Global Lit.

October 28th, 2010

The Sound and The Fury – Faulkner

Posted by mea1234 in Uncategorized

“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life”


So now that I have read some more, I understand, a bit more clearly, why Benji is always saying that Caddy “smells like the trees”.  Caddy seems to spend most of her, stolen, time entertaining the local boys, and, to say it nicely, is a free spirit. So then, is it her earthy smell that seemingly has all three of her brothers infatuated with her in some way? Perhaps.  Benjy is triggered by the smell of her perfume, causing him to cry; although he does not necessarily understand the sexual implications of Caddy’s behavior, he knows something is not right. He seems to be the only person who has any effect on Caddy, causing her at times to feels guilty about her promiscuous ways since she often assumes a motherly role for him. Quentin’s problems with Caddy’s behavior, although it can be taken as his disappointment in her lack of morality, is also jealous in a creepy, incestuous way. In his defense, she is the first girl he ever sees slightly disrobed and acting upon her sexuality; but come on Q, your sister?? Really?? Ewww, gross. haha….

I still cant seem to make much sense of the events of things, since hearing the story through Benjy’s perspective does not really allow it;  perhaps this is intentionally done.  That the idea of time as a method, as a quantitative way to measure things, to measure ones life or story is neither necessary or efficient, that it can either trap or free.  If you think of time as an inevitably closing lid, it can be your Psyche’s enemy, trapping you in a particular time or place. This seems true for Quentin. For Benji, time has little effect, since he has little perception of what an abstract concept such as time really means and in this sense he is free of the restraints that time has over most.



October 26th, 2010

The Sound and The Fury – Faulkner

Posted by mea1234 in Uncategorized

The difficult part of getting through this first assigned section of reading was the fact that the narrator, Benjy, seems to have little, if any at all, conception of time.  It was strange to me that Faulkner titled the section based off of a date, which would lead one to believe that it would be significant, when in fact, the events of April 7, 1928 were rather insignificant.  It is hard to keep track of Benji’s ever wandering mind, which seems to jump around in time, making it difficult to decipher past from present events, as he seems to discuss everything in the text in the present tense. Benjy’s mental disability leaves him with little capacity for subjective thought. From his perspective, life is merely a string of images, sounds, and memories that he is unable to interpret, express, or organize in any meaningful way. He does not seem to understand the real meaning and implications of death, love, family, virginity, intimacy, and marriage (etc). He seems to live in an ever “present’ time, where events of the past intertwine with those of current. He does not seem to understand that the stories he remembers are memories from the past. So how does one organize their life if they do not have a concept of time?  Isn’t that the very thing that we as humans use to control, plan, understand life? Overall, this section had me scratching my head as to its significance and as to what exactly Benjy is trying to relay (if anything at all).  Despite my current ambivalence toward the story, I did find myself empathizing with Benjy’s situation.  The only people who seem to truly care about him are Caddy and Dilsey, and I would imagine that as a lonely existence for someone who already has an impairment hampering him from grasping the world around him.  It would be hard for me to say when this section came alive for me, since I haven’t grasped a full understanding of it and its perhaps relevance to the rest of the story that sits before me.  Perhaps I will return to this idea in a later blog.

The Sound and The fury, Part 1 Here’s a link to Part 1, the movie version.  The visual helped a bit for me, maybe you’ll have the same experience?

October 21st, 2010

Persepolis, a closer look…

Posted by mea1234 in Uncategorized

The Photos above show the charred remains of The Cinema Rex

Here’s an excerpt I found which explains the events of what happened that day and how it helped spark the protests which inevitably led to the Iranian revolution:

” Several events in the 1970s set the stage for the 1979 revolution:     The 1971 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire at Persepolis, organized by the Shah’s regime, was attacked for its extravagance. “As the foreigners reveled on drink forbidden by Islam, Iranians were not only excluded from the festivities, some were starving…..the other factor was the August 1978 Cinema Rex Fire in Abadan where over 400 people died. Movie theaters had been a common target of Islamist demonstrators but such was the distrust of the regime and effectiveness of its enemies’ communication skills that the public believed SAVAK had set the fire in an attempt to frame the opposition. The next day 10,000 relatives and sympathizers gathered for a mass funeral and march shouting, ‘burn the Shah’, and ‘the Shah is the guilty one.”

All that was left after the fire....

The passage which stood out most for me was a scene which took place early on in the story. In the section titled The Bicycle, Marji shhhhhh’s God in the middle of one of their visits and over hears her parents talking about the burning of the Rex cinema. A horrific event by either account, however conflicting reports were given from “The BBC” and “The Shah”. This event was one of the main factors leading up to the up-rise and revolution in Iran (see above). The text on pages 14-15, are written much like a good journalist would have reported, short and blunt, to the point. The text here points at the dis-symmetry that is happening between the people of Iran and it’s government.  “The doors had been locked from outside a few minutes before the fire. The police were there. They forbade people to rescue those locked inside. Then they attacked them. The firemen didn’t arrive until forty minutes later. The BBC said there were 400 victims. The Shah said that a group of religious fanatics perpetrated the massacre. But the people knew that it was the Shah’s fault!!!”

