Thursday, November 10, 2011

the Red convertable

Henry and Lyman were brother that lived on a reservation.  They shared a old red convertible with each other.  But now Henry owns all of it.  Lyman got his money for through various jobs.  He seemed to be lucky when it came to earning money.  At first he shined shoes in the American Legion Hall.  Then he sold spiritual bouquets for the mission.  The nuns at the mission let him keep part of the money.  Then he started to wash dishes at this restaurant then became the manager, then owning it.  But after one year as owner it blew down.  They saw the car with a FOR SALE sign in the window.  They immediately bought it.  Henry and Lyman drove may places in that old car.  The details didn’t matter to them.  But they do remember this place in willows.  They laid under trees and meet a girl called Sussy.  She needed a ride to her home in Alaska.  Her home was welcoming and they didn’t want to leave.  The family put them up and feed them.  The kids could ot get over the fact that the brothers didn’t look the same.  They had the same mother.  Soon they left that place and went down through Spokane, Montana along the Canadian border until they got home. It was at that point that the army remembered Henry and took him.  After sending two letters the enemy caught him and there he stayed for three years.   For the government the war was over, but for Henery it was still going on.  He didn’t come back the same.  He was quieter then usual, always moving around, never sitting still.  He was put under a spell  by the  TV. Lyman and his mom talked about sending to the doctor but they might keep him.  So Lyman decided to mess up the car to reach his brother.  It worked,  but in the end they drove it to the river and Henry went under the current.  So Lyman made sure the car followed him down the river. 

     When the story first started out I did not understand the beginning.  “ we own it (the car) together until his boots filled with water on a windy night and he bought out my share.  Now Henry owns the whole car and his younger brother Lyman (that’s myself), Lyman walks everywhere he goes.”  When I got to the end I understood it.  It kind of acts as a framing device for the story.  But the brother aspect of the story is interesting.  We learn  a lot about Lyman because he is the narrator, but not as much about Henry.  We learn that he was laid off from a job and that he is quiet and “built like a brick out house” with a big nose that was sharp as a hatchet.  After that we lear about the effects the war had on him, that he watches television with his had griping the chair or he became a loner.  He became jumpy and mean.  I do wonder why we don’t learn that much about his personality until after he is affected by the war.   I wonder what was actually on the television that made him keep his attention there for so long?  It also seemed like that brothers loved wondering.  They knew they had a home to go back to and their mother did not seem that too shook up about it.  I don’t think they cared where they went as much as they cared about the journey and the people they meet.  I think the reason why Susy stood out to them was because she had a family and they enjoyed their time there.  The Ending was sad, because Henry came to the realization that he won’t be normal again and he decides to commit suicide. Lyman sends the car in after him be

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

E.B White

Charlotte and Wilbur were alone in the Barn.  Wilbur’s safety was guaranteed and Charlotte was happy with this.  Wilbur asked why Charlotte was so quiet.  Charlotte said that she likes to sit still and that she’s always been rather quiet.   She was tired but peaceful in knowing that the success in the ring (which was also her success) helped to make sure that Wilbur would have a long life.  But she knew that her life was almost done and she would not make it back to the barn.  Willbur asked why Charlotte did all these things for him, such as saving his life.   “You have been my friend” said Charlotte, “That in itself is a tremendous thing.  I wove my webs for you because I liked you.   After all, what’s a life anyway?  We’re born, we live a little while, we die.  A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess with all this trapping and eating files.  By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that”  She then told Wilbur that she wasn’t going back to the barn, that is was to e her resting place.   Wilbur wanted to stay, but Charlotte talked him out of it.  Wilbur raced around the pin, searching his head for ideas.  Finally he decided to save Charlotte’s babies, but the egg sac is up near Charlotte and he can’t reach it.  Willbur runs to get Templeton to get the egg sac. “So It’s old Templeton to the rescue again” said Templeton.  Wilbur begs Templeton to help, but he feels in appreciated for all the times that he has helped Wilbur with the dump.  Wilbur promises Templeton first picks in the slop from now on and Templeton saves the egg sac.   Charolette’s family line survives because of him.
            I think asking about the purpose of one’s life important, whether or not you find the answer is up to you, but you can also make a choice about it.  This is most likely the case for Charlotte.   Through the line, “After all what’s a life anyway?  We’re born, we live a little while, we die.”  It is kind of a nihilistic way to look at ones life, but she is not a nihilist though, since she finds a purpose.  It might be that Charlotte, (if she was a human) is an atheist.  In regards to her death, she doesn’t make a reference to any god or spiritual element.  She is just happy that she was able to make a friend and help to save his life.  There also the topic of being unappreciated.  Templetion has done a lot for Wilbur, but almost never gets  a thanks.  I almost questioned if he would get Charlotte’s children, but in the end he rescued them.  But you would also have to ask what woud have Wilbur done if he didn’t?  Pigs are know to eat almost anything.  Would have Wilbur eat him if he didn’t save the children?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The School!

