Category Archives: Classwork


Pilfer: to steal things that are not very valuable or to steal a small amount of something.

Used in “Beloved” on page 191 on the very top of the first paragraph.

Not just a rifle of corn, or two yards eggs the hen herself didn’t even remember, everything. Schoolteacher took away the guns from the Sweet Home men and, deprived of game to round out to their diet of bread , beans, hominy, vegetables and a little extra at slaughter time, they began to pilfer in earnest, and it became not only their right but their obligation.

I think that this meant that they began to steal in small amounts so as not to be noticed.

Possible topics for the final exam

  1. freedom
  2. sacrifice as altruism
  3. justice vs reputation
  4. selflessness vs selfishness
  5. family dysfunction
  6. strength from family
  7. companionship
  8. supernatural as reality
  9. self-discovery
  10. depression as motivator/paralyzer
  11. characters pushed to their limits
  12. time and storytelling


1. freedom (12 votes)

2. sacrifice as altruism (12 votes)

5. family dysfunction (11 votes)

6. strength from family (8 votes)

9. self-discovery (8 votes)

11. characters pushed to their limits (9 votes)

As you can see, there was a tie for the last spot. I can either randomly cut one that got 8 votes, I can cut one not randomly, or I can revise the two choices for family into one. Let me know if you have a preference–otherwise, I’ll choose and post my decision by the end of the day.


Remember: what’s up? how come? so what?

Instead of writing an essay, you will write:

  • your thesis statement
  • a paragraph supporting your thesis statement using the five-step method of incorporating quotations with a quotation from a text we read after the midterm
  • a paragraph supporting your thesis statement using the five-step method of incorporating quotations with a quotation from a text we read at any point this semester

Additionally, there will be quotation identification questions that ask you to identify title, author, element of fiction, and to explain how that element of fiction is represented in that passage.


Breakneck – : very fast : dangerously fast

Used in Beloved on page 52, the top of the page and the begging of the first paragraph.

Four days she slept, waking and sitting up only for water. Denver tended her, watched her sound sleep, listened to her labored breathing, and out of love and a breakneck possessiveness that charged her, hid like a personal blemish Beloved’s incontinence.

I think that this word describes how quickly Denver felt passive and drawn to Beloved, almost like a immediate obsessiveness that she felt towards her.

Pivotal Point of Beloved

The story of the birth of Denver merits significant attention. Two key things are happening to Sethe. She’s trying to leave Sweet Home and slavery on foot, and she’s about to give birth to Denver. Tired, hungry, with blistered feet, Sethe is nearly ready to give up hope about living through this when a girl, Amy Denver, appears before her. Amy is a nurturing and compassionate girl who works as an indentured servant.She helps Sethe when she is ill during her escape from Sweet Home, and when she sees Sethe’s wounds from being whipped, Amy says that they resemble a tree. Amy claims to be on her way to Boston to shop for velvet. Upon running into this poor woman on the verge of dying or giving birth (whichever should come first) Amy decides to help her through the experience. Amy leads her to a place where she can help Sethe be comfortable. I believe that this is the most significant pivotal point of the story because if Amy did not help Sethe when she was delivering her baby this story would of been completely different. Sethe lives for the only fact that she needs to take care of her children. She left Sweet House to start a family and if she had not given birth to Denver she might of stayed in Sweet Home.

The pivotal passage

Toni Morison covers many different scenes in different places. This differentiation makes the novel eclectic and keeps the reader’s mind busy and focusing in multiple scenarios. I believe the pivotal passage that would change the path of the whole novel if it hadn’t happened is when Baby Suggs got her freedom and moved to Cincinnati where she does work repairing shoes and owns her own house. So many events followed Baby Suggs freedom. Such as Garner’ death, and so forth.
Eliminating this passage from happening would raise many questions, would Baby Suggs be free? If yes, would she move to Cincinnati?
We can notice the effect of this scene and its importance in the novel. Many events following Baby Suggs’ freedom are relying on this particular scene.

Beloved Quote Proj. 2


In the story beloved  the Character Paul D seems like a nice guy; and very charismatic.


