Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Analysis of Autumn (Journal 20)

Personally, I think that attempting to analyse poetry in the way we go about it in class is absolutely horrid. In my opinion, if poetry was writing merely to get a point across, there would be no point in writing it in verses, and it might as well be prose. Poetry is written to inspire emotions, as well as to send a message in the case of some poems. The way we pick it apart in class is torturous and unethical (add extra stress on the unethical). We look at all the little pieces and try to figure out what they are saying, but do we really look down into what they mean? When we discussed Flower-de-Luce by Longfellow we looked at everything meant in each of the stanzas, but did any of us take the time to understand the grief the poet was trying to express? Of course not.

Autumn is all about Longfellow's feelings at the coming of that season. He writes about things one might see with the approach of a grand king of old, proceded by tempests, and accompanied by banners and golden bridges and most of all that feeling of grandeur that little else can inspire. He sees all of the good things ready for harvest and depicts autumn as the wonderful spirit that blesses all of this and makes it so. To put it concisely, the author loves autumn.

The poem had many characteristics of Romanticism writing. It had the exotic element in the form of ancient kings and Asian silk. It was all about nature and its beauty, which is a definite sign of Romanticism. It also used a lot of really lovely imagry, which is very common in Romantic literature. He write that the sheaves were like flames on an alter, which is a rather dazzeling image. Though that does bring up my notices that Romanticism writers were not very fond of religion, considering he put the image of a burning alter in his poem.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Most of the Romantic poets seemed to have pursued similar themes in their poetry. Nature is abound in the poems, no matter what their aim is. They love to reference far away places, and care little for religion. One difference between the poets is that some have a focus on loftier themes than others. Even with the Different themes, there is just an absolute ton of similarities, and it makes it a little hard to tell which author is which. I honestly wish I had more Romantic poetry read so I could choose poets with more different styles.

If it does not have abundantly described nature in it, it is not a Romantic poem. In The Chambered Nautilus, written by Oliver Holmes, the mollusk in question has all the favorable features it possesses described in boundless extent, as well as the beach its abandoned shell was cast upon (1-7). The shell is described as a ship of mother-of-pearl, on something of an enchanted beach, complete with sirens and mermaids. Longfellow's poem written after the death of Nathanial Hawthorne takes time to describe the weather, the setting, and the people around when he found out his friend had died (which really seems a little superfluous) (1-14).

Another Romantic poetry theme is that of strange and far away places. The exotic is dear to a poet's heart. In Holmes' poem, the shell is found on that wondrous shore with mythical maidens abound. In another of Longfellow's poems, he describes the coming of autumn like that of an ancient king in all of his splendor (5-6). Both of these are really quite exotic because how often do you see mermaids or long dead kings? They take so much care to put these things in that I have not read a single Romantic poem without a mention of something similarly strange and weirdly exotic.

Another similarity between Holmes and Longfellow is that neither seem to care much for religion. In The Chambered Nautilus, Holmes writes that the sea creature should grow to be free even of heaven (33-34). Longfellow's poem of mourning is surprisingly void of any mention of an afterlife, which is normally a comforting thought to those who have lost someone they love. I think that via this omission it is reasonable to infer that Longfellow thought little of religion. While lack of religion is not really a standard of Romantic writing, I have noticed that it does occur quite a bit.

The big difference between Holmes and Longfellow is their choice of themes. When Holmes was writing The Chambered Nautilus, he was trying to express his thoughts on how important it is for a person to continue growing through out their lives. Both of Longfellow's poems were about his feelings and perceptions, instead of more serious themes. In addition to that, they used different meters and rhyme schemes, but that really is not much worth mentioning.

Holmes, Oliver. "801. The Chambered Nautilus. Oliver Wendell Holmes.
1909-14. English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman. The Harvard Classics."
Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and Hundreds
More. Web. 07 Dec. 2011.

Longfellow, Henry. "Sonnets. Autumn. The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 1893. Complete Poetical Works." Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and Hundreds More. Web. 09 Dec. 2011. .

Longfellow, Henry. "Hawthorne. Flower-de-Luce. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 1893. Complete Poetical Works." Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and Hundreds More. Web. 09 Dec. 2011. http://www.bartleby.com/356/224.html.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Chambered Nautilus

The Chambered Nautilus is a really interesting poem with some really nice imagery in it. However, if anyone reading this has ever seen a nautilus before, they would have trouble understanding why in the world anyone would take the time out of their life to write a poem about such a horribly ugly creature.
The poem gives a few pretty interesting verses at the end to try to explain why the nautilus is so grand, and that the poem is not just an interesting attempt to romanticise a small monster of the deep. Holmes writes "Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free" (Holmes 33-34). So, while mourning the death of this disgusting creature, Holmes makes an allusion to one of the nautilus' more peculiar traits, that of constantly growing. The nautilus grows a new shell every time it outgrows its old one, but instead of disconnecting from the old one it grows the new shell attached to it. Over time these chambers form a rather lovely shell (if anything on such an ugly creature can be called lovely to begin with). The chambers fill with air and help the nautilus to swim.
Assuming the peculiar traits of the nautilus have something to do with the meaning of the poem, it is safe to assume that the poem praises the constant growth of the thing and at the same time jibes at religion when he writes the above quoted lines. Apparently, Holmes tried to live up to his own standard while writing the poem, and tried a new meter and rhyme with it (Love). I will admit, he really did manage to make the putrid, half-squid, tentacled mass sound rather pretty.
The poem also exemplifies some characteristics of Romanticism writing well. It personifies the sea as a mourning mother in one of the verses, as is often done in the Romanticism period (Holmes 23-24). I have also noticed the the Romantic writers tend to have a bit of disdain for religion about them. Holmes also shows this, when he encourages the spirit of the dead sea monster to continue growing even that heaven cannot hold him.
I think that this poem is really lovely, despite its slightly odd object. The way he describes the shell as a "ship of pearl" and how it "sails the unshadowed main . . . where the siren sings" (Holmes 1-5) You could almost imagine the seeming product of radioactive water as a thing of beauty, which is a little strange to tell the truth. My partiality to poems about the ocean could play a part in my enjoyment of the poem, but even so it must be admitted that it really is a wonderful poem. Even so I can not get the image of that horrible thing out of my head. I mean just look at it-
Holmes, Oliver. "801. The Chambered Nautilus. Oliver Wendell Holmes. 1909-14. English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman. The Harvard Classics." Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and Hundreds More. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. .
Love, C. "'The Chambered Nautilus'." In Barney, Brett, and Lisa Paddock, eds. Encyclopedia of American Literature: The Age of Romanticism and Realism, 1816–1895, vol. 2, Revised Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2008. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= EAmL0443&SingleRecord=True.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Irving's writing style fits to a tee the Romanticism period. For instance, his stories were about creatures largely considered to be mythological (except the devil, who is largely considered to be alive and well). In Rip Van Winkle, his main character is very child like and innocent, seeking to help other but neglect his own work (Irving "Rip"). Many Rationalist writings had such characters. In addition to this, the characters who are more grown up and have flaws like greed are vilified, as in the case of Tom Walker and his horrid and miserly wife (Irving "The Devil" 242). Another Romantic theme that made its way into Irving's stories is the strong focus on nature. When Rip Van Winkle's wife will not leave him alone, he goes into the mountains for refuge with his dog, Wolf (Irving "Rip"). The more important parts of The Devil and Tom Walker take place in a forrest as well, like when Tom Walker first meets the devil (Irving "The Devil" 244).