October 18th, 2010

Persepolis

Posted by mea1234 in Uncategorized

This novel was a nice change of pace from some of the others we have come across thus far. I personally am a huge fan of this genre of novel, the graphic novel or fancy name for comic book.  This one, however, differed even still from others I have read.  Most other graphic novels I have come across are focused more on the action of the story rather than any deep underlying meaning. Not to say all graphic novels are simply comics, many are not and have wonderful metaphors that can be interpreted in meaningful ways. However, Persepolis, the story of a young girl growing up in a tumultuous time in Iran’s history, felt like an effortless read; not an easy task for a book with more “subtext” than actual text.  The words on the page are short and concise, much like the mind of our child narrator, 10 year old Marji, yet the topics they address are sometimes radical,  sad, and political, at times religious, often intense, and always surprising to a “Westerner” such as myself.  I imagine my experience of reading this for the first time, as I had little knowledge of the Iranian revolution prior to doing so, much like Marji’s experience. As she describes the shock and confusion of what is happening to the space around her, to her world as she knows it, as things are revealed  by her parents, friends or teachers, and even as she’s questioning all these things and more, I too share that with her.  I can only imagine what it would have been like to live your life for 10 years a certain, comfortable way and suddenly, as if adolescent isn’t difficult enough, you are thrust into a new set of demands and expectations with little say and no control.

In reading up a bit on this time in Iran’s history, one of the things that stuck with me, while a small detail in comparison to some of the horrors which took place, was that in 1976 the Shah angered Iranian Muslims by changing the first year of the Iranian solar calendar. Iran jumped overnight from the Muslim year 1355 to the royalist year 2535 (Encyclopedia Britannica).  This was staggering to me not only because it demonstrated the power and control that the Shah had over Iran, not only because it was one of many examples of how the Shah had little regard for what the people of Iran wanted, not only because it was another demonstration on behalf of the Shah to take away whatever previous “national” identity may have existed for Iranian people, but simply because how, if you are Marji for example, do you go from writing the date 3/15/1355 one day and the next day have to write it as 3/16/2535.  It just seems such an off putting, confusing, and difficult adjustment to make.

The Ruins Of Persepolis, Iran : this video has amazing shots of the ruins of Persepolis, although I may suggest listening to it on mute since the narration is slightly annoying. Either way you choose, enjoy!

October 8th, 2010

The Sun Also Rises

Posted by mea1234 in Uncategorized

What makes Hemingway, Hemingway? The Sun Also Rises, considered to be the favorite word child by many Hemingway fans and critics, is a story without any real central conflict.  While many conflicts throughout the novel are presented, no one stands out as the ONE, if you will.  Instead of approaching the work in the kind of way one might expect, Hemingway instead presents two primary questions which readers are left to contemplate. The first is whether or not unconditional love is actually a sign of weakness or of  strength. The second is whether or not the sexual triumphs of a man are indicative of his level of “manhood”.  These questions seem to embody the overall theme of this work, which is focused on the characters internal struggles of power.

Now to get back to the question of “What makes Hemingway, Hemingway?”. In many other stories he has written, there tends to be a central dominating male character, often referred to as a “Hemingway Hero”. What makes The Sun Also Rises unique, seems to be exactly the null of my previous statement.  There are no dominating male characters here, all of the men in this story are in fact weak in some way.  Jake Barnes, the narrator and primary character in The Sun Also Rises, is an unnervingly weak representation of manhood.  Hemingway physically depicts Jake’s weakness through his war injury and subsequent impotence, however, his true impotence lies in his inability to control the woman he loves. Jake feels he is being viewed as a joke rather than a victim of tragedy; a perception which affects and changes his self-image throughout his life after the war. “Hemingway refrains from offering us a traditional hero in The Sun Also Rises, and with the absence of a strong leading man he forces us to question how essential traditional masculine strength is to a main male character” (Baker, Carlos,1972). By doing this, Hemingway, also forces us to consider whether our cultural assumptions about men and masculinity are properly defined. Strength and weakness are continuously addresses and weaved into the text throughout the novel and within the makeup of almost every character. Because of this, as readers, we have little choice but to accept the blurred lines between these two qualities, just as Jake was forced to accept his own fate.

Lovers Fight over Lady Brett : Click this link to see, in my opinion, one of the great scenes from the film adaptation of the novel.  I just love Jane Seymoure as Lady Brett!!

October 4th, 2010

The Waste Land – Take 2

Posted by mea1234 in Uncategorized

In paying closer attention to the two sections of this poem I found most interesting, I was able to decipher a bit more meaning from it rather than looking at this piece as a whole (an exhausting and daunting task!).  In section II. A Game Of Chess, the dialogue I refered to in my earlier posts, is between a man and a women seemingly trapped within a relationship where they’re “pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door” (ll.138).   They’re only playing this game of chess to pass the boredom and time, what a sad and joyless life.  In the same way that the high society women is described as being smothered and imprisoned by her riches and belongings, this women seems to smother her lover to the point that he doesn’t even care to engage in dialogue with her.  So much so that in ll.110-139 she is basically talking to herself, he’s hardly interested in her rambling.  The language used with in this section points to a dualism between death by dehydration or a lack of water and that of death by drowning (the recurring reference to the drowned Phoenician sailor-the man with pearls for eyes).

My second favorite section is V. What The Thunder Said, where thunder is personified and given a voice.  I love the idea of this since I personally have always loved the sound of thunder.  It roars as if it has something important to say, or as my childhood friends mother would say, “thunder is the voice of God, a voice we can all hear clearly!” which interestingly enough seems tied to the allusion in ll.360 or so, when a “hooded” man, presumably Moses, is seen leading ” a hooded swarm” of people through an endless, dry and cracked dessert, on the word of the thunder, or God’s word.

The following section contains, in my opinion, the best imagery within the poem:

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink 335
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit 340
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
If there were water
345
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring 350
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock 355
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water
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