Everything they tried to take care of died.  The latest thing they took care of was a plant.  The school figured that it should be a part of their education to learn about the root system.  There were 30 kids, so there were 30 dead trees in the ground.  It was pretty sad; having a bunch of little kids just staring at the ground, wondering what went wrong.  It probably had something to do with the soil.  But before that it was the snakes.  The snakes were left in the school during the strike, and the boiler was turned off, so the kids knew what to expect.  Before that was the herb garden.  They probably over watered it. Then there was the fish and that was expected.  But no one expected a puppy.  The Murdoch girl found it under a Gristede truck.  She was afraid that the puppy would have been run over by the truck.  They named the puppy Edgar, after the teacher.  The kids found this amusing and the kept the puppy in the closet. It too also died, but I made sure that the children didn’t see it.  I gave it to the custodian.  Then there was the Korean orphan that the children adopted through the Help the Children program.  But then the child died.  His name was Kim and the kids felt pretty bad about it.  They felt as thought something was wrong with the school.  Then 9 parents passed away and we had the tragedy with Matthew Wein and Tony Mavrogordo.  Then one day they asked the teacher, where did they go and he said nobody knows.  They said “Is death what gives life meaning?” And he said “no life is that which gives meaning to life.”  Then they said “isn’t death, considered as a fundamental datum, the means by which the taken for granted mundanity of the everyday may be transcended in the direction of…..
It was at this point in the story that I came to the realization that these kids might not be normal.  With the many deaths surrounding the school, I was with the teacher in the thought that it was just a series of very unfortunate events.  But then the children showed an intelligence that wasn’t expected of them.  But it never says what grade they are in.  Yes, they are called children in the story, but most teachers in grade school call their students children.  As a whole the story is morbid, but bot gory or scary.  You just get an overall sense that something might be wrong.  That the children might be unnatural or advance might throw off the reader.  The Author plays with the sense of development, but the children ask questions about death that any child would ask, only with bigger concepts.  The reason we find it off putting because they use terms and concepts that they should know and are asked to be show these concepts, like sex.  In it’s most basic form, it is the fear of big words in a way.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I saw the best of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking of an angry fix, angel headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the Machinery of the night.  Some of them bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw dreams of Arkansas and angels.  Other drank drugs and remains in unshaved rooms in their underwear, burning the things that made food possible for them.  Some of them made connections in white padded rooms, while other waited for Moloch to collect a sacrifice.
                Howl by Allen Ginsberg comes off as critique of his whole generation, while also understanding it.  He sounds disappointed by what has happened to it, but understands how they got to that point.  It is like you and your friend has an addiction to the same drug, but you are able to pull yourself out of it, but you see that your friends are still following self-destruction.  You are disappointed, but you understand why they can’t stop.  It also feels like a collection of experiences and actions that Ginsberg has gone through. “Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness” seems like when the generation became decadent in comparison to lines like “Burning their money in wastebaskets.  It also sounds like they were trying to disconnect from the system.  “Who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow towards lonesome farms.”  While part one sounds like a description of the hipster/beatnik generation, the second part deals with Moloch, who is an ancient Semitic God.  He is usually involved with child sacrifice, but most of the time he is used as a presentation of something that requires a costly sacrifice.  By using Moloch as a god figure, is Ginsberg saying that for his generation to receive the perception and outlook they have acquired, they had to sacrifice their own personal future and placement in society?  The last section deals with Ginsberg and his friendship with Carl Solmen, who he meets in a mental hospital.  Solomen and Ginsbergs both entered of their own free will and start to talk about their experiences.  Ginsberg felt sympathy for Solomen, who related his experiences to him, such as throwing potato salad at lecturers on Dadaism.

