Sunday, September 25, 2011

Huck Finn, Chapters 19-22

     Huck and Jim has just escaped the feud between the Shepherdsons and the Grangerfords.  Huck had just seen the dead bodies of Buck and his cousin floating in the river and he wanted to get the image out of his head as quickly as possible.  With the raft floating down the river, Jim and Huck decide to relax, steal food and survive.  They noticed that the shore would go black after midnight because everyone would put out their candles.  They would use the sparks from the candles to tell time so during that time they came to shore and tied up their raft.  Huck explored to find some berries when he saw two men being chased by dogs.  He helped them avoid the dogs and soon introduced himself.  One of the men was around 70, had a bald head, some grey whiskers and dressed badly.  The other man was around 30 and dressed as bad as the other man.  The 30 year old was selling medicine that took the tartar off of teeth, but also took the enamel off too.  He over stayed his welcome and decided to slip out, but ran into the old man begging for help.  The old man was running a revival that didn’t go too well.  Soon after talking for a while, The young man pronounces himself as a Duke, and the old man says that he is a King!  Huck doesn’t believe them, but decides to keep quiet.  After traveling with them a bit, the Duke comes up with the idea of him and the kings doing the swordfight from Richard III and the Balcony Scene from Romeo and Juilet.  But to rise funds The King trick some locale town’s people into giving him around 80 dollars.  After that Huck runs into a incident that involves a drunk names Boggs and a man called Sheburns.  After several Threats made towards Sheburns, Boggs is shot down by him.  One man rallies up the town people to lynch Sheburns, but they back down after he calls them all cowards (and the people in the south cowards in general). After that the The Dukes plan started.  The audience laughed and the duke was mad about that.  Afterwards,  The duke decided that the audience wanted low humor, so he decided to not admitte women and children to bring in a bigger crowd.
            Sometimes you have to look at Huck and wonder How have you not been permanently messed up by all the things you been through? First he sees two men try to murder a man in a boat, then he sees the dead body of his friend, and now he has seen a man shot in the streets.  But he seems to be handling himself well, for now.  I do find the whole Lynching situation interesting.  They heard Sheburns say to Boggs you have till one o clock to stop messing with him, so they probably knew what the going to happen.  It does make you wonder if Boggs was a good man when he was not drunk.  Sheburns calling the mob out about lynch (and the practice of Lynch and Mob actions in general) very amusing, It is very easy to go along with a terrible action when it is in a group.  He calls them all cowards for not having the balls to do something alone.  If the fear of dying first from the shotgun Sheburns was carrying at the timewas not there, would the crowd ignored his words and went through with it?  With the actions of the group, it is hard to lay the blame and the guilt on one person.  I also love the fact that the Duke feels like he needs to dumb down the show to get a bigger audience.  This is always a sad principle that always seems to be true.  Instead of trying to get people to think, the performer decides just to lower himself.  You can also make this comparison to the SOLs.  (Standards of Learning).  They were noticing that fewer and fewer kids were passing them each year, so instead of just keeping the same test, they decided to dumb it down just to pass more kids.  In the long run, that doesn’t help the future generation, which makes them dumber.  They should let them rise to the occasion, not lower their standards.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Two Alters

The Two Altars is two stories set in two different time periods, one in 1776 and one in 1850.  Both stories is about liberty, with set during the Revolutionary war and the other one after.  The first story is about what you would give for liberty.  It starts with Dick and Grace getting woodchips, but like most children that task has been turned into a game.  The wood chips have been made into a mound to hold a flagstaff.  Dick then ties a red handkerchief to the staff.  Dick wants to throw his cap for liberty and he wants Grace to do the same with her bonnet.  She throws it up, and then it blows away.  Grace begins to cry, but Dick says it is alright because it is for liberty.  He then set off after it while Grace goes home with the heavy basket in tow.  She came into the house with tears, while her Aunt Mehetabel’s questioned her about her bonnet and the whereabouts of Dick.  Grace tells her about throwing up her Bonnet for Liberty, the same kind of liberty that her father is fighting for.  Dick returns with the bonnet.  After the setting of the table and Tea, they receive a letter from the battlefield.  It explains what the soldiers have had to give up for the fighting and that they are holding on.  Soon after that soldiers come in and request for supplies. Everyone gives something and are proud to help out.  The second story is about a freed slave named George.  He has a wife, children and a job.  They have started to save up money and were getting mighty rich,  The were going to buy their son, Henry, a new Sunday Cap and daughter Mary a Muslin-de Laine dress.  All was good and fine, while they were enjoying dinner.  But they the door burst open and soldiers came in.  They were here for George, to take him back to Mr.B of Georgia, even though he had been free for ten years.  The family was in tears and George was sent back to be a slave.

