-fuel, entombed, unconditional¬† vs conditional love, physical/ emotional change, gross, unordinary, euthanasia, transform, change, acceptance, metamorphosis, plot, bug, insect, ill, family, finance, metaphor, discrimination, transforming, family, creation, absurd, deformity, family, vermin, family values, family reliability, different living world, responsibility, disability, repugnant, unexplained,”The Fly”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wall-Paper”

sickness, mental, psychological, hallucination, creepy, craziness, mental illness, loss of freedom, mental breakdown, illness, ignorance, brainwashing, confining marriage, gender role in society, you’d think yellow was a happy color, feminism, psychoanalysis, physicians, marriage, freedom, “rest cure” doesn’t work, caring vs hurting, consequences of bad marriage, gothic, dystopia

Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”

what is true love?, elixir, freedom, blind persistence, freedom–not!, shame she didn’t live, freedom, marriage, illness, love, free, freedom, dark, 3rd person limited, love–who needs it? heart trouble, physical exhaustion, “freedom,” life, heart attack, lack of freedom, desire of freedom, unhappy marriage

Susan Glaspell, “A Jury of Her Peers”

woman-centric, women’s intuition, poor Mr. Wright, two wives, crazies, detective story, mystery, crime, judgmental, neighbors, women know women, confining marriage, importance of details

Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown”

Faith, damnation, symbols, allegory, distrust, forest, pink ribbons, forest, journey, evil, corruption, hallucinations vs. supernatural, hidden identities, reasons the Puritans aren’t really around anymore, demonic, godless, confusing, dream or not, young love, mystery, moral, ancient, faith, dreams, metaphors, Old English [**just have to say–this is NOT Old English. If you want to see what Old English looks like, or Middle English, or Early Modern English, in contrast to Modern English, you might check out this website, among many, many others. Thanks for listening!**]

William Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily”

crazy, haunting, death, forever and ever, pity, caring vs. hurting, loneliness, dilapidated, lonely life, Southern Gothic, loving dead, possessive, loneliness, china painting, iron-grey hair, mystery, crime, horror, past/future, 3rd person dramatic [***just to be clear, though, this story is told from a first-person plural point of view. The narrator is the people of the town. We could call this homodiegetic narration***], taxes, grotesque

Thomas Wolfe, “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn”

humor, Brooklyn, history, New York City, the map, Bensonhoist, big guy knows how to swim, transportation, directions, past, getting to know places, locations, settings, train, Brooklyn, vast, big, tour, Brooklyn, accent, NY, 1st person unreliable, enormous, unknowable, knowledge of Brooklyn, historical, accents/diction, maps, Brooklyn, Bensonhoist, Brooklyn history, culture, setting, ingenuity, visual descriptions, Bensonhurst, Red Hook, Coney Island

Brainstorming for the midterm exam

As you well know, our midterm exam will be on March 20th, the last time we meet before Spring Break. In preparation for that, and to make sense of what we’ve worked on for the first half of the semester, we’re going to devote class time today and Monday, March 18th, to an examination of the stories we’ve read and to the overlaps we find among them.

The midterm exam itself will include ten short-answer questions asking you to define or identify terms, and one essay question that will ask you to compare two stories in a specific way. We will develop possible essay questions together in class today–they will each be based on a comparison of some element of two stories. For homework, write a blog post in which you advocate for two or more of these questions to be included among the choices you will have. In your post, consider any of the following questions:

  • What does answering the question allow you to understand about each story?
  • How does the question allow you to further explore the stories?
  • What does the comparison bring out?
  • What examples and quotations would you use in your response?
  • What thesis statement would you include?

In class on Monday, we will narrow the options down to 5 possible essay questions. On the exam, I will include only three of those questions, and you will have to answer one. You will be allowed to bring one sheet of quotations into the exam, which you will use to include evidence in your essay. After the exam, I will collect the quotation sheet along with your exam booklet.

For the essay, you will not be able to use the story you wrote about for Essay #1.

I’m happy to answer any questions in class, or you can reply here with more questions.

