Sunday, November 13, 2011

Contemporary Poetry

This poem seemed like a run on about everything, but it seemed alright. Hope you enjoy!:)

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Flash Fiction

This story was about a guy having a prosthetic arm and how he does all this silly things with it. It was sort of funny and so I thought you guys might like it!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Donald Barthelme--"The School"

This short story starts out by talking about how a class of children are planting their orange trees at school. The teacher states that he feels like the children really aren't gonna learn anything because the trees are going to die and that will be it for that story. He also goes on to talk more about all the projects that he has for his class. For example, he talks of all the animals that have died like the fish, snake and even a puppy. He doesn't seem to be faced with all that has died and doesn't seem very worried about what the children might think. When they get the puppy, which was by total accident, he allows the children to keep it, but he knows deep down inside that the puppy will die too. When the puppy does pass away, he just tries to push that whole dilemma to the side and doesn't let the kids worry about his death.
When the children so start to ask about all the deaths that have gone on, the teacher has no reply. This is where I thought that maybe the teacher wanted the kids to wonder about what it means to live, but at the same time he was maybe sheltering them from the reality. The children come up with an awesome answer about death, but the teacher just doesn't want to say "yes! This is how things work out in life." This could be the typical story of infant sheltering.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Harrison Bergeron"--by Kert Vonnegut Jr.

This story is about George and Hazel living in a Utopian type world. They are set in a setting where they are sitting in their living room just trying to enjoy the tv, when all of a sudden something happens.
The speaker describes what it is like for this couple to live with all the rules and regulations such as the weights that are on George's neck. They are meant to slow him down and to make him just like everyone else. Also, the high pitch sounds coming from the ear piece in George's ear make him forget and not want to think. I think that the noise's are meant to stop them from actually thinking about what is going on in their lives and so they won't have "evil" thoughts about the government.
When they are watching TV, they hear an announcement about a man that has fled from prison, and he just happens to be their son. This man is described as a violent, horrible monster that needs to be imprisoned again. George and Hazel just sit and watch without any type of emotion, except for feeling sorry for the anchor man that couldn't read the message!
The man, Harrison, then appears in the TV set covered in metal pieces demanding for everyone to obey him. He says that he no longer wants to see the dancers dance a horrible dance and that he will demonstrate what is true dance. He also makes the people present to take off their ear piece so they can play "true" music. He seems to be having a good time enjoying the dance, but then the Handicapper General arrives and shoots the dancer and Harrison down. Meanwhile Hazel has witnessed the whole event and is crying at home, but can't ever remember why.
This to me seems like a fixed world in where people are not meant to have a mind of their own and they all have to be in the same category. Also, being smart is seen as bad and not acceptable. I would NOT like to see society fall into this type of scenario, but people now look at others that are not at their same level as if they are less and unimportant, which is NOT GOOD!!

"The Short Happy Life of Francis MaComber"

Francis MaComber is supposed to be a man with high riches and much power from England. He and his wife decide to take a trip to the wild side of Africa. They are set in a location that is meant for travelers that want to experience the hunting styles of the traditional Africans. At the very beginning, the story starts out with a feel of guilt and agony. The wife and her husband sit with Wilson, which is the man that is in charge of the couple, and they are talking about the hunt of the day and how it went terribly wrong for Francis.
Francis from the beginning seems intimidated by Wilson and he seems to not like letting his wife down. As the night goes through, Francis continues to think about how he didn't do well in his first hunting trip and lets the bad get to him. He has dreams and starts to hear a lions cry from a distance. The next day when they all get ready for their new adventure, Francis is nervous and can't control himself. They head out and he still feels that what happened on the first day will repeat itself. When they arrive at their hunting spot, Francis takes his shot, but misses a direct blow. With this, he puts himself down again and feels even more embarrassed. His wife after seeing his failure makes a decision of cheating on her husband with Wilson. Francis doesn't really take this well and is furious at the fact that he isn't being treated with respect.
The next day after their last hunting failure, they head out again to hunt buffalo. Francis is determined to do his best and hopes for the best. Once they get to their location, Francis can't control himself and shoots from his car. Wilson see's this as being bad for him and stops the car to warn Francis that he shouldn't shoot from the car. So they get down, and walk towards the buffalo so they can complete their hunt, but the buffalo attacks them instead. With this going on, Francis' wife shoots him in the head, supposedly trying to only help.
I honestly don't think that the wife was trying to help her husband because she was always trying to put him down. Also, Francis had started to feel more secure of himself and this made the wife very uneasy because she knew that he could leave her whenever he wanted to. This was just the perfect moment for her to kill him and be able to get away with it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"A Good Man is Hard to Find"--Flannery O'Connor

