Week 2


16-06-2008 04:09:16

Consider this the closest thing you'll have to a formal lecture in this course. We've taken a look at deconstructing a piece, but the manner in which we did it was a bit hodge podge, with no real direction in our unmaking. And while the process is most famous with literary criticism, the process is still necessary to the writing process. Like I said before, no word is wasted. But, not only is no word wasted, words can serve dual purposes. For example, think about the reverence with which the box is given in "The Lottery." What image did the reverence of the box elicit? What did Jackson mean when the villagers didn't want "to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box," or that except for once a year the box moved from place to place having spent time in "Mr. Graves's barn and another year underfoot in the post office. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there"? For me, the whole reverence of the box harkens back to another famous box - The Ark of the Covenant.

Was this done on purpose by Jackson? Was it something that just strikes me because I endured 7 years of Catholic education? Not only are the words in front of you important, what you put down, what someone else put down, but also how they will be read. Can you anticipate every interpretation of your work? Hell no. What you can do is make sure that through symbolism and imagery you can convey subtext. And subtext is almost what drive the schools of literary criticism. If you'll scroll down a bit on that link, you'll find introductions to some of the classic literary styles. Yes, I know it's especially focused on poetry, but they can easily be turned to prose. For this week's analysis, you MUST apply one of these schools to any of the 3 stories you've read so far. Please be aware of how you're writing and presenting. If you use "I" in a statement, it can probably be omitted. You should only have to reference the school in text once - e.g. "When looking at 'Where Have You Been, Where Are You Going' from a historical perspective one can easily slip the happy go-lucky, simpler and safer times portrayed in 'Happy Days;' however, doing so gives in to the fallacy of a 'better and safer time.'"

Now onto the short story. F. Scott Fitzgerald is the most notorious for doing what every writer does. When we write, we always fall in love with something that doesn't fit into the story. What he did, was cut out the offending piece and save it. Original parts of other stories have found there ways into other writings. If you look closely at The Great Gatsby, there are parts that look like they belong in The Beautiful and Damned or This Side of Paradise. So, keep this in mind as you read and take apart "The Offshore Pirate."

Kudos points to anyone who can tell me why some things are in quotation marks and some are underlined.


16-06-2008 15:19:30

Your underlinings are because they are of a certain category the MLA standards calls for, showing it's either a novel, play, film, or painting, and so on. Your quotation marks show that that title is a skit, or short story, or even a poem, more along those lines.

High school Lit kicking in. Doh.


19-06-2008 21:21:33

Oi guys, nobody else? Anyway.

The Offshore Pirate. Funny little beginning, the two going back and forth over a lemon. So, one character was almost dumb struck that they had a telephone wire running on the bottom of the ocean to get a telephone call, and says "wow science.", blah blah.

I don't like talking to myself, what does that say for time period?


20-06-2008 07:09:23

The mention of Booker T Washington shows us that the time period is probably sometime soon after his rise to prominence. I'd guess around 1880's-1890's but that may be well out.

As for the story, I found the tone seemed to jump around a bit. From a bitter argument at the beginning where her uncle apparently says he will disown her, to then a man coming on board and acting as though stealing a ship is a game (he didn't seem very serious to me anyway), to a hidden island and a period where we learn more about the two people and what makes them tick. It finally finishes with the revelation that it was all a trick devised by her uncle and 'Carlyle' in order for the latter to woo the girl.

Extremely shortened version there but still. One thing I noticed is that it did seem a bit hodge-podge at times. Did anyone else get that feeling?


22-06-2008 08:58:01

Actually, I found such difficulty to comment on this stage, since the materials presented weren't just Oates' "Where Have You Been, Where Are You Going" and Fitzgerald's "The Offshore Pirate" to compare, but also that "Happy Days" and the other three of Fitzgerald's, and I was amazed on their lengths to read, even to analyze! However, I will try to present my opinion about them.

Oates' and Fitzgerald's are definitely different in words count and length of story. Fitzgerald's are more lengthly, divided by chapters or sets of events (at first I thought Fitzgeralds' weren't even short stories but novellas) although they are still focus on someone as the center of interest in the story.

However, on how the authors described the short journey of that center of interest is completely different. Oates seemed rushed to tell about the events and in my opinion, the reason of incantation to explain why Connie finally followed Arnold Friend to open the screen door, was a bit forced. And readers were left in vague conclusion of "really?" Oates tried to tell and not invite the readers to be at that time , on the event or location.

On the contrary, Fitzgerald's, brought the reader into the venues, with very details of complex metaphors (made me open the dictionaries frequently) to describe the feelings (I suddenly remembered many of writing pieces here, were in such styles, for me they were a bit difficult to discern). But in the end of the story finally the readers nod since Fitzgerald's did not left the readers to be in ambiguous end. In "The Offshore Pirates" the never beaten Arditta finally surrendered to "Carlyle", no matter the reason that it was a plant/ setting up. Everything was clear, and happy (though not all Fitzgerald's were happy, like Anthony in "the Beautiful and the Damned", going mad there.) I haven't finished to read "The Great Gatzby", but somehow on the skimming process, finally it (the story) was "finished".

A bit difficult for me to tell about the "Happy Days" since it was a TV series? and I never saw it. However perhaps with the same quotation marks, I would probably guess that it had a similarity on the span of the event (short) and the end of the episode was left in many interpretations possible?

About the MLA format, I think both pieces (either Oates' or Fitzgerald's) if we want to make a lit analysis, the format can be used to all of them. Using MLA format make the analysis more academic to emphasize our opinion with credible resources and not just a simple essay.

Well, if I got something wrong on the opinion above, I do appreciate any feedback especially from the course teacher.


22-06-2008 09:29:46

Oh, and in "The Offshore Pirates", the center of interest is a female, the same as Oates', young, but in different characteristics. Connie lived in such unconfidence about herself because of the people around her, however, Arditta lived in such confidence to determine her life hope and expectations.

And about Fitzgerald's, those pieces have events, philosophies, settings, and words choices that look alike. Narcissus, Armory, offshore, sea, similar metaphoric phrases etc.

Traan Reith

28-06-2008 16:26:20

Fitzgerald likes to date his material, often in an unassuming way, with something that can be dated specifically. The Revolt of the Angels Is dated as being released in 1914, and later details put it at two years after the end of WW1, so 1920-21. Also, Fitzgerald works extremely hard in crafting the world we enter. He sets us up with details far beyond what we could ask, trying to get us, the reader, to feel the wind in our hair, smell the salt, and see the color of the fading sunset over the gorgeous ocean. It is a trademark of Fitzgerald's work that his details give you so much information that you could swear you were actually there. It is his style, to immerse the reader, and make them feel as if they belonged, as opposed to making them simply being along for the ride.