“{Not even trying, he had become the kind of man who could walk into a house and make the women cry. Because with him, in his presence, they could. There was something blessed in his manner}. Women saw him and wanted to weep–to tell him that their chest hurt and their knees did too. Strong women and wise saw him and told him things they only told each other: that way past the Change of Life, desire in them had suddenly become enormous, greedy, more savage than when they were fifteen, and that it embarrassed them and made them sad; that secretly they longed to die–to be quit of it–that sleep was more precious to them than any waking day. Young girls sidled up to him to confess or describe how well-dressed the visitations were that had followed them straight from their dreams. Therefore, although he did not understand why this was so, he was not surprised when Denver dripped tears into the stovefire. Nor, fifteen minutes later, after telling him about her stolen milk, her mother wept as well. Behind her, bending down, his body an arc of kindness, he held her breasts in the palms of his hands. He rubbed his cheek on her back and learned that way her sorrow, the roots of it; its wide trunk and intricate branches. Raising his fingers to the hooks of her dress, he knew without seeing them or hearing any sigh that the tears were coming fast. And when the top of her dress was around her hips and he saw the sculpture her back had become, like the decorative work of an ironsmith too passionate for display, he could think but not say, “Aw, Lord, girl.” And he would tolerate no peace until he had touched every ridge and leaf of it with his mouth, none of which Sethe could feel because her back skin had been dead for years. What she knew was that the responsibility for her breasts, at last, was in somebody else’s hands”.


Interpret: Paul D from my understanding seems very courteous, patient, smart, humble or maybe just an handsome because he was really like by the female throughout his community.

Analyze: The author started of the paragraph with:

Not even trying, he had become the kind of man….

Paul D has change for better; at this point he understand his life have a value. He’s kind and sympathetic and for that Paul D is well liked.

Apply: In the Story  Beloved,  Paul D played an very important role for the woman of 124. After his freedom he was happy to find somewhere with someone that he knew; 124 was the place to be. Paul D has change for better; at this point he understand his life have a value. He’s kind and sympathetic and for that Paul D is well liked.

In the story beloved  the Character Paul D seems like a nice guy; and very charismatic.  After his freedom he was happy to find somewhere with someone that he knew; 124 was the place to be. Paul D has change for better; at this point he understand his life have a value. He’s kind and sympathetic and for that Paul D is well liked.

The plague has began; sorry Sethe

The introduction of Beloved was the most pivotal point of this story. Beloved character set the stage for the development of the story in a more in-depth and vivid way:

“A FULLY DRESSED woman walked out of the water. She barely gained the dry bank of the stream before she sat down and leaned against a mulberry tree. All day and all night she sat there, her head resting on the trunk in a position abandoned enough to crack the brim in her straw hat. Everything hurt but her lungs most of all. Sopping wet and breathing shallow she spent those hours trying to negotiate the weight of her eyelids. The day breeze blew her dress dry; the night wind wrinkled it. Nobody saw her emerge or came accidentally by. If they had, chances are they would have hesitated before approaching her. Not because she was wet, or dozing or had what sounded like asthma, but because amid all that she was smiling. It took her the whole of the next morning to lift herself from the ground and make her way through the woods past a giant temple of boxwood to the field and then the yard of the slate-gray house. Exhausted again, she sat down on the first handy place–a stump not far from the steps of 124. By then keeping her eyes open was less of an effort. She could manage it for a full two minutes or more. Her neck, its circumference no wider than a parlor-service saucer, kept bending and her chin brushed the bit of lace edging her dress”.

Beloved existence created new reality for Sethe old forsaken way; but however, Beloved goal was to drain Sethe to her death bed. Sethe should learns to understand to live for now and quit dwelling on the past. Beloved made it obvious that she was total destruction; especially when she complicate the situation more by forcing herself onto Paul D. Paul D became confuse and run away from 124. Furthermore, Denver observed how Beloved change and take over Sethe life,  causing her to loose her wage and becoming whom Beloved look when she first arrived at 124.

