When I was referred to English 12 Honors last year I was a bit skeptical. The majority of my high school career I took college prep courses and a few honors courses in my old school, but schools and teachers are very different so I was afraid to take risks. When I got to Malden High my junior year I was placed in a college prep English course to begin with, in order to test it out. I realized that I really liked the classroom and the teacher so I never switched to Honors, because of the sole fact that I heard from other students that it was twice the work and many ended up going back to college prep English. I was excelling in my junior College Prep English class and if it was not for my junior year English teacher I would of never been able to experience what hard dedicated work and serious writing was all about.
The first few weeks of English Honors were overwhelming because the first assignment that was due I did incorrectly. We had to do Journal entries for our summer reading. I used the format we were introduced to in my Junior English class, which was writing the quote on the top of the page and the other half would consist of your comments, thoughts, theories about the text. The new format I had to learn was the two column notes. The quote is to be written on the left side of the page and the right side would be your reactions to the text. The first assignment was not as encouraging, but as the class went on I coped to the demand of homework and vocabulary quizzes. I was memorizing at least 20 words every other week, the positive side to that was that my memorization skills were improving and I learned so many new words that I was able to use in my writing. My Junior year we did not have that many vocabulary quizzes and we were not learning many new words to improve our writing and language, for example this year I noticed that before I say something I think about a more sophisticated synonyms in my language and communication skills.
As for my writing I noticed myself having the dictionary on my computer open as I was writing my papers, last year I would use the dictionary but not much as I do present day. The first paper I wrote that I felt showed an improvement was the painting of “The Landscape of the Fall of Icarus” essay because it was an analytic essay that required an in depth interpretation of the piece with a detailed rubric. Before that essay I was never exposed to that type of writing, it was very difficult but I attempted to maintain the authors purpose in mind and the rubric in mind at all times. The connection with art and writing I never did I usually separated the two because that was what I was taught to do. The project with our independent reading books was also very challenging but I learned my weaknesses and my strengths when it came to a project with art and writing. I read Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden, the project had three different parts to it but the part that was easier for me was the part where you could fill in a chapter between chapters that were already written. I enjoyed getting into character and simply creating a chapter that I felt would have been important to add onto the book, I felt like this sort of free creative writing was a strength for me. My weakness was creating an art piece. I am not the artist type but I created a book cover of the book and it was challenging due to the fact that I am not as talented as others with computer programs such as Adobe Photoshop, which was the program I used to create my book cover. I learned so much and I am so glad that I chose to challenge myself with two elements that are both my weaknesses such as art and the program Adobe Photoshop. The final piece was very clean and the way I envisioned it to come out to be. I was very proud of the work I did for that project and I was very proud of all the outcomes of the project, it encouraged me to challenge myself a lot more in my English honors class and to not be afraid of a little work. The last piece I was astonished that I began it and finished it correctly was my A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man, by James Joyce critical essay, which I titled my essay as “The Metamorphose of Stephen Dedalus.” This essay by far tested my writing abilities and my patience. I have never written an essay nine pages long before, but I was bound to have to write one sometime in my educational career. I have also never written an essay with that much information and that many theories. I compared the essay to my essays in the beginning of the year and intellectually I believe I shifted to a more sophisticated and grown up thought processes since the beginning of the year.
I no longer think that the hard part of writing an essay is reaching the requirements, such as the length and the margins and other little details that need to be taken into account but was is really important is the quality and the organization of your theories and the amount of information in the essay. I am grateful that I was able to go through these shifts and experiences because if I never had that extra push from my Junior year English teacher I think that I would of never been able to be as prepared as I am for college presently, if I had stayed in a College Prep English Class. All the writing that I did from the beginning of the year up until today had a purpose, I am very proud and glad I did all the assignments because they transformed me as a writer, and my writing skills are sure to be needed as I move on into a higher educational career.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
In A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini there were many points in the book where it seemed to have been the climax but to me I believe the last chapter in part two is the climax of the book for many reasons. For example, it changed one of the characters lives drastically, Laila lost everything she had and Mariam brought her into her home.
In chapter 26 Laila and her family decided to leave her home and search for protection from the war against the soviets that was destroying their villages. In this chapter Laila was taking all their stuff outside. The next thing that happens is “something hot and powerful slammed into her from behind. It knocked her out of her sandals. Lifted her up. And now she was flying. Twisting, and rotating in the air… the last thing she was aware of was seeing something thud to the ground near by. A bloody chunk of something. On it, the trip of a red bridge poking through the fog” (174). In this passage the reader realizes that a huge rocket from the sky had hit Laila’s home. Laila consciously knows that her parents ended up being blown to pieces because of the “bloody chunks” of things that landed near her were likely to be her parents. The passage also tells you that Laila survived the attack because she is just lying there conscious of her surroundings.
After the attack Laila gets taken care of by the other main character in the book Mariam and her husband Rasheed. Laila’s life immediately changes right at that moment she is left with nothing and later ends up having no choice but to marry Rasheed to survive.
Labels: On Demand Writing
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Memoirs of a Geisha: Book Cover
In Memoirs of a Geisha book cover I pursued to design it based solely on the motifs of the book. The design consisted of a willow tree on the front cover and on the back cover there was a geisha that was holding a fan. These symbols were only mentioned when Sayuri was content. I found the tree, snow and a geisha dancing with a fan to be very strong symbolic features in the book.
