Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"Anybody depending on somebody else's gods is depending on a fox not to eat chickens."
Zora Neale Hurston
"I do not weep at the world I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife."
Zora Neale Hurston
Hurston gives a breath of fresh air in the Harlem Renaissance. "Sweat" is a wonderful story about a strong black woman and I really enjoyed reading it. In the story "Sweat", Delia is beat so badly by her husband her appearance changes. I really like it that the men on the porch want to take up for her, "We oughter take Syke an' dat stray 'oman uh his'n down in Lake Howell swamp an' lay on de rawhide till they cain't say Lawd a' mussy." They even leave the porch whenever Syke shows up with Bertha. It says alot about Syke when the elder men in the town turn against him. He beats Delia, sleeps around with Bertha and he acts like he owns the town and to me that is a definition of a bastard. I was too delighted to read at the end of the story Sykes was bitten by the rattle snake he put in house to bite Delia. Hurston is a wonderful story teller and I sure many women have enjoyed reading "Sweat".
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 9:54 AM
"Idealism is like a castle in the air if it is not based on a solid foundation of social and political realism."
''Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!''
I gotta be honest. Claude McKay does nothing for me. His poem The Lynching has some moving words. The rest of the poems seem dull and don't spark the thoughts that Langston Hughes did. The Negro's Tragedy I didn't not feel any pain for the people in this poem. I might not be looking into the poem very deeply, but I read it four times and I still feel nothing. McKay's poems are dull and lifeless. I am sure they read different for everyone, but his words left me empty. Maybe during class someone will enlighten me to the wisdom he produced, but until then I will be a empty coffee cup in need of some stimulating McKay premium coffee.
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 9:04 AM
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
“The impulse to dream was slowly beaten out of me by experience. Now it surged up again and I hungered for books, new ways of looking and seeing.”
Richard Wright quote
“Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.”
Richard Wright quote
After reading "The Ethics of living Jim Crow", I have gotten a new perspective of the struggles of African Americans. Richard's education of Jim Crow was almost to hard to read. The beatings from his mom, coworkers and I am sure others he does not tell us about in the story creates an over whelming sympathy within me. The pain Richard suffers drips from the pages as he describes the broken glass bottle cutting his neck and then instead of comfort from his mom she beats him until he was physically sick. He goes on to tell about his jobs and how black people are "taught" to stay in their place. White men seem to be the teachers of the Jim Crow education in Mississippi.
The story is very sad to me because Richard looks at the world through non-rascal eyes at first and by the end of the story he lies and becomes a thief to make it in the world. The only good coming from the story is Richard has used the hate to gain access to books. I think it is sweet revenge when he uses Jim Crow to get the one thing whites don't want him to have which is education.
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 1:09 PM
Monday, January 25, 2010
"I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go."
"We Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line."
Langston Hughes is one of Americas most popular African American poets. I read Mulatto and Ku Klux to expose myself to more controversial poems. Mulatto is powerful poem about a mulatto boy who is regretted by his father. I just wonder why he keeps referring to the pines? I just wonder if the white man smells like a pine tree or maybe something sexual? Ku Klux is another poem that touches people's nerves. I think the use of the "N" word and the abuse the Klan members are going to induce on this man is shocking. I am not saying I didn't know language like this isn't used or the KKK didn't kill people. I just think reading about it strikes a nerve in me. Hughes wrote these poems to strike a fire in people. His use of the "n" word and giving the reader a clear picture of what is happening/happened to African Americans would motivate others to rise up and help the African American community.
In the poem Negro, Hughes in 19 lines tells us the story of the African American struggle. His use of words in the poems stir people's emotions. I am sure people who read these poems now and then feel some sort of compassion for the African American community.
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 1:41 PM
“Young man, young man, your arm's too short to box with God.”
James Weldon Johnson quote
"I believe it to be a fact that the colored people of this country know and understand the white people better than the white people know and understand them."
James Weldon Johnson
Reading the poems from the Harlem Renaissance I have noticed how some poets like Langston Hughes are not shy about showing great anger about the struggles African Americans had in the United States. James Weldon Johnson was a little more subdue with his feelings about the situation. "The White Witch" is a good example. The way he tries to warn his brothers about the white witch by telling them she maybe pretty, but she really is a monster that sucks the life out of you. "The spirit of the vampire lies" and " in her smile there is a blight" is a polite way of saying she will suck the life out you and even a kiss from her will cause you sickness. The poem makes me wonder why he does not want his brothers with the white witch. Is it because of race or because he was hurt by one and seeks revenge? " And I have kissed her red lips,.....Around me she has twined her arms,"
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 12:53 PM
Sunday, January 24, 2010
It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming of themselves like grass.