The Comparison between these two stories is liberty.  One has liberty being fought for and liberty (and freedom) being taken away.  What would happen if the people in the first story knew about the events in the second story?  Would they have sympathy for George or would they just see him as a slave?  Dick thought that his father was a slave to a foreign power (that being England).  He was a slave in a sense to taxes, but he still had more freedom then George had as a slave.  The mother describes the United States as a beacon of hope, but is it the same in the second story.  George family was just like Dick’s family, only that he was a ex-slave.  I think the question really is for the story is this,  Is this the country that Dick’s Father was fighting for  a country where a man can be taken away from his family because of some technicality of law.  The people did not support George; they supported their government and the suit.  That to me is really sad.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Henry David Thoreau does not like government, specifically the government of the United States, his home.  He disagrees with what his government is doing with it’s army waging a war with Mexico.  The power of this nation, he believes, comes from the individuals that operate in the government, not the government itself.  The government actually imposes on the people instead of helps them.  The line “Trade and commerce, if they were not made of India rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions, and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.” shows the government as a machine of mismanagement.  Thoreau also brings into question the effectiveness of majority rules in regards to justice.  Majority rules works more on the will of the strongest then the will of justice.  But also what good is justice if you just vote, instead of taking action yourself to stop the injustice.  Most people would ask then why don’t you just reform the government?   Thoreau’s answer would be that one of the main obstacles against reform would be people who disagree with the government but support it anyway.  So in a way it is indifference that is the biggest obstacle.  Thoreau’s decided to go against the government and was put into jail.  When he got out, his neighbors and friends, instead of going against the government with him or resisting, was indifferent.

Indifference is something that’s always been a problem in most countries.  While voting is good and all, it pales in comparison to direct action.  Our government says that its for the people, but creates laws that punish us for not supporting it with money.  Why should people pay for a government that goes against its wishes?  The government which acts like a machine, turns the men who serve it into machines, because they ignore their consciences.  But great men serve their government with their consciences and also resist the government. But resisting might lead to jail. I find Thoreau trip to jail interesting, because it is good to make a comparison to the jails that the government uses for white collar crimes.  In Thoreau’s jail cell he had a window, a hospitable, smart cell mate and was not abused at all.  What would have happened if he instead of refusing to pay a tax blew up a courthouse, would he have gotten the same treatment?  He had time to think and notice the sounds of his village.  (Personally I think he took his jail visit very well.)  But besides the jail visit, he does bring up a good point.  Why is the majority more just then the minority?  A small group of people can accomplish as much as a large group of people if they work together properly.  The Supreme Court works with less then 20 people, but they have changed so many things with just discussion.  So why is it that some major decisions in our government to left to the mass, who most of us have found out in the past, aren’t just, can be easily swayed and can’t all communicate with each other very well..  We say that how the people speak, but it is the Electoral College that selects the president.  But the Electoral College is swayed by the popular vote and if the voter of the district does not go with the popular vote, then their chances of maintaining their position is jeopardy.  While Martian Luther King one man who only concern was getting equal rights for Blacks in America, was able to change the nation with his words without worrying about disagreeing with someone, because he knew his cause was just.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Elizabeth Candy Stanton is fighting for equal rights for women.  She has decided to do this through the power of her words not her actions.  One of these groups of words is her speech to several people at different locations.  The speech was about woman’s rights, not only in America, but the world.  Woman has long in the history of the world had been considered inferior to men, but Stanton asks why this has to be.  They have the same facilities as man, with arms, legs, and intellect.  While woman’s rights have improved in England, because they can vote and hold some offices, the condition of women in U.S is less then that without the ability to either vote or hold office.  A comparison can be made of the intellect, but it would be considered unfair until women are allowed to be in college for a century, so they have the same advantage as men.  It is unfair that would have to pay for an institution they themselves can’t go to.  The judgment of who is the emotional sex is called into question.  While Eve was tempted by the Snake through knowledge, it was Adams emotional connect to Eve that lead to him biting the apple.  Man’s claim to physical supiority can also be called into question.  Just because women (back then) were usually smaller then men, doesn’t mean they were weak.  Men like John Quincy Adams were small but had more courage then the tallest man.’