There is a really big difference between Rip Van Winkle and The Devil and Tom Walker. Rip Van Winkle is sort of a story written to entertain, just something to make a reader smile. There is nothing at all serious about it. The Devil and Tom Walker has a moral to it, even if it is a little far fetched. The end warns against dealing with the devil, which could be taken more figuratively and serve as a rational moral to refrain from avarice (Irving "The Devil" 250). Also, one deals with fairies and the other with religion. Although, if the author put fairies and the devil in the same category as all other made up characters, I suppose it could be a similarity instead. On the note of similarities, both stories had a horrible wife character in them, whose sole purpose in life seemed to be being terribly unpleasant. In addition to that both styles seemed almost dream like as well, as if Irving was relating the events of a dream instead of telling a fairy tale or myth (though I suppose a fairy tale is a very dreamy thing by its very nature).

Despite my initial overlooking of a moral to Rip Van Winkle, a literary criticism I read pointed out a potential moral I had missed while reading. It said that the story could be seen as a warning to people who refuse to look change in the face, and wake up one morning to find everything changed (Watts). Personally, I do not really see it because when a person is forced to realize a complete change in an instant, bad things generally happen. In Rip Van Winkle nothing really unpleasant happened, and he even gained a good deal of peace by the loss of his nasty wife (Irving "Rip"). Therefore, I stick to my initial idea the Rip Van Winkle did not really have a moral, and was written entirely to entertain.

Irving, Washington. "The Devil and Tom Walker." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Matthews, Washington Irving. "4. Rip Van Winkle By Washington Irving. Matthews, Brander. 1907. The Short-Story." Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and Hundreds More. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. .

Watts, Linda S. "'Rip Van Winkle'." Encyclopedia of American Folklore. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. December 5, 2011. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= EAFolk704&SingleRecord=True.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Personally, I liked the poem a lot. It seemed like the poet had given the topic a lot of thought, and was trying to comfort himself rather than the imaginary person the poem was directed to (but maybe it just seems that way to me because that is the sort of thing I would do). Everyone who knows what it is to live fears death. Poets especially know what life is, because it is their job to feel and experience as much of it as possible, and then to analyze the feeling and put it in words.

One thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the poem "Thanatopsis" was its meter and rhyme scheme. The meter was strange because it had few syllables and was fairly consistent, but there was enough inconsistency in the number of syllables that it felt strange to read. The rhyming also seemed weird because of the meter. Normally when a poem has relatively few syllables per each line it has a rhyme scheme of some sort. This poem was a little strange because it did not rhyme at all.

One of the things I did enjoy about the poem is the way Bryant describes things. He writes really well when he personifies nature, and really makes it seem like something meant to care for people, instead of oppose them. He writes "She has a voice of gladness, and a smile and eloquence of beauty, and she glides into his darker musings, with a mild and healing sympathy, that steals away their sharpness, ere he is aware." Whit this sentence in mind, it makes one wonder why they do not spend more time outside, when such a benevolent force is awaiting them. Then they remember that it is cold and rainy that day and the effect is ruined, but please overlook the recent onset of pessimism that has taken my mind.

Huff's criticism seems to point out a sort of emotional back and forth between comforting thoughts and unpleasant ones (Huff). At first the person in the poem is spending a good time outside, and then he begins to think of death, and thinks of all the horrible things about it. Then he starts thinking that it might be alright to spend his death in the ground with everyone else who has ever lived, but then begins to worry that he will not be remembered after he is dead. The poem continues the back and forth after that, and it makes a sort of debate about what the proper attitude toward death is. I had not noticed that myself, so I am glad that this criticism pointed it out.

Over all I think that this poem touches on a real issue that everyone worries from time to time. Death is something that almost everyone fears, and this poet was also afraid. He wrote this poem to try looking at death in a different way, a way that was less frightening for him. It was a really interesting poem.

Bryant, William Cullen. "16. Thanatopsis. William Cullen Bryant. Yale Book of American Verse." Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and Hundreds More. Web. 23 Nov. 2011. .

Huff, Randall. "'Thanatopsis'." The Facts On File Companion to American Poetry, vol. 1. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. November 23. 2011. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CPAP0402&SingleRecord=True (accessed November 23, 2011).

Journal 19

To decide the importance of nature and spirituality in life and death, I guess that it really depends on the nature of life and death. I love to muse over both, but rarely look at the two together, preferring to see them as opposites. Nature and spirituality have a big effect on me, so I suppose they would have a big effect on my views of life and death as well.

I see life as this wonderful chance to do and feel everything that makes a spirit what it is (at least at the current moment, using the best of my eloquence to try describing it). I see death then, as the horrible ending to all of it. There was one night a few months ago that I got the unshakable feeling that I would not wake up in the morning, probably the product of my sister's incessant clinging and worrying about me. Anyway, I can not even begin to describe my emotional state, as I was completely convinced that I was going to die. Maybe that sounds silly, or insane, but I believed it without any doubt.

Returning to the original topic, I think that nature and spirituality are the things that make a soul shake off all the unimportant things of the world and feel that it is one being, complete and individual. I also think that because of this they are part of what makes the thought of death so frightening. I begin wondering if my soul would even exist after death, and that frightens me even worse than anything in life. I know that I am one being, complete and individual, and I want to exist.

I think that nature and spirituality should play a big part in life and death, because they are what make life worth the time. When I think of spirituality, I do not just think of belief of a God. I think of all of the emotions a person is capable of feeling, and without emotion what is the point of doing anything?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fireside poets

I have to say that the fireside poets are really artists that I could enjoy, that is, if I did not have to write a series of reflections taking each and every joy out of my life. The fireside poets are very different from Rationalists and Puritans, mostlybecause of the things in life that they valued. Rationalists enjoyed their reason, Puritans loved their God, and the fireside poets had their own ideas about what was important. These differences were what made the different types of literature so different from each other.

One thing that stands out to me while reading them is that the style seems a lot like the that of Puritan writings. Whatserface's poem about how her house burnt down sounds a lot like a person telling a story that just happens to rhyme every few sylables (Bradstreet 91). A better way to say that might be that her wording is fairly plain and very natural. This is also the case with the fireside poets, as both use even meters as well. One big difference between Puritan poetry and the fireside poets is that the fireside poets do not make any real issue and mention of God. Another big difference between the two is how emotional the fireside poems were. When reading holmes' "Old Ironsides" I could barely keep myself contained it was so emotional (Holmes 211). The poem is so charged with emotion that the Puritan poems can not hold a candle to it.