(Sidenote: I also found this video that I think is amusing, which is a ......companion piece, I don't really know what to call it, a howl for the modern age?)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Harrison and Equality

     In the future everyone is equal and they don’t have a choice.  It is against the law to have any advantages over anyone.  There are even agents of The United States Handicapper General that disable everyone.  If you are too smart, they put limiters on your mind.  If you think something too advance, then they destroy it.  The limits also extend to the physical.  If you are too beautiful, you have to put on a mask that makes you ugly.  Too big or strong, 300 pound weights for you!  For George and Hazel things are….average.  But they had a child called Harrison.  Harrison was seven feet and was more advance then everyone else, but that means he had more disabilities then everyone else.  He was recently taken away and Hazel was crying about it.  But because of the handicaps could not remember what she was crying about.  They were watching ballerinas on the television.  Because of the handicaps they could not perform to their greatest ability.  You could tell the one that is the most beautiful because she had the heaviest weights and a horrible mask.  Hazel thinks it would be a joy to hear all those sounds that the Agents send into people’s head to destroy their thoughts.  She thinks she would make a good Hanicape general.  Hazel even looked like the General, Diana Moon Glampers.  Just then George start to think of his abnormal son in a positive manner, but the 21 gun salute that was in his head stopped that.  In a news builitin their son was brought up on the screen, saying that he broke oout of jail and was warned not to try to reason with him.  Then Harrison showed up at the studio, tearing the hinges off the door.  His footsteps sounding like a earthquake.  George reconized that it was his son, bit the sound of an automobile in his head caused a pain that closed his eyes.  When they were open again, the picture of Harrison was replaced by the geniue article.  Harrison tore off his restraits and he declared himself Emperor.  He asked for a mate and the beautiful Ballerina stood up.  He removed her restrains and they dance.  But Diana Moon Glampers came through some doors and shot both of them dead.
Things taken to a logical extreme as a joke or a social commentary are most of the time funny.  But if it is applied in real life, then it becomes horrible, because logical extremes don’t take into account emotions or innovations.  Logical extremes give no compromise, no middle ground and human beings usually have middle ground.  Equality is wonderful, without equality I wouldn’t be able to write this paper or be in college.  But our differences make us who we are.  Completion betters humanity as a whole.  If we all had the exact same abilities, then we wouldn’t move forward as a race.  We would in a way become stale.  But even the world of the Handicappers is not equal.  Someone would have to be smarter or stronger then everyone else to enforce the system.  If not then the system probably could not be enforced.  But then again I could be wrong.  George and Hazel birthed Harrison under these conditions and he had super strength and was a genius.  He might have been the next step in human evolution, but everyone had to be equal and for that he got a shotgun shell to him, all in the name of equality.  But I wonder why he automatically made himself Emperor and if he didn’t do that would he still be 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Poor Francis....