In this first passage Sayuri shares her passion for dancing, “What I discovered that afternoon was that when my body felt heavy, I could move with great dignity”(153). In the passage Sayuri gives the reader an understanding of what her body feels like before she sets of on a dance routine. She claims that her body feels “heavy” when she is standing and that she could move with great “dignity.” She mentions dignity because she feels almost honored to be dancing as a Geisha and be able to express herself through dance, without tarnishing her reputation. To Sayuri dance makes her feel honored and respected, because being watched by men and admired causes her to feel respect. The Geisha on the back of the book cover was placed there because its purpose was to symbolize Sayuri dancing with her fan.
In this next passage Sayuri compares her life to a winter scene, “ Several years had passed since I’d learned the sad news about my family, and it was amazing to me how completely the landscape of my mind had changes. We all know that a winter scene, though it may be covered over one day, with even the trees dressed in shawls of snow, will be unrecognizable the following spring, Yet I had never imagined such a thing could occur within our selves”(161). Sayuri ponders her life after finding out her family’s fate. Both her parents passed away and her sister ran away forever. The winter scene is described as her way of thinking. She claims that the snow that falls over the trees every season and disappear every spring is like a metaphor for how she changed as a person. She was exposed to a life of adulthood, where she needed to grow up fast and put her childhood on hold forever. The snow motif was an essential motif to the book that was why I chose to interpret that into the book cover by making the tree white instead of having snow on the tree. I thought the cover would be more appealing to the audience if the tree were simply white instead of making the tree it’s natural colors.
The last motif I believed was very important was the tree, to be more specific a willow tree. Even though Sayuri mentioned a willow tree once to describe someone, I thought that a willow tree was an appropriate representation of Sayuri and her life as a Geisha. In this passage Sayuri is seventy years old and she believes she has become like a tree, “But life softened into something much more pleasant after the Chairman became my danna. I began to feel like a tree whose roots had at last broken into the rich, wet soil deep beneath the surface”(419). After spending a life comparing others to nature she can once be proud of her life present day and compare herself to a tree that is stable and is able to grow into a happy and healthy tree. The purpose of the tree on the front cover was to symbolize Sayuri at the end of the book, finding happiness after spending her whole life trying to find it. Then she finally becomes whole.
Overall the cover was based on the character Sayuri and how she was able to come out of the lonely, isolated world of snow covered trees and become her own tree of life. Her dancing was the only thing that kept her going and gave her the confidence she needed to move on. The book cover embraced Sayuri’s character and demonstrates a true understanding of one of Japan’s most important Geishas.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
On page 33 of Tom Phillips’ A Humument, Phillips expresses his deep emotions through his artwork and writing by combining them into one piece and exhibits them with distinct displays of colors, sketch marks, shapes, and text. Phillips had many pieces that displayed his feelings but in this piece he tells a story through a few words. The words he circled and highlighted the words by sketching black marks all around them made the piece stand out even before it was maximized on the screen.
Page 33 is a document that has writing set up into paragraphs that are all scratched up in a organized way beginning from the middle and coming out to every corner and side. The scratched up imagery of the piece was a coral- black that ends up disguising the writing surrounded by the words that are circled and boxed in. The other color besides the coal-black was a cherry- red that Phillips used to box in the other words that were imminent to his piece. The next huge color on the page that at times may be neglected through the piece is the general color of the document, which is a pigment of a light salmon- pink, the color may symbolize the color of human flesh or of the color of love, Phillips uses the light color on the bottom to bring the other colors on top of it to stand out because they are the ones that create meaning through his piece. These colors are similar and different alike but the colors are used to express his passion at that moment in time when he was creating the piece and tells a story to the audience through a couple of words.
The first thing that visually seizes your attention when you look at the piece is the several words at the top of the piece that are boxed in with the coal- black and the cherry- red, darkly and precisely highlighted with the two colors. The second thing you notice in the piece is the single lonely word that is circled with a coral- black. The final things that are noticed through viewing page 33 is the organized sketch marks that look like spider webs because there are two very similar and visible sketches that are surrounding both of the phrases in the piece that are highlighted. At one point in the middle of the page the two sketch marks become intertwined. The piece could also be looked at, as if you were looking into a cave and at the end of the cave are the words that Phillips chose to emphasize in his piece. The sketch marks could also be a visual of the reader going into a time warp. The imagery may in fact visually be attempting to literally pull the reader in the words so they can read them and understand what Phillips message is through a couple of phrases. Phillips chooses his colors and imagery wisely in order to have the reader’s attention focused in an organized and understanding way so his message can be insightful to the reader because Phillips physical art guides the reader through his work and into his mind of mixed and insightful emotions.
The visual piece of the Phillips’ page 33 is very important to understanding the page, but not only the colors, text, shapes and sketches create his true meaning the fact that the piece is untitled shows that Phillips wants the audience to come up with their own title and find their own meanings through his work, or it may be because Phillips who is a very talented artist believes that he needs no title to give the piece true meaning, the true meaning is in the art piece.