The Arrival of Beloved

Beloved as we know is a very mysterious character in this novel. She leaves us with many questions but one main thought to think about is her contribution in the growth of each character. In other words, the arrival of Beloved is probably the most pivotal moment of this story. This is due to the fact that this mysterious character known as Beloved is the center of this story and pretty much is the heart of what goes on in this story.
124 Bluestone Road. A house located in Cincinnati and a main setting of this story.  This one address is where it all begins. It went through many phases of being loud and quiet however it’s a peaceful house that turned into a haunted house. Why has it become haunted? Reason is the arrival of our mysterious character by the name of Beloved. Beloved is what stirs the household with our characters around.
Moving through our characters, let’s start with our center. Sethe, a former slave who was sold at the age of 14 to the Garners of Sweet Home was a character who went through several children as a result from interactions with Halle. Later on in her life, she moves into 124 and meets Paul D which eventually leads to a sexual relationship. Soon, Beloved enters and without question, Sethe takes her in. An argument soon erupts regarding the truth behind Sethe leading Paul D to move. Beloved becomes someone Sethe cares for. She becomes the reason for Sethe’s existence. She spends almost all her time with and thinking about Beloved. That was until Beloved disappears for good. Without Beloved, Sethe has no where to go that is until Paul D finally returns. So pretty much without Beloved’s arrival, this whole argument and fracas would have never happened and life would’ve been much different and 124 would remain peaceful. Sethe wouldn’t have had any worries or regrets in her life.
Paul D was a major character in this story and had several interactions with Beloved. When Beloved showed up, Paul D showed some confusion. Paul D was known as the frail man with the “Tin Box Heart.” This was due to the many experiences he had as slave and as an escapee from Brandywine. He had no one to be with due to his brothers being dead. That was until he moved to 124 with Sethe. At this point, Paul D still had his “Tin Box Heart”. Beloved was the one who changed that into somewhat of a renewed Steel Beam Heart. After having sexual intercourse with Beloved, Paul D changed and evolved. Later on the story after Paul D moves out, Paul D returns after hearing what happened to Sethe as a result from Beloved’s disappearance. The Tin Can Heart is what Paul D was known for and it was an important symbol in the story. If Beloved didn’t arrive, he would’ve still remained frail and he wouldn’t have had to move out which would really change the story significantly.
To conclude this post, there’s more things to talk about when it comes to the reasons why Beloved’s arrival was very pivotal however the changes in Sethe and Paul D I believe sums this up. Our mysterious character that we call Beloved was the key to each character involved with 124 and without her, this story wouldn’t even be Beloved. It would probably be just a story about a family living in a utopia after slavery.

A comparison of The Stoy Of an hour to Richards worst day

Richard’s worst day by Keith Smith: Project 1

Personally I feel that “The Story of an Hour” is best told by Louise Mallard. To go through her emotions and feelings, really shows me the life of women in the late 19th century. At first you really think that being married is wonderful You have a home and children. You have a man who supports you. You are able to do things together, and you are never alone. So I have to assume that marriages were looked upon as the completion of becoming an adult. I would also assume that if you were not married, you might go through personal and public scrutiny. Lastly I would assume that the parents of the woman would chase away would be suitors, (which might be the woman’s true love) so she could marry into a better husband.

I decided to change this story to Richard’s view to show the uncomfortable position of a man in an emotional setting. I would know that as he was giving the news to other women he experienced a nauseous feeling from their reactions. But to tell the wife of his friend had to be very hard because it was more personable. He knew them well and could not tell her. Plus the fact that this is where he finally had to accept his own personal loss. The loss of his friend, Brently. This also enabled me to really tell this story in a unique way. What was Josephine going through, and what was he going through. I also need to show how Louise’s epiphany of having a new life, really made her happy. Josephine did not seem to realize this herself, the way the story was written. So I wanted to show a neutral view on what took place. I made him unmarried to portray a working man who has only his work to come home. I was trying to emphasize his uncomfortability with Louise.

I decided not to bring up the heart symptoms until it needed to be brought up. Because I know that when I read that in the first line of the story, I knew it was going to be the deciding factor of the ending. So I was not surprised when she died. I felt that if I am writing about Richard’s worst day, it was not about Louise. From the news of his colleagues dying in a horrible accident. The death of his friend. To witnessing Louise’s breakdown and death. And Brently going through a frightened panic of his wife’s death. I feel this would be a horrible day for anyone. By telling this story through Richards, I was able to show that even through all these emotions it would not be the cause of death for Louise. I was trying to show that Louise’s death came from losing the joy, of her of being finally happy. I felt that the confusion that Richards had, of seeing happiness on Louise’s face, was not something he expected. Changing the characters around really showed a different kind of story. The original was very eye-opening on Louise’s views of being married and the news of becoming independent. Where, as my story, is about a man and his uncomfortability with bad news, and events.


I also wanted to show more of Josephine. How she had to talk to her sister. How she wasn’t sure of what to do about her sister’s emotional health. Maybe I could have revealed what she knew about her sister’s unhappiness with her marriage, but I felt that the original story just did not leave me enough content to say it was true. Also when Louise finally came out, she held Josephine around the waist and walked with her. There was no mention of Josephine seeing the emotional change that Louise had. That was another reason I picked Richards. He would see the difference. I assumed there were vehicles in the story so I changed it to a horse drawn cart. How else would the doctor get there. Josephine had to get him. This also enabled me to keep Richards at the scene to really show his horrible day becoming worse. I also needed to change the ending that I had, to portray his point.

All in all I see now why authors choose how they write their stories. By telling them through a specific narrator, they can really provide a better picture of what they are trying to portray. They are able to provide the scene, thoughts and emotions. Using a reliable and unreliable narrator can give their stories a different feel. Allowing the narrator to use only the main characters thoughts only gives you an insight of how things unfold. In a story of an hour, it all made sense. Using a first person like I did, can only give you a certain feel of what is happening and changing the whole story around.