Visiting the BHS

Our class took a trip to the Brooklyn Historical Society last wednesday to learn more about Brooklyn. Although i visited the BHS in another class about two semesters ago, it was still a wonderful experience in which learned alot about Brooklyn. The last time i went on a trip to the BHS it was for a history class in which we researched vaudeville and were assigned to write a research paper on the subject. So going the Brooklyn Historical Society was a big help on giving me enough information to write that research paper. The last trip was basically the same as this trip except for the fact that we researched vaudeville and used the back room of the library to have the research session. In fact im almost positive that the two women that were presenting were the same ones that presented to my history class last time about a year ago.
This trip was focused mainly on researching Brooklyn itself and its history. the material that i researched in my group were mainly maps of brooklyn which showed different historical facts about its development. There were also some photographs which illustrated how like was back then in that time period, which was around the 1920s. I was unable to take any photographs of the materials because unfortunately my phone died prior to entering the BHS. I will however describe what the photographs and maps displayed. The first piece was a map of Brooklyn in 1925 which displayed what the original streets were made out of. the second map displayed how Brooklyn was divided into sections or towns. The other two photos hat i viewed were merely pictures of the daily lives of people who were living in brooklyn during that time period. Although the materials that i viewed gave me a deeper understanding of Brooklyn and it’s history, i was still left with a few questions. first of all, what a the main mode of transportation during that time and why did Brooklyn seem so much larger back then than what it is now? Hopefully we will be able to revisit the BHS sometime during this semester so I could get an answer to some of these questions.

Dropbox

I’m having trouble accessing my dropbox account. I was able to open it yesterday when I signed up from my home computer. Now I’m trying to do it from one of the school computers and its telling me that there is no account under my email. HELP!?

The streets of Brooklyn

I’ve known Brooklyn for sometime now but the visit to the BHS gave me more understanding on what Brooklyn stands for in the state of New York. Seeing the map of the place showed how big and unique of this borough is. The picture of the man and boy taken at the Coney Island beach tells us how important this place is in the history of the borough.
One important observation I’ve always made is the name of some streets. Very close to the BHS are pineapple, orange and cranberry street. I asked about the reason for the names but the ladies there said there was no record of how they were named. They said Gabriel Furman, a nineteenth century brooklyner wrote that that most of the streets in Brooklyn were named after important figures as its done in most places and other names were given by real estate personnel to make places sound nicer that they looked in order to attract people in those neighborhood but when it got to those streets I mentioned earlier, he only said they were fancier, wymstical among others.

 

Getting to know more about Brooklyn is exciting

I enjoyed my visit to the Brooklyn Historical Society because we got to see the old maps and photos from the late 1800s and it was interesting to see how things have changed and stayed the same since then.

When I moved to Brooklyn a few years ago I instantly fell in love with it and wanted to learn more about the area. Brooklyn is rather large so getting to learn a little of its history was fun. I enjoyed the story ‚ÄúOnly The Dead Know Brooklyn‚ÄĚ because the ‚ÄúBig Guy‚ÄĚ in the story is curious about Brooklyn just like I was when I first moved here and still am.

Sometimes I bike around Brooklyn with no real destination in mind and I feel like at the end of the story when the Big Guy speaks of ‚Äúdrowning‚ÄĚ in Brooklyn he is referring to drowning in a river of curiosity because there is so much to see and learn about Brooklyn. I can relate to that feeling very well and I think I feel the same way The Big Guy feels toward Brooklyn.

At the Brooklyn Historical Society, I saw a map in 1874 and a photo in 1958. (for details, see below). Even though things may have changed as far as what they look like now, I think the division of the areas of Brooklyn are mostly the same as far as the map goes. In the photo you can see a real change with the train station being simpler and the all houses being lower.

Map: Atlas of New Utrecht, Kings County, New York, 1874
from Brooklyn Historical Society

Photo : View From N. end of 62nd s. station B.M.T. 60th st. looking N.E. 1958
from Brooklyn Historical Society[gallery]