Marisol

I decided to go see “Marisol” for the extra credit, a decision I do not regret. I do however regret this play. Now before anyone tries to label me as unrefined, I would like to state that this is perhaps the 40th play I have seen in my life. I’ve seen everything from low budget artitsic endeavors, thanks hipster Austin friends, to CATS, too much build up. I do not count high school or middle school plays in that tally either. This was not my first rodeo.

I will however begin this review with what I did enjoy of this show. The brother sister combo played very well. Both were excellent though not completely original. They played the way they were supposed to. The stage was well put together and convincing, aside from the beds.

That unfortunately is about where my praise ends. The characters felt unrealistic, stereotypical and too one dimensional. The lead actress was about as unconvincing as you can get. Aside from her pulling out a script in front of her I could not imagine her lines being more staggered. The play didn’t seem to have proper tempo or pacing. The intermission began at a random point in the play and the last 30 minutes were a lost cause. It’s as if they were trying to push home the point that her life had fallen apart, but didn’t trust the audience to understand that. The ending was sudden and didn’t coincide with the proper character development. None of the characters changed throughout the film, aside from the friend/sister. It is sad to say that though the ending was abrupt, it was however merciful. I don’t hold the plot against the actors, I just feel there should be a little bit more of a thorough process in selecting the next piece.

A Reminder of the film “Hook”

Does anyone remember that game you played growing up? The poem “Light Is Like Water” reminded me of that game every kid plays when they are little. This story is a perfect example of magical realism. The sense of imagination and imagery in this short story was quite unique. There was a build up from the mundane to the spirit of being young.

Though the story starts in an apartment in Madrid it starts to take a world on, that is quite its own. The boys ask for a boat and a reluctant pair of parents decide to get it for them. This is all they need to launch themselves creatively into their own world. The light becomes water and the apartment building a flooded harbor. This sense of wonderment and delight was a key component in magical realism. There is the boring world in this story but past it a vibrant landscape for the kids to dive into, pardon the word play.

Though at times in this story I felt a little lost as to what was happening, I kept an open mind. It was a bit hard for me tell if I was missing something but by the end I could clearly picture what was going on. I found this excerpt from our readings this week to be the best.

Achebe’s Two Way Street

Achebe’s story of a man’s fall from grace is a two way street. He fails in the eyes of his people but they also fail him. Okonkwo is a character that pesonifies what the post colonial movement was trying to convey. There is a culture that needs to adapt and at the same time keep it’s roots.

You see this when Okonkwo was forced to kill the boy that became his son. Though keeeping in traditions is important you can see that not everything needs to be permanent. You can also see this philosophy how the tribe acts, or fails to act I should say. The people get together and basically chose to do nothing. This angers Okonkwo to the point of him hanging himself. The people were so caught up on what they had done before they couldn’t do anything now.

Now there is another counter point that is also made evident in this story. The tribes are trying to protect their customs from the white men. This means that even the ideas that aren’t useful need to be upheld. The slow call to arms and eventual inaction are norms and social policies of their citizens. The execution of the child would not have been as tough on Okonkwo if he had listened to his elder and stayed away. Even the suicide of Okonkwo that is looked down on by everyone is an attitude that makes up their culture, whether or not it is right. This story shows the conflict of progress versus preservation, which in my opinion is one of the key elements in post colonial work.

Heart of Darkness Interpretation

Joseph Conrad’s story “Heart of Darkness” is the tale of a simple average man, Marlow, heading into the great unknown of Africa in search of adventure and a mysterious Mr Kurtz. Now as simple as it may sound, this story is quite complex and has faced much praise and criticism in it’s life time. Many people, including Achebe, have openly called it racist. They view it’s representation of the native people’s savagery as a window into Conrad’s opinions on black people.

I believe that to see Conrad’s portrayal of the African as a bad thing is to miss the point of the story entirely. He was attempting to draw a contrast between the two types of societies in Africa. The natives are the uncivilized people who are happier with a simple life. They are happy with their daily lives and seem to be at odd with the european culture.

The Europeans on the other hand are seen as a corruptive and manipulative. They come to the country and over work the people and pollute the land. They take everything they can get their hands on and leave nothing for the natives. What they do leave is useless objects for the natives. This is shown in the story by the yarn necklace the near death native worker is shown wearing as Marlow is approaching the compound.

What you can take from this story is whatever you want to. Some people choose to see racism others just a tale. I know there are very different ways to interpret this novel, I learned that in 2350. Personally I see the europeans as a corrupting and terrible influence, with their civilized culture, on the simple well meaning people of Africa.

Octavio Paz

I decided to make my blog this week focus on Octavio Paz, considering he is the focal point for my presentation this week. The reading selection of “Central Park” is a piece that centers around the infamous park in New York city at night. A person, you, is walking through the park at night as it comes to life. All the vibrant imagery and at the same time the recluse darkness play off off each other to create a stirring experience. Luckily it culminates with a trip in a taxi, where you had been all along. The beast you had seen having been imaginary all along.

This environment is very much, if my remembrance of 2350 holds pat, an example of deconstructionism. The examples of the park coming to life are always contradicting each other. The creatures are “born mute and now they sing and laugh” and “their unions and disjunctions” for example are very much at odds in their point. These descriptions slowly build a more chaotic real representation of the readers way of viewing the park.