Richards Worst Day by Keith Smith

It was the worst day of my life. As I looked on, I could only feel the sadness of losing my friend Brently. But somebody had to tell her, and I was so glad that Josephine was there. Josephine was her sister, and I think Louise already knew that there was something wrong. Why else would Josephine and I appear at her home? But in a very careful way Thank God, she spoke slowly looking at her with teary eyes, as the words started to take meaning. “Louise, I have some bad news, but I feel I should be the one to tell you. Brently was on a train and well the train had a problem. Louise I’m very sorry to say that he did not make it.” At this point I looked down, I felt so helpless, and then I heard Louise cry uncontrollably and Josephine just grabbed her and held her close. The crying just continued and it tore me up inside because now the truth was so painful. My friend was gone and a lot of my associates that I had worked together with for a long time. Well I would never see them also.

Louise’s crying turned into sobbing as she let go of her sister. She then turned around and walked slowly to her room. Josephine decided not to walk with her, probably because she knew her sister just needed to be alone. I heard the locking of the door, which meant she was probably right. At that point I looked at Josephine, and said “ I‘m really thankful that you came with me. I don’t think I could have done this. Do you think she will be OK.” “ No” she said, “I mean nobody who loses their husband would be.” I then realized the stupidity behind that question. It was just I had never been married. But she was right. At that point, I asked her if she was going to stay with her. She said “maybe I can take her to my home for the night. I certainly don’t want her to stay here it might just make her even sadder.”

“Well, I think you are right. Maybe you could take her on a little getaway. It probably would be good for her.” She just looked at me, and I could see the wheels turning as what she should do next. “Yeah maybe a trip to the city or something”, she said. “But now we are going to have to make arrangements for his funeral, and then yeah a trip to the city.” She started to sob, and then said “I should go check on her.” “Yea that would be a good idea I guess”, I said. “I’ll wait here let me know if you want me”. I was hoping she wouldn’t. She said “Thank you I’ll be back.” She then walked toward her sister’s room.

She knocked softly and said “Louise, can I come in?” There was no answer. She knocked again, but louder. “Louise are you OK please let me in.” Again there was no answer. I got really scared at that point, because Josephine had told me that Louise had a heart condition. I saw that Josephine started to panic, and I said “can you hear her?” “Yes she is moving around.” She then got on her knees and put her mouth to the keyhole and said excitedly, “Louise open the door! I beg; open the door—you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.” And then I heard Louise.” Go away. I am not making myself ill.”

Well I am glad that she was alright, and my fear lifted. The emotions that swirled around me made me light-headed. And then I heard Louise unlock the door, and as she opened it, she came through and put her arm around her sister’s waist as if she was consoling her. There was something different about her. She walked erect and had this look like nothing happened. She almost seemed happy, but that couldn’t be. And yet the closer she came to me, she really seemed happy. I could not understand why though. Did Josephine notice it, I wondered.

All of the sudden I heard a noise behind me. It was the sound a latchkey and it was opening the front door. No it couldn’t be! They had confirmed his death in a second telegram. The door opened and to my surprise it was my friend Brently, and he was alive! And then I remembered his wife Louise and the uncontrollable sadness that she went through. Then I heard Josephine’s high pitched cry and I started toward Brently to take him outside, so I could explain to him what was happening. There was a thump and I turned around to see Louise had fainted and was lying on the floor. Brently rushed past me to aid his wife and yelled, “get a doctor here right now,” and before I knew it Josephine was out the door and in her cart. The horse drawn cart turned and headed down the road.  I turned around and asked;” is she OK”, and Brently looked at me, his face lost all color, and he started to cry. What was going on? Why was he crying? He kept repeating himself through his tears “Louise wakeup please Louise wakeup” as if he was trying to will her back to life. “Brently is she OK”, I asked again. But he didn’t hear me; he just kept talking to Louise: “Wakeup Louise Please wakeup.” My mind started racing with bad thoughts and I got down to help Brently.” C’mon let’s get her to a couch”, but he just pushed me away and kept rocking with her head in his lap.

When the doctor finished examining Louise, he motioned for Brently and Josephine to come with him. They were both crying still but I heard him tell them, “she seems to have suffered a heart problem and I cannot do anything else.” He then said “if what you told me Josephine, was true she probably was overcome with joy that Brently was alive. She did go through an emotional ordeal, and maybe it was too much. I will make arrangements to have her taken to the morgue”. It was a very bad ending to my day, even though Brently was alive, he lost his wife, who was also my friend. When I left, I realized that this was the worst day of my life. I left and got drunk.