HONORS 399W BLOG

As the exam date draws near, I have decided that it’s in my best interest that I focus on a small chunks of the material day by day. Ideally, I wish to know every text inside and out but I realize that’s nearly impossible. So, I’ve decided to spend each focuses on one or two texts at a time. I plan to give myself a little quiz (i.e: what theory can be applied to this? what year was the book written? why is the date important? where’s the book placed in history). I know I’m extremely forgetful therefore I plan to get some index cards and jot down key info about the texts (period, nation, etc) so I can know those things off the bat. Then, there’s just the matter of flagging down important passages which isn’t too hard thanks to everyone’s study guides.

After doing some thinking and reviewing my notes, I realize the component that scares me the most about the exam is the theory section, specifically homosociality. One of the biggest challenges I face with this exam is dedicating the proper amount of time to studying. Thankfully, I have Spring Break to drill myself without worrying about the constraints of my other courses. Along with focusing on two texts per day, I was going to choose one piece of theory per day to focus on. By breaking up the material into manageable pieces, I won’t be so overwhelmed.

The most important tactic for me personally, is calming my nerves. Every time I think about this exam, I shut down mentally. My mind is too preoccupied with failure that I have forgotten that I haven’t even taken the test yet. I realized that starting off with a negative mindset is only going to pollute the outcome. I also realized the source of my anxiety doesn’t stem from the time constraint of 1 hour and 15 mins but rather me not being 100% comfortable with the test material. Therefore, my aforementioned study tactics will help me eradicate my self doubt so I can walk in on exam day with confidence. I’ve spent Thursday and Friday focusing on my mental health (therapy visits and sleep) to help me relax and take it one day at a time. So now, I just need to familiarize myself with the material and focus on practicing with the provided prompts on the blog.

April 1st, 2018 at 3:11 am | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Option III.

On the Freudian account, dreams help us work out things that we are unable to confront in our waking life. Examine two dreams from two different works on your list and explain what these dreams reveal about the specific workings of desire for the character who is dreaming. As you do this, also explain the psychoanalytic understanding of how dreams function, especially the processes of condensation and displacement.

Time Started: 8:47am 3/14/2018

Time Finished:  10:15am (3/14/2018)

Two works that correlate on a Freudian plane are The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Freud’s concepts of dream condensation and displacement manifest in these works as Beli and Cathy displace and condense their desires and such within their imaginations and dreams.

Cathy desires and affections for her forbidden love of Heathcliff are condensed and displaced in the  Wuthering Heights estate. The heaven that “did not seem to be my [Cathy’s] home” (81) is where  her displaced emotions lie, since she realizes that she does not love Edgar the way she loves Healthcliff. By aligning Edgar with Heaven, we can draw the conclusion that Edgar is a condensation of the “safe” life Cathy would have, if she chooses to wed Edgar. He is apart of the Linton lot, a family of substantial economic wealth whereas Healthcliff’s bloodline is unknown and widely regarded as shameful. Cathy admits that it would “degrade” her to be in matrimony to Healthcliff. The “angry angels” that cast Cathy out of heaven are a condensation of the tainted reputation that Cathy will face if she were to marry someone below her in social caste. Cathy even breaks her on heart “with weeping to come back to earth” (81) which suggests that she longs to be with Heathcliff, for the two of them are mirrors of each other. Up until her death, Cathy has repressed her feelings for Heathcliff in order to continue to live up to her family and the Linton’s expectations of her. We can see her romantic anxieties manifest within this dream , which then allow Cathy to arrive to the conclusion that she is, (heavy emphasis on is) Heathcliff.

As for Beli, the mongoose as a similar function to serves as a beacon of hope, a motivator for her to live as she struggles to stay alive with her unborn daughter, Lola.Diaz notes the significance of the mongoose in his footnotes when he writes, “The Mongoose has proven itself to be an enemy of kingly chariots, chains, and hierarchies. Believed to be an ally of Man. Many Watchers suspect that the Mongoose arrived to our world from another, but to date no evidence of such a migration has been unearthed.”  The Mongoose in context is an enemy Trujillo, who’s a brute of a ruler known to reak havoc on anyone who crosses his path. When Trujillo’s men hunt Beli down in order to kill her, she sees a creature that would have been amiable mongoose if not for its golden lions eyes and the absolute black of its pelt” (149). This creature then commands her to rise or she’ll never “have the son or the daughter” (149). This folkloric creature is a condensation and displacement of Beli’s ferocious desire to live on. Beli’s childhood was quite traumatic. with the physical abuse and the back story of her parents. Beli always has to defend herself whether it’s chasing away men who only lust after her or saving the child that she had with the Gangster, someone she loved. The mongoose represents the inner strength that Beli has to keep going even when all odds are against her. The mongoose hints that Beli will have multiple children, which she later has Oscar and Lola. Diaz notes her determination when he writes “Beli resolve out of her anger her own survival” (149).  To conclude, Beli is only able to make out of the sugarcane alive with her child because the Mongoose, an imaginative, dream-like manifestation of her own will to live, is the catalyst that allows her to survive such a horrific event.