I will say that the mix of spanish and english did not please me. I found it to be rather confusing and unnecessary, but I do understand that this his background and speciality. Spanish/English is his bread and butter. Perhaps it was different in the book, I was forced to use library books until this next week.

Journey into The Heart of Darkness

Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is the story of a man traveling deep into the wild in search of another legendary man, Kurtz, who has gone missing. Marlow leaves the comfort of Europe to spend his life in search of prosperity and wealth across the globe. Luckily he gets a sweet gig running a boat. This story is an example of Modernism in that the standard ideas of colonialism are not conveyed in a good light. The idea of Europe as a more savage and barbaric place than Africa is an ironic point of view, irony being a theme in modernism.

Also the story of Marlow is not told in a linear straight forward way. The story begins with him in a boat waiting to dock in Europe. The entire story is set in a flashback to his past. This was also a major element in writing during modernism. They liked to keep things out of order to keep people off balance.

What’s kinda funny about this story is how familiar this story still feels. I don’t know if anyone else was in the same class or if maybe it was a standard but, I remember reading this story over and over again in 2350. We had to read and analyze it through ever literary theory possible. Well I guess it was just a matter of time before this story showed it’s ugly head again.

From One Generation to the Next

The overall meaning of the different eras in literature are best described as a cause and effect. Each era or movement in literature is directly related to the era or movement before it. Chapter 5, my group 1 assignment, is focused around the realist movement moving away from the enlightenment movement. They didn’t focus on the spiritual ideas but instead tended to be more materialistic. There are examples such as Madame Bovarey’s marriage. She has made her choices and now must face the consequences.

The authors moved away from the ideas and focused more on what was really going on, often from a poorer class main character. This also gave it a realer and therefore grittier feel. People dealing with problems caused by their parents or family in general has felt like a general theme. In any case there is always something from their past that is influencing their lives now. Armand in “Desiree’s Baby” faces many problems in his baby situation, half caused by himself and the other half by his mother’s choice to have a half black child. The cause and effect mentality of this generation in my opinion is really an idea that has been present all throughout literature’s life span. Everything one generation has done has directly or indirectly influenced the generation before them.

Realization in “A Doll’s House”

The literary movement of Realism seems to focus entirely on moving away from our generic materialistic lives and more towards a truly appreciative authentic life. This is prevalent all through out “A Doll’s House”. Ibsen shows a house wife who is slowly shown how all the things she holds dear are really meaningless. This shows a major theme from realism, an authentic life.

The story starts off with her feeling shame as she did things she had to in order to save her husband’s pride and more importantly her family. The story then centers around her doing everything she can to save her precious pretend life. This is were the title comes from, a doll house being a metaphor for her pretend life and happiness.

Ultimately she is able to save her debt but not without having her husband find out. It is because of this revelation of her husband that leads her to realize that their love is not genuine. They really don’t know each other that well and their life and love are based on an ideal they both have. This is why she decides to leave, to discover what she wants and what she is about.

This conveys the idea of realism: The longer for something more. A wife who is no longer satisfied with her hum drum meaningless life. She discovers through her courage to save her family that there is something more to her.

Chopin’s view on Racism

A major theme of realism is looking at the world as it truly is. Authours decided to leave behind the fluffed up and far reaching ideas of the enlightenment and decided to give a more accurate portrayl of life in their time. This process could be informative or unflattering depending on the text.

Chopin was one of the authors who’s fell into the latter category. Her stories weren’t exactly appreciated during her age. It wasn’t until after her death that her style of writing was finally praised. “Desiree’s Baby” dealt with race in actual soceity. Her story doesn’t soften up the fact that people of a different race were considered completely beneath the status of white people.

Even the people who are racist in it arre painted as terrible people. Armand is the man who disowns the one he loves because their child is not completely white. “It means…that the child is not white; it means that you are not white.” He hates his own wife for birthing a mixed wife. The thought of her perhaps cheating on him doesn’t even pass him. This shows just how racism was back then. It was a bigger issue to him than infedilty. The irony of this story is that he turns out to be the mixed person.

Perhaps this is why Chopin wasn’t an author that was fully accepted by soceity. Her views on the world painted it a far more depressing and uncivilized place.But just maybe her view was too real and therfore made the world insecure. Chopin was a voice of realism in her time.

Prejudice in Encyclopedia

Prejudice in Encyclopedia is presented in much the same pattern as today, obviously influenced by the enlightenment era. Throughout the definition of prejudice, there is a constant questioning of what we presume or take as fact. There is a lot of questioning of miracles in the example of a man who survives a ship wreck “while all the others perish in the same storm” (Diderot). The social and science norms should always be questioned. The word definition is actually brought into question in their definition, which I found quite ironic. To them, to define something is to miss convey its idea and limit that ideas ability. “Definitions convey neither the true idea of things nor the proper way of conceiving them”, is their understanding of it. The only thing that I felt went against their Enlightenment ideas was that they seem to state that it affects only women, children and the old. It mentions the people but never states man in the direct definition. Though man is used for a few examples, he is more often than not referred to as something else, i.e. passenger. Though I know there was still sexism back in the 1700’s I figured that in the texts the enlightened thinkers would stray away from stereotyping the “weaker” people. This also shows their prejudice in the writing. They believe men, once they reach a certain age, become enlightened and let go of their prejudices. This is in its self a prejudice.