This short story is based on a trip that a "typical" American family is about to make. The family consists of a grandmother, her son and her son's wife and three children. They all live in the same home and have decided to take a trip to Florida. From the beginning, the grandmother does not agree with the location that they have chosen, but she still sticks along with her son. They start out the trip perfectly fine and try to keep a good timing of all their events. Along the way the grandmother chats away about all her past adventures and seems to be super happy. The family then decided to stop at a local barbecue/ gas station for lunch. They keep their visit short and head on to their destination. Once they were on the road again, the grandmother tells the two older kids about a secret compartment in a home that she once knew about and causes the kids to go crazy of the excitement. All the commotion and crying of the kids forces the dad to agree to their demands; so he took the dirt road that lead to the mystery house. Once they were on their way to the mystery home, the grandmother's cat awakes and jumps onto Bailey, the son, and causes the car to flip over. Once they recover from the accident, they see a car off at a distance and the grandmother calls for help.
The car heads their way and makes it to them just in time, but the grandmother becomes uneasy about who she sees getting out of the car. There were three men in the car and they were all run away's. The grandmother confronts the criminals by saying that she knows who they are. The criminals seem to not even be faced by the old ladies comments and proceed to "help" the family. They take the family one by one to the woods and are shot to death, except the grandmother that is left alone to talk to the head criminal called Misfit. She begs for her life, but Misfit has no mercy and ends up shooting her as well.
The whole time, this story seemed very typical because of the mommy's boy and the wife that never spoke up. Also, the sad thing about it is that there really are families like the one described in today's society. The mother could have just kept to herself and maybe things could have been different. Also, the children were the biggest BRATS that I could imagine! They were disrespectful and didn't mind to themselves. The children were also a big cause of the whole murder scene because the pushed their father to his breaking point. The wife in the story could represent all the typical daughter-in-laws that would rather stay quite then to hear their husbands mother fuss at them for stupid reasons, but she too didn't even speak up to her children when they misbehaved. The whole family didn't have communication which ended with their lives. 

Langston Hughes--"Harlem"

     Harlem, or also known as A Dream Deferred, is short and to the point, but the statements made in it are as bold as can be. Hughes starts out by asking a question of "What happens to a dream deferred?". I think that the line spacing that Hughes leaves after his first question is sort of like a gap for people to think about it before going on to read the next lines. Also, this question seems to have endless amount of answers so Hughes doesn't answer it, but instead puts out thoughts of his own onto the poem. 
     The lines that say," Does it dry up/ like a raisin in the sun?' seem to me like he is saying, is the dream that we dream vanished away just like when a raisin sits in the sun to shrivel up? Maybe it could be that that dream no longer can be maintained because of certain other reasons. 
     The next lines "Or fester like a sore— /And then run?" seem very vivid and gross! A festered sore is not something that anyone would like and maybe Hughes connection with this is to say that we might have that dream that sometimes gets very overbearing and in the end we would rather drop it before it gets even worse. 
     Towards the end he says," Does it stink like rotten meat?/ Or crust and sugar over—/like a syrupy sweet?", which to me is just the same or even worse than a festered sore! As he finishes up with his question, Hughes gets very vivid and imaginative with his response and maybe that has to do with the fact that when is anything sweet and perfect when it comes to dreams??? Hughes could be trying to just look at a reality that many others try to avoid just like when they avoid rotten meat or crusted sweets. 
     Lastly, Hughes says,"Maybe it just sags /like a heavy load./Or does it explode?" The heavy load that he is talking about maybe just means all the struggles that we have to go through in order to achieve what we want and sometimes things may not go right so that could be the explosion that Hughes speaks of. The whole poem from beginning to end seems very pessimistic and as if Hughes had no higher hopes or something went terribly wrong for him.  

Langston Hughes--"Theme for English B"

The story starts out by talking about an assignment that the speaker has to do for his class. He then goes on to describe himself and where he lives. He even goes in to detail about where exactly he lives which seems to be in a rural type area. Once he arrives to his home, he starts to think about what he is going to write about. He deliberates on what is true about him. For example, he questions what is an American??
With this question, he goes on to say that his teacher wants for his students to speak the truth about themselves, but he finds it hard to do because he would like to identify himself with his classmates or teachers, but sort of feels a restraint. He makes a list of things that he likes, but he then says that the "true American" also likes the same things, but they don't like to relate themselves with him or people like him.
I think that this story was trying to say that we all sometimes try to alienate each other , but that we are all somewhat alike in some points. Also, when Hughes says," You are white---/yet a part of me, as I am a part of you." , I get the feeling that he was trying to speak out and say that everyone is EQUAL! Maybe he was also saying that whether the typical American liked it or not, they were always going to have some type of tie with the "colored" race.