It is very difficult for my to compare fireside poets with Rationalist poetry, mainly because I have never yet come across a peice of Rationalist poetry, if it even exists at all. Poetry is the ultimate expression of feeling, and a Rationalist would generally have valued their thoughts far more than their felings, and therefore would not have wasted their time on poetry. That is probably the reason that prose was so popular compared to poetry. Anyway, there really is not much in common between them except that they both wrote very little about God. Maybe another similarity would be that they were both patriotic at times.

I guess that all three of the different literary periods are very different, and somewhat hard to compare. There really is not much similar between them, because every literary period is a sort of rebelion agains the one that came before it, and each generation cooses a different aspect to rebel against. The things the fireside poets really valued ere beauty and their feelings. When people think of poetry these are the first things that come to mind, which just goes to show how much influence the fireside poets had on American literature. That makes sense, because these writers were the first real literary artists of America.

I really enjoy reading this kind of poetry myself. There is something very wonderful about the way they write and the things they write about.

Bradstreet, Anne. "Upon the Burning of Our House." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Holmes, Oliver. "Old Ironsides." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Journal 18

The perfect autumn day is something hard for me to describe. My ideas about it are so general that I hardly know where to begin. I suppose the most important thing would be to spend time outside.

The real defining thing about good autumn days is the amount of time spent outside. The weather does not even have to be warm and sunny, as I find that the cold and rainy days have equal if not more melancholy charm. Early in the season it is easy enough to have a great day outside. I remember earlier this year that I spent one day playing guitar in the park, walking around the town, and breaking and entering. That was one of the best days I have ever spent, and with such company that an hour seemed like an age.

Then later in the season, when the weather turns colder, I find enjoyment in bracing myself against the cold. Often this time of year I get such an agitation of spirit that I have no choice but to walk in restless haste until I have quieted my thoughts. These days are often sad and painful, but there is such beauty in pain that I am almost inclined to call these days my favorites.

Now I have worked myself up into such a state, and I would like nothing more than to storm around the room, ranting and railing internally. However, as that is not socially acceptable, I will content myself to running my fingers over the keys and hope that it produces the same effect.

I suppose to state my ideas in brief, a perfect autumn day is one in which the weather works my feelings into such a state that I have hardly words to describe. It is the kind of feeling one gets when reading poetry, and the feeling poets have when writing. It is a sort of vehemence that makes the rest of life seem tame. How can a day that produces this feeling be anything but perfect?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Journal 17

Around a month ago I bought a volume of Walt Whitman's poetry. I had started reading a little of his work in the library, and I instantly fell in love. When I started reading at home though, I found it was entirely too noisy for me to enjoy it. By the way, if you hold anything sacred in life, go somewhere quiet to read Whitman's poetry. If you do not, it is just a series of slightly frustrating poems (as I found out the hard way). It was a little cold outside, but I decided to ride my bike to my favorite place in the world anyway.

I do not want to say where this preferred place is, because that may ruin it, but I can describe it for you. The east side is walled in by pine trees that completely hide the view on the other side of them. On the west side there is a thick wood, with tall oak trees and thick brush underneath. On the south, there is something of a field, overgrown with tall prairie grasses and flowers. On the north there is another field, but this one plowed and mostly hidden by a fence and more evergreens. In the middle there are three or four trees that would be good to climb if I was just a little bit taller. That day, the leaves had made a thick carpet of bright red over the dying grass, and the wind delicately played with them as it blasted through the trees in the west and about my face and body.

I had just come to the poem "When Last in the Dooryard Lilacs Bloomed" and decided to read it aloud. At first I stumbled through it, tripping over words and those odd poetic phrases. After the first page or so, the feeling of the poetry grabbed hold of me, and pulled me into the wind and the cold and the song about death. If I continued to stutter I do not remember it. My chest was tight with rapture, and the setting sun made the leaves still on the trees appear to burn.

Maybe you think I am strange for this, but that hour or so was one of the best of my life.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Journal 16

I am a little bit bad at using technology, that phrase meaning that my attempting to use technology has been known to cause computers to crash, people near me to catch fire, and zombie related global apocalypses to spontaneously destroy the entire human population (or at least the equivalent in frustration). I guess web sites like facebook and gmail would make things easier, considering that I actually know how to use them. I am really apprehensive about this whole project honestly. Even my individual projects have me concerned about getting everything posted on the right site and at the right place.

I do think it is probably important for me to figure out how to use computers for college. I am willing to bet that computers are going to be used a lot more in college than right now. As it currently is, I can only use Microsoft programs and the internet to a certain extent. When it comes to putting things on a web page I am completely at a loss, and when there is a problem with the computer its self I would suggest that everyone keep a hundred meter radius clear of me. Even at this very moment Elizabeth is explaining to me the first steps, and I am becoming more confused all of the time. If I do not figure this sort of thing out now, in college I am going to be in a whole mess of trouble.

So honestly I am just really not happy about this whole thing. I think it would be a little bit less concerning if the members of my group were in this school. That way if I had any serious problems I could just nix the computer and talk to them in person. After I get used to it, I do not think I will have a problem working with people from other schools, I am just worried that I will make a big mistake while I am first learning what to do.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Journal 15

I can only begin to imagine the plethora of problems that could accompany working with a person so far away. The problems become even worse if said partners have a poor work ethic, something I am especially worried about. Honestly, I'm getting a head ache just thinking about it.

One problem is probably going to be that our partners in another town might not be able to work and talk about things at the same time we are. Because if this it might become necessary for me to make time outside of school to work things out with them. This might become very frustrating, especially because they seem to enjoy using twitter a lot, and I have absolutely no inclination to ever visit that website.

If my other partners do not get things done on time, I am going to be in an especially bad position. It is hard to inspire a person to fear for their lives over emails or video chats, and still harder when they know how far away you are. I just really hope my partners get their work done on time and I do not have to worry about that.

Another potential problem is with the technology. I have an extreme aversion to it. I can not figure out how to use even the simplest of programs, and I can easily foresee a lot of problems with getting everything to work properly.