            I agree with most of Stanton’s ideas about woman’s right.  I grew up with a mom who held down two jobs, one of them being a Prison Guard, and a sister who was in the Airforce.  So the whole idea of women being weaker in any way sort of just skipped me. (I’ll still hold open a door for a woman though.)  But do wonder if it was dangerous for her to preach woman’s rights in comparison to the civil rights movement in the 1940/50s?
I also like how she covers some of her bases and deals with obliviously stupid questions.  She said that her goal is not to have women wear dresses or do what is considered Woman’s Work (I just consider it work)  She wants the relationship between men and women to be equal.  She doesn’t want henpecked husbands or unhappy spouses.  She wants the duties to be shared.  Unlike Emerson and his universal truth, I think this is an idea that can be applied to the real world.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life of a Slave girl

Linda is a slave owned by Dr. Flint’s daughter ( or Dr. Flint).  She was raised with certain principles and ideals by her grandmother, who is a freed slave.  But Dr. Flint wants to break those principle and morals not out of any kind of malice for the grandmother, but because of his hormones and ideas of ownership. So of course Linda is disgusted by this idea and refuses his advantages at every turn to maintain her innocence.  At first it is a normal routine for her, but then she tells Mrs. Flint about her husband’s attempts at affairs.  Linda knows that the wife will not sympathize with her, but only be a object of her hate and jealousy.  After this things get worse for her.  Her master strikes her and she is forbidden to marry her love, a free black slave.  Without the ability to marry her love and feeling all her hope is lost, she turns to a kind white man named Mr.Sands and shares his bed.  Dr Flint is furious about this and she goes to live with her grandmother because she is expecting child.  After a few years and another child, Dr Flint has become meaner and still has not given up on forcing some sort of control over Linda.  It is at this point Linda is sent to Dr Flint’s son’s plantation.  After working at the Plantation, Linda finds out that her children shall be sent to the plantation.  She then decides to run away to give her children a chance because she knew that they were being sent because of her.

            I never really had any romantic ideas about Slavery and the south.  There was no (as far as I’m concern) slave eventually falling in love with master after a little while.  It was about survival and trying not to get punished.  So reading this was not very surprising.  I also know that not all white people treated their slaves badly.  So there is an interesting observation that I made.  Now many people sympathize with Linda situation, including her grandmother and the Great Aunt of Mr. Flint (the son of Dr. Flint).  Now the Aunt and Grandmother seem to get along because the Aunt bought the grandmothers freedom.  So I wonder if the pervious generation has more respect for the slaves then the current generation.  It could be possible that the older generation appreciates the slaves more because of the struggle to get them or they remember life without them.  The current generation grew up with them so they became mainly spoiled and this lead to mistreatment.  I also have to question the attachment that Dr.Flint has towards Linda.  It’s obvious that he doesn’t care for her, but obsesses over her because he can’t have her.  Now normal this would lead to a person’s own destruction, but it doesn’t for him because he wants to keep up appearances for everyone else.  I was hoping that Linda would do thing extreme to him, but since she is a slave she can’t physically hurt him.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Whitman would seem like the polar opposite of Emerson.  Emerson supported the individual while Whitman supported the group.  But actually Emerson supported Whitman because the poet was expressing his opinion and being an inspiration.  Whitman in the poem sees his soul as a part of everyone else’s soul, and that they come from the same soil.  That the parents of his parents are the same and that the schools are waiting for their original owner but never forgotten.  With houses full of scents and him smelling his own.