I think anyone with a sibling can relate to Eudora Welty's "Why I Live at the P.O".
The way Sister gets treated whenever Stella-Rondo comes back into town with a child that is adopted. I don't believe for a second Stella adopted Shirley-T. I also think Mr. Whitaker left her because she was a spoiled rotten child who can't live up to what mistakes she has made in her life. I think Welty wrote this story from the heart, because when I read it the details jump out at me. They create a feeling within me since I have been a less favored sibling in my family.
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 8:57 AM
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
"A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity."
"College is a refuge from hasty judgment."
"Education is hanging around until you've caught on."
Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets. After reading more about him, I understand from all the loss he suffered how he could have such a realistic view on life. His style of writing really appeals to me. It maybe the rhyming patterns in his poetry that make them easy to read, but I have not read anything yet he has wrote I did not enjoy. Even the poem "In a Disused Graveyard", I found the last several lines amusing.
"How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie."
I think it funny how the grave stones are sad because dead men are no longer coming into the grave yard. Frost's poetry turns parts of everyday life into a interesting work of literature.
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 2:09 PM
"A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman."
This picture amuses me, unlike his poems I read. He has a pleasant way of using colorful wording to describe boring objects around him. I read his biography and that explains why his poetry is such a drab use of words. He is not a drunk or seemed to have any problems with women. I don't want to second guess the man's talent, but I think I have read poems that spark my interest more than "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird".
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 1:22 PM
Monday, January 18, 2010
"I don't believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates."
T. S. Eliot
"What do we live for; if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?”
T.S. Eliot quote
T.S. Elliot is another author students are well read by the time their senior year in college rolls around. Unlike Faulkner, I enjoy Eliot. He forces you to think beyond just reading the words on the page. He wants you to think about the lines and how they tell a story beyond what you read. In the poem,"The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock" you read about Alfred Prufrock. Alfred sounds to me like a middle aged man lusting after a beautiful woman he may never have. He keeps asking does he dare to "disturb the universe". I feel like telling him to not only disturb the universe, but rock the universe until the heavens start to crack! Alfred needs a good dose of self esteem and a hair transplant. Elliot has a wonderful way of projecting other people's thoughts into the poem as well. "How his hair is growing thin!" I liked "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" just for the fact it made me happy to be a woman.
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 9:56 AM
"A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once."
"Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain."
William Faulkner is one of those authors that haunts my academic dreams. I have read his writings throughout my high school and college careers. I still to this day think Faulkner enjoyed writing about crazy people and corpses. I have read "As I Lay Dying" in a college English class and we spent a total of 12 hours talking about how bad the body must have smelled. I believe anyone who can write a story and you can recall specific details from the book two years later has a gift. I can still remember the story about the family caring their mother's body through all those towns and the vultures circling above them. The smell so foul they were told to keep the body outside of the town. He is the most talented writer that I can't stand to read.
"A Rose for Emily"
Oh crazy Emily. Emily doesn't need a rose. The woman just needs some fresh air.
"A Rose for Emily" is about a lonely woman that was controlled by her father. Her father's dominating behavior caused serious mental trauma to Emily. Faulkner draws his readers in by making them feel sorry for Emily, then he waited to the last part of the story to reveal just how mentally disturbed Emily was. In the last line, "Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair." Faulkner's way of telling us not only did Emily kill Homer, but she was still sleeping with his dead corpse by only three words "iron-gray hair" is a wonderful piece of writing. I love that Faulkner writes about southerns, but why does he have to make us look so delusional? I also don't understand why Faulkner wrote about people doing weird things with their loved one's bodies. Sorry, I just can't curl up by the fire and enjoy reading a William Faulkner story.
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 7:53 AM
Sunday, January 17, 2010
"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen."
US author & journalist (1899 - 1961)
"The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it."
I love old pictures of people, so I thought I would post a young Hemingway picture for everyone to see. I am very fond of Hemingway's writing. When I read his writings it is like I am watching the scene unfold before me. I like the realism he puts into his work. In the "Hills Like White Elephant", at first I thought the couple was talking about getting married. After I read the poem over again, I caught on to the couple's conversation. I believe the guy is older man who wants the girl to have an operation. I can only guess it is an abortion. In line "That's the only thing that bothers us. It's the only thing that's made us unhappy", tells me that the guy thinks the "thing" as the reason they are unhappy. The girl seems very reluctant about the operation. She wants he to stop talking or she will scream. The last line really tells how she feels about the situation by saying, "There's nothing wrong we me. I feel fine." Hemingway has way with turning a controversial subject into a everyday conversation.
Posted by Michele Fambrough at 8:25 AM