So, I am pretty concerned about how this project is going to work. Those are just the three most easy problems to predict, and my imagination is running wild with all of the many things that could and most likely will go wrong. I do not have good luck. I am half expecting all of my partners to be extremely sick, and all at different times so nothing gets done. This might be something important for me to learn how to do, but right now it seems pretty daunting.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Franklin's Virtues

In his time, and in even still in ours, Franklin was thought of with huge respect and affection. He accomplished an amazing variety of things in his life. One of the reasons for that is his work ethic, and the reason that he is so well loved by Americans is probably the same. He attributed his morals to the system he devised to make himself a better person, and whether or not they really did is the matter soon to be examined.
One reason that faith can be put into Benjamin Franklin's system is that in his autobiography he writes about how well it worked for him personally. He writes, "I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish" (Franklin 156-157). His personal affirmation of his system's success gives it a lot of credit. Rather ironically, his word is worth so much because of his impeccable character, and his character was considered so impeccable because of the system of virtues he practiced. The irony is that he was using his impeccable character to give weight to the system of virtues that produced said character.
It may be easy to lie to a single person, or even just a few, but lies become more difficult the more people you try to trick. That makes it a little bit difficult to believe that Benjamin Franklin had the entire world fooled into think that he was an amazing person if he really was not. Even sixty-six years after his death, authors were still practically gushing about the wonders of Benjamin Franklin. Henry T. Tuckerman writes,
"Never dawned a self-reliant character more opportunely on the world; at home, illustrating to a new country what perseverance, honesty, observation, and wisdom can effect with the most limited resources; abroad, proving to an ancient regime how independent a genuine man may be of courts, academics, and luxury;" both the most requisite lessons for which humanity thirsted, and both enforced with an attractive candor, a gracious consistency, a modest resolution, which no argument could attain and no rhetoric enhance."
Benjamin Fanklin is one of the most loved characters in American history, and it would not be at all possible for that to be true if he was not such a warm and friendly person. As it is, when today's Americans think of the founding fathers, Ben Franklin is one of the first people thought of, along with other such giants of American history. That is really what we see Franklin as, an intellectual giant that shaped the government and attitude of the entire country.
Based on the above stated evidence, it is pretty clear that Ben Franklin's virtues were very effective. He recognized a change in himself because of them, and also gained the love of his countrymen and people around the world. Is anymore evidence really needed? Franklin made himself a better person because of his virtues, and because Franklin was such a good person our country is a better place.

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New Haven: Yale UP, 1964.

Bloom, Harold, ed. "The Character of Franklin." Benjamin Franklin, Classic Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 2008. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://fofweb.com/activelink2.aspItemID=WE54&SID=1&iPin=CCVBF019&SingleRecord=True. October 27, 2011.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Franklin's Autobiography

Benjamin Franklin spent a large amount of time and thought on his virtues, and on what exactly it takes to be a good person. I think that the virtues Benjamin Franklin tried to work on are very much deistic. They are based on reason, insted of what the bible said merely because the bible said it. He writes his reasons for his virtues and also the reason for his order of virtues and the reason for his system of implementing his virtues. Can a more reasonable system be imagined?

According to Deism.com, " Deism is knowledge of God based on the application of our reason on the designs/laws found throughout Nature." Taking that into consideration, it makes sense that deistic morals would also be based on reason, as Benjamin Franklin's are. He puts a good deal of his own thought into his list and system for being a good person. In his autobiography, he also makes sure he explains all of that thought so it makes sense to anyone who reads about his virtues. When explaining the reason for adding humility to his list of virtues, he writes,

"I soon found the advantage of this change in my manners; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I proposed my opinion procured them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong; and I more easily prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me, when I happened to be in the right." (Franklin 163)

He is explaining that he chose to add humility to his list of virtues because it made conversations better and made arguments easier to win. This virtue was added because he thought it was a good idea, rather than because it was one of the bible's teachings, and that makes his virtue deistic. He also wrote about how he disliked his Presbyterian church. He wrote that the morals it taught were pertaining to the church only, and not at all relating to how to be a good person in general (Franklin 146). Also lacking was any reasoning in the system of morals his church presented. He stopped going to church for this exact reason, and made his own system of morals.

Likewise, the manner in which he chose his virtues and how he described them are reminiscent of Deism. He writes that he chose to use quite a few virtues with specific meanings to keep himself from trying to focus on too much at once, and from spreading his attentions too thin. He was worried about trying to do too much at once and about failing at everything because of it. The way he went about deciding on his virtues was very rational, and instead of spending his time studying the bible and basing his system off of the morals it taught, based them off of his own reason. Because his morals were based on his reasoning instead of being gotten second hand from the local priest, I think his morals are very deistic in nature.

"Deism Defined." Welcome To The Deism Site! Web. 26 Oct. 2011. .
Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New Haven: Yale UP, 1964. Print.

Journal 14

I honestly have no idea what a day in the life a Benjamin Franklin would be like, and as for the thought of what I would do as his apprentice, it is irrelevant. Girls were never apprenticed. Although I guess the entire subject is irrelevant because I am no more a young man than I am alive during a time in which I could have even met him. So I guess all that is relevant for me to think about is what a day in the life of Benjamin Franklin would be like.

I guess what he would do in a day really depends a lot on what age he was. He lived in England for a while, and after that owned a printing press. During that time I suppose he would spend his day at his business, printing and the like. After he retired he started conducting experiments with electricity, and would have spent his days on such tests as he could devise. He was also involved with the politics of his community, and later of the entire country. He wrote many letters to different friends, and wrote an autobiography besides. I would imagine that these things took up a good deal of his time, as writing is generally a slow process without modern pens that do not need dipped in ink every few words.

It somewhat baffles me how he could accomplish so much in his life, and how he balanced out his days and life. Maybe he alternated hours with his different tasks, spending one writing, another inventing, and another after that experimenting. Perhaps he spent entire days on a single subject until its object was accomplished, like I typically find myself doing. With all of these different activities in his life, he also managed to invent many things that made peoples' lives easier and safer. His life has me wondering what is possible for people like me if he could do so much in his life.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Journal 13

I think that the American dream is really the same as it has always been, at least in essence. I think that a lot of people have perverted it over time, and made it entirely materialistic. In my opinion, the American dream is that a person can come here and be free to make their own choices and lives their lives as they see best, and if a person works hard enough, they can become successful.

Maybe in past decades people have equivocated the American dream with owning a house, having a nice car, and other material things of that nature. Those things are just products of the freedom we enjoy here in America. It is not possible to own a house in Communist countries, and in tyrannies upward mobility is almost impossible. In America people have the freedom to make their own choices and do what they want with their lives, and that just does not always happen.

So if I had to sum up the American dream in one word, it would be freedom. Maybe this is just me, but I would travel to all ends of the earth trying to find the most freedom I could, and as far as I know America is still the freest country on earth. If you do not have freedom to live your life the way you want, then what is the point of living it at all? It seems to me that if everyone else makes decisions for you, then it is not really your life, but the live someone else is making for you. That is why the American dream is so important. Without freedom, life loses meaning and value, at least for me it does.