     Francis Macomber and his wife Margot are on a hunting trip in Africa, with their Guide Wilson.  They have been on one hunt on this trip and things have not gone well for Francis, mainly because faced with a lion, ran instead of shot.  While the people who were at the camp thought he did well, the gun bearers, Margot and Wilson knew the truth.  After wards Margot started to notice certain things about Wilson, his sandy hair, his cold blue eyes.   Francis was a very fit, well-built man.  While they were having drinks Francis thanks Wilson for the lion, but Margot looks away in shame towards Wilson.  “You have a very red face, Mr. Wilson she said.  Drink Wilson says but she says I don’t think so, Francis drinks a great deal, but his face is never red.  Its red today, Francis said trying to joke.  NO my face is red today says Margot.  Soon Margot ran off to cry.  Francis expected this and Wilson found it to be an annoyance.  Wilson considered Francis to be a boy and Margot to be a predator.  She came back and was refresh and new.  Margot wanted to come on the next trip, but Wilson was against it.  Wilson knew about American Women and their effect on men, so she saw her as trouble.  But in the end she got her way.  In the afternoon they went to hunt Impala and Francis proved himself to be a great shot.  He wanted to make sure that his wife forgot the lion business, because they were hunting buffalo.  But Wilson thought to himself that he should be more worried about how being a coward affected himself, not his wife.  But there was another lion near the camp, so there was another chance.  Francis came close, even shot the lion couple of times, but in the end ran, with his wife seeing the whole thing again.  When they got back in the cat Margot lend over into the front seat and kissed Wilson.  Francis has been through this before, but Wilson thought that it was their business and he was a 3rd party.  The night Margot went to Wilson’s tent and Francis confronted her about it when she got back.  He said “you think I will take anything” and she said “I know you will”.  They were at a stalemate, she was beautiful and he was rich.  Wilson had been through this before and thought nothing of it.  In the morning they went off to hunt three buffalo.  The chased them on foot and in the car.  Francis took out the biggest one, while both he and Wilson took out the other two.  The chase had awakened something in Francis and now he had the courage to stand up to his wife, maybe even leave her!  One of the Gun Bears spoke to Wilson, telling him that the first buffalo was still alive and limped off into the Bush.  So they decided to go after it and finish it off.  They were close to it when it decided to charge.  Francis took several shots most of them hitting the horn, until he got it in the head.  But at the same time Francis felt a white hot blinding flash explode in his head.  It was the last thing he ever felt; because his wife had accidently shot him while trying to help.  Wilson said to her, without a tone in his voice, “That was a pretty thing to do, He would have left you too”  “why didn’t you poison him? That’s what they do in England” all she did was cried and said stop it.
                Yeah So I really don’t like Margot, Francis wife.  Because of her Francis died. (I was like the hunter, starting like Francis at the end of the story.  He was starting to come into his own and standing up to his wife and then BLAM, end of character development. (Well I should have expected that since the story was named The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, but I was hoping for a metaphysical death.)  Also I think the title references his life after he discovers himself, not before.  After his transformation, Wilson was his guide.  Francis asked him questions like “Do you have feelings of happiness about what’s going to happen?” in regards to the hunt.  As for the wife, she take an interesting turn when Macomber changes in regards to the hunt.  At first she was excited to see it, but after Macomber develops she is sicken by it.  I think she was looking Wilsion in the previous hunts, not the actual action.  Wilson himself I don’t really find fault with, he just trying to do his job, he doesn’t expect to see these people again, so he has no need to make an attachment to them.  But at the same time he is proud to see Macomber grow into what he considers to be a man.  I think he considers most American men to be like children, mainly because they don’t normal grow up around danger and since his clients are mostly rich, they haven’t been through much struggle.  But I do find it curious with many cultures that the right into manhood involves conflict or death.  The only peaceful passage into manhood I can think of off the top of my head is a Bar mitzvah and the only painful thing I can think of happening there is the boy falling out of the chair.  Why does the rite of manhood have to involve someone getting hurt or a creature dying when it is displayed in our culture?  Good Job boy you just ended a creature’s life for no apparent reason other than to prove to me a concept of manhood, Great Job.  I mean there are other means to show you’re a “man” like joining the armed forces (you won’t automatically kill someone in the armed forces, but it is still indirectly involved with violence).  The other way you can look at is that the hunt is a metaphor of him finally taking a stand against his wife, no matter what the consequences.  There is also the question whether not the wife committed murder, but I believe that she didn’t that it was an accident.  I’m pretty sure that is the only positive thing I can say about the wife.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A good man is hard to find.