March 14th, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

This week I worked on fine tuning my sentences to bring my argument to life. As always, I have create ideas in mind but they tend to be poorly executed through my sporadic writing. I notice that I tend to 1) jump from topic to topic as I write 2) have too many cluttered sentences and 3) abruptly begin a new idea. Bill also pointed out awkward phrases/sentences that I need to revise. So, I wanted to pinpoint any other areas that contain similar errors. Going forward, here are some things I need to work on:

  •  Rewriting topic sentences for each subheading: Now that I’ve broken my paper into parts, I can glue those parts together with the proper starting sentence.
  • Re-write awkward phrases: Today’s workshop really helped me notice the wordiness in my paper. My peers even rewrote sentences for me in the four pages I showed them (Thank you Alleya and Jennifer!!). Doing X/Y cohesion that we talked about in today’s workshop is also useful!
  • A small bit of research: Some of the comments on my paper pointed to my lack of scholarly research. My arguement relies on the film reviews when it should be scholarly articles/books instead. So, I need to incorporate two more sources (which I already have and read through. I just need to stop procrastinating and incorporate them into my esay)
  • Formality: I tend to write too “casually” and I need to be more aware of my academic audience.
  • Margins: I always screw up the spacing and indentations. So, I need to handle the above things first so I can focus on this task for a bit.
February 8th, 2018 at 2:53 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The biggest challenges that I’m facing are:

  •  Structure:I am having issues organizing my writing.  I’d like for my paragraphs to blend into each other seamlessly instead of abruptly introducing a new topic/concept of my research. One solution would be using subheadings. But even then, I’m having some difficulty coming up with creative titles.
  • Clarity: I notice that my writing is wordy and contains dangling modifiers (which is something I’ve always struggled with even as a freshman). Having an extra pair of eyes helps find any awkward sentences but I would like to develop better proofreading skills on my own.
  • Time Management: This thesis isn’t the only assignment that I’m working on. Like the rest of my peers, I have other classes that require my attention along with my job and personal life. I’m having trouble allocating equal time not only writing the thesis but to proofreading and even a little bit of research that I still need to do.

Before the submission date, I would like to have a clear, organized thesis. I notice that I’m relying too heavily on my research to prove my point. I need to ANALYZE my findings rather just stating the facts that I’ve found. I need to include more of my own thoughts and criticisms.  During the peer workshop, I’ve ran into a problem raised by one of my classmates that derailed my argument. She raised a good point that I need to situate bisexuality in a way that’s clear because it’s easy to confuse it with another sexuality known as pan sexuality. I understand my thesis is supposed to be contestable, so if someone were to provide a pan sexual revisionist reading to Adele, they are free to do so. However, that is NOT my argument. I’m trying to convey that she’s bisexual and how that impacts the way we understand bisexual desire. Most of the student comments  highlighted flaws that Professor Orchard already pointed out so it hasn’t been too helpful to my own writing (Hopefully, that changes). However, it was nice to see where others are in their own writing process.

As far as strengths go, I feel as though I did a good job in bringing 15 pages worth of smart observations to light because I barely had a stable draft to begin with. I think I did a good job of using the films elements (decor, color, fashion etc.) within one of the scenes I was discussing.  I do realize though, that I need to continue to do that for the rest of the scenes under investigation. I also realized I’m missing an important section of my thesis which is analyzing the sex scenes themselves in relation to Adele’s bisexuality. I’ve already began re watching the film and incorporating a scholarly source regarding the use of sex within cinema. I feel like once I incorporate that missing puzzle piece, I’ll be able to dictate the structure and able able to tie up loose ends (wordiness, typos, and grammar) before the deadline.

February 2nd, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

(WordPress isn’t mobile friendly so I had trouble commenting directly on Avi’s post.)