I am not sure if there are other people like me that still believe that this is the American dream, but even if I am alone I can still have my own strange opinion regardless of anyone else.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Right and Wrong

If I were to make my own rules about right and wrong, the first thing I would decide is that it is wrong to take advantage of people for any reason whatever. It does not matter if you steal from them, hurt them, or pretend you love them to try to get over your last girlfriend (even though that last example may be a bit too specific and personal). It is just not right. What claim do other people have to what belongs to you, to what you have worked for? In my opinion they should not have any. Using people emotionally is even worse, because then not only do you have something taken from you, like a first kiss, but that something that gets taken away means much more than any physical object a person could possibly covet. And unlike physical objects, a first kiss and time wasted are things that can not ever be gotten back. Maybe if something is stolen from you you would be upset, but if that something is not a physical object, you are more than upset. You are heartbroken.

The only other important rule I can think of is that people should never lie. I think that should include lying by withholding information. A person cannot make a reasonable decision or govern their feelings properly if they are basing such decisions on information that is wrong. Everyone knows that it is wrong to mislead people, so why do people do it? lying makes the person lied to feel manipulated and very, very hurt. It would be very hard to stand if someone you cared about lied to you in that manner, and depending on how much that person was cared about, it could really destroy a friendship and everything good in a person's life (and for once I am not being overly dramatic).

I am beginning to think that this was a very bad choice of journal topic to assign to me today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ben Franklin's writing style

Ben Franklin had a very interesting writing style. He writes with enough details to give a good picture of what things were like for him, and yet he does not go into really deep detail of things. His writing does have some similarities to puritan writing, like that he normally seems to use short declarative sentences, and that he comments on things like human nature in the middle of his stories. One of the key differences is that Ben Franklin does use a good deal of detail in his writing, something that the Puritans never really did.

Ben Franklin uses the same sort of declarative sentences that the Puritan writers used. One example is when he writes about how he describes how he fixed his problem with getting a passage to Philadelphia. He simply writes "She proposed to lodge me till a passage by some other boat occurred. I accepted her offer, being much fatigued by traveling on foot. (Franklin 107)" One of the many Puritan writers who wrote in this style was Mary Rowlandson. Her account of her time as a captive is written almost entirely in short plain sentences (Rowlandson 82-85).

Another thing that Ben Franklin does similar to puritan style is comment on human nature. When he writes about his arrival in Philadelphia he mentions that people are more generous when they have less to share (Franklin 108). Puritan writers did this sort of thing all of the time because their main focus in life was pleasing God through refining their imperfect human natures. The Puritan writer Anne Bradstreet talks in one of her poems about how people like herself sometimes place too much value on the things of the world (Bradstreet 91). I thought it was very strange to see these things in common between the two styles until I realized that Ben Franklin also wrote an almanac full of comments on human nature, and then it made sense.

One thing Ben Franklin does differently is that he uses a fair amount of descriptive words in his writing. When he describes his arrival in Philadelphia I could nearly picture quite a few of the details of the streets and people he saw. This is different from Puritan writing because when I read Puritan writing the settings always seem bare and plain to me. One other difference in Ben Franklin's writing is the he does not reference God or acts of providence all of the time. In fact, i do not believe there was even one in the passages I read. This is very diferent from Puritans because with Puritan writing it is impossible to go four sentences without reading about pleasing God or acts of providence.

While there may be a few similarities between Ben Franklin's writing style and puritan writing, they are both very different from each other. Ben Franklin lived through a good deal of American history, so he may have even been alive in the Puritan period. That being said, he also lived through the rationalist period and must have been influenced by it.

Bradstreet, Anne. "Upon the Burning of Our House." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Franklin, Ben. "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Rowlandson, Mary. "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Journal 11

The two aphorisms that I like most are that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and that the worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise. Those two statements put together give a pretty good picture of the story of my life. . . That is pretty much all I think I need to say about that, but I will elaborate further anyway.

So as an example, I will talk about my little sister and myself when we were younger. Dani was always the squeaky wheel. From the day she was born she was never afraid of being loud, and everyone knew it. I was the exact opposite as a kid. I was quiet and never asked for anything unless I needed it or really wanted it. Besides that I was never really one to make a big deal about things. If I had a problem I would either ask mom about it or try fixing it myself. Not Dani though. If something was wrong everyone would know it the instant it happened. This difference of personalities still exists today.

Keeping the first aphorism in mind, you can probably guess who got the most attention when we were kids, and even still today. That sibling would be Dani. I do not envy her for it, or anything like that, because I know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

As an example of my second favorite aphorism, I look at high school. Just think of the loudest person in a certain class, and then think of what their merits are. They are probably few and not likely to be useful in future life. The bad wheels always make more noise. Maybe it is because they want to draw attention away from their shortcomings. Anyway, just think of which group of people gets the most attention from the school staff. It is always those loud, thoughtless kids. Thus the squeaky wheels get the grease, and the worst wheels make the most noise.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Crisis No. 1

The Crisis is exactly the sort of piece that I enjoy reading most. Its talks about victory over tyranny and how hard work in hard times gives way to glorious freedom. Perfect. Even with these emotional arguments, the document still fits very well into the rationalist style of writing because of all of the reason it uses to justify the hard work and loss the revolution requires.

Thomas Paine compares the king and parliament to common thieves and robbers, saying that if a common person attempted to control him in the same way, he would certainly rebel against them. The fact that it is a king instead of a commoner makes no difference (Paine 136). This is an argument based on reason to have people consider just how unfair the English government had treated them. Another rational argument used is that when parliament passed the Declaratory Act containing the phrase "to bind [the colonies] in all cases whatsoever" it basically amounted to slavery (Paine 134). While this argument does appeal a good deal to emotion, it also has its base in reason. If parliament can make the colonies bend to its every bonny whim, then the colonies really have no will of their own and might as well be enslaved.

Although this pamphlet was to be read aloud to the members of the Continental Army, it was not written for them alone. The Crisis was written for everybody in America. It was written for people who could do still more, and for people who were still on the fence about whether or not the revolution was a good thing. The purpose was not only to convince the soldiers to keep fighting, but also to try to convince more people to join the fight for independence. Thomas Paine writes, "Say not that thousands are gone- turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but "show your faith by your works," that God may bless you." (Paine 136) This was directed toward the religious people in the colonies (also known as all of them), and to pull them into the revolutionary conflict. By presenting the Revolutionary War as a struggle of good against evil as he does, he really makes the reader want to join the cause. When I read it even I could not help but think that if I had been living at the time and had read that pamphlet, I would have done absolutely everything in my power to help in the revolution.

Thomas Paine's primary reason for writing The Crisis was to gather up support for the revolution. He truly believed that the American Revolution was worth all of the hardship that came with it, and that he was doing his best to further the cause of liberty. The Crisis probably had a very great impact on the people of the colonies, and probably caused many otherwise indifferent people to join the cause of liberty. The Crisis was a very effective pamphlet.

