Archive for November, 2010

Nov 24 2010

Research Paper (First Half)

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Research Paper (First Half)

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Nov 17 2010

A Small Place

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Jamaica Kincaid takes on an immediately sarcastic and condescending tone which throws the reader off immediately. It throws one off because this is a work of non-fiction and Kincaid is virulently unpleasant in describing her ‘Antigua’ from the dual perspective of a tourist and her own history of her island nation from the start. She right away diminishes and belittle’s the point of view of a tourist. In a meaningful way she aligns this perspective with that of the English, as needing to feel better than someone else. The tourist is consumed with being liked in a far away idealized and exoticized land while the English are described as hating each other and hating England “and the reason they are so miserable now is that they have no place else to go and nobody else to feel better than” ( Kincaid 24). This implies a sort of oppression that Antigua has faced since before ’emancipation’. She even furthers this oppression with the statement: “For the language of the criminal can contain only the goodness of the criminal’s deed. The language of the criminal can explain and express the deed only from the criminal’s point of view” (Kincaid 32). Kincaid is stating that she has no other language to deliver her  “jeremiad” (Rushdie) in, therefore English only illuminates the point of view of the criminal or the English people and still manages to control and oppress the injustice her voice embodies for her island nation.

There is a sinewy bond she shares with her island through her tirade against it’s corruption. Her voice captures this, her identity is tied to the library she feels betrayed for and about.  Kincaid movingly describes how Antigua has the world and the world’s needs forced upon it paid for by Antiguans and the misgivings heaped upon them, the empty promises.

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Nov 10 2010

“Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel

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Watson’s essay poses the concept that Bechdel’s autographic work Fun Home is a visual and verbal narrative that utilizes these modes of life writing in distinct ways to explore her relationship with her father and their congruent sexual identities. The allusory narrative writing technique Bechdel employs is parlleled by visual aids, but nonetheless requires recursive reading style where the reader must constantly bridge the allusions to the text. The comic sequence is a parallel to the text more than it is a definition of the text. It does not define these allusion which in turn define the relationship she shares with her father and her perception of him and of that bond. That Watson quotes Whitlock in calling the narrative ‘autographic’ is extremely pertinent in defining this subgenre of lifewriting. This terminology thus supports her quote of Chute and DeKoven as calling comics ‘cross-discursive’ because it is composed of two means of life writing that ‘remain distinct’, thus they are parallels that complement each other but both tell the same story in their own way. They remain distinct in their differing means to employ Bechdel’s story.

I definitely agree with this interpretation by Watson of Bechdel’s use of comics and narrative. Her description of their relationship as separate but definitive nonetheless accurately describes Bechdel. Bechdel’s graphics of her father reading Proust and her allussions to Proust have two very different implications in defining her fathers comparison to Proust that compel the reader to look outside the text and read Proust or to have background knowledge on the subject.

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Nov 03 2010

The Kiss

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The memoir opens with a very strong descriptive image of Harrison embracing her father. There seems to be a hidden affirmation of the kiss buy presenting her memoir with that specific memory. The novel itself has incited a lot of controversy due to her portrayal of the matter along with a lot of bigoted controversy simply because she is a woman talking about incest. Her language describing this scene is very provocative as it seems to dance around and mirror what a kiss would feel like between ‘unrelated’ individuals or non-familial relations. This hair-raising encounter sets the book off on a very unnerving tone. It emphasizes a certain anxiety that builds from the moment one begins reading the book after the first two pages. Harrison, by introducing this tone and building off from it gives an accurate description of the anxiety filled possession that overtakes an individual when they suffer from this kind of abuse. I belive, in this way, she meant to assert, exhibit, and purge this trauma from her pysche as means of dealing with it. It is always asserted that the individual who suffers from such molestation is indoctrinated by the perpetrator to believe it is not abuse. So the real question being posed towards the critics is how sensitive are they to the issue, because this book clearly demonstrates Harrison is still victim. Harrison in my eyes is still a victim.

Her relationship with her parents and with her mother definitely affected the relationship she has with her father. However, the timeless literary element of the ‘reliable narrator’ comes into play here as she routinely asserts their coldness towards her throughout her life. There a menial moments where she displays intimate encounters with her father or jaded moments with her mother. She cites this sort of abuse as trans-generational and perpetuating. Progressing her need for parental attachment which her father unquestioningly monopolizes and abuses. Therefor, Harrison finally feels the relationship she has been looking for all her life and sacrifices all she knows for it. However, there are other factors to deciphering how consensual this relationship appears and if it appears too much so acting in a damaging light to her work and fueling critics’ analyses of her memoir. Personally, I feel that she is still suffering from this trauma and abuse, her families emotional indifference towards her and their coldness played a significant role in her father’s abuse and her sense of consent towards it. It also raises the question of what kind of emotional satiation she retrieved from her abuse and how distorted was this justification by her.

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