Avi,

Your analysis of memory within Alexander’s work is great. Through Lizzie’s recollection of her late husband, she turns this work into a scrapbook of sorts. She recalls the fine details of her interactions with her husband such as the weather on they had lunch or of their little exchanges of “I love yocu”. It also reads as an elegy; paying her respects to him as she reaccounts his family history and the lives he has touched.

For me, I was reminded of Barthes’ figure of remembrance. These incidences of memory happen sometimes without warning or to aid us in moments of loss and heartbreak. I would even go as far as to argue that the books title is referring to our memories being “The Light of the World”. Within them we find comfort, within them there are stories, within them are more history than we care to acknowledge.

December 12th, 2017 at 11:12 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The defining features that Beli and her daughter, Lola, share are their hair, curves, height and attitude. Although these two women share these features, they each value them for different reasons.

Lola doesn’t take pride in her hair in the same way her mother does as we see when Karen shaves her head. Diaz writes “I looked at the girl in the mirror for a long time. All I knew was that I didn’t want to see her ever again” (59). Up until this point, Lola tried to express herself through gothic and punk fashion but was always chastised, even humiliated by Beli. Lola laments, ” You don’t know what it’s like to grow up with a mother who never said a positive thing in her life, not about her children or the world, who was always suspicious, always tearing you down and splitting your dreams straight down the seams” (56).  So what better way to spite a mother who’s done nothing but tear you down from when you were young?  For Lola, it’s to become a rebel and choose to live the life you want. Lola’s rebellion starts to surface when she’s twelve and makes it way through her teen years when Diaz writes, “…when I was twelve I got that feeling, the scary witchy one, and before I knew it my mother was sick and the wildness that had been in me all along, that I tried to tamp down with chores and with homework and with promises that once I reached college I would be able to do whatever I pleased, burst out. I couldn’t help it. I tried to keep it down but it just flooded through all my quiet spaces. It was a message more than a feeling, a message that tolled like a bell: change, change, change” (56-57).

One defining feature they do share and marvel at, are their curves. Beli fully embraces her newfound body once when she realizes that it draws men to her to the point where it gives her power. Diaz says, “Beli, who’d been waiting for something exactly like her body her whole life, was sent over the moon by what she now knew. By the undeniable concreteness of her desirability which was, in its own way, Power” (94) For Beli, her curves allow her access to many men who find her attractive and are willing to go out of their way to gain their attention. Diaz confirms just how powerful Beli’s anatomy is by equating it with the “accidental discovery of the One Ring”(94). Which is a metaphor that origins from Toliken’s Lord of the Rings series. A famous quote from the film is “One Ring to Rule them all” which controls everything in Middle-Earth. So what does that mean for Beli? That her womanly assets can control any man in Bani; which isn’t too far from the truth since many men fawn over her  like the dentist at La Inca’s bakery and eventually, Jack Pujols.

Lola has a similar prowess, but located in her legs and her butt. She was on the track team which built up enough muscle in her legs enough to cause traffic jams. One of her loves, Max, praised her for butt.  Diaz writes, “I never knew my big ass could be such a star attraction but he kissed it, four, five times, gave me goose bumps with his breath and pronounced it a tesoro. When we were done and he was in the bathroom washing himself I stood in front of the mirror naked and looked at my culo for the first time. A tesoro, I repeated. A treasure” (73). Now, Lola doesn’t flaunt her body to the extent that her mother does, but she does awaken to her womanly features through men once she realizes that they appreciate her for them. She hadn’t felt this until she falls in love with Max and shows her body to him.

One defining feature that’s worth mentioning is Lola’s “jagged lightening bolt part” that she shares with her grandmother, La Inca. From that feature alone, Lola “knew that things would be okay” (78) between the two of them when they first met. And that it is; they got long well to where La Inca didn’t want her to leave DR once Beli sent her away for a summer. Unlike Beli, La Inca and Lola have a great relationship in adolescent years. La Inca reveals to Lola, “Your mother was a diosa. But so cabeza dura. When she was your age we never got along” (75) and Lola replies, “I didn’t know that”. So, even though Lola’s going through puberty she didn’t drift away from La Inca, she actually became close to her. On the other hand, Beli felt ashamed by her changing body when she first started going through puberty. She felt “furious at the world for this newly acquired burden” (93).