The font that Phillips used was very small and hard to read, the purpose of the font size and type was to hide the story but emphasize the words in the boxes in circles because those few words tell the story. The font also makes the story seem almost like it has to physically and visually hidden from the world. The words that were emphasized in the piece beginning from where the piece visually caught your eye was at the top where the words were boxed in by two dark colors, coral-black and cherry- red was as follows, “he had when first two necromancers, love.” The first sentence means that “he” as in Phillips had his first two “necromancers” meaning people who do some sort of black magic, Phillips describes them as two people because they are in noun form so Phillips may have had fallen in love with two enchantresses which are two women who are very attractive and uses magic or sorcery to put something or someone under a spell. The next few words are separated by a cherry- red thicker line which meant that Phillips wanted the two sides separated even though they are both physically on the top of the page the phrase says as follows, “coloured it with colors, and filled it with objects of ambition.” Generally the word “coloured” was used in the early 17th century to describe a skin color but Phillips used it to say that he coloured his love for the enchantresses with many colors or with various feelings and emotions. The last part of the sentence Phillips says that he also filled those feelings and emotions that initially are accompanied by nothing less than objects of Phillips commitment. The last word Phillips emphasizes is “softly” which was toward the bottom of the page in the last paragraph, Phillips says that his feelings were being expressed softly as to not harm anything.
The story in the art piece that Phillips created is meaning to say is that he had this positive intention with these two enchantresses and showed his love to them through his subtle feelings and emotions, but demonstrated softly as to not hurt what he had with them. The text, colors, shapes, scratch marks all show that Phillips was creating a guide with his art in order to lead the reader to the true meaning in his work which was his personal story based on those few words. The story could have been originally based on someone else’s life but Phillips made it his own life by emphasizing words and creating meaning in that sense. The words he chose told the reader how Phillips was feeling, he felt like he had put all his determination into two people and it caused him to realize that he was wasting his time and his life.
Fermina’s father, Lorenzo Daza struck me at the beginning of the book as a stern traditional man. Once Lorenzo Daza found out about Fermina’s love Florentino he immediately confronted him and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t leave Fermina alone. Lorenzo Daza took the situation a step further by taking Fermina away abruptly. Lorenzo Daza may seem like he does not care about anything, but in this passage it makes me view him in a different view. “Twenty- five years later, Lorenzo Daza did not realize that his intransigence in his daughter’s love affair was a vicious repetition of his own past, and he complained of his own misfortune to the same in-laws who had opposed him, as they had complained un their day to their own kin”(86). In this passage Lorenzo’s character blossoms in my opinion. Lorenzo discusses his past and how it is very similar to present day. Lorenzo is reflecting and he seems to think that what he is doing may be wrong or may not be the best for his daughter, considering the fact that he went through the same thing with his love. Lorenzo is also isolating Fermina because he wants her to marry a rich and reputable man. Why have they not mentioned her mother in the book? What do you guys think of this passage, do you think Fermina’s father is doing this to her because he is being selfish, or is it for Ferminas well-being?
I believe Ping has brought up an interesting question; her question was if people, when facing death tell the truth or realize the truth. In this passage Lorenzo Daza is thinking about how to end this “illusion” of love Fermina has for Florentino.
“He tried to seduce her with all kinds of flattery. He tried to make her understand that love at her age was an illusion, he tried to convince her to send back the letters and return to the Academy and beg forgiveness on her knees, and he gave his word of honor that he would be the first to help her find happiness with a worthy suitor. But it was like talking to a corpse. Defeated, he at last lost his temper at lunch on Monday, and while he choked back insults and blasphemies and was about to explode, she put the meat knife to her throat, without dramatics but with a steady hand and eyes so aghast that he did not dare to challenge her. That was when he took the risk of talking for five minutes, man to man, with the accursed upstart whom he did not remember ever having seen, and who had come into his life to his great sorrow. By force of habit he picked up his revolver before he went out, but he was careful to hide it under his shirt”(79).
Lorenzo thought that he was never going to be able to convince Fermina to stop loving Floerntino. Lorenzo feels like he is talking to a “corpse,” Fermina already knows the truth about her love for Florentino and her father is going to do anything to get rid of the unworthy suitor. Lorenzo in the chapter decides to take his revolver and go threaten Florentino with it, when he faced Florentino he told him that he can’t see Fermina anymore and Florentino who may have been facing his last seconds on earth told him he would never be able to leave the love of his life. Florentino faced death and released to honest truth, risking his life I think the question Ping had is true just because Florentino demonstrated it to me and I believe that everyone wants to release everything before they are gone forever.
I wanted to bring up something else that happened in the book, which is like a follow up to the first quote I had on page 86. Returning to the topic of Fermina and her Father, Lorenzo’s conflicts of love. In this passage Fermina is at her uncles house after her father took her far away from home.
“At midnight the visitors left, the public fiesta scattered into smoldering embers, and cousin Hildebranda lent Fermina Daza a madapollam nightgown and helped her to lie down in a bed with smooth sheets and feather pillows, and without warning she filled with the instantaneous panic of happiness. When at last they were alone in the bedroom, cousin Hildebranda bolted the door with a crossbar and from under the straw matting her bed took out a manila envelope sealed in wax with the emblem of the national telegraph. It was enough for Fermina Daza to see her cousin’s expression of radiant malice for the pensive scent of white gardenias to grow again in her heart’s memory, and then she tore the red sealing wax with her teeth and drenched the eleven forbidden telegrams in a shower of tears until dawn.”(85)
Fermina’s cousin Hilderbranda is also going through a similar situation of forbidden Love. I think that this kind of segregated love is tradition because if her cousin is going through the same thing it might happen to all of the young adult females in families. I think that the adults are not allowing these young affairs to happen because they also grew up with the same struggles and that is expected to happen to marry their daughter off to wealthy men. Disregarding all the other elements to happiness, I think they may believe that being wealthy is the key to being happy. For Fermina and Hilderbranda the only way maintain that hope and love for the men they fell in love with, they rely on their letters because anything else is forbidden.
