Defining languages

This reading was quite interesting to me. It questions the same thing about African language that we questioned about English language. What really defines a certain languages literature anymore? So many different works can be translated into other languages around the world. Does the setting matter or help define the language of that certain literature? Take African Literature for example, what if it was written about Africa but in English, would that make it African or English literature? The more we progress with literature in the world, the harder it is going to be to define that certain work of literature. This is because any work of literature can be read throughout the world and translated into all languages. Because of this, is all literature now going to be considered world literature? Modern day literature is changing from early literature because of the way it can now be shared with the world. It will become more and more difficult to define certain works of literature into a specific category of language.

Kafka’s The Metamorphosis

In Kafka’s literary work, there is a strong theme that concentrates on the disconnect between mind and body. Gregory’s transformation creates a complete discord between his mind and body because his mind still works like a humans. He wakes up thinking he has to go to work but obviously since he is an insectbe cannot go to work. Essentially, he continues to think with a human mind, but because his body is no longer human, he is unable at first to reconcile these two parts of himself. As Gregor becomes more accustomed to his new life and body, his mind starts to become more in sync with his desires and physical needs, yet he is never able to bring his mind and body into harmony. He starts to crave different foods and likes small, dark places and acts like more of an insect. Through these details it’s suggested that our physical being helps to direct our mental lives, and not the other way around. He realizes when his furniture is moved out of his room that he cannot have physical and emotional comfort, because without his old furniture there are no dark spaces to crawl in but he emotionally misses his furniture because it represented his human life. Gregor is unable to relinquish his humanity and chooses emotional comfort instead of physical comfort and clings to an old picture in his room.

Weinstein group 1reading

In this chapter of Weinstein, he uses the work of Freud to try to help explain the modernist movement. He describes the modernist movement as hegemonic. He also says that self-empowerment will almost always lead to the persecution of other people around you. The Enlightenment is defined as a philosophical movement in the eighteenth century that stressed human reasoning over blind faith or obedience. The modernist movement is defined as a break in traditional literature and a strong reaction against the norm of literature. The Enlightenmentbis more so about scientific and spiritual education while the modernist movement is more ambitious and takes a lot of risks in each literary work because of it’s social message. Weinstein also goes to talk about how every single action you make, there is a consequence for it. He uses Madame Bovary’s marriage as an example of the previous statement. Once you have made a decision, you must stick with it no matter what happens after it.

Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin is an extraordinary woman writer. She has written many literary pieces that have many diverse characters. Their diversity and real life problems are a huge part of why she is so wonderful and well known. Kate Chopin is well known in America but also all over the world. Her different literary works can be considered American Literature or World Literature. Kate Chopin’s different literary works include characters from all types of backgrounds such as Creoles, African Americans, Native Americans, Acadians, mulattos and various immigrants. Her characters all face different challenges that are because of their race. Kate Chopin’s readers have a “birds eye view” of her characters and their problems in the stories. When the reader compares different works by Chopin, they can see that they may be different types of people but most are all working against the same issues. All of her characters are all in the same battles together and face the same issues without realizing. The readers are able to see this and realize the various ways her characters struggle together.


The Romantic time period took place in the nineteenth century after the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment had different influences on the Romantic period. It arose as a reaction to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Instead of searching for rules governing nature and human beings, the romantics searched for a direct communication with nature and treated humans as unique individuals not subject to scientific rules. Napoleon’s invasion of central Europe also helped start a movement that emphasized the authentic national culture such as the vernacular and folklore instead of the language and customs imposed by the foreign ruler. It also gave people a sense of freedom to express themselves and their feelings in different art forms such as music, plays, or poems. The Industrial Revolution helped fuel this artful expression because it helped raised literacy since more people had to learn different things. Many people rose their expectations for themselves and others during is time which also raised a certain confidence in themselves since people expected more from them.


During the days of the Enlightenment people still had slaves but were beginning to realize that being prejudice was not smart and they should treat everyone the same, no matter the class or color of those people. When someone is prejudice against a certain type of person, they usually don’t have a clear understanding of why that person is the way they are. Someone who is prejudice typically does not have all the facts about someone. During the Enlightenment, people were starting to realize how ignorant being prejudice looks. In Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopedia this quote appears: Prejudices, says Bacon, the man who has meditated the most on this subject, are just so many spectres and phantoms sent to earth by an evil genius in order to torment men; but they are a kind of infectious illness which, like all epidemic diseases, primarily attacks the people, women, children, and old men, and which yields to nothing but maturity and reason.”  This quote explains that prejudices aren’t always against people with different color skin, but against women, children and older people. Bacon describes it as an illness or disease which is a very good description for it. People are prejudice are immature and need to get all of their facts before judging someone. During the Enlightenment people started to realize that the opinions and works of women and older people mattered just as much as middle aged men who the common person regularly listened to.


In the book Robinson Crusoe the theme of Crusoe being in charge and mastering everything is very relevant. He accomplishes many things even in the worst of situations. He overcomes many extreme obstacles throughout his life from being stranded on an island to many deaths of women in his life. He has control of every aspect of his life. In the beginning he had control over minor things and the way he controlled himself, but as the novel continued he got more controlling. For example, teaching Friday to address him as “master” before teaching him the basic words “yes” and “no.” Crusoe is typically thought positively of because of his ability to control and teach himself the way he did while stranded on the island but the way he thought of Europeans as his subjects and told natives on the island he was their “king” was seen as very negative since he had no control over humans whatsoever.

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