November 13th, 2017 at 10:56 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

I am still awaiting my graphic novel of Blue is the Warmest Color in the mail so I haven’t gotten the chance to pick it apart in order to incorporate a concrete thesis, however, here’s what I’ve been planning to write my paper on:

I am interested in the significance of adultery in queer love and romance in coming of age narratives. I’ll be working with  Abdellatif Kechiche’s film adaption of Blue is the Warmest Color along with the graphic novel by Julie Maroh .Within this coming of age narrative, we see Adele come to an understanding that romance is transient yet powerful. In the film, we see Adele fall in love with Emma the moment she crosses the street. Then we see their love blossom from an innocent glance on the street to a full on romantic relationship then comes to a sad end.

Another aspect that I wish to talk about is the conflict between Adele and Emma remaining faithful to each other. Emma was already in a relationship prior to meeting Adele, but they become very intimate despite Emma being technically taken. Later on in the film, Adele then cheats on Emma with a man which terminates their relationship. This makes me wonder why Emma was so opposed to being cheated on when she in fact, cheated on her other partner as she fell in love with Emma. My mind is telling me to extract some of Laura Kipnis’ ideas on adultery in her book Against Love (which I need to re-read in order to be sure if I will actually incorporate it or not.)

The scenes I’d like to focus on are the scenes were Adele explores her sexuality (her first relationship with Thomas, her first time at a queer bar, the confrontation within her social circle about her sexuality),  the break up scene between Adele and Emma, Adele and Emma meeting up after the break up within the coffee shop and lastly, Adele attending Emma’s art show only to see her with a new partner.  

From what I’ve read online, the graphic novel has big differences than the film. I would like incorporate these differences and see how they impact queer love and romance.  In my works cited, I have found two articles that discuss how I may analyze the graphic novel as we do with other literature.

 

Working Bibliography

  1. Dollar, Steve. “Arts & Entertainment: Pushing the Limits in Controversial Film — Two Actresses Explore a Transformative First Love.” Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition ed.Oct 23 2013. ProQuest. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
  2. Dallacqua , Ashley K. “Exploring Literary Devices in Graphic Novels .” Language Arts , vol. 89, ser. 6, 2012, pp. 365–378. JSTOR [JSTOR].
  3. Kipnis, Laura. Against Love: a Polemic. Vintage Books, 2004.
  4. Lin, Tzu-Bin, et al. “Understanding New Media Literacy: An Explorative Theoretical Framework.” Journal of Educational Technology & Society , vol. 16, no. 4, Oct. 2013, pp. 160–170.
  5. Schwarz, Gretchen. “Expanding Literacies through Graphic Novels.” English Journal, vol. 95, no. 6, July 2006, pp. 58–64. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/30046629.
  6. Stojanova , Christina. “The Female Double: Subjectivity Between Allegory, Facticity and Marivaudage.” Kinema : : A Journal for Film and Audiovisual Media, Kinema , 2015, www.kinema.uwaterloo.ca/article.php?id=582&feature.
November 4th, 2017 at 3:03 am | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

The texts I will be working with for my research paper are Love (2015; directed by Gaspar Noe), Blue is the Warmest Color (2014) and Laura Kipniss’ Against Love.

  • I haven’t generated a concrete thesis but I’m considering discussing cheating within relationships since both of these films have those instances, polyarmory and/or queer theory. I have to reread Kipniss to see if I can extract something viable. I plan to use some theory I’ve diacussed in a film theory class to help with the film analysis as well.
October 27th, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

(Small disclaimer: I have not completed this book in its entirety. There’s quite a lot of symbolism and other literary aspects to this body of work that will take me a bit to digest. So, if there are any plot mistakes or poor analysis on behalf of my incomplete reading, I apologize.)

In what ways is the last encounter of Heathcliff and Cathy (Chapter 1, Volume 2) different from what we might normally expect of a final scene? That is, in what ways does it thwart our expectations for such scenes? How might the scene have affected readers at the time of the novel’s first appearance?

This final scene between Heathcliff and Cathy didn’t thwart my exceptions. In fact, I found it to be as heartbreaking as it was beautiful. Plus, I have seen this trope before in other stories (Mean dude is horrible to everybody but falls in love with someone then turns into a marshmallow when it comes to the object of his affection) I expected Heathcliff to curse Cathy for picking Edgar over him but of course, to remain very much in love with her.