A symbol that I have realized has been brought up in my many times is the parrot. In this passage the author discusses the reason why a parrot has gained he confidence and respect in Fermina’s household.
“The fact that the parrot could maintain his privileges after that historic act of defiance was the ultimate proof of his sacred rights. No other animal was permitted in the house…Dr. Urbino was reluctant to confess his hatred of animals, which he disguised with all kinds of scientific inventions and philosophical pretexts that convinced many, but not his wife. He said that people who loved them to excess were capable of the worst cruelties toward human beings.”(21)
Parrots are very outspoken animals, it amazes Fermina that the parrot continues in the house after her husband Dr. Urbino hates animals. The parrot in the household has become like a member, it has it’s own “sacred” rights that no animal would have been able to obtain from the strict Dr. Urbino. Dr. Urbino believes that people who have love for animals are capable of the cruelest crimes against humans. I have to disagree with that and say that I believe anyone who is capable of committing the cruelest crimes must have no respect for anything let alone animals. Why is there so many topics brought up about animals?
In this other passage the author describes Lorenzo like a parrot. He used a parrot in a negative way which may be an indication that when Lorenzo becomes enraged he looks like a parrot when they also become enraged.
“Lorenzo Daza had to look at him sideways, like a parrot, to see him with his twisted eye. He did not pronounce the four words so much as spit them out, one by one: Son of a bitch!”(82)
Their connection may be that Lorenzo becomes an animal when he gets mad, and begins to “spit” words out like a parrot. Lorenzo spitting words out is an example of him being careless about the things he says to people. Why does Lorenzo have sudden spurts of anger that escalate to the point that he attempts to harm someone?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez has done so many things in this book that have made me think, he has made me view love in a different way. The torturous emotions and feelings of love that must be hidden, intrigues me, I would never be able to do what they are doing. Florentino Ariza has demonstrated how serious his passion for Fermina Daza is, through this passage.
“The truth is that he was never the same again. Winning back Fermina Daza was the sole purpose in his life, and he was so certain of achieving it sooner or later that he convinced Transito Ariza to continue with the restoration of the house so that it would be ready to receive her whenever the miracle took place. In contrast to her reaction to the proposed publication of the Lover’s Companion, Transito Ariza went much further: she bought the house at once undertook a complete renovation. They made a reception room where the bedroom had been, on the upper floor they built two spacious, bright, bedrooms, one for the married couple and another for the children they were going to have.”(173)
Florentino Ariza is living an imaginary and unreachable life. He is going to extremes to try to set everything in his life for that one unreachable moment that Fermina Daza will walk into his world and have children with him. I believe even though he is renovating the house is to keep his fire of hopefulness up, because if he didn’t do anything his fire would burn out and he would end up living in a dark state of loneliness. The dedication and passion he has gives me chills, he is a very true man when it comes to what he wants.
Florentino Daza has come to some sort of realization with his imaginary life. He has realized that his dreams were too ambitious. After realizing that his dreams may never become a reality he releases his sorrow and his unattended love with random women he meets. In this passage it describes what kind of a man Florentino has become to keep his emotions busy from experiencing the loneliness he feels without Fermina Daza.
“During the period Florentino Ariza had to attend to too many responsibilities at the same time, but his spirits never flagged as he sought to expand his work as a furtive hunter. After his erratic experience with the Widow Nazaret, which opened the door to street love, he continued to hunt the abandoned little birds of the night for several years, still hoping to find a cure for the pain of Fermina Daza.”(174)
When the author, Marquez describes Florentino as a “furtive hunter,” he means that Florentino is a man who is trying to conceal all these affairs in order to avoid them from being released to the public and further damaging his emotional state. Florentino’s first love affair made him become an addictive swinger who needs to be with people in order to fill the gap in his heart, temporarily. In the passage the author also seems to compare and describe the women he sleeps with or women in general like “little birds.” I think his reason behind that is because the women he seems to choose, stay in his nest for a few days and then decide to fly away forcing Florentino to become that lonely man once again.
In this book I have never come across a passage like this one, this passage explains exactly what Florentino is feeling when he has temporary women “friends.” In this passage he is mainly focusing on one encounter he had. It describes him as a fairy. I think that comparison or word choice was chosen to also symbolically demonstrate how Florentino is like a winged creature that fly’s around everywhere and is never in one place for too long. There are many other forms of imagery and words Marquez uses in order to give us a clear understanding of Florentino’s unstable life.
“They never spoke of their exploits, they confided in no one, they feigned indifference to the point where they earned the reputation of being impotent, or frigid, or above all timid fairies, as in the case of Florentino Ariza. But they took pleasure in the error because the error protected them. They formed a secret society, whose members recognized each other all over the world without the need of a common language, which is why Florentino Ariza was not surprised by the girl’s reply: she was one of them, and therefore she knew that he knew that she knew.”(183)
The “error” they refer to is the affair that the two “fairies” have together to fill in the void that they both have. Marquez refer to it as an “error” because they both know that they are making mistakes just sleeping around because it is not going to get them any closer to their forbidden love. The author, Marquez also mentions how secretly these “swingers” have formed some sort of “society,” that can only be detected by the people who can understand their language. By language, he is referring to the certain body language they use to show that they are those people that are willing to go home with them. Are these people from the “secret society,” all like Florentino, where they are struggling to find their soul mates? Or are they just wandering around, aimlessly wasting their time and further damaging themselves emotionally?