Paine, Thomas. "The Crisis No.1." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Declaration of Independence

So now I need to talk about the propoganda and faulty logic in the Declaration of Independence. I would say that most of the document is a very accurate depiction of how England treated America, with few exceptions. I can actually remember reading about several events in the Declaration that were mentioned as wrong doings by the crown. I also noticed that although there were several parts with rather violent language, that most of the document was fairly mild mannered. You would think that a document starting a revolution would be a little more violent and distressing, but I guess that must not have been Jefferson's style because this read more like a documentary list that a passionate vehement one. That being said, I do believe that Thomas Jefferson did exaggerate in a few points when he was writing in his more dramatic style.

At one point Thomas Jefferson accuses the English having "abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war on us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people" (Jefferson 124). I know that America was in the middle of the Revolutionary War at the time this was written, but even so the language may be a little bit melodramatic. Even though many people died in the Revolutionary War, I still think that it is a pretty big stretch to make the generalization the king ruined the lives of the American people. Other than that, I think that if you were to ask Thomas Jefferson to give an example of an any even that he accuses the king of doing, he would easily be able too. The real issue between America and England was caused by Parliment trying to control the American assemblies, but the king's rude insolence was apparently much easier to attack than that of Parliment.

I think that other than that specific example in the Declaration of Independence, I think that it is a very reasonable document. Without taking the Revolutionary War into account, it does sound really dramatic and a bit unfounded and unreasonable. But when you remember that they were in the middle of a war, and the King George III had gotten entirely rid of the local representative governments and gave their power to his governors. I can understand completely why the American people would be outraged enough to start a revolution. All things considered, I was really surprised at the tone of the declaration. It was not as self-righteous as I thought it would be, and considering that the declaration was starting a revolution, I thought it was really pretty mildly put. I think that it was a really good example of writing in the rationalist period because it really put reason and rationality in front of emotion. There was a bit of emotion in the Declaration of Independence, but it really was mostly based on reason. I think that it is a very good thing that our government was founded on reason, because governments founded on emotion tend not to be very stable.

Jefferson, Thomas. "Deceleration of Independence." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Journal 10

I do not think that you should postpone the vocabulary assignment until Wednesday. What kind of class would this be if we could always persuade you to change your plans every time we did not want to do an assignment? We would never get anything done if that was the case, and this class would be eighty minutes of waste. Nearly none of our instructors let us influence the plan of their classes, and the ones that do are viewed as push-overs or lazy teachers by their students. Besides that, it would get us out of the habit of having vocabulary to do every night, which would make it harder to remember to get it done on nights when we do have homework.

I also think that vocabulary is a good thing to work on several times a week. In an argument I recently had with a freshman, the poor girl had to ask me what every other word out of my mouth meant. Either this girl was especially ignorant, or the students of Pleasant Plains could really use some more time spent on studying vocabulary. This freshman sounded horribly ignorant having to ask me what I was saying all of the time, and I think that it would help her later in life a good deal if she learned the meaning of more words. Let's face it, no one is going to want to hire a person who does not understand what they are being told to do.

In general putting things off until the future is a really bad idea. Soon things fall far behind, and we have to cram as much possible into a very short amount of time, and because of that we learn less of it. Even if it does not come to running so far behind, it still gets a person in the bad habit of putting things off. Once that habit is formed, it can be hard to break when something important and time consuming needs to be done.

I think that putting off the vocabulary homework is a bad idea, and that we should really just get it done tonight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry's speech uses a lot of typical rationalist style in it. He appeals to listeners reason and intelligence, and a good deal to their emotions too. The reader can really tell how much the issue matters to Patrick Henry because he works so hard to make his point, and if someone else cares so much about this issue, it makes the person who reads about it care a lot more too. I think that the rationalist style is really what made Patrick Henry's speech so moving.

One thing that is very apparent in his speech is his use of reason to bring people to his line of thought. When he talks about all of the English soldiers in America he makes a very good point. A person may not really think about it at first, but Patrick Henry asks what could the soldiers really be there for except to force the Americans into doing what the king wanted (Henry 117). For any given action, the motives are not often very much considered (except in national politics and in relationships, where it seems that the only thing that really matters is the motive behind the action). Patrick Henry also makes a really good point when he is convincing the colonists not to wait to fight. He asks whether the colonies will get stronger or weaker with waiting around for the English to do something really enraging and dastardly (Henry 118). This probably made the delegates give another thought or two to their own opinions.

Despite all of his appeals to reason, Patrick Henry uses every sentence and every noun, verb, and adjective to appeal to the other delegates' emotions. He uses really harsh words and the imagery in the speech makes the English out to be suspicious people who would force the colonists into doing something harmful without listening to the colonists input. It is no wonder that with an impression like this the colonists would want very much to fight for their independence. I would not like living under such a government either. The mixture of Rationalism and emotion makes me think of Deism. Deism was a religion, and yet a good many rationalists were Deists. Despite how wonderful and perfect reason is, we are all still humans, and thus we all have emotions. It is impossible to have reason with no emotion. Religion is a very emotional thing, so it does not surprise me that the rationalists had a religion, and likewise that emotion plays a role in this rational argument.

I think that Patrick Henry and others who reasoned like him must have played a huge role in the American revolution. In history class we talked about how the Americans felt very English themselves after the Seven Years War, so it must have taken so very good solid reasoning to get the popular support for the revolution. Over all I think that the rationalists were solid people and that Deism has quite a bit of merit to it, and if I was not so darn Catholic I would probably consider looking into it a lot more than I already have.

Henry, Patrick. "Speech to the Second Virginia Convention." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Journal 9

Here follows the tale of a cluttered heart.
Once several days ago there was a girl with a very cluttered heart. There were so many people she cared about, and soon her attachments grew too strong and consuming for her poor icy heart. She found that each look they gave her had meaning, and in that meaning she hoped was a sign that those who gave it too had meaning (which was really rather foolish, if you ask me, but then again, cold though her heart was she still had hope hidden away in one of its warmer recesses). Before she knew what had happened she grew fond of each pair of eyes, and especially hopeful that the world need not be filled with cold people such as herself. She thought back to an old verse "If my eyes are the windows to my soul, then is my face the wall that keeps it hidden?" and wondered how much truth to it there really was.

Soon she found problems where there were none before. Easy and wonderful though it would seem to care about so many people, she found herself pulled in far too many directions, and all at once. Some people she gave attention they did not warrant, and some who deserved her time were neglected. This poor girl had a very strong idea about what was fair, and she knew that it was not possible to give everyone what they deserved if she was always giving her thoughts to people who did not deserve them. Some people had only recently acquired her attention, and as they ever gave her nothing but hope, she let them fall from her mind. Hope is a wonderful thing, but one cannot live on hope alone. One person had once meant the world to her, and made her frigid heart burn. She let him too slide from her mind. Though he was once something great, the years had changed him, forever not for better.

Thus the frigid girl was left only with the people who had held her up when she needed it, those who had saved her from that crippling hypothermia that grew inside her soul. Thus she found her heart begin to thaw when he looked into her eyes, and thus she found true hope.

I apologize for my melodrama. It just happens sometimes.