            Ok. So I have really no way to actually decipher this.  While I understand that he sees everyone connected, everything after that is lost on me.  I think by saying that “ My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air” he means that we are all American and that what connects us as a mass.  This line is also supported by 3rd line”For Every atom that belonging to me as good belongs to you.  He is also trying to maintain the individual while in the mass.  I think the rest is his description of the United States or at least his home.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The Individual is important.  That sentence could sum up Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, but he does go into detail.  What is inside us, our souls and thoughts is essential and should be expressed before another person expresses it.  Ignore the mass of voices that rally against you and follow yourself.  Emerson see youth as universally good, since it is unaffected by outside influences it can express its own opinion.  But as soon as a boy becomes a man he is trapped by consciousness and swayed by the masses.  Emerson calls for a movement back to youth so that we can be unbiased.  He wants people to live their lives for themselves, not others.  Attaching oneself to a community of opinion, Emersom believes, will make that man speak only half or quarter truths.  Another thing that holds us back is memory or the past.  Men are scared of contradicting ourselves or being misunderstood. But Emerson brings up the point that many great men such as Jesus and Plato were misunderstood.  In the end, Emerson believes that the actual truth and self-reliance is top priority.

I understand Emerson’s sentiments, about having a world where people spoke the truth without influence from other people or public sway.  A world like this would make things less complicated, which in turn might bring us closer to nature.  I like the employment of this thought in terms of culture and how something’s are not accepted because of public opinion or towards the government.  If government officials were able to truly operate outside of public opinion, that they could be fully effective in working for the public good, instead of worrying about its opinion.  While it’s hard to find the negative in “absolute truth”, it can have a down said.  With everyone expressing their own unique truth, the question arises, “Are they all equal or is one above the other?”  Also not all thoughts are Good, but then agains what’s good changes from person to person.  While Emerson’s….philosophy is good, it is more complex as it is apply in the real world

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Major Molineux

Robin came looking for his kinsman, Major Molineux, in Massachusetts Bay.  But Robin failed to realize a bit of important information that might have helped his journey later on.  The Governors of Massachusetts Bay had all been driven out of power in some way.  Two of them were thrown in jail because of the populous. One was driven any by musket fire.  Another one, according to one historian, was argued to death by The House of Representatives.  The other two had the luck before the revolution to have peaceful terms.  Robin had just turned 18 and he was country-raised.  He wore a three pointed hat and well worn gear, except for his stocking, which were mad by his mom and sister. He had just gotten off the ferry and started to walk the streets until he realized that he did not know which way to go.  Robin’s wallet was light.  He processed down a street that became wider and had houses that seemed respectable to him.  One of the first people that he happened upon was a barber and a old man with a long dark coat and a shiny cane.  Robin stopped the man and asked loudly about the whereabouts of Major Molineux’ house.  The old man, surprisingly, in a angry tone, said that he did not know the man and because of his perceived disrespect Robin could be sent to the stocks in the morning.  Robin thought that this was just bad luck, but as the night wore on, anytime he asked about his kinsman he would get strange reactions.  He asked for his kinsman in a bar where he noticed a disfigured man talking in the corner.  After he asked ( and almost caught the ire of everyone in the bar)  the disfigured man sneered at him.  Soon after that and other incidents (Including a run in with a seductive housekeeper) robbing was told by the disfigured man that he would be able to meet his kinsman in front of a church.  The youth meet another man while waiting.  Robin explained to this man that the reason he wanted to meet Major Molineux is because he was rich and he was to help him gain a start in this world.  Then the men hear a ruckus coming down the street.  It was a parade of the town’s folk, followed by a cart, whiched contained his Kinsman, Tarred and Feathered.  After seeing this sight Robin wished to leave that night, but the man who stayed with him said no, not tonight that he should stay in town before deciding what to do.

            This story seemed like a ghost story at first and with out the information about the previous Governors being driven out of town, instead of killed; I would have kept thinking it was a ghost story until the end.  The protagonist, Robin, could be an audience stand in or a youth arriving in the big city.  Like the audience, he only knows little about the city.  The only things that I think keeps him from being a full audience surrogate is that the audience has advantage of knowing about the previous governors of the city.  I like how the city dwellers hint at the fact that the Major may not want to be found by the boy.  Everyone either acts hostile towards him or laugh him off.  At first the city seems inviting, with it’s nice streets and houses.  But the more he tries to find his kin, the more the city seems to turn darker.  Later on the streets are called strange and desolate.  After waiting in front of the church he (like any of us who has waited for someone outside) started to notice the townscape more.  It’s at this point that it seems the story is trying to give a respite from the strangeness in the story.  The streets near the church are described as Familiar with a beautiful strangeness and that they are beautiful under the moon.  This is before the crowd comes thorough and reveals the horrible truth to Robin.  It’s at this point, at the end of the story, that robin has a choice, and he can either stay in the city to try to find his own way from scratch or return home.