In this passage Fermina’s life is almost getting clearer and she is realizing how she fits into the puzzle with her husband and her children. Fermina is also realizing that she did not have the chance to go properly into a mature young woman. She still has doubts that she has fully developed her maturity. Fermina is basically in this passage noticing how people view her and what she is worth.
“Fermina Daza knew then that private life, unlike public life, was fickle and unpredictable. It was not easy for her to establish real differences between children and adults, but in the last analysis she preferred children, because their judgment was more reliable. She had barely turned the corner into maturity, free at last of illusions, when she began to detect the disillusionment of never having been what she had dreamed of being when she was young, in the park of the Evangels. Instead, she was something she never dared admit even to herself: a deluxe servant. In society she came to be the women most loved, most catered to, and by the same token most feared, but in nothing was she more demanding or less forgiving than in the management of her house. She always felt as if her life had been lent to her by her husband; she was absolute monarch of a vast empire of happiness, which had been built by him and for him alone. She knew that he loved her above all else, more than anyone else in the world, but only for his own sake: she was in his holy service.”(221)
Fermina feels like she can relate more to her children than to her husband and I think that may be because she never had the chance to grow up properly, her childhood was not a normal childhood, they treated her like an older person. Her aunt would follow her around everywhere restricting her from having fun. After getting married with Dr. Urbino, she was forced to pretty much act like a mature woman, a couple weeks or months after the wedding she was already pregnant with her first child. I think things just came too fast for Fermina, that now she feels like a slave to her household. The society views her differently, they think she is constantly being catered to, but in reality she is the one doing the catering, especially to her husband. Fermina’s feelings toward her husband is that he is very egotistical and all she is supposed to do is act happy and make sure he is always satisfied or their “happy” empire with end up in ruins. I think if I were in a situation like Fermina, I would just leave. I would take my children and let him cater himself for the rest of his life, what would you guys do if you were in Fermina’s situation?
In this passage Dr. Urbino is describing Fermina as a woman who is able to tell story from her sense of smell. Fermina Daza controls her children and her husband with her nose; she uses it to tell them when to wash clothes and serves a purpose in many areas of their lives. Most of the time Fermina Daza sniffs her husband to watch his fidelity in the matrimony. I find the fact that Marquez brought up Fermina’s nose and the frequent and scary use of it. In this passage Dr Urbino explains what he feels about Fermina’s obsessive behavior,
“The truth is that her sense of smell not only served her in regard to washing clothes or finding lost children: it was the sense that oriented her in all areas of life, above all in her social life. Juvenal Urbino had observed this throughout his marriage, in particular at the beginning, when she was the parvenue in a milieu that had been prejudiced against her for three hundred years, and yet she had made her way through coral reefs as sharp as knives, not colliding with anyone, with a power over the world that could only be a supernatural instinct. That frightening faculty, which could just as well have had its origin in a millenarian wisdom as in a heart of tone, met its moment of misfortune one ill-fated Sunday before Mass when, out of simple habit, Fermina Daza sniffed the clothing her husband had worn the evening before and experienced the disturbing sensation that she had been in bed with another man”(237).
Dr. Urbino describes his wife as a “parvenue in a milieu,” which means that she has gained a lot of acceptance or fame in her physical surroundings or environment because of her obsession. He realized that her social life was being influenced by her behavior early on in their relationship. Dr. Urbino also believes that Fermina has been able to maneuver through many obstacles, demonstrating how much power she has. The thought from this passage is that her husband perceives her completely opposite to how she perceives herself. Fermina believes that she has no power over her life but in reality Dr. Urbino believes she has been the one in charge since the beginning of their marriage. The end of the passage ends with Fermina Daza sniffing her husband one night and realizing that he does not have his familiar smell, Fermina smells another woman on his clothing. I believe that Fermina Daza obsession was because she wanted to make feel like she had some control over her family and that lead to suspicions of infidelity.
This passage was very detailed; Marquez really made it clear through the vivid language the hardships that people were facing during the war. Fermina Daza seems to me came out as a very intellectual person in this passage because earlier in the book she was very passive and she lead people to believe that she was the shadow of her husband. Once she was able to be by she was when she began o show her sophisticated side.
“When they began their drive, Fermina Daza had covered the lower half of her face with her mantilla, not for fear of being recognized in a place where no one could know her but because of the dead bodies she saw everywhere, from the railroad station to the cemetery, bloating in the sun. The Civil and Military commander of the city told her: It’s Cholera. She knew it was, because she had seen the white lumps in the mouths of the sweltering corpses, but she noted that none of them had the coup de grace in the back of the neck as they had at the time of the balloon. That is true, said the officer. Even God improves His methods”(252).
When she was covering up her face with the piece of cloth so to speak or mantilla, she reminded me of an Indian or Muslim woman, they do cover up their face to hide their identities. Fermina did it to keep the stench and germs away from her face. The bodies were everywhere, contaminating the streets. Fermina noticed that the bodies did not have a certain mark, coup de grace in French or stroke of grace in English. Her husband may have influenced the observant characteristics she had of the bodies because he is a doctor. Fermina noticed the lumps in the victims’ mouths while they were driving by. The French she spoke may have been her hidden intelligence from the world. I believe many people in the book may have underestimated Fermina, but I think in this quote she proves us wrong by subtly saying little remarks like “coup de grace,” or the visible fatal blow that they would get if murdered.
The Cholera disease was a bacterial disease that infected the small intestine, many could have been contaminated through water and the majority of the time it was fatal. The officer said, “Even God improves His methods,” meaning that the method of all these murders was not by people but by bacteria. The corpses have no visible blows; the death was caused by a bacterium that was killing everything inside of the victims. The officer mentions God, which demonstrates how religious people there are but I find it interesting that Marquez capitalized “His,” just to emphasize who the officer was talking about.
Florentino Ariza has been pretty decent throughout that the book, other than his endless affairs which were caused by his feeling of emptiness for Fermina Daza. In this part of the book he takes it too far, to far with a fourteen-year-old girl. I believe that Florentino Ariza was very desperate and he strictly committed a crime by gaining the girl’s confidence and then manipulate her into sleeping with him. In the following passage Marquez, strictly describes Florentino’s conscious crime.
“Since he was the only person authorized to take her out of the boarding school, he would call for her in the six- cylinder Hudson that belonged to the R.C.C., and sometimes they would lower the top if the afternoon was not sunny and drive along the beach, he with his somber hat and she, weak with laughter, holding the sailor hat of her school uniform with both hands so that the wind would not blow it off. Someone had told her not to spend more time with her guardian than necessary, not to eat anything he had tasted, and not to put her face too close to his, for old age was contagious. But she did not care. They were both indifferent to what people might think of them because their family kinship was well known, and what is more, the extreme difference in their ages placed them beyond all suspicion”(273). America Vicuna
America Vicuna was the girl’s name. Florentino Ariza knew that since he was close to being a blood relative to this girl he was allowed to take her out of school when he pleased. The girl was told by people not to spend so much time with this man and to be aware and cautious of her actions and his actions. They both ignored the advice and instead were convinced that no one would be suspicious of any “affair,” because of their age, Florentino could be considered America’s grandfather. Their relationship did remind me of a high school couple, just because of the description of these carefree individuals driving around in a car acting silly. But that is still no excuse for a girl her age to give in to such an old man. It surprises me that no one noticed or even had the slightest suspicion. I think that overall Florentino needs help and he should not be searching for it with a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl.
This next passage struck me to be very important in the second to last section f the book because it describes Dr. Urbino’s death. Florentino Ariza asked a driver who had died and the driver filled him into the tragic gossip Florentino Ariza did not react the way I would of thought he would react to the death of his rival, the one he wished would of died the day that he took Fermina’s hand in marriage. In the following passage Marquez’s description of Florentino’s thoughts made me wonder if he still cared about Fermina Daza.
“It’s for the doctor with the goatee, said the driver. What’s his name? Florentino Ariza did not have to wonder who that was. Nevertheless, when the driver told him how he had died, his instantaneous hope vanished because he could not believe what he heard. Nothing resembles a person as much as the way he dies, and no death could resemble the man he was thinking about less than this one. But it was he, although it seemed absurd: the oldest and best- qualified doctor in the city, and one of its illustrious men for many other meritorious reasons, had died of a broken spine, at the age of eighty-one, when he fell from the branch of a mango tree as he tried to catch a parrot”(276).
I believed I needed to type the whole passage so that it would be clearer as to what or who Florentino and the driver where talking about. When Marquez describes Florentino’s reaction as “instantaneous,” it makes him sound like he hoped that Dr. Urbino wouldn’t have died due to an accident but due to age. It also seems like he didn’t want the opportunity to come so quick because he seemed to be enjoying the carefree lifestyle without commitments. Now that he has the chance to go up to Fermina Daza he doesn’t feel like he wants to go up to her and declare his love after such a tragic undeserved death.
Back to Dr. Urbino’s death, it was caused by the bird which was very ironic because at the beginning he talked about how he despised animals and his death was because he wanted to save or get the bird from the mango tree and instead fell and broke his back. I think that Dr. Urbino felt like after his separation from Fermina his life was over at the age of eighty-one and his only companion was the parrot he was attempting to rescue from the tree, it is quite ironic.
In this passage Floretino is experiencing something very awkward, he is waking up in his mother’s bed. This connects to the book we are currently reading in class by James Joyce. The connection is between Stephen and Florentino, they both are going through this phase where they need their mother and they feel almost like an attraction to them. Stephen wanted his mother when he felt hopeless and alone, he wanted her to be there to nurture him. Florentino is also feeling the desire of being close to his mother in this passage.
“He had lost all track of time, and did not know where he was when he awoke facing a large, dazzling window. The voice of America Vicuna playing ball in the garden with the servant girls brought him back to reality: he was in his mother’s bed. He had kept her bedroom intact, he would sleep there to feel less alone on the few occasions when he was troubled with the solitude”(188)
Florentino Ariza when he awoke after sleeping he heard the voice of America Vicuna, who was playing ball with the servants. The childish play brought him back to reality; his childhood and he automatically assumed he was in his mother’s room, sleeping in her safe warm bed. He would sleep in his mother’s bed because he felt a gap of “solitude” in his life and his mother’s bed may remind him subconsciously of his mother’s womb when he was a baby. I think that Florentino does not want to deal with all his problems alone and naturally goes to his mother to seek help; it is exactly what a child would of done.