Lockwood observes their touching reunion noting Healthcliff’s actions, “He neither spoke, nor loosed his hold, for some five minutes, during which period he bestowed more kisses than ever gave in his life before” (159). I suppose the readers would be caught off guard by Heathcliff’s displays of physical affection given his harsh mannerisms and ill ways in the previous volume, I, however, expected it. From the time they were children, Heathcliff was very much aware of Cathy’s charm.  We saw this when the two were was withheld by the Lintons for trespassing, Heathcliff told Nelly “I left her, as merry as she could be, dividing her food between the little dog and Skulker…and kindling a spark of spirit in the vacant blue eyes of the Lintons–a dim reflection from her own enchanting face–I saw they were full of stupid admiration; she is so immeasurable superiority to them–to everybody on earth, is she not, Nelly?” (51). I took it as a double handed compliment; Catherine may have a bratty temperament but she does show small acts of being an angel when she chooses, one that anyone can’t resist, including Heathcliff.

And alas, we see that Heathcliff doesn’t remain impenetrable to Cathy’s charm, not even when she’s on the brink of death. Lockwood then observes, “And now he stared at her so earnestly that I thought the very intensity of his gaze would bring tears into his eyes; but they burned with anguish, they did not melt” (160). To readers, that’s the Heathcliff we were accustomed to. A man who doesn’t show tears for any reason. Take for example in his childhood when Hindley threw an iron weight as chest. Heathcliff only “fell but staggered up immediately” (39) and achieved “full revenge by letting his condition plead for him, intimating who had caused it” (39). Not one tear in sight.  That all comes to an end though, once when Lockwood observes, “They were silent—their faces hid against each other, and washed by each other’s tears. At least, I supposed the weeping was on both sides; as it seemed Heathcliff could weep on a great occasion like this” (163).

Heathcliff’s fluffiness even gets more pronounced when he says, “Hush, my darling! Hush, hush, Catherine! I’ll stay. If he shot me so, I’d expire with a blessing on my lips” (164). This coming from a man who regrettably saved a child from having its brain splattered on a floor just said the sweetest thing to the world’s childish woman. C’mon! He’s being a teddy bear right now!
I tend to watch disastrous love stories regularly, a favorite of mine is a movie called “Love” which by Argentinian film director, Gaspar Noé. It’s a grim tale about a young filmmaker, Murphy who has a horribly rocky relationship with a woman named Electra. I won’t spoil it but the two ended on bad terms and never spoke to each other again. One day he gets a call from Electra’s mother since she hasn’t heard from Electra in a long while. Given her daughter’s suicidal tendencies, she is really worried. For the rest of this day (and the film), Murphy recalls his past two years with Electra in a series of fragmented, nonlinear flashbacks; how they first met in Paris, their quick hookup, and their lives over the next two years which is filled with drug abuse, rough sex and tender moments. This movie, for me, was one of the saddest love stories I’ve seen so Wuthering Heights doesn’t faze me in the least. On the contrary, I do realize how this novel would have affected audiences during that time. In 2017, lots of these stories get recycled and turned into a new product whereas for the people in the 18th century, it can be a bit of a shock to read something like that.

October 24th, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

 

                   Looking Embarrassed: Geryon’s Innocence in Love

In A Lover’s Discourse, Barthes provides us with a textbook definition of embarrassment as “a group scene in which the implicit nature of the amorous relation functions as a constraint and provoked a collective embarrassment which is not spoken” (Barthe/Howard 122).

We’ve all experienced this emotion at least once, romantically or platonically. Ever trip in front of a group of people or fart in front of your date? The fear of embarrassment is not necessarily what you’ve done to draw attention to yourself, it’s how others react to it and your reaction to their reaction, if that makes sense.  Barthes makes this clear when he states, “What’s heavy is silent knowledge: I know that you know that I know” (Howard 122). Within The Autobiography of Red, Herakles states “Sex is a way of getting to know someone” (Carson 44) and he’s right in the carnal and philosophical sense. He learned that Geryon is feeling some sort of shyness since he offers a reassuring “Its okay” (Carson 44) once things become “suddenly quiet” (Carson 44). There’s silent knowledge being exchanged since Herakles is able to pick up on certain figures/signs.

An extreme case of embarrassment ensues once Geryon’s language fails him once he asks “Is it true that you think about sex everyday?” (Carson 45) which takes the shape of a “joint astonishment as two cuts lie parallel in the same flesh” (Carson 45).

It’s also worth mentioning that the title of this section is Looking Embarrassed while Carson illustrates embarrassment as a multisensory experience as “something black and heavy that dropped between them like a smell of velvet” (Carson 45). Embarrassment isn’t only a phenomena of sight but one of smell and touch too.

 

October 3rd, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink