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Showing posts from November, 2009

3-Comparison of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs Final

Frederick Douglasse's narrative seemed familiar to me, but not for the obvious themes of slavery and/or enslavement. Looking back to Harriet Jacob's narrative, a similar feeling had touched me deeply. The reason does not directly include Douglass, but his mother.

The intensity of a mother's love for her child is truly a gift and cannot be substituted or cultivated. In Douglass's narrative, we feel that through this quote:

"I never saw my mother, to know her as such, more than four or five times in my life; and each of these times was very short in duration, and at night. She was hired by a Mr. Stewart, who lived about twelve miles from my home. She made her journeys to see me in the night, travelling the whole distance on foot, after the performance of her days work. She was a field hand, and whipping is the penalty of not being in the field at sunrise, unless a slave has special permission from his or her master to the contrary." (768)Harriet Jacob's mothe…

5 - Rip Van Winkle (revised C)

At times the reader may feel sorry for the somewhat "pathetic” Rip Van Winkle, the hero of Washington Irvin’s story by that name, 'Rip Van Winkle'. Other times the reader may envy Rip Van Winkle, as a man who did exactly what he wanted. The passage below shows how other people viewed Van Winkle:

"Because he was kind and gentle, Rip was popular with all of his neighbors. Children especially loved him, for he would play with them, make them toys, and tell them stories. No one had a cross word for Rip–except his wife, who, taking advantage of his meekness, regularly nagged him. Her treatment of him earned Rip the sympathy of other wives."(719)As you can see by the previous passage, Van Winkle was loved by everyone, except his wife. Feelings of sorrow may emerge while reading about how she abused Van Winkle throughout the story. Only in her death does she cease to nag and abuse him.

However, Van Winkle still managed to go about his day doing the things that he wanted …

1 - 'Mary Rowlandson's Strength of Faith' Final

With regard to 'Narrative of the Captivity and the Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson', its astonishing to me how Rowlandson, in such times of turmoil and devastation, held onto her faith and the will to live. It appears that Rowlandson felt her survival was for the higher purpose of relating this tragic event to others as is depicted below:


"Of thirty-seven persons who were in this one house, none escaped either present death, or a bitter captivity, save only one, who might say as he, and I only am escaped alone to tell the News" (Job 1.15)(212).The quotes below provide just two examples of how she suffered.
"Then I took oaken leaves and laid to my side, and with the blessing of God it
cured me also; yet before the cure was wrought, I may say, as it is in Psalm
38.5-6 'My wounds stink and are corrupt, I am troubled,I am bowed down
greatly, I go mourning all the day long (215).”
"I sat much alone with a poor wounded child in my lap, which moaned night and da…

7 - 'Benito Cereno' by Herman Melville revised

Herman Melville’s is extensive and painful droning in ‘Benito Cereno', often leaves his readers bored and frustrated. Captain Delano, one of the main characters at times also frustrates his readers with his naive, passive, disregard. Delano often "looked" at potentially problematic situations but, never "saw" what was transpiring. Ironically, Delano's passiveness results in the saving of his life.

As Delano boarded the San Dominick, a Spanish slave ship, he witnessed peculiar acts that contradicted the traditional customs of a slave ship. Delano was particularly struck by the acts of the pleasant black slave, Babu, who maintained the weak, sickly, white captain, Benito Cereno and remained by his side continuously. The following passage is an example of Babu's attentiveness to Cereno:

“Sometimes the negro gave his master his arm, or took his handkerchief out of his pocket for him; performing these and similar offices with that affectional zeal which transm…

6 - 'Artist of the Beautiful' by Nathaniel Hawthorne Revised

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 'Artist of the Beautiful' projects a shadowy gloom that resembles a thunderstorm amongst a dark grey sky. The story revolves around Owen Warland, a frail artist and shopkeeper, who suffers with internal and external conflicts which leave the reader continually guessing where the story is going.

In this passage, the reader is being introduced to Owen's talent as an artist:

"From the time that his little fingers could grasp a penknife, Owen had been remarkable for a delicate ingenuity, which sometimes produced pretty shapes in wood, principally figures of flowers and birds, and sometimes seemed to aim at the hidden mysteries of mechanism (1132)."Almost immediately, the community disapproves of Owen, and his artistic talent, becomes apparent from the community. Alienated from the townsfolk, Owen often receives the unspoken message that art is not accepted as a career, and that he should live his life by the standards of the community. An example …

8 - 'Benito Cereno' by Herman Melville

Herman Melville emits extensive and painful droning in the story, ‘Benito Cereno', that often leaves his readers bored and frustrated. Captain Delano, one of the main characters, is a passive man who at times, frustrates his readers with his naive, passive, disregard. Delano often "looked" at potentially problematic situations but, never "saw" what was transpiring. Ironically, Delano's passiveness results in the saving of his life.