Romanticism was the reaction to the logical Age of Enlightenment.  With the industrial age coming, people started to react with their emotions, which was expressed with art, literate etc.  Its main focus was the search of aesthetic experience through feelings such as horror and awe.  Nature, which at the time was more intimidating then it was now, was also a source.  In the face of industrialism, people were trying to reach back to medievalism.  The heroes were usually emotional or loners.  Romanticism, even though it had similar themes, was different when it came to different countries.  In Russia, Romanticism is associated with writers such as Konstantin Batyushkov and Alexander Pushkin.  Such topics as metaphysical discontent or nature and love, was dealt with.  Romanticisms effect on America was basically a support of it’s revolution ideals.  It did not accept religious intellect or rationalism.  Because of it’s focus on the individual, it became oppose to Calvinism, which believe in predestination. It also led to bring New England Transcendentalism to the fore front at the time.  Transcendentalism had less restricts then other religions at the time.  Romanticism tried to bring down the barrio involving the arts between the rich and the poor. The artists and the writers wanted it to be experienced by everyone.  It also helped the movement of nationalism.  People started to look back at old folktales of their own countries.  Romanticism also helped countries that did not have national identities to find them.

            Romanticism, I believe, was a sort of escapism.  People might have tried of finding that the truth was not up to their expectations.  Also with the beginnings or industrialism and factories, with people working in less then safe conditions, not dealing with reality was a blessing.  With the revolution over and everyone in America being able to settle down, it’s understandable that everyone started to think about themselves.  I find the individualism aspect of Romanticism funny because I remember a quote in class that said that once man start thinking only about themselves, government would start to break down.  I wonder if the person who said that quote was still alive when Romanticism came around?  I also find the correlation between nationalism and Romanticism interesting.  Without expression of feelings nationalism wouldn’t be able to exist and Romanticism helps fuel it..  Also Romanticism works with nationalism because it is flexible.  The truth is (usually) not very flexible and The Age of Enlightenment lends itself towards realism.  Romanticism was one of the first step toward being introspective towards art, I believe, because it questions truth and perception.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Federalists

The Federalists are for the formation of the government of the United States to be formed into three separate branches.  Theses branches are suppose to be able to operate separately from one another for the people.  It is intended for the branches to not have the ability ( or limit it) to influence of appointing of members to other branches.  But what is intended is not as what can be realistically pulled off.  So that why they admit to themselves that there might be small deviations from the principle.  They must make sure that said leaders of said branches can’t be influenced by the other leaders and their agendas.  But they do admit that not all branches might have equal defenses.  Even though the branches might be flawed, they try their best to protect the people too.

            In comparison to The Anti-Federalist papers, the federalist papers seem more professional.  They don’t use scare tactics to get their point across and they admit up front that their own plan has flaws.  The federalists at least try to come up with a soulution to their problem, instead of just stating them.  Like the anti-federalist, they seem to be concerned about the protection of liberty and freedoms.  They also seem largely concern that one branch might over power the other


The Anti Federalist are against the constitution because they believe that the United States is too big for one republic.  They are scared that the formation of a supreme court will trample on the powers and free will of the smaller state courts.  They list in the constitution that the government will be given the power of taxiing to support itself, instead of letting the states indivually find ways to raise money to support the government.  They can ask permission from congress to emit money, but it has to be for the support of the United States.  The Anti-Federalist sees this power as possible good, but horrible if the republic goes bad.  The example of power corrupting people is used.  They believe that if I you give people power like the supreme court has, then they will seek more power afterwards until they control everything.  Infighting among representatives from states is also a concern for them.  The fighting might cause the public good to slip.

            As much as I would like not to agree with the Anti Federalist, (They seem to me to be trying to work off of peoples fears.)  They do bring up some good points.  One of these points that I support is that of the infighting between representatives.  Even though they represent states, the yare still people with their own personal view.  These views will most likely effect their judgment to various degrees, it can’t be helped.  Things like lobbyers and interest groups were the very thing that the anti-federalist were trying to avoid.  They didn’t want you person or group to have all the power and return to the times of the King in England.