Monday, November 26, 2012

Literature Analysis #4 Howl (Part I) by Allen Ginsberg

This poem can be found here. This page also includes Allen Ginsberg himself reciting the poem.

1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).

-To briefly summarize this poem in words for people to understand is like briefly explaining the Bible, kinda sorta difficult because this poem is all about references in Ginsberg's life. Throughout Part I of Howl, Ginsberg goes about telling stories of "...the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness..." by referencing things such as "...Neil Cassidy, the hero of these poems..." Yes ladies and gentleman, Allen Ginsberg was gay so the reference to his first love almost as inspiration shows how personal this poem is and can really only apply to himself. Through constant repetition Ginsberg develops a rhythm by using the word "who" in order to stay on track with his story.

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.

-For me, this was the hardest part: finding a theme. I believe that his poem is a mourning for all the people Ginsberg references by expressing taboo topics like drug abuse and alcohol addiction. "...Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops..." In this small phrase Ginsberg makes a reference to Peyote which is something found in a hallucinogenic, which Ginsberg experimented with (including other drugs as well).

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).

-The author's tone is very mournful throughout the poem because he is talking about how certain people he met in his life's stories are sad. He is very sad in how he explains things.

"...who were expelled from the academies for crazy and publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull..."

"...who balled in the morning in the evening in the rose gardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries..."

"...who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime blue floodlight of the moon and their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion..."

4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.)

-Anaphora: Ginsberg constantly repeat's the word "who" in order to keep himself and his readers at a steady pace when they are reading. ALso, he uses it in order to start a new part, journey, or reference in his poem.

 -Colloquialism: In the beginning when Ginsberg says, "angelheaded hipsters" that is a use of colloquialism that helps relate Ginsberg tothe common man making his poem more insightful to others.

 -Elegy: Even though this poem isn't specifically about the dead is is still mournful in it's ways when Ginsberg references the people he has met in his life and some of their sad stories of how they were ddestroyed by madness.

 -Free Verse: This poem has no rhyming scheme whatsoever so is therfore considered to be free verse. Nor does Ginsberg make any attempt to rhyme the words in Part I of Howl.

 -Imagery: "...draggind themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, andelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night..."
 This is an excerpt that is an example of Ginsberg's imagery and how he compares the stars to machinery and negro streets in order to emphasize his meanings on society.

 -Pacing: For the majority of the poem, "who" starts out a little piece of the poem constantly making you start the phrase with "who" as if it were a completely new sentence even though the whole poem is practically a run-on sentence. Without that one word (who) thepoem would loose it's rhythm.

 -Personification: Ginsberg has this nack for giving everything a human-like characteristic because it makes the reader feel more connected to everything when you can relate to how something is feeling. "...who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery..."

 -Allusion: "...who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden threads if the craftsman's loom..." Ginsberg is referencing the three old woman who share an eye to see fate in Hercules.

 -Restatement: "...who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night..."

"...who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels, who were visionary indian angels..." In these two excerpts their is an emphasis in order for the reader to understand key points that Ginsberg wanted to stand out.


Thinking Outside the Box

Think about the place you have chosen as your hell. Does it look ordinary and bourgeois, like Sartre's drawing room, or is it equipped with literal instruments of torture like Dante's Inferno? Can the mind be in hell in a beautiful place? Is there a way to find peace in a hellish physical environment? Enter Sartre's space more fully and imagine how it would feel to live there endlessly, night and day.

 -My own personal Hell would probably be a black, cold room. Isolation is one of the things I simply can not stand because being alone for such a long period of time would drive me insane. Neither a way in nor out frightens me. I think there is a way to find peace in a Hellish environment because just because the place looks really crappy, it doesn't mean that I'm not able to enjoy the company of others. If I were to live night and day in Satre's Hell I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to handle other people that get on my nerves and I'd stab my eyes out.

 Could hell be described as too much of anything without a break? Are variety, moderation and balance instruments we use to keep us from boiling in any inferno of excess,' whether it be cheesecake or ravenous sex?

 -I think you could take that perspective on Hell because people get bored easily with the idea of having to repeat things. Constantly having to do the same thing over and over again really sucks. I can't even imagine having to listen to the same song for all eternity.

How does Sartre create a sense of place through dialogue? Can you imagine what it feels like to stay awake all the time with the lights on with no hope of leaving a specific place? How does Garcin react to this hell? How could you twist your daily activities around so that everyday habits become hell? Is there a pattern of circumstances that reinforces the experience of hell?

 - I think the most important part of the way we perceive the setting is in the beginning when the valet and Garcin are talking and we hear all of his disgusts with the place he will be staying in. I could never imagine not being able to sleep because I think I'd just constantly be tired and irritated by the lights and people around me.Garcin tries to make the most of Hell which is good I guess, but there's only so much you can do to make it not seem like Hell. If I really wanted to make my life a living Hell I would go to my favorite restaurants and order my favorite foods all the time until I got sick of eating the same thing, ruining food is the worst Hell imaginable.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vocab Week #11

affinity - noun a natural attraction or feeling of kinship; inherent resemblance between persons or things; the force attracting atoms to each other and binding them together in a molecule; (immunology) the attraction between an antigen and an antibody; a close connection marked by community of interests or similarity in nature or character; (biology) state of relationship between organisms or groups of organisms resulting in resemblance in structure or structural parts; (anthropology) kinship by marriage or adoption; not a blood relationship
bilious - adj. suffering from or suggesting a liver disorder or gastric distress; relating to or containing bile; irritable as if suffering from indigestion
cognate - adj. having the same ancestral language; related by blood; related in nature; noun a word is cognate with another if both derive from the same word in an ancestral language; one related by blood or origin; especially on sharing an ancestor with another
corollary - noun (logic) an inference that follows directly from the proof of another proposition; a practical consequence that follows naturally
divination - noun the art or gift of prophecy (or the pretense of prophecy) by supernatural means; successful conjecture by unusual insight or good luck; a prediction uttered under divine inspiration
elixir - noun a substance believed to cure all ills; a sweet flavored liquid (usually containing a small amount of alcohol) used in compounding medicines to be taken by mouth in order to mask an unpleasant taste; a hypothetical substance that the alchemists believed to be capable of changing base metals into gold
folderol - noun nonsensical talk or writing
gamut - noun a complete extent or range: "a face that expressed a gamut of emotions"; the entire scale of musical notes
ineffable - adj. too sacred to be uttered; defying expression or description
lucubration - noun laborious cogitation; a solemn literary work that is the product of laborious cogitation
mnemonic - adj. of or relating to or involved the practice of aiding the memory; noun a device (such as a rhyme or acronym) used to aid recall
obloquy - noun state of disgrace resulting from public abuse; a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions
parameter - noun a constant in the equation of a curve that can be varied to yield a family of similar curves; a quantity (such as the mean or variance) that characterizes a statistical population and that can be estimated by calculations from sample data; any factor that defines a system and determines (or limits) its performance
pundit - noun someone who has been admitted to membership in a scholarly field
risible - adj. arousing or provoking laughter
symptomatic - adj. relating to or according to or affecting a symptom or symptoms; characteristic or indicative of e.g. a disease

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Sonnet

Shakespearean Sonnet # 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
   Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
   And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
   And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
   By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
   Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
   When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.