Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Here Writing Prompt

"Here" by Phillip Larkin is a pastoral poem in which a traveling person describes the differences in the country and large town.

Through the poem the tone changes depending on if the speaker is talking about nature of city/civilization. When speaking about nature the author seems peaceful and relaxed, this is demonstrated by his diction, for example line five in the first stanza he says "swerving to solitude." However when the speaker starts to talk about civilization the tone becomes harsh, like when he says "push through plate-glass doors to their desires - cheap suits, red kitchen-ware..."

Tone is just one way the author coveys his attitude though, he also uses a lot of imagery. When Larkin describes the city he talks about how crowded and full it is by describing the buildings and tattoo-shops and museums and all of the people, but when he speaks of the county the description is much more beautiful. He describes rivers and leaves and gold clouds making it clear which life he prefers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Metamorphosis: Gregor v. Grete

Many critics of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka have argued that Gregor’s turning into a giant insect is but one of several examples of a character “morphing” in some way from one state to another. One of the other characters that undergo a metamorphosis is Gregor’s sister Grete. Through the novella Grete changes from a na├»ve child into a responsible woman.

Gregor and Grete appeared to be very close, much like Kafka’s relationship with his siblings. Grete was most likely the only member of their family that he had a normal relationship with. After Gregor’s metamorphosis Grete is the only person who will go in his room and take care of him. She is also the only person who can maintain composure at the sight of him, this is demonstrated in the scene where Grete and Mrs. Samsa try to move out all of Gregor’s furniture. During that scene Gregor decides to actually show himself rather than hide under the couch and it shocks his mother making her pass out. Grete notices this and she goes into the kitchen to get something for her mom to calm her down. When Gregor appears behind her she is startled but then she just goes on with her business. Grete is one of two characters who is not deeply disturbed by the sight of Gregor. However, as time continues to pass and Gregor remains a bug, Grete goes from taking care of Gregor with ease to finding him to be more of a burden on top of her other jobs, leading her to eventually give up on Gregor all together.

Gregor is somewhat anti social when first introduced to the audience, but after he changes he finds that he really enjoys the company of his family once he can no longer have it. The thing is though that his family never really did want him around, they only saw him as a money source. Grete realizes that she can use the change in Gregor as a way to advance her standing in the family by taking care of Gregor and getting a job that way her mother and father will see her as a responsible young adult rather than a child.

At the end of the novella when Gregor finally passes away as what can be assumed a type of self sacrifice for his family the Samsa’s all decide to leave their house and go away some place new. The last paragraph of the story is devoted to the Samsa’s finally seeing a change in Crete and clearly states that they see her as an adult now rather than a child, “it occurred almost simultaneously to Mr. and Mrs. Samsa, as they watched their daughter getting livelier and livelier, that lately in spite of all the troubles which had turned her cheeks pale, she had blossomed into a good-looking, shapely girl.”

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is not just about the obvious metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa from human to bug but also about the metamorphosis of a family, specifically Grete Samsa. Through the entire novella we see not only Gregor change but also Grete, from child to adult.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

10 Questions on The Metamorphosis

Why was his family so selfish that they couldn’t help him when he needed them the most?
Gregor’s family wasn’t being selfish. Gregor’s family didn’t really know how to deal with the fact that their son turned into a giant bug. I think that the reason everyone acted the way they did because of the stress and shock that this put them through.
When Gregor was working his parent’s dept off he was thinking about them so why did they exclude him?
I think his family excluded him because his father excluded him. I think that the family follows the lead of the father and sense he felt resentment toward Gregor for not being able to be the provider the family just followed his lead.

Does Gregor's family feel sadness at his death? Relief?
Gregor’s family feels a mixture of the two. They feel relief that this “burden” that Gregor was causing is finally over with but they also feel sadness that they lost Gregor.

Why does Gregor's family stop believing that the bug Gregor is really Gregor?
Gregor’s family stops believing that the bug Gregor is really Gregor because they believe that real Gregor would have left them in peace a long time ago.

What was the significance of Gregor dying?
The significance of Gregor dying was him finally being at peace with the way his family felt and them finally being able to move on with their lives now.

Why is the family more quiet at meal times?
The family is quieter at meal times because of the financial situation that they have been placed in and not knowing how to deal with everything that they are going through right now.

Why does Gregor stop eating?
Gregor stops eating to symbolize his giving up on his family and his situation.

If Gregor is a bug, why do his feelings tend to be more humane than when he was a human?
Gregor’s feelings tend to be more humane than when he was human now that he is a bug because he now understands how his family feels because they don’t think he can understand them so they talk about things more openly.

Why does Grete NOW choose to get a job? Both her parents are getting them so what is the point?
Grete now chooses to get a job because she wants to feel like a more responsible member of the family and like she has a stronger role rather than just their young daughter.

Why does Gregor still have love and affection for his family even after they start to forget about him?
Gregor still has love and affection for his family even after they start to forget about him because he still sees them the way they were before his metamorphosis rather than how they look at him after the metamorphosis.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Writing Prompt 2 9/19

1984 by George Orwell is one of the most influential books ever written. Orwell uses the power of Big Brother, and Winston's desire to break free to demonstrate a classic tale of rebellion. Although Winston ultimately fails 1984 is still a prime example of someone trying to free himself from the power of others.

On one side there is Winston Smith a common man. He is not strong or handsome of anything special and Orwell did that so the audience would feel a connection. On the other side there is Big Brother and the Party members. They make up the government and decide what people do, when they do it, and how. To make matters even worse if you so much as think about fighting the power you will become an unperson.

Winston realizes early on that something isn't right with the governments way of doing things and decides he wants to escape. However, as much as he would like to escape he knows he will eventually get caught. Orwell did this to foreshadow the down fall of Winston to O'Brien and the Party. Winstons tries his hardest to escape and even becomes obsessed with it, but "Big Brother is always watching you" and the Party has so much power that he really didn't have a chance.

Orwell writes for the common man, he feels for the underdog in society, and 1984 no different. He uses Winston's failure to escape Big Brother to further solidify the strenght of government and how dangerous it can be. A prime example of this would be when Winston is in room 101 and O'Brien threatens to have rats eat off Winston's face.

The struggle for Winson to escape Big Brothers power is what makes 1984 so memorable. It gives the audience a disturbing look at the possibilities of what can happen with to much power. No other book is a more perfect example of a power struggle than 1984 by George Orwell.