In this passage it is the first time Fermina and Florentino see and speak to each other before Fermina Daza married Dr. Urbino. This moment was very awkward and shocking to Fermina. Fermina and Florentino decide on a day to see each other but Fermina instead of seeming excited stand there in her house like a tree stump. Her reaction may have been due to the fact that her husband died not that long before she saw Florentino. Florentino also surprised me, his reaction was totally different, and it was a lot more positive and impacted his life more than Fermina’s.
“The day after tomorrow at five o’clock. Florentino Ariza thanked her, bid an urgent farewell with his hat, and left without tasting the coffee. She stood in the middle of the drawing room, puzzled, not understanding what had just happened, until the sound of his automobile’s backfiring faded at the end of the street. Then Florentino Ariza shifted into a less painful position in the back seat, closed his eyes, relaxed his muscles, and surrendered to the will of his body. It was like being reborn. The driver, who after so many years in his service was no longer surprised at anything, remained impassive. But when he opened the door for him in front of his house, he said: Be careful, Don Floro, that looks like cholera”(305).
When I first read this passage I thought that Florentino was the one who was driving the car, but then it turns out that he was being driven around by a man whom apparently knew him for most of his life because he knew exactly what he went to Fermina’s house for. Florentino was lying in the back of the seat almost like if he had just jumped into the back seat in a rush and the driver tells him that he is acting like he has cholera. The reasoning behind that comment was said because Florentino had so many mixed feelings that it makes him act weird. Florentino does not view it as weird; he sees it as being “reborn.” Florentino feels like he has taken a weight off his shoulder and finally got to talk to Fermina in person after so many years. The driver was not only warning Florentino he was telling him that what is going on might not be the greatest or best decision he has made in life. The driver’s name was never mentioned which surprises me and I wonder why he was not brought up earlier in the book because he knew where Florentino lived.
In this passage Fermina confuses me because when Marquez talks about her she seems like a young woman, but when Fermina talks about herself she makes herself sound and seem very old. This passage also demonstrates the hostility between the sexes in the book. Dr. Urbino gets into the way he feels women treat him in his world. The battle of the sexes was just introduced to us in the book, according to the hostility.
“Florentino Ariza pressed her hand, bent toward her, and tried to kiss her on the cheek. But she refused, in her hoarse, soft voice. Not now, she said to him. I smell like old woman. She heard him leave in the darkness, she heard his steps on the stairs, she heard him cease to exist until the next day. Fermina Daza lit another cigarette, and as she smoked she saw Dr. Juvenal Urbino in his immaculate linen suit, with his professional rigor, his dazzling charm, his official love, and he tipped his white hat in a gesture of farewell from another boat out of the past. We men are the miserable slaves of prejudice, he had once said to her. But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about”(329-330).
Fermina after rejecting Florentino goes back to her bad habit of smoking. The feeling of rejecting the secret love of her life caused Fermina to feel helpless and old. She claimed that she was old and she should not be receiving any kisses from him because she smells like old woman. After she sees Florentino leave she sees Dr. Urbino, which may have seen the whole thing between Fermina and Florentino. I think Florentino acted like he had no idea what was going on because he was waving to some boats that were sailing by and then began to talk about woman how they are really evil. He thinks that men face unjust behaviors from woman after sleeping with them. If men were to do the same they would never live it down and they have no hope or god that will be able to help them. Dr. Urbino makes woman seem like people that have no soul and literally only care about themselves. I think he said all that because he saw Fermina and Florentino and felt like he was being betrayed and he had no say in Fermina’s control anymore. The hostility between the two continued up until Dr. Urbino’s death.
In this section of the book Fermina and Florentino are finally together and committed. Fermina chose to leave her other life after Dr. Urbino’s death and leave with Florentino. Florentino took Fermina on a trip in a boat. This passage was a few pages before the very last page o the book and I found it kind of interesting that Marquez would abruptly tell us that the two imaginary “newlyweds” have already adapted to each other and have become so used to each other that they have though beyond love for each other.
“They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime any anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death”(345).
They both feel “wary” of love, which means that they are cautious and fear that something may potentionally cause danger to it. They feel like they are in a level of life where they feel no more abrupt and strong passions as before. They also feel like if they put any more hope into the relationship it would just be foolish. The “disillusion” of love makes their relationship seem so dull and like it was not as great as they hoped it would have been like when they were apart for all those years. They just lived with the thought that they have loved each other for so long, most of their fake lives that it has become something that has been written in stone. The closer it gets to death in the lives or the more they age makes the fact that they love each other even more apparent. The passage just made me think about people’s relationship present day, maybe there are couples that feel the same way because they have been together for so long.
The end of the book was very confusing what did you guys think about it? I enjoyed the book very much and all but the ending was not the ending I was expecting.
In a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce there were two passages that were distinctive to my focus of fire. In the passages that I chose both of them insinuate that when James Joyce writes about fire there are certain desires that the characters are attempting to release, also in those passages those fiery desires end up adding on to something negative or sinful. The sudden burst’s of fiery desires causes the characters in the book to do things that follow with negative outcomes. The outcomes in the situations are noticed and sometimes they are ignored. Stephen realizes that those experiences are not going to be accepted and that it makes him feel sick and at times selfish. Stephen through both passages clearly shows the reader that he is struggling with the acceptance from his society and all that influences his interpretation of his life and everyone else around him.