As Delano boarded the San Dominick, a spanish slave ship, he witnessed peculiar act's that contradicted the traditional customs of a slave ship. Delano was particularly struck by the acts of the pleasant black slave, Babu, who maintained the weak, sickly, white captain, Benito Cereno and remained by his side continuously. The following passage is an example of Babu's attentiveness to Cereno:

“Sometimes the negro gave his master his arm, or took his handkerchief out of his pocket for him; performing these and similar o…

Rappacinis Daughter

'Rappacinis Daughter' by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a different kind of love story, a story that often we won't read from other author's. There is a combination of supernatural, science, fairy tale and a strong connection to nature, in this story.

Hawthorne explicitly delivers garden scenery and a large portion of the story revolves around natural items, such as flowers and shrubs. This passage is one of Hawthorne's first presentation's of nature. Hawthorne continues on further describing the scene, but for the sake of time and space, just a few sentences are presented:

"Giovanni still found no better occupation than to look down into the garden beneath his window. From its appearance, he judged it to be one of those botanic gardens which were of earlier date in Padua than elsewherer in Italy or in the world. for there was the ruin of a marble fountain in the centre, sculptured with rate art, but so woefully shattered that it was impossible to trace t…

- Reading of Annabell Lee by Tracey ODonnell

# 2 - Harriet Jacobs 'Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl' (revised C)

In'Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl'Harriet Jacobs takes us through the twists and turns of the degradation and humiliation she endured as a slave. In today's society, the manner in which we treat our house pets is far kinder and more humane than slaves were often treated by their masters and mistresses. The striking thing about Harriet Jacobs was her consistent compassion and sympathy for Dr. Flint's wife's pain and suffering in relation to her marriage:

He [Dr. Flint] had never punished me himself, and he would not allow anybody else to punish me. In that respect, she[his wife] was never satisfied; but, in her angry moods, no terms were too vile for her to bestow upon me. Yet I, whom she detested so bitterly, had far more pity for her than he had, whose duty it was to make her life happy. I never wronged her or wished to wrong her; and one word of kindness from her would have brought me to her feet (2017). Her mistress forced Jacobs to tell the truth about an…

# 4 - 'Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas' (final)

Reading the 'Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass', made me embarassed to be a caucasian. The first page of the narrative brought me to tears and created a sick feeling within me. The small amount revealed about slavery made me so sad and confused that I needed to put the book down.

The quote that triggered this feeling occured at the point when Douglass's mother attempts to visit him at night: "She made her journeys to see me in the night, travelling the whole distance on foot, after the performance of her day's work. She was a field hand, and a whipping is the penalty of not being in the field at sunrise (1521)."

This passage reminded me of Mary Rowlandson and Harriet Jacobs, whereas, the comparison was nearly identical. I speak from a mother's mouth and think from a mother's heart and to be subjected to the loss of a child, I could not bear.

My heart filled with sadness, disbelief and sympathy for all the souls that endured such agony and d…

'The Raven' by Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe's poem 'The Raven' is thought to be-a bit dark and depressing- by it's readers. The poem appears to be that of a man who is mourning the death of a loved one, Lenore.

"Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore."

During the poem, a Raven appears at Poe's door. Poe thought this raven was sent by Lenore to relay a message to him. In this final passage, Poe comes to the realization that Lenore will no longer be coming back:

"Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor. Wretch, I cried, thy God hath lent thee-by these angels he has sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe …

The Philosophy of the Composition by Edgar Allen Poe

Without reading too far into the essay of Edgar Allen Poe's, 'The Philosophy of the Composition, Poe exposes his arrogance as a skilled writer. The following passage rings of arrogance:

"I have often thought how interesting a magazine paper might be written by any author who would — that is to say, who could — detail, step by step, the processes by which any one of his compositions attained its ultimate point of completion. Why such [column 2:] a paper has never been given to the world, I am much at a loss to say — but, perhaps, the autorial vanity has had more to do with the omission than any one other cause."

Poe appears to view himself as a great writer as depicted below:

"For my own part, I have neither sympathy with the repugnance alluded to, nor, at any time, the least difficulty in recalling to mind the progressive steps of any of my compositions; and, since the interest of an analysis, or reconstruction, such as I have considered a desideratum, is quite …