Friday, September 16, 2011


What weather is there that compares to the fall? Warm sun and cool, fresh wind make it ideal for singing in parks. The warm days are like the tail end of summer, and they remind you to mourn for the lost freedom you had during that season. The cool days are like pure caffeine, and all you want to do is run and sing and all find the different fall flowers as you go. When I walk in the summer, I perpetually pick the flowers as I pass them, and compose verses about how wonderful everything seems. In the fall the flowers are more rare, and far more fine for their rarity. The cool air and chilling wind turn the wheels of my mind faster and much better than the balmy days of summer do, so the verses are a thousand time more joyful or sad than they were during the summer. On some days the wind carries in it a small taste of the coming winter, and the taste of the wind is clean and bright, and my lungs tighten and sting with the shock of it.

And then even the fall starts to fail, and the tall Illinois grass dies. The leaves that burnt bright red and yellow on their trees burn in piles on the ground. The crisp taste the wind had in the fall is replaced by the harsher one of the coming winter. Instead of the soft touch of the wind, the air hits my skin like a smack in the face. Despite how much I love the fall, the coming winter excites me. It is the promise of a coming challenge, and the promise of something to fight against. How easy would it be to let the winter steal my joy, and wait glumly for spring? I think it is far harder to keep such happiness alive in the cold darkness of winter. Last year the five month winter got the better of me, and by the end I was having trouble remembering what the trees looked like with leaves on them. This year, you can call me Fredrick if I let the coldness beat me so easily.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Crucible- another post.

I suppose that if I think and type long enough I could come up with some things that are the same between Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and The Crucible. A few of the characters in the play remind me of Jonathan Edwards, and the message those characters are constantly spouting is very similar to Jonathan Edwards'. Perhaps you might have noticed that I am none too fond of such characters, but if you have not then you probably will by the time you finish reading this.

Mr. Parris especially makes me think about Jonathan Edwards. In the first act Mr. Procter talks about how Mr. Parris is always preaching about fire and brimstone and how the unfaithful will go to hell (Miller 28-29). Jonathan Edwards' entire sermon was to that effect, so it is very easy to draw a parallel between the two (Edwards 97-99). I know I should be more tolerant, or something, but I really have trouble putting up with people who always talk about the bad side of things. I know that it is important to consider the consequences of the things you do, but for God's sake do you really need someone nagging at you all of the time like your step mother? It is no wonder that there is a faction in the play that does not like Mr. Parris. I would not like a person like that either.

I can also see similarities in the things they talk about and their priorities. It seems like a big priority to both of them is avoiding God's wrath. They do not really talk about the things a person can do to please the lord, they just want to be not sent directly to hell. I think that most of the reason for there violent phrases is that they want to keep their power and keep the support of the people who pay them. I can see that the message of getting people all worried about their eternal souls would be a bit more profitable than letting the parishioners stop attending church. In the play it is really obvious that Mr. Parris is trying to further the conviction of witches because it makes people afraid of the devil and sends them back to church. I am not truly certain if this was what motivated Jonathan Edwards or not, but I would not be surprised it if was.

Anyway, I can see a lot in common between Jonathan Edwards and Mr. Parris. The parts I had to read concerning both people annoyed me quite a bit. I guess I just do not like people who preach in general. Ask me questions, make me think about it, but do not tell me what I should think and what I should fear. It makes me very frustrated. I also wonder what motives those preachy people have. Why does it matter to them how I feel about things? I really do not think that it should. It just makes me feel very bad in general.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York, NY: Penguin, 1996. Print.

Edwards, Jonathan. "From Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.

Journal 7

I am not really sure that bullying is really the big deal that people make it out to be. Some people are always going to try pushing other people around, and even though it is really rude, things like that do not ever change. Bullying does effect people, but sometimes it is for the better.

When I was a young wee lass, first at Pleasant Plains, people made fun of me. I can understand why because I was strange and very naive, and for quite a while I did not even realize that they were making fun of me. I can not remember when, but at some point I discovered that they were making fun of me, and back then I actually cared about what people though of me, so I was really upset. For quite a while I thought back to that and thought it was the most horrible and embarrassing thing ever in my entire life. More recently, I can look back and see that because those people were so awful to me, I learned some of the more important social rules of school. Besides that, when they persisted teasing me after I realized what they were doing, I learned how to restrain my temper (because they would have kept at me longer if I had done something interesting like that) and answer them in a way that did not make me look foolish. It may sound cheesy, but having to put up with their insulting comments made me a stronger person.

That is not to say that there are no scars left over. They teased me by talking to me condescendingly, and cheering for me like I was some sort of fool who did not understand what was going on around them and needed encouragement for everything. Sometimes, like during track practice, when people are cheering for me when I am very far behind everyone (because I am always very far behind everyone) I get very mad. Even though them members of the track team genuinely want me to do well and are not making fun of me, I still slip into the mind set that they are. Because those idiotic kids made fun of me I can not handle it when peoeple try to compliment or encourage me.

Bullying had positive and negative effects, but for me I think that the good out weighs the bad.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crucible 3

Human nature is the driving force in The Crucible. All of the conflicts in the play have to do with the little problems people have with each other and with themselves. Jealousy, being unfaithful, and guilt all play roles in the main conflict. Another part of human nature that influences the plot is not wanting to get in trouble and using a situation to the most advantage possible.

Jealousy plays a huge part in the witch trials of the play. Elizabeth Proctor is accused by Abigail because Abigail is jealous of her husband (Miller 74). Abigail wants to be John Proctor's wife, so she accuses Elizabeth of being a witch in an attempt to get her hung so she can marry John. She must be either really jealous or really inconsiderate to want to murder someone to get what they have.

Faithlessness also plays a part in the plot. Sometimes we all do stupid things that we are bound to be made miserable by. John Proctor has the same problem. He cheated on his wife with Abigail, and Abigail decided she was in love with him. Then Abigail decided to try to kill his wife (Miller 74). Obviously getting involved with Abigail was a bad idea. Because of his cheating ways his family got in a whole lot of trouble. Besides the obvious consequences, because Proctor cheated on his wife, he starts to loose his self esteem.

By the end of the play he considers lying to save himself because he does not feel like he deserves to be martyred for his honesty (Miller136). He thinks he is so worthless that it does not matter if he lies to save himself. His guilt made him feel completely horrible by the end of the play. Guilt is a pretty common part of human nature because we all have ideas about what is right, and for the most part we all take care to do the right thing as much as possible.

Abigail blames everyone possible for her behavior in an attempt to avoid trouble. She really does not want to get in trouble, so she is willing to shift the blame to anyone else possible. Again, she must be really inconsiderate, because that is really rude.

Abigail uses the witch trials she created to the most advantage possible. She puts the people that annoy her in prison and on trial. She even tries to get her lover's wife hung. Everyone will try to get the most out of a favorable situation, however, not everyone is quite so ruthless about it.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York, NY: Penguin, 1996. Print.