In this first passage of chapter one, James Joyce writes about how theses groups of boys were able to go into the church and steal some money and how they also stole some holy wine that is used for their holy mass. Stephen in this passage is listening to some boys’ gossip about what happened, while they are in the presence of the church. Stephen struggles with his fiery side that pesters him to satisfy his passions and then there is this other side of him that wants him to do the good and pure things in life to satisfy the society. In the first few sentences of the passage the boys discuss what happened that day, “But Why did they run away, tell us I know why, Cecil Thunder said. Because they had fecked the cash out of the rector’s room. Who fecked it? Kickham’s brother. And they all went shares in it. But that was stealing. How could they have done that? A fat lot you know about it, Thunder! Wells said. I know why they scut. Tell us why. I was told not to, Wells said. O, go on, Wells, all said. You might tell us. We won’t let it out. Stephen bent forward his head to hear. Wells looked round to see if anyone was coming. Then he said secretly: You know the altar wine they keep in the press in the sacristy? Yes. Well, they drank that and it was found out who did it by the smell. And that’s why they ran away, if you want to know. And the fellow who had spoken first said: Yes that’s what I heard too from the fellow in the higher line”(49). In the first part of the passage the boys are just explaining how the boys stole the money and the wine for their own enjoyment. James Joyce is almost making these characters sound like older mature people through context, they do not sound like children just gossiping they seem almost more sophisticated in nature, they are fearing no one. Also, the boy’s who stole the wine were doing it purely to satisfy their desires that are coming from their ID’s.
In the next part of the chapter one passage, James Joyce describes Stephen almost like a child because he is recalling his memories of his childhood where he helped out the church in the summers by carrying the incense to the altar. Stephen is also intimidated when they talk about these boys, he is afraid to express how he feels about the situation, “The fellows were all silent. Stephen stood among them, afraid to speak, listening. A faint sickness of awe made him feel weak. How could they have done that?..He remembered the summer evening he had been there to be dressed as boatbearer, the evening of the procession to the little altar in the wood. A strange and holy place”(49). In this passage James Joyce wants the reader to notice his emphasized “listening.” Stephen did not want to add anything to the conversation because he was afraid of what his classmate’s reactions would be. Stephen also does not understand how they were able to steal money and wine from the “holy place,” it made him feel sick just thinking about why those boys listened to their fire of desire to purify or release the urges, plainly to satisfy their own wants. The wine that was stolen or the “blood of Christ” was stolen for their own enjoyment and that makes Stephen feel sick, the outcome was negative because the things that were stolen were not in anyway theirs and they had no right to walk into a holy place and steal something that meant so much to the people of the church.
In the next passage from chapter two, James Joyce describes an experience that Stephen is facing, the moment almost seems like a dream or Stephen’s imagination. In the passage it’s basically Stephen’s desires slowly burning inside him and forcing him to satisfy his desire of lust. James Joyce makes him seem like the desire is torturing him and this moment is unbearable for Stephen. “Such moments passed and the wasting fires of lust sprang up again. The verses passed from his lips and the inarticulate cries and the unspoken brutal words rushed forth from his brain to force a passage”(98). The imagery in this passage is magnificent, James Joyce describes the inability to release himself verbally, the “brutal” words were in his brain but he was unable to release them because his lips and his voice wouldn’t let him. Following the struggle of speaking, his whole body was suffering also, “His blood was in revolt… He stretched out his arms in the street to hold fast the frail swooning form that eluded him and incited him: and the cry that h had strangled so for so long in his throat issued from his lips”(98). When James Joyce describes this passion he has to release the sounds from his throat and Stephen having to spread his arms apart to control himself that position with his arms almost seems to show how Stephen struggles to still be holy by imitating Christ, when he was being nailed to the cross. Stephen is struggling to go either the holy way; which is to stop from envisioning his desire for lust and release himself or to stop and control himself because it is sinful. In the last part of the passage Stephen is confiding with his ID, “ It broke from him like a wail of despair from a hell of sufferers and died in a wail of furious entreaty, a cry for an iniquitous abandonment, a cry which was but the echo of an obscene scrawl which he had read on the oozing wall of a urinal”(98). Stephen’s blood comes up a lot in the book especially when he talks about his death and his funeral. The connection with my topic is that they are both the same color, red. Fire tends to be red when it is not that hot, and blood turns red when exposed to oxygen. One sentence in the passage says “It broke from him like a wail of despair from a hell of sufferers,” has a connection with the negative outcomes that lead to his situation and the topic of fire. For example, James Joyce is associating fire with hell, comparing How Stephen suffers, he is suffering the same torture that those would be suffering down in the fiery depths of hell. Fire is very closely related to religion, Stephen thinks that church views him as a sinner, he thinks he would be sent down to hell for not listening to their laws and their Society.
Overall, the passages both demonstrated how these viscous bursts of desires each influence some outcome that is eventually damaging to Stephen or to his society. What James Joyce is trying to tell the reader is that these selfish outbursts of the ID will damage your environment but if not released with slowly burn you internally. The topic of fire usually is brought up to demonstrate a negative idea or situation. It also connections to the topic of religion and that it something that Stephen is actively involved in and has a passion for, to some point.