The Grandmother was hoping to go to East Tennessee, not Florida and she wanted to change her only son, Bailey, mind.  She tries to scare him by showing him an article about the recent breakout of a criminal called “The Misfit” implying that he is heading towards Florida.  She says that she would never take her kids near a state that has a madman heading towards it.  Bailey just ignored her and kept reading his paper.  She then tries to appeal to the mother, saying that the kids were to Florida before, but not East Tennessee.  Her motives to wanting to go to East Tennessee didn’t lie with the happiness of the family, but that she had friends up there.  Bailey’s son, John Wesley asked why don’t she just stay home if she doesn’t want to go, with his sister saying, She has to go everywhere we go.  Next morning, Grandmother was the first one in the car with the Cat hidden a valise.  She didn’t want to leave the cat alone, afraid that it might kill itself.  She dressed fancy for the trip, because if she had died in a crash, at least the passersby will be able to identify her as a lady.  Like some mothers, she constantly gave advice to her son while driving, about patrolmen and other things. John wanted to drive through Georgia fast so that they won’t have to look at much.  The grandmother tasks about respect for their home state and parents, then points out a pickaninny standing in the door of a shack.  She tells them a story about a little nigger boy who ate a watermelon under a misunderstanding.  They stopped at a place to eat and the children misbehaved.  The grandmother talked to the owner of the dinner about the way things are and how they used to be.  She blames Europe.   After leaving, the grandmother wanted to visit an old house, but Bailey didn’t want to, so she got the children to get on her side and eventually he gave in.  They went down a dirt road and had a accident.  Everyone turned out to be ok.  Soon they waited in a ditch for help, when a car pulled up.  Three men got out of the car with guns, one of them shirtless with a black hat.  The grandmother identifies him as The Misfit out loud.  He said she wish she had not done that.  Slowly one by one the family was taken out ot the woods to be shoot until the grandmother was left.  She keeps trying to save her own life, until she mistakes the Misfit for her son (because he is now wearing his shirt).  She reaches up to touch his face and he recoils and shoots her in the chest

     Ok, so I will admit I didn’t see the story ending that way.  If this story was dated sometime after 1970s, then as soon as they mentioned The Misfit, I would have expected him to show up at some time.  Instead I just expected the grandmother to get her comeuppance or the family learning some sort of lesson.  Since it was written in 1955 I was expecting something like Leave it to Beaver.  I guess it is because the experience I have from the 1950s is about the Civil rights Movement or it’s television programs.  I wasn’t expecting the whole family to get killed one by one.  But this story brings up several subversions about respecting your elders and Christianity.  Just because one get older, does not mean that the get wiser.  It is a problem in churches, especially southern churches that has the ideal that just because someone has been in the church for a long time it means that they know better or should be given more respect because of it.  The grandmother expects respect because of who she is, but she doesn’t give respect to the wishes of her child, manipulating her Grandchildren into what will indirectly lead to their deaths.  If she just went along with her son’s wishes, they would be alive.  On the other hand she couldn’t have known that they would have meet The Misfit, but when they did she had the choice not to identify him, but she did.  If she respected her son’s wishes and left the cat at home like a smart person, then the crash wouldn’t have happened.  I’m also interested in a point that The Misfit brings up.  He was made that he wasn’t there when Jesus raised Lazurus from the dead.  He wanted proof that Jesus did this and was mad at Jesus for not leaving proof of his existence.  While I can understand his anger about the ambiguity of Christianity because of this (He refuses to see a man that he dosen’t know if he exists as his savior)  If there was facts that Jesus did what he did, then Christianity wound run on faith and it would be a spiritual belief.  Oh and I also like that this was written by a Christian too, who decided to explore certain aspects about her belief