Journal 6

A lot of bad things can happen when a person is blamed for something they did not do. The most obvious one is that an innocent person may be punished. That is not a good thing. No one likes to be punished, but it is especially bad when the punishment is undeserved. Besides that, a perfectly happy person that gets blamed for something they did not do gets bitter. Even if the event does not merit punishment, the innocent person feels like they have been wrongly persecuted, and that is enough to ruin anyone's cheerful disposition. Not to mention that wrongly blaming someone can ruin a friendship. If my best friend blamed something bad on me, it is likely that I would be pretty upset at him until he apologized or until I got really bored. If he thought I was responsible for some bad happening, it is also quite possible that he would be upset with me, and over something I had not even done. Luckily such a situation has not occurred, so I will end this line of thought before I jinx it.

Another bad consequence of wrongly blaming someone is that the wrongly blamed someone may carry a bit of a grudge. For instance, a merely hypothetical example, when your little sister draws on the wall with crayon and blames you. You see, that is the kind of blame that sticks with a person, even though you little sister was only around three at the time. By purely hypothetical, I really meant actual example that really happened and that I still have not forgotten. But I do see how you could get the two confused.

So, as you see, blaming the wrong people is bad. Especially when you only blame one person, because that is just not fair. Thus you should blame everyone equally for everything bad that happens. Just kidding. That would be bad too. instead, you should refrain from blaming people until you are absolutely sure they have done what ever it is that is in question.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Crucible act 2

I never really considered the color coded characters much after Mr. Tadla's class, but I guess they make enough sense. When I come to think of the most important characters in the play within the context of happy little colors, it seems clear enough to me.

I would say that Abigail is probably orange. Orange people are most interested in being active and having a good time. She danced at night with other girls at a heathen ceremony because it seemed like it would be fun and entertaining (Miller 11). This shows that she was more concerned with having a good time than with her family (whose reputation she put in jeopardy), the rules (which she clearly broke), or much of anything else. She seems very uninclined toward learning, so that definitely rules out green. I think that she is really just a very immature orange type. Well, maybe immature is the wrong word for her. Perhaps vile or evil work better?

Proctor is gold, I think. Golds are typically very family centered and organized. He is willing to soil his own reputation in order to save his wife, showing how much he cares about her (Miller 80). People with gold personalities often care a great deal about their families. Mr. Langley said that golds will act more like blues when they are under stress, and perhaps Proctor was under a lot of stress with his wife when he had his affair with Abigail, because having a lover seems more like a blue sort of thing to do than a gold kind of thing, blues being the type of people who care most about relationships with other people (Langley). If he were really a blue, I doubt he would be putting Abigail on ice as well as he has by this part of the play. The play mentions that he has a sort of moral superiority about him, and this is keeping with a gold personality as well (Miller 20).

I think that Rebecca has a blue personality. Even though she has not really said much so far in the play, every time she speaks her words have a comforting about them. She really cares about Betty and her illness when she is in the first act, even though she knows that Betty had been out dancing in the middle of the night (Miller 39). When in the second act it mentions that she was arrested, the reader cannot but feel sympathy and worry for the kind old woman.

I think the Putnams are a little harder to place. They are very calculating about how best to get their revenge on people who they feel have done them wrong. I am not sure if this would be more green or more orange because of how hard they work at their schemes. On one hand, their schemes revolve around who they think has done their family wrong in some circumstances, like when due to some neighbors a family member of theirs was not allowed to be minister (Miller 15). On the other hand, some of their plots are sheerly about economic gain, like when they have a man accused of witchery so they can gain his land (even though I was not supposed to read that yet). Anyway, I think the Putnams are a very close call between green and gold.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York, NY: Penguin, 1996. Print.

Langley, John. English 332. Pleasant Plains High School, Pleasant Plains, IL. September 8, 2011.

Journal 5

I think that taking away technology is a very good punishment for today's youth. A lot of people I know are entirely dependent on cell phones and computers, and when they are taken away the lament on how their entire life is over. I think that because of this kids will be less likely to act poorly if their technology is taken away.

My very good example of this is how my little sister had to deal with such a punishment. A few years ago her and my dad were in the middle of a series of all out battles that I like to term "World War III". Dani would ask to do something with her friends, and if she did not get it she would argue and fight for hours to get her way. It was a pretty nasty time, considering my dad does not have the most even temper. Anyway, when my dad got angry enough (and that was a rather frightening thing to behold) he would take away Dani's cell phone. Dani would completely loose it. I mean really loose it. This went on for a while (a little too long in my opinion), but after a while Dani learned to keep her mouth shut and stopped fighting with dad all of the time. Dani took it very hard, but after a while she really learned from her punishment.

I guess the taking away of the phone and other technology does not work for everyone. When I get in trouble my parents think taking away my ipod and phone will have the same effect as it does on Dani. It does not. I have very little interest in my technology, and when it gets taken away I do not even miss it. One night I got in trouble for sneaking out. I still maintain that I was only taking a walk, but even so all of my electronic devices were taken away for a week. I missed them so little that my mom decided to give them back to me two days early, seeing that their lack had no effect on me.

I think that I am the exception rather than the rule, and that taking away technology is a very good punishment for today's teens.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Journal 4

The longest I have ever been away from home was this summer, when I took a week long trip to Florida followed closely by another week long trip to New Providence island. Between the two trips, I only had two days home.

In Florida, three other people and myself were housed in a tiny apartment. Despite the beautiful beaches and wonderful weather, I had begun to hate my family, after all, they had made me sleep on the couch the last four nights. I decided to read my favorite book because on top of the familial hatred I was feeling, I had started to feel normal and ordinary, and that was just too much for me to handle. After readiing that favorite book of mine, I felt wonderful again. I called a good friend of mine that evening and spent hours on the phone with him.

The next day it rained. It was a horrible thunderstorm, so me and the rest of my family decided to stay inside. That did not last very long. Within a couple hours I got so sick of them that I decided to take a walk. The wind drove the rain against my skin, and stung my arms and face. That made me smile. I walked down to the pier, and on the way back I started to sing. To my horror, my voice cracked and wailed, and kept a pitch as well as the ocean was keeping flat. I had been on a song writing strike for so long, my voice had decided to stop working.

A few days later, in the Bahamas, I was again reading my favorite book. I had bought a copy of it for that dear friend of mine, and was marking all of my favorite parts in it. Again my voice was lifted to sing, and again it tormented my ears with the comparison of how it was and how it had been only months ago. Instead of the joyful song I had started, I sang those wonderful words in the most broken hearted blues my voice could make. I was homesick, and feeling like there was nothing special about myself at all. The two of these put together were enough to make me feel that all the world was horrible. And with such feeling in my heart my pitch evened out and my tone became as pain without the jagged edges.

Though I still find myself on a song strike, my long time from home helped me